Part 1: Introduction

Baylor College of Medicine teaches students to use the health sciences, their knowledge and scientific experiences to become the best doctors in their fields. In addition to its world-renowned curricular approach, Baylor College of Medicine instills respect, integrity, innovation, teamwork and excellence into every student. Baylor is ranked as one of the top schools in the nation. Medical students at Baylor don’t have to travel far to gain a world of experience, either. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital and Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center are all within a 30-minute drive of Baylor College of Medicine. 

Success is prominent at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2017, not one student failed STEP1, a critical medical licensing exam that all med students must take. As you can imagine, the program is highly selective. Less than five percent of all applicants are accepted into Baylor College of Medicine.

That’s where International Medical Aid comes in. Our founders are Johns Hopkins grads and our staff are leading experts in the medical field. We’re here to help the next generation of students. That’s why we’ve created this series of definitive guides on how to get into different medical schools. Because the more you know, the better prepared you are.

In this guide, we’re going to cover everything that Baylor College of Medicine offers its students. We’ll review their degree programs, look through essay questions (and provide samples!) and go over the interview process. We believe in taking students through every step of the process. If Baylor College of Medicine is on your radar, keep reading this guide! 

Part 2: Medical Programs Offered at Baylor College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine offers the following programs.

  • MD Program
  • MD/Ph.D. Program
  • MD/Master of Business Administration Program
  • MD/Master of Public Health Program
  • MD/Juris Doctorate Program

Doctor of Medicine/MD Program

This traditional program takes four years to complete. As a freshman in the MD program at Baylor College of Medicine, you’ll spend the first 18 months in the Foundational Science curriculum, which is as follows.

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology & Histology
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory
  • Renal
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Metabolism/Nutrition
  • Endocrine
  • Reproductive Systems
  • CTAPS – Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • PPS I – Patient, Physician and Society
  • Immunologic and Pathologic Basis of Disease
  • General Pharmacology
  • Head and Neck Anatomy
  • Nervous System
  • Infectious Disease
  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Sciences
  • Ethics
  • Research and Populations in Medicine
  • PPS II – Patient, Physician and Society
  • Cardiology
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Dermatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology
  • GU/GYN
  • Genetics
  • Age Related Topics
  • Transition to Clinical Rotations
  • PPS III – Patient, Physician and Society

After your first 18 months, you’ll go through seven clerkships and three intersessions

  • Medicine – 8 weeks
  • OBGYN – 6 weeks
    IS – 2 weeks
  • Neuro – 4 weeks
    Psych – 4 weeks
  • Pediatrics – 6 weeks
    IS – 2 weeks
  • FCM – 4 weeks
    Elective – 4 weeks
  • Surgery – 6 weeks
  • IS – 2 weeks
  • CABS – Clinical Application of Basic Sciences
    – Business and Leadership in Medicine
    – Patient Safety
    – Nutrition
    – EBM Evidence Based Medicine

You must take four weeks of Selectives during your clinical years. You can take the following courses to satisfy this requirement.

  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
  • Urology

You must also take four weeks of the following courses to satisfy the requirements for your Sub-Internship Experience.

  • Family and Community Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • OB/GYN
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgery

After you’ve completed your selectives and sub-internships, you’ll go through the Clinical Sciences Curriculum. This takes place in your third year. 

  • More Clinical Rotations and Electives
  • D-DASH – Determinants, Disparities and Social Health of Populations
  • Another month of selectives
  • Another month of sub-internship experience
  • Advanced Clerkship in Emergency Medicine
  • BCM, CPX

During your final year, you’ll have one more month of selectives and one more month of sub-internships. Then, you’ll take more electives and prepare for APEX, the Advanced Physician Experience. 

These four years will prepare you to become a Doctor of Medicine. The various electives, selectives and sub-internships will help you decide what to specialize in / what type of doctor you want to be. 

MD/Ph.D. Program

The MD/Ph.D. program at Baylor College of Medicine takes the MD degree we just looked at to the next level. Students enrolled in the MD/Ph.D. program split their time between the laboratory and clinical care. The Ph.D. part of the program is intensive, giving students the opportunity to delve into research, hone in on interesting topics, and become expert doctors of medical philosophy. 

