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Articles / Applying to College / Medical School Straight from High School for International Student?

Nov. 13, 2017

Medical School Straight from High School for International Student?

Question: Can I go to a medical school after a high school if high school in my country is harder than in the US and we can study more biology and chemistry if we want to go to med school?

American medical schools do not admit students who have not attended college, regardless of the practices in their home country. In fact, some American medical schools do not accept ANY international students at all, so check carefully when the time comes to apply.


There are, however, some US colleges and universities that offer combined BA/MD programs or BS/MD programs. Students apply to these programs while in high school, and the programs allow them to go straight from their undergraduate college to medical college without reapplying. Some of these programs require the students to still take the MCAT (which is the standardized med school admissions test) and some do not. Some of these programs are "accelerated" (meaning that students complete them in less than the usual 8 years that it normally takes to earn a medical degree after high school).

But these programs have EXTREMELY high admission standards. Students who are accepted at any of them are almost always at the top of their high school class, have outstanding SAT or ACT scores, have participated in medical-related activities throughout high school, and can clearly articulate their commitment to a career in medicine. And, again, not all of these "combo" programs will admit international candidates (and those few that do are often even more competitive for international applicants than for U.S. applicants ... which is a pretty scary thought since they're so tough for even the domestic applicants!).

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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