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What are the pros and cons of a 6 year medical program?

I'm looking for a firsthand perspective from someone who was in one of these programs. I graduate in two years and was wondering if I should apply to a 6-year med program. healthcare medical medicine premed college major doctor medical-school

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Lqra,

Did not do a 6-year BA/MD myself but here's my two cents based on observing friends who went through it. One college friend did the 6 year program at UMKC:

1. Less tuition paid over time = less debt or no debt potentially. Money back in your pocket.
2. Earlier start to your career = money in your pocket earlier
3. Take the anxiety out of applying for med school and just focus on doing well = If you have a guaranteed or conditional seat, esp if you don't have to take the MCAT, you can just focus on school instead of all the other things that go into med school

1. Lack of life experience: You don't get the traditional 4-year college experience and have to sacrifice some social growth to have laser focus on becoming a doctor. This could potentially impact your bedside manner as a doctor and you could feel FOMO from witnessing friends having a typical experience
2. Lack of flexibility: If you decide medicine isn't for you or don't perform well, you might lose 1 year or 2 years of your life that you could have used on other things and you might have a low GPA
3. Tying yourself down to one place for 6 years: You might get bored or tired of being in the same general area for so long and want to experience other things. At this stage in your life, you want to explore as much as possible because it gets a lot harder later on when family and other responsibilities come into the picture.

My verdict: If you're competitive enough to get into a BA/MD program (harder than getting into most Ivy League schools), want to get the best ROI on your path to becoming a doctor by saving the most money, are set on becoming a doctor, and are willing to make the social sacrifices, it's worth it.

Hi Syed! Thank you so much for your answer, it really helped! UMKC is actually one of the schools I might be applying to. Do you or your friend have any tips on how to get accepted into such an accelerated program? Thank you again! Iqra T.

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi, Lqra!

It seems that the cons outweigh the pros in the accelerated program. As a result, universities are closing these programs in the US (e.g. University of Texas at Dallas/University of Texas Southwestern) due to the issues that have arisen.

I don't have firsthand experience going through the program, but I have worked with many students who have considered this option. In the end, even the students who were accepted choose not to attend for a variety of reasons.

I would encourage you to make a list of criteria that you're looking for in an university and prioritize them. With that information, you can better evaluate each option and make an educated decision. Everyone is different, and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. You want to match your strengths, expectations, and goals with those of the institutions in finding a good fit.

Wishing you all the best in your search!

Thanks for the honest answer! Iqra T.

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Estelle’s Answer

The biggest pros are the guarantee of admission and the quicker finish. The biggest cons are not being able to go to a different school for a change of pace and being locked into career path at such a young age. Good luck!