Baylor College of Medicine has partnered with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences programs at Baylor and with Rice University’s Bioengineering Graduate Program to provide more opportunities for students. 

MD/Master of Business Administration

Baylor College of Medicine partners with Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business to provide this degree. 

Students will spend five years between both programs to become medical doctors and masters of business administration. This degree is especially ideal for students with aspirations for leadership positions in hospital and clinical settings. 

Students will complete the MD program curriculum and spend a year in Rice University’s MBA program, completing the MBA coursework. Go here for more information on the MBA curriculum.

MD/Master of Public Health

This degree is perfect for students who have a strong interest in medicine and public health. Developing medical programs in the community, developing health policies and working in healthcare administration are some of the options that will be available to you upon graduation. Baylor College of Medicine partners with the University of Texas School of Public Health to provide this dual-degree option. 

This degree also takes five years to complete, with the fourth year spent at the University of Texas School of Public Health, before returning to Baylor College of Medicine, where you’ll finish. Go here for more information on the Master of Public Health curriculum. 

MD/Juris Doctorate

Baylor College of Medicine partners with the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) to offer the MD/J.D. dual-degree program. Students will earn this degree over the course of six years. Students will begin their education at Baylor College of Medicine, where you’ll go through foundational courses and begin your clinical rotations. After 24 months in the College of Medicine, students will take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step I

After taking USMLE I, students will go to UHLC. You’ll complete two full years of academic study and one (if not more) summer session to earn the J.D. part of your degree. Then, you’ll return to Baylor College of Medicine and complete the remainder of your MD degree while taking 10-12 credits through UHLC. 

You’ll ultimately be awarded both degrees, making you a doctor and an attorney (if you pass the bar exam and become licensed). 

Tuition Costs

Considering everything it has to offer, Baylor College of Medicine is affordable. Between tuition and living expenses, you’re looking at about $52,000-$67,000 per year. Here’s the breakdown.

  • $27,842.75 per year for tuition for Texas residents
  • $40,942.75 per year for tuition for non-Texas residents
  • $26,000 in living expenses (housing, food, etc.)

Baylor College of Medicine is a very affordable school to attend. If the cost of attendance has Baylor out of reach, consider applying for financial aid. FAFSA, scholarships, grants and loans can help fill in the gaps.

Part 3: Getting Into Baylor College of Medicine

You know what programs Baylor has to offer. You know how much it costs to attend. So, just how hard is it to get in? Baylor accepts approximately 4% of all applicants, which ranks them among the Ivy Leagues, as far as difficulty goes. 

Stats for the Class of 2024

  • 6,251 applications
  • 840 interviews (a little over 13% of all applications)
  • 186 new students (only 15% out-of-state students)
  • 3.89 median overall GPA
  • 516.9 median MCAT score

If you rank in these numbers, you’ve got a shot at getting into Baylor College of Medicine. What will push you over the edge is having strong essays to go with your grades and test scores. We’ll cover that in the next section. 

Like many other medical schools, Baylor accepts MCAT scores from within the past three years. Scores older than three years are considered out-of-date and will not be used to determine your acceptance into Baylor. 

Baylor College of Medicine requires all prospective students to take the CASPer exam.  

Course Requirements

  • Math: 3-4 credits (Biostatistics)
  • Expository Writing: 3-4 credits (English, public policy, etc.)
  • Humanities and/or Behavioral Sciences: 12 credits (Foreign language, psychology, etc.)
  • Organic chemistry: 6-8 credit hours (no lab required)
  • Biochemistry: 3-4 credits (no lab required)
  • Biology: 3-4 credits (no lab required; take genetics and cell/molecular biology courses)

Though not required, Baylor highly recommends that students take Spanish. Texas Medical Center, where many students will go for clinical rotations, has a high volume of Spanish-speaking patients. Not understanding any Spanish could have a negative impact on your experience. 

Additionally, while you can major in science, it’s not a requirement. Many admitted students have majored in other subjects for their undergraduate studies. 

Admissions Timeline

The deadlines are as follows.

