Making a life career choice at 17 or 18 and being 100% sure is tough, hence today I will talk about the pros and cons to consider when deciding if a BS/MD program is right for you or your child.
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Ensures early admission to medical school
If you know from an early age you want to pursue medicine, combined BS/MD programs allow students to apply from high school for an acceptance to both the undergrad and medical school, therefore eliminating a separate medical school application process after undergrad. This greatly reduces the stress during undergrad of building an application (resume, grades, test scores) to gain medical school admission.
Saves time and money
As medical school becomes more and more competitive, students are taking gap years between undergrad and medial school to get more time to become a stronger applicant. With a BS/MD program, even if it is 8 years long, you will still likely be younger than the average medical school graduate. This gives students more freedom and opportunity to pursue additional degrees, such as an MBA or MPH, or post residency spend more time doing fellowships. Also, you will be able to save on medical school applications and interview costs. Additionally, if you are in a 7-year program you will save a year of undergrad tuition.
More flexibility to take classes and participate in activities you are actually interested in
While BS/MD programs have requirements students must meet to remain in the program and get promoted to medical school (certain classes, minimum grades, MCAT scores) students have a lot of flexibility with what they do in their free time. Beyond taking the required premed classes most programs allow students to major or minor in whatever they would like. Additionally, since you are not building a resume focused on getting into medical school you can spend more time doing what you are interested in outside of school. Several programs have study abroad semesters as well that students can take advantage of.
Committing too early
What we think we want to do at the age of 17 isn’t always what we end up realizing is the best fit for us as we get older. Our ideas and interests change and while electing to not pursue medical school while in a BS/MD program and switching majors is always an option if you decide medicine isn’t the correct fit for you, it is often more difficult to do so vs being in undergrad. Additionally this is very frowned upon as it takes a seat from other potential BS/MD students.
Extremely competitive and not many options
Gaining admission to most BS/MD programs is more competitive than ivy league colleges, with the average admission rate being between 2-5%. With such competitive admission statistics, students are often admitted to only 1 or 2 programs which are often places far away from their friends and family, making adjusting to undergrad and medical school difficult.
Not being able to attend a public university
Several BS/MD programs are at private universities and the ones that are at public universities have a in state preference. Students often times end up paying private school tuition for both undergrad and medical school, which can be significantly more costly compared to the instate equivalent.
Choosing to attend a BS/MD program may not be right for everyone. However, we believe that if you are 100% certain that you want to pursue medicine, the benefits of a BA/MD program definitely outweigh the costs.
If you are a high school student interested in applying to BS/MD or BS/DO programs, The Perfect Med team is here to help. Please reach out to learn more about our services or any other questions you may have!