Sep 19, 2017
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Hey everyone so I need some constructive advice. I am a sophomore and my goal is to become an oncologist. Currently I am a biology major but my heart isn't really in biology. I enjoy taking the pre-requisites for med school but all the extra things on the list of courses for the major don't spark my interest and in turn my motivation. If I were to change my major it would be to healthcare administration and I would use the prerequisites to fill the electives slot of the degree. Luckily I have only taken gen ed courses up to this point so everything I have done is transferable between majors. Here are the pro and cons I have come up with if I did decide to change majors:

Pros:
  • I would be more interested in the majority of the course required of my major.
  • It would be an easier workload because it is not as science intensive.
  • I would have a favorable backup plan if med school doesn't work out
  • I could use the argument that by being healthcare administration, I have a better understanding of how healthcare works when I become a doctor
Cons:
  • I won't have the "blanket" coverage that would make sure that I have all the science prerequisites for all the schools I apply to. This would mean that I would have to make sure I take all the prerequisites for each school I apply to
  • I am at a statistical disadvantage since more science majors are accepted to medical schools
  • I would probably have a harder time taking the MCAT and the first 2 years of medial school since I will only have a basic knowledge of the advanced sciences needed for the 2 groups.

So i have 3 questions:
  1. Should I change majors?
  2. Are there any other Pros and Cons I am overlooking?
  3. Is there anyone who took the non-science route and what did you do to make sure you were a competitive applicant?
Thanks in advance!
 
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Aug 1, 2017
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Pre-Medical
Hey everyone so I need some constructive advice. I am a sophomore and my goal is to become an oncologist. Currently I am a biology major but my heart isn't really in biology. I enjoy taking the pre-requisites for med school but all the extra things on the list of courses for the major don't spark my interest and in turn my motivation. If I were to change my major it would be to healthcare administration and I would use the prerequisites to fill the electives slot of the degree. Luckily I have only taken gen ed courses up to this point so everything I have done is transferable between majors. Here are the pro and cons I have come up with if I did decide to change majors:

Pros:
  • I would be more interested in the majority of the course required of my major.
  • It would be an easier workload because it is not as science intensive.
  • I would have a favorable backup plan if med school doesn't work out
  • I could use the argument that by being healthcare administration, I have a better understanding of how healthcare works when I become a doctor
Cons:
  • I won't have the "blanket" coverage that would make sure that I have all the science prerequisites for all the schools I apply to. This would mean that I would have to make sure I take all the prerequisites for each school I apply to
  • I am at a statistical disadvantage since more science majors are accepted to medical schools
  • I would probably have a harder time taking the MCAT and the first 2 years of medial school since I will only have a basic knowledge of the advanced sciences needed for the 2 groups.

So i have 3 questions:
  1. Should I change majors?
  2. Are there any other Pros and Cons I am overlooking?
  3. Is there anyone who took the non-science route and what did you do to make sure you were a competitive applicant?
Thanks in advance!
The 1st listed pro is sufficient; applicants are accepted across a very diverse range of majors, so you will not be jeopardizing your chances, IMO.
 

Turkishking

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I wouldn't major in something that sounds very easy
That's your opinion. It doesn't necessarily matter.. A lot of dance majors in med school. But not sure how rigorous dancing is. It could be all participation, or the other. So I cannot comment on that aspect.
 

allantois

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That's your opinion. It doesn't necessarily matter.. A lot of dance majors in med school. But not sure how rigorous dancing is. It could be all participation, or the other. So I cannot comment on that aspect.
Lol yeah it is my opinion :confused:
 
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DokterMom

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Healthcare Administration is more of a vocational degree even though I suspect you may very well find it useful (if taught well). So it probably will be considered an easy major by AdComs.

To counter that possible bias, DO take more than the bare minimum science courses required for admission and make sure to ace them. Take advanced science courses when you can and peddle fast to keep your GPA really strong.

A 3.6 GPA in healcare administration is not the same as a 3.6 in engineering physics -- Your bar needs to be set a bit higher just in case.
 

Lawper

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Healthcare Administration is more of a vocational degree even though I suspect you may very well find it useful (if taught well). So it probably will be considered an easy major by AdComs.

To counter that possible bias, DO take more than the bare minimum science courses required for admission and make sure to ace them. Take advanced science courses when you can and peddle fast to keep your GPA really strong.

A 3.6 GPA in healcare administration is not the same as a 3.6 in engineering physics -- Your bar needs to be set a bit higher just in case.
I don't think this is necessary. There is no objective metric distinguishing between easy and hard majors. And taking hard courses to demonstrate rigor is not the best use of the time and effort. Instead, OP can major in whatever they want and complete the necessary prereqs (and also taking few courses that some schools of interest explicitly want).

OP can show academic rigor by taking the MCAT and doing well.
 
