Several years ago I had a student that was a good applicant to BS/MD programs except for one thing; the student was not quite in the top 10% of his high school class. This young man lived in the Southeast part of the US and was in the top 11% of his class at one of the top ranked public high schools in the United States. He was taking a full IB diploma and had several dual enrollment classes at a local university. While this was all good, I always recommend that students be in the top 10% of their class to be the most competitive.
His SAT critical reading score was 690, math was 780 and writing was 750 for a total of 2,220. He had also taken the ACT and had a 34 composite score.
The student had fairly traditional doctor shadowing and typical research involving the summer before senior year at a program held at one of the national universities.
He had been volunteering at several health care facilities including a clinic and a hospital as well as several local non health related community organizations. This volunteering was about 1 hour per week for each of the three main volunteer organizations and had lasted almost 2 years at each of the locations.
In addition to the volunteering already listed, the student was very involved in volunteering at a religious organization related to his background. This often took 2 hours each week.
I expected that the student might be competitive for several mid level BS/MD programs that did not have a requirement that students be in the top 10% of their class. Programs that required students to be in the top 10% of their class were a much less likely option but possible given the strength of the student’s high school.
So, where was he accepted for BS/MD programs? The student was admitted to Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of South Alabama as well as a BS/MD program in his home state.
As I told you in the last post, grades and test scores only get your considered for BS/MD programs. But they are typically used by BS/MD programs as the first qualifier to make sure that you can academically handle the work. This student would most likely have been in the top 10% of most high school classes but because he attended such a strong school, he didn’t quite meet that standard. In this case, I believe that the programs that admitted him did consider the strength of the high school when factoring in his grades.
I still recommend that students be at least in the top 10% of their class and preferably in the top 5% of their high school class. This student is not the only student that I have had with slightly less competitive class rank if they come from a very strong high school. But, make no mistake about it, having weaker grades makes admissions much more difficult.
I have a number of other students that I will discuss including some with perfect grades and test scores that did not get admitted to BS/MD programs. But I will only be discussing those students in my BS/MD newsletter, so if you want to know more about the qualifications of students admitted to BS/MD programs, sign up for the BS/MD newsletter.