The title is a bit misleading. There are combined BA/MD programs that are NOT accelerated, although most I know of are. Accelerated would more correctly refer to those programs that are 6 and 7 years long, while combined programs includes those, as well as 8 year programs.
With no exceptions that I know of, in accelerated programs the extra year in cut from the undergraduate curriculum.
My advice on these programs, as with other issues is pretty simple. I think they are very good programs. It is a tremendous boon to not have to worry about MCAT scores and applications throughout your undergrad years. In fact, I might say that the year you would lose by doing a 7 year program is made up for due to the lack of worry!
Seriously however, one thing to keep in mind is that these programs are very competitive and only for the serious pre-pre-med. Basically, don't apply if you aren't so sure. However, if you are a competitive high school applicant, and pretty certain about medicine as a career, I would say to seriously consider these programs. There is a large variety of undergraduate schools that have combined programs with medical schools. If you want to know if a specific school has one, consult the college catalog or check the MSAR, which can be ordered through the AAMC, it has a list of all combined BA/MD programs.
When considering these programs, make sure you know the requirements up front. Do you have to take the MCAT? If so, what sort of score do you need? Do you need to maintain a certain GPA? If it is a 6 or 7 year program, can you add an extra year of undergraduate study if you want to (I'd look for a program that would let me do this.). Do you forfeit your medical school spot if you apply to other schools?
Make sure the undergraduate school is one where you will be happy and successful. A miserable three or four years will only hurt you, especially if you are expected to maintain a certain GPA. Likewise make sure the medical school is one where you will be happy (visit and tour both). Spend a day with a medical student (preferably one who was in the combined program) and see how they liked it. The key is to be informed. You are entering a program that will last you six, seven, or eight years, make sure it is the right one for you.
Keep in mind that you aren't held to a career in medicine. If you decide medicine isn't for you, don't feel trapped. I know of some students who are going into medical school because they are in a seven year program, but they have decided it isn't what they want to do. They are only hurting themselves, their fellow medical students, and any patients they will have to care for in their clinical years. On top of that they are taking a spot away from someone who WANTS it. Keep in mind however, if you opt out, and try to apply again, your chances probably won't be so good. So don't quit the program unless you are certain medicine isn't for you!
Consider a NON SCIENCE major. One of the great things about these programs is that you can feel a little more free to major in whatever you want. You still need the prerequisite courses, and you may still need to take the MCAT. However often your score doesn't matter, or will only need to be average or above. This takes the pressure off a bit. Oh, major in science if you want, but if there is something else that might interest you, I'd go for it. It will only make you a better doctor.
Lastly, I think six years is too short. Frankly I think an eight year program is best, or a seven year program that lets you take the extra year. Medicine is a demanding field, emotionally and intellectually. You should enjoy your college years before entering into such a responsibility. College will be years of tremendous personal growth. Six year programs only allow two years to complete the college end, and they cram it in. A high school friend of mine was accepted to one and had she entered it she would have left for college before our high school graduation. It is too much, too fast. Physicians need to be well rounded, thoughtful people. This means taking time in college for growth, and development of character. Don't rush it.
Personally, I'd chose an eight year program. Although if you are in hurry, a seven year is a good compromise.
With that in mind however, don't fall for anything anyone tells you about seven years being too immature or not well rounded enough. That may be true for some of them, but it is also true for plenty of conventional applicants. I know plenty of accelerated medical students who are mature, thoughtful, and interesting. You are an individual, don't let anyone scare you from any program (a six year included) for that reason. Make the choice that is right for you, but just keep in mind that college has a lot to offer you.
By the way, if you are thinking right now, "well college doesn't have much to offer me", then you are just the type of person whom college has a lot to offer!
In closing, if you are sure being a physician is for you, and are competitive enough, combined programs can be a great deal. Just make an informed thoughtful decision, and you can't go wrong!
i know northwestern has a program like this. from highschool to med in 7 years not bad
Whoever you are you know how to put it all together like no other. ........"Most Impressive" ................. spoken with a Darth Vader accent
Hope all is well
my daughter wants to be a heart surgeon and has wanted to since she was 10 now she is 17