4 Tips to Apply to BS/MD and BS/DO Programs

Ashley Thommana
June 8, 2024

BS/MD programs or BS/DO programs are forms of combined admission programs offered by a handful of universities in the US. These programs offer high school seniors combined admission into a program that provides students both a bachelor’s degree as well as a medical degree either as an MD or DO. These programs are conditional, meaning that to matriculate to medical school students have to meet certain requirements like GPA and MCAT score requirements.

Such programs offer conditional seats in medical school.

These programs are generally set up as 3 to 4 years in an undergraduate institution, followed by 4 years in a specific partner medical school. With only a few schools offering these programs and only a few seats offered in each program (6-20), they are quite competitive to apply to. Some programs have around 1-3% acceptance rates. 

Since these schools are providing students with conditional offers to medical school 3 to 4 years prior to their matriculation, they often have rigorous and specific criteria they evaluate students on. Here are some tips on how to successfully apply to such programs:

1. Start early

No matter which stage of high school you are in, starting early is important for such programs. As a senior applying to these programs, starting early means being prepared early in the college application cycle with your personal statement, resume, recommendations, and more. The reason this is so important is that the application process and timeline for these programs is much more extended than the normal undergraduate application. Students have to submit applications not only to the undergraduate institutions but also the medical school. They may also have to do more than one interview during this time. 

If you are not yet a senior in high school, starting early also applies to you as you should be intentional with activities, classes, and other parts of your high school experience that will be reflected on your college application. 2

2. Demonstrate medical interest

BS/MD and BS/DO programs want students who are confident that they are committed to  medicine. As such, being able to articulate your passion for medicine is essential in these applications. Your extracurricular activities should reflect these passions. 

Common medical-related extracurricular activities that successful BS/MD applicants participate in, include:

Beyond these activities, it is important to continue having other passions and interests. Not everything you do has to be medical in nature. However, to meet the criteria many schools have of demonstrated medical interest, in high school, it is valuable to pursue opportunities that allow you to interact with the field of medicine. 

Moreover, doing so is essential for you as a student to make the decision to pursue medicine. Having exposure to the field allows you to better understand what a career in medicine would look like, and if it is truly what you are interested in. 

3. Strive for your academic best

As these programs are competitive, it is also valuable to do well in classes and standardized exams such as the SAT or ACT. Many students who apply to these programs have strong GPAs with a course load that includes some challenging courses. 

With that in mind, when in school, strive for your academic best. Take courses that are challenging, and work hard to do your best in your classes. 

As a quick aside, this is not to say that these programs require students to have perfect grades or scores, nor do perfect grades equate to acceptances in these programs. 

4. Stay organized

During college application season, staying organized with BS/MD and BS/DO programs is essential. These programs often have different deadlines, requirements, and application procedures than the standard undergraduate application. Furthermore, every school is different. For example, one school may require program-related essays in the first round of essays while others may screen your undergraduate application prior to sending you additional supplemental essays that are due in two weeks. 

Taking the summer to properly understand the requirements of each program, key deadlines, and more is a surefire way to make the process much smoother during the actual application season. Have your college list finalized well ahead of time so you can prepare for each application. 

BS/MD and BS/DO programs are not for everyone. However, if you are interested in applying to them, and are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, following these tips can help you navigate the process. Near-peer Dewey Smart tutors, including mentors who are currently in BS/MD or BS/DO programs, can also share their experiences and wisdom to help students have a successful application process. 

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