What Should You Major In If You Want to Go to Medical School?
One of the most common misconceptions related to college majors and medical school is that you MUST major in something science-related in order to start off your future medical career on the right path. Spoiler alert: this is not the case!
According to Kaplan, in the 2018-2019 cycle, over 55% of applicants listed a major within the biological sciences, category, making it the most popular major category among applicants. While it is common for students applying to medical school to have science-related majors, medical schools accept students across a wide variety of undergraduate majors. Medical schools recognize the fact that there is a wide range of majors outside of the realm of science that help students to grow and learn, therefore, when you are choosing your major, make sure to choose one that you will enjoy. According to the AAMC, it is important to remember that “Medical schools want students who are authentic with genuine interests, so it’s best to major in what you want, not what you think they want.” In the Kaplan study of applicants and undergraduate majors, despite the fact that a much lower number of applicants listed a major in categories such as math, statistics, and humanities, applicants with these majors actually saw higher acceptance rates.
The AAMC also says that, because the MCAT tests you on a wide variety of subjects (and also requires strong reading comprehension and problem-solving skills), there is no one major that will best prepare you for taking the MCAT. While you are encouraged to pursue whatever major interests you the most, you should also keep in mind that there are specific recommended prerequisite courses (first-semester biology, physics, psychology, sociology, etc) that pre-med students are advised to take before sitting for the MCAT. If you know you want to go to medical school but you are considering a major that is not necessarily related to science (which would likely guarantee you the opportunity to take those pre-recs), do some research to see if it would be possible for you to pursue your major of choice while also fitting in those recommended science courses.
If you decide to go on a pre-med track but you choose not to pursue a science-related major, another important thing to remember is that your GPA still matters! Medical schools will not only look at your overall GPA, but they will also pay special attention to your science GPA, called BCPM, which is the GPA that you obtain from all of your science courses. Ultimately, medical schools care much more about your GPA than about your major, so work to keep those grades up regardless of what subject you are studying!
At the end of the day, there is no one major that is better than another in terms of going to medical school. Since every major has the possibility to prepare you for medical school in a wide variety of ways (think, problem-solving skills, critical reasoning skills, etc) it is important to choose a major that, above all, interests you. Before making the ultimate decision on which major you want to pursue, you should plan to reach out to your academic and/or prehealth advisors to get some additional advice and to eventually help you plan your class schedules accordingly.