Congratulations! You’ve finally received admission to that dream dual degree medical program! Now that you’re in, these next 6 to 8 years should fly by with no worries, right? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. First of all, you do need to pat yourself on the back. Getting into one of these programs is notoriously difficult and requires tremendous effort and diligence on your part. However, many students and even their parents fall under many misconceptions once they have been accepted. I’m here to tell you the 5 misconceptions that every accepted BS/MD student should avoid believing about these combined medical programs.
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1. Grades Are No Longer Important
Dual degree medical programs provide a tremendous degree of security to accepted students. While it provides conditional acceptance to both college and medical school, there is still a tremendous amount of work required to actually obtain that undergraduate degree, as well as that MD. Life as an undergraduate student completing pre-med courses is certainly challenging and will not be easy just because medical school is guaranteed. Of course, the biggest beast of them all is medical school itself, which will make your undergraduate biochemistry course seem like a walk in the park. Thus, do not get into the misunderstanding that acceptances mean degrees. You have simply been given the means to pursue this profession with a certain level of security, however, that hard work is not included in your program acceptance. Trust me, I’ve read the fine print on the contract. Remember that based on the terms of your program requirements, you do not have to get anywhere near a perfect GPA. Many programs have a threshold GPA that students have to maintain in order to satisfy this component.
2. Medical School is Guaranteed
This one actually confuses a lot of people. Yes, medical school admission is given. However, it is a conditional acceptance. This means that one has to fulfill all the requirements of their program to actually be able to attend the partnering medical school. Some of the biggest requirements include maintaining a certain overall college and science GPA, as well as getting a threshold MCAT score, depending on the specific program. Other requirements may include volunteering, shadowing, or summer commitments. These requirements can usually be met with ease as programs provide plentiful time to accomplish all of the items that are necessary to complete. If you fail to meet any of these criteria, the medical school can potentially rescind your admission.
3. Your College Experience Will Be Significantly Different
The only difference between a college pre-med and a college pre-med in a medical program is that one is in the program while the other is not. Many students believe that their experience in a program will be much different than that of someone who is a traditional student, however, this is not entirely true. While some aspects will be different such as participating in certain program specific requirements, the majority of your undergrad experience will still be the same as that of any other pre-med student: surviving on coffee and ramen while spending too much time in the library. However, you do have the means to form bonds with your fellow program members as you all will be attending the same medical school one day. It is a great way to form bonds that will last a lifetime!
4. Your Future Profession is Set in Stone
Medicine is a long and arduous road and along the way many individuals realize that it isn’t the path for them. That is completely okay! Often times, the pursuit of a goal might seem more desirable than actually following through all the way. College serves as a time when people change in many ways, and interests are no exception. The path to becoming a physician is not a race where you have to finish. For many people, a different path might be more suitable. It’s completely acceptable to experiment. Take that intro to business course. Pursue that writing class. If anything, you might find a great hobby or secondary passion to continue alongside medicine. Do what is in your best interest!
5. Things Are Going to Get Easier
Look, getting into one of these programs means that you are already an extremely hard worker. To get top standardized test scores and a high class rank in your graduating class is no small feat. You’ve done all this work and you should be proud of that fact. However, do not let this distract you from the fact that things will actually get harder. As you enter college, the class content will come at a faster pace and it will be more difficult. Time management will soon become your best friend. When you enter medical school, the intensity of information and content that comes your way will increase. Don’t let these things get to you. At every stage, the current situation seems difficult, the future seems impossible, and only the past seems easy. As more is required of you every year, remember that you are becoming more capable of handling these difficulties. If things ever become too strenuous, remember that if you are capable of getting into a program, this means that people believe you are capable of completing it as well. All you need to do is start believing it yourself.
All that being said, remember that gaining admission to these selective programs does not make the route to becoming a physician completely void of any hard work. It does provide a bit of security in terms of the admissions process, but the difficulties do not end after being handed an admission letter. Do not let yourself fall under these misconceptions and good luck on your journey to becoming a healthcare professional! We are rooting for you!
This informational essay was written by Tanishk Gambhir, Texas A&M International Class of 2020. If you want to get help writing your Texas A&M or dual-degree program application essays from Tanishk or other Bullseye Admissions advisors, click here to schedule a free call.