Hints for Admission to Combined BS/MD Programs

Click here to download your full copy of Are You Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Outstanding grades are a must.

“Hints for Admission to Combined BS/MD Programs” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here

If you are planning to apply to combined BS/MD programs, early planning is essential. These programs vary in their admission requirements and developing the extracurricular resume that will make you a competitive candidate will take advance planning.

• Consider your math and science curriculum. Outstanding grades are a must, as is a commitment to maintaining them in college. Your grades, however should come from many of the more challenging course offerings in your high school. Many BS/MD programs will look carefully at your entire curriculum, but also pay extra attention to your math and science preparation.

• Plan for Standardized Testing. The test requirements for these programs also vary. Some will require SAT II exams, and might specify which ones. As you consider your long-range plans, it is best to take the SAT II exams while the material is fresh in your mind. Are you taking chemistry in school this year? If so, think about taking the chemistry SAT II next spring. For the most selective of the combined programs, successful applicants are presenting excellent test scores as well as grades. If you need time to prepare for the SAT or ACT, then allow for it and research your test prep options.

• Focus on research or health related experiences. Your exposure to the health care field is paramount in confirming your commitment to the field of medicine. Volunteer experience and physician shadowing are two ways that you can gain experience in a health care setting. Scientific research will give you the tools you need as a medical student to understand the changes in the field of medicine. While many science fair projects will guide you through the scientific method, a more complex, longer term project under the mentorship of a local college professor will offer more exposure to the type of scientific study you will undertake in medical school.

If you think these combined and/or accelerated programs interest you, begin planning as early as possible and keep an open mind regarding all of your undergraduate and graduate school options.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?



Related Resources:

• How to Select Extracurriculars that will Set Your Medical School App Apart
How to Get the Most out of Shadowing a Doctor
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep

U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

Applying to College? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!Last week U.S. News released the 30th edition of its college rankings. New information found on school profile pages (but not taken into consideration for rankings) include data on campus crime and security and a summary of three-year federal loan default rates. Interesting categories for ranking include Economic Diversity, Campus Ethnic Diversity, and Best Colleges for Veterans.

Here are some highlights:

Top 10 Best U.S. Universities

1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Columbia University (NY)
4. Stanford University (CA)
4. University of Chicago (IL)
7. Massachusetts Institute of technology (MA)
8. Duke University (NC)
8. University of Pennsylvania (PA)
10. California Institute of Technology (CA)

Top 5 Best Value Universities

1. Harvard University (MA)
2. Princeton University (NJ)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Stanford University (CA)
5. MIT (MA)

Top 5 Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Amherst College (MA)
2. Williams College (MA)
3. Pomona College (CA)
4. Wellesley College (MA)
5. Soka University of America (CA)

Top 10 Best Undergraduate Business Programs

1. University of Pennsylvania (PA)
2. MIT (MA)
2. University of California – Berkeley (CA)
4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (MI)
5. New York University (NY)
6. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
6. University of Virginia (VA)
8. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
8. Indiana University – Bloomington (IN)
8. University of Texas – Austin

John Byrne from Poets & Quants provides an analysis of these rankings (the undergraduate business ones) and shares additional highlights from the top 50, including the following:

• Within the top 10 and certainly within the top 5, there was little change from last year – just a little switching around here and there, including Cornell and Notre Dame which both fell from the top 10, from 10th place last year to 11th this year.

• Big jumpers in the top 25 include the University of Georgia and Michigan State which both climbed six spots to 21st place (they share this position with six other programs, including University of Maryland, which fell three places this year). In the top 50, University of Pittsburgh took the largest leap, from 49th place last year to 39th this year. Babson jumped five places from 34th to 29th.

• Ohio State University fell four places, finishing in 20th this year; Southern Methodist University dropped seven spots from 38th last year to 45th this year.

• Wharton received the highest score (4.8 out of 5) on the index scale (1 being “marginal” and 5 being “distinguished”).

See the U.S. News Ranking Methodology and the P&Q article for details on how these schools were ranked.

For a critique of the U.S. News rankings (and how the rankings actually hurt students and applicants), see this Vox article.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
• 3 Mistakes Successful College Applicants Don’t Make
• Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: A Four Part Series for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors

Tips for Answering Columbia University Supplemental Essay Prompts

New York CityThis post about the Columbia supplement to the Common Application is part of a series of posts written to help you complete the 2015 Common Application supplement for Ivy League and other top schools.  

In addition to the basic Common Application essay, the Ivy League schools require supplemental essay responses. These extra essays help these elite schools gain a deeper understanding of the applicant. They are your opportunity to explain how the school is a good match for you and vise versa. These schools want to know what is important to you and how they fit into your future goals!

Note that you can apply via the Common Application or the Columbia First-Year Application. The school has no preference; however, applicants can only submit ONE of the applications.

When addressing each prompt, consider the overall character and focus of the school in relationship to your personal objectives. Visit the school website, read about their educational mission, and think about how the school supports your interests. Columbia takes pride in the synergy created between its diverse residential student population and its location in the heart of bustling New York City. It also embraces a rich educational tradition in its interdepartmental Core Curriculum that encourages creative critical thinking by encompassing writing, science, philosophy, literature, art, music, and history.

What single activity listed in the activity section of your Common Application are you most proud of and why? (150 words or less)

This is an opportunity to highlight one of the activities you listed on your Common Application. Select an activity that reveals something important to you. This may be something you have been involved with for years or an experience that exposed you to something novel. Whichever activity you select, make sure to convey your enthusiasm and what it reflects about you. If appropriate, tie your interests to opportunities available at Columbia and in NYC.

Please tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)

This is a very important question. You need to convince the admissions committee that Columbia is the best school to help you meet your goals. You also have to show them how you can enrich the dynamic educational environment at Columbia. Discuss what excites you most about the Columbia experience. They want to know what kind of student you might be at Columbia.

