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Frequently Asked Questions RMS

What will be expected of me?

an image of two RMS students speaking with a physician.

A desire to learn and a willingness to put in the time needed to master a large body of knowledge in a small period of time.  The information and concepts contained in the course work are not “difficult” for the caliber of student accepted into the program, but the volume of information is significantly more than a typical high school student is used to addressing.  Remember, these are college classes and, during the summer, the same amount of information is conveyed as in a regular semester in about one-third of the time.  You will need to spend more time than you are likely used to in learning and mastering the course content.  That will include nightly study sessions and, when you go home for the weekend, you might just want to bring those books along – either that or carve out sufficient time Sunday night when you return.  Consider the fact that you have already been assessed as capable of performing beyond the level of the average college freshman and that this is the same class they would take - you can do quite well, but you must be willing to put in the time.

Academically, what are some of the benefits of the Rural Medical Scholars program?

The classmates in your two courses will only be your fellow Scholars.  That means you are taking introductory freshman classes that frequently are composed of 100+ students with a group of 20 to 25.  You will be living with the same students you take classes with and you will join together in study sessions with tutors to help with anything you might not understand or help you pursue something of interest in greater depth.

I have really good grades, but my composite ACT score is 23 will you consider my application?

No, a 24 or above composite ACT score is a mandatory requirement.  Though still in high school you are being admitted to Mississippi State University under the Special Program for Academically Talented Students (SPATs).  The 24 ACT is a requirement of SPATs.

Why will we be taking sociology?

Recent changes to the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) will include your understanding of foundational concepts drawn from sociology and psychology; incorporating one of these classes into your curriculum should be beneficial.  In past years, Scholars have taken a science and a math course.  Starting in summer 2013, Scholars continued taking a science course (biology), but we substituted sociology for the math course.

“Shadowing” doctors sounds awesome, please tell me more.

Several afternoons during the semester, you will shadow a physician in Starkville, West Point, Columbus, or Tupelo. We attempt to insure that each Scholar shadows a Family Medicine physician at least once since there is such a large need for that particular specialty throughout Mississippi, especially in rural areas.  However, we do expose you to a variety of other specialties as well.  You will be asked to rank order your preferences from a list of likely available specialties and we will match that as best as possible.  The program will transport you to the various doctor’s offices, clinics or hospitals. You get to ask yourself at the end of the program---“Is medicine for me?” Either way, positive or negative, we have been successful in helping you determine your career choice, which is well worth time and money spent for both you and your parents.

An image of a RMS scholar viewing an x-ray with a physician.

What makes RMS unique?

You will have a male and female counselor which live with you in the dorm and provide mentoring throughout the program. The counselors many times have already experienced the classes that you will be taking and may have completed the MCAT or be studying for it. You will also have your very own tutors for Biology and Sociology. Mandatory study sessions are held weekly to promote discipline and ensure good study habits. Likewise, valuable friendships are formed for years to come with counselors, tutors and scholars because of this component of the program.  

Previous scholars learn that perseverance is key to succeeding, four weeks in summer school taking seven college credits is no piece of cake. You learn time management, money management, leadership skills, interpersonal traits such as positive attitude, being respectful, compassion, having a kind spirit and being a good listener. These interpersonal traits are representative of one-on-one relationships that would be symbolic of a physician and patient relationship. Last but not least, you have fun along the way with Scholars in the Lab, Scholars in the Kitchen, playing team sports and other games, watching movies, and enjoying activities at the Joe Frank Sanderson Recreation Center.

You are also trained to be Junior Master Wellness Volunteers (JrMWV). This a community health education and volunteer leader training program offered through Mississippi State University Extension in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, (UMMC) and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute. The JMWV’s are compassionate teens focused on wellness and dedicated to serving their community. You are well-prepared to provide leadership through 4-H on health-related topics in your respective counties. This component of the program provides that all important community service requirement that is essential for the medical school application and likewise important to any career choice. 

Where will I live?

The Scholars will live in a dorm on the MSU campus.  Your roommate will be another Scholar likely from a different part of the state based upon some of your living habits and preferences.  Each room will have a microfridge (small combination freezer, refrigerator, microwave); common bathroom facilities are on your wing.  A counselor will live with you.  The dorm for 2017 has not been chosen, but will likely be in an older, centrally located dorm on campusMale and female Scholars will be housed in separate wings or nearby buildings.

What about free time?

Yes, you will be busy with classes, labs, studying but you will also have access to the Joe Frank Sanderson Recreation Center, voted the "Best Fitness Center" in the state by Mississippi Magazine, and will participate in various program-sponsored activities.  So what is the most fun?  Hanging out with your new friends – a group of teens with similar long-term goals and interests.

What might I like the least?

