There’s a reason why medical school is becoming more popular. More and more people are becoming interested in picking a career in medicine. This generally means that getting into medical school is a topic that’s now widely discussed. With the increased competition comes an increased need to stand out, and premeds are looking for every advantage, including which majors will give them the best chance of getting into medical school.
However, there’s always a fear about majors preferred by medical schools. To help, we’ve gone through several statistics from different schools to see what pre-med majors put you at a disadvantage in medical school selection. This article also contains a review of subjects that will be relevant in med school. Read on to find out the majors required for medical school.
Do You Need a Certain Degree to Go to Medical School?
The simple answer to this question is yes. You’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree to prepare you for medical school. However, it’s also important to note that medical schools do not require specific degrees for admission, although it’s not hard to see students opting for programs that are heavy in chemistry and biology. Some schools also offer specific pre-med programs that include the required classes for medical school and prepare prospective students for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Most students are, however, interested in knowing what exactly they should study. Hence, the question: “is there a particular pre-med degree I should aim for?” For starters, forget what you’ve heard about a particular degree being better than another. It’s simply not true, although many students get carried away trying to choose a degree major they think will look good and sacrifice the areas they are probably good in.
The best advice you can get when preparing yourself for medical school is to opt for a field of study that interests you when completing your undergraduate degree. This way, you’ll not be forcing your way through school.
What is the Average GPA for Medical School Acceptance?
The sheer volume of medical school applications that admission officers receive every year often means that they’ll need to make some initial screening decisions based on GPA and MCAT scores. Generally speaking, undergraduate performance is considered the most important aspect of the medical school application. Therefore, admission officers pay huge attention to GPA scores. Perhaps, it’s also worth mentioning that the most competitive medical schools use national GPA averages as cutoffs during initial selection. However, most medical schools still consider some students whose scores do not match these national averages as long as they meet up with the average of any other application component.
Generally, many medical schools require applicants to have a minimum of 3.0 GPA to apply to medical schools. However, medical schools are competitive these days, and students that desire to beat the competition must target getting at least a 3.5 GPA. Recent reports by the American Medical Colleges Association showed that only about 30% of applicants with a GPA of between 3.4 to 3.6 get medical school acceptance. Put differently; this means that 70% of applicants in this category do not get into medical school. However, the chances of getting into medical school increase to 47% for students whose GPA falls within 3.6 and 3.8 and 66% for applicants with a 3.8 GPA and above.
From the above, it’s easy to see the importance of getting a high GPA for students that want to attend medical school. The chances are slimmer for people with a relatively low GPA. However, as explained earlier, there’s more to getting into medical school than GPA. Another significant factor in the process is the MCAT. Students with a not-so-desirable GPA can help themselves by preparing well for the MCAT.
What Major Has the Highest Acceptance Rate to Medical School?
A common question we always get from students aspiring to get to medical school is, “what’s the best pre-med major?” Well, now is an excellent time to explore the topic.
At first look, it may seem like Biological sciences is the most favored, but it just means that there are many more biological sciences applicants. However, after exploring several AAMC data, we’ve found that your choice of major does not appear to influence medical school admission rates like GPA and MCAT scores.
In other words, your major focus when looking for a competitive advantage in med school selection should be GPA and MCAT scores rather than major choice. When stats are similar, the major choice typically doesn’t have too much impact on admissions decisions. The truth is that there are so many people from different disciplines in medicine, meaning that no major is favored ahead of others.
Therefore, students are always advised to select primary majors based on their interests and ability to master them and achieve higher academic levels. When selecting majors, don’t select a tough one because it seems like it’ll “look good” on your applications.
These days, we see students betting on the possibility of admissions committees giving them additional credits for taking additional challenges. Of course, choosing a relatively tough major and excelling in it may earn you a few bonus points from admissions committees. But, nobody will favor you based on sympathy if you do not do so well and end up with a lower score. Remember that you are competing against an incredible number of students with stellar stats.
What is the Easiest Major for Medical School?
