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How to Apply to a Baccalaureate/MD Program

A Baccalaureate/MD allows you to pursue a baccalaureate and medical degree at the same time, through a dual-degree. To gain admission to a Bacc/MD program, you need to do two things: Build a strong application portfolio during high school and present your application package effectively.

How to be a strong contender for Bacc/MD programs

Applying to a Bacc/MD program means you’re trying for admission to a college as well as to a medical school, so the factors that Bacc/MD programs look for are a combination of what undergraduate programs and medical schools seek in their future students.

A strong academic record and superb test scores are essential to be a competitive applicant. Admissions committees consider both how rigorous your high-school classes were and how well you performed in them. Take the most difficult courses you can handle, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, and focus especially on building a strong foundation in the sciences.

You need to be able to not only manage your rigorous course load but also excel in your classes. The minimum GPA required to apply is typically a 3.5 (unweighted), but for many programs, you need a significantly higher GPA to be competitive.

For the SAT, the minimum score required for application to some programs is 1200 total for the critical reading and math sections; for others it’s 1300 or even higher. Some schools have a SAT minimum score that includes the writing section as well and/or require SAT subject tests in math or science.

Some programs accept the ACT and often set the minimum score for it at 30. Upon checking a school’s admission statistics, you may find that the test scores for accepted applicants are much higher than the minimum needed to apply.

Bacc/MD committees also consider nonquantitative factors when making admissions decisions. By exploring medicine through clinical experiences (volunteering in hospitals/clinics/research labs or shadowing physicians) you can assure the committee (and yourself!) that your decision to become a physician is an informed one.

Programs seek students with maturity, integrity, commitment to service, excellent communication skills, and flexibility. Therefore, letters of recommendation should not only attest to your achievements but also describe your personal traits and character. Pick teachers, counselors, and other evaluators who know you well enough to discuss you as a person, not just as a student.

The Bacc/MD application process

The application process for Bacc/MD programs typically requires you to submit:

  • The Common Application (a standardized college application that’s filled out by a student one time and submitted to multiple schools) or other application for the undergraduate institution

  • A supplemental application for the Baccalaureate/MD program

  • High-school transcripts

  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)

  • Letters of recommendation

Many programs don’t consider applicants for admission to the Bacc/MD program until they’re accepted into the undergraduate institution. You might not even receive the Bacc/MD supplemental application until you’ve been offered undergraduate admission.

A Bacc/MD committee reviews applications from individuals who have been accepted into the undergraduate program, and a small number of applicants are invited to visit for an interview. The committee then makes a decision about whether to admit, deny, or waitlist the applicant.

How to handle supplemental essay questions

As a combined program applicant, you have to write the typical college application essays as well as craft responses for essay prompts on the Bacc/MD supplemental application. These prompts often address topics such as

  • Your reasons for wanting to participate in a Baccalaureate/MD program

  • The nature of your interest in a particular institution

  • Why you’ve chosen to pursue a career in medicine

  • Your exposure to the medical profession

Other supplemental questions may instead focus on topics such as your extracurricular activities, challenges you’ve faced, or your strengths and weaknesses.

How to interview for a Bacc/MD program

After you’ve been offered an interview for a Bacc/MD program, you’re much closer to admission, but you still face stiff competition from other highly qualified applicants. Use the interview as an opportunity to stand out by conveying your interest in medicine and suitability for the program as well demonstrating good interpersonal skills.

You may be interviewed by members of a medical school admissions committee or joint Baccalaureate/MD committee depending on how the school structures its admissions process. Either way, the interview usually takes place at the medical school rather than at the undergraduate campus. During interview day, you can expect to take a tour of the campus, learn more about the program, and interview with one or more committee members.

Wear professional attire to the interview and treat every moment from the time you step on the campus until the time you leave as part of the interview process.

A Bacc/MD interview lies somewhere between a college interview and one for medical school in terms of the types of questions asked. You can expect to be asked about your extracurricular activities and academic experiences in high school the way a regular college applicant would, but you also face questions related to your interest in medicine. Common Baccalaureate/MD interview topics include:

  • Why are you interested in a Baccalaureate/MD program?

  • What motivates you to become a physician?

  • Why did you apply to our particular program?

  • Describe your involvement in clinical, community service, and leadership experiences.

  • What would you contribute to the program if admitted?

  • What qualities do you have that make you suited to the program?

  • What careers other than medicine have you considered?

You’re evaluated not only on the content of your responses but also on your communication skills, personality, professionalism, and other qualities. Programs want to be confident that the students they select can succeed academically and work effectively as part of a team as they interact with patients, fellow students, physicians, and other professionals. Your performance on the interview can help to demonstrate that you’re both book smart and people smart.

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