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** Combined Medical Program Application Guide **

neoevolutionneoevolution Registered User Posts: 374 Member
edited July 2013 in Multiple Degree Programs
Made a lot more small changes for V3 of the guide, I think it's now at the point where it gives comprehensive advice on the whole application process.

Medical Program Application Guide V3


Classes: Try and take as many Honors and AP/IB courses (especially math and science) as you can without harming your unweighted GPA. A GPA of 3.8-3.9 is competitive but varies depending on school and rigor. Class rank is also important. You want to be within top 5% of your class, and being lower than 10% will really harm your application.

Extracurriculars: Get involved with clubs/organizations that interest you, and do medical activities but not exclusively. Medical activities would include being a Volunteer EMT or Ski Patrol or lifeguard, shadowing a doctor at a hospital or private practice, volunteering at a hospital or nursing home, and research with an undergraduate professor or through a program. Non-medical but still important activities can be general community service like free tutoring or a soup kitchen, academic competitions, sports, music, paid work experience, and especially leadership positions in organizations.

Having interests outside of just medicine will help you stand out in the applicant pool. It might not matter for mid and lower tier programs that only look at your standardized test scores, GPA, and for a few basic activities. Top programs will have many applicants with near perfect numbers, so they can look deeper into your ECs for what makes you unique and this can make their admissions less predictable as well. At the top programs, not being a cookie cutter applicant will be essential when your competitors are also 99th percentile and have the same standard medical ECs.

SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests: Start prepping early for standardized tests because many programs have cutoffs that they won’t consider you beneath; note that other applicants will be well over the cutoffs. There are other resources about preparing for the SAT and ACT, so I won’t bother rehashing what they have to say about those tests. My recommendation is to take a practice exam (preferably a released official one) and use that score to create a preparation plan. Some students can do very well by preparing with practice tests and test taking books, but others may need classes or individual tutoring.

A 2200-2300 SAT is competitive, top programs might want higher scores. Some weigh the math + critical reading sections of the SAT more than writing, so take that into account if your writing score varies significantly from the other two. The ACT is widely accepted by programs, and you can compare scores using the concordance table: http://www.act.org/aap/concordance/pdf/reference.pdf

Many programs require 2 or 3 SAT subject tests and often mandate or prefer specific subjects. You need to look up the requirements for your programs in advance and pick tests that fulfill them most easily. Math Level 2, Biology-Molecular, Chemistry, and a humanities test can likely cover all of your requirements. A 700-750 on an SAT subject test is probably the minimum to be competitive, but you can get a 750+ relatively easily if you study and have done well academically before.

October may be the latest accepted testing month for programs, but you need to contact each program to see which testing date is their latest acceptable. Subject tests may be allowed later than the SAT/ACT or after your main application is submitted, but this should be avoided if possible. You can take up to 3 subject tests on a single testing date, but you can’t take the SAT and any subject tests together in the same month or testing cycle.

Letters of Recommendation: Many programs require these be from teachers and ask for one science/math and one humanities LoR. Ask teachers at the end of junior year or very early in senior year for your LoR. Pick teachers with whom you have the best relationship. It helps if they are skilled writers, personalize the LoR, you had them junior year, did well in the class, or if you worked with them for any club/sport. If allowed by the program and relevant to your application, get one from someone you did a major EC like research with and who knows you well.

Essays: The main Common App essay stays the same from year to year, so write it early if you want a head start. Nearly all programs and schools want this essay or it can be adapted for them. “Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you,” is the annual essay and the other choices rotate and aren’t as suitable for adaption (some UGs use paper/online apps that you can easily tweak your CA essay for, but only if you pick the main topic).

Some programs want you to indicate a major for either the program or if you are accepted into the undergraduate school only. Some accelerated programs turn into 8 year programs if you pick engineering or a similar major. If picking a regular undergrad major, feel free to go with whatever interests you, since you can be a premed with anything. Biology is a popular major for program students and regular premeds because its required classes overlap heavily with those needed for medical school, but Biomedical Engineering is gaining popularity for also fulfilling premed prerequisites and being a rigorous engineering major (which is great if you do well, but the workload and GPA hit are seen as negatives).

