Rejecting a BS/MD program?

<p>I was having a conversation with bluedevilmike/bigredmed/norcalguy and the current med students in one of those chat rooms (speaking of which, can we have one again please?), and a lot of them were talking about the disadvantages of BS/MD programs, and the fact that they basically force students to settle.</p>

<p>My question to you is, what do you think are the disadvantages of a BS/MD program? I personally like the ug school and the med school, but I feel like i dont know if anything better is out there. It is an 8 year school.</p>

<p>On another note, how can you tell if a med school is good or mediocre?</p>

<p>I'm interested in what you mean by "forced to settle".</p>

<p>Well what i mean is that they essentially trick students into settling for a lesser ug and med school because students are so scared of not getting into a med school anywhere else.</p>

<p>Essentially the point is that students good enough to get into a BS/MD program should be good enough to get into at least a medical school, and probably a top one.</p>

<p>I dunno though, because the BS/MD program I applied to fits me personally really well, and I like both of the schools a LOT. Its just I wonder if I'll regret it and think i'll get into somewhere better, or later on learn that all med schools offer that and more of my MD school.</p>

<p>I can't speak for any other medical student but my views are this:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Usually (with a few exceptions) the undergrad component of the BS/MD program is at a lackluster college. Seriously, would any of you go to St. Bonaventure or George Washington if there wasn't the guarantee of medical school? Don't underestimate what a miserable 4 years of college will do for your mood because those 4 years will be followed up by many more years of hard work. Only attend the BS/MD program if you would have at least applied to the undergrad otherwise (even if it's as a safety school).</p></li>
<li><p>You are not destined to be a doctor. I know most of you have believed since the age of 5 that you would become a neurosurgeon. And you can't fathom the thought of doing anything else. The fact is, the vast majority of college students don't become doctors. They go into law or business or grad school or vet school or the work force and live perfectly fulfilling lives. In fact, you may have been destined for one of those careers but instead you are now stuck in your BS/MD program and didn't consider other choices. The fact is, 75% of college students change majors at least once. You aren't supposed to know what you want to do in high school. A good portion of the people who drop out of premed do so not because they aren't smart enough but because they found something else they enjoy more.</p></li>
<li><p>"But, can't I just drop out of the BS/MD program and change to another major if I wanted to?" Maybe. Seriously, how many of you will do that? Most of you see getting into a BS/MD program as the crown jewel of your life. Even if you find out that you don't like medicine, most of you will push on through the program and end up miserable doctors. If you were just a "regular" college student, you would be taking a more diverse group of courses and would be far more likely to switch majors. </p></li>
<li><p>Now, let's talk logistics. You lose your edge in a BS/MD program. The old HPME site unabashedly stated that their HPME students performed worse than the med students who got into Feinberg the traditional way. And HPME students tend to be among the brightest of BS/MD students! Why wouldn't you lose your edge? You coast through college getting a 2.8-3.5 GPA, most of the time you don't take the MCAT. Well guess what? There's that behemoth called the USMLE Step 1 that you take after your 2nd year of med school. And unlike the SAT which most of you take 3 times, you can only take that test once. That's a lot of pressure. And for a BS/MD student, the last meaningful, pressure-packed test you may have taken would've been the SAT in high school! Ever wonder why BS/MD programs are either shrinking or getting eliminated altogether? Med schools basically found that the students on average didn't perform up to their traditional peers in med school. </p></li>
<li><p>The maturity issue. A good portion of med students entering med school the traditional way have taken time off. Most BS/MD students have gone to med school straight through or, as in the case of accelerated programs, have had an abbreviated college experience. Honestly, from personal experience, the period b/w ages 18-24 is probably the period where you will mature the most. Some of you won't have the full experience. I know a lot of complaints with HPME's when I interviewed at Feinberg was that they were simply not mature enough. </p></li>
</ol>

<p>I know most of you will see the conditional guarantee into med school and think of little else. But, these are some additional considerations that you should take into account. I think it's quite unfair of medical schools to expect you to know what to look for in a med school or even a career at your age.</p>

<p>As for BDM's assertion that most of you would make it through med school anyway via the traditional pathway, I dunno. I don't care. The fact is, even if you don't make it and you switch into another career, so what? You will find happiness in other careers. Most high school students, particularly Asian ones backed by parental and peer pressure, are far to narrow-minded to consider anything else.</p>

