mistnight

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2015
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I have always seen myself as a doctor because I love helping people and all that jazz, but I also love problem solving and thinking logically and computer programming. The problem is aside from hospital volunteering and self-teaching coding I have no other experience with the medical field or computer engineering. So I was planning for undergrad to choose an engineering major (because it's impacted so if I end up hating it I could switch to medicine, and I'm going to try to shadow and volunteer more to see if I like medical) so I have room between the two interests. The only thing I'm worried about is if I want to get into medical school I need a high GPA. But the other thing I heard was there's a separate science GPA that medical schools look at. Would it be ok if I got a high science GPA but a low other GPA because of my engineering courses?

Don't worry I'll choose something I'm good at and passionate in I'm just roughing out a plan because I'm applying for colleges soon. Thanks!
 

tenblackalps

2+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2014
285
339
Status
Medical Student
If you don't believe you will get a high engineering gpa, don't do it. You have to believe in yourself. It takes a ton of effort to do well and you have to enjoy the material to have the motivation to study around the clock, which is what it takes to rise to the top of your class, but it is very doable. I am graduating summa cum laude with a 3.75 (hopefully 3.8+ by the time I graduate) in engineering and have high hopes for an acceptance this cycle, my first application cycle.

Also to answer your question, no, you need high bcpm and cGPAs to have a good chance, just look at the AAMC acceptance table which goes on cGPA, I believe. But like I said, it is very doable in engineering if you have the desire to do well.

One other thing, I think studying engineering really helped me prepare for the mcat, mostly because every class during your last couple years is a reasoning class when it comes to exams. Just like the mcat, on engineering exams you face new scenarios that you have never seen before, and have to apply your knowledge base to that new scenario to solve that problem. An engineering education is really an education in reasoning.

I'm not sure of the validity of this chart, since it is supposedly from the American Institute of Physics in 2010 (not the AAMC) and graphic produced by a third party (I haven't looked at the data), but I'd like to think there is at least some truth in it. Although, remember there are a lot more bio majors taking the mcat compared to engineering majors, so take it with a grain of salt. You can check out the link below.


https://medschoolodyssey.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/some-statistics-on-the-mcat-and-your-undergraduate-major/
 
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mistnight

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2015
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I love computers and I have no trouble studying in school, I'm actually considered weird because I like studying and school it's just my school's not that competitive so I don't have an idea of what a hard class is like or if I'll be able to handle it. But I know I'll enjoy it sooo much better than like a biology major. I'm not prepared yet to give up reasoning and math for memorization. Thanks so much for your input it's given me hope to pursue both of what I like :D
 

tenblackalps

2+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2014
285
339
Status
Medical Student
I love computers and I have no trouble studying in school, I'm actually considered weird because I like studying and school it's just my school's not that competitive so I don't have an idea of what a hard class is like or if I'll be able to handle it. But I know I'll enjoy it sooo much better than like a biology major. I'm not prepared yet to give up reasoning and math for memorization. Thanks so much for your input it's given me hope to pursue both of what I like :D
No doubt there will be adjustment to college but it is something most of go through. College showed me that although I thought I did at the time, I really did not have to study in high school, so freshman year of college I dug myself a little bit of hole. Thats why adcoms look at GPA trends since it is a common thing. Also, it's not weird to enjoy studying, I do too! :D I really do enjoy spending time with my textbooks, problem sets, a cup of coffee, and some talk radio on. I am glad to hear you enjoy studying because I think that is a key to doing well in engineering!
 
Aug 28, 2015
1
2
Status
MD/PhD Student
I did an engineering undergraduate (bioengineering, so closer than comp sci or elec which it sounds like you are thinking about...1/3 of my undergrad bioe class actually went to med school), and I'm currently in the third year of an MD/PhD program (so I will end up with an engineering, medicine, and basic science degree all of which definitely have some different philosophy about education and learning). I am so glad that I did the engineering degree and knowing everything I know now I would do it again; I really wanted an undergrad education that taught me how to approach a problem and developed my critical thinking (and maybe surprisingly my communication) skills as opposed to learning facts, especially since I wasn't sure then what I wanted to do in terms of medicine vs. academic research vs. industry.

