Rudycon

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Hope everyone is doing well, especially during these uncertain times.

I'm an incoming freshman (Class of 2024) at Duke University and am deadset on premed. I'm interested in majoring in Biology (BS) with a minor in bioinformatics on a premed track (this would be 22 courses) or majoring in Neuroscience(BS) on a premed track (this would also be 22 courses). I'm interested in both, but I want to make sure to choose a major/minor combination that will also be beneficial in med school admissions. I have heard that taking a Biology major with premed can be seen as "basic" by med schools during the admissions process, while taking a subject such as neuroscience can help you stand out. Is this true? I'm truly interested in the premed tracks for both a biology major w/ a bioinformatics minor or a neuroscience major. If the neuroscience major helps me stand out more, however, I think I will probably go down that path. Also, any advice you may have regarding the premed process in terms of academics or extracurriculars is highly appreciated (for example there may be some extracurriculars that are highly valued by medical schools that I may not know of).
 

gyngyn

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We really, really don't care. We don't care about your major, your minor or how many of them you have.
You should care about your chosen field of study. It will reveal itself in your enthusiasm for the subject and hopefully in how you distinguish yourself!
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Figure out which major gives you higher GPA at Duke and also gives you enough time for ECs.
 
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gonnif

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We really, really don't care. We don't care about your major, your minor or how many of them you have.
You should care about your chosen field of study. It will reveal itself in your enthusiasm for the subject and hopefully in how you distinguish yourself!
To expand on this:
-We dont care if its Biology or Neuroscience, which are both biological sciences and are the same
-We dont care if its chemistry or math or engineering or political science or economics or philosophy
-We dont care you have a double major, three minors, or four of kind unless your playing poker
-The content of the major is mostly irrelevant
-it is the student skill set, such as the ability to take a full course load, time management, study discipline, etc, shown by the success as an undergraduate via GPA.
-By choosing a major you can be successful in and excel at also shows judgment; you get no points for attempting some difficult majors/minors
-The main advantage of taking a biological science major is having prereqs as part of the curriculum as well ability to overlap with MCAT material
 
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Apr 16, 2019
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You've gotten great advice from Adcoms so far. My two cents is that I was a Neuroscience major simply because I loved/love Neuroscience. Do you love Neuroscience and find it fascinating? If you're not sure, you have time to figure it out. At least at my school, the freshman and sophomore level classes for Biology, Biochemistry, and Neuroscience majors had a decent amount of overlap. You can take those intro-level classes while you're figuring out a major.

Either way it will be hard to get a good GPA while majoring in something you hate, so major in something you enjoy, even if it's History.

Edit: as far as extracurriculars, clinical volunteering is difficult right now at many places due to Covid, but there should be some non-clinical opportunities for you to participate in. If you have a hobby you're passionate about, think of ways you could make it into a volunteer opportunity. From what I understand, med schools like to see that you're passionate about what you do, not that you checked the volunteering box. That said, college can be hard, so start slow with extracurriculars. Learn how to be a college STUDENT first, make friends, and develop a support system. It is much easier to make up volunteer hours later than it is to do