Common program essay topics are “why do you want to do medicine,” “what qualities in a doctor are important,” “how do you know you want to do medicine and what experiences led you to that decision,” “when have you overcome adversity,” “when have you been a leader,” “why an accelerated program,” “research or clinical career goals,” “why this school and its values/goals specifically,” “what major and why,” “how would friends/family describe you or you yourself,” “your strengths and weaknesses,” “name hobbies/activities within and outside of medicine,” and general college interview questions along those lines. Write 2-3 pages on the why medicine questions and your ECs, and you can easily trim them down to fulfill most of your essays and short answers.

Programs Search: Programs within your state and especially public ones might be easier to get into and those that are highly ranked undergrads or med schools will be tougher. Some programs strongly prefer students with certain interests like research, business, or engineering so take that into account when applying. Some are instate only and therefore much easier to get into, others have an instate preference which is still helpful, and some give an advantage to applicants from rural and underprivileged backgrounds.

Don’t apply to programs you would never want to attend; it’s a waste of your time and money. Applying to regular undergrad safety and reaches is a good idea too, strong applicants can get unlucky and have unexpected rejections. Applying to 10-15 programs isn’t unreasonable considering how competitive and unpredictable their admissions can be, and proper recycling of essays can make applying to that many very attainable.

http://www.directbsmd.com/ is a good place to start making a list of programs you’re interested in. It’s a good idea to use multiple lists and check the program website to verify the list information; there’s no guarantee a given list will be up-to-date or include all programs.

Use acceptance threads from past years to benchmark yourself and pick where to apply. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1300355-bs-md-results-class-2012-a.html is the most current stats thread. You don’t need to make a chance thread unless applying to an uncommon program or you have a unique application situation.

Program websites, the contact personnel they list, or a web search can answer nearly every question you have about a particular program. Please, don’t create new threads when you can easily find the answer yourself.

Application submission: Organizing your application beforehand will prevent any last minute errors or missed deadlines. Make a list of the requirements for each program. Those that don’t use Common App might require mailed transcripts and LoR, and some want them uploaded to their application website. You need to give teachers and the guidance office time to fill out any paper forms or upload your data, so keep that in mind when looking at deadlines. You might want to make a checklist for each program with all of its requirements and their timeline. Some programs will accept test scores and letters of recommendation slightly after the main application, but this is a variable policy and “late” submissions are not desirable.

Application deadlines are often in late October and through November. Send your applications as soon as you can, but try and submit any paper applications in a single envelope so nothing is misplaced. Call to confirm receipt for a mailed application, since there is a good chance it can be misplaced anyway. Use Common App if allowed (makes the LoR and transcript handling much easier) and don’t forget to send standardized testing score reports.

Subject tests need to be submitted separately though the College Board website, and some programs may require official AP scores to be submitted with the application too.

Midyear reports are often a requirement by programs and undergrads, although some may not look at them for program decisions. You only need the end of year report for the school you will be attending.

Interview process: Interview notifications can happen from around January through March for the most part. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1266847-bs-md-interview-notification-class-2012-a.html can give you an idea of when notifications go out, but note that they vary from year to year and some occur over a span of a few weeks or longer. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1317543-interview-process.html discusses the interviews at each program specifically; it’s a great resource for the programs that invite you.

Interviews tend to be one-on-one, but some are with 2 or maybe more interviewers. They’re similar to regular college interviews in their format and tone. Interviews often ask the same questions as the essay topics above, so it’s a good idea to plan what you might say if asked one of those standard questions. Be ready for questions about current events, like the abortion debate, healthcare reforms, stem cell research, etc. It’s more important that you articulate and support a position rather than the side you take, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the leanings of your interviewer.

Business attire is definitely expected e.g. every guy will be wearing a suit.
Go to mixers the day before if possible and get contact info for current students in the program so you can ask them the questions you can’t of the program directors. Send a thank you email to anyone who interviews you and one to the interview coordinator (many of them are on the admissions committee and it’s common courtesy).

