The BEST PRE-MED MAJOR | Proven By Med School Acceptance Data
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The BEST PRE-MED MAJOR | Proven By Med School Acceptance Data


It’s a question I’ve been asked by hundreds
of students and their parents on Instagram, YouTube, and email – what is the best pre-med
major? In traditional Med School Insiders fashion,
we’ll take a look at the numbers, analyze the data, and give you actionable advice to
optimize your chances of a medical school acceptance. Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. First, it’s important to understand that
at most schools, there is no such thing as a “pre-med major”. To get into medical school, you can technically
choose any major you’d like, so long as you also complete the medical school pre-requisites. Each medical school will have slightly different
pre-requisites in order to apply. However, there’s a shared core of requirements
which are as follows: 1 year of Biology with lab
1 year of General Chemistry with lab 1 year of Organic Chemistry with lab
Physics with lab And also 1 year of English Many other schools require a few additional
courses. For that reason, we suggest you also take
the following: Math, biochemistry, psych and soc. You should aim to take as many of these courses
as possible prior to taking the MCAT, although taking every single one is not always necessary. For example, I didn’t take biochemistry
until after my MCAT, and I still achieved a 99.9th percentile score, or “100th”
percentile, as the statistically illiterate would say. Following this logic, many students and advisors
alike conclude that you can choose any major and it shouldn’t matter, so long as you
complete your pre-requisites. I don’t necessarily agree with that, and
I’d say that not all majors are created equal. To see what I mean, let’s jump to the data. When people ask, “what is the best pre-med
major”, they’re usually asking, “what is the major that will maximize my chances
of getting into a good medical school?” Luckily, we have data on just that. The Association of American Medical Colleges,
or AAMC for short, publishes annual data on the medical school application process. For the 2018-2019 application cycle, we can
group applicants by the major that they applied to. Out of the 52,777 applicants last cycle, 55.8%
majored in biological sciences, including majors like molecular biology, cell biology,
neuroscience, which is what I majored in, and the like. About 9.7% majored in social sciences, including
majors such as economics, government, etc. Approximately 9% majored in physical sciences,
such as physics and chemistry, and 3.4% majored in specialized health sciences, including
nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and public health. 3.2% majored in humanities, such as
history, English, and literature, and 0.7% majored in math and statistics. The remaining 18.1% studied other majors not
falling into the aforementioned categories. It’s clear that the biological sciences
are the most popular pre-med major, and we’ll discuss why shortly. But more interestingly, the average MCAT score
and even acceptance rate vary significantly between these majors. On average, math and statistics majors topped
the list with an MCAT of 509.4, followed by physical sciences at 508.0, humanities at
507.6, social sciences at 505.6, biological sciences at 505.5, other at 505.0, and specialized
health sciences by far the lowest at 502.4. In terms of acceptance rates, math and statistics
topped the list at 47.6%, followed by humanities at 47.2%, physical sciences at 46.1%, and
so on. Biological sciences were second to last, at
40.2%, trailed only by specialized health sciences at an abysmal 36.2%. If you were to go blindly off the data, you
may assume that you should pursue a math, physical sciences, or humanities major. After all, those are the three majors with
the highest average MCAT scores and highest average acceptance rates. But such a conclusion would be a terribly
inaccurate portrayal of the data. So how should we interpret these findings? First, correlation does not equal causation. Just because students studying certain majors
had a higher MCAT or acceptance rate does not mean it’s because of their major. In fact, there are a series of confounding
variables and biases that are likely at play. Others have suggested that students majoring
in humanities may have higher MCAT scores because they’re better prepared for the
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section, or CARS, arguably the one section on the MCAT
that is hardest to improve your score in. These students are exposed to tremendous amounts of writing and for that reason you would expect their CARS section scores to be higher. But by looking at the data, we see this explanation
falls short. While humanities majors do score highest on
CARS, it’s only on average 1 point higher than other majors, thereby only accounting
for half of the total MCAT score difference between humanities and these other majors. In extending this logic, we would expect biological
science majors to score the best on the bio section of the MCAT. But that’s not the case. In fact, bio majors score right on average
with everyone else, and it’s actually math and statistics majors that score highest. What about physical sciences majors. Do they score highest
on the chemical and physical section of the MCAT? Nope, again it’s the math majors that win
out. Taking a step back, we can notice two interesting
trends. First, students majoring in Humanities, Math,
and Physical Sciences dominated multiple sections of the MCAT and had the highest medical school
acceptance rates by a large margin. Second, students majoring in Specialized Health
Sciences were far behind the pack, scoring the worst in both the MCAT and having the
lowest medical school acceptance rates. I’d argue that the reason we see these trends
has little to do with the major and field of study. Rather, over the large population of medical
school applicants, we’re seeing a survivorship bias of highly ambitious and driven students. Allow me to explain Biological sciences are the default pre-med
major, because it’s the most straightforward. Most classes that are medical school pre-requisites
overlap well with the courses that are required for a biological science major. For that reason, 55.8% of pre-meds default
to a biological science major. And therein lies the secret. It’s on average an easier path. If a pre-med choose a biological science major,