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Blanky

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I switched from biology into neuroscience for the same reasons. If you do not enjoy biology please switch, although healthcare admin is not the best choice. A more traditional degree in a subject you enjoy is going to be better than a vocational degree. These are statistics you can look up.
 
Mar 1, 2017
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I fully support switching! The schools will have plenty of opportunity to see if you excel in your science classes based on your pre med reqs and your MCAT score. I am a strong believer doing pre-med in the way you find most enjoyable and if that is following your interest in healthcare administration than you should go for it! I talk more about not needing to be a perfectly traditional candidate in my youtube video: .

Good luck with everything!
 
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Gilakend

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Would business be considered a vocational degree as well? At my schools we have both a "pharmacy administration" and "healthcare administration" which are both wayyy harder than general business. Pharm admin majors have to take a ochem, biochem, physics, calc, etc. Would it still be considered a vocational degree considering these factors?

Not in either of these majors, just curious.
 
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If your heart isn't in biology, medicine isn't for you. Biology is the basis for making accurate diagnosis. I don't mean to say don't switch majors, but if you don't like science, you're done. An adcom told me they interviewed someone who scored low in the bio part of their MCAT. When asked why they said they didn't like science. Guess what happened to him? Even if you don't like non prerequisite courses, you'll be asked to analyze passage and research based questions on the MCAT.

If you're more interested in health science and people, do nursing.

Finally, your degree does not dictate what you truly know. I am a bio major, but I also have insight on health care administration because I conversed with physicians I shadowed to learn everything about health care, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
 
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calivianya

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This comment isn't intending to sway you one way or another but most doctors hate hospital administration, so by saying that knowing how a hospital is run would be a "benefit" is kinda...
This is what I was going to say!

Having a different major, assuming you still do well in the sciences, is good... but maybe picking something less hated might serve you well. There are healthcare admins that are physicians, but I doubt any school wants to wonder if they're training you just so you can be an administrative penny-pincher who authorizes buying cheap supplies/firing good workers so you can make the bottom line better and get your bonus at the end of the year.
 
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Then again, I know a doctor who got an MBA because he felt it would benefit the hospital if he knew how finance and medicine works because most staff never experienced the other side. So if admin wants to do something with the budget he can say it looks good from a financial point of view, but it would hurt the hospital's healthcare system and suggest alternatives that satisfy both the admin and minimize damage to the hospital's healthcare system.

Both sides have strengths and weaknesses.
 
Sep 19, 2017
17
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If your heart isn't in biology, medicine isn't for you. Biology is the basis for making accurate diagnosis. I don't mean to say don't switch majors, but if you don't like science, you're done. An adcom told me they interviewed someone who scored low in the bio part of their MCAT. When asked why they said they didn't like science. Guess what happened to him? Even if you don't like non prerequisite courses, you'll be asked to analyze passage and research based questions on the MCAT.

If you're more interested in health science and people, do nursing.

Finally, your degree does not dictate what you truly know. I am a bio major, but I also have insight on health care administration because I conversed with physicians I shadowed to learn everything about health care, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Just to be clear, college biology is usually a hodgepodge of Ecology, botony, evolution, Cell and Molecular biology, genetics, Anatomy and physiology , Organic chemistry and Biochemistry .

Easy peasy and half of em *coughbotonycough* arent worth the effort. That is why Bio majors are considered the easiest Majors of the pure sciences. I hardly think being a Biology major is a good litmus of how super interested you are in being a doctor .
 
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Just to be clear, college biology is usually a hodgepodge of Ecology, botony, evolution, Cell and Molecular biology, genetics, Anatomy and physiology , Organic chemistry and Biochemistry .

Easy peasy and half of em *coughbotonycough* arent worth the effort. That is why Bio majors are considered the easiest Majors of the pure sciences. I hardly think being a Biology major is a good litmus of how super interested you are in being a doctor .
Problem with your logic: most schools require students to major in a specific type of biology or pick a concentration. When I said "biology", it was a given that OP was majoring in or picked a concentration in something that requires physiology, anatomy, biochem, and other prerequisites.
 
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But my argument still stands. If you have a problem with science, medicine might not be right for you.

I know of a few medical schools that are doing away with prerequisites because the MCAT alone is a good indicator of the knowledge applicants have and whether or you can see medical school through since half the MCAT is science-based.
 
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Easy peasy and half of em *coughbotonycough* arent worth the effort. That is why Bio majors are considered the easiest Majors of the pure sciences. I hardly think being a Biology major is a good litmus of how super interested you are in being a doctor .
Also, if I were you, I'd get rid of that arrogance and short-sightedness of thinking something is easy just because it looks easy from the outside. If Botany was so "easy", it would not have its own branch (no pun intended) of biology. Clinicians and biomedical researchers both think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you experienced both, you would know, the grass is about as equally dead on both sides. The fact you failed to realize the hidden message of me meaning a biology sub-discipline or concentration that fulfills prerequisites of professional schools is proof you of your short-sightedness.
 