That being said, engineering to medicine is not for everyone. If you really want the engineering degree and value the concept of an engineering education, and you can do it and get decent grades, then do it (for reference I graduated with a 3.7ish overall). If you won't be able to keep up reasonable grades, it might not be the best choice. If you do go engineering be prepared to explain over and over throughout your application process why you chose engineering; I talked a lot about wanting to develop my skills as a problem solver and how those skills will be useful in whatever field I ultimately end up going into. Some people thought that was great and others not so much. It is worth it if you really want it, but you have to be really committed to owning it when you ultimately apply.

Also be aware that coming out of engineering med school will be a bit of an adjustment; definitely doable, but it is a different average personality and a different approach to learning. If you can get through the engineering degree you will be fine, but the first two years may have a unique kind of frustration for you.

In short: if you can do it and you value the engineering education for its own sake, absolutely do it! If not, there are other paths either in engineering or medicine that you might have a better time with.

Hope this helps!
 
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mistnight

2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2015
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thank you guys so much! I think I'll major in EE or compsci or bioeng and then get some experience to decide because it's easier to switch out of engineering than into it. This really makes me optimistic for college!
 

Icositetrachoron

BS/MD
2+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2015
21
3
Does it matter what sub-specialty is chosen? EE has a few branches - namely the more computer-based hardware/software guys v. the standard signals, magnetics, etc. Would the latter branch aid you more (especially on the MCAT), or are they about the same in terms of problem-solving skills gained?
 

tenblackalps

2+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2014
285
339
Status
Medical Student
The engineering curriculum for the first couple years is pretty much the same regardless of what engineering major you pick, especially if you are taking the pre-med classes. If we are talking a pre-med engineer, that would be all the pre-med courses statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, some type of basic circuits class, AutoDesk or SolidWorks, etc.

To answer your question though @Icositetrachoron I don't think any specific engineering major would help you out more for the MCAT compared to the other. Engineering is essentially systems analysis and reasoning and the difference between the majors is how just how those skills are applied. It might be more helpful to be around higher level science courses if you are say a bioeng compared to an EE, but I don't think that would have a significant impact on an MCAT score.

Engineering is tough no matter what you field you choose, and if you can do well in your field, you will be well prepared to reason out a high score on the MCAT.
 
May 8, 2016
1
0
Status
Medical Student
Hi guys
Im writing on behalf of a beloved, who was forced into a career of medicine, where as his real passion lies in biomedical engineering
Having passed all his USMLE steps, the person will be applying for residency soon.
But he really really wants to shift to something more biomed engineering based.
Could anyone here please shed ANY possible ways of that happening? Like I read somewhere genetic engineering needs both the knowledge of medicine and engineering right
Im really confused, and we need to make these decisions really soon.
Awaiting a response, looking for some guidance :|
 

Dr Tony T. Chopper

Professional Whippersnapper
5+ Year Member
Mar 6, 2014
1,203
1,223
R'lyeh
Status
Medical Student
The major takeaways from an engineering degree into medical school admissions is its rigor, adeptness in basic physical concepts and problem solving. These are helpful with MCAT performance.
 

sonofva

10+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2009
1,066
384
Status
Attending Physician
Hi guys
Im writing on behalf of a beloved, who was forced into a career of medicine, where as his real passion lies in biomedical engineering
Having passed all his USMLE steps, the person will be applying for residency soon.
But he really really wants to shift to something more biomed engineering based.
Could anyone here please shed ANY possible ways of that happening? Like I read somewhere genetic engineering needs both the knowledge of medicine and engineering right
Im really confused, and we need to make these decisions really soon.
Awaiting a response, looking for some guidance :|
If this person already has an MD degree, check out the drop out club.

https://www.dropoutclub.org

They have job listings for physicians who want to get out of medicine.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
Sep 11, 2015
23
4
Status
Pre-Medical
I live in a city that has one of the top 10 best engineering colleges in the entire country and I know several current/former premeds there.

