Baylor Medical School has many strong attributes, from being one of the top private medical schools in the country to also being one of the cheapest. Every year, they draw thousands of applicants hoping to get into their competitive MD program. The school prides itself on its commitment to diversity, service to society, innovation, and excellence. Located in the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world, students are by no means wanting for opportunities.
With an acceptance rate of 4%, there’s no denying it’s a competitive school. With a lot of hard work and careful attention to your application’s details, you will be one step closer to obtaining an acceptance letter. Our guide will walk you through each step necessary, and at the end, you will know exactly how to get into Baylor Medical School.
Baylor is highly ranked in the US World and News Report for research schools (#22), and even higher in the primary care schools category (#4). Students at Baylor have opportunities to gain clinical experiences at hospitals around Houston, have access to millions in funding for research, and more. Their location near the Gulf Coast allows them to be one of the top bioscience research institutions in the country. Beyond Texas, Baylor is part of the AAMC Global Health Learning Opportunities program, giving students access to about 1,400 clinical rotations in 30 countries. Baylor is looking to create graduates who give back to both their local and global communities by being innovators, caretakers, and pioneers in the medical field.
As part of its overall mission, Baylor aims to ”prepare learners to become the next generation of leaders in the biomedical and health sciences with competencies founded in inquiry, service and innovation to promote health and transform healthcare locally and globally.” Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, and so Baylor prides itself on its commitment to diversity.
The Baylor School of Medicine’s chief program is the M.D. program. In this program, students spend the first three semesters in the foundational science program, learning scientific concepts, gaining an understanding of medical problems, and practicing for patient interaction. The next two and a half years are spent with the clinical curriculum, in which students have the opportunity to participate in patient care and practice the concepts they learned in the first year and a half. Students can personalize their experience at Baylor through electives, internships, and a variety of choices in rotations.
If you are interested in medicine but also have other interests, Baylor caters to the eclectic student. Are you interested in pursuing medical law? Check out Baylor’s joint MD/JD program. Are you interested in healthcare management? Enroll in the MD/MBA program. Baylor allows students to complete the following dual degrees.
MD/JD: This program allows students to complete a law degree at the University of Houston Law Center, one of the top law schools in the country. It lasts six years, and opens students up to numerous opportunities, from health law practice, to health policy.
MD/MBA: Over the course of five years, students have the opportunity to obtain an MBA at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School in conjunction with their MD. This program is perfect for students looking to go into healthcare administration, private practice, finance, or a variety of other fields.
MD/MPH: The joint MD and Masters of Public Health is perfect for students interested in health related policy, working in community health care programs, healthcare administration, and more. The program lasts five years, with years 1-3 and 5 spent in a medical school curriculum, and the fourth being dedicated to the study of public policy.
MD/PhD: This curriculum provides training in both research and medicine, and is meant for anyone interested in being a research physician. It lasts seven years, and consists of a clerkship, thesis research, rotations, and electives.
The school has a holistic admissions process, meaning they seek to admit applicants by giving balanced consideration to their experiences, background, and academic measures. They try to see students not just as numbers, but instead as complex individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. This is a double-edged sword for applicants, meaning that no one piece of your application will determine your acceptance into the school, but also that you should make sure each component of your application is strong.
The application process for Baylor can be broken down into five steps.
1. For the first step of the application, log on to the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) portal. Just like the Common App is used for undergraduate admissions, the AMCAS application allows you to apply to multiple medical schools at once. The AMCAS opens in June, and requires letters of recommendation and MCAT scores to be submitted as well.
2. Complete the MCAT, and submit the scores on the AMCAS portal.
3. Submit letters of recommendation on the AMCAS portal. These are due with your MCAT score and the AMCAS application.
4. The supplemental application is due shortly after the AMCAS portion. The largest part of this part of the application is the supplementary essays, which all applicants are expected to complete. This application generally opens in early July.
