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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 students accepted into the program, but the volume of information is significantly more than a typical high school student is used to addressing.  Remember, summer school classes are delivered in about one-third of the time as regular semester class sessions. 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 some study time on the weekends.  Consider the fact that you have already been assessed as capable of performing beyond the level of the average college freshman and 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. Students will earn 3 hours of college credit. For 2024 Rural Medical & Science Scholars, you will be meeting in a face-to-face space.  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 19 will you consider my application?

No, a 20 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?

This course is 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 virtual experimental learning like workshops from various departments, such as the College of Veterinary Medicine, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, and Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Scholars take Introduction to Health Professions from 8:00 am – 10:45 am. This is an intense program and requires students to be present on a daily basis. After acceptance into the program, you will receive a detailed calendar.


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

Students will get the opportunity to shadow medical professionals in primary medicine and some specialties.  Either way, positive or negative, these learning experiences will help you determine your career choice, which is well worth the time and money spent for both you and your parents. Shadowing is always a big highlight for students.


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

What makes Rural Medical & Science Scholars unique?

Group and individual study sessions are mandatory and will be facilitated weekly to promote discipline and ensure good study habits. Likewise, valuable friendships are formed for years to come with counselors and scholars because of this component of the program.  

Previous scholars learn that perseverance is key to succeeding. This program will be on campus, you will learn time management, leadership skills, interpersonal traits such as a positive attitude, being respectful, compassionate, 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. The experience will look different than the previous RMS “on campus” experiences, you will pioneer a new adventure in a condensed program setting.

You will also be introduced to our Junior Master Wellness Volunteers (JrMWV) program. This is 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. Involvement in this program is optional. If you select to become certified by completing community service hours, you are well-prepared to provide leadership through 4-H on health-related topics in your respective counties. This 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 on campus, (June 9-June 21). On Sunday afternoon, June 9, you will move into the dorm and reside until you move out on Friday, June 21.  COVID-19 housing guidelines will be followed pertaining to room assignments and precautions.


What about free time?

Yes, you will be busy with class and studying but you will also have access to group activities that promote relationship-building. 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. You will interact daily with your counselor. There will be mandatory study times facilitated by program staff. 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's online scheduled times?

You may not miss any part of the program, day or night unless an emergency.  If accepted, you must commit to attend the entire program beginning June 10 and ending June 29, including weekends; failure to comply is cause for dismissal from the program.  Your acceptance to this program is an honor and a privilege. It will truly be a summer to remember!


Are there exceptions for not attending class or scheduled events?

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. Full participation is mandatory.


What will I be responsible for financially?

The program fee includes tuition, textbooks, housing, program/workshop materials, food allowance, and a program application fee bringing the total to $2600. Even if you are awarded a scholarship, you will be responsible for the $100 application fee to ensure participation.


Are scholarships available?

There are limited scholarships available, some are county-specific. 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 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 on our selection process.  Acceptance into the Rural Medical & Science Scholars program does not necessitate your active involvement in local 4-H programs or activities.


What if I can't get my transcript and ACT score from my school counselor due to unforeseen reasons?

Send the following contact information to

Counselor Name:

School Name:


Phone number:

Our staff can reach out to this person for a transcript and ACT Scores.


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

We anticipate that acceptance letters will be emailed by April 22, 2024. Please provide an accessible email that can be used for program correspondence.


More questions?

Email Ms. Jasmine Harris-Speight, at or call her at 662-325-6640.

Email Ms. Mmesoma Okafor, at or call her at 662-325-6761.

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Publication Number: M0980
Publication Number: M1917
Publication Number: P2298


Man leads room full of teenagers in dance exercise.
Filed Under: 4-H, Health and Wellness, Food and Health, Health, Rural Health April 25, 2023

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Community improvement starts with a volunteer spirit and a desire to serve as a role model for positive change.

In north Mississippi, plenty of teenagers are ready to step up. They just need to know how to help.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program hosted 69 14- to 18-year-olds April 22 at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville to help some of these future leaders learn not just how to lead, but also how to take care of themselves and help their peers during challenging times.

A group photo of the Rural Medical and Science Scholars Class of 2022.
Filed Under: Food and Health, Rural Health March 8, 2023

MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. -- High school juniors can explore health and science careers and get a jump on college during the Rural Medical and Science Scholars program this summer at Mississippi State University. The June 10-29 program is now accepting applications until April 1.

Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, Rural Health September 20, 2022

A Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist was recently reelected to the National Board of Public Health Examiners board of directors. Initially elected in 2020, David Buys, Extension health specialist and associate professor in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, will now serve a second two-year term.

A man stands on crutches in silhouette against a background of farm equipment.
Filed Under: Disaster Response, Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Prescription Opioid Misuse, Mental Health First Aid, Farm Stress, Rural Health August 16, 2022

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The rollout of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers more hope to individuals dealing with mental-health-related distress. That population includes farmers and farm workers, who are among those most at risk for suicide and mental health distress.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male agricultural workers have the fourth highest suicide rate among men in all industries. 

Man on a farm holding a baseball cap.
Filed Under: Farming, Farm Safety, The PROMISE Initiative, Farm Stress, Rural Health June 3, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For Nathan Casburn, the land that has been in his family since the early 1900s is now more than simply his workplace.

The Tallahatchie County farm is a place of healing from an opioid addiction that began with pain medication prescribed after he was in a car accident during high school.

Casburn explained in a miniseries titled “On the Farm” that one of the biggest hurdles in his recovery was “saying I can’t do this on my own, and I need help with this.”


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