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Does the difficulty of my major outweigh the lower GPA?

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DO I SWITCH MY MAJOR?


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took300

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Hi forum,

Im a sophomore in college majoring in chemistry, and honestly its more than just a rough ride. After taking biology (B in both), General chemistry (B, B+)and Orgo 1 (a B) I have started to realize that these difficult chemistry courses are just the beginning. I have yet to take physical chemistry, analysis, physics based calculus, etc. and its a known fact that Chemistry majors have an average gpa of 2.8 at my school ( which would be dismal for medical school standards). I currently have a 3.2 GPA.

Say i get a GPA of 3.2/3.3 when applying to medical school, will this GPA be put into a different consideration because of the rigor of the course load, or am i better off switching my major to something thats easier and coasting to a Higher GPA (like psychology or public health)? I love chemistry but, clearly, its not worth all the effort if its detrimental to my chances of acceptance.

Thanks!
 

whitemagic

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In short: no. You are expected to have a stellar GPA regardless of your major. Yes, everybody knows it's much easier to get a 4.0 as a psych major than it is to get a 4.0 in biomedical engineering. With that said, your 3.3 in chemistry will still be subpar to someone who got a 4.0 in their major. No if, ands, or buts about it.
 
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BluMist

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no, at least not significant enough to help you in your case. There are many people who majored in chemistry or even more rigorous majors and have done well.
Say i get a GPA of 3.2/3.3 when applying to medical school, will this GPA be put into a different consideration because of the rigor of the course load,

an "easier" major will not help your science GPA; you are struggling with the prerequisites while the average GPA for med school acceptance is around 3.6-3.7
realistically, how do you imagine yourself doing better in science all of a sudden?
it is not the major that's the problem; you need to figure out how to get better grades in science classes
or am i better off switching my major to something thats easier and coasting to a Higher GPA (like psychology or public health)?
 
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Mwooster

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Does the difficulty of my major outweigh the lower GPA?

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A difficult major like BME at a prestigious school might help a tiny bit... we're talking in the context of a 3.6 BME vs. a 3.7 basket weaving
A 3.2 is a 3.2, unfortunately
 
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Meeehai

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Hi forum,

Im a sophomore in college majoring in chemistry, and honestly its more than just a rough ride. After taking biology (B in both), General chemistry (B, B+)and Orgo 1 (a B) I have started to realize that these difficult chemistry courses are just the beginning. I have yet to take physical chemistry, analysis, physics based calculus, etc. and its a known fact that Chemistry majors have an average gpa of 2.8 at my school ( which would be dismal for medical school standards). I currently have a 3.2 GPA.

Say i get a GPA of 3.2/3.3 when applying to medical school, will this GPA be put into a different consideration because of the rigor of the course load, or am i better off switching my major to something thats easier and coasting to a Higher GPA (like psychology or public health)? I love chemistry but, clearly, its not worth all the effort if its detrimental to my chances of acceptance.

Thanks!

No, the rigor of your major does not really come into play. I don't think the situation is as easy as you're making it out to be. If you're having trouble in science classes it might be better to find more effective ways to study and bring up your grades as opposed to settling for an easier major. Remember that you can't really escape this material - you will need to learn it very well for the MCAT and you will be exposed to some of it in medical school again. It's fine to do a non science major, but you need to find a way to perform well in science courses eventually.

physics based calculus

:)
 

Turkishking

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Hi forum,

Im a sophomore in college majoring in chemistry, and honestly its more than just a rough ride. After taking biology (B in both), General chemistry (B, B+)and Orgo 1 (a B) I have started to realize that these difficult chemistry courses are just the beginning. I have yet to take physical chemistry, analysis, physics based calculus, etc. and its a known fact that Chemistry majors have an average gpa of 2.8 at my school ( which would be dismal for medical school standards). I currently have a 3.2 GPA.

Say i get a GPA of 3.2/3.3 when applying to medical school, will this GPA be put into a different consideration because of the rigor of the course load, or am i better off switching my major to something thats easier and coasting to a Higher GPA (like psychology or public health)? I love chemistry but, clearly, its not worth all the effort if its detrimental to my chances of acceptance.

Thanks!

No every major is equal, focus on your pre reqs.
 
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El-Rami

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My advice on this matter is to pick a major that both interests you (so you have a viable fallback option) and is also "easy." You want to be able to focus on your medical school pre-reqs. A double major, extremely difficult undergrad institution, and tough major are not particularly beneficial.
 