they’re more likely to end up applying to medical school. There are fewer obstacles in the way. On the other hand, the less than 1% of pre-meds
who major in mathematics or statistics are generally working an uphill battle. You need to not only complete your full major
requirements for math, but also 2 years worth of medical school pre-requisites. For this reason, those who choose this path
and are able to even get to the point of applying to medical schools must really want it. Remember, this path is more difficult, so
I’d argue that a higher percentage of those who choose this path will actually fall short. They’ll simply never even get to the point
of applying to medical schools. Like most students who enter college as pre-meds,
they may decide it’s not worth the effort and decide to change majors and ultimately
change career paths. Hence the survivorship bias. We only see the successful fraction that made
it all the way through – those that really want it. This also explains why those studying Specialized
Health Sciences fare off so much worse. They’re essentially the opposite of the
math majors. Some portion of students who choose nursing
or physical therapy may be pre-med as more of a moonshot – something they’d like
to do, but they aren’t fully committed to. After all, they have a backup option in the
healthcare industry that they can fall back on. But since so many pre-requisites for nursing or PT overlap with med school, it’s easy to just apply to both. As you guys know, I don’t like to leave
you hanging, so in classic Med School Insiders fashion, after busting the myths and misconceptions,
I’m going to provide you with actionable advice. Consideration 1: A Straightforward & Streamlined
Path If your top priority is getting into medical
school, I recommend you actually pursue a major in a Biological Science, particularly one that
is of interest to you. The requirements for your major will overlap
nicely with your medical school prerequisite courses, and you’ll hopefully be studying
something that you are interested in. After all, you want to be a doctor and study
the human body. Consideration 2: Prioritize Something You’re
Interested In If you want to be a doctor, there should be
at least one Biological Science major that is of interest to you. If you hate the thought of all bio majors,
then seriously ask yourself why you want to be a doctor. That being said, there are students who still
would rather pursue something else. After all, you have the rest of your career
to study biology and the human body. For those students with a burning interest
in political science, the humanities, art, or Asian history, by all means follow that
passion. Simply understand that it’ll be a bit more
of an uphill battle for you, but it’s definitely not impossible. In fact, some medical schools will even prefer
that you have a unique background and interests outside of medicine that you pursued. And Consideration 3: Preparation for Medical School
Medical school is the toughest, most rigorous schooling in the world. Getting yourself prepared for that process
will only make the transition easier. For that reason, I suggest you consider majors
that will prepare you either in subject matter or in rigor – or do what I did, and choose
a major that prepares you for both. As a pre-med at UCLA, I chose Neuroscience
as my major. The brain, after all, is the sexiest organ
in the human body and one of life’s greatest mysteries – it was something I was and still
am deeply interested in. It was a biological science major, so the
overlap with my pre-requisites was nice. And finally, it was tough. In fact, during my time at UCLA, Neuroscience
and Bioengineering were considered the two most challenging pre-med majors. In choosing a difficult path, I was able to
hone my work ethic and learn a great deal about the nervous system – in some areas
to far greater depth than what I even covered in medical school. I learned so much about the brain and its
anatomy as a Neuroscience major that in medical school, setting the curve in my neuro and
psych block came easily. Remember, statistics apply to populations,
not to individuals. Just because you’re a math major doesn’t
mean you’ll do spectacularly, and just because you’re a bio major doesn’t mean you’re
bound to be mediocre. Despite choosing Neuroscience, a biological
science, I ended up with a killer MCAT score and my pick of multiple top medical schools,
some even with full tuition merit based scholarships. And you can do the same! That’s why I started this YouTube channel
– to help you learn the ingredients to success in both your personal and professional life. These are things that took me years of studying,
optimizing, and experimenting to figure out. In the end, they helped me become wildly successful
and I know they can do the same for you. If you need help planning out your college
courses or choosing a pre-med major or even optimizing your extracurriculars, our top
physician advisors at MedSchoolInsiders.com are here to help. They love what they do, and they’re the
best in the industry. They’ve passed our highly rigorous application
process and have excelled in their own medical careers. As you guys know, I’m a huge proponent of
systems generating results. That’s why my team and I have spent months
perfecting our proprietary and systematic processes that ensure the highest quality
service for each and every student. Unlike other companies, you’ll never worry
about being “unlucky” and not getting a phenomenal advisor. Our team consistently delivers an excellent
experience and service, and I personally stand by that. Our results speak for themselves. Whether it’s MCAT tutoring, personal statement
editing, preparing for medical school interviews, or anything else in the medical school application
process, we’ve got your back. Learn more at MedSchoolInsiders.com. Thank you guys so much for watching. What major did you decide on? Let me know in the comments below! If you have any questions that you’d like
me to answer or have featured on my YouTube channels, shoot me a message on Instagram
@kevinjubbalmd. If you’d like to see more medical school
related videos, make sure you’re subscribed with the notification bell enabled. Much love to you all, and I will see you guys
in that next one.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “The BEST PRE-MED MAJOR | Proven By Med School Acceptance Data