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Sep 19, 2017
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Problem with your logic: most schools require students to major in a specific type of biology or pick a concentration. When I said "biology", it was a given that OP was majoring in or picked a concentration in something that requires physiology, anatomy, biochem, and other prerequisites.
Also, if I were you, I'd get rid of that arrogance and short-sightedness of thinking something is easy just because it looks easy from the outside. If Botany was so "easy", it would not have its own branch (no pun intended) of biology. Clinicians and biomedical researchers both think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you experienced both, you would know, the grass is about as equally dead on both sides. The fact you failed to realize the hidden message of me meaning a biology sub-discipline or concentration that fulfills prerequisites of professional schools is proof you of your short-sightedness.
It is funny you say that but I actually was a Biology major with a molecular biology concentration before I switched to Clinical and Bio technology sciences . My problem with Biology as a major stems not only from the fact that it's not as rigorous as other pure sciences , it's that its simply not a marketable degree.

Despite what SDN says, most people aren't getting into Medical school, at least not on their first cycle, so with that being said should he/she not get in. Then what ? Now, you've graduated with a degree with one of the worst hiring prospects until you get a PhD. That goes for all concentrations of Biology.

I'm at a major research university and I see it all the time with other pre clinical hopefuls and its sad to see them scraping by as research assistants making $13.25 an hour while they prepare to retake the MCAT, PCAT,etc. Its better the OP go for admin or if he must go with pure science choose Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biomedical engineering , etc. Biology degrees just aren't worth it unless you are 10000% sure you'll get into med school the upcoming cycle.
 

LizzyM

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Accounting, personnel management, budgeting, marketing. If that floats your boat, it is a good major for you and it is more marketable than biology if you don't get in on your first try or you decide that medicine is not a good fit.

It is a vocational major in that it prepares you for a specific profession. I don't see it often and I've not heard it bad-mouthed.

Good managers and administrators are in demand so if you end up like the majority of pre-meds, you have a marketable degree and a path to a good job with a clear ladder upward.
 

Blanky

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If your heart isn't in biology, medicine isn't for you. Biology is the basis for making accurate diagnosis. I don't mean to say don't switch majors, but if you don't like science, you're done. An adcom told me they interviewed someone who scored low in the bio part of their MCAT. When asked why they said they didn't like science. Guess what happened to him? Even if you don't like non prerequisite courses, you'll be asked to analyze passage and research based questions on the MCAT.

If you're more interested in health science and people, do nursing.

Finally, your degree does not dictate what you truly know. I am a bio major, but I also have insight on health care administration because I conversed with physicians I shadowed to learn everything about health care, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
You do not have to enjoy a biology major to enjoy medicine. You should be strong in the sciences. Please don’t call people arrogant because they do not agree with you.
 
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Blanky

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Avoid the vocational majors unless you are absolutely determined and I’m biased against HCA majors.
 
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You do not have to enjoy a biology major to enjoy medicine. You should be strong in the sciences. Please don’t call people arrogant because they do not agree with you.
I called him arrogant because he thinks botany is easy. Thinking something is easy just because you are not interested in it or never experienced it is why we have a lack of communication and respect between clinicians and biomedical researchers.

There's a peer reviewed paper on it.
 
OP
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Sep 19, 2017
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I called him arrogant because he thinks botany is easy. Thinking something is easy just because you are not interested in it or never experienced it is why we have a lack of communication and respect between clinicians and biomedical researchers.

There's a peer reviewed paper on it.
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all you guys' replies. They have been helpful figuring things out. I think I need to make something clear though. I love science. I love my biology class and lab. It all makes me even more excited and motivated to do well and fight for my dream. I just want to make sure that I use my time to its full potential before it comes time to apply for medical school. My school's biology/pre-med program has a lot of science courses that medical schools recommend but do not require like pathophysiology, pharmocology I and advanced biochemistry. I'm trying to decide if I should keep this major or major in something else and take the pre-reqs (required by the schools I apply to) as electives. I appreciate any other insight you guys have
 

Aaaaaa2

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Aug 9, 2017
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I have a non traditional major, but also took the pre-med requirements plus some. I have 5 interviews so far. As long as you complete the pre med requirements, have a strong GPA/MCAT, strong LORs, and a lot of CLINICAL experiences, you'll get in. But, please note with healthcare administration I'd say you should have 0.1-0.15 higher GPA than most MD schools average.

To expand, I think a non science major is preferable because it makes you DIFFERENT. I get asked about my odd major all the time, it's a great way to sell yourself as a diversely educated person (as long as you can effectively relate it to clinical application). That being said, this only works if all of the above requirements are met. Good luck.
 
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