This is the third part of our 3-part series. See Part I for an overview of baccalaureate/MD programs, and Part II for case studies of several programs. In this blog post, we share our knowledge and experience regarding the characteristics of a successful baccalaureate/MD candidate.
We are very proud of the success of our Baccalaureate/MD applicants, who have gained acceptance to the Baccalaureate/MD programs at Brown University, Union College/Albany Medical College, University of Rochester, and Virginia Commonwealth University. We have also helped students gain acceptance to Baccalaureate/DO (osteopathic) programs, including those at Michigan State University, New York Institute of Technology, Nova Southeastern, and Thomas Jefferson University.
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As you might expect given Baccalaureate/MD programs’ rigor, students well-positioned to be admitted to such programs must have transcripts and resumes at least as impressive as other college applicants’. But what in particular makes high school students stand out to Baccalaureate/MD program administrators?
Rigorous Coursework. If college students applying to med school need to demonstrate a passion for science and medicine, as well as for helping people, high school students applying to Baccalaureate/MD programs need to demonstrate the very same—but earlier. Not only should high school coursework be rigorous and grades high, but your curriculum should favor the sciences. Rochester, for example, seeks students with at least a 3.95 unweighted GPA who rank in the top three percent of their graduating class and have taken “an exceptionally rigorous high school math and science curriculum, including calculus, biology, and chemistry.” USF urges applicants to “complete a rigorous high school curriculum, including advanced coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics (calculus and statistics are preferred). Additionally, since the MCAT (medical college admissions test) now includes a section on psycho-social foundations of behavior, students are also encouraged to complete courses in the social and behavioral sciences.”
Science Research. Participating in a high school research program is a huge plus. These programs, which can last anywhere from one to all four years of high school, involve conducting original research in science, math, engineering, and/or social science. Students are often expected to conduct research over the summer before senior year, which they can do with mentors they’ve sought out individually or in organized pre-college summer research programs. The research culminates in a 20-page scientific paper that is submitted to national competitions such as Regeneron and ISEF.
Clinical Experience. Another way to demonstrate your strong desire to enter a career in medicine at this early stage is to amass clinical experience—that is, experience working with patients. Students can, for example, work for an ambulance corps or EMT program, or volunteer at a hospital or nursing home. GW seeks applicants who have “had some experience in the medical profession, hopefully working directly with patients.” In addition, students can gain valuable experience shadowing physicians as a way to gain more exposure to the medical field and observe qualities they would like to emulate in their future careers as physicians.
Volunteer Work. Future doctors are expected to care not only about aiding patients, but also about helping people more broadly. Thus, volunteer work outside of the medical profession—which demonstrates compassion and a sense of responsibility to others—also reflects well on Baccalaureate/MD applicants. As with students accepted to the most selective colleges, those accepted to Baccalaureate/MD programs are advised to show heavy involvement in extracurricular activities they’re passionate about, and that involve leadership skills.
Motivation for a Career in Medicine. Though applying to a Baccalaureate/MD program would seem to indicate an early and intense desire to become a doctor, it’s important that you explicitly demonstrate this desire clearly in your application. GW seeks students who “are fully committed to being a doctor”; Rochester seeks students who “are passionate about a career in medicine.” Applications often specifically ask students to speak to this issue; UMKC, for example, prompts applicants to answer the question, “What motivates you to pursue a career in medicine?” Stony Brook asks, “What aspects about medicine intrigue you? Describe how these aspects influence your life.” Either way, applicants would do well to write in persuasive, compelling, and detailed prose about why they wish to serve as physicians.
For guidance on navigating the complexities of your college or medical school application process, feel free to contact us. As always, at Collegiate Gateway, we’re happy to help!