Does it matter what my major is when it comes to applying to medical school? This is one of the most commonly asked questions by students. Non-traditional majors are becoming increasingly more common. Our advice is to major in something that interests you. In fact, major in something for which you have a passion. If that happens to be one of the sciences, great. But if you happen to love English literature then, by all means, feel free to make it your major.
Will medical schools be more impressed if I major in a science? Our advice is not to choose a course of study based on what will “impress” a medical school admissions committee. In fact, non-traditional majors may even be at a slight advantage in that they add diversity to the incoming class. As long as you do well in your pre-requisite science courses, you will be considered on the merits of your entire application. And remember, if you don’t have a sincere interest in a particular discipline, you won’t enjoy making that discipline your major.
Will students who have majored in a science be at an advantage when they are in medical school? That might be true in the first year when it comes to courses such as biochemistry or microbiology. But most students tend to be on the same playing field once they enter their second year of medical school. Plus, the subject matter covered in the second year – pathology and pharmacology – are likely going to be new for everyone.
Will majoring in a science in order to do better on the MCAT? The MCAT tests on the fundamental principles of Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics and Math. As long as you do well in your pre-requisite science and math courses and prepare well for the MCAT, you can do very well without having to major in a science.
Do medical schools take into account the difficulty of one’s major? Absolutely. Admissions committees understand that the difficulty of the course work as well as the size of the course load can be a major factor in how well one student does compared to another. This is taken into account.
Will admissions committees understand that I don’t have time for many extracurricular activities because I’m a double major? To some degree, yes. But it is important to remember that the purpose of engaging in extracurricular activities is not to impress an admissions committee – it’s to give you the opportunity to expand your horizons and get involved with activities other than pure academics. It’s important to remember that medical schools want well-rounded individuals. Every applicant should explore whether medicine is the field for them and it’s for this reason why so much emphasis is placed on volunteer and clinically-oriented activities. Medical schools want to see that you have an understanding and a genuine interest in pursuing a career in medicine and this is difficult to demonstrate if you are lacking many of these activities.