As I was driving by my cable company last week, I decided to go and pay my bill. I could have called or paid it online, but I am glad I went in. My number finally came up. That is when I met Nigel at Time Warner Cable. We engaged in small talk and since my daughter was with me, he decided to tell me about his children while looking at my account. He had a teenage son. I asked if his son was strong in Math and Science. Nigel indicated that he was which led me to tell him that his son could possibly go directly from high school to medical school. Nigel was shocked to find this out as are most who hear this. I told Nigel that if his son were so inclined, he could go to medical school directly from high school. He wanted to know more but we were almost done with my transaction. I promised I would email him some links but I am one-upping my promise. Nigel will get the benefits of just a little research effort into this arena.
I compiled a few lists from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and other websites. Some of the information overlaps, but not all the sites list all the schools that offer direct from high school programs. So if any of you want to find out a little more, you will have to be diligent in your research. It is not an easy task but eventually worth it for future doctors. I think the preparation and application process alone could be a course easily worth a semester of college credit. When I was in high school umpteen years ago, I could have never imagined that any kids could get into medical school upon graduation. But we are in a new day and time. I once worked with a young lady who was in one such program and told me about it. In 2012, programs have expanded and are going strong. So Nigel and other parents can research and be well informed of the programs, the process and the financial commitment it would take for their child to become a doctor if he or she so desires.
There are colleges and universities offering combined BA/BS/MD programs that some high schoolers are headed to after graduation. BA/MD or BS/MD programs offer a great opportunity for a mature student who is sure that he or she wants to become a physician. They are tough to get into and require a firm commitment. Some are accelerated taking 6 years. Some will be 8 year programs. Not all programs are for high school graduates but a good deal of them are. Students and parents have to research the schools and the process as it can be grueling. One good thing is that some schools will not require that dreaded MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). But later students will have to take various exams and boards.
Make no mistake about it top students tend to be accepted into these programs but that should not discourage C students from applying. Upon completion, students graduate with a BS or BA degree, along with the MD. Although students of all ages embarking on these programs, there are medical doctors graduating in their twenties. There is no short cut per se, but one year less in an accelerated program could mean the difference of several thousand in student loans one (or one’s parents) will not have to take. Medical school in any amount of time will prove costly. Unless on a full ride scholarship, that is another reason that one has to be sure that they have the aptitude and fortitude to survive the rigors of medical school education as well as the personality and desire to deal with patients. Remember you have to be on the ball with the financial aid office.
I can’t stress researching enough. Get all the information you can find, call, email and go to see administrators at the various schools as to be informed. Googling you can find a listing of schools that offer the combined and/or accelerated joint programs. For some reason, not all of the schools are listed so I suggest looking at them all.
Because blacks are underrepresented in health care, some schools offer programs designed to help minorities get into medical school and offer them the support they need to be successful throughout their tenure. Not everyone needs these programs including young black men and women. Many of our children are super intelligent anyway and can do just fine on their SATs or ACTs, MCAT and state boards upon graduation. But for those students who may struggle a bit, or just need some academic assistance, these programs can make a world of difference. This could be the crucial dividing point or watershed moment where one can continue to follow that dream or give up that dream. Everyone deserves a chance. Contact each school to ask if there is additional support for the black and minority students while still in high school. The American Medical Association (AMA) has great scholarship information.
Should your shining star student decide to go the traditional route, there are programs designed specifically for minority students. Again, not every one needs help but for those who do, the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is a free (full tuition, housing, meals) six week summer academic enrichment program the offers to freshmen and sophomore college students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation. Twelve schools across the country offer SMDEP. Black EXCEL’s initiaive is dedicated to helping black students get into medical school. They work with schools that are members of the Minority Medical Education Program (MMEP). The programs show you what it takes to become a physician and what it takes to get into medical school. If you are accepted to one of these programs, you will receive counseling, work in a laboratory, receive academic and MCAT test training, and you will interact with a mentor and other students. BLACK EXCEL thinks involvement is wise if you are serious about entering this profession. See their website for more details.
And for those who get undergraduate degrees in areas other than biology or the natural sciences and then decide they want to become doctors, there are options. They have to go back to school and get the sciences or other classes they lack in order to increase their chances of acceptance. This is additional education is called a Post Baccalaureate. One of my friends had to go back and do a year of science after not being accepted to medical school. She got the completed the required classes successfully and was accepted to medical school the next year. Now she is a neurologist in the 3rd year of her internship.
Minorities in Medicine – AAMC
The AAMC is committed to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medical education. Their resources can help as you pursue a career in medicine. This site provides information related to minority medical student preparation, the medical education pipeline, and financial aid opportunities. Best of luck to all the future doctors out there.
Good Information to Know