5. At Baylor, all applicants are required to take the CASPer Test (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics). This test is an essential part of Baylor’s holistic admissions process, as it is meant as an opportunity for you to prove your real-world skills, beyond grades and test scores. Through a series of questions, many of which are based on real-world scenarios, it judges you on 12 unique categories, from collaboration to professionalism to ethics. While it is difficult to study for this test, you can prepare by familiarizing yourself with the structure and potential content of the test so you are not caught off guard. You can also take a look at our guide on how to prepare for the test. (LINK)
After you have submitted all components of your application, you may be contacted for an interview. Applicants are notified on a rolling basis from October through June.
As one of the Nation’s top medical schools, Baylor’s acceptance rate is unsurprisingly low, at 4%. The out of state acceptance rate is even lower, at less than 1%, and the in-state acceptance rate is 13%. While these numbers are certainly low, they should not discourage you. With a little work, your application can be just as competitive as the thousands of others who apply each year.
As far as medical schools go, Baylor is one of the more affordable choices. In fact, it is ranked as the least expensive private medical school in the U.S. Tuition is around $28,000 for Texas residents and $40,000 for non-residents. This fact, combined with the fact that Baylor offers significant financial aid, based on both need and merit, means that students graduate with on average more than $100,000 less debt than the national average for private schools, which is $209,367.
In addition to Baylor’s financial aid, there are plenty of scholarships out there for medical school students. The scholarship opportunities are varied; there are scholarships based on your city or county to and those based on your career interests. There’s even a scholarship out there for students with a penchant for creating greeting cards. With a little searching, you can surely find a scholarship that’s right for you.
The average MCAT score at Baylor is 516.9. While this is certainly a high score, it is important to remember that Baylor uses a holistic review process, meaning that your score is only one facet of your extensive profile. Having a high score is certainly beneficial to your application, but you can show your strengths in other ways.
Unlike other medical schools, the admissions committee does not accept multiple scores. They will only review your most recent MCAT score.
Baylor requires students to have taken several courses before being admitted, including:
Math: 3-4 semester hours of any quantitative math, such as statistics, physics or calculus. Biostatistics preferred
Expository Writing: 3-4 semester hours. This requirement can be satisfied through courses such as philosophy, English, history, religion, and political science, or through a research paper, honors thesis, or writing-intensive science course.
Humanities/Behavioral Science: 12 semester hours of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, art history, literature, or similar courses
Organic Chemistry: 2 semesters, or 6-8 lab hours
Biochemistry: 3-4 semester hours
Advanced Biology: 3-4 semester hours, with recommendations towards genetics and molecular biology.
Since Baylor is an institution that works with a diverse population, they also recommend Spanish classes. To be a competitive applicant, it is a good idea to listen to recommendations like these, on top of the requirements.
Baylor seeks to develop students who can transform healthcare globally, which means they expect matriculates to work and communicate across differences, with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Your extracurricular activities can demonstrate this, whether it be through your leadership experience, patient exposure, or collaboration with classmates.
Students at Baylor take their involvement beyond their interest in medicine, from an a capella group made up of entirely med students to a plethora of intramural sports. The application committee wants to see that you will thrive as a fully involved student at their college.
As one of the country’s top research institutions, Baylor prides itself on having students who excel in the field of research. There are numerous opportunities to collaborate with doctors and researchers within the Texas Medical Center, and Baylor wants to make sure you will be prepared.
The vast majority of applicants have some research experience, so it’s important that yours stands out. The type of research that will impress the admissions board is research that has been conducted out of sincere interest in innovation and creativity in the field of medicine, not just an attempt to brighten up an application. Research that you are passionate about and intend to continue in the future will serve you better than experiences that just look good on paper.
Baylor is looking for applicants who have “Attributes and experiences that demonstrate leadership and exceptional service to others.” As one of the nation’s best schools in patient care, they are looking for students who are knowledgeable and experienced when relating to patients. As Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., Baylor is interested in admitting students who come from diverse backgrounds and can bring value to the entering class. If you can highlight what you can bring to the table, you will have an advantage at Baylor.
Patient exposure is essential at most medical schools, and the ability to connect with patients and provide not only knowledge but also comfort and sympathy is a valuable skill in the medical field. There are a variety of ways to get patient exposure, from shadowing, to working as a medical scribe, to volunteering in a nursing home.
