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mdhopeful77

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Hi everyone!

I am new on SDN but please bear with me if I am not following the typical format of the forums here!

I am a rising sophomore in undergrad majoring in biomedical engineering. I am a pre-med student. I originally chose this major over the typical biology route to provide myself a back up career if "life happens" on my journey to medical school and I need a fallback. I am also interested in surgery so I feel that by learning about biomedical devices, I will be able to better serve patients and bridge the gap, so to speak, between the surgeons implanting devices and those who make them.

With that being said, I have recently been pondering this decision. There seem to be pros and cons each way from what I have heard: the engineering route provides me with a good back-up plan and will give me greater insight into the rigors of medical school but it is also harder with some classes that do not necessarily pertain to my future career. I will also have to take some summer courses to stay on track for both my major and pre-med. The biology route may have some easier classes and less extra courses that I do not need, but it will also not challenge me as much and I don't think it will set me apart from other applicants as much as BME would.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice as it pertains to my current dilemma, especially if you have been in my shoes at some point. My current thought is to wait until the end of this next semester to make a decision since I have not been able to take any BME-specific classes yet (I will be starting those this semester). The basic engineering courses were not as interesting as medical-related courses would be, of course, but I am hoping that the BME-specific courses will be more interesting and make my path more clear.

Thank you in advance!!!
 
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$haBoy

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Hi everyone!

I am new on SDN but please bear with me if I am not following the typical format of the forums here!

I am a rising sophomore in undergrad majoring in biomedical engineering. I am a pre-med student. I originally chose this major over the typical biology route to provide myself a back up career if "life happens" on my journey to medical school and I need a fallback. I am also interested in surgery so I feel that by learning about biomedical devices, I will be able to better serve patients and bridge the gap, so to speak, between the surgeons implanting devices and those who make them.

With that being said, I have recently been pondering this decision. There seem to be pros and cons each way from what I have heard: the engineering route provides me with a good back-up plan and will give me greater insight into the rigors of medical school but it is also harder with some classes that do not necessarily pertain to my future career. I will also have to take some summer courses to stay on track for both my major and pre-med. The biology route may have some easier classes and less extra courses that I do not need, but it will also not challenge me as much and I don't think it will set me apart from other applicants as much as BME would.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice as it pertains to my current dilemma, especially if you have been in my shoes at some point. My current thought is to wait until the end of this next semester to make a decision since I have not been able to take any BME-specific classes yet (I will be starting those this semester). The basic engineering courses were not as interesting as medical-related courses would be, of course, but I am hoping that the BME-specific courses will be more interesting and make my path more clear.

Thank you in advance!!!
I too am just a lowly pre-med, but if I've learned anything from the countless hours I've spent combing this forum it's (1) major in something you enjoy, can thrive in, and wouldn't hate as a job if you don't get into med school and (2) adcoms don't care at all about your major or if you've taken harder courses than anyone else, so don't think being a BME major will make you more special or impressive in their eyes. That said, if you will enjoy BME and wouldn't mind it as a fall back career, then definitely stick with it and don't change to bio (unless you would enjoy that just as much as a major and fall back career, then you might want to consider it).
 
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HockeyGuy30

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Hey! So I'm a rising Senior in BME at UT Austin and finishing my applications for medical school for this upcoming cycle. So as far as BME as a major, that's really up to how much you are enjoying the material. I don't know what the curriculum is like where you go to school, but for UT, there were a few required classes I did not like and struggled through. There were also many classes I enjoyed a lot and they make me thankful to be a BME major. That being said, the benefit of being in BME only extends so far as you are willing to apply it. Many students in BME will do it just as a back up and to look good on applications, which is fine and dandy. But to really get the benefit of the tough class work you need to find a way to apply it. I took a research position where a lot of things I learned as a BME helped to get me the position and it's a way for me to connect my schooling to practice. From what I've seen, being a BME doesn't necessarily give you any advantage over other students if you don't have a way to talk about the significance of your courses and experiences. My GPA isn't perfect although it is competitive, but it could be a lot higher if I hadn't been taking some of the more difficult engineering classes. I'm torn in hindsight with regards to BME as my major. I don't regret it because I learned a very wide breadth of knowledge in different fields, but I don't feel that we really specialize in any one area. There are definitely easier ways to go, but if you don't mind the course load and think its interesting I would say stick with it. While it might not be super fun to struggle through it now, I think the way engineering courses teach you to think will be very beneficial later in life, even if you don't work as an engineer at any point.

I kinda rambled there a bit, so if I didn't answer exactly what you want or you have other questions feel free to ask!
 
