Medical School > Picking a Major
Picking a Major
Now more than ever the classes you take and your major in college are extremely important in considering your application to medical school. Most students take the tried and true path of becoming a biology or biochemistry major in order to try and have the best possible chance in order to get into medical school. However, this is a great misconception and actually recent studies as early as 2006 have shown that humanities (social sciences) and mathematics majors have a better chance to get into medical school than traditional science professions.
You should think hard about your major from the second you step foot into college. It would be costly to change majors later on unless you are smart and decide to get all your pre-requisite and gen-ed classes out of the way first. This would leave your entire junior and senior years open for studying for the MCAT and taking your require major courses.
This growing attitude by medical schools to recruit students who are adapt at understanding people and communication and less the science is reflected in the 2015 MCAT which has been updated to include an entire section about social sciences including sociology, psychology and anthropology. Now by not taking these classes you are significantly reducing the score you could potentially get on the MCAT
So if you are considering a humanities major such as psychology, sociology or anthropology you must be cautious and also remember to take your pre-requisite classes for medical school. These include,
- 1 Year of Biology
- 1 Year of General (Inorganic) Chemistry
- 1 Year of Physics
- 1 Year of Organic Chemistry
- 1 Year of English
It would also be wise for social science majors to take a biochemistry class in order to gain the knowledge required for the MCAT. In order to do well on the 2015 MCAT one will need to prepare for it starting from day one of their college career. The breadth of information on this test will draw upon all of the aforementioned fields and will require a vast concept knowledge base.
However there is nothing wrong with pursuing a traditional science major such as biology, physics, or chemistry. Just understand that it is not your only option. There is an increasing trend for medical schools to accept students of all different backgrounds and academic fields. The most important things you can do in college in order to get into medical school are to get good grades, score well on the MCAT and separate yourself from every other student. Do things that matter, things that are unique and will set you apart. These include...
- Independent Study
- Study Abroad
- Club Leader
- Greek Life Leader
- Campus Politics
The list goes on and on. The main thing is to show that you are a unique person with unique interests and motivations. This alone will get you an interview and possibly help you compensate for a lower GPA or MCAT score. Just do not feel trapped in picking a major you do not like just because you think it will get you into medical school. Chances are you will do worse in the classes than if you had a major you enjoyed. Take classes you enjoy and get good grades in your major and you will be fine.
Regardless of what major you decide to take, there will be certain core classes you will need to take in order to be successful on the MCAT and also to fulfill medical school pre-requisite requirements. Click here to see a recommended list of classes to take and when.