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Oct 27, 2013
Hey, I am a Texas resident who was accepted to a BS/MD program at SUNY Upstate, and am waiting on results from Texas Tech Lubbock, FAU, and Texas A&M. On the other hand, I was accepted to the University of Florida undergrad with a full ride and honors. I'm at a crossroads and need to decide whether I should move to New York and take the program at Upstate, move to Florida and take the acceptance to UF (but I will still have my Texas residency), or take the Texas A&M or TTech program.

To put things into further context, I already have two years worth of dual enrollment credits completed from a four year accredited institution via an early college program, so I have already completed all of my pre med reqs including Ochem 2, stats, physics, etc. I have a 4.0 BCPM, and moving forward in college, I assume that I will have less trouble in maintaining my GPA since I have already gotten through many of the weedout science courses.

Additionally, I am interested in pursuing emergency medicine, as I am a certified EMT and have had a lot of fun doing my job in the ER, but this interest may be subject to change so I am keeping all of my options open.

Now I will go in depth into my two top choice BS/MD programs and what they have to offer:

SUNY Upstate Accelerated Scholars 4+4 program

I have to study at SUNY Polytechnic, an undergraduate feeder for the medical school I am going to.

Polytechnic is not very well reputed, but they are willing to accept all of my transfer credits and allow me to graduate in two years. However, Upstate will only allow me to matriculate ONE year early, so I have a gap year where I am free to work and seek employment to hopefully establish NY residency and in turn receive in-state tuition. Polytechnic will cost me probably $20,000 a year for two years.

Upstate has waived my requirements for the MCAT examination, so a huge stress has been alleviated from my shoulders. Moreover, I only need to maintain a 3.5 GPA requirement in any major of my choice (I will be pursuing Community and Behavioral Health here)

Upstate has a decent match list for emergency med, but it is limited to the Northeast and upper NY, so they seem to lack connections with west coast institutions, which is where I would like to hopefully end up for residency. The school itself has a high cost of attendance (~68k a year for IS), and I have heard varying reviews on how good of an institution it is.

Texas A&M S2M

This program is in state for me and much closer to home, and is ranked fairly low in the national medical school rankings. I have not seen A&M's actual match list, but the pamphlet I received during my interview indicated that they had very little difficulty in matching students into top specialties, albeit predominantly in the state of Texas.

They are also willing to accept my credits, and might allow me to matriculate a year early as well. Furthermore, the school only costs ~46k a year, so it seems to be a very cheap option for in state residents. I will have to score a 509 on the MCAT and maintain a 3.5 GPA in order to remain eligible for this program while majoring in Cell Biology at A&M. I will also have some of my high school friends at A&M, so I will not be going in alone.

My other top choice is going the regular undergrad route at the University of Florida, an outstanding institution where I have received a full ride and admittance to their honors program. They will most likely also accept many of my credits, so I will have already gotten past the weedout classes here. However, I would have to go through the med school applications process which, from what I have heard, is very grueling and difficult. I am well aware that medicine is a long and hard road, so if I chose this path, I would not take it lightly and work to the best of my ability to make it to the end. However, there is always a chance that things may go very wrong, and since I am 100% committed to becoming a doctor, I am not sure if going here would be the right choice...

Please give me some advice on the path I should take. I am very fortunate to have even one acceptance at this early of an age, but I would like to make the most sensible decision before I commit to something which might seem like a good idea now, but play out very badly for me in the future. If I were to take the BS/MD route at Upstate, I would have a very easy undergraduate experience, but I would be in almost $300,000 worth of debt, whereas if I were to go to A&M, I would be in around $200,000 worth of debt. I have no issue with incurring this much since both schools will give me the chance to become an attending physician a year earlier, so I can start paying them off faster, but I want to make sure that they provide me with the resources and support I need to match into EM at an institution preferrably in the West Coast region of the U.S.

I would very much appreciate some thorough answers that address my concerns, and I apologize if any of the assumptions or statements I have made may come off as inexperienced of irrational. Please feel free to correct me if you believe I have a fundamental misunderstanding of medical school and my education!

My opinion on this can be summed up with "1 in the hand is worth 2 in the bush" that comes to mind. Matriculating 1 year early effectively making is 3+4 without the stress of the MCAT, applying, traveling for interviews, etc at a total cost of $40-60k in tuition (depending on if you take a 3rd year of course work or a year off) sounds more worth it. The TX school isn't available yet and appears to be about twice the cost. The FL program sounds nice in that it's free, but you don't get any other benefits out of it.
Oct 14, 2011
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Wow... congratulations! I think you have a lot of options, so it is a question of what you want out of your undergraduate education versus what guarantees you want in getting you to medical school. The thing to remember is that you need an environment that will be supportive of your transition years and assurances that you will have adequate (or more than adequate) guidance and mentoring prior to getting your white coat.

Yes, student debt is a factor, so any financial assistance you can get, especially early in undergraduate, will help you later because you have to operate like there are no scholarships in medical school (because there aren't).

If your aspirations are in line with SUNY Upstate and you don't mind living up there for seven or eight years, the opportunity to choose your own major, take appropriate prerequisites, and not stress over the MCAT is optimal. Find out more from those students in the medical school part of the BS/MD track how much support they got, how much advice they were able to get from undergraduate and medical school staff, and what are the problems they didn't anticipate, including financial aid consequences between undergraduate and graduate/professional.

One should also be careful that if there is an MCAT requirement to find out how many students did not make that threshold or didn't meet the GPA requirement. What happens if you don't qualify is a key question.

Don't try to rush your undergraduate completion. You need to find opportunities to mature and get insight about the lives of those who are not like you and in vulnerable populations before you even start working with patients.
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