Timeline: Applying for BS/MD Programs
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BS/MD programs, also known as combined undergraduate-medical programs, are considered to be some of the most prestigious programs in the country. In general, these programs afford students the luxury of being accepted into medical school before entering college. For many, enrolling in these programs means avoiding the stressful admissions process that their pre-med peers have to go through: namely, perfecting their GPAs, becoming involved in traditional, pre-medical extracurricular activities, and perhaps most worrisome of all, taking the MCAT. Unsurprisingly, BS/MD programs are highly selective and competitive in their own right. Those involved in the admissions process of these programs look for motivated students who show a deep commitment to medicine at an early age, not an easy achievement for most. Consequently, as someone targeting these programs, you should plan your high school years accordingly. As such, we at CollegeVine have outlined a potential timeline for you.
Disclaimer: In no way does this timeline represent or dictate the path that you must take in order to be accepted into a BS/MD program. Rather, the timeline merely provides some guidance and support for you if you are committed to applying for a BS/MD program and are just beginning to plan your high school years.
First, the CollegeVine team would like to outline some general requirements that you must fulfill to even qualify for these combined undergraduate-medical programs. Many of these programs require you to have taken a full, four years’ worth of English classes. For example, some of the most competitive BS/MD programs such as Northwestern University’s Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) and Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) share this requirement. Additionally, you should take at least three, preferably four, years of a foreign language. While the choice of language does not matter, it is recommended that you stay consistent with the language of their choice throughout high school.
During your freshman year of high school, you could take Algebra II and biology to fulfill your mathematics and laboratory science requirements. If confident in your mastery of biology, you could take either the Biology Ecological or Biology Molecular SAT Subject Test. Appropriately spending your time in the summer is especially critical in an application to a BS/MD program. In accordance, you might volunteer at a hospital or conduct research at a university laboratory throughout the summer following your freshman year.
For your sophomore year, a sample academic curriculum might consist of pre-calculus and chemistry. It is highly recommended that you take the SAT Mathematics Level 2 and Chemistry Subject Tests. Many combined undergraduate-medical programs dictate that you must take these two aforementioned subject tests. During the following summer, you might continue your research at the same university laboratory in the hopes of ultimately presenting or publishing your findings.
During junior year, you should take calculus and physics. Taking high school classes in biology, chemistry, and physics would demonstrate some knowledge of the scientific foundations of medicine to admissions officers. Scoring well in the respective SAT Subject Tests would only further demonstrate your ability to academically thrive in a BS/MD program. We at CollegeVine would recommend that you also achieve your desired scores for the SAT Reasoning Test by the end of your junior year. As rising seniors, you should look into prestigious summer programs such as your state’s summer Governor’s Schools. Either way, you should refrain from sacrificing your summer solely to get a head start on your applications. Rather, you might work on their applications while polishing your research findings from past summers to present during the school year. Furthermore, throughout this summer, you should compose your list of targeted schools and programs. All BS/MD programs are competitive to some degree, and it is advised that you apply to a range of universities whether for their undergraduate education or corresponding BS/MD program if any.
Alas, we come to senior year, the grand finale of your high school career or in other words, the last chance for you to demonstrate your capability of excelling in a BS/MD program. You might take statistics to fulfill your mathematics requirement, as many programs demand four years of mathematics. By October of your senior year, we advise you to have taken at least one SAT Subject Test in the humanities to polish your application and exhibit versatility in your learning. Lastly, it goes without saying that you should be aware of all deadlines for your choice programs. Each BS/MD program has a unique application process. Some programs require interviews while others necessitate formal application request forms. The application process for BS/MD programs is even lengthier than that for a normal undergraduate education. As such, you should be prepared to invest a significant amount of time to the application process during senior year.
With that, we conclude our sample timeline. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, this timeline does not dictate how you must approach your high school years and should be tailored according to your personal interests, strengths, and weaknesses. We hope, however, that it proves of some use for you who are seeking to enter these programs. For more detailed information on what makes a good applicant, click here.
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