The true cornerstone of MRPSP is the two year undergraduate or pre-matriculation "nurturing" phase. Rural college premed students apply during the spring of their sophomore year of college. Applicants are interviewed by the MRPSP Board physicians followed by interviews with the School of Medicine Admissions Committee.
Current research indicates physicians with rural roots are far more likely than urbanites to practice medicine in a small town as it is a life style choice to raise their families in a church and community centered environment. MRPSP is way for Mississippi to "grow our own" primary care physicians.
In order for MRPSP undergraduates to be able to earn a seat in medical school, the School of Medicine Admissions Committee has been instrumental in creating the Early Assurance process. Well-qualified sophomore applicants who have had successful interviews with the practicing physicians on the MRPSP Board will interview with the Admissions Committee in April. If the admissions committee sees the potential for the applicant to grow into a competent, competitive medical student, they are granted Early Assurance status. This means the student must maintain their grades during the junior and senior years, score reasonably well on the MCAT and actively participate in all MRPSP activities.
The required MCAT score is tied to the student's BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics) GPA - high grades allow the MCAT score to tick down a few points below what is considered competitive that year. The reverse is true. Those receiving Early Assurance status are evaluated in early October of the senior year to confirm that all three conditions are satisfied.
Students may also be one-year participants in the pre-matriculation phase. These junior applicants do not enjoy the full benefits enjoyed by two-year participants as they must do their own MCAT prep and go through the regular decision admission process. However, they get second priority consideration for the scholarship once they are admitted to medical school. Currently there are 41 undergraduates in the pre-matriculation phase of the pipeline program.
"As a member of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, I aspire to earn my place in the medical community of Mississippi. I accept responsibility for my conduct and expect the highest standards of myself. I understand and pledge my commitment to fulfilling the requirements of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. I recognize it is an honor and a privilege to be the recipient of the State's financial investment in me. I pledge to uphold my agreement to practice primary care in rural Mississippi."