Expert Advice on BS/MD programs - Part 2
Hello everyone! I'm back with part 2 of BS/MD program information as promised. For those of you are seeing these posts for the first time, if you want, feel free to refer to my first post on this topic linked below...
BS/MD programs certainly do have their advantages and drawbacks, so hopefully, I can explain more about this to you before you make the final decision on applying to them. I’ll start with the advantages:
I first chose to pursue BS/MD programs because of many factors including the acceleration of the program, the introduction to medical studies in undergrad, and not having the stress of pre-med studies constantly stressing me out. The BU program is seven years long instead of eight years. This means I spend three years studying medical sciences in undergrad and four years of medical school, allowing me to save a year of studying that can go towards my career or potential research plans. Additionally, I am required to study medical sciences as my major so I can get an early education, even before medical school of what science medicine looks like. Another great thing at the BU guaranteed medical program is that we are required to minor in a study outside the natural sciences. I personally chose to minor in Public Health while my classmates have chosen to minor in psychology, economics, business and math. One of the most notable benefits of BU’s guaranteed medical program, and other guaranteed medical programs, is that there is a significant reduction of stress during undergrad. BU’s program requires me to maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA and 80th percentile on the MCAT, while the average competitive pre-med student will have at least a 3.8 GPA and 84th percentile on the MCAT. Also, keep in mind that these are minimum requirements and more competitive students will have near perfect grades and scores as well as activities like research, shadowing and volunteering. During my experience, I did not have to focus on all of these, although I chose to out of my own interest.
Now, let’s consider the disadvantages of BS/MD programs. The notable disadvantages include the stress of classes and early lifetime commitment to medicine. As a student at the BU program, I was required to take many of my science courses at the highest university level. This meant that I would take intensive chemistry and physics courses with chemistry and physics majors that required calculus, countless hours in the lab and designing our own research experiments. Now, this definitely was no cake-walk. On top of this, we had to complete all these rigorous science courses and an additional minor in three years of undergrad instead of the traditional four years. This led to a lot of stress for my classmates and myself. In fact, two of my classmates out of 20 in my year have either decided to take a leave of absence or leave the program entirely. And this being said, the BU SMED program is still the less intense programs out there. There are a few programs that require even higher minimum GPAs (in the 3.8-3.9 range) and much higher base MCAT scores. So I’d like to consider that I had it relatively easier.
The other disadvantage is that as a senior in highschool, you have to be ready to commit to a life of medicine. And for many, this can be very difficult. As I outlined in my previous post, you should do activities in high school that will help you ascertain if medicine is truly the right path for you. If not, I would consider either going under the pre-med route or pursuing an early assurance program that can give you more time to figure out whether a career as a physician or in medicine is truly right for you!
Here is the link to the first BS/MD post:
See you all again for part 3! EDIT: Here's the link to part 3! https://www.collegevine.com/questions/17849/how-i-applied-to-bs-md-programs-thinking-of-the-application-as-a-checklist-part-3
Thanks for the insight on this! Super helpful!
Could you outline the extracurricular activities a high school sophomore can do, to showcase continued interest?
Yeah definitely! If you refer to Post #3 now you should be able to find its specifics more helpful. In general, as a sophomore you should try to position yourself for a potential leadership position or high achievement in your activity. Because you will still have 2 more years till you graduate, its a great time to commitment to a handful activities that you truly enjoy and dedicate more time to them. For a BS/MD applicant, this could be science olympiad, or a redress club, a research position or looking for internships.
To keep this community safe and supportive:
- Be kind and respectful!
- Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
- Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!