Scientific research helps students develop critical reasoning skills. Such skills are helpful for any field of higher education but is particularly helpful for science majors.
Research helps enhance your understanding of your classroom studies. It is one thing to read about how a biological process works but seeing the process develop in the lab can make it come alive.
Research also provides experience that can be valuable for research that you may do while in medical school. This early research experience is particularly helpful for students considering a MD/PhD program as part of their BS/MD program.
The benefit of experience in research continues long into your professional career. Understanding research allows you to evaluate medical research studies and their validity which you may review as a practicing physician.
Because BS/MD programs don’t require research experience you have great flexibility in how you gain the experience. The most common experience I see students have is summer research with a researcher at a college or university. Other options may include research during the school year, research at a local business that engages in some field of scientific research and engaging in science fairs.
A word of caution about research during science fairs. If your research is of the highest quality and you are successful at the state or national level competitions, your science fair research may be sufficient. However, if you are just competing at the local or regional level, you will also ideally have other research of the type mentioned in the last paragraph.
Do you need research to apply to BS/MD programs? No. Should you have research experience to be the most competitive candidate? You bet.
Want more information about BS/MD programs? Check out the Guide to BS/MD Programs.