  1. 2nd year pre-med here. I’m wondering where would biomedical engineering fall into in the above categories and if it’s something considered to have a lot of obstacles?

  2. Bachelors of science in psychology concentrated on Neuroscience minor in Genetics 🙏🏾🙏🏾 next year I’ll be taking my chemistry and physics classes 🙏🏾🙏🏾

  3. I'm from Pakistan so here if you are doing pre-med the "only" option for you is to pass the mcat and do MBBS and very few go to pharm-D and majority of pre-med just switch subjects so here taking pre-med is basically the end terrain. I've passed my MCAT and i'll be in Med-college soon but i'm literally zero% interested in becoming a doc cuz it just doesn't appeal me. Wanted to be a theoretical physicist/astronaut and i had my chance but i dunno why i'm here and somehow i feel i've already destroyed my life and i think i'm going to resent this for the rest of my life. It's a mess and even i don't know what to do and it actually feels like a dead end to me

  4. Some of the best advice I ever got.
    "If robots took over all jobs in medicine, what would you want to study?"

    I said I would love to study space, and power (generation and storage). So I studied electrical engineering, and like several of the Math&Engineering pre-med students you can get so wrapped up in the work that you decide to forgo medical school. Luckily 4 years into my career my MCAT was still valid, I applied to med school and graduated medical school close to debt free. Plus going into medicine is hard. If your entire focus and aim is on being a doctor, any one slip up on a major test can easily lead to depression, anxiety, and being part of the 25% of doctors who regret their job choice, but have not financial way out.

    I also disagree with survivorship bias, every single one of my friends in Electrical Engineering who was pre-med had the grades and ability to get into med school. Plus the overlap only left me with 24 credits of pre-meds. Several Math/Stats people will not pursue medicine because they found something they love and don't have to wait another 4 years or jump through the arbitrary hoops to get into med school (like shadowing for 80-120 hours).

  5. So, I decided a few months ago that I want to study medicine and become a surgeon. Thing is, my current major is Computer Animation. Does this mean I have to change my major, do I just take the courses I need for medical school, or is there something else I'm suppose to do?? Help is greatly appreciated

  6. Great advice and generally aligns with the information we provide students in my office (Health Professions Advising at Princeton University). That said, we feel less inclined to encourage a biological sciences major as an "easier path" and generally encourage students to pursue their genuine interest instead. Overall though, this is excellent. I was surprised to find such high quality advice on YouTube. Keep it up!

  7. When I was in Graduate School at the University of Texas (Organic Chemistry), I taught the Pre-Med students Organic Chemistry Lab. We had about 1600 premed students as Freshmen. About 125 got into any Medical School. So what are you going to do with your Degree in Library Science if you don't get in? You will be $150,000 in debt with no job. Consider that.