Columbia University requires additional essay responses for students applying to Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science:

If you are applying to Columbia College, tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time. (300 words or less)

If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. (300 words or less)

Both of these prompts ask you to consider your interests and experiences that helped you determine your specific career path. If you are truly undecided, in the Columbia College response, focus on the areas you are currently interested in, what excites you about those topics, and your hopes for the future. These prompts ask you to think broadly about your life experience as well as provide specific examples of how these experiences affected your interests and propelled you toward a particular area of study. Your discussion should reveal your passion for the subject. Remember to include why the program at Columbia is the best match to help you achieve your goals.

In addition to essay responses, Columbia requests the following lists. As you select required readings, books, and other forms of media, think about the breadth and depth of your interests. Consider how your selections represent your identity, reflect your intellect and curiosity, relate to Columbia’s Core Curriculum requirements, and make you a good match for the overall educational experience at Columbia.

List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)

This is an opportunity to showcase a particular area of interest to you. Consider classes, which you discovered something new and exciting, allowed you to explore a previous area of interest in more depth, or covered a topic that helped you see the world in a different way.

List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)

The admissions committee wants to know the sorts of topics that you find interesting. What better way than to share your recent favorite books? They are trying to gain a deeper sense of who you are and how you might fit in at Columbia. This list sheds some light on how you spend your spare time.

List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly. (150-words or less)

The sources of information and media you engage with routinely provide insights into how you perceive the world. This list to some degree demonstrates what topics are important to you. It also indicates the modes of information exchange you find most comfortable.

List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)

This list is allows you to tell the admissions committee the sorts of activities you do for fun! Your responses suggest the kinds of activities that may appeal to you at Columbia and provide insight about how you engage the world around you.

The admissions website clearly states Columbia’s commitment to a holistic approach to the admission process: “every single application is given a thorough review, and there is positively no minimum grade point average, class rank, or SAT/ACT score one must obtain in order to secure admission to Columbia.” That said Columbia has a highly competitive applicant pool. It received 32,964 undergraduate applications for the class of 2018. Only 2,291 or 7% were offered admission and over 90% of students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 2245 and an average ACT score of 33. Your essays make you more than a number.

In this environment it is essential to remain calm and focused. Keep in mind, while adhering to the designated word limits and deadlines, your goal is to distinguish yourself from your peers by sharing your personal examples, anecdotes, and perspectives. In short, by providing sincere insight into what makes you, you! And why you are a good match for Columbia! Be sure to allow yourself appropriate time to reflect on your educational goals and to convey your best self to the admissions committee through your essay responses.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.

Marie Todd By , Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.

Related Resources:

•  Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
•  Tips for Answering Brown University Supplemental Essay Prompts
•  7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

How to Deal with Deadlines

Dealing with Deadlines

You don’t want to feel rushed and you don’t want to miss your deadline.

You don’t want to feel rushed (stress can lead to mistakes) and you don’t want to miss your deadline. So what can you do to stay on top of your game and submit your applications before the buzzer?

1. Set yourself a schedule and work backwards from your deadlines. Allow time for holidays, sleep, exercise, and of course work.

2. Focus first on the applications with the earliest deadlines. It wouldn’t make sense to work on the application with the further deadline first when you have a looming deadline for another application right around the corner!

3. Work on applications one at a time. Adapt essays from your first application, when possible, to later applications. However never merely paste in an essay because the question is similar. Customize it for this application and this program. Trying to write more than one application at once will only lead to confusion, not to mention unintentional overlapping of material – forgetting to change just one Harvard to Stanford shows a level of sloppiness that Stanford just won’t stand for!

4. If you fall behind, consider dropping/postponing an application to maintain quality overall. Pushing off an application to a subsequent round or the following year is better than submitting a subpar application.

Good luck!

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own! Click here to download our free report!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay & Personal Statements
Resourceful Essay Recycling
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake [Video]

Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs

Click here to download your copy of Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?

Admissions to many BS/MD programs is more competitive than even the most selective colleges.

“Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined BS/MD Programs” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program? To download the entire free special report, click here

If you are fully committed to the idea of pursuing a medical career, a combined program may seem like the best of both worlds. In one application process, you can assure yourself of your future medical career, eliminate uncertainty and stress during your undergraduate years, and, without completing a full medical school application process, potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in application costs.

With so many benefits, it is easy to see why the several dozen combined programs are so highly sought after. Admission to many of them is more competitive than even the most selective colleges, easily in the low single digits with extremely talented applicant pools. These programs also do not obligate you to attend medical school, but with such competitive applicant pools, it is easy to understand why universities do not want to waste resources on students who are not committed to a career in medicine.

If you have top notch high school credentials, including GPA, test scores, challenging curriculum, and a demonstrated interest (through volunteer service, research, and clinical shadowing), some of these programs might be a good fit for you.

However, for many other applicants, following the traditional route of pursuing a bachelor’s degree and completing your pre-medical requirements before applying to medical school makes more sense than attending a combined BS/MD program. Consider the following:

The additional few years of undergraduate education and life perspective can truly help you to determine which educational environment is best for you. Is there an area of the country that you prefer? Are you interested in serving a specific population? Some medical schools emphasize family practice while others focus more on scientific research and academic career preparation.

If you choose to pursue a combined program, be certain that you are doing so in an environment that suits you for its undergraduate experience. There is a chance you will find that medicine is not your calling. In some cases, the undergraduate requirements to maintain your medical school space are extremely tough. You are most likely to thrive in an environment that makes you happy.

Am I Cut Out for a Combined BS/MD Program?



Related Resources:

College Admissions 101
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your College Application Essays
Interviews with Medical School Applicants