FAQs

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Rural Physicians Scholarship Program Home
  • Undergraduate FAQ

    When can I apply for the undergraduate (pre-matriculation) phase?

    Plan to complete the application 2½ years before you aspire to enter medical school. For the traditional applicant, this is the sophomore year. The application window is only open September 1-February 15 each year. 

    What are these prerequisite courses for the pre-matriculation phase?

    Applicants must complete 8 hours of General Biology with lab, 8 hours of General Chemistry with lab, and 6 hours of math including College Algebra and Trigonometry or 3 hours of Calculus. Additionally, students must complete either 8 hours of Organic Chemistry with lab or 8 hours of Physics with lab prior to acceptance in MRPSP. Students can be enrolled in one or more of these courses during the spring semester when applying for the program, but must have completed by the end of the spring semester.

    What overall or BCPM GPA is required to be accepted into the program?

    Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 BCPM GPA (biology, chemistry, physics and math) and cumulative GPA in order to apply. However, competition for the 15-20 slots available in the pre-matriculation phase is very competitive, so better grades help make you a better candidate. Courses that are not taught in the biology, chemistry, physics, and math departments will not be evaluated in the BCPM GPA.

    How many positions are available in the pre-matriculation program?

    Twenty two-year participants are selected each year. The number of one-year participants is dependent on the vacant slots in the group preceding the initiates.

    What does it mean to apply as an 1-year applicant?

    Typically, only 1-5 one-year applicants are selected each year, and do not have the advantage to be considered as a direct admitted student. There are no MCAT prep resources given, and the student will only participate in Medical Encounters III and IV.

    How do I know if need to apply as a 1- or 2-year applicant?

    Students applying as a two-year applicant plan to begin medical school two years after applying for the MRPSP undergraduate program. If the applicant plans to start medical school within one year of applying for the program, then you would choose to be a one year applicant. If the applicant has plans to graduate within a year of applying, he/she can still apply as a two-year applicant. Sometimes MRPSP undergraduates will wait an extra year to apply for medical school to have the benefit of being a two year applicant even if they've already completed an undergraduate degree.

    What are the advantages of being a 2-year participant rather than 1 year?

    Two-year participants receive Direct Admissions consideration, free MCAT prep including study materials and practice tests, access to four Medical Encounters events, and two years of physician shadowing.

    What is Direct Admission?

    Top two-year candidates who successfully interview with the executive director and physicians from the MRPSP Board of Directors are invited to interview with the UMMC School of Medicine Admissions Committee. If the Admissions Committee believes the applicant has the potential to grow into a competent, competitive medical student, the applicant is granted Direct Admissions status and admission into MRPSP.

    If granted Direct Admissions status, am I automatically accepted into UMMC's School of Medicine when I earn my baccalaureate? 

    No! The Admissions Committee will re-evaluate each student's file once the AMCAS application and UMMC secondary application are complete, a satisfactory MCAT score is on file and all required letters and transcripts have been received.

    In addition to good grades, what else can I do to enhance my chances of being selected?

    MRPSP seeks candidates with a demonstrated history of volunteerism, excellent time management skills, strong work ethic, leadership skills and initiative. It also is essential that applicants have been involved in physician shadowing at the time of applying. Applicants without rural primary care shadowing experience will not be considered.

    Can I be eligible for the pre-matriculation phase if I don't live in a small town?

    MRPSP is designed for students who grew up in rural areas. Occasionally, urbanites have life stories that tie them to their rural roots. Examples would be recurrent summers spent with relatives in rural areas doing service or physician shadowing. These cases are evaluated individually with consideration given to all other attributes. Applicants from non-rural areas must have shadowing experience with a rural primary care physician do be considered for admission.

    What is Medical Encounters and do the events aid in effectively exposing students to medicine?

    Medical Encounters is designed to introduce students to primary care and give them a glimpse into life as a medical student. Each of the five primary care fields is experienced in half day sessions. Lunches with current MRPSP medical scholars open a window for undergraduate students to learn what it is like to wear the "short white coat." Skills such as intubation, fiberglass casting, suturing and basic venipuncture skills are learned in the UMMC simulation labs, and each student participates in CPR and cardiac defibrillation training. Typically, Medical Encounters take place in June and January so that it doesn't interfere with college activities and classes. See the photos in the Undergraduate Section of this website to learn more about Medical Encounters.

    Where do I find the application for the pre-matriculation phase?

    See the "Application" tab on the home page or click here. Note that the application is only available September 1-February 15 each year.

    Are there any recommended classes that I should take to better prepare me for the program?

    Review the list of courses taken during the first two years of medical school (biochemistry, histology, genetics, cell biology, physiology, biostatistics, etc). If your university offers any of those courses, consider taking them even though it may not be required for graduation. Remember, there's a difference in minimum course requirements for admission and adequate preparation to survive medical school!

    If accepted into the pre-matriculation phase and I discover I don't want to specialize in primary care, can I get out of MRPSP?

    During the pre-matriculation phase, a participant can request to be released from MRPSP for any reason by contacting the executive director.

    What if I change my mind about going into primary care once I'm in medical school or match in a non-primary care residency program?

    If a scholarship recipient fails to complete the four years of medical service in a rural ambulatory clinic, he or she is considered in default against the state of Mississippi, and repayment of the scholarship must begin within 90 days. This is true regardless of where the reason is academic, personal, or a result of a change in career direction. Once a student matches and begins a non-primary care residency program, they are in breach of the scholarship contract. Within 90 days, they must begin repayment which means repayment must be made during residency training. Students have the amount of time to repay the scholarship plus interest that they received the scholarship. (Example: If student receives scholarship for 4 years, that student has 4 years to repay.)

    What if I decide to sub-specialize after residency training?

    Fellowship training (typically limited to one year) must be of the nature that would complement a primary care practice such as sports medicine or obstetrics in family medicine. All fellowships must be approved by the MRPSP board. If a scholar chooses to pursue a non-approved fellowship, that scholars will be in default of their contract and will begin repayment during fellowship training.

    What are the benefits of the program beside the $30,000 scholarship, Direct Admission consideration and free MCAT prep?

    It's an opportunity to earn a seat in medical school, meet some of your future classmates and learn the art of being a caring, compassionate "country doc."

    Who should I contact if I have questions during the application process?

    Contact MRPSP Executive Director Wahnee Sherman at wsherman@umc.edu or (601) 815-9022.