SUNY Polytechnic Institute is on many direct medical students’ college lists. The institute has partnered with SUNY Upstate Medical School for its Upstate Accelerated Scholars (UAS) Program. Once accepted to this program, students have a spot saved for them at the partnered medical school, SUNY Upstate Medical School. Because of this guarantee, this program is ideal for students who have demonstrated a passion for medicine through their activities and are committed to joining the healthcare field.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute partnered with Suny Upstate Medical School for its Upstate Accelerated … [+] Scholars (UAS) Program, a direct medical program.


Moon Prep sat down with Carlie Phipps, Ph.D., Interim Dean of the College of Arts + Sciences; Joanne Joseph, Interim Dean at the College of Health Sciences and Jeff Albright, Admissions Counselor, to learn more about the Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program (UAS) at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

How Students Can Stand Out Through The Application Process

BS/MD programs are incredibly competitive, with programs like SUNY Polytechnic Institute accepting just five students per cycle. That means students have to go the extra mile to stand out by volunteering in medical settings, participating in school clubs, shadowing physicians and more.

Because the pandemic and virtual learning have engulfed much of the students’ experiences so far, they might be worried their resumes won’t be as strong. Luckily, BS/MD programs aren’t looking for perfection; instead, they are “looking for students who care about people, care about healthcare and have pursued that.” They aren’t comparing one student’s access to opportunities, but they want to see that they have pursued the available options to the best of their abilities.

Dr. Joseph recommends that students “use any experience connected to COVID in a way that showcases your resilience and your ability to cope.” Medical school will come with challenges, and medical schools want to ensure students develop coping skills to overcome difficult times. By using your experiences throughout the pandemic, you can showcase how you developed those skills.

However, students need to do more than show resilience and a passion for medicine. Dr. Phipps also stresses that they are looking specifically for students with an “other-oriented perspective.” This means they’re engaging in these volunteer activities not just because they have to do it for the National Honors Society, but because they have a passion for helping people. “We’ve had students, for example, who used their musical talent to help autistic kids and then empowered them to help others.”

These passion projects don’t necessarily have to be related to medicine but should positively impact the student’s community.

What Are The Requirements For The BS/MD Program

The UAS program at SUNY Poly is relatively new—the 2022-23 application marks its fourth year of accepting applications. Therefore, they still have a small dataset on accepted students. The minimum requirements for the program are a 90 GPA or a 3.5. They still require a score of at least 1200 on the SAT or 25 on the ACT.

Albright stresses that these are just minimum requirements, and “students with a 90 GPA on the dot or 1200 will still be reviewed on the same playing field.” That said, the average accepted student typically has a 95 GPA, SAT score between 1400-1500 and ACT score of 30-33.

Stronger stats don’t necessarily mean you are more likely to be accepted into the program. “We want students to have a little bit more. So any students who have a 90 GPA or 1200 SAT, don’t hesitate to apply. Just contact us to see what you can do to help build your application.”

The Multiple Mini Interview

Most BS/MD programs require their students to complete one to two interviews. Some programs, like the undergraduate programs paired with SUNY Upstate Medical School, use a format called the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). This interview format has students moving from various short problem-based stations where they will be tested on their inter- and intrapersonal skills, general healthcare knowledge, ethics and more.

The MMI at SUNY Polytechnic Institute was virtual during the 2022-23 cycle, but Albright says they hope to move it back to in-person next year.

Highlights Of The BS/MD Program

Besides the obvious benefit of securing a spot in medical school while still in high school, the UAS has several other attractive highlights. The first is its accessibility to the medical community. Because of the partnership with SUNY Upstate Medical School, UAS students can take summer courses there, either in-person or partially virtual. This allows students to get used to the medical school environment before starting.

Another advantage is the small class sizes; the average class at SUNY Poly is just 18 students. This allows students to build stronger relationships with the faculty and their advisers. According to Dr. Phills, “the advisors can help with career goals, like what kind of specialty you want to go into, as well as talking about the lifestyle of doctors and their own work-life balance.” This intimate environment allows students to have stronger mentors.

Another highlight of the UAS program is the focus on the bio-psycho-socio model of help, so there are many interdepartmental conversations between the psychology and biology departments. Students can major in diverse things like Community and Behavioral Health, which might help them become well-rounded doctors.

For students, another major highlight will be the lack of MCAT requirements. SUNY Polytechnic cross-checks its curriculum against the MCAT to ensure students are knowledgeable in the areas it covers and would be capable of performing well, but they don’t have to take the exam.

Gaining Access To Medical-Based Experiences As An UAS Student

Preparing for medical school and beyond is still a top concern for BS/MD students. Students in the UAS program will have better access to research or shadowing opportunities through partnerships. Many students are volunteering or working as medical scribes at the local hospitals, which gives them a chance to gain an additional perspective on the medical field. Currently, some students at SUNY Poly are working on a research project with the Hobart Street Clinic, which studies refugees’ physical and mental health.

“Because of the close relationship between faculty and students, regardless of major,” explains Dr. Joseph, “these opportunities aren’t available to a certain set of biology students or a certain set of psychology students. They’re available across the board to individuals interested in the health field in general.” Because of the inclusive approach, students have more flexibility to pursue non-traditional majors while taking advantage of opportunities.

How To Apply To SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s BS/MD Program

Albright recommends that students contact SUNY Polytechnic Institute during the application process. “It’s our job to help you throughout this process. We’re interested in helping you build your application and making it as strong as possible.”

The application opens on August 1, with a deadline of November 1. All required documents must be submitted by November 15. After this time, the admissions committee meets to review all applications before submitting their top 25 candidates to SUNY Upstate Medical School. SUNY will select its top 10 candidates and interview them between January and March.

Students will find out in April if they have been accepted to the program and have two weeks to accept or decline the admissions offer.

To learn more about SUNY Polytechnic Institute and its BS/MD program, visit their website. The full interview can be watched on YouTube.

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