If you want to apply to BS/MD programs, our definitive guide with information on BS/MD programs' acceptance rates is a great place to start. When did you know that you wanted to be a doctor? For some, it was during their undergraduate studies, but for others, they knew they wanted to be a doctor from a very young age. As competition into medical schools continues to rise, applicants are seeking ways to secure their future career as a physician as early on as possible. BS/MD programs may provide this opportunity, so if you're considering applying to this joint program, you've come to the right place.
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BS/MD programs are extremely competitive programs designed to give exceptional high school students, and in some cases, first or second-year undergrads, the chance to complete their baccalaureate degree and proceed directly into medical school to obtain their MD. In some cases, the undergraduate degree and medical degree will be obtained from the same university, while in other cases, each degree will be completed at a separate partnered institution. Depending on the program, students can obtain both a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts, along with an MD in 7-8 years. Seven-year programs are accelerated versions of the eight-year program, allowing students to complete their undergrad degree in only 3 years. While rare, a handful of schools offer BS/MD programs that take only 6 years to complete.
Wondering how to transition from high school to medical school?
Knowing whether a BS/MD program is right for you is a tricky question to answer. While there are some benefits to enrolling in one of these programs, there are also consequences that are important to consider.
The main draw for students applying to BS/MD programs is having a “guaranteed” spot at a medical school early on. As long as students maintain a satisfactory GPA and test scores throughout undergraduate studies, they will continue to medical school without having to apply to the traditional way. This saves students a lot of time, money and stress involved with applying to multiple medical schools and filling out primary and secondary applications. Another benefit of BS/MD programs is that there are some BS/MD or the CASPer test. This allows students to fully commit to their goals and devote more time to their studies instead of having to prepare and stress over standardized tests.
BS/MD programs are generally small, admitting on average, anywhere between 5-60 students. These small class sizes promote intimate connections with professors, mentors, and other students to facilitate a more personalized learning environment. In some programs, students remain at the same university for the entire eight-year program, providing familiarity, stability and a strong sense of community.
In some BS/MD programs, high achieving students are rewarded financially through program scholarships and grants. Some schools cover undergrad tuition while others may even cover the entire eight years of tuition fees. Many medical school graduates face a hefty amount of debt due to the expense of and fees, having even part of your expenses covered goes a long way in reducing financial strain.
Finally, the option of fast-tracking the journey to become a physician appeals to many students. Although the majority of BS/MD programs are eight years, there are some programs that can be completed in 7, or in rare cases, 6 years. For those anxious to get started in their career sooner, this is a favorable option that not only saves money but also time.
The thought of picking a career and being 100% sure of it at only 17 or 18 is pretty daunting. What we think we want to do at a young age isn't always what we end up doing as we get older. Our ideas and priorities change often as we grow and develop over time. We are constantly experiencing new things and evolving, so BS/MD programs can stunt the exploration of different career paths as it requires a serious commitment from the start.
While some schools allow students to apply to other medical schools, outside of the partner medical school, others do not. Students may be required to sign an agreement that binds them to the program's medical school, eliminating other, potentially more favorable, opportunities. Traditional medical school applicants, on the other hand, have the opportunity to choose which schools to apply to and can select schools based on tuition, prestige, scholarship opportunities, research opportunities, etc.
Having the option to complete both a BS and an MD in only 7 years may seem dreamy, but it's important to consider the ramifications of this option. These programs can offer an accelerated path because of the intensive coursework in each semester, which often requires students to complete courses during the summer months. To complete these degrees in eight years is challenging enough for students, so eliminating an entire year simply means cramming in more coursework each year.
Check out our video for everything you need to know about BS/MD programs:
Every school has specific application timelines for their BS/MD program so it's essential to review the school's website to determine the exact deadlines.
In general, most BS/MD programs follow the below schedule:
Securing a spot in medical school from high school and forgoing the stress of entering an undergraduate degree, unsure of what's next comes with a cost; high competition. Some BS/MD programs accept as few as 4-5 students but the number of applicants fighting for those spots could be in the hundreds, if not thousands. The popularity of BS/MD programs is growing and because of that, more and more applicants are fighting to gain a spot. Most programs have an acceptance rate ranging from 1-5%, making the level of competition fierce, despite stringent requirements that must be met by those that wish to apply. Visit our blog to see which pre-med majors are best. Many BS/MD programs set minimum GPA, SAT or ACT stipulations and require high school students to be in the top 5-10% of their graduating class to be considered.
Successful BS/MD students are those with GPAs close to 4.0, with top percentile scores in the SAT or ACT. While grades and test scores are heavily weighted, they are not the only factors the admissions committees consider. Most schools state that they are looking for well-rounded individuals that can demonstrate maturity, independence, and service to others in their applications. In addition to submitting transcripts and test scores, students will also have to submit 1-5, extracurricular activities, and community or volunteer participation. Review our blog to find out are needed. Depending on the school, students can also expect to submit personal statements, answering why they want to pursue medicine, as well as other supplementary essays.
So how can you get into a BS/MD program? By excelling in all areas of your application and being in the top 5% of your class. Start by checking out the program requirements, some programs have specific courses that students are required to take. In general, you'll be expected to choose your coursework around the sciences by enrolling in courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Be careful not to stuff in unrelated, less challenging courses just to try and boost your GPA, this will be factored in when the admissions committee reviews each applicant.
