There is no one right answer to the question of when to start the BS/MD counseling process. We sometimes begin working with a student in the 8th or 9th grade advising them on the selection of what high school to attend, types of courses to take and extracurricular involvement. This sort of early preparation is helpful for all students as colleges get more competitive but is particularly important for students looking at BS/MD programs and the more selective colleges.
Sophomore year, 10th grade, is a common time for us to get involved with guiding a student through the many issues related to BS/MD programs. Visiting colleges often starts about this time as well and we work with families to identify different types of colleges to visit and what to look for in visiting a college. We also start to discuss in more detail extracurricular involvement and the possibilities for leadership positions in future years.
Junior year, 11th grade, is also a popular time to begin working with us. This conversation includes helping the student to analyze their needs to determine what type of college would be most appropriate. We also work with the student to determine the timing for standardized testing, work on focusing the extracurricular involvement, discuss visiting colleges, and work to identify colleges that are appropriate for that student. Ideally, all of the testing is finished by the end of junior year and the student has identified which schools to apply to in the fall of senior year. We then work with the student through the application process in the senior year until the final admissions decisions are made.
Starting to work with us in junior year, however, may make a student less competitive for BS/MD programs. If the student doesn’t start health care volunteering or doctor shadowing or research until well into the junior year, they be less competitive than the student that started these activities earlier in high school. Of course, if a student has been working on each of these activities before contacting us, the admissions process may work out just fine.
We have set packages for students working with us and the cost of the specific package does not depend on when the student starts working with us. We do this to encourage people to contact us earlier rather than later in the process as we have found that students that work with us for longer periods often have better results in admissions.
The question of when to start can vary from student to student. If you have questions about your specific child, we offer a free consultation. So, give us a call or drop us an email and we can discuss options.