Last week I talked about what a reasonable number of BS/MD program applications may be. But what if you really want to attend a BS/MD program and you want to apply to every BS/MD program available? This is what several of my students have wanted to do. Can you do so? Is it a good idea? The answer to both questions is no.
Although there are approximately 70 BS/MD programs a student can’t apply to all of them because many of the programs have geographic limitations on who can apply. Some programs are only available to students from a particular state while other programs are only open to students from a particular high school. Even if you wanted to, and had the time, there are many BS/MD programs that you just won’t qualify for.
OK, so you are willing to apply to only those programs that you are qualified for geographically. However, even that is not a good idea. Why?
The problem is that certain program have a particular focus. For example, the BS/MD program at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute/Albany Medical College has a focus on the physician-scientist. The BS/MD program at Union College/Albany Medical College has a focus on leadership for the physician. If you apply to both programs your focus won’t be believable as both a physician/scientist and a physician leader. If you are accepted to both RPI and Union and they pass on your applications to Albany Medical College, Albany will see both applications and most likely not consider either.
There is also the issue of how many applications you can practically complete and do a thorough and complete job of. After a certain point, you just do not have the time to really do a good job on all of the applications. You will have a much better chance of admission doing a good job on a limited number of applications compared to an adequate job on more applications. These applications are so competitive that you must do everything as well as possible to have a chance of admission.
There is no one right answer to the question of how many is too many, but, even the most diligent student has to put a limit on the number of BS/MD programs to which they apply.
Want more information about BS/MD programs? Check out the Guide to BS/MD Programs.
If you are equally strong in research as well as leadership, AMC does not looks you negatively. In fact, both the traits can be helpful in UG as well as Medical school. I applied to both- RPI as well as Union, got selected by both UG institutions and was ultimately selected by AMC. You have to show that you have passion for both- research and leadership (as per your activities/resume) and let them know your preference.
Todd Johnson says
BS/MD programs are looking at a variety of factors in deciding who to admit and research and leadership are two of those factors. It isn’t an either or situation, they want to see the complete package including grades, test scores, volunteering, research, doctor shadowing, leadership and maturity. Lacking any one of these can make admissions to a BS/MD program difficult if not impossible.
I will be applying to a few BS/MD programs in January and was wondering if I could do anything else to become a more competitive applicant. I currently have a 3.9 UW GPA, 35 ACT, 730 SAT II Math. I have done some volunteering at Kaiser this summer and have a day of doctor shadowing. Other than that, my patient care and medical experiences are limited. Is there anything I can do to bolster my application?
Thanks for your time,
Todd Johnson says
Your application would be strengthened by more patient care volunteering and more doctor shadowing. However, at this point, that is very difficult to do given the short time before applications are due.
I have one more question. Should I discuss volunteer work/patient care in the Common App essay at all? Or should I focus the app more on my hobbies?
Nervous Student says
Hello, I was thinking about applying to both the Siena and the Union BS/MD Programs with Albany. Is that a bad idea? Also, it says that students will get a second application from AMC if the Undergrad decided to pass your application along. Is there an essay on that second application?
Todd Johnson says
Siena and Union have somewhat different focuses in their programs. As long as you meet the background needed it is fine to apply to each program. In the past there has been an additional essay from the medical school.