As mentioned above, extra-curricular activities and volunteer experience are highly valued, in particular, experiences that show your dedication and passion for medicine. For example, knowing is extremely beneficial, first in your quest to determine if you truly want to become a doctor, and second, it will show the admissions committee that you're serious about pursuing medicine. Participation in research and tutoring are also good ways to prove your dedication to medicine. It's important to note that all of your experiences or activities do not have to be in the medical field. Whether you've played volleyball for years or have been part of the student council since you started high school, the important thing is that you demonstrate a deep commitment and interest in your activity. Use those experiences to reflect on what you've gained from them, what you've learned moving forward, and how this activity or experience will help you as you become a medical doctor.
With hundreds of applicants competing for, on average, less than 20 available positions, it's essential that your application stands out. A well crafted personal statement will be your chance to tell the admissions committee why you want to pursue medicine, and where your motivation and passion stemmed from. Similarly, you may receive a few essay prompts requiring you to craft an essay answering why you wish to pursue the BS/MD program at their school in particular, what are your interests and skills or what can you contribute to the incoming class. In addition to reviewing the essay samples below, for other common essay prompts and techniques for addressing these prompts, check out our and blogs.
Describe the most difficult adversity you have faced, and describe how you dealt with it.
One challenge I overcame was the steep learning curve and emotional hardships I dealt with initially volunteering as a medical scribe at a cancer institute. I had no prior personal or family experience with cancer, and I wanted to challenge and immerse myself in one of the most emotionally taxing specialties in medicine to ensure I was capable of managing my emotions in front of patients. When I first started scribing, I did not receive formal training or supplemental information like my fellow scribes. The learning curve was steep, and shadowing scribes did not adequately prepare me for this role.
I felt lost and questioned my capability to pursue this future as I struggled to become an efficient scribe. I refrained from accepting defeat and no longer allowed inadequate training to control my ability to become an efficient scribe; instead, I decided to teach myself. I began my quest by arriving at the clinic 2-3 hours earlier than my expected attendance to prepare notes and compose a binder of medical terminology, chemotherapy agents, and Dr. Graham's, the physician I scribed for, note preferences among other pertinent information. I stayed after work to complete notes and ask Graham questions on concepts I did not understand and how to improve my notes.
Not only was the learning curve steep, but I was also unprepared for the emotional resilience oncology required. This was the first time I had witnessed individuals in distress and the ultimate demise of illness. I remember the first time I observed Dr. Graham tell a patient and his family that he had stage IV disease, where his prognosis was between 3-6 months. The emotional response of the room hit my stomach like a brick; I tilted my head down and pushed my hair in front of my face to cover my rolling tears while scribing. I could not comprehend how Dr. Graham was capable of looking in their fear-filled eyes, disclosing this distressing news with such emotional resilience. The emotional distress I experienced was challenging, and I looked to Dr. Graham on how to handle these emotional responses. With his guidance, I learned to remain compassionate and empathetic during emotionally taxing circumstances, while still being able to practice resilience and provide support to others. He emphasized that we cannot intertwine our emotions when a patient’s fate cannot be changed, and we must forgive ourselves in those situations in order to continue to provide compassionate care to others. I practiced this by controlling my emotions in the patient rooms while I documented but showed compassion as I gave the patient tissues during emotional conversations. Overall, simultaneously overcoming these challenges taught me to take sole responsibility for my learning, seek guidance when needed, and strategize a plan to persevere and succeed.
These skills will help me overcome challenges and thrive in high-stress situations as a future medical student and physician. I am thankful for the role these challenges have played in my perseverance and resilience, as I would have never known the strength I possessed if I did not overcome that struggle.
Why are you interested in applying to our BS/MD program?
I am interested in applying to the Albany medical college's BS/MD program due to its commitment to serving economically disadvantaged communities. My community service activities have helped me understand that giving back is crucial to personal growth and being a compassionate human being. Last summer, I participated in a missionary trip to Costa Rica and volunteered at a free medical clinic which helped the local underserved population. I spent most of my time shadowing medical students and physicians, evaluating patients, and conducting treatment plans. Volunteering amongst these underserved populations exposed me to diverse cultures and helped me gain a better understanding of patients’ needs, concerns, and healthcare disparities. In addition, I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in the many outreach programs at your school, especially the Prevention Research Center as I have also volunteered in an addiction clinic and have seen firsthand how social and environmental conditions lead to tobacco and alcohol abuse. I believe that the education I will receive at Albany adopts forward-thinking to prioritize high quality and equitable healthcare among underserved and disadvantaged populations along with a highly individualized curriculum to best prepare me as a future physician.
Making it to the interview stage may be the most challenging part of getting accepted into a BS/MD program as most schools interview less than 10% of all applicants. How you perform during the interview can make or break your chances of admission, so it's essential to prepare effectively in advance and put your best self forward. The type of interview you can expect varies quite a bit between schools. Some schools conduct interviews, while others use the multiple mini interview (MMI) to assess applicants. The CASPer test is another popular interview format that is used to narrow down the pool of applicants invited to an in-person interview. Be sure to review the program's website to determine which type of interview to expect. Follow the links below for more resources to help you prepare for your interview.
This list is comprised of BS/MD programs that are available to high school students and it includes each school's admission statistics, available positions, and program duration. The SAT, ACT, and GPA scores below are the minimum requirements for consideration unless otherwise specified.
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