You’ve been spending your time volunteering in a hospital, taking CPR and First Aid classes, hosting blood drives and participating in medical research. You’ve taken the most challenging math and science courses your school has to offer. You’ve been dreaming about becoming a physician for as long as you can remember, and now the time has come to figure out exactly how to get to medical school.
There are many paths to medical school, and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Below, I’ll examine the three main options that high school students should consider to begin planning the journey.
1. BS/MD and BA/MD Programs
What they are: BS/MD and BA/MD programs are accelerated medical programs that offer conditional acceptance into medical school alongside admission into an undergraduate institution. They can range in length from 6 years to 8 years, with students spending 2-4 years in their undergraduate program and 4 years in medical school. Currently, there are 61 BS/MD and BA/MD programs in the United States.
Who gets in: The admissions statistics for BS/MD and BA/MD programs are staggering. Many programs, such as the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program, have acceptance rates at or below 1%. Students considering BS/MD and BA/MD programs should not only be at the top of their class academically, but they should have nearly perfect standardized test scores and outstanding extracurricular profiles. Even then, admission to one of these programs is far from guaranteed, and students should always apply to a few programs that do not have a BS/MD or BA/MD path.
2. Pre-Professional Advising Programs
What they are: Often referred to as the “traditional” path to medical school, pre-professional advising programs offer students in any undergraduate major the chance to work with an advisor who will guide them towards applying to medical school. Students in pre-professional programs will need to complete prerequisite courses, maintain a strong GPA, and take the MCAT before applying to medical school.
Who gets in: In most cases, any student interested in applying to medical school can begin work with a pre-professional advisor. However, some universities may require students to maintain a certain GPA in order to remain in a pre-professional program. These programs are often housed within a college or university’s career center, although some programs may allow you to indicate an interest in working with a pre-professional advisor on your undergraduate application.
3. Early Assurance Programs
What they are: EAPs offer early acceptance into medical school to undergraduate students typically in their sophomore or junior year. There are many medical schools throughout the US that offer EAP applications to students at any accredited 4-year institution, such as Albany Medical College.
Who gets in: Similar to BS/MD and BA/MD programs, EAPs take only the most academically talented students and are highly competitive. Typically, students accepted into EAPs have close to a 4.0 GPA in their undergraduate courses.
Kyle received a BS from Vanderbilt University and a certificate in college advising from Columbia University. Kyle has more than five years of admissions experience, including at the State University of New York as well as Rice University, where she was an Assistant Director of Admissions and oversaw the BS/MD program with Baylor College of Medicine. Kyle manages a caseload of clients as well as a team of AcceptU counselors. She is an IECA Associate Member.