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Hmmm. A dilemma many bs/md applicants are going through?

blizzardpenguinblizzardpenguin Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
edited January 2010 in Multiple Degree Programs
So here's the dilemma. Say you get accepted into a really prestigious combined medical program such as HPME at Northwestern, but also get accepted to a prestigious school without the combined medical program, such as MIT or HYP. Where do you go?

My own thoughts:
If you are good enough to get into a combined medical program as a high schooler, then you are probably going to end up at a presitigious medical school regardless of which college you go to. For that reason, it is better to go to the school that fits your needs and will provide you with a fantastic education.

The only drawback is that it will be an arduous process getting into med school. MCATs, extracurriculars, GPA, it's almost like high school all over again, except at an extremely higher level. What a drag right? That means you may not be accepted into the BEST med school, but you will probably do well, assuming you have tried your hardest to do well in college, both inside and outside the classroom.

So if one decides to take the combined medical program route, you get accepted into their med school immediately, assuming you have a good GPA and MCAT scores, for some programs. One will probably still have extracurriculars, but will not have to apply to med school.

The drawbacks are obvious. One, you're basically locked into the combined medical program for 7+ years. Two, you may not get the ideal undergraduate and med school experience you wanted.

I don't know what to do. Honestly, I think I should just apply to regular universities and those with the program. Then I'll decide for myself which one is better based on whether or not the schools i get accepted to give me plenty of opportunities at research and internships and etc., but nonetheless I would like to hear from the general public.

Opinions?
Post edited by blizzardpenguin on
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Replies to: Hmmm. A dilemma many bs/md applicants are going through?

  • myncimynci Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    omg, i have though about this dilemma forever! I was deferred from a HYP but I am not so sure if I should try hard, because I have some creative ideas to help get me accepted, to get into a prestigious university or just stick with a lower BS/MD program?!
    I agree with you on waiting to see what you get, but if you're set on medicine, I think the combined path is right for you. I am not so sure for me though.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Registered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    If you are good enough to get into a combined medical program as a high schooler, then you are probably going to end up at a presitigious medical school regardless of which college you go to.
    If you are just average at HYP, it's unlikely you will get into a prestigious medical school. Being good enough to get into combined med school program doesn't mean you will do well in HYP. Most combined medical programs are probably still easier to get into than HYP.
    So if one decides to take the combined medical program route, you get accepted into their med school immediately, assuming you have a good GPA and MCAT scores, for some programs. One will probably still have extracurriculars, but will not have to apply to med school.
    For HPME, you only need 3.2 GPA and no ECs/MCAT is required.
    The drawbacks are obvious. One, you're basically locked into the combined medical program for 7+ years. Two, you may not get the ideal undergraduate and med school experience you wanted.
    HPME doesn't lock you into the med program for 7+ years. You can apply for other med schools if you want. You do give up going to HYPM. But you wouldn't know if you would be giving up more "ideal" experience. "More prestigious" doesn't mean "more ideal" and Northwestern is still a first-tier school. For many, "ideal experience" is the academic freedom to pursue whatever they like without worrying about GPAs, MCAT, and playing the game of doing all the right things, which they may not even like, to impress the med school adcom.
  • kbbm24kbbm24 Registered User Posts: 540 Member
    well in reply to samlee
    i dont think programs like HPME are necessarily easier than and top ivy league school
    the entire process seems much more arduous and more competitive
    but if you are one of the extremely lucky/smart individuals who face this dilemma
    i feel like if you get into a program like HPME, NU med school is among the top med schools in the country, i mean in terms of prestige, education, and residency match
    applying to NU as a normal undergrad is just as hard as applying to somewhere like harvard med

    and also it seems like the point of these direct programs is so that you can pursue things you like without pressure of having to get into med school, i feel like i do that a lot in high school-constantly thinking about what i should do which prevents me from enjoying a lot of stuff that i would no matter what

    but which one of you guys has applied to HPME/sent in applications
  • zzzboyzzzboy Registered User Posts: 1,142 Senior Member
    if you get into a good program then GO. youre stupid if you dont.
  • aireginairegin Registered User Posts: 205 Junior Member
    Exactly. I think the better question would be to ask is what type of program you'd go to between the BA/MD programs. PLME vs HPME, anyone?