  • AMCAS application: November 1, 2020
  • Secondary materials: December 1, 2020
  • Application review: July 2020-January 2021 (rolling admissions)
  • Interviews: August 2020-February 2021

The AMCAS application opens the first week of May and can be submitted as early as May 28, 2020. Baylor College of Medicine operates with a rolling admissions system, meaning that the earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll know if you’re accepted. 

By April 15, 2021, all accepted students must narrow down their medical school choices to three schools. Then, by April 30, 2021, they must select the medical school they will attend. 

Primary and Secondary Applications

When you apply to medical school, you’ll have both primary and secondary applications to fill out. Your primary application is the AMCAS, which is an abbreviation for the American Medical College Application Service. If you’ve never heard of the AMCAS before, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide. Check it out if you want the low-down on everything AMCAS.

Your secondary application is mostly comprised of the essays you’ll write that are in addition to your personal statement (part of the AMCAS). We’ll cover these in the next section.

Part 4: Writing Your Essays

For an English major, this might be the easiest part of your application. But if you don’t spend a lot of time writing, this part might intimidate you. But don’t worry! We’ll go over each question, explain how to answer it and provide sample essays. These essays are meant to give you an idea of how to write your own and to give you ideas on the types of things you can write about. 

Question #1
If you’ve taken a gap year(s), please explain how you’ve occupied your time and how you will continue to do so between earning your bachelor’s degree and your matriculation into medical school. (optional, 2000 characters)

This essay is optional. While we usually recommend writing an essay in response to every prompt to help you stand out, this is truly optional. If you haven’t taken a gap year, then you don’t have anything to write about. 

But, if you took a gap year, then this essay is required. There are multiple reasons why you might have taken a gap year. Perhaps you were saving up. Maybe you had a family emergency. Or maybe, like Mekinzee Elliott, you took a forced gap year, and you’re re-applicant. There’s no right or wrong reason to take a gap year. Baylor College of Medicine is simply asking why you took the gap year. 

You don’t have room for a lengthy explanation. You have 2,000 characters, not words. That means that all spaces and punctuation count. Here’s an example of what would work.

I took a gap year between my bachelor’s degree and medical school to live with my sister and her husband out in the country. After spending three years in a big city while earning my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to take some time to be with my family. I hadn’t seen my sister more than twice a year since I was in high school. Plus, I want to be a pediatrician, and she has two little ones. So, I spent the year living with my sister and her family, nannying her kids, and taking a much-needed break after completing a four-year degree in three years. 

I wouldn’t trade the time I spent with my sister for anything in the world. Children grow up fast, so it was wonderful to spend time with my niece and nephew, as well as getting to know my brother-in-law better. It was also refreshing to spend time in the country with lush farmland and rolling hills.

Now that I’ve taken this break, I’m working as a CNA at my local pediatrician’s office until I start medical school. The money I’m earning is going toward living expenses to reduce my overall med school debt. Taking a gap year was a great choice for me, but I’m ready to dive back into learning and become a pediatrician through your four-year MD program.

This essay comes in at 1,207 characters. While there are just under 800 characters left, you don’t need to fill them in. As long as you answer the prompt completely, you’re good to go. This essay works because she answers the question honestly. She needed a mental break and wanted to spend time with family. That’s a valid reason to take a year off. 

Question #2
If becoming a doctor was not your first career, tell us what your first career choice was. (optional, 2000 characters)

Like the first question, this essay prompt is optional. If you’re a 20-something working on your bachelor’s degree, this question doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re like Dr. Park on The Good Doctor, then you’ll have a story to tell. We recommend briefly explaining what you did for your first career and why you’re transitioning to the medical field. Remember to keep your essay to 2,000 or less characters. 

Question #3
Discuss special experiences, unusual factors or anything else that the admissions committee should know in context of your application. Academics, work, extracurricular activities and dealing with adversity are all appropriate subjects. It’s okay to expound on your AMCAS application, but do not repeat the information we already have. (required, 2000 characters)

Here is the required essay that every applicant must write. Having so broad a range of topics to write about can feel daunting. If you’re having trouble narrowing down what you want to share with the admissions committee, contact us. Our experts at International Medical Aid will guide you through the process. We’ll help you choose a topic, and we’ll proofread your finished essay. 

