The Major Decision: What Pre-Med Students are studying in Undergrad

4 mins read

Graduate school is the behemoth that intimidates us all. With the application process, the interview and the constant struggle in undergrad to be the best you can be, it’s only natural that we seek to look for an advantage to separate us from the rest of the application population. An example of this is a fascinating new trend that pre-health profession students have started.


Traditionally, pre-health students usually major in the life & physical sciences (i.e biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, etc.). However, these days, pre-health profession students seem to be majoring in non-traditional majors, like psychology, math, and English. It leads one to wonder – why do these students pursue a major that, some might say, is outside the scope of focus of the science field?


When talking to junior psychology major and pre-medical school student, Stephanie Peña, she commented, “I believe the psychology major is an advantage, as it may allow me to comprehend, to some extent, what may be going on in a patient’s mind, thereby helping me better communicate with them, and provide better service as a future physician.”  


When asked on why one might view the traditional science majors as a disadvantage, she said, “It might be a disadvantage since the major has additional courses that are required, whereas I’m only taking required courses that might be enough to prepare me for medical school.”


Sophomore Leah Kesten, an applied math major with a biology concentration, agrees with the contention that setting yourself apart from the normal pre-medical student has its perks. Kesten, who has a passion for math, explains that “There was an applied math option in the biology area which already overlaps four pre-med requirements.”


She also says how most pre-med students choose biology and chemistry as their major, but it is better to set yourself apart from the crowd and look different. Kesten commented that, “It is already impossible enough to get into medical school, so it is best to set yourself apart as much as possible.”


Junior Family, Nutrition, & Exercise Sciences (FNES) major, Nia Rivera, believes her FNES major will stand out in the application process of physician assistant (PA) schools. Rivera says, “All my life I have loved and been involved in sports. Since I plan on going to PA school, FNES is the perfect blend of science and understanding of the human body.”


Rivera went on to add how her application will stand out of the biology and chemistry crowd who will also be applying to PA school, “Even though biology and chemistry are great majors, it looks typical on an application,” Rivera adds.

However, it should be noted that other majors outside the traditional sciences are not meant to be pursued for the sake of gaining an advantage in the applications process. These majors are pursued by students who are passionate about the subject matter, and intend to apply their passion in moving forward into graduate school. Ultimately, you might find yourself wondering what to major in. The right choice may just be your passion, which could happen to align with the traditional science majors, or it may not. Finding these answers is what the undergraduate experience is all about.


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