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How Does BS/MD Admission Differ From the Traditional Undergraduate Process?

Direct medical programs have a pretty different admission process than traditional undergraduate programs. Here’s advice on how to prepare from an expert!

Lindsey CongerLindsey Conger
College Counselor and Tutor
Moon Prep
Applying to direct medical programs, also known as BS/MD programs, is an intense process requiring more work than the traditional college application process. That’s because you’re not only applying for admission into a traditional undergraduate program but also medical school. These are the most significant differences between the BS/MD and traditional admission processes.

  • Résumés: To be a competitive candidate, you need top grades, high scores on science-based AP tests, and near-perfect SAT or ACT scores. You’ll need more science-focused extracurriculars than if you were applying to a traditional program. You also need to have spent time volunteering at hospitals, doing medical research, and shadowing physicians. If you’re applying to a traditional school that’s not highly selective, your grades won't need to be as high nor extracurriculars as extensive.
  • Limited spots: Spots in BS/MD programs are more limited than traditional programs. For example, Case Western Reserve University's Pre-Professional Scholars Program gets more than 2,800 applicants for just 20—25 seats.
  • Time commitment: This is the most significant way the BS/MD process varies from the traditional admission process. High school students usually apply to 10 schools on average. However, the average BS/MD student applies to 17. And some schools, like Brown University, have a requirement of seven You might write 60 or more essays as part of your applications, which could take months.
  • Interview process: The interview process is much more intense for BS/MD admission—in fact, many traditional undergraduates don’t participate in admission interviews at all. BS/MD interviews will either be a more traditional format or a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). MMI questions are usually scenario based with some behavioral questions. For example, you might be questioned about how you’d respond to an ethical dilemma or how you feel about a moral question facing doctors in the health care industry today. As a traditional student being interviewed, you might have a phone, Zoom, or local interview with an alum, student, or admission officer. This interview is more about your experiences and won't be as intensive.

Learn more about preparing for medical school in our Health and Medicine section, and if you’re interested in the programs at the schools mentioned above, you can connect directly with them here!

Connect me with CWRU! Connect me with Brown!

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