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What should I major in if I want to become a Pediatrician?

I am a senior in high school who is super excited about working with kids in the future and making sure they are always healthy. However, I am having trouble figuring out what I need to major in to be able to become one in the future. Many people tell me that I will get the Pre-Med classes to get me ready for Med School but they never tell what I can major in? Please Help!! #college #pre-med #pediatrician #majors

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Michelle’s Answer

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From my experience, pediatricians come from a variety of background including majors in biochemistry, foreign grads who went straight to medical school from high school, biology, psychology, etc. Undergrad major was not a huge deal. Lots of people including myself completed a biochemistry major in hopes of getting into medical school. Personally, I did not find college courses adequately prepared me for the mcat . Rather some time investment to study mcat questions combined with having good mcat study and test taking strategies (taught through couse prep companies like Kaplan) were more helpful.

At the end of the day, medical schools take people with a variety of backgrounds including the sciences, arts, nursing, police studies, music....the list is endless. Also , there is a trend with those getting into medical school being more mature and being in their 30s before starting medical school as life and work experiences are considered.

Thus, I suggest any courses you take should be in areas you enjoy/ want to work in while waiting to be admitted to medical school. You can round out your application through volunteer work with kids in places like hospitals, boys and girls club, tutoring at local community center, etc. If possible, career shadowing with a pediatrician or a family physician would be helpful as well. Once you get into medical school, you can tailor clinical rotations and research experiences towards the pediatrics field and family practice also involves significant work with children and babies including deliveries.

I think it is great that you have pinpointed that you like working with kids and keeping them healthy. Some areas to consider as a major where you can achieve this goal would include nursing, physician assistant, education ( physical education/ health teacher), dietician (nutrition degree), psychologist, and I am sure there are more options out there. For a masters degree, masters in public health ( health promotion) would be helpful in communicating healthy nutrition and exercise information to children and their parents. I would highly recommend talking to your guidance counsellor in high school and using the career counseling center/ academic advisor in university to make an informed decision about choice of major.

I think if you do what you enjoy or are passionate about in college, it will reflect in your grades and your drive to find a job of interest while applying to medical school . It is difficult at your age to know exactly what that is but I think it is best through a combination of education, work, and volunteer opportunities to further explore working with children and devote some dedicated study and exam prep time when it comes to mcat preparation to be ready to take the mcat.

Thank you for answering this question it really helped me! Whitney W.

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Rachel’s Answer

Major in whatever field interests you and will allow you to maintain an excellent GPA. I majored in Spanish literature and had no trouble with my med school applications. You do need to complete the pre-med requirements that vary from school to school. As stated above, these include at least a year of biology, 1 year inorganic chemistry, 1 year organic chemistry + labs, physics, calculus, and biochemistry. Your junior year, you will need to take an MCAT study course prior to taking the MCAT. With a solid GPA and MCAT score, you should be a competitive applicant.

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Richard’s Answer

Pick a college that suits your personality and a major that interests you. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters

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Estelle’s Answer

I would recommend majoring in any field that you find interesting and that will allow you to achieve a high GPA . When applying to medical school you will need a 3.7 or 3.8 to be a competitive applicant.