Think of it as college with a few additional rules.  Yes, in many ways you will have more freedoms than you may be used to, but there will also be limits.  You will have to stay on campus at all times and will not be allowed to drive your car if you bring one.  There will be mandatory study times.  Oh, and classes do start at 8 AM!  The experience has been structured with the primary objective of helping you succeed.  You may not always agree with how we have set that structure, but you will have an amazing experience!

What if I want to be gone for a day or an evening during the program?

You may not miss any part of the program, day or night.  If accepted, you must commit to attend the entire program beginning May 28 and ending June 29; failure to comply is cause for dismissal from the program.  You will go home each weekend (you are not allowed to stay in the dorm on weekends) and will return on Sunday evenings.  After your last final, late afternoon on June 29, you will check out of the dorm and be on your way – hopefully, to a very bright future!

Are there exceptions for being gone?

We recognize that our students often have many options available to them.  Attending this program is a privilege and Scholars often need to make difficult choices.  It is, as said earlier, a time demanding program and our primary goal is for you to do very well.  Therefore, we require your total commitment Sunday night till Friday afternoon each week from start to end of program.  Full participation is mandatory.

What will I be responsible for financially?

Your tuition, university fees, housing, and textbooks, a $3,400 plus value, is provided to you at no cost through funding from Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Mississippi State Department of Health.  Once accepted you will need to pay a $100 registration fee.

You will be responsible for your food expenses.  Typical food expenses will likely range between $375 and $450 for the length of the program.  You choose and manage your own food purchases.  Your dorm room includes a mini-fridge and microwave; bringing some food from home can help reduce food expenses.

On the application form you ask if I am a member of 4-H.  Is that a requirement or is there a preference in your selection for 4-H members?

No, you do not need to belong to 4-H and there is no preference for members.  The program is financially supported by Mississippi State University Extension Service and our youth programs fall under the umbrella of 4-H.  Extension’s 4-H organization is committed to developing youth potential throughout our state and, therefore, serves as an appropriate umbrella organization for Rural Medical Scholars.  We need to know if you are a member for administrative purposes, but it has no influence in our selection process.  Acceptance into the Rural Medical Scholars program does not necessitate your active involvement in local 4-H programs or activities.

When will I hear if I am accepted into the program?

We anticipate that acceptance letters will be mailed by April 10, 2017.

More questions?

Email Ms. Ann Sansing, program director, at or call her at 662-325-4043.

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Publication Number: M0980
Publication Number: M1917
Publication Number: M1946


Filed Under: Rural Health, Mississippi Well Owner Network August 25, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi homeowners with private wells have three opportunities to learn how to enhance the quality of their drinking water sources.

The Mississippi Well Owner Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will hold workshops at the Extension offices in Wayne County Sept. 26, Pearl River County Oct. 24 and Tate County Nov. 16. Each workshop begins at 6 p.m.

Filed Under: Rural Health, Water, Mississippi Well Owner Network, Rural Water Association, Water Quality June 14, 2017

GULFPORT, Miss. -- The first 40 registrants for a private well workshop next month can have their well water screened free of charge.

The Mississippi Well Owner Network, a program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will be held 6-9 p.m. July 13 at the MSU Extension office in Harrison County, located at 2315 17th Street in Gulfport.

Brittny Fairley, right, checks Dequesia Perry’s blood pressure in their health science class at the Hinds County Career and Technical Center in Raymond, Mississippi, on May 4, 2017. They are members of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteers group in Hinds County who received training to deliver basic health information and provide supervised basic screenings. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
Filed Under: 4-H, Community, Leadership, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer, Health, Rural Health May 9, 2017

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Rocheryl Ware sees members of her 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteer group as catalysts that can help change Mississippi's health landscape.

This high school student observes a family practice doctor at work during the 2016 Rural Medical Scholars summer program at Mississippi State University. Applications and program details for 2017 are available online at (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: Rural Health January 27, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi high school juniors considering medical careers in their home state have the opportunity to take part in an intense and revealing summer program at Mississippi State University.

The five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at MSU will seek to identify the state's future primary care doctors and help them become members of the medical school class of 2026. Applications for the May 28 through June 29 program must be submitted by March 20.

Jhade Jordan of Durant shadows a local doctor while enrolled in the 2016 Rural Medical Scholars program. This Mississippi State University Extension Service program is designed to address the state’s shortage of doctors in rural areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: 4-H, Rural Health July 12, 2016

By Michaela Parker
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With only one doctor available in her hometown of Durant, Jhade Jordan understands the importance of practicing medicine in rural areas.  

Jordan is a member of the class of 2016 Rural Medical Scholars program. High school seniors from across Mississippi spent June on the Mississippi State University campus to learn more about becoming a family medicine physician. Through this program, supported by the MSU Extension Service, she learned what it means to be a doctor.


Ben Rushing Rural Medical Scholars
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Ben Rushing - Rural Medical Scholar

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 10:00am

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