Choosing a program: Late March and through April is the period of notifications from programs for interviewed students. Wait to send in your deposit as long as you can or until you have heard back from all programs because many will notify long after UGs do. Go to any open houses, speak to current students, and try and get a better feel for the schools you were admitted to. As far as picking a program beyond “fit,” the general consensus is that all US MD (allopathic) medical schools are mostly equivalent and that residency program directors consider many other factors over school name when applying. Still, some say that being top 40 NIH funding or top 20 US News makes a difference for getting into top residencies. Some other factors to consider are: Cost (6-8 years of school is going to be expensive no matter what, but some programs are triple the cost of others. Debt sucks and interest rates for grad loans are rising as compensation falls, so school cost might be the deciding factor), location (being away from family for 6-8 years can be hard, and you may prefer a city or certain location), ranking (it matters even if it isn’t everything), requirements (GPA and MCAT minimums vary between programs, some are much harder than others. Most say a 30 MCAT and 3.5 GPA aren't too difficult if you manage to be accepted.).

Don’t attend a program unless completely sure about medicine. If you can get into a medical program, you can probably also get into a top 20 UG and would be competitive applying the traditional route to medical school if you maintain your academic performance. Don’t give up a top undergrad only to drop out of the program and end up in a school you wouldn’t have gone to otherwise and with poor financial aid. The only exceptions are the very top programs at Rice, Brown, and Northwestern but even then you are committing to a school which might not be the best for you if you drop out of the program. Bottom line, don’t take a program acceptance unless you’re confident you want to be a physician and know the future you’re signing up for.
Post edited by neoevolution on
«1

Replies to: ** Combined Medical Program Application Guide **

  • dblazerdblazer Registered User Posts: 2,187 Senior Member
    Good stuff, in accordance with basically all you say.

    If one plans to apply to a lot of these programs, make sure everything is organized well in advance. Many of these programs have early application submission dates (usually late October through end of November) so it is important to be on top of things. For essays, start writing early; once you have a base "why doctor" essay, you'll be able to use the basic body for most of the programs applied to with modifications. I applied to a lot of programs and found the separate process for each program overwhelming, especially with the time constraint. Not all of the programs are simple common app + supplement; in some cases, recommendations and sometimes application information has to be mailed or faxed or e-mailed and supplemental apps separate from the common app must be filled out so creating a document with the procedure/essays for each program application early would make everything much easier.

    In general, admissions for mid/low tier programs is somewhat formulaic for one to reach the interview stage. Academics, 2200+/Top 5% w/ a rigorous course load. Medical experience, hospital volunteering, shadowing, research, emt, etc. Essay and Recs are less important but are factored in. Other non-medical activities play a role (probably more in the interview) but not as much as the academics and med experience; clubs and involvement in music/sports are good to have. With the mid/lower tier programs, one does not have to be ivy-caliber necessarily as things like leadership, non-medical involvement, and some awards aren't weighted as much. Also, generally academic requirements for competitiveness are generally lower. Although, the more competitive a program the more holistic its review process is. Whether one gets an interview at each of these programs can be pretty unpredictable at times.
  • topher14topher14 Registered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
    i would add that a huge component of applications to these programs is interest. you need to do the research and in order to get interviewed, you have to convince the admissions committees that their program (And more importantly for a lot of these programs), their school, is the right fit for you! do not waste time applying to "safety" programs that you would not go to, since the travel costs and application fees will be wasted if you lack enthusiasm! best of luck to everyone, and the best path for you will present itself throughout the application and admission season :)
  • neoevolutionneoevolution Registered User Posts: 374 Member
    Bumping for more input and so other applicants see it since its that time of year again.
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1300355-bs-md-results-class-2012-a.html

    That's stats thread is more useful than a chance thread, it's got some of the best info to gauge your application with.
  • risuburisubu Registered User Posts: 1,580 Senior Member
    Thank you so much for this. We definitely need this stickied. Bookmarked!
  • ferredoxinferredoxin Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    I'm going to recommend to sticky this, as well as the 2012 results thread.
    neoevolution, YOU ROCK!!! :)
  • neoevolutionneoevolution Registered User Posts: 374 Member
    I edited the guide with some of my own changes and input from Dblazer and Topher14. The only thing really missing at this point is a list of all the programs and their requirements, and maybe a ranking by competitiveness.
    [size=+2]Medical Program Application Guide V2[/size]

    Classes: Try and take as many Honors and AP/IB courses (especially math and science) as you can without harming your unweighted GPA. A GPA of 3.8-3.9 is competitive but varies depending on school and rigor. Class rank is also important. You want to be within top 5% of your class, and being lower than 10% will really harm your application.

