Any student interested in going into medicine knows the importance of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), the test you need to get into medical school. The MCAT is notoriously difficult, and students usually spend months, preparing. Many of the items assessed on it won’t be covered in class. All those weeks of study are sure to help, but they’re no guarantee of a great score. Some students, for example, just aren’t great test takers, and no matter how much they prepare for the MCAT, their test results don’t reflect the skills they need to get into medical school.
The average MCAT for all medical school applicants is between 504 and 505, and the average for students actually accepted into medical school is between 510 and 511. Ivy League schools such as Harvard boast an average MCAT score from accepted applicants of 518 out of a maximum possible score of 528. With average scores well below the scores needed to get accepted, it’s no wonder that many students would prefer to skip the MCAT on the journey to getting into medical school.
Fortunately, many schools provide BS/MD programs that don’t require taking the MCAT for acceptance. BS/MD programs are combined programs provided by schools that allow students to first earn their bachelor of science degree before automatically progressing into medical school and earning their medical degree. Here are four to think about.
University of Rochester
The Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program at the University of Rochester prides itself on removing much of the stress of the traditional path to pursuing a medical degree. REMS is a combined eight-year BA/BS + MD program that gives highly motivated undergraduate students the opportunity to gain early admission to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry while also exempting the MCAT. Additionally, students in the REMS program are mentored by Rochester’s highly renowned faculty members, working closely beside them to get the highest quality medical education and practical experience with the School of Medicine’s innovative approach to medicine. An important part of the enrichment culture of REMS is being able to attend seminars and social events, giving students valuable networking opportunities.
To be considered for the REMS program, students must complete the University of Rochester’s Common Application by November 15 and indicate interest REMS on the application. Students selected as finalists will be notified in January and interviewed by the School of Medicine and Dentistry in March, with notification of admission in April. Though no minimum SAT or ACT score is specified, admitted students typically perform exceptionally well on these tests. Additionally, most applicants earn an unweighted high school GPA of 3.95 and rank in the top 3 percent of their graduating class. Gaining medical experience, such as volunteering at a hospital or shadowing a physician, as well as non-medical extracurricular activities, are also considered representative of the kind of student that will do well in REMS.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University offers the Undergraduate to Medical School Initiative for highly motivated and gifted students who want to bypass the MCAT to go straight into medical school. Students spend four years earning their undergraduate degree at Texas Tech before being admitted to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. As mentioned, students are able to waive the MCAT, but they must be able to demonstrate evidence of significant activity in the medical field either in a hospital or a clinical setting. Students must also be residents of Texas and have a minimum ACT score of 29 or a minimum SAT score of 1360. Texas Tech gives preference to students who rank in the top 10% of their class.
The University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has a Guaranteed Admissions Program for outstanding high school seniors who have been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh and are interested in earning their medical degree. In order to be considered for this 8-year program, applicants must indicate interest in pre-medicine or bioengineering on their undergraduate application. There is no MCAT requirement, but candidates must earn the highest GPA possible under the most rigorous curriculum possible at their high school, earn minimum SAT I score of 1490 (combined Critical Reading and Math) or a minimum score of 34 on the ACT. Students meeting the required criteria will be asked to submit additional information in support of their candidacy. Students will be selected on the basis of their submissions to be invited for an interview by the School of Medicine. The School of Medicine bases its interview selections on the following:
- Academic performance
- Medically related experiences
- Research Experience, if available
- Community Service
- Two letters of recommendation (1 from either a school counselor or and teacher and the other from a person who knows the applicant through their participation in the activities above)
- An essay
Once accepted into the Guaranteed Admissions Program, students must meet a list of criteria, such as maintaining a high GPA and continuing to gain medical experiences, in order to maintain their acceptance into the program. Students will finish their undergraduate degree in four years and spend the next four years earning their medical degree in the School of Medicine.
Tufts University offers students an Early Assurance program that gives them guaranteed early acceptance into medical school without having to take the MCAT. To be eligible, students must first be accepted as an undergraduate student at Tufts University and demonstrate exceptional achievement in their undergraduate coursework. They must earn a cumulative science GPA of at least 3.5 as well as an overall GPA of at least 3.5. By the end of their sophomore year, applicants must also have completed at least two semesters of biology, two semesters of general chemistry, and one semester of organic chemistry. While there is no MCAT requirement, most applicants have a combined SAT Critical Reading and Math score above 1300 or an ACT Composite score above 30.
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