    I think it would be foolish to give up guaranteed medical admissions to go to HYP.You don't have to worry about the rat race since you've already worried about it in high school.
  • zzzboyzzzboy Registered User Posts: 1,142 Senior Member
    yup. but dont sink TOO low and go to a lower ranked program if you think you are a strong student. although i applied to pretty much higher ranked programs (and got denied), im pretty sure i could have gotten into some of the random low-ranked ones. however, attending them would have been a bad idea since im sitting pretty here in college with a 3.97 gpa. with some good activities, i have a shot at all the top schools.

    then again, ive seen a bunch of kids go from 4.0 in high school to garbage in college. this is true for the majority of students. life is tough.
  • blizzardpenguinblizzardpenguin Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    @zzzboy just curious
    where did you end up going?

    and which programs did you get denied from?
    you don't have to answer if you don't want to
  • schriztoschrizto Registered User Posts: 4,099 Senior Member
    zzzboy goes to UCLA. It's under his username.
  • doctor2bdoctor2b Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    yeah, if you get into a good program, then go.

    in my opinion, good programs are jefferson pmm, n'western hpme, brown plme, rice/baylor, baylor/baylor, miami hpme, boston, usc, ucsd, and pitt.

    im kinda iffy on umkc, albany, and drexel.

    ill give anyone who gets into wash u's program and stays in $500, considering they accept 5 out of about 700 and you need a 3.8 and 36 on your MCAT to stay in ^^

    oh, and i might be missing a few in this quick post since there are a bunch of excellent med programs
  • zzzboyzzzboy Registered User Posts: 1,142 Senior Member
    i applied to HPME, usc, ucsd/ucsd, caltech/ucsd, and penn state/jefferson. got an interview at penn state but got denied...thought i would get in. also got an interview at ucsd/ucsd, but got rejected (saw that coming).

    i would not have gone to penn state if i got accepted, but i would have gone to all others.
  • norcalguynorcalguy Registered User Posts: 7,548 Senior Member

    My own thoughts:
    If you are good enough to get into a combined medical program as a high schooler, then you are probably going to end up at a presitigious medical school regardless of which college you go to.

    This would be a bad assumption. Most of the students who start premed at even the best universities never make it to the application stage muchless get into a prestigious med school.

    That said, I'm glad that many of these combined programs were either being curtailed or being eliminated together. Having experienced the rigor of med school, I don't think it's a very good idea for students to skate through college maintaining only a 3.2 GPA and not taking the MCAT. Even regular premed is nothing compared to med school. If students can't even be held to those standards in college, they are in for a shock in med school (as evidenced by the poorer performance of HPME kids in med school compared with those who got into Feinberg via the normal route).
  • MD2B2012MD2B2012 Registered User Posts: 146 Junior Member
    Blizzardpenguin - that's a very deep thinking post and I hope many high school applicants this year see this thread. You are very mature beyond your years.

    Too many high school students get so scared before the process has even started to the point that they think there is no way they'll make it into medical school, without having to do a combined program. Thus, based on this fear, they apply without really thoroughly researching their programs and are temporarily happy, grabbing whatever they're offered, no matter how bad the program, in actuality, may be. It isn't until a few years into the program that they greatly regret making such a hasty decision. Depending on how the program is structured, they may or may not have an easy out to go back into a 4+4 system.

    It's not important just to get into any program that offers a combined degree program. It's important to look at all angles: How good is the basic science and clinical education, what educational opportunities as well as research opportunities are available at the institution, etc.: Selecting a Medical School: Thirty-Five Questions I Wish I Had Asked - Applying to Medical School - AAMC

    doctor2b lists some of the very excellent programs that I would say are the exception the scenario you've presented. However, that also depends on your individual expectations of what you want.