    Extracurriculars: Get involved with clubs/orgs that interest you, and do medical activities but not exclusively. Medical activities would include being a Volunteer EMT or Ski Patrol or or Lifeguard, Shadowing a doctor at a hospital or private practice, volunteering at a hospital or nursing home, and research with an undergrad professor or through a program. Non-medical but still important activities can be general community service like free tutoring or a soup kitchen, academic competitions, sports, music, paid work experience, and especially leadership positions in organizations.

    Having interests outside of just medicine will help you stand out in the applicant pool. It might not matter for mid and lower tier programs that only look at your standardized test scores, GPA, and for a few basic activities. Top programs will have many applicants with near perfect numbers, so they can look deeper into your ECs for what makes you unique and this can make their admissions less predictable as well. At the top programs, not being a cookie cutter applicant will be essential when your competitors are also 99th percentile, top 5%, and have the same standard medical ECs.

    SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests: Start prepping early for standardized tests because many programs have cutoffs that they won’t consider you beneath and other applicants will be well over the cutoffs. A 2200-2300 SAT is what I consider competitive, top programs might want higher scores. Some weigh math + verbal more than writing, so take that into account if your writing score varies significantly from the other two.

    Many programs require 2 or 3 subject tests and often mandate the subjects. You need to look up the requirements for your programs in advance and pick tests that fulfill them most easily. Math Level 2, Biology-Molecular, Chemistry, and a humanities test can likely cover all of your requirements. A 700-750 SAT2 is likely the minimum to be, but you can get a 750+ relatively easily if you study and have done well academically before.

    October may be the latest accepted testing month for programs, but you need to contact each program to see which testing date is their latest acceptable. Subject tests may be allowed later than the SAT/ACT or after your main application is submitted, but this should be avoided if possible. You can take up to 3 subject tests on a single testing date, but you can’t take the SAT and any subject tests together in the same month or testing cycle.

    Letters of Recommendation: Many programs require these be from teachers and ask for one science/math and one humanities LoR. Ask teachers at the end of junior year or very early in senior year for your LoR. Pick teachers with whom you have the best relationship. It helps if they are skilled writers, personalize the LoR, you had them junior year, did well in the class, or if you worked with them for any club/sport. If allowed by the program and relevant to your application, get one from someone you did a major EC like research with and who knows you well.

    Essays: The main Common App essay stays the same from year to year, so write it early if you want a head start. Nearly all programs and schools want this essay or it can be adapted for them. “Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you,” is the annual essay and the other choices rotate and aren’t as suitable for adaption (some UGs use paper/online apps that you can easily tweak your CA essay for, but only if you pick the main topic)

    Common program essay topics are “why do you want to do medicine,” “what qualities in a doctor are important,” “how do you know you want to do medicine and what experiences led you to that decision,” “when have you overcome adversity,” “when have you been a leader,” and general college interview and supplement questions along those lines. Write 2-3 pages on the why medicine questions and your ECs, and you can easily trim this main base essay down to fulfill most of your essays and short answers.

    Programs Search: Programs within your state and especially public ones will be easier to get into and those that are highly ranked undergrads or med schools will be tougher. Some programs strongly prefer students with certain interests like research or business or engineering so take that into account when applying. Don’t apply to programs you would never want to, it’s a waste of your time and money. Applying to regular undergrad safety and reaches is a good idea too, strong applicants can get unlucky and have unexpected rejections.

    Use acceptance threads from past years to benchmark yourself and pick where to apply. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1300355-bs-md-results-class-2012-a.html is the most current stats thread. You don’t need to make a chance thread unless applying to an uncommon program or you have a unique application situation.