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Lucca

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The best path is to figure out why you are doing badly and improve on that. Are you studying enough? Are you studying efficiently? Do you have bad habits? Do you really focus when you study? Do you study better alone or in groups? Are you using outside materials when you need help? Make use of your school's learning center, I'm sure they have one and the staff there have dealt with many students such as yourself and worse, I'm sure of it.

The path only gets harder from here, best get with the program and learn how to turn "hard" into "manageable" or find something else to do.
 
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mr.mkitty

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As other posters have already stated... You need to find a better way to study; you are doing poorly in pre-reqs which indicates that it isn't your major that is causing the issue. Find a way to fix how you study! Good luck!
 

Jalby

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I sat on the scholarship committee at USC. To answer your question, No. You should take the easiest classest possible and get the highest GPA. Change your major tomorrow.
 
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BreakneckWalrus

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The worst is yet to come. Switch now; you can always minor in chem, anyway. Your sGPA will suffer if you try to take higher level chem classes with B's in the lower ones.
 
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The Knife & Gun Club

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Hi forum,

Im a sophomore in college majoring in chemistry, and honestly its more than just a rough ride. After taking biology (B in both), General chemistry (B, B+)and Orgo 1 (a B) I have started to realize that these difficult chemistry courses are just the beginning. I have yet to take physical chemistry, analysis, physics based calculus, etc. and its a known fact that Chemistry majors have an average gpa of 2.8 at my school ( which would be dismal for medical school standards). I currently have a 3.2 GPA.

Say i get a GPA of 3.2/3.3 when applying to medical school, will this GPA be put into a different consideration because of the rigor of the course load, or am i better off switching my major to something thats easier and coasting to a Higher GPA (like psychology or public health)? I love chemistry but, clearly, its not worth all the effort if its detrimental to my chances of acceptance.

Thanks!

So let me start off and say you should probably switch to another major. No point in killing yourself just to hurt your chances at admission. And you should definitely be doing much better in classes like bio.

With that out of the way, I will actually disagree with some of the other posters here and say that program rigor CAN have a significant effect on how they view your file. This only happens if your school is very well known in the premed world. Places like WashU, Northwestern, etc in my experience definitely get special consideration. But other programs/schools that just happen to be hard but aren't well known don't do any favors
 
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kmp0410

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As other posters have already stated... You need to find a better way to study; you are doing poorly in pre-reqs which indicates that it isn't your major that is causing the issue. Find a way to fix how you study! Good luck!

This

Your not even really in your major classes yet, you've only taken the same pre-reqs that everyone takes regardless.
 
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dm005

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I was in the exact same situation and switched from chemistry to microbio. In short, most schools have a much higher weight on your GPA vs difficulty of major. Some schools will just outright tell you that it doesn't matter. That is how business majors with a 4.0 can get into med school and many bio majors with a 3.6 are rejected.
 
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SurfNTurf23

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Not to hijack this thread, but GPAs being equal, is some leeway given to the harder majors? So say a 3.8 in engineering VS a 3.8 in psych or something?
 

Goro

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Adcoms don't care about your major, only that you do well in them.



Hi forum,

Im a sophomore in college majoring in chemistry, and honestly its more than just a rough ride. After taking biology (B in both), General chemistry (B, B+)and Orgo 1 (a B) I have started to realize that these difficult chemistry courses are just the beginning. I have yet to take physical chemistry, analysis, physics based calculus, etc. and its a known fact that Chemistry majors have an average gpa of 2.8 at my school ( which would be dismal for medical school standards). I currently have a 3.2 GPA.

Say i get a GPA of 3.2/3.3 when applying to medical school, will this GPA be put into a different consideration because of the rigor of the course load, or am i better off switching my major to something thats easier and coasting to a Higher GPA (like psychology or public health)? I love chemistry but, clearly, its not worth all the effort if its detrimental to my chances of acceptance.

Thanks!

it's not a zero-sum game. People who do well, get accepted.


Not to hijack this thread, but GPAs being equal, is some leeway given to the harder majors? So say a 3.8 in engineering VS a 3.8 in psych or something?
 

SurfNTurf23

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Adcoms don't care about your major, only that you do well in them.

Just curious, has an unorthodox major ever riled up curiosity to the point where it could be of marginal benefit? Like if someone revolved a bunch of unique ECs around a major and had the numbers that would be on the fence to warrant an interview, but you'd tip the scales to invite the person to pick their brain...or maybe they had an interesting set of major/major related ECs that you looked at their application for an extra couple of minutes, etc. In the grand scheme of things it would be obviously foolish to make a 4 year decision based on such impression, but I guess would be good to know. My friend and I have had college major/medschool app discussions before. He says the doctor he shadowed used to be on the admissions staff at XYZ in state school in our state, and he said his major (aerospace engineering) was rare and he hasn't seen that many engineering majors, so it would stand out in (his words) "the sea of biology".
 
