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Is Pre Med a Major in College?

a student uses a microscope in her biology class

Choosing a major can be a daunting and scary decision, as it often feels like the first big step toward shaping your entire future. Add in additional questions and uncertainties, and you might be second-guessing everything you know. 

In this article, we'll answer the question of whether or not pre-med is a major. We'll also share some of the most popular (and versatile) majors pre-med students choose. 

What is a pre med major?

At most schools, pre med is not a major (neither is pre law, pre dentistry, pre vet or pre pharmacy). You can actually major in anything and still be admitted to medical school. 

Pre med is a program you participate in, along with your major, to help ensure you are ready for the medical school admission process.

Many students think you must major in biology or a STEM field to be eligible for medical school. But being good at science doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a good doctor. 

What major will get you into medical school?

Medical schools are looking for students who can listen, synthesize data, use critical thinking skills, show empathy, and work with a variety of people. Therefore, liberal arts students are admitted just as often as STEM majors, as long as they have the right pre-requisite courses.

Pre requisites for medical school

If you want to attend medical school, you should make sure to take the following classes:

  • Biology (two sequential semesters with labs)
  • Chemistry, including general (inorganic), organic, and biochemistry
  • English or a writing intensive course (two semesters)
  • Genetics (one semester)
  • Math (two semesters including calculus and statistics)
  • Physics (two sequential courses with labs)
  • Psychology (at least one semester)
  • Sociology (at least one semester)

General medical school admission requirements

The three biggest factors that make someone eligible for medical school are:

Students apply to medical school through the American Medical College Application ServiceⓇ (AMCASⓇ). AMCASⓇ uses an algorithm that combines GPA and MCAT test scores. Med schools filter students based on the algorithm's results. The higher your test score and grades, the more likely your application will be reviewed by med schools.

Once the initial screening is completed, it becomes a holistic process. The medical school admissions officers will expect strong letters of recommendation from three to five professors, with at least two being in science courses. These letters should reflect on why you will make a great doctor.

Medical school admissions officers also want to see that you have had patient care experience. You can gain this by working as a CNA, EMT, Medical Assistant, phlebotomist, or other roles. Participating in undergraduate research is also critical, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be medical research. And, of course, you need to include well-written and thoughtful essays on why you want to be a doctor as a way to round out your application.

Choosing the right undergraduate college

Picking the right undergraduate college can be critical to helping you gain admission to medical school. You might think you need to attend a well-known, large research institution with a medical school. 

However, a small school, where you can get to know your faculty well, participate in many research projects, and earn a strong grade point average, can often be a better fit. Attending a university with a medical school does not increase your chances of being admitted to that medical school.

As you visit schools, ask about their pre med programs. Learn how they connect students to research and patient care. 

As if they offer MCAT preparation, application support, and letter of recommendation assistance. What are their medical school admission rates, and what schools do their students attend? And more importantly, is it a school where you will thrive academically and get strong grades? Then hit those books!

Finding, evaluating, and applying to undergrad colleges 

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