    Application submission: Organizing your application beforehand will prevent any last minute errors or missed deadlines. Make a list of the requirements for each program. Those that don’t use Common App might require mailed transcripts and LoR, and some want them uploaded to their application website. You need to give teachers and the guidance office time to fill out any paper forms or upload your data, so keep that in mind when looking at deadlines. You might want to make a checklist for each program with all of its requirements and their timeline.

    Application deadlines are often in late October and through November. Send your applications as soon as you can, but try and submit any paper applications in a single envelope so nothing is misplaced. Call to confirm receipt for a mailed application, there is a good chance it can be misplaced anyway. Use Common App if allowed (makes the LoR and transcript handling much eaiser) and don’t forget to send standardized testing score reports. Subjects tests need to submitted separately though the CB website, and some programs may require official AP scores to be submitted with the application too.

    Interview process: Interview notifications can happen from around January through March for the most part. Interviews often ask the same questions as essays, so it’s a good idea to reread them prior to an interview. They may ask why you are interested in attending their school specifically, so do some reading about their institution and its goals to show that you are prepared. Business attire is definitely expected e.g. every guy will be wearing a suit. Go to mixers the day before if possible and get contact info for current students in the program so you can ask them the questions you can’t of the program directors. Send a thank you email to anyone who interviews you and one to the interview coordinator (many of them are on the admissions committee and it’s common courtesy).

    Choosing a program: Late March and through April is the period of notifications from programs for interviewed students. Wait to send in your deposit as long as you can or until you have heard back from all programs because many will notify long after UGs do. Go to any open houses, speak to current students, and try and get a better feel for the schools you were admitted to. As far as picking a program beyond “fit,” the general consensus is that all US MD (allopathic) medical schools are mostly equivalent and that residency program directors consider many other factors over school name when applying. Still, some say that being top 40 NIH funding or top 20 US News makes a difference for getting into top residencies. Some other factors to consider are: Cost (6-8 years of school is going to be expensive no matter what, but some programs are triple the cost of others. Debt sucks and interest rates for grad loans are rising as compensation falls, so school cost might be the deciding factor), location (being away from family for 6-8 years can be hard, and you may prefer a city or certain location), ranking (it matters even if it isn’t everything), requirements (GPA and MCAT minimums vary between programs, some are much harder than others. Most say a 30 MCAT and 3.5 isn’t too difficult if you manage to be accepted.).

    Don’t attend a program unless completely sure about medicine. If you can get into a medical program, you can probably also get into a top 20 UG and would be competitive applying the traditional route to medical school if you maintain your academic performance. Don’t give up a top undergrad only to drop out of the program and end up in a school you wouldn’t have gone to otherwise and with poor financial aid. The only exceptions are the very top programs at Rice, Brown, and Northwestern but even then you are committing to a school which might not be the best for you if you drop out of the program. Bottom line, don’t take a program acceptance unless you’re confident you want to be a physician and know the future you’re signing up for.
  • freshman11freshman11 Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    About how important is it to take a humanities SAT 2 if I take Math 2, Biology-M, and Chemistry?
  • neoevolutionneoevolution Registered User Posts: 374 Member
    Check the requirements for your programs. You may not need it. I think some colleges actually like non-math/science SAT2s too, as in they want one math/sci and one humanities. You'll need to check for each school.
  • wan2bpedwan2bped Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thanks neoevolution for all the information you provided.It helps a lot.Can you please share the list of schools you applied to?which ones are the easy and mid-tier schools for the bs/md programs?
    I am trying to bring my SAT score up but not getting good results(like 2000 from the BB).I have some more time this summer so will practice more ...any tips on the reading and writing section you can suggest to improve?I tried 2 ACT practice test and scored 29 on first and 30 on second.Is it better to practice ACT more for me?

