Choosing which colleges and programs to apply to is one of the biggest decisions most high school students have to make. It’s important to apply to schools within your reach that will best prepare you for your future career. If you are considering becoming a physician or working in the medical field, you might consider applying for combined B.S./M.D. programs. This path may not be best for everyone, so here are some insights to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
Benefits of Applying to Combined B.S./M.D. Programs
The B.S./M.D. programs allow you to combine your undergraduate course of study with a medical degree. The combined programs are often shorter, taking only six to seven years compared to the eight required if you complete the two degrees separately. Since you spend fewer years in school, your overall costs and student loans may be smaller by the time you graduate, and you’ll be able to start earning an income to pay them back sooner.
Even though the academic requirements are intense, it can be a relief to know you already have a place in med school as long as you do well in your studies. Students in these programs can feel less pressure than students in traditional pre-med programs.
Drawbacks of Applying to B.S./M.D. Programs
Although there are many benefits of completing a combined program, there are also a few drawbacks.
The programs are notoriously selective and difficult to get into. Applications to the combined B.S./M.D. programs require special application essays and often interviews with medical school faculty. You’ll need top SAT scores plus top grades in your science classes. Strong evidence of an interest in medicine, such as participation in science research programs or hospital volunteer work, is also necessary. You’ll need to demonstrate a strong commitment to pursuing medicine as your career.
In fact, B.S./M.D. programs are often not appropriate for the typical pre-med student who is thinking about a career as a physician. The admissions committees of these highly selective programs are looking for students with maturity beyond their years, who have a history of significant research experience and clinical exposure. Successful B.S./M.D. applicantsdemonstrate that medicine is more than a job; it’s a calling.
Even though you’re accepted to a combined degree program at the same time that you’re accepted as an undergraduate, admission to the medical school is conditional and you will still need to satisfy the medical school’s admissions criteria. You will likely need to take the MCAT, achieving a certain minimum score depending on the school. You will also need to maintain a certain overall GPA or GPA in the sciences during your undergraduate studies.
In addition to the tough admissions procedures, you’ll have an intensive course of study at school. Many of the combined programs require academic work during the summer. Completing a combined B.S./M.D. program is for highly driven, determined and mature students.
The combined B.S./M.D. programs are not for everyone, but with our extensive college consulting experience, IvySelect’s college counselors can help you decide whether they are the right fit for you. We can also help you identify the specific schools to apply to if this is your goal. It’s a personal decision where you need to consider many factors, including your interests, your academic achievements, your financial situation, your commitment to medicine, and how you want to spend the next several years of your life. Consider the question carefully, and if you decide you need assistance, our private college counselors can guide you through the daunting process with confidence.