<p>whoa...okay, you make a lot of good points about the cons of bs/md programs. And bs/md programs DO have a lot of cons, especially accelerated ones. However, racially charged statements are NOT okay. Ever. I am not even Asian, and I feel offended.</p>

<p>I'm sorry. It is purely coincidental that in many of these programs, 80% are Indian or East Asian. And I have never read any posts on this forum stating that their parents are making them choose the BS/MD program over a top college.</p>

<p>We know whites have test scores just as good as Asians. Plus, most of the US population is white. Yet, why are these programs mostly Asian? The white superstar applicants aren't applying to BS/MD programs. I'm sure there are no racial, cultural, or parental factors at play here...</p>

<p>FYI: It's okay to admit racial/gender disparities in medicine. In fact, it's encouraged in medical school. In medicine, we talk all the time about how blacks with CV disease are far less likely to be referred for cardiac cath despite more severe presentations. Or how women are less likely to receive timely treatments for a MI than men. It's been shown that certain blood pressure drugs (CCB's and thiazides) are more effective in blacks than others (B-blockers, ACE-I). It's not racist or offensive for me to tell a patient, "I'm starting you on hydrochlorothiazide because it's been shown to be extremely effective in blacks" or to say, "cutting down salt in your diet has been shown to be more effective in lowering blood pressure in blacks than in other races." Practicing good medicine requires you to be very cognizant of epidemiology.</p>

<p>^honestly i would say 75% of indian parents want their kids to be doctors. I know kids whose parents have pushed them to ignore their passions and go into medicine. Its one of the reasons why I am at times embarrassed to be indian. Of course, not all parents are like this, and although my parents were like this before, they have completely changed and now dont care what I do as long as I'm happy. </p>

<p>I was not aware the BS/MD kids dont turn out as good doctors as kids going the regular path. honestly, my goal is just to become the best doctor that I can be, and I'm just trying to figure out which route is better.</p>

<p>I'll write a list of Pros of BS/ MD (feel free to refute them)
1. No research/resume bulkers needed. This means you can spend time doing what you actually want to do (humanities, clinical experiences, volunteer work, getting an MBA, leadership). Yeah, its important to get a bit of research but I do feel like the whole research thing is COMPLETElY blown up.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Positive competitiveness. People work together to bring each other up, not push each other down.</p></li>
<li><p>A school not as ranking based/academically focused. This means more time to do other things, take more classes, and challenge yourself in other ways. (Plus no MCATS and not having to apply means you get more time too)</p></li>
<li><p>The obvious guarantee. This completely gets rid of so much of the stress there would be in the normal application process.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>"Settling" depends on the program, I suppose. Would you go to that Undergrad/Medical School even if you did not have a guarantee?</p>

<p>I have never met anyone that regretted the decision to become a part of a "top" program. (This includes physicians that have been practicing for 20+ years who went to several different programs, all the way down to current students - all people that I know personally.) I know I am happy - I was very fortunate to have a lot of choices between top undergrad schools without the program, (Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc.), and what are generally considered top Multiple Degree programs, (PLEME, Rice/Baylor, HPME, WashU, etc.), and I do not regret my decision. MY opinion reflects MY experiences. </p>

<p>IMO, the bottom line is YOU need to make your own decision. Being informed is wise, but letting other people and their opinions make the decision for you is not. Just like me, everyone has their own opinion, gleaned from their experiences. Don't make anyone's opinion (including mine) your opinion. When making my decisions, I place the heaviest weight on the opinion of someone that I know and respect - Which lends to the fact that you do not know me, and most likely not anyone else on these forums. So don't stress. DO what YOU feel is best for YOU. In the end if YOU make the decision it will be a good one for YOU!</p>

<p>
[quote]
I was not aware the BS/MD kids dont turn out as good doctors as kids going the regular path.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>That's not what I said.</p>

<p>I said they didn't perform as well in medical school. </p>

<p>If your aim is to become a neurosurgeon or plastic surgeon or dermatologist, you should care about how you'll perform. I haven't seen too many BS/MD's volunteer to become family physicians in underserved areas. Most of them want to be neurosurgeons ;)</p>

<p>How well your medical school performance correlates with your eventual aptitude as a clinician, well, that's a whole other debate.</p>

<p>I know and understand the disparities, and I never said we should ignore race altogether. Also, having been to a couple of interviews, I know that most applicants seem to be Asian. But I will reiterate, name-calling is not appropriate.</p>