    Also,I did AP world history in sophmore year.I will be taking AP bio,Ap chem, AP psychology and AP Calc AB in junior year.Do you think it will be too hard to maintain GPA .I am already getting nervous about taking AP bio and AP chem together.I have currently 4.0.Do you think I should take AP bio in senior year?Will taking ap bio in senior year ruin my chances for bs/md programs?Sorry for so many questions.Please help.
  • wan2bpedwan2bped Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    sorry guys....i just realised i should have asked these questions on another thread.I am new here so pls excuse me.
  • neoevolutionneoevolution Registered User Posts: 374 Member
    Check out the applicants threads from past years to see which programs can be gotten into with lower stats. Brown, northwestern, and Baylor are seen as the top 3 for competitiveness. Maybe Case is 4th, then BU, Miami. Everything else is sort of in the middle, and the easiest will be instate programs or maybe AMC and Drexel but even those aren't truly easy.
  • RaycmrRaycmr Registered User Posts: 302 Member
    Neoevolution, since your guide is for rising seniors, could you link all the ba/md programs as an attachment so these students could do one stop shopping.
  • neoevolutionneoevolution Registered User Posts: 374 Member
    Made a lot more small changes for V3 of the guide, I think it's now at the point where it gives comprehensive advice on the whole application process.

    Medical Program Application Guide V3


    Classes: Try and take as many Honors and AP/IB courses (especially math and science) as you can without harming your unweighted GPA. A GPA of 3.8-3.9 is competitive but varies depending on school and rigor. Class rank is also important. You want to be within top 5% of your class, and being lower than 10% will really harm your application.

    Extracurriculars: Get involved with clubs/organizations that interest you, and do medical activities but not exclusively. Medical activities would include being a Volunteer EMT or Ski Patrol or lifeguard, shadowing a doctor at a hospital or private practice, volunteering at a hospital or nursing home, and research with an undergraduate professor or through a program. Non-medical but still important activities can be general community service like free tutoring or a soup kitchen, academic competitions, sports, music, paid work experience, and especially leadership positions in organizations.

    Having interests outside of just medicine will help you stand out in the applicant pool. It might not matter for mid and lower tier programs that only look at your standardized test scores, GPA, and for a few basic activities. Top programs will have many applicants with near perfect numbers, so they can look deeper into your ECs for what makes you unique and this can make their admissions less predictable as well. At the top programs, not being a cookie cutter applicant will be essential when your competitors are also 99th percentile and have the same standard medical ECs.

    SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests: Start prepping early for standardized tests because many programs have cutoffs that they won’t consider you beneath; note that other applicants will be well over the cutoffs. There are other resources about preparing for the SAT and ACT, so I won’t bother rehashing what they have to say about those tests. My recommendation is to take a practice exam (preferably a released official one) and use that score to create a preparation plan. Some students can do very well by preparing with practice tests and test taking books, but others may need classes or individual tutoring.

    A 2200-2300 SAT is competitive, top programs might want higher scores. Some weigh the math + critical reading sections of the SAT more than writing, so take that into account if your writing score varies significantly from the other two. The ACT is widely accepted by programs, and you can compare scores using the concordance table: http://www.act.org/aap/concordance/pdf/reference.pdf

    Many programs require 2 or 3 SAT subject tests and often mandate or prefer specific subjects. You need to look up the requirements for your programs in advance and pick tests that fulfill them most easily. Math Level 2, Biology-Molecular, Chemistry, and a humanities test can likely cover all of your requirements. A 700-750 on an SAT subject test is probably the minimum to be competitive, but you can get a 750+ relatively easily if you study and have done well academically before.

    October may be the latest accepted testing month for programs, but you need to contact each program to see which testing date is their latest acceptable. Subject tests may be allowed later than the SAT/ACT or after your main application is submitted, but this should be avoided if possible. You can take up to 3 subject tests on a single testing date, but you can’t take the SAT and any subject tests together in the same month or testing cycle.

    Letters of Recommendation: Many programs require these be from teachers and ask for one science/math and one humanities LoR. Ask teachers at the end of junior year or very early in senior year for your LoR. Pick teachers with whom you have the best relationship. It helps if they are skilled writers, personalize the LoR, you had them junior year, did well in the class, or if you worked with them for any club/sport. If allowed by the program and relevant to your application, get one from someone you did a major EC like research with and who knows you well.