DON'T DO IT IF YOU WANT TO BE A DOCTOR. Their GPA's were utterly DESTROYED by engineering. One guy I know is going to have to do a post bacc to fix the GPA damage and it's a shame because he is really smart and will make an excellent doctor one day. Engineering is not worth it for premed. There are plenty of majors out there that involve problem solving that are not engineering. Remember, adcoms don't give two ****s about what major you had, how "hard" it was or how "difficult" your school is. They care about numbers. That's it. I know it's not fair, I know it sucks, but that's just how it is.

Here's what you should do: Go in as undeclared for your freshman year. Do your gen eds, do some of your med school prereqs and take some fun classes to see if you can find a major you like that utilizes your interests. Also during your freshman year, do some volunteering and get some clinical experience. Maybe take an EMT class (they're very easy). That's what I did and the clinical experience I got during my clinicals for EMT class confirmed that medicine is what I wanted to do. I can even remember the precise moment when I decided that I was in the right place- my first code on a flash pulmonary edema patient. There's nothing like the rush you get working a code. If after getting some clinical experience your freshman year, you find that medicine isn't your thing? Then go ahead and declare an engineering major. No harm, no foul. But if you find medicine is what you want to do? Then you can experiment and find a major that still utilizes logic and problem solving, but isn't quite the GPA killer. Remember, you don't have to do a science major. It doesn't even have to be a STEM major. I mean, I was a music major for Christ's sake. Sometimes having an unusual major like that can reflect positively on your app because it shows you are well rounded. So many premeds have the cookie cutter "bio", "chem", "biochem" etc majors that its refreshing to see someone who majored in music, creative writing, drama, dance, art, art history, 16th Century French literature, women's studies, religious studies, philosophy (philosophy is a great one for deep thought, logic and problem solving!), etc. Things you love, but might not be able to get a job with. Having other interests and talents are VERY important and often get overlooked by premeds. Don't get tunnel vision. Don't be cookie cutter. Just remember, whatever major you choose, keep up your GPA and do well in the prereq courses.

This way you save yourself the bad GPA and give yourself time to figure out which field you want to go into.

But, whatever you do, don't try to do both engineering and medicine. You're shooting yourself in the foot. Decide first, then pick one.
 
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I'm No Superman

Crushin' scones
5+ Year Member
May 7, 2011
1,947
382
Ann Arbor
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
If I could do it again, I would 100% major in comp sci/CSE, and take the pre-reqs instead of bio. It'll be more difficult but it's by no means impossible.
 

obiwan

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2006
693
50
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
Did engineering at UT which is pretty hardcore and of course my GPA suffered (~ 3.5) because of it but was still able get admitted to medical school. like you, I wasn't 100% committed to medicine at first.
 
Aug 10, 2015
111
221
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I'm a biomedical engineering major, applying this cycle. I'll make you a pro-con list. Just keep in mind my experience is n=1.

Pros:
  • Problem solving skills. Helped on my MCAT without a doubt (see above), and I believe/hope will help in medical school/career/life. One of the best things you get out of any engineering major.
  • Distinction. Compared to the general application pool, not a lot of people are engineers, so it automatically gives you a little bit of distinction. Most adcoms also realize engineering is hard.
  • Cool projects to talk about at interviews.
Cons:
  • Engineering is hard. I can't stress that enough. That could be seen as a pro, con, or both, depending on how you look at it.
  • GPA hit. From whatever you'd be capable of in a liberal arts major, you'll (probably, I know a few 4.0 unicorns) have to subtract at least 0.2.
  • Classes. Engineering + pre-med requirements is a lot of classes. Unless you have tons of APs/other exemptions, which some medical schools don't take anyways, you might find yourself (like me) having to take an extra year. When it comes down to it though, that isn't the end of the world.
Overall, I ended up on the positive side, and I'm glad I had the experience in engineering. Got to work on some cool projects in college, and it got me used to working hard.

But, what many people here will tell you, is that there are so many more things about college / your eventual application that are so much more important than your major. Get involved in some great ECs, both medical and non-medical, keep your head and your grades up, don't burn out along the way, and you'll be fine. Oh, and have some fun.