If you are still in high school wondering how to go from high school to medical school, keep reading! You might have been considering medicine as a potential career option for a long time, but you also think of how long it takes to become a doctor. When planning how to get into medical school, it might have crossed your mind that it could be possible to skip your undergraduate degree. In this article we will walk you through a series of alternative paths to medical school.

Believe it or not, there are many different types of programs that don’t necessarily require you to complete a bachelor’s degree or sit for the MCAT before applying to medical school. However, the shortest programs are not among the easiest medical schools to get into. Additionally, we provide interesting tips for medical school aspirants who want to go from high school to medical school.


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Is It Possible to Go Straight from High School to Med School?

Well, not quite. Medical degrees in the US are considered second entry degrees, which means that you have to complete an undergraduate degree in sciences, most commonly biology or chemistry, before applying to medical school. You will certainly not be able to skip your years in college, but you do have a few additional options. There are many alternative paths towards completing a career in medicine. Some of them involve skipping a couple of years of your undergraduate education, others assure you a spot in medical school without having to go through the stress of admission processes, and you can even broaden your horizons by considering studying abroad. 

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#1 - BS/MD Programs 

Some medical schools partner up with undergraduate institutions to create BS/MD programs. Direct medical programs combine admissions to a bachelor’s degree in science and a medical degree into one. Some of these programs offer students the freedom to choose whatever majors and classes they want, while others only offer specific options. Being admitted to a BS/DM program doesn’t mean you won’t have to work as hard as if you followed the traditional path. You will need to complete certain pre-requisite classes and maintain certain GPA requirements to become eligible for a spot in the medical school program after your pre-med years.

Most direct medical programs take 8 years to complete, which is equivalent to completing a bachelor’s and medical school in the traditional way. Although they are rare and require students to complete the program at an unusually fast pace, some of them can even be completed in 6 or 7 years.

The advantage that this kind of program offers is that you don't have to worry about going through the process of applying to several medical schools. This can save applicants a lot of time, money, and stress. Another big plus of BS/MD programs is that they are usually small and allow students to forge valuable connections with their professors and students, creating a more intimate learning environment.

A significant disadvantage of pursuing such a program could be that making such a lifelong decision at 17 or 18 is not easy. Our motivations and goals change with experience, and what we want at a certain point in our lives might change as we grow older and start exploring our interests and abilities more in depth. Even if you are 100% sure that you want to study medicine, which you have to be if you want to apply to a BS/MD program, you might change your mind about the school that you want to attend, or find out other curriculums that suit your inclinations much better.

#2 – Accelerated Programs 

There is a possibility to complete your medical education in less than 8 years. Accelerated programs usually last 6 or 7 years, and involve moving on to medical school before completing your undergraduate degree. Among the most popular accelerated programs, there’s the Canadian QuARMS.

Queen’s University’s Accelerated Route to Medical School, is a program targeted to Canadian Black-identified and indigenous students that is designed to give a carefully selected handful of students the possibility of attending medical school after only two years of undergraduate studies. Only 10 students will be admitted to the four-year QuARMS program without submitting their MCAT score, meaning that it will take them only six years to complete their medical training after finishing high school.

This program has very strict eligibility criteria:

The application process to this program consists of an initial application to one of the bachelor’s programs and an interview. It is important to keep in mind that getting accepted to the program doesn’t mean you will automatically be granted a spot at Queen's University Medical school. It only gives you the possibility to apply after only two years of undergraduate study, without guarantee of acceptance.

Regarding tuition, there are no special costs associated with QuARMS. You usually only have to pay the tuition fees of your selected bachelor’s, plus the medical school tuition once you begin the MD.

Want to learn more about QuARMS? Check out this infographic:

#3 – Medical Schools that Don’t Require the Completion of an Undergraduate Degree

Not all schools require you to complete your bachelor’s degree before applying. Such is the case of Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, which accepts students from all backgrounds, including mature and non-traditional applicants, as well as students from all over the world, although it does save 90% of its med school interviews to in-province candidates.

The application requirements for this school include completing a minimum of 15 full courses or 30 half courses (or a combination) of undergraduate university course work. You can also be eligible if you completed the requirements of an undergraduate degree in less than 3 years by the application deadline.

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine is another good example of a school that only requires aspirants to complete a set number of credits to become eligible. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 90 credits, including 6 credits of English coursework. Even though no specific science courses are listed among the prerequisites, you must have a solid background in biology, chemistry and biochemistry, since it will be necessary for you to prepare for the MCAT anyway.

#4 – Early Assurance Programs

EAP allows high-achieving undergraduate students to apply and get accepted to medical school before completing their bachelor’s degree. Aspirants typically apply between the end of their second year and the beginning of their third year in college. Through Early Assurance Programs for Medical School, undergraduates can secure a seat in medical school well before graduation. It is important to mention that early assurance programs are not accelerated programs. You will still have to complete all of the requirements of your undergraduate program, before starting medical school.

The requirements for these programs often vary, but you must normally have completed at least 5 pre-med courses by the end of your second year, with an impressive academic performance (high overall and science GPA are also essential). After all, you will have to convince the admissions committee that you are ready to commit to a professional career in medicine much earlier than most of your peers.

FlexMed at the Icahn School of Medicine is a great example of an Early Assurance Program. You can apply at the end of your second year of your bachelor’s and, if you get selected, you will be granted a spot in the Icahn School of Medicine. With an acceptance rate of 6.25%, this is a very exclusive and competitive program. The application requirements include having a strong GPA of 3.5 or higher, being a full-time student in a postsecondary institution in the US or Canada, and being in the second year of any undergraduate major, regardless of whether you are a national or international student. 

