7-years BS/MD program

(chia sẻ của anh Nghiêm Xuân Hùng - Exryu USA)


What is the 7-years BS/MD program?

While the typical way to get the MD degree is first getting a 4-year undergraduate degree, then apply and go to medical school for another 4 years (total 8 years), the 7-year bs/md program provides a shortcut of saving one year: you go to an undergraduate school for 3 years, and then start medical school on the 4th year.

Usually the institution would give you the BS degree at the end of your first year at medical school - they consider your first year of medical school as the substitute for your 4th year undergraduate.

Some programs do it in 6 years: 2 years undergraduate and 4 years medical - all 6 years without summer vacation!!!

One of the main benefits of this bs/md program is that you know right from the beginning (first year after high school) that you are guaranteed admission to medical school.  This takes a lot of pressure off you while you are going thru college.

While the pre-med majors have to struggle to get very good grades, to participate in many ex-curr. as he can, and study hard for the MCAT, you can relax and take it easy.

Who offers this BS/MD program ?

The info below is based on my research 10 years ago.  However, I think it still pretty much accurate - The following schools offer the bs/md program.

Some of them offer both the bs and the md part, some of them offer the program jointly with another school: one undergraduate school and one med. school.  Looks like most of the programs are on the East coast - may be just because my search was concentrated on the East at that time.

1. Michigan University (both    undergraduate and med school)  takes in about 25 students into this program each year - no special requirements for application beyond the normal x hours of chem, x hours of bio etc..

2. NorthWestern (the med school is Chicago Medical - right in downtown Chicago) - about 30 students each year.

3. Brown - while most of the med schools mentioned here would take about 1/3 of its students from the 7-year program, the other 2/3 from the "normal applicants" (those who finished 4 year undegrad and then apply),  Brown is unique, all its medical students come from the 7-year program - i believe it takes about 50 students each year.

4. UMDNJ (Univ of Med & Dentistry of NJ) - this med school offers the 7-year program together with many colleges - for the undergraduate part (first 3 yrs), you can go to: NJ College (used to be Trenton State), Stevens Tech., Drew College, Boston Univ., Out of the 70 freshmen each year, it takes about 25 from the 7-yr program - Application req: 1350 SAT and top ten in high school. UMDNJ has an open house day each year in May to introd the 7-yr program to prospective applicants.

5. Jefferson Medical: the under graduate part is at Penn State - about 35 students per year - Application Req: 1300 SAT - top ten- This is the only school that gave out statistics on its applicant: in 1993, there were 1400 applications, 300 were invited to interview, and 38 were admitted.

This program is only 6 years: 2 years at Penn State and 4 years at Jefferson Medical - no summer vacation !!  Jefferson also has an open house on the program don't remember which month.

6. Albany Medical: together with RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic-this is where I went after coming from Japan) - also 6 years - about 20 students each year - you have the first summer off (the one right after  high school)

7. Villanova

8. NYU: takes in only 2 or 3 students each year - we sent in application and they never sent anything back - not even a reject letter - Note that for most of the school above, if they reject you (for the 7-yr program), would usually offer you admission just to their undergraduate part.

9. I heard Georgetown, Michigan State, a school in Allentown area (don't know name), Stony Brooks also offer 7-yr program but i never checked them out.

What is the application process:

You apply thru the undergrad school of the program - on the application form of the undergrad schools listed above, there is either a check box to indicate your interest in the 7-year program, or there is an extra form you have to fill in.  The undegrad school catalog usually has a paragraph or so about the program.

Most schools want you to write an essay - some schools ask for 2 or 3 essays – usually along the line "why do you want to study medical" - the typical response is " I want to help people" and"i want a worthwhile profession" etc. etc.  But if you say i want to help people, it would be helpful if your resume shows that you volunteered 2 summer for the red-cross or the salvation army i.e show that you do what you say.