    I like your concept of "Survivor Bias". If you can get a BS in Mathematics with a good GPA, you have demonstrated that you have the intelligence and drive to survive Medical School. For example, In my Freshman class of about 30 Chemistry majors, only 5 of us graduated with a degree in Chemistry.

    After working as a PhD Research Chemist for 4 years, I went to Medical School. I didn't do as well as you on the MCAT: only the 94th percentile. I have been practicing for 40 years. BTW: some Schools do not look favorably on applicants with advanced degrees. "Are you a professional student?"

  8. I chose to double major in accounting and finance ahah trying to be a CPA tho. My girlfriend is a premed major.

  9. I’m so confused on what i wanna go to college for.. I’m thinking about diagnostic medical sonography but idk.. I’m taking anatomy now in my senior year of hs and it’s really hard and I’m not doing too well.. but I feel like once I get past all of the learning I’ll like the career that I’m doing.. life is just really stressful. I’m afraid I’m going to end up being one of those people who are lost and don’t know what they want to do with their lives

  10. Massaging numbers may allow you the pseudosttisfaction of gaining an upper hand in getting IN a medical school. It does not guarantee it would help you get OUT of the medical school with a degree in hand.

  11. False: skip college. You don't need an M. D. Become an electrician or plumber or something like this. Put away 10% every year and enjoy life. If you must learn medicine, then get a library card.

  12. What about majoring in kinesiology? I want to be an orthopaedic surgeon of sports medicine. It's really hard deciding what you want to major on especially when your a senior in high school

  13. Hi there! Would a degree in Biomedical Sciences be a good idea to use as a premed major? With the Human Physiology route taken?

  14. Pick a major that leaves you the most spare time. Use that time to study for the MCAT and first year medical school subjects. Getting in is one thing, doing well, once in, is another.

  15. There was a time when you didn't need to go to college to become a doctor. Today, it really is a waste of time since there is so much you need to know in any specialty. Get started in that field.

  16. I first had a cosmetology diploma. Then I earned a BSN. Then off to med school. In my class we had peeps who majored in dance, Russian, French, nursing (me), neuroscience. My advice is to study what you love so that you get a high GPA. Better to get A's with a a major in Music performance than to get B's in biology only because you think bio is the best med school major.

  17. I am a community health major (like public health) and ima rock the world with my awesomeness and become the very best internist and infectious disease specialist there is 😎

  18. Not to dog on you but you’re technically wrong saying 100th percentile is statistically illiterate. That’s how the statistics is taught nowadays for Advanced Placement classes in high school. Percentiles are at or below.

  19. I want to be a doctor, but I take BS Biology major in Botany, I don't know what am I doing? Am I taking the right path? I enjoyed plants but am I doing right?

  20. Caution: Don't read unless you're like me and have way too much time on your hands and might be interested in what I wrote. It is a lot. Repeat, it is a lot.

    I'm majoring in pre professional biology, but I'm still on my path of finding my passion. To be honest, I believe God led me here to the school I'm at, and it doesn't really have anything else I'm interested in. I used to love writing. I don't know what happened to that. I guess people's opinions got in the way of me enjoying it, and now I want people to like my writing. But I'm afraid that if I don't like it, then others won't either. Not to mention I have had serious writer's block for like over two years. I still try to make myself write. Writing is why I wanted to go to college. I wanted to get my degree, then my MFA in CW, but my mom brought me into reality, saying I can't just write and make a living off of that. I believed that, especially since I didn't know if people would buy my stuff. So I looked into the second thing that caught my interest: science. Bio was my favorite scienece and my second favorite core subject. After searching and researching different jobs and careers, ranging from psychology to biology, I made a plan that I would study bio, become a doctor or biologist or something, and write on the side. When I searched jobs I could get with an English or CW degree, none of the jobs interested me. My senior year in high school (last year) I took anatomy. I always wanted to take it. It was interesting. The hardest part for me was the brain. It does so much, so I applaud you for taking that challenging course. I looked up different types of doctors as we moved from one body system or section to the next. And I realized that I really liked Criminal Minds. Forensics was an interesting thought. It was actually the first type of psychologist I was thinking of being. I remembered seeing those doctor people in the lab coats on the crime tv shows. I thought they were coroners. So I looked them up. The job description wasn't pleasing to me. I knew they were called something else, but I didn't know what, so I gave up and searched other things. One day I gave up on trying to reasearch every type of doctor individually so I searched up a list. At the end of that list was a medical examiner, or forensic pathologist. I was like "that's cool" and searched that up. It was the job of the people in the lab coats. That's when I made my decision. I'm still in my first year, I can still change my major. But I think maybe this is what God has planned for me. Besides, if I don't get into med school, I can join the military or something. Or work somewhere else. Idk

  21. I want to major in biology but I'm not interested in pre-med. But because there are a lot of people who do bio then pre-med, will that affect the major (ex make it more competitive)?