<p>^as an indian with fairly conservative, traditional parents, I dont find it entirely offensive, because it is partly true, but I would be careful in generalizing all indians/asians as narrow minded individuals. The reason many Indian parents want their kids to be doctor is because of the high esteem it is held with in India, where doctors are put on a very high pedestal. More reasonably though, many Indian parents are afraid of their kids becoming engineers because of the outsourcing in large companies. I live in a state where a lot of Asian parents work in Intel, many of them in fairly high positions, but there is a sense of job insecurity, so becoming adoctor is sort of a guaranteed high salary/long tenure. But, this is short-handing the Indian community and many parents. It is not a coincidence that many Indian kids want tobe doctors, and unfortunately a lot of them want to becuase of their parents. At my Miami HPME interview, it was fairly obvious that a lot of kids did not have genuine reasons for becoming physicians, but at the same time, there are a lot of kids who have a passion for the field. For me, my parents simply want me to enter a field where I can have job security/enjoy my time in that profession. My parents dont fit the stereotype, fortunately for me, so i would be careful in generalizing. In the end though, I agree, I bet a LOT of kids on this forum want to be doctors because of their parents, and they formulate insincere reasons to give at their interviews. Most likely though, its fairly obvious to see through that .</p>

<p>The only ones I'm going to apply to are Rice/Baylor and UCF/USF because I'm applying to both for undergrad anyway (UCF is a safety). I'm also applying to Brown as my 1st choice but I'm not going to waste my time applying to PLME, Brown itself is a pretty big reach.</p>

<p>And it seems to me that the only reason BS/MD students do worse than regular UD and Med students is that some get lazy. I'm not the lazy type when it comes to school so I think I could do quite well, in UD at least (and UCF UD for sure).</p>

<p>....that sounded arrogant lol</p>

<p>
[quote]

  1. No research/resume bulkers needed. This means you can spend time doing what you actually want to do (humanities, clinical experiences, volunteer work, getting an MBA, leadership). Yeah, its important to get a bit of research but I do feel like the whole research thing is COMPLETElY blown up.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I have to disagree here. In fact, I've made several posts in the regular premed forum about research. I am VERY positive on research. Things like soup kitchen volunteering or stapling papers in the ER, whatever. That's fluff you have to do for med schools. But, research you should at least try in college, whether you are in a BS/MD program or not. </p>

<p>In medical school, you are only going to have 1 summer to do meaningful research. If you have prior research experience, that'll help you make the most out of the summer. More importantly, you MUST MUST MUST read research articles in medical school and for the rest of your life if you want to stay current. Textbooks won't get you very far on your rotations. The attending the other day asked me, "This patient's primary care doctor put him on aspirin and plavix for the prevention of a second stroke. What do you think about that?" My reply, "Both aspirin and plavix have been shown to be individually effective in the secondary prevention of stroke but in patients taking BOTH of them, there's no additional mortality benefit. Instead, studies have shown increased risk of bleeding. So, we should take this patient off aspirin." That's how you earn honors in med school.</p>

<p>If you are allergic to PubMed or to reading primary research articles, please don't become a doctor. You need to understand statistical methods and research processes because as a physician you will need to critique articles and their conclusions. In private practice, when that hot ex-model drug rep flashes her pearly whites at you, you need to be able to recognize her BS. I don't know how many times I've had a drug rep tell me, "Drug X has been shown to lower incidence of stroke by 50%!!!" Yea, the risk was lowered from 0.1% to 0.05%. That really justifies me putting my patient on this $50/pill drug. That's why research is so important.</p>

<p>
[quote]
2. Positive competitiveness. People work together to bring each other up, not push each other down.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>This is overblown. Seriously, ask me (I went to Cornell), BDM (who went to Duke), or anyone else who went to a top college whether we had students "pushing us down." In fact, everyone was in the same boat and studied together. No one is ripping out notebook pages or sabotaging experiments. The atmosphere is not unlike what you'll experience in medical school: everyone will do try to do their best but in a friendly manner. </p>

<p>
[quote]
3. A school not as ranking based/academically focused. This means more time to do other things, take more classes, and challenge yourself in other ways. (Plus no MCATS and not having to apply means you get more time too)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>This is naivete talking. "Challenge yourself in other ways?" In the mid-90's, Cornell made the median grades of its courses open to all students with the expectation that students would take more challenging courses once they knew what the median grades were. The results?</p>