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mdhopeful77

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Hey! So I'm a rising Senior in BME at UT Austin and finishing my applications for medical school for this upcoming cycle. So as far as BME as a major, that's really up to how much you are enjoying the material. I don't know what the curriculum is like where you go to school, but for UT, there were a few required classes I did not like and struggled through. There were also many classes I enjoyed a lot and they make me thankful to be a BME major. That being said, the benefit of being in BME only extends so far as you are willing to apply it. Many students in BME will do it just as a back up and to look good on applications, which is fine and dandy. But to really get the benefit of the tough class work you need to find a way to apply it. I took a research position where a lot of things I learned as a BME helped to get me the position and it's a way for me to connect my schooling to practice. From what I've seen, being a BME doesn't necessarily give you any advantage over other students if you don't have a way to talk about the significance of your courses and experiences. My GPA isn't perfect although it is competitive, but it could be a lot higher if I hadn't been taking some of the more difficult engineering classes. I'm torn in hindsight with regards to BME as my major. I don't regret it because I learned a very wide breadth of knowledge in different fields, but I don't feel that we really specialize in any one area. There are definitely easier ways to go, but if you don't mind the course load and think its interesting I would say stick with it. While it might not be super fun to struggle through it now, I think the way engineering courses teach you to think will be very beneficial later in life, even if you don't work as an engineer at any point.

I kinda rambled there a bit, so if I didn't answer exactly what you want or you have other questions feel free to ask!
Thanks so much for your reply, it's great to hear from someone in the same boat!

I am a rising sophomore in BME so I have not gotten to take the specialized BME classes yet which is why I think I'm a little more worried about this than I really should be. I did fine in Physics and Calculus and those engineering classes my first year and I just finished taking a Statics course over the summer which, while I did fine, I wasn't too interested in the material.

BME has already helped me in that I have a position at a research lab in which I will be starting my own project next semester relating to osteoarthritis. Luckily at my school, we can semi-specialize in one area, which I plan to do so in biomaterials.

Long story short, I am doing alright so far in my BME courses. I'm just hoping that the more specialized classes will be of greater interest to me. I like that it challenges me more academically than a typical science course load would, but I am also struggling with whether that is worth it since I will have to take more filled semesters and probably a decent amount of summer classes to get the necessary coursework in before the MCATs, therefore opening the possibility for a lower GPA and not as much time to volunteer, etc. It definitely is a trade off.

May I ask if you found that fitting in your pre-requisites for medical school was difficult with the engineering course load? I've found that there are many classes I would be interested in taking that pertain to pre-med (not necessarily required) that I wish I could fit in, but I probably won't have the time to.

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uconn19

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I am a rising senior BME at UConn, just a quick tip from me since HockeyGuy covered what I was going to say --

Don't think of it as a backup. I really like your interest in surgery and getting a different perspective on medicine through devices and imaging etc. The problem with thinking of it as a backup is that you don't apply yourself as vigorously towards BME as other BMEs, and you don't apply yourself as vigorously towards pre-med as other pre-meds. If you're doing BME, go HARD - Find research in BME, publish if you can, and take classes you think you can be really interested in. I loved biomaterials and biomechanics, and will be doing a senior design project this year that encompasses both subjects. Again, not a backup, this is what you WANT, really invest and be the best BME you can and Medical School Adcoms will see the passion. :) Good luck
 
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scribbles&rambles

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Hi everyone!

I am new on SDN but please bear with me if I am not following the typical format of the forums here!

I am a rising sophomore in undergrad majoring in biomedical engineering. I am a pre-med student. I originally chose this major over the typical biology route to provide myself a back up career if "life happens" on my journey to medical school and I need a fallback. I am also interested in surgery so I feel that by learning about biomedical devices, I will be able to better serve patients and bridge the gap, so to speak, between the surgeons implanting devices and those who make them.

With that being said, I have recently been pondering this decision. There seem to be pros and cons each way from what I have heard: the engineering route provides me with a good back-up plan and will give me greater insight into the rigors of medical school but it is also harder with some classes that do not necessarily pertain to my future career. I will also have to take some summer courses to stay on track for both my major and pre-med. The biology route may have some easier classes and less extra courses that I do not need, but it will also not challenge me as much and I don't think it will set me apart from other applicants as much as BME would.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice as it pertains to my current dilemma, especially if you have been in my shoes at some point. My current thought is to wait until the end of this next semester to make a decision since I have not been able to take any BME-specific classes yet (I will be starting those this semester). The basic engineering courses were not as interesting as medical-related courses would be, of course, but I am hoping that the BME-specific courses will be more interesting and make my path more clear.

Thank you in advance!!!

I also majored in BME (graduated 2017). I did face a similar dilemma like you did, though I ended up sticking with the major. The reason why was that:
  1. I enjoyed the material that I was learning a lot; even though the courses were difficult, I preferred my BME courses a lot more (even when it came down to the incredibly long nights trying to debug my MATLAB code) than I did most of the general science courses I took for my pre-med requirements. What came down to it is that I've always been the type who likes digging into complex math/physics problems and to learn by application. BME fit my learning style and interests.
  2. One of my passions is to use technology and design to improve various medical treatments. I like thinking about how we can better deliver drugs to bodies, etc. Now this is something you can definitely do with a different degree (a lot of the undergrads in my current lab are not BME majors), but I felt BME would provide me with the best foundations to continue pursuing this passion.
That said, I had a fellow classmate who switched over to biology, and she said it was one of the best decisions of her undergraduate career. What came down to it was that she had different priorities and interests, and BME didn't fit her as well as she thought it did. The classmates who stuck with BME were the ones who couldn't see themselves being happy majoring in anything else.

