The decision to apply to medical school often occurs during an aspiring doctor’s undergraduate college years. But there are many who dream of being physicians much sooner. With this in mind, colleges and medical schools started offering BS/MD programs that allow more determined and ambitious high school students to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, followed immediately by a Doctor of Medicine degree.
BS/MD programs, also known as direct medical programs, offer students a focused course without the anxiety and uncertainty associated with a typical medical school application timeline. Though they are well known for being extremely hard to get into, BS/MD programs are a good option for applicants who are committed to a career in medicine.
Though a BS/MD program makes it possible to bypass the medical school application timeline after their undergraduate degree has been attained, this does not mean these students can relax. In fact, these programs tend to have high GPA requirements that must be met before a student can be accepted into medical school.
Given the rigorous requirements and low acceptance rate of these programs, are they worth it, and should you apply for one? To help you make the right decision, here are some pros and cons of these programs.
One of the most obvious positives of a BS/MD program is that it removes the need to juggle applying to medical school while finishing an undergraduate degree. The med school application process can be stressful and filled with uncertainty. This can be difficult to deal with while finishing premed studies.
A BS/MD program can also produce a well-rounded education. Because students do not have to worry about applying to medical school after undergrad, they have the freedom to explore fields of study that aren’t strictly medical or scientific without stressing about how this might affect their application.
Since they are notorious for their low acceptance rates, BS/MD programs also tend to have much smaller class sizes. This not only allows for a close-knit community of students, but also makes room for individual attention and better learning.
Like any other course of study, the BS/MD isn’t for everyone, even if they have a keen interest in medicine. It is crucial to remember that this program requires the kind of commitment that isn’t typical of most high school students. As such, it is a decision best made by someone who knows exactly what they want. College is often a time for self-discovery, and that’s not a bad thing. If you are not 100% sure that you want to commit to a career in medicine, then a BS/MD might not be for you.
Opting out of a BS/MD program does not necessarily mean that you can’t be a physician. It just gives you a few years to explore during your undergraduate studies so that you’re certain when it is time to apply to med school. A BS/MD is definitely not the kind of program for maybes. If you are not entirely sure, it is best to pursue your undergraduate degree separately and see where that takes you.
Regardless of whether you opt to try to enroll in a BS/MD program or not, we wish you the best of luck on your studies, and especially so if you opt for a career in medicine.