If you are planning to apply to combined BS/MD programs, early planning is essential. These programs vary in their admission requirements and developing the extracurricular resume that will make you a competitive candidate will take advance planning.
• Consider your math and science curriculum. Outstanding grades are a must, as is a commitment to maintaining them in college. Your grades, however should come from many of the more challenging course offerings in your high school. Many BS/MD programs will look carefully at your entire curriculum, but also pay extra attention to your math and science preparation.
• Plan for Standardized Testing. The test requirements for these programs also vary. Some will require SAT II exams, and might specify which ones. As you consider your long-range plans, it is best to take the SAT II exams while the material is fresh in your mind. Are you taking chemistry in school this year? If so, think about taking the chemistry SAT II next spring. For the most selective of the combined programs, successful applicants are presenting excellent test scores as well as grades. If you need time to prepare for the SAT or ACT, then allow for it and research your test prep options.
• Focus on research or health related experiences. Your exposure to the health care field is paramount in confirming your commitment to the field of medicine. Volunteer experience and physician shadowing are two ways that you can gain experience in a health care setting. Scientific research will give you the tools you need as a medical student to understand the changes in the field of medicine. While many science fair projects will guide you through the scientific method, a more complex, longer term project under the mentorship of a local college professor will offer more exposure to the type of scientific study you will undertake in medical school.
If you think these combined and/or accelerated programs interest you, begin planning as early as possible and keep an open mind regarding all of your undergraduate and graduate school options.