When I work with BS/MD students, one of the first questions is often “How many BS/MD programs should I apply to?” While there is no one single answer, I generally tell students it depends on your focus.
If your primary focus is on getting into a BS/MD program then I would consider applying to 8 to 10 BS/MD programs and 5 regular college programs. Why this many? Because BS/MD programs are so competitive, you want to apply to a number of colleges where your credentials make you a strong candidate for the program. We may also discuss applying to those programs that have a greater number of positions available or those where the competition is less than it might be at some of the most popular programs. And, the regular colleges will often be more on the safe side since we don’t want to risk having no options in the spring.
If you are only interested in the most competitive BS/MD programs and, if not admitted to one of those, you wish to attend a college that has a strong placement into medical school, the number of applications will be different. For those students, I will typically recommend 3 or 4 BS/MD programs and 6 to 8 regular colleges. This allows the student to apply to the most competitive BS/MD programs and still have a reasonable number of regular colleges to consider reach, match and safety colleges.
Are these magic numbers? No, but they will hopefully give you a realistic idea of the number of colleges and BS/MD programs that may be appropriate for you to apply to.
Want more information about BS/MD programs? Check out the Guide to BS/MD Programs.