Does My Major Matter?
When medical school admissions committees look at your application, they usually check the following: whether you completed the prerequisite courses, whether your GPA and MCAT scores are high enough, if your extracurricular activities are relevant, and if you would succeed in a challenging medical curriculum. Your major, on the other hand, is not a deal breaker.
According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 51 percent of students who enrolled in medical school in 2012 majored in biological sciences. The remaining accepted students majored in diverse fields such as engineering, math, statistics, physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Although your chosen major carries little weight, what matters is how well you do and the grades you earn.
Admissions committees want to see that you can handle a rigorous course load and still perform well. In an Association of American Medical Colleges study, accepted students shared similar general GPA and MCAT scores, not majors. Pre-med students can select non-science majors and continue in the program, so long as pre-med courses are completed. Choosing a major that interests you, whether it’s science-based or not, will allow you to study something you enjoy before focusing entirely on the sciences, as you will in medical school.
At the same time, you shouldn’t avoid science courses altogether. Pre-med programs cover the pre-requisite courses needed to apply for medical school. At American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, we have a list of pre-requisite courses that must taken before applying.
If you are on the pre-med track, there are some majors that have an advantage. Biology majors, for example, have the most medical school pre-requisite courses already built into the curriculum. In fact, a new study suggests that biology textbooks are geared specifically to pre-med students. Out of eight intro-level bio textbooks, all included at least 50 percent of the primary MCAT biology content specifications within the first 30 percent of text.
If you realized you want to be pre-med late in the game, you don’t have to play catch up in college. Through an articulation agreement with the American International College of Arts and Sciences – Antigua (AICASA), students can fulfill pre-med requirements and earn an AS in Health Sciences. Best of all, qualified graduates are automatically enrolled at AUA.
For current med students: what did you study as an undergrad? Would you choose something different now?