    The only thing - I wouldn't call it an arduous process Definition of Arduous at Dictionary.com[/url. Does it take hard work and determination, yes. But like ANYTHING in medicine (or life), with good time management, organizational skills, and being proactive, it's definitely doable. You have 4 full years (Fall and Spring, taking classes in the summer is totally of your choosing) to complete undergraduate requirements of the major of YOUR choice, as well as the MCAT, and expanding your CV (what combined degree students do early on in high school, and what you do your entire life whether you're in medical school or not).

    "If you are good enough to get into a combined medical program as a high schooler, then you are probably going to end up at a presitigious medical school regardless of which college you go to." -- I happen to agree with this statement, assuming of course, the student isn't so burned out from high school that they tank when they get into undergrad. With respect to Norcalguy's comments, at ANY university there is premed attrition (people who can't even handle General Chem, General Bio, etc.), and he went to Cornell as an undergrad.

    I agree with your last paragraph completely. I think besides applying to the regular universities you'd want to apply to, research the individual combined programs and be selective on which one of them you'd be comfortable with attending the university and their medical school.
  • schriztoschrizto Registered User Posts: 4,099 Senior Member
    lawl, MD2B, did you really have to include a link to the definition of the word arduous? It's an insult to the intelligence of CC members.

    blizzardpenguin isn't the only one to have these thoughts on deciding between a BS/MD or a prestigious undergrad. This dilemma has been rehashed on this forum many times...
  • fianchettofianchetto Registered User Posts: 280 Junior Member
    MD2B, precisely because im so "burned out from high school" that I want to take the BS/MD route. I don't want to repeat another high school experience, ie go nag ur recommenders, worry about grades, study for standardized tests, do a billion ECs, etc.
  • doctor2bdoctor2b Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    i agree w/ fianchetto. for me, the point of doing a ba/md or bs/md program is that you dont have to kill yourself in college after doing so in high school. the idea is that people good enough to get into these programs are good enough to get into a decent med school.

    also, the biggest advantage of the bs/md program is that you dont have to do all the shadowing and extracurricular stuff that you do as an undergraduate. if you know that you want to be a doctor and your mind is set on it and youre in this program, then you dont have to prove it by faking that you loved volunteering @ hospitals and shadowing doctors, because the truth is, theres really nothing you can do related to medicine when you shadow or volunteer. in a program like this, you have SO much more free time, and you can use that time to pursue other classes youre interested in or do other EC's that you actually like doing. like me, i want to have time to do model un, newspaper, and something related to jazz. in premed, id be spending all that extra time loading up on extra science classes, doing crazy amounts of research, shadowing every doctor i see, and volunteering at every hospital within a 30 mile radius of the school.

    its true, if you dont get into a good med program, then its not worth going there, because you could indeed probably get into a better med school, but if you get into any of the ones i listed before (n'western, baylor, brown, boston, ohio state, ucsd, usc, pitt, jefferson, miami) then its definitely worth it, since they offer excellent residency matches as well.

    i think an accelerated program is best, at least in my case, because its also kind of a scholarship, since youre only paying for 2 or 3 years of undergrad. also, if i know that i want to be a doctor, then whats the point of waisting extra years in undergrad that although i probably will enjoy simply because its college, i wont need in the long run. if i am mature enough to get into med school earlier, then why not? i disagree strongly with those who say that people from accelerated programs are immature. one example was my brother's psu-jefferson class. their class actually brought up jefferson's mcat and usmle step 1 avg. score. in addition, they got into better residencies overall. if youre not mature enough to do well in med school and residency, then youre point blank not mature enough for the program, and so the med schools try to accept people who they think are mature enough.

    my bad if there are any weird grammar mistakes in this - kinda multitasking right now
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