Last week I talked about some summer activities for college admissions. While those suggestions are appropriate for most students, those students considering a BS/MD program have different considerations.
Most successful BS/MD applicants have experience with research in some field of science. This may be experience in a university laboratory or in a lab associated with a science related business. Typically this lab related experience occurs during the summer, most commonly before the junior or senior year of high school.
I generally encourage BS/MD prospective students to spend at least part of one of their summers involved with a research experience. Many universities make such research opportunities available to high school students and it is just a matter of contacting the university to see what opportunities they have available. Some of these programs are competitive so the earlier you get started applying, the better your chance of acceptance. If you are able to arrange more than one research experience, you will be an even stronger candidate for a BS/MD program.
Summers can also be a good time for prospective BS/MD students to shadow a physician. Following a physician, also called shadowing, is another critical requirement for the successful BS/MD candidate. Medical schools want to be assured that you are fully aware of what being a physician is like and shadowing a doctor before applying to the BS/MD progam is one way to show your understanding. Ideally, this shadowing will last at least a week and summer is the best time to arrange this activity. In fact, having several experiences with shadowing a physician is even better than having a single such experience.
Finally, summer is a great time to work or volunteer at a job in a health related facility. Volunteering at a hospital, clinic or nursing home, are all good ways to communicate your interest in becoming a physician while also demonstrating that you have compassion.
While summer is a good time to volunteer at a health facility, the longer your period of volunteer effort, the stronger your application. If you can volunteer during the year at the same place that you volunteer during the summer, your commitment will appear even stronger.
With the need to be involved with research activities, doctor shadowing and volunteer activities, applicants to BS/MD programs will have their summers full.
Want more information about BS/MD programs? Check out the Guide to BS/MD Programs.