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What are some of the best majors for students looking to attend medical school?

I know science majors are the most common, but what are some others that would be considered successful #psychology #experience #school #undergrad #med-school #medical-field

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Danielle’s Answer

Colleges have general pre-med course requirements to make sure you get the content knowledge required for med school/the MCAT. This frees you up to major in something you enjoy. When you do that, you have a higher GPA, which is also important for med school admissions. I would suggest that you take a full-length practice test at the end of your Sophomore year and use those results to help inform your course selection and maybe your major choice too. I also suggest you use test-prep materials starting your Junior year, it helps make sure you know the content specific to the test and the appropriate strategies to apply that knowledge. Another thing to consider: what is new-ish and growing in medicine at the moment is genetic research, testing, and treatment. Having genetics program/major is rare at colleges, but majoring in molecular biology or just bio in general might do the trick. Take a look at the course list/curriculum to see if schools you're interested in have majors and programs you might like.

Danielle recommends the following next steps:

Research medical fields/jobs/hospitals to help narrow down your interest areas in medicine. O*Net is a good place to look at all the sub-categories and job titles you might not even know existed!
Research the programs at schools you're interested in applying to. What are the majors, the courses? Does this program gear more towards research or practition?
Once at your selected school, try to take "one of everything" in the subject areas you're interested in/that are pre-med core curriculum courses. Try it and compare, what do you enjoy? If it's not science, that's perfectly OK! Maybe you major in a foreign language and work as a doctor in a hospital that mostly serves that population. Maybe you major in psycholoy and become a psychiatrist. Maybe you get a PhD in health psychology and do cancer research... The world is your oyster!

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Linda Ann’s Answer

The actual major is not as important as the structural supports that exist within the undergraduate university that you attend.

First, it should have a dedicated pre-med curriculum AND a dedicated, pre-med advisor.

The pre-med curriculum is important because you need to have an adequate knowledge base in the life sciences, physical and behavioral sciences. That is, the content knowledge that is covered by the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

The dedicated, pre-med advisor is important as a resource for ushering you through the application process. This advisor would be an adjunct to your assigned, academic advisor!

Second, that institution should have the acceptance rate of their graduates posted somewhere to their website. You will need to compare those acceptance rates.

So, you have some “homework “ to do before you actually apply to undergrad institutions.

There are things you should do while enrolled in university to increase your acceptance chances.

  1. Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors. One way of doing this is to engage in research with a faculty mentor. This is important because you will need at least 6 letters of recommendation when applying to medical school. Also, it will help you to discern the type of medical practice you will eventually engage in as a physician. Knowing what doesn’t engage you intellectually and spiritually is as important as knowing what does!
  2. Maintain excellent grades in all subjects.
  3. Develop your communication skills-both writing and oral communication. These skills are important because writing skills are evaluated on the MCAT and you will need to articulate well, the reason why you want to attend XYZ medical school during the applicant screening process.
  4. Maintain some type of exercise regimen or intramural sports while in college. Physical activity is a great stress reliever and more importantly, keeps the brain “sharp.”

Linda Ann recommends the following next steps:

Explore potential university web sites for pre-med program supports (as discussed above).
After winnowing down potential schools, visit the schools. Speak with students in the pre-med program. Attend a class or two to get a feel for how the typical classroom is set up. Attend a laboratory section, if possible. All of the introductory courses you will be taking will have a lab component!
Follow some of the suggestions posted in the first answer to your question about timing for the MCAT practice tests.
At the beginning of your junior year, start exploring the admission rates to various medical schools. Look specifically at the typical GPA and MCAT scores of admitted students. Only apply to schools where you are close to the averages.
Be prepared to spend a thousand dollars or more in the application process (for the MCAT and application fees and travel $ for the interviews).