(Westborough, MA, U.S.A.)
I'm a high school freshman. I've decided that I want to be a neurosurgeon when I grow up, so I want to go to medical school. But I don't want to spend half of my career in school, and that's why I want to go to a six year BS/MD program.
I'm not sure if I have what it takes to get into those programs, but some of my "achievements" (in one year of high school) are listed below:
Courses that I'm taking in school:
1. Physical Science Honors (Grade: B+)
2. Intro to Engineering (Grade: A+)
3. Algebra II Honors (Grade: A+)
4. French II Honors (Grade: A)
5. Health (Grade: A)
6. English 9 Honors (Grade: B+)
7. History 9 Honors (Grade: A-)
Courses outside of school:
1. BYU Independent study Biology 100 (Grade: A+)
1. Cross country
2. Volunteer at a law firm as a technical and front desk person
3. Have my own online business (I started it about a month ago...my profit is already $1500:))
4. Student doctor (I shadowed a kidney surgeon for a few weeks - it isn't official, but I got to see many kidney operations, etc.)
5. Math team (I'm ranked in my district)
If I keep up my grades and activities, what are my chances of getting into an accelerated program? Into an Ivy League college?
What are some well reputed six year BS/MD programs?
How can I prepare for college? I've already finished my SATs. I was looking at some online premed courses for high schoolers, but I wasn't able to get very far - the courses didn't seem "right". Do you recommend any such courses?
You are doing everything that you need to be to get into one of the BS/MD programs.
The best advice would be to continue to excel while in high school both academically and with extracurricular activities (volunteering, sports, medically related activities, hobbies, etc.). You want to be a very well-rounded applicant when it is time for you to apply to college and you already possess many of those traits and characteristics already.
I cannot tell you your chances of getting into one of the accelerated programs and if someone says they can I would take their advice with a grain of salt. But if you are definitely set on attending one of BS/MD programs I would begin to contact the schools individually and get feedback about what type of GPA and SAT/ACT scores accepted students present with. This will allow you to determine how competitive you will be when you are ready to apply.
Again, the same advice goes for the Ivy League colleges as well when it comes to your chances of getting accepted. No one can accurately predict your chances because the admissions committee at each school has their own set of criteria they are looking when filling each entering class. So although cliche "just continue to be the best student possible and maintain your extracurricular activities."
In preparing for college I would encourage you to complete as many of the Advanced Placement (AP) courses as you can because this will allow you to opt out of many of the introductory courses once you get to college. And for your parents/guardians it means you'll graduate sooner and they will see reduced tuition bills. Overall, I think you simply need to continue to do more of what you are already doing and you should do well when applying to colleges.
Also, do not feel completely obligated to choose courses that are solely towards improving your application for medical school whether in high school or college. Medical schools like students with all types of majors, so I encourage you to take a course purely to satisfy your intellectual curiosity or because it is a subject you are passionate about.
At your age be sure to enjoy life and your high school years along with college. Do not fully immerse yourself in academics that you miss out on what life has to offer. As my physician mentor says, "You have to take time to smell the roses, you can't work/study all the time." So find the balance in everything and you will find that you will get more out of life!
I can understand that you do not want to spend all of your life in school, but be aware that medicine is a lifelong pursuit where there will be many demands placed upon you and your time. The learning does not end once your receive your MD: you have residency and also boards to prepare for. Additionally, you have to continue to stay current with the latest medical studies/research/breakthroughs and take continuing medical education (CME) credits so that you can maintain your certification and be able to provide the best care to your future patients.
But medicine is extremely rewarding and a great profession to enter. Also going back to your age I always tell students that you are young and will have many life experiences. Which may also mean that you realize medicine is not something you wish to pursue for whatever reason and that is totally fine. You have to know your own motivations for medicine and as your advance in college along with mature with age you may realize there is something else which you are more passionate about. So I just caution anyone to not get "locked-in" to medicine especially when not in college yet.
I do believe the BS/MD programs are a great route for students who have done their homework on the medical profession and know the demands of the profession but more importantly know themselves.
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