The easiest major for medical school is one you enjoy taking and can work hard enough to earn a high GPA. It helps to be interested in your major because it typically means you’ll put more hours into quality studies. Always remember that med school admissions boards typically look at your GPA before anything else, so your main focus should be on taking majors that you would do better in.
However, we’ve done our research and found that there are a couple of actual subjects that many medical students prefer. Therefore, our recommendations are mostly based on this research.
- Public Health: Most students specifically opt for this subject because of its strong correlation to many of the pre-med courses you should take before med school application. It’s not surprising to see that students typically get easy A’s from the subject.
- Psychological: This life science subject is typically considered easy and interesting. The interesting nature of the subject makes it better than other physical science subjects. Psychology major is also believed to help medical students considering that it is one of the core subjects of the MBBS curriculum.
- Liberal Arts: Subjects like fine art, sociology, and English can be fun majors to choose from. Their interesting nature makes them easier to understand. During our survey, we found that most students avoid math and engineering, especially when trying to score a high GPA.
How to Choose a Pre Med Major?
One of the biggest decisions undergraduate students have to make is choosing their major. It becomes even more challenging if you are aspiring to choose a career in medicine. Most times, the pressure to pick what’s right from the available pre-med subject list can be overwhelming. However, experts advise that you consider working with your prehealth and academic advisors to pick what’s right for you. Discussing the options with your school’s advisors would also help you know the easiest ways to navigate them. But you’ll also need to have basic knowledge before approaching any advisor.
To help get you ready to meet with your advisors, we’ve reviewed some of the most important factors to check when choosing your pre-med major.
Science or non-science
This is the first major decision you’ll make when picking pre-med subjects. You’ll need to ask yourself whether you will be a non-traditional pre-med that majors in humanities but takes medical school prerequisites. This option comes with its challenges, and opting for it would mean that you’ll complete the prerequisites alongside your major. However, many students consider it an intriguing option because college is the last opportunity to learn something that’s not science-inclined. Depending on the point you choose to weave your narrative from, taking non-science majors may have its advantages.
Interest and Passion
Another area worth looking at when choosing pre-med majors is passion. We generally recommend majoring in your area of interest. You don’t want to be bored throughout the four years you’ll spend learning a particular topic. Yes, we understand that you are preparing to go to medical school, but you can still leverage your pre-med program to learn about subjects that are not entirely related to medicine. If you also have a passion for film, you can go for non-traditional pre-med subjects related to filmmaking. However, if your interest is tuned so much towards science, then there’s no need to be afraid about going all out for traditional life science majors. It’s still okay to take a science major when applying to medical school.
One popular misconception students fall into is focusing on choosing life science subjects as pre-med because of the thought that it matters in med school. The truth is that life science matters in medical school, but not as much as people often think. For instance, being a physiological major in college doesn’t necessarily give you an edge in medical school. After all, you and your classmates will still learn all the physiology you’ll need to know as physicians in medical school. That clear; some majors would still be beneficial in the long-run. Majoring in business or economics would help you if you decide to run your own private practice in the future. Majoring in statistics would give you a better understanding of how to go about medical research. Majoring in a foreign language can also help your practice if you ever need to connect with certain populations.
It’s cool to pick what you are interested in, but you must also learn to balance in with its difficulty level. For example, choosing to major in pre-med chemical engineering because you are passionate about it would mean sacrificing your GPA. Most people that opt for chemical engineering in college graduate with an average of 3.0 GPA. While this GPA may be acceptable in engineering, it’ll play to your disadvantage during the medical school selection process. Therefore, never forget to opt for subjects that offer you an opportunity to get a better GPA.
Wrapping Things Up: What Majors Do Medical Schools Prefer?
There you have it, a detailed look into the possible majors that will stand you out in medical school selection. Of course, majors play their role in the admission process, but medical school acceptance rates by major do not measure up to acceptance rate by GPA and MCAT scores. Therefore, students are advised to focus more on getting higher GPAs, even if it means choosing pre-med majors that do not seem relevant to medicine.
The overall goal is to survive the competition and gain entry into medical school. The information in this article would help you prepare yourself better for the competition that the medical school selection process brings.