<p>Grade</a> Inflation at Cornell</p>

<p>Students aren't looking to "challenge" themselves. If you were looking to challenge yourself, you would be going the traditional pathway to med school. </p>

<p>
[quote]
4. The obvious guarantee. This completely gets rid of so much of the stress there would be in the normal application process.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I agree.</p>

<p>Too bad the stress of premed is nothing compared to the stress you'll have in med school. I personally think it's easier to deal with a slow ramping up of stress rather than have stress suddenly shoot up when you start med school.</p>

<p>@ jasonleb1</p>

<p>If you are applying to Rice/Baylor, PLEME is not a reach.</p>

<p>Well Rice/Baylor is definitely a reach, but I'm applying because, from what I've heard, it's significantly easier to get into than PLME.</p>

<p>"for a BS/MD student, the last meaningful, pressure-packed test you may have taken would've been the SAT in high school! Ever wonder why BS/MD programs are either shrinking or getting eliminated altogether? Med schools basically found that the students on average didn't perform up to their traditional peers in med school"</p>

<p>Well, do you have proof? that BS/MD student USMLE scores worse than normal route ones? Otherwise, why Brown PLME, Rice/Baylor has such good residency match list year over year (does it have something to do with USMLE score ...), and their BS/MD programs continue to flourish .. </p>

<p>I kept hearing that BS/MD program students are lazy, or will become lazy, again, there is no scientific evidence, period. It all depends on you, and each school is different. </p>

<p>In Asia, most of their doctors come directly from high school graduates. Have you ever heard their doctors perform poorer than the U.S. doctors (most after college graduates)? no, U.S. med school may switch their admission route totally from high schoolers in the future, you never know ...</p>

<p>@jasonleb1
I have to strongly disagree with that statement, but again that's my opinion based on my experiences.<br>
Good luck!</p>

<p>hey working what program or undergrad did you ending up choosing and why? </p>

<p>As for the whole Indian parents thing, I have seen people get constantly pushed by their parents. Someone I know was pushed to do medicine by parents (who are both doctors) and now is taking a year off after 3rd year to do research at NIH. Honestly, it sucks, but its not like she has to practice. One of the things about an MD is that it opens many doors. One can teach, be a research physician, or advise a company as a doctor--practicing is not the only thing. </p>

<p>I'm leaning towards attending a normal undergraduate school and probably entering medical school through the traditional route</p>

<p>BigFire, there is scientific evidence. If you do a search on pubmed, you can find research done on the BS/MD programs of Jefferson, LSU, UMKC, Miami, etc. I did not originally site them because I am not a fan of their methodology. A lot of the research studies done on BS/MD programs were done at a time when traditional applicants were a lot less competitive. And even then some of the studies have shown higher attrition rates, lower perception of maturity, and lower medical school grades with students in accelerated programs. There hasn't been very many studies done recently. But, we do know that the HPME program has explicitly stated that it has concerns about the performance of HPME students in med school (this was before they cut the program in half). And I do know from interviewing at many medical schools, some of which have BS/MD programs, that BS/MD students don't always perform as well. Again, why is it that many programs have been shutdown? UCLA Med used to have a program. Michigan Med used to have a program. Other programs are shrinking. Even if they don't publish the results, I can tell you that ALL medical schools keep internal records of how well their students are doing. </p>

<p>I hate to tell you but we are not moving in the direction of Asian countries. Instead, our 6-year accelerated programs are dying. HPME used to be a 6-year program. Then it became a 7-year program. Then it got cut in half. Other 6-year programs are now 7 and 8 year programs. Other 7 and 8 year programs are being cut or eliminated. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Have you ever heard their doctors perform poorer than the U.S. doctors (most after college graduates)?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Their USMLE pass rates are significantly worse than the pass rates of US students despite the fact most of them have already completed medical school and spend over a year studying for it while US medical students take the USMLE on 2 years of medical education with only 5 weeks to study.</p>

<p>So, yes, they do perform worse. </p>

<p>The caveat is that they are taking OUR boards so it's somewhat of an unfair comparison as their medical school may not have taught to the USMLE.</p>

<p>A note on match lists: USELESS. Unless you understand how the match works or which residency programs are good, you can't evaluate match lists. UCLA Medical School had 2 students match into derm 1 year (which isn't great) and 10 students the next year (which is out of this world). It has to do with how many students in a given class want to do derm.</p>