How to Prepare a Competitive Application

Evaluate Yourself

We celebrate the differences in applicants’ personal stories and paths traveled to medicine, and commit to a comprehensive and holistic admissions approach that gives balanced and equal consideration of non-academic and academic factors, as well as the school-specific personal attributes required to be successful as a self-directed adult learner in the unique curriculum of training empathetic scholars. To this end, it is impossible to list the exact ‘recipe’ for admission. However, there are key areas that each applicant should be focused when preparing a competitive application. We believe these areas can be demonstrated throughout the application process in various ways, and encourage applicants to explore these successful medical school applicant stories for examples.

Medical students learn infant care at the TCU School of Medicine.

Professional Readiness

More than the number of hours spent shadowing physicians or the variety of community organizations served, we want to know these events have shaped your future aspirations and enhanced your preparation to becoming a physician. Be prepared to demonstrate your ability to work in a team, showcase your observations of the unique privilege in the patient-physician relationship, and share how you balance competing demands in life, work or school, among other transformative lessons as result of various experiences.

Personal Readiness

Several core competencies, some of which are general for any entering student and others that are specific to our medical school, are considered mission-specific and critical to our selection process. To us, these are more than personality traits or a score on a national assessment tool and are essential to demonstrate at admission and throughout your career as a physician.

Academic Readiness

Preparing for medical school is akin to training for a marathon – it takes time, patience and determination; however, it varies by person and academic preparation is no different. With more than 2,000 institutions of higher learning in the United States, we recognized the vastness of academic experiences and preparation throughout the college classrooms, and want to do our part in providing access to medical education despite these differences.

Institutional Fit

Core to our culture of inclusive excellence, we embrace the unique differences within our community and believe our capacity to care for our community and patients from diverse backgrounds, beliefs and identities, is limitless. Our mission and vision informs a fundamental commitment to increase the representation and support of students from diverse communities in medicine. We have a commitment to the recruitment efforts of underrepresented populations in medicine including, but not limited to, race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and those who have been adversely impacted by socioeconomic limitations.

Prerequisite Courses

The Admissions Committee requires that in order to be eligible for matriculation, an applicant must have completed at least 90 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) in general education at a fully-accredited college or university in the United States or Canada by the time of matriculation. A bachelor’s degree is not required.

All prerequisite courses must be passed with a grade of B- or higher. The Admissions Committee will consider prerequisite courses earned through college level examination program (CLEP) and courses graded “Pass/Fail” on a case-by-case basis.

Recognizing the variance in course titles and offerings across institutions, the Admissions Committee seeks exposure to the topics within each of the science disciplines as described below.  To meet admissions requirements, courses must be completed at an accredited institution, may be taken in various formats (e.g. online, in-person, blended), and must include sufficient coverage of the topics indicated as determined by the school of medicine.

Applicants are encouraged to work closely with an academic advisor at their current institution to determine which courses have or will complete these requirements by the time of medical school matriculation.

Biochemistry – 1 course

The student should know the structure and function of amino acids, proteins and enzymes; enzyme kinetics; structure and function of nucleotides and nucleic acids; principles of bioenergetics and metabolism, including anabolic and catabolic processes for the metabolism of glucose, lipids and amino acids; principles of biosignaling and oxidative phosphorylation.

Physiology – 1 course

The student should know principles and mechanisms of human/mammalian-based cellular and organ system homeostasis and principles of the structure and function of the major organ systems, including: neuromuscular; somatosensory; special senses (vision, hearing, smell, and taste), cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and renal systems.

Please note: Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2 must be taken to fulfill this requirement. Alternatively, a course title “physiology” may also count.

General Sciences – 2 courses 

The student should know the importance of general science courses. These two courses may include, but are not limited to: Genetics, Microbiology, Comparative Anatomy, Human Anatomy, Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, Physics, Virology, Immunology, Medical Botany, Pharmacology, etc.

Please note: Required coursework from Biochemistry is excluded from counting towards this requirement (e.g. General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry will not be counted).

Statistics – 1 course

The student should know the importance of data, theory and methods to address real-world problems, understands fundamental concepts of methods of statistics, including descriptive and inferential statistics in research, basic and intermediate concepts for testing, statistical hypotheses, construction of interpretation of confidence intervals, applying selected parametric and nonparametric techniques, and related multivariate analyses.

English Composition – 1 course

The student should know the importance of effective writing skills, use of rhetorical strategies in development of ideas, mastery of basic scholarly conventions, and application of critical thinking skills, writing analysis and argument. This topic is typically fulfilled from general education course requirements in undergraduate studies.

Social and Behavioral Sciences – 2 courses

The student should know the broad issues of basic societal, psychological and social principles that ultimately contribute to patient care. These topics are typically fulfilled from general education course requirements in undergraduate studies.  These topics are typically fulfilled from coursework in, but not limited to Psychology, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, Healthcare Administration, Public Policy, Public Health, Family Studies, History, Political Science, Social Work and Behavioral Health.

Humanities – 2 courses

The student should know the importance of the role of interdisciplinary topics that ultimately contribute to patient care. These topics are typically fulfilled from general education course requirements in undergraduate studies. These topics are typically fulfilled from coursework in, but not limited to, Art, Music, Theater, Speech and Communication, Foreign Language, Philosophy, Religion, Gender and Women Studies, Ethics, Literature.

Acuity Insights Assessments – Comprehensive Admissions Assessments 

All applicants applying to the MD program at Burnett School of Medicine are required to complete Acuity Insights Assessments for the 2024/2025 admissions cycle.

Acuity Insights Assessments are a standardized, multi-part online assessment that measures different competencies and attributes that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. The assessments will complement the other tools that we use for applicant review and evaluation. In implementing Acuity Insights Assessments, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

Acuity Insights Assessments consist of:

  • Casper: 90-110 minute online, open-response situational judgment test
  • Duet: 15-minute value-alignment assessment
    • Duet is required to apply to our program
  • You will register for the assessments with code: CSP-10111 – U.S. Medicine 

Access to create an account and for more information on important dates and requirements.

Medical College Admissions Test

The Admissions Committee requires a valid Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score in order to be considered for admission, which is defined as:

  • A score(s) from within three years from the date of matriculation.
  • Applicants who indicate retaking the exam as posted on the AMCAS will be reviewed once the new score is received, regardless of any prior scored exam.
  • If multiple scores are presented, the most highest score will be used.


Secondary Essay Prompts

Essay Prompt #1: The Burnett School of Medicine defines empathic scholars with these eight traits: Compassion, Teachability, Altruism, Insight, Humility, Collaboration, Integrity, & Respect.

  1. Which trait do you think you embody most and how will that be valuable to patient care?
  2. Which trait might you need to improve upon?  How will you improve in this area and how will this be of value in your role as a physician?

Essay Prompt #2: Characteristics of an aspiring MD.

Describe any personal qualities and/or lived experiences that add context to your application that shape who you are as an individual and aspiring healthcare leader.