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Articles / Applying to College / Admission to Combined BA/MD Programs

July 9, 2003

Admission to Combined BA/MD Programs

Question: I am interested in pursuing medicine in college and I have narrowed my list of potential colleges down to six. Five of these offer an accelerated BS/MD program, which is attractive to me but I've heard can be hard to get into. Should I expand my list to include other colleges?

As you are aware, accelerated bachelors/M.D. programs are fiercely competitive, and admission to them is generally far more difficult than it is to the colleges and universities that sponsor them, if you’re not applying to these special programs. For example, the middle-range SAT scores for Drew University in New Jersey are about 560-670 Verbal and 550-650 Math, yet there is a minimum requirement of 1,400 for applicants to their combined medical program, and the majority of those admitted score closer to 1,500. Big difference, eh?


Thus, it sounds like your list should probably include one more college that you consider “realistic” and one that you consider “safe” (but would be at least reasonably happy to attend).

We feel that we can’t give fully responsible counsel here without knowing more about you and the colleges that interest you. However, we do want to stress the highly competitive nature of the combo med programs, though it does sound like you have your finger on the pulse of this situation already.

If you have not done so already, you might also want to visit the College Confidential Pre-Med and Med Schooldiscussion forum. You'll find some "war stories" there from other combo-program aspirants--both those who made the final cut and those who had to swallow the bitter pill of disappointment.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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