If you say you like working as a doctor – then it's better if your resume shows that you did work one or two summers in a hospital -know what the doctors do - and you still like it.

Most schools need the application in Nov or Dec of your senior year.  If the school is interested in you, it would first invite you to an interview at the undergraduate school, then if you pass that stage, they'll invite you back for the interview at the medical school.  You'll know by April if you are in or not.

What are the advantages of the 7-yr program:

1. Save one year - to me this is not the main advantage of this program.

2. Save you the pressure: this is the main one. While going the normal route - you are not sure if you'll make it to med school or not - Therefore you have to work real hard to get high GPA, study like mad for the MCAT,and at the same time do as many ex-curr. as you can so that you can put them on the med school application.

For students in the 7-yr program, they can relax once they are in the program – most program requires that you maintain 3.5 GPA while in the undergrad part - but for those students who can make it into the program, maintaining 3.5 is not a very hard task.  Most 7-yr programs also ask you to take the MCAT -  but it's for reference only- they won't kick you out just because you get a low score on MCAT.

What are the disadvantages:

1. As you can see from the list above – the medical schools on the list are not high-rank medical schools.  Critics of this program say that for the students who has the caliber to get into 7-yr program, if they follow the normal route, they would get into much better medical school later.  Actually getting into med school is not that hard - i believe each year there are about 20,000 slots for about 50,000 applicants, so the admitting ratio is about 2/5, not a very challenging task compared to what we faced back in VN (Saigon U took in about150 students to its med school - don't know how many applied, must be 10,000 or more)

2. Critics say for students just coming out of high school, do they know what they really want to do in life - would the decision to go medical a pre-mature one?there is right and there is wrong to this argument-for people like me,closed to50, I still don't know what I want to do in life –

Also if you are in the program,and at the end of the third year, if you are no longer interested in medical school, you can still use all the college credits you've earned so far and apply them toward another major.

Give me some info about what going thru med school ooks like

First year is the most grueling year - you study about the human body – including anatomy where you have to cut up the real body (for those guys or girls who are afraid of blood-from what I heard, nobody has given up medical school just because he/she did not have enough courage to do this - I think this is due to peer pressure-if she can do it, then

I can do it - also you do it as a team, 3 or 4 students on one body - so you can lean on each other for support) - 2nd year is when you study about the diseases - and how to cure them.

At end of 2nd year you also have to take the first part of the MSLE board exam.

From 3rd year you no longer have togo to classroom, you will go to hospital, spend about 4 to 6 weeks in each specialties- basically just follow the real doctors and observe more than doing anything.

4th year is spentalso in hospital,butat a much less hectic schedule - you'll spend a lot of time interviewing for residency. basically just a lot of hard work during the 1st and 2nd year- but it's not difficult-The drop out rate of med students is only about 2 or 3%,which is much lower compared to other professional schools.

What does it cost (this is for the parents !!)

It depends-undergrad tuition ranges from $4k a year (forTrenton state,Pennstate)to $2x a yr(RPI, Brown) Med school tuition ranges from $15K a year for State medical college to $3xK a year for private med school.

There are many types of loan for med students.

What happens after Med school:

During the 4th year, you'll start interviewing for residency - you'll pick a field you want to do (based on your likes/dislikes from the rotations)

Some of the fields are:

- Family practice

- Pediatric

- Dermatology (very difficult to get in

make lots of money with few emergency calls)

- surgery

- internal medicine

etc...

residency usually lasts 3 years, and then after that, you can go on the fellowship to study

further - for example, if you want to be a cardiologist, then you go for 3 years of internal medicine residency, then another 3 or 4 years of cardio - so it's a long process

Usually you interview about 10 or 15 hospitals where you want to do residency, and then

rank them in your preference and send your list in - the hospitals will also rank all the applicants and then there is a matching process that match the applicants to the hospitals - and hopefully you'll get into your first or second choice.

You get'll paid about $40K a year during residency, but the hours are very hectic,  specially during the first year.