You are considering a BS/MD program because you want to go to medical school. Unfortunately, many qualified students don’t get into BS/MD programs. Other students are strong students but not quite strong enough to be considered for a BS/MD program. For those students, what other options do they have to get to medical school?
Option 1. BS/DO Programs.
These programs are similar to the BS/MD programs but the student gets a DO, or Doctor of Osteopathy, degree instead. While still selective, these programs are less selective than most BS/MD programs. Doctors receiving a DO degree get the same basic training as medical doctors but they also receive training in spinal manipulation. These degrees are recognized by the American Medical Association as the equivalent of the MD degree.
Some students view these programs as less prestigious than the BS/MD programs but at the end of the day you still are a doctor. Doctors with a DO degree can go into any specialty. Students attending DO programs do have slightly lower pass rates on the two parts of the USMLE which is the required licensing exam for medical students.
Option 2. Early Assurance Medical Programs.
They go by many different names but early assurance medical programs allow college freshman and sophomores to apply early to medical school. If accepted, they will still need to take the MCAT and spend the full 8 years going through college and medical school but they will have the pressure off early in the game.
There are a number of these programs available and I often have people tell me I missed a BS/MD program that they know about but it turns our to be an early assurance program.
The advantage of these programs is that it gives a student a little more time to establish their credentials to show why they would be a strong applicant for medical school. This can be helpful for the student who academically was a strong BS/MD candidate that didn’t quite have the other requirements to be a competitive candidate. If you are considering an early assurance medical program, continue to do your volunteering including health care volunteering and make sure you have done some doctor shadowing. These activities will make you a stronger candidate for an early assurance medical program.
Option 3. The traditional route to medical school.
Although there are advantages to attending a BS/MD program, most students get to medical school through the traditional route of 4 years of college followed by 4 years of medical school. Even if you would prefer the BS/MD program, the traditional route still ends up with you being a doctor.
The traditional route also give you the most options for where to attend college and where to attend medical school. You are not tied to one medical school as is the usual case with BS/MD programs.
This route also gives you the most time to make your self the strongest possible candidate for medical school. You have time to prove yourself academically, time to volunteer and time to engage in research activities, all of which strengthens your medical school application.
I hope you get into a BS/MD program if that is the route you wish to take. But if you don’t, there are still many routes to get to your ultimate goal of becoming a physician.
Want more information about BS/MD programs? Check out the Guide to BS/MD Programs.