There are advantages and disadvantages to being a pre-med student. On the one hand, because it isn’t a major in and of itself, you can pursue your desire of becoming a doctor while choosing whatever topic you love as a major. However, a pre-med program does require you to pass a series of basic courses before you can apply to medical school, and such courses might take up a lot of your free time. You must be aware of your alternatives and equipped to conquer any associated challenges if you want to make the finest choice possible.
Knowing the Pre-Med Majors Available
Pre-med students may find it difficult to select a college degree because there are so many alternatives and the stakes seem high (and they actually are!). Even while biology (or a closely related discipline) is the major of choice for a large percentage of pre-med students, there is nothing wrong with choosing anything else, like English or a foreign language. Humanities majors are gaining in popularity as medical schools look for individuals who are well-rounded. Whatever path you take, you’ll generally work with two advisors: one from the pre-professional office to assist you with choosing pre-med courses, and another adviser who is especially responsible for your major. They can—and should—help you organize your curriculum so that you’ll be prepared for the application process to medical school.
You have access to all of your school’s main area of study possibilities, at least in theory. Nevertheless, the majority of pre-med students choose from a very small pool of majors.
1. Biological Sciences
More than half of medical school applicants and students major in the biological sciences, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). This is reasonable: There will probably be a lot of overlap between your pre-med requirements and your major requirements in biology and related subjects. Additionally, there’s a strong probability that your significant interest in biological sciences is another reason you desire to become a doctor. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that you would want to focus the majority of your homework on the subject that interests you the most.
Also keep in mind that there are a variety of choices outside of biology even within the biological sciences. Numerous colleges offer a range of scientific majors, including those in physiology, microbiology, medical science, zoology, and biotechnology. If you choose to pursue any of them, it will probably have a big impact on your medical school goals, so don’t be afraid to do so!
You’ll also want to make sure that you take classes outside of your degree because the biological sciences put a lot of attention on, well, biology. Burnout might result from a curriculum that is only focused on science. Additionally, enrolling in non-science courses will teach you in several disciplinary styles of thought. Non-science courses can meet fundamental course requirements while also widening your horizons in the classroom.
You might want to think about minoring in something unrelated to science. This can provide you a means to differentiate your application while also enabling you to concentrate mostly on the subject matter that is most relevant to medical school. An good option for a minor is Spanish. This can be a terrific method to gain valuable clinical experience because many undergraduate service programs include working or volunteering in Spanish-speaking nations. Additionally, understanding Spanish will probably be helpful for your future work.
2. Science and Mathematics
Less than 1% of applicants and students who enroll in medical school are math and statistics majors, yet as a group they have the greatest mean MCAT score and mean GPA. Even though some of your major requirements will probably overlap with your pre-med requirements and even though the way of thinking you’ll develop as a math or statistics major will undoubtedly prepare you for many of the rigors of medical school, you’ll probably need to use a sizable portion of your electives to complete your pre-med requirements.
3. Social Sciences
Ten percent or so of medical school applicants majored in social sciences. Some of these, such as economics, can have prerequisites that slightly overlap with your pre-medical coursework. You will probably need to use your electives to make sure that you finish all of your pre-med requirements because some, like anthropology, political science, or sociology, are likely to overlap very little (if at all). A natural sciences minor might be a fantastic method to guarantee that you are adding more challenging scientific courses to your transcript.
4. Physical Sciences
Many people who want to go to medical school major in the physical sciences. These provide instruction that is frequently readily transferable to medical school curricula, just like biological sciences. You’ll be able to complete many of your major and pre-med requirements at once if you major in physics, chemistry, or a similar subject. Similar to a biology major, it will benefit you more if it is combined with non-science courses or even a non-science minor.
Less than 4% of medical school matriculants are majors in the humanities. You will undoubtedly stand out from other candidates for medical school if you major in a humanities topic like contemporary or classical languages, literature, or philosophy. But keep in mind that you will need to strategically organize your courses to make sure you satisfy all of your major and pre-med requirements. Make sure you enroll in some higher-level scientific courses if you decide to major in the humanities because admissions committees for medical schools will check your transcript for those.
Consider adding a minor in the scientific sciences as well. This is a simple technique to guarantee that you can incorporate more challenging scientific courses into your calendar. A nice option would be biology or chemistry. Additionally, you should make sure that you talk to your pre-med adviser frequently regarding your course load. Your adviser will ensure that you properly plan which courses to take before you sit for the MCAT and that you stay on track with medical school prerequisites.
Recognizing Your Pre-Medical Needs
Certain essential scientific studies are required of all pre-med students. The prerequisites for each medical school in the nation were issued by the AAMC.) They frequently contain math/statistics, psychology, and sociology, and they always include biology, chemistry (general and organic), biochemistry, and physics. If you are a natural sciences major, these will probably already be mentioned in your degree’s prerequisites. You must make sure that your schedule can accommodate a humanities or other non-overlapping degree before choosing it. Taking classes in the summer, during the Maymester, or during J-term (January term) will make it easier for you to accommodate everything into your calendar.
Make sure you meet with your major and pre-med adviser at least once each semester, regardless of your major, to ensure that you are on the correct track to graduation. Any timetable modifications should always be communicated to both parties. Your course selection process will go more smoothly and your medical school application procedure will be simpler if you work with them both. You can also talk to seniors who have completed the application process. They frequently have fresh perspectives and advice on what to take and when to take it.
Think as if you’re on the admissions committee for a Medical School
Remember that even while choosing your major may feel important—and it is—it is not the most crucial aspect of the admissions process. The importance of course choices, GPA, and MCAT scores is substantially greater. It does not follow that the admissions committee will belenient with you in any of these other areas simply because you might have selected a major that is really difficult.
Medical schools will average your marks from your BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics, and math) coursework to determine your GPA. You can enroll in certain “easier” scientific subjects as electives or part of a specific minor to raise your BCPM GPA.
Choosing The Best Pre-Med Major
Should you continue your pre-medical studies?
There is nothing wrong with entering college without having a clear idea of your job aspirations.
Having said that, applying to medical school necessitates extensive preparation. If you are unsure, get on the track as soon as possible since it is simpler to leave than to join later. (If you decide to pursue a career in medicine much later, you may need to enroll in a time-consuming, expensive, but still feasible post-baccalaureate program as a non-traditional medical school candidate.) During your first year, we suggest taking introductory scientific courses as well as classes in a few disciplines you think you might be interested in. This will allow you some time to consider what you really want to pursue and guarantee that, should you decide to continue with pre-med, you’re on track with your coursework.
One More Thing About The Best Pre-Med Majors
It’s crucial that you enjoy your major, therefore resist the urge to select what you believe to be the “best” major for medical school. Any major is acceptable as long as you complete upper-level scientific courses and have a strong BCPM GPA. Follow your hobbies and ambitions; they will direct you in the proper direction.