By Lindsey Conger
Direct medical programs (BS/MD) are one of the most competitive types of undergraduate programs. Designed for students who are 100% committed to medicine, the programs tend to accept a minimal number of students each year, with some programs taking as few as six students in each class.
Despite the lengthy preparation and application process, direct medical programs remain popular because it guarantees the student a spot in the partnered medical school. Once accepted into the program, students no longer have to go through the lengthy, expensive, and stressful medical school application process.
While the application process for BS/MD programs is more intense than for a traditional university, the pros often outweigh the cons. Many times, BS/MD programs are accelerated, allowing students to finish the undergraduate program and medical school in just six or seven years. In addition, some programs don’t require their students to take the MCAT. Because of these advantages, BS/MD programs are competitive, and students need to take extra time building their resume to stand out from the competition. Here is our insider advice on how to get accepted to a direct medical program.
Maximize Your Time
Students accepted into BS/MD programs have similar stats: near-perfect GPAs, SAT Subject Tests, and SAT/ACT scores, 5s on AP exams, etc. Just being an honor roll student isn’t enough to get you into a direct medical program.
To be competitive, students must take the time to develop their passions, preferably in the science or medical field. You should spend months or even years dedicated to this one activity and excel at it. By dedicating your time to just a few extracurriculars, it will look more impressive to the admission committee than if you spread yourself thin by doing ten or more activities.
Focus on Science
As mentioned, your transcript is a vital piece of the puzzle, and essential to get your application noticed by the admission officers. However, to keep their attention, you should build your resume by narrowing your focus.
- Limit the number of AP courses. There is no need to take every AP course available. Instead, focus on the ones that are science-focused. By reducing the number of AP courses you choose, you can spend more time on your extracurricular activities.
- Avoid grade inflation—Refrain from taking “easy” AP courses to increase your GPA
- Concentrate on science-based classes, especially advanced AP science courses.
Craft A Winning Personal Statement
The personal statement is one of your few chances to come alive off the page and showcase your personality to the admission officers. Your essay should also convey your deep conviction to the medical field.
When crafting a persuasive essay, a student should:
- Write with emotion and purpose. We focus on the narrative form of writing because it allows you to express yourself memorably.
- Not repeat their resume because it can easily be found in other parts of the application.
- Start now. It will take you longer than you think to write the personal statement.
- Consider your response to “Why Medicine?” This prompt should showcase your maturity and desire to become a physician. Here is where you can expand on the activities you have completed in your preparation for the competitive program, such as research, volunteering, and shadowing.
This free, 8-week course can help you get started on writing your personal statement right now.
As there are thousands of applicants each year, take the time to craft your application and your accomplishments around your firm conviction of becoming a doctor.