Aspiring medical-school students should choose an undergraduate major carefully, as medical-school admissions are very competitive. According to Harvard College, medical schools do not have any preferred majors as long as all of the prerequisites are successfully completed. However, you should choose an area of study that engages you and in which you will be able to earn the highest grades.
If you are strong mathematically, consider majoring in this field. Statistics and calculus are common prerequisites for medical school, and the skills you learn in math classes will help prepare you for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The same logic and reasoning you use to study math is essential for the clinical setting, according to Ross University School of Medicine. Earning a high GPA based on challenging math courses will make your application stand out.
Undergraduate programs in the liberal arts produce well-rounded, creative and thoughtful applicants, which medical schools look for. If you have an affinity for foreign language, majoring in one will prepare you to care for a diverse group of patients. Psychology will help you develop your interpersonal skills, and English will make you a better communicator -- both assets for physicians. Sandra Greer, provost and dean of faculty at Mills College, calls a liberal education the “perfect preparation” for medicine.
While it isn’t necessary to major in science, if you are particularly interested in or perform exceptionally well in this field, consider majoring in it. Biology and chemistry are prerequisites for admission to virtually every medical school in the United States, so you will need them on your transcript. Science courses are very challenging, and if you are able to earn top grades in the majority of them, you will distinguish yourself as a desirable applicant. A strong science background in biology, chemistry and physics also prepares you for the MCAT.
Choosing a Minor
Students applying to medical schools might choose an academic minor for a variety of reasons. You may choose a minor to show admissions committees that you have a passion for something; if you play an instrument in college, minor in music. You may choose a minor to catch up on academic areas you need more exposure to; physicians use technology every day, so consider a computer science minor. Finally, you might minor in a subject to satisfy a personal interest; minor in business if you think you would like to manage your own medical practice one day.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images