While some applications have you write a few shorter essays and a longer one, Baylor College of Medicine keeps all applicant essays to 2,000 characters. So, while you must write this essay, you don’t have to write a short story. We hope this decreases your stress levels! 

Here’s an example of an essay for this question.

I don’t think I’ve ever missed summer camp. I have fond memories of every summer camp I ever went to, from the time I was old enough to go until last summer. Only, last summer was my first time being a teacher. 

I transitioned from being a camper to a volunteer when I was 14 years old. That was the youngest they allowed volunteers to be. Ultimately, I wanted to be a teacher, but you have to start as a volunteer. I was 17 when I became a teacher. From the selection of classes to teach, I chose science. I wanted to teach children about photosynthesis and help them perform scientific experiences. For many of them, this would be their first exposure to science. I wanted it to be fun and memorable. 

What I didn’t anticipate was all the questions they would ask. The campers were truly interested and asked questions I hadn’t thought about. I researched their questions so that I could provide solid answers. I wanted to encourage them to continue research on their own and to be everyday scientists. And I realized that I wanted to spend my time researching more areas of science. 

I’ve wanted to be a doctor for a long time, but teaching that class at summer camp helped me realize that I wanted to be more than just a doctor. I want to pursue my MD/Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine so that I can split my days between patient care and laboratory research. 

While my experience as a summer camp teacher is listed in the Work and Activities section of my AMCAS, it doesn’t tell the story of how it influenced my decision to pursue a dual degree. I believe that’s something that can only be shared by relaying my experience. I’ll never forget how happy and excited those campers were. I’m excited for the day when I am a doctor of both medicine and philosophy. I hope I can earn my education at Baylor, and do just that.

This essay just barely makes the cut at 1,949 characters. This applicant does well in sharing her story. She follows the rules, too. While she had mentioned the summer camp in her work and activities section, she hadn’t elaborated, making this an appropriate topic to discuss without repeating information.

Part 5: The Interview

First off, congratulations if you have an interview at Baylor College of Medicine. Only 13% of applicants are invited to interview, so this is huge! But good for you if you’re reading to learn about the interview process. You can’t be too prepared for an interview this big. 

Baylor College of Medicine uses the traditional interview format. You’ll go through two different 30-minute interviews. One of your interviews will be with a faculty member. The other interview could be with a faculty member as well, but it might be with a current medical student. 

You won’t need to worry about traveling to Baylor for your interview. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews for the 2020-2021 school year are happening virtually via Zoom. Make sure you have a steady internet connection and that your computer is compatible with Zoom. 

Having a virtual interview instead of an in-person one can psych some students out. Because of this, we recommend preparing for your virtual interview the same way you would prepare for an in-person one. That means dressing the part (not just from the waist up!), making sure your computer is working properly and being prepared to answer whatever questions you are asked. 

Since Baylor College of Medicine uses the traditional interview format, you can anticipate questions like…

  • “Why Baylor?”
  • “Describe the most significant experiences that led you to pursue a medical career.”
  • “How do you stand out from other applicants?”

On the day of your interview, take a deep breath and do your best. No one interviews perfectly, but with your preparation, you’ll have a good a shot as any other applicant. If you want to practice beforehand, consider a mock interview with us.

Part 6: International Medical Aid

International Medical Aid is here to help you. Whether it’s reviewing your primary and secondary applications, proofreading an essay, or conducting a mock interview, we’ve got your back. Visit our website to schedule your appointment today. 

In addition to our consulting services, International Medical Aid offers global internship opportunities to countries like East Africa, South America and Haiti. If you’re interested in going on a trip with us, check out our website for more information.

Conclusion

We wish you the best of luck as you apply to medical school! Baylor College of Medicine is a fantastic school that will offer you a world-class education. While you’re looking at schools to apply to, check out some of our definitive guides to other schools.

We recommend applying to multiple schools. If any of the schools you’re looking at aren’t listed above, check back soon. We update our blog with new guides all the time.

We wish you the very best in your medical school journey. The journey can be a rewarding experience, and we hope it’s exactly that for you. Remember to reach out to us if you need any help with your applications, essays or interviews. We believe in you and in your ability to become a medical doctor.