Choosing a major can be one of the most stressful things for a college student! I talked to hundreds of early students who wonder what the “best major” for a premed is. That’s a loaded question with all kinds of different possible answers.
There is no single best “premed major.” It really depends on each individual scenario, but I wanted to outline a few key concepts that everyone should consider when choosing a premed major as a premedical student.
Biology major. Biology major. Biochemistry major. Biology major. That’s your typical stack of medical school applicants. Imagine if you could insert something really interesting in there like “Beatles, Popular Music and Society”.
Okay, that’s maybe extreme, but the idea would be that you would be a great science student who gets A’s in all your premed classes, does science research and volunteers at hospitals, but also brings a completely unique major to the table. In any case, you should pursue a premed major that you find personally interesting, well rounded, and academically challenging.
There are a lot of great majors out there that have nothing to do with science or medicine. They may make you a really attractive candidate to medical schools because you bring a whole new perspective to the incoming class.
I always encourage people to major in non-science fields, however you have to keep the premed curriculum in mind when you decide to do so. And with the new MCAT, there are even more courses added to the mix.
Remember, every premedical student has to take the classes below. That’s a lot of classes! In fact, it’s over 18 courses. With each semester in college allowing you to take 4-5 classes, the premed curriculum could take up as much as 50% of your coursework. That becomes difficult with certain majors that have no overlap with the premedical curriculum, so you should make sure to plan ahead if you are going to choose a non-science major.
One factor that premeds overlook too often when choosing a major is how they will be able to maintain a great GPA. Remember, your GPA is incredibly important in your premed process! If you are a biomedical engineering major with a 3.2 GPA versus an english major with a 4.0 GPA, the 4.0 wins out every day of the week, despite the potentially more difficult curriculum of a biomedical engineer! You should keep in mind your ability to succeed and maintain a great GPA in the major you choose.
One factor that premeds overlook too often when choosing a pre med major is how they will be able to maintain a great GPA.
You should major in something that you are interested in. You will spend 4 years dedicating yourself to classes in your major. You better enjoy it. If you don’t, your grades will suffer. And even if you are planning to go to medical school, college is a time where you can really learn about something different from medicine. It’s amazing how little what you learn in college will be a part of your everyday life as a physician, no matter what major you are, so it’s great if you can diversify yourself.
If you are passionate about film as well as medicine, be a non-traditional premed who majors in film. If you really are mainly interested in the sciences, don’t be afraid to go for the traditional life science majors.
Finding the perfect major also involves figuring out your premed course plan and the pre med major you want to take, and understanding your undergraduate institution’s curriculum, requirements and pathways. So you need to take into account many of these factors when you decide what you want to major in.
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