FAQs about Admissions
We require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution, an excellent undergraduate academic record, and SAT/ACT scores if you have taken either of these standardized tests. If you have taken the GRE or another graduate-level standardized test, you are welcome to send us those scores in addition to but not as a substitution for your SAT/ACT scores.
The program is designed primarily for those who are changing careers, many of whom are new to science. You can be considered for the program if you have or will have completed a bachelor’s degree by the time you start the postbac program and you have had a strong academic record in college.
The postbac program is designed for individuals who have not taken the prerequisite science courses for admission to medical school. The core science requirements for medical school are one year of General Chemistry, one year of Biology, one year of Physics, and one year of Organic Chemistry (all with labs).
Although Bryn Mawr may consider an applicant who has completed up to half of these requirements, applicants are not eligible for the program if they have completed all or a majority of these courses regardless of when they were taken. If an applicant has completed the majority of up to half of these requirements within five years of their prospective start at Bryn Mawr, they would not be a good fit for our program.
Applicants seeking to enhance their academic record are similarly not eligible for our program.
Individuals who have taken the MCAT are not eligible for Bryn Mawr's program, regardless of when they have taken the MCAT.
Admission to the Bryn Mawr postbac program is very competitive. Your application must demonstrate your ability to handle an academically rigorous course load in the sciences as well as a strong commitment to, and understanding of, medicine.
We recommend that seniors wait until at least the mid-point of their senior year to apply. At this point, they will have more graded coursework, as well as additional health-related experience, completed. The majority of our applicants have completed their undergraduate studies and have had additional time beyond college to explore their commitment to medicine through health-related experiences.
Some seniors decide to apply in the fall of their senior year. In this case, if the admissions committee feels that an additional semester of grades and experience will be helpful to review, a senior's application may be placed on hold until grades are available. In some cases, the admissions committee may determine that there is sufficient data to be able to move an application forward, either with an interview, or with a denial.
If you are concerned that having your registrar's office send an official transcript once fall grades are posted would delay your application, you are welcome to apply with an official transcript for your freshman through junior years, and a screen shot of your unofficial senior fall term grades, with an official transcript to follow.
Seniors often worry that this timeline for applying will put them at a disadvantage given that our admissions process is rolling. However, we have found that seniors who wait until the mid-point of their senior year to apply are often stronger candidates, since they are able to include additional information in their application.
Although there is no single "right" answer to this question, you should demonstrate that you have carefully thought about your motivation for a career change as well as your commitment to a medical career. Meaningful experiences in healthcare or social services settings, either professionally or through volunteer roles, can help you demonstrate this commitment.
Our application requires two essays (maximum 5,300 characters, incl. spaces)—one about your reasons for pursuing a career in healthcare and another describing any aspect about yourself that would provide further insight about you.
You must arrange to have two (2) letters of recommendation completed on your behalf, one of which must be written by a former professor/instructor/advisor who is familiar with your academic abilities.
We understand that it may be challenging to obtain an academic recommendation if you have been out of school for a few years. We suggest you try as best you can, given that when you go on to apply to medical school, you will want to provide letters of recommendation from each academic setting since starting college.
We strongly prefer 2 Letters of Recommendation. We can accept a maximum of 3 Letters of Recommendation total.
Please refer to the PostBacCAS Applicant Help Center for instructions regarding how to request letters of recommendation.
Your transcripts must be submitted through PostBacCAS. Do not send transcripts directly to Bryn Mawr College. Please refer to the PostBacCAS Applicant Help Center for instructions regarding ordering your transcripts.
a. Degree from or extensive coursework at a non-U.S. institution:
Bryn Mawr requires that applicants use World Education Services (WES) to have their transcript(s) processed and submitted to PostBacCAS. Within the “Academic History” section of your PostBacCAS application, please select “Order WES Evaluation” for all non-U.S. / foreign institutions you attended.
b. Study Abroad semester(s):
U.S. institution overseas: In the case of 1-2 semesters, or a summer, of study overseas at a U.S. institution, or if your study abroad credits and grades appear on your home institution transcript, mark these courses as "Study Abroad" during Transcript Review in PostBacCAS, and arrange to have transcripts sent directly to PostBacCAS.
Non-U.S. institution: In the case of 1-2 semesters, or a summer, of study overseas at a non-U.S. institution please report that you attended a foreign institution in the "Academic History" section of your application. Do not list courses taken. Coursework at a non-U.S. institution cannot be recorded in PostBacCAS. We do not require a transcript nor a foreign transcript evaluation service. In our program application we provide applicants an opportunity to include information about the grades they received during their study abroad experience.
It can take up to three weeks from the time we receive and process your completed application materials until the time we contact you to inform you if you will be invited for an interview. Following an interview, it can take four to six weeks before we notify you of the decision by the admissions committee.
We recommend you check your PostBacCAS account to track your application status. Once your application is marked "complete," we are able to begin the review process.
Admissions and Covid 19
There is an optional question on the PostBacCAS application to explain how you have been impacted by COVID-19—academically, professionally, and personally – and we will consider your comments on this topic very carefully and compassionately.
The Admissions Committee understands that the Spring 2020 semester (for those who were in college or graduate school at that time) involved many difficult challenges and changes. Similar to medical school admissions, our Admissions Committee is looking for evidence that applicants are prepared to thrive academically while taking a very demanding set of courses in a condensed 12-month schedule. Demonstration of this preparation will be unique to each applicant. As for demonstrating your interest in medicine, the committee is also very aware of the circumstances around the country that have necessitated the cancellations of volunteer opportunities and other health-related experiences.
Health-related volunteer experience is not a requirement for admissions, however, we like to see a well-considered expression of your motivation for medicine. Your motivation can be based on many experiences, both personal and professional, and well before the arrival of COVID-19. But to be clear: we are certainly aware that a number of health-related volunteer programs and employment opportunities have been suspended. The Admissions Committee reviews all aspects of applications including high school and college grades as well as work and volunteer experiences, and is sympathetic to this unusual set of circumstances. You can find helpful information about co-curricular, health-related opportunities on the AAMC website.
To reduce the risk of transmission on campus, Bryn Mawr is limiting external visitors to campus at this time. It’s not ideal, especially since we have such a beautiful campus, but this policy is in place for everyone’s safety.
To learn more about the Bryn Mawr campus, please see the extensive offerings on our interactive map. Locations are described in detail, including the Park Science Center where postbacs spend much of their time. There are also several virtual tours; in particular, we suggest the tours featuring the overall campus, Philadelphia, and the Athletic Center.