    Essays: The main Common App essay stays the same from year to year, so write it early if you want a head start. Nearly all programs and schools want this essay or it can be adapted for them. “Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you,” is the annual essay and the other choices rotate and aren’t as suitable for adaption (some UGs use paper/online apps that you can easily tweak your CA essay for, but only if you pick the main topic).

    Some programs want you to indicate a major for either the program or if you are accepted into the undergraduate school only. Some accelerated programs turn into 8 year programs if you pick engineering or a similar major. If picking a regular undergrad major, feel free to go with whatever interests you, since you can be a premed with anything. Biology is a popular major for program students and regular premeds because its required classes overlap heavily with those needed for medical school, but Biomedical Engineering is gaining popularity for also fulfilling premed prerequisites and being a rigorous engineering major (which is great if you do well, but the workload and GPA hit are seen as negatives).

    Common program essay topics are “why do you want to do medicine,” “what qualities in a doctor are important,” “how do you know you want to do medicine and what experiences led you to that decision,” “when have you overcome adversity,” “when have you been a leader,” “why an accelerated program,” “research or clinical career goals,” “why this school and its values/goals specifically,” “what major and why,” “how would friends/family describe you or you yourself,” “your strengths and weaknesses,” “name hobbies/activities within and outside of medicine,” and general college interview questions along those lines. Write 2-3 pages on the why medicine questions and your ECs, and you can easily trim them down to fulfill most of your essays and short answers.

    Programs Search: Programs within your state and especially public ones might be easier to get into and those that are highly ranked undergrads or med schools will be tougher. Some programs strongly prefer students with certain interests like research, business, or engineering so take that into account when applying. Some are instate only and therefore much easier to get into, others have an instate preference which is still helpful, and some give an advantage to applicants from rural and underprivileged backgrounds.

    Don’t apply to programs you would never want to attend; it’s a waste of your time and money. Applying to regular undergrad safety and reaches is a good idea too, strong applicants can get unlucky and have unexpected rejections. Applying to 10-15 programs isn’t unreasonable considering how competitive and unpredictable their admissions can be, and proper recycling of essays can make applying to that many very attainable.

    Direct BS-MD Programs - Direct BSMD Programs is a good place to start making a list of programs you’re interested in. It’s a good idea to use multiple lists and check the program website to verify the list information; there’s no guarantee a given list will be up-to-date or include all programs.

    Use acceptance threads from past years to benchmark yourself and pick where to apply. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1300355-bs-md-results-class-2012-a.html is the most current stats thread. You don’t need to make a chance thread unless applying to an uncommon program or you have a unique application situation.

    Program websites, the contact personnel they list, or a web search can answer nearly every question you have about a particular program. Please, don’t create new threads when you can easily find the answer yourself.

    Application submission: Organizing your application beforehand will prevent any last minute errors or missed deadlines. Make a list of the requirements for each program. Those that don’t use Common App might require mailed transcripts and LoR, and some want them uploaded to their application website. You need to give teachers and the guidance office time to fill out any paper forms or upload your data, so keep that in mind when looking at deadlines. You might want to make a checklist for each program with all of its requirements and their timeline. Some programs will accept test scores and letters of recommendation slightly after the main application, but this is a variable policy and “late” submissions are not desirable.

    Application deadlines are often in late October and through November. Send your applications as soon as you can, but try and submit any paper applications in a single envelope so nothing is misplaced. Call to confirm receipt for a mailed application, since there is a good chance it can be misplaced anyway. Use Common App if allowed (makes the LoR and transcript handling much easier) and don’t forget to send standardized testing score reports.

    Subject tests need to be submitted separately though the College Board website, and some programs may require official AP scores to be submitted with the application too.

    Midyear reports are often a requirement by programs and undergrads, although some may not look at them for program decisions. You only need the end of year report for the school you will be attending.

    Interview process: Interview notifications can happen from around January through March for the most part. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1266847-bs-md-interview-notification-class-2012-a.html can give you an idea of when notifications go out, but note that they vary from year to year and some occur over a span of a few weeks or longer. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/multiple-degree-programs/1317543-interview-process.html discusses the interviews at each program specifically; it’s a great resource for the programs that invite you.