It's like what uconn19 mentioned above, you should continue with BME if it's something you really want to immerse in. If you're holding onto it out of a sense that it might make you unique, then I'm certain you can make yourself unique in any major you pursue--the uniqueness comes out in the passion that you've given to it.
 
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mdhopeful77

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So if I ended up switching from BME to biology as a sophomore, would medical schools look poorly upon that?

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scribbles&rambles

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So if I ended up switching from BME to biology as a sophomore, would medical schools look poorly upon that?

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I can't say for certain (I am just only a mere premed), but I'd be doubtful that it'd impact your application to make a switch. I feel a lot of people come into undergrad thinking they know what they want, only to realize they didn't later on. It's perfectly natural for you to realize that BME isn't your cup of tea after a few introductory courses and decide biology is a better fit. I think what's important is that you make the most of your biology degree (if you do switch) and really show that it's something you love and thrive in.

But I'd defer my opinion to anyone on this forum who knows better about this sort of stuff.
 

hopeforacure

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I'm a BME undergrad in medical school now as an M3. I picked BME originally for the same reasons (as a back-up career) and found a passion for it after about a year. I worked as an engineer before med school, but looking back am grateful for some of the other advantages BME gave me that I never considered.
  1. Being an engineer teaches you an incredible amount about your willingness and ability to put in work. In engineering school I regularly worked 80-100 hour weeks studying for exams I knew I had to do well on. Now, I routinely work 80-100 hour weeks on something I love. BME taught me coping skills for the hours and gave me an appreciation for how much I can do at one time.
  2. Engineering is an incredibly efficient profession, as is surgery. I've found that engineering gave me problem-solving skills that I use in the OR and in management of my operative patients. I tend to pick up patterns quickly, which is a bleedover from my undergrad days, and this is helpful in surgery.
  3. Engineering made me different. When I applied to medical school, I wasn't one of the thousands of other pre-meds who was a biology major. I could talk about how I loved my senior design project, how I could build an EKG, and how I spent time in Africa on study abroad trips.
In summary, I'd agree with the previous posters as someone now in medical school - be an engineer who is a pre-med, not a pre-med who is an engineer, and it'll pay off for you in the long run.

Plus, B.M.E. = Best Major Ever!
 
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Cyla123

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I'm a BME undergrad in medical school now as an M3. I picked BME originally for the same reasons (as a back-up career) and found a passion for it after about a year. I worked as an engineer before med school, but looking back am grateful for some of the other advantages BME gave me that I never considered.
  1. Being an engineer teaches you an incredible amount about your willingness and ability to put in work. In engineering school I regularly worked 80-100 hour weeks studying for exams I knew I had to do well on. Now, I routinely work 80-100 hour weeks on something I love. BME taught me coping skills for the hours and gave me an appreciation for how much I can do at one time.
  2. Engineering is an incredibly efficient profession, as is surgery. I've found that engineering gave me problem-solving skills that I use in the OR and in management of my operative patients. I tend to pick up patterns quickly, which is a bleedover from my undergrad days, and this is helpful in surgery.
  3. Engineering made me different. When I applied to medical school, I wasn't one of the thousands of other pre-meds who was a biology major. I could talk about how I loved my senior design project, how I could build an EKG, and how I spent time in Africa on study abroad trips.
In summary, I'd agree with the previous posters as someone now in medical school - be an engineer who is a pre-med, not a pre-med who is an engineer, and it'll pay off for you in the long run.

Plus, B.M.E. = Best Major Ever!
 

Cyla123

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I'm a BME undergrad in medical school now as an M3. I picked BME originally for the same reasons (as a back-up career) and found a passion for it after about a year. I worked as an engineer before med school, but looking back am grateful for some of the other advantages BME gave me that I never considered.
  1. Being an engineer teaches you an incredible amount about your willingness and ability to put in work. In engineering school I regularly worked 80-100 hour weeks studying for exams I knew I had to do well on. Now, I routinely work 80-100 hour weeks on something I love. BME taught me coping skills for the hours and gave me an appreciation for how much I can do at one time.
  2. Engineering is an incredibly efficient profession, as is surgery. I've found that engineering gave me problem-solving skills that I use in the OR and in management of my operative patients. I tend to pick up patterns quickly, which is a bleedover from my undergrad days, and this is helpful in surgery.
  3. Engineering made me different. When I applied to medical school, I wasn't one of the thousands of other pre-meds who was a biology major. I could talk about how I loved my senior design project, how I could build an EKG, and how I spent time in Africa on study abroad trips.
In summary, I'd agree with the previous posters as someone now in medical school - be an engineer who is a pre-med, not a pre-med who is an engineer, and it'll pay off for you in the long run.

Plus, B.M.E. = Best Major Ever!
 

Cyla123

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Hello!
I Really appreciated your post. Im currently a mechanical engineering student at UCLA but im taking bioengineering courses, planning to switch winter quarter. I can relate to your passion for physics and math. Im currently taking an introduction to bioengineering. Having the opportunity to speak with you would be awesome. Would you mind doing an informational interview? Truly look forward to hearing from you!
 
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