How to choose a major

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I bet all of you starting fresh in college are wondering, “What should I major in”?


The simple answer… whatever you want!!

This is a common question I receive on social media. I was very concerned about my major, when I started college. After contemplating a major in dance, French, and psychology, I finally decided on a major in biology.

I mean… can we say boring? No offense to all you biology-lovers out there! I love science, too! But if I could do things over, I would’ve chosen one of the alternatives I listed above. College is your last chance to learn about things from a broad and general perspective, before you choose a career that could last a lifetime! Also keep in mind that you don’t have to declare a major right away. I felt a bit of pressure when I showed up to register on day 1, but there is no need to feel pressure. Take a breath, take some time, and enjoy the process.

I knew I wanted to go into medicine long before undergraduate school; so choosing the “pre-med” track wasn’t the question.  “Pre-med” is not technically a major. I ended up choosing biology because it required many of the science classes that were also required to apply to medical school. I figured it was killing two birds with one stone.

Although most medical schools require the same pre-requisite classes, you should check each school’s website to be sure there aren’t additional requirements.

The major required science classes for applying to medical school include:

  • 2 semesters of biology
  • 2 semesters of general chemistry
  • 2 semesters of organic chemistry
  • 2 semesters of physics
  • 2 semesters of English
  • 1 semester of calculus

When choosing a major, think about what you would love to learn more about, but also a focus where you can excel. You don’t have to feel pressure to choose something science-related, just because you may want to go to medical school. Many schools actually appreciate a well-rounded, different applicant, who maybe majored in something totally outside of the science realm. You DO need to perform well, in whatever you may be studying.

Overall, my advice is to choose something that you will enjoy. It’s quite possible that if you enjoy your major, you will perform at a higher level and have more success!

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