    Interviews tend to be one-on-one, but some are with 2 or maybe more interviewers. They’re similar to regular college interviews in their format and tone. Interviews often ask the same questions as the essay topics above, so it’s a good idea to plan what you might say if asked one of those standard questions. Be ready for questions about current events, like the abortion debate, healthcare reforms, stem cell research, etc. It’s more important that you articulate and support a position rather than the side you take, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the leanings of your interviewer.

    Business attire is definitely expected e.g. every guy will be wearing a suit. Go to mixers the day before if possible and get contact info for current students in the program so you can ask them the questions you can’t of the program directors. Send a thank you email to anyone who interviews you and one to the interview coordinator (many of them are on the admissions committee and it’s common courtesy).

    Choosing a program: Late March and through April is the period of notifications from programs for interviewed students. Wait to send in your deposit as long as you can or until you have heard back from all programs because many will notify long after UGs do. Go to any open houses, speak to current students, and try and get a better feel for the schools you were admitted to. As far as picking a program beyond “fit,” the general consensus is that all US MD (allopathic) medical schools are mostly equivalent and that residency program directors consider many other factors over school name when applying. Still, some say that being top 40 NIH funding or top 20 US News makes a difference for getting into top residencies. Some other factors to consider are: Cost (6-8 years of school is going to be expensive no matter what, but some programs are triple the cost of others. Debt sucks and interest rates for grad loans are rising as compensation falls, so school cost might be the deciding factor), location (being away from family for 6-8 years can be hard, and you may prefer a city or certain location), ranking (it matters even if it isn’t everything), requirements (GPA and MCAT minimums vary between programs, some are much harder than others. Most say a 30 MCAT and 3.5 GPA aren't too difficult if you manage to be accepted.).

    Don’t attend a program unless completely sure about medicine. If you can get into a medical program, you can probably also get into a top 20 UG and would be competitive applying the traditional route to medical school if you maintain your academic performance. Don’t give up a top undergrad only to drop out of the program and end up in a school you wouldn’t have gone to otherwise and with poor financial aid. The only exceptions are the very top programs at Rice, Brown, and Northwestern but even then you are committing to a school which might not be the best for you if you drop out of the program. Bottom line, don’t take a program acceptance unless you’re confident you want to be a physician and know the future you’re signing up for.
  • 4beardolls4beardolls Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    One weakness my son has relating to applying to medical direct program is that he has very little ECs relating to medicine. After reading this thread, I realized how important it is to have medical related ECs. He is a top student and has top test scores and lots of other ECs and leadership just not in the medical field. Is this detrimental to applying to the direct programs? He is junior now. Is it too late to start volunteering in the hospital (at the expense of his current ECs). Or should he forget about applying to direct programs and just concentrate on going to a good BS program and then apply to medical school later? Please let me know how important is having medical related ECs?
  • RaycmrRaycmr Registered User Posts: 302 Member
    No, it is not too late. Shadowing doctors is much better than volunteering at hospitals. My D spent several days in a lead coat standing next to an interventionalist cardiologist watching stent and pacemaker placements and volunteered working with autistic kids in the summers. They also like research but the medical schools like applicants who work for the betterment of society. Once in a combined you can do more research since you are not as compelled to volunteer at hospitals. My D instead chose to be trained one summer as a ABA Behaviorist and continues to work with autistic children since her goal is to become a pediatric neurologist working with these children.

    Also your kid has next summer to get more hours with any doctors you know. In regular "premed" type programs , and I know many do not use that term anymore since even English majors get into med school as long as they take the core courses, 20 percent get into med school. At upper tier schools like Swarthmore 40 percent of everybody who applies gets in but they count kids up to 10 years after graduation. Other schools who reach that 40 percent number weed out kids by discouraging them before they apply or the in-house committee will not write the required recommendations so they play with the stats. Some schools like Union/AMC like leadership EC and Renseleer /AMC likes engineer experience like science competition or Siemens. Maybe your child could shadow once or twice a month if it does not impact the grades too much during the school year. Good luck.
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