Baylor specifically mentions that they are looking to develop leaders in the medical field, and they certainly won’t admit you if they don’t think you have this potential. A great way to prove this is by showing your previous leadership experience. This might mean leading a research project, having managerial experience at a job, or starting a student club in undergrad.
In light of Baylor’s holistic admission process, use recommendation letters to your advantage by allowing the admissions committee to see you as a multi-faceted candidate. Baylor requires a minimum of three recommendation letters and accepts a maximum of four. As this is fewer than other schools, make sure you pick out quality connections. Ask individuals who know you very well to write your letter, who can speak to your medical knowledge, ability to learn, leadership skills, and any other strengths you have. This might include a boss, an academic adviser, a trusted professor, or a volunteer coordinator.
Like most medical schools, Baylor requires students to apply through AMCAS. A component of the application is the Personal Components essay, which the AAMC, the organization that runs AMCAS, considers “an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants.”
Baylor also requires a series of supplemental essays. In the last application cycle, the essay questions were as follows.
If you have taken a gap year(s), please explain what you have been, or will be, doing since graduating from your undergrad institution. (2000 characters)
Is becoming a physician a second career for you? If so, what was your first career choice? (2000 characters)
Indicate any special experiences, unusual factors or other information you feel would be helpful in evaluating you, including, but not limited to, education, employment, extracurricular activities, prevailing over adversity. You may expand upon but not repeat AMCAS application information. (2000 characters)
It is likely that in the future, Baylor will have questions similar in theme. With these questions, especially the last one, Baylor is giving you a gift. They are giving you a chance to brag about yourself, and this is not the place to hold back. Think of your strengths and interests that don’t shine through in the rest of your application, and emphasize them here.
In both the AMCAS and Baylor’s supplemental essay, it is best to demonstrate your interest in the school. Research the school ahead of time, and reflect on why Baylor is the best fit for you. Look through research opportunities, student clubs, and classes, and think about how you will take advantage of these opportunities.
Writing is a skill that more medical schools are beginning to value as communication becomes a more essential tool for innovation. Make sure that you write well and communicate points efficiently and concisely. Look for spelling and grammatical errors, and perfect sentence structure and flow, and write a couple of drafts. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have a few people read over your essays critically before submitting them. Check out our guide on how to write a competitive medical school essay. (LINK HERE)
Interviews are an opportunity to prove that you will fit in well in both the workplace, the lab, and the classroom by communicating effectively. Logic, reasoning, critical thinking, and the ability to work on a team are all skills Baylor is looking for.
Baylor uses the AAMC Vita interview process, which targets five core competencies: social skills, cultural competence, teamwork, reliability/dependability, and resilience/adaptivity. The interview consists of six questions, which address personal experience, past behavior, and situational questions. To prepare for this, it’s a good idea to review past year’s questions and think about how you might answer them.
Baylor uses the interviews to evaluate these, and other “personal qualities,” in its applicants. They are interested in how you can demonstrate your intrapersonal skills, service to others, past learning experiences, and dedication to the medical profession. Beforehand, make sure you have anecdotes prepared that demonstrate your strengths and experience in each of these areas. For this, you can draw on your work experience, academic career, research, and any other experience you see as relevant. Take a look at our guide on how to prepare for a medical school interview here. (LINK)
Interviews occur on a rolling basis from September through February.
It is true that an application to Baylor will take some work. The school is looking for students who are smart, hard-working, and have a genuine desire to give back to and improve the medical field. While applying, make sure you pay careful attention to the kind of students Baylor wants, and emphasize those aspects of yourself in your application. This will show that you have both done your homework and will fit in well at Baylor.
Given the fact that Baylor values students from diverse backgrounds, make sure you prove how you and your experience will add to the Baylor community. Make sure that your experience whether it be in research, academic study, leadership experience, or elsewhere, shines through loud and clear. Both of these are essential to proving that you stand out in the applicant field.
Take time to make sure your individuality shines through in your application, If you take every step in this guide to heart, you will be a competitive applicant.