8 answers

Should I double major in music and microbiology?

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I'm a rising senior and I am thinking about becoming a physician assistant. I have been playing french horn since 6th grade and also have a big interest in medicine. The problem is that I am not sure if I should double major in music and mcb or just microbiology. I want to have enough time during my undergrad years to join clubs, shadow other PAs, potentially conduct research, perform with an ensemble, and have a lively social life. Will this be possible if I double major or should I just stick to one? I feel that as a double major, I will stand out from other applicants applying to PA school. #college-major #music #medicine #physician #healthcare #doublemajor #physicianassistant #july20

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Alysia’s Answer

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In this case, my suggestion would be a major/minor combination, as Margaret mentioned. Double major is very impressive but, as you mentioned, you want to ensure you have time to expand more than just your academic horizons your freshman year.
I think either way, you will do great. It sounds like you're very committed to your education. As Margaret pointed out, you can switch after your first semester/first year if the academic schedule doesn't fit into what you're looking for.
Best of luck!
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Daniel’s Answer

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Choose to major in any of those two and minor in the other. Give it time, as you spend more time with both optinos you will learn more about them and also about yourself. Maybe some real life internship/volunteering/shadowing opportunities will be good for you to get a real sense of the real every day lives of both careers. Any career has ups and downs, but you have to look for whatever makes more sense for YOU, and no one else. Don't worry, you have time. Sometimes until you really get to work you discover what things you like or are good at. It took some time for me to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life as I liked many things too, but at the end of the day I ended up doing a combination of things that works out for me.

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

  • look for internships / volunteering / shadowing opportunities as a professional musician / PA
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Anna’s Answer

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I would say that if you have a desire and strong passion for both then I would go for it! Once you started to double major in both and found that it was too difficult to manage then you can always choose to minor in one or drop one of your majors all together. Remember that once you have made a decision you can ALWAYS change that decision. Don't think that every decision you make can't be unchanged.

One thing I want to mention is that you do not need to have a music major in order to continue practicing your French horn - that can remain a hobby regardless if you do that during college years or even after!

Don't forget to make the decision for you, not for anyone else. It's your life and you should be confident and proud in whatever decision you decide to make.
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Margaret’s Answer

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You can always start off as a double major and if it's too much stress/work/time, you can convert one of your majors to a minor. That way, you can see how the course load would be for two majors and if it's too much, you're already on your way to a major and a minor.
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Alycia’s Answer

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Hey Kurt! I personally have gone through this dilemma myself; deciding whether to double major, what major to choose, if you want to specialize or take on a minor is very stressful.

To put it bluntly, you can major or double major in any subject you want and still be accepted into PA school. While double majoring does make you a well-rounded and unique student, it will undoubtedly be more work then if you major solely in Microbiology. Unfortunately all graduate school programs, including a Masters in PA studies, requires you to have a competitive GPA and test scores to match. If you don't have those minimum requirements, the admissions council won't even give your application a second glance.

This may seem too practical, but if you want to be accepted into a PA program your first time applying, you would have a better chance with just one degree behind your name. If you watch a lot of medicine/healthcare-related videos you may have come across Dr. Andre Pinsett, the "MCAT murderer;" in one of his youtube videos he states that it's better to have one major, some projects (activities in which you take on leadership roles) a high GPA than to have more than one major/minor, less projects and a lower GPA.

Judging from your post, it seems like you have a lot you want to achieve during your time in college. The first thing I would do if I were you is prioritize: with all the goals laid out in front of you, what do you consider the most important in the long run? Before even entering college, I promised myself I would put my academic studies first, and spend as much time with family/friends in my free time. After that, I decided to volunteer at a local medical center-- not only did it count as healthcare hours which is required by most PA programs, it also served as an outlet for stress-relief (living independently from my family for the first time and dealing with roommates really did a number on me). Interning at a hospital for patient care experience, becoming a research assistant, and tutoring kids on the side all came after I had my priorities in order.

All in all, I would stick with one major and see if you still have time to take on another major from there. The choice is really up to you! If you have any more questions about college life or what you need to do to stay on the pre-PA track, feel free to message me any time! Good luck!
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Anna’s Answer

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I would say that if you have a desire and strong passion for both then I would go for it! Once you started to double major in both and found that it was too difficult to manage then you can always choose to minor in one or drop one of your majors all together. Remember that once you have made a decision you can ALWAYS change that decision. Don't think that every decision you make can't be unchanged.

One thing I want to mention is that you do not need to have a music major in order to continue practicing your French horn - that can remain a hobby regardless if you do that during college years or even after!

Don't forget to make the decision for you, not for anyone else. It's your life and you should be confident and proud in whatever decision you decide to make.
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Joe’s Answer

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When I was a child I wanted to be a doctor and a lawyer but thought it would be too difficult to accomplish. Where I live now there is a law firm with five members who are both doctors and lawyers. Do it and get it done! I'd be proud to have a doctor who is a well rounded person. Good luck and stop concerning yourself about admissions. You sound like you know what you're doing, people will want you.
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Alysia’s Answer

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In this case, my suggestion would be a major/minor combination, as Margaret mentioned. Double major is very impressive but, as you mentioned, you want to ensure you have time to expand more than just your academic horizons your freshman year.
I think either way, you will do great. It sounds like you're very committed to your education. As Margaret pointed out, you can switch after your first semester/first year if the academic schedule doesn't fit into what you're looking for.
Best of luck!
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