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Frequently Asked Questions RMS

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What will be expected of me?

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.

an image of two RMS students speaking with a physician.


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

The classmates in your courses will be fellow Scholars. Faculty and staff go to extra lengths to make sure the scholars feel confident during the transition from high school to college.


I have really good grades, but my composite ACT score is 21 will you consider my application?

No, a 22 or above ACT score is a mandatory requirement. The Rural Medical & Science Scholars program is an intense and rigorous program that requires this level of academic performance to ensure academic success


Why will we be taking Introduction to Health Professions and Applied Public Health Sciences?

These courses are designed to help students better understand the connection between many areas we already address at MSU and health. We will offer lectures on principles of public health as well as hands-on activities in labs like the College of Veterinary Medicine, Department(s) of Poultry Science, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Plant and Soil Sciences, and Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Scholars start class at 10:00 am each day and end around 3:00 pm with an hour lunch break. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are reserved for physician/ancillary healthcare shadowing and may require a longer amount of time. This is an intense program and requires students to be present on a daily basis. 


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

Several afternoons during the semester, you will shadow a physician, dentist, or other healthcare professional in the local area and 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 healthcare a career path 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 Rural Medical & Science Scholars unique?

You will have a male and female counselor which live with you in the dorm and provide mentoring throughout the program. The counselors already have several years’ college experience and may have experienced similar classes, while also studying for the MCAT. You will also have access to your own tutor for Introduction to Health Professions and Applied Public Health Sciences. 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 six 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 get to have fun while learning with Scholars in the Lab, Scholars in the Kitchen, Scholars in Research, 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 2019 has not been chosen, but will likely be an older/remodeled, centrally located dorm on campus. Male 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. 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 June 2 and ending June 28; 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 28, 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?

The program fee includes tuition, housing, textbooks, and program application fee bringing the total to approximately $2400. Textbooks can range in cost if purchasing the leaf-bound, digital or rented options. The cost above represents the higher end of purchasing the leaf-bound option. This amount does not include food expenses.

The program will provide food on the first 1 day of the program and for a few meals throughout the program. Otherwise, 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. Each dorm room includes a mini-fridge and microwave; bringing some food from home can help reduce food expenses. A small kitchen is also available for cooking meals. 


Are scholarships available?

An individuals financial situation should not be a deterrent to applying to and successful completion of the program. Limited scholarships will be available on a financial needs basis. 


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 & Science 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 & Science 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, 2019.


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


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Portrait of Mrs. Ann Sansing
Extension Instructor
Rural Medical Scholars Program Director/Community Health Coordinator