The vast majority of students that I work with are interested in BS/MD programs. But they are most certainly not for everyone. Here are some reasons why you might NOT want to consider a BS/MD program.
You are not absolutely positively convinced that medicine is the right profession for you. BS/MD programs want students that know without question, and have for many years known, that they want to become a doctor. This frankly is the unusual student. Most students don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 17 years of age but that certainty is exactly what BS/MD programs are looking for. You may think you can fake this if you aren’t sure but it is usually fairly easy to spot the student who isn’t sure just by looking at their activities and when they began them.
Your grades and/or test scores are too low. BS/MD programs typically want to see a minimum 3.8 unweighted GPA and a minimum 30 ACT or 1,450 SAT. These are minimums and most students are not going to be admitted with just the minimum grades and test scores. A 3.95 unweighted GPA is going to be much more competitive as is a 34 ACT or a 1,550 SAT.
You have not taken a challenging curriculum during high school. What is a challenging curriculum can vary from high school to high school but BS/MD programs usually want to see a year of chemistry, a year of biology, a year of physics and a year of calculus as a minimum. Usually several of these will be at the AP level. My typical student has between 7 and 13 AP classes.
You have not taken a variety of classes. Selective colleges, including BS/MD programs ideally like to see four years of each of the five core subjects: English, math, science, history/social studies and a single foreign language. Contrary to popular believe, BS/MD programs are not just looking for strong involvement in science classes. They want to see a student who has taken a more well rounded group of classes.
You are lacking any volunteering and particularly health related volunteering. Volunteering in a health care setting is one of the most important factors in BS/MD admissions after grades and test scores. Volunteering is what shows you like helping people. If you don’t have any health care volunteering by the time you are getting ready to apply, the appearance is that helping others is not a major concern of yours.
You have no plans to shadow a doctor. Doctor shadowing shows that you understand what the life of a physician is like. If you don’t have this activity there is no way for the medical schools to know if you are fully informed about your possible future profession. Medical schools don’t like to guess about this. If they aren’t sure, they will just reject you.
You have not been involved with any kind of research. Research isn’t absolutely necessary to have for a BS/MD applicant but it helps establish your understanding of the scientific process and your interest in the sciences. Without research, BS/MD programs may have questions about your commitment. And as I just said in the previous paragraph, you don’t want medical schools guessing.
Your activities don’t show any kind of leadership. Leadership can be a tricky topic. You don’t necessarily have to be the president of a group to show leadership. It may also be shown through your actions in those activities you are involved in. BS/MD programs are looking for students that are willing to take a stand and not just passively stand by.
You are not particularly mature for your age. Maturity is a huge issue for BS/MD programs. The reason is that most high school students do not know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. And that is fine. But BS/MD programs are looking for the student that has the maturity to be able to say that they understand their various options but know that medicine if the best route for them.
As you look through this list you should be starting to get an idea of why BS/MD programs are so competitive. Missing even one of these elements will most likely make you not competitive for a BS/MD program. Given the level of qualifications required to be a competitive BS/MD candidate combined with the limited number of seats at most BS/MD programs, you may feel that getting admitted to one of these programs is impossible. It is not impossible. For the right candidate they can be great options. Not sure about your strength as an applicant? Give me a call to discuss your particular situation.