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Goro

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Music, Drama and English majors seem to perk up our interests.

Just curious, has an unorthodox major ever riled up curiosity to the point where it could be of marginal benefit? Like if someone revolved a bunch of unique ECs around a major and had the numbers that would be on the fence to warrant an interview, but you'd tip the scales to invite the person to pick their brain...or maybe they had an interesting set of major/major related ECs that you looked at their application for an extra couple of minutes, etc. In the grand scheme of things it would be obviously foolish to make a 4 year decision based on such impression, but I guess would be good to know. My friend and I have had college major/medschool app discussions before. He says the doctor he shadowed used to be on the admissions staff at XYZ in state school in our state, and he said his major (aerospace engineering) was rare and he hasn't seen that many engineering majors, so it would stand out in (his words) "the sea of biology".
 
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moisne

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Nope. ChemE major avg GPA was a 2.8. If you pick a major - then you better own it. You can't be like "whoa guys look at me, I'm in a super hard major but only 3.2"

At that point - you just need to cut your losses and switch to an easier field (or figure out how to get A's) - your choice.

Doing a easier major well >> rigorous major poorly
 
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Lost in Translation

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It should, but it doesn't. Sucks but that's how it is.
 
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bate16

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One of the adcoms that I talked to said that they look at the rigor of a student's coursework. The purpose of that, as I was told, was to see if the student can handle the difficulty of medical school. With that being said, I think the difficulty of a major is helpful only up to a certain point. I would imagine this like 3.7 in a tough major such as BME would be fairly equal to a 3.85+ in natural science. But, if you are not doing well in BME, say <3.5, then the having a tough major does not help you. However, you also have to look at a person's sGPA and their cGPA, to see if the person is a good student but just in a tough major. Essentially, you should try to be around the average matriculant GPA regardless of your major and then your major should help you out when your application is under further consideration.
 
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boshtrich

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Adcoms don't care about your major, only that you do well in them.
I don't feel that this is completely true. While I agree that GPA is by far the more important factor, if GPA/MCAT combo pass a school's screen a difficult or unique major can help. I was a ChemE and my engineering background was brought up in all of my interviews for med school, as well as several residency interviews I've been on thus far. I feel that it has helped differentiate me from other applicants and at very least given me something relatively unique to talk about with residency interviewers. That being said I graduated with 3.5+ so I wasn't shot down (as far as I know) by any pre admission screens. The key is to get past the computers. Then real people look at your application and your major can play a role. That being said, doing well is certainly more important.
 

Goro

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N =1 doesn't prove anything. Avoid the sin of solipcism.

I don't feel that this is completely true. While I agree that GPA is by far the more important factor, if GPA/MCAT combo pass a school's screen a difficult or unique major can help. I was a ChemE and my engineering background was brought up in all of my interviews for med school, as well as several residency interviews I've been on thus far. I feel that it has helped differentiate me from other applicants and at very least given me something relatively unique to talk about with residency interviewers. That being said I graduated with 3.5+ so I wasn't shot down (as far as I know) by any pre admission screens. The key is to get past the computers. Then real people look at your application and your major can play a role. That being said, doing well is certainly more important.
 

flapjack3d

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A difficult major like BME at a prestigious school might help a tiny bit... we're talking in the context of a 3.6 BME vs. a 3.7 basket weaving
A 3.2 is a 3.2, unfortunately
Gettin real tired of everybody sh*tting on basketweaving majors.
 

bwc

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I'm an engineering major and at my school, the average engineering undergrad graduates with a 2.8 or 2.9. From what I heard, they may consider the rigor of your major provided that you make it past their initial numbers filter.
 

getdown

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I don't understand why people like to promote stories that are outliers. Yes you may know the kid with a 2.5 GPA in chemE that got into Harvard. Is that the norm? No. So let's cut the BS and just say a higher GPA in anything trumps a "hard" major. All your "in my experience", "I heard of" and "I know a kid ..." stories are irrelevant and only promotes applicants who are grasping at straws to make bad decisions. If they're going to be the exception then they'll find out otherwise they'll join the millions of applicants who overestimate the value of their major and end up with a rejection letter.
 
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