  22. Dr. Jubbal, what do you think about online undergraduate degrees? I'm a nontraditional pre-med student, and I work full-time 60+ hours/week to sustain my family. I'm 25 yrs. old, and I'm switching my career and plan on becoming a doctor. However, due to my situation, I am getting my undergrad degree (BBA) completely online. I am currently a junior w/ a 4.0 GPA. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

  23. In the Philippines, some of our professors said that Medical Technology/Medical Laboratory Science is the best pre-med. Why? it's because subjects in 2nd year of med school is all about medtech stuff. Plus, medtech covers a wide range of subjects that are very useful when you go to med school. Btw, 1st year medtech student here. :>

  24. I think your reasoning falls short. Most probably, the math, statistics, and physical science majors are the most talented of the bunch.

  25. I really want to go to med school, this really helped me! I was planning on a Microbiology and Biochemistry double major and this just made me more confident.

  26. the best pre-med major is a Bachelor's in Biology. It covers all your pre-req's. BUT! it is the hardest to get. Lots of people drop out of this degree because it is not easy. I am dealing with it right now and I have to say I'm glad I'm almost done. I have 3 more classes and one of them is a prereq (BioChem). Remember, if you're going for another degree you're gonna have to follow that outline to get a degree PLUS you're gonna have to take other classes to get your pre-req's, to me that's a lot. So I went the biology degree route even though you're gonna take classes that have nothing to do with your future goal.

  27. So heres another point that should be made. Liberal arts schools vs non. I think people who are bio majors and go to liberal arts schools truly have the best advantage of all because it forces you to be a well rounded student. I did tons of writing despite being a bio major. (Not going for med school but PA school)

  28. Im a biochem major with a minor in Spanish I’m interested in both but I also love political science should I switch my major or just stick to biochem and Spanish?

  29. I’m double majoring in Ceramics and Biology 🤭
    Hopefully to get to Med School so I can move forward into Forensic Pathology 😬

  30. But there can’t be correlation between categorical (major) and quantitative (percent who made it in) variables. Also you can’t have a trend with non time variate data

  31. So I am majoring in biochemistry would you all say that its a rigorous course while also fulfilling many of the pre-med prerequisites?

  32. I’m a senior that has changed my major THREE times… from Geology—> Geography—> Nursing. I finished my Nursing prereqs in Fall 2018 as a Junior but started to question myself if Nursing was for me. In short, Medicine is for me.

    Changing paths can be tough and confusing at times. Videos like these are smoothing my transition to pre med. Thank you.

  33. well I'm a public health major and that fell into the category that got the lowest mcat score and acceptance rate….and I oop

  34. I got a B.S. in Microbiology. I dont necessarily regret it, however, I'm working as a Case Manager before I start med school and I would have LOVED to study more of the social science aspect of public health. Seems kinda overlooked in medicine today

  35. I’ve decided to go with engineering, only thing that really interests me outside of med school and figure the work load + med school prerequisites will prepare me adequately. Also I can get a job during a gap year and save to minimize debt

  36. I’m 36, been a respiratory therapist for 8 years (RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS) and I want a career change. I cannot decide on what I want to do. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  37. this is so interesting to me, because here in the philippines, some if not most medical students & doctors majored in another health science, or the like, prior 😂 hahaha. it always either nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, biology, medical technology, or psychology.

  38. Best pre-med major?…business. That is, if a business degree taught anything about business. OH, forgot, just about all docs are just employees of hospital corps now.

  39. Have a friend who was a private practice family physician. He had eight exam rooms which he was scheduled to cycle through every 15 minutes (i.e., quality time with his patients). Two million dollars in debt, hundred + hours/week. He became an entrepreneur, financially free for 24 years now. He's a happy man and can actually help people.

  40. How helpful would a biomedical engineering/ bioengineering major be in completing pre-med prerequisites and being well prepared for medical school?

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