Looking for more information on the FlexMed program? See this video:

#5 – International Schools 

Higher education varies greatly from one country to another. Medical school works very differently in countries outside North America, and many of them don’t require you to complete any sort of degree before pursuing your medical studies. In other words, if you are willing to relocate and study abroad, you can go straight from high school to medical school. What’s more, many countries offer high-quality public education that allow you to complete medical school for free. There is literally a world of possibilities, but if the language barrier es a deal-breaker for you, there are many prestigious universities in the UK and Ireland that accept international students, such as Oxford University and University College Cork.

Tips for High School Students Who Are Considering Med School 

Decide if Medicine is the Right Choice for You

It often helps to think of the reasons why you want to become a doctor. While salary and prestige might sound appealing, they only come at a cost. You also need to have a deep sense of awareness, a passion for helping others, and a lot of empathy, not to mention academic ambitions and willingness to undertake a lifelong intellectual challenge. The path towards becoming a successful doctor is long and hard, and while it is extremely rewarding, it is definitely not for everyone.

Talk to Other Doctors

A great way of becoming more familiar with the medical profession and understanding its implications is by talking to actual doctors. Are there any doctors in your family or in your neighborhood that you might be able to interview? Get in touch with them and express your interest to pursue a career in medicine. Prepare some questions in advance and don’t be afraid to express your concerns. Chances are they went through exactly the same as you before they finished high school, and they might be able to give you some valuable advice.

Consider Volunteering at your Local Hospital or Health Center

This will not only help you get a better sense of a day in the life of a physician, but it will also look amazing on your applications. Volunteering opportunities usually involve a lot of learning, and represent the chance for you to interact with real patients with real problems. Even if you end up deciding medicine is not the right career choice for you, helping people and making a difference in your community will be an experience that you will never forget.

Take Science Courses

When the time finally comes for you to start sending your applications to medical schools, admission boards will be particularly interested in knowing how you performed in the sciences. You need to be able to prove that you have a strong background in math, biology, chemistry, and physics. However, it is not only about impressing the admissions committee, but also about finding out if you have what it takes to face the challenge of completing medical school, which will involve intensive dedication to those subjects.

Conclusion

If you dream of becoming a doctor but you are still in high school, it is the ideal time to start exploring your options and figure out how to go from high school to medical school. It is not too early to start tracing your path towards becoming a great health professional. Keep in mind that there is no need to hurry into medical school. While it is true that accelerated programs and other alternatives can save you a lot of time and money, there are no shortcuts to obtaining a medical degree. There might be shorter paths, but that doesn’t mean they are any easier than traditional programs, so your motivations must be strong. If getting into medical school is really what you want, explore your options and work your way to the top! Remember, hard work always pays off, even if rewards come a little later than expected.

FAQs

1. How do I know if medical school is right for me?

Consider why you want to become a doctor. Are you doing it because you have a genuine desire to help others and devote yourself to medical science, or are you just thinking about pleasing your family? Are your ambitions academic or financial? Secondly, think of your aptitudes. Medical school requires lots of dedication to science. If you like subjects like biology, math and physics, medicine could be a good option for you.

2. Is it possible to go to medical school straight from high school?

Technically no. However, some schools have partnered with undergraduate institutions to create so-called direct medical programs, which allow you to go straight to medical school after completing a bachelor’s in science. They usually take the same amount of time as following the traditional way, without having to go through the process of applying to several medical schools until you get accepted.

3. Do I need to complete a bachelor’s if I get into an EAP?

Yes. Early Assurance Programs don’t allow you to skip years as an undergraduate student, but only grant you a spot in medical school before you obtain your bachelor’s degree.

4. What is a BS/MD program?

A BS/MD program is a combined Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degree program without any separate application process to medical school.

5. What are my chances of getting into medical school with a low GPA?

It is impossible to determine your exact chances of entering medical school with a low GPA. Each school has different requirements, and your chances will vary greatly. If your GPA is something that concerns you, you will have to work on the other aspects of your application to make it stand out.

6. What does MCAT mean?

MCAT stands for Medical College Admissions Test and it is designed to assess your problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles.

7. How long is an Accelerated program?

Accelerated programs allow students to complete their medical studies faster than traditional programs. Students can move on to medical school after completing only two years of their undergraduate degree, meaning that they can finish their studies in 6 to 7 years instead of the most common minimum of 8 years.

8. What courses do I need to complete for medical school?

Every school has different prerequisites, but they all include biology, math, chemistry and physics. If you want to go the extra mile, most medical schools also value a background in English, biochemistry, anatomy and social sciences.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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3 Comments

Archana Gidwani

Do you have any information on medical schools in Mexico?

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Archana! Thanks so much for your question! Is there something specific you are looking for with regard to medical schools in Mexico? Please let us know so we can see how we can help you.

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Line Touko

Can I transfer from one medical school to another?if yes how please ..I'm not an American citizen too

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Line! Thank you for your question. Most medical schools do not accept transfer students unfortunately. 

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Rand Moustafa

am a Doi student. Is the high school diploma average for me to enter the Faculty of Medicine? And if yes, what is less than the high school diploma for my entry to the medical school?

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi  Rand! Thanks for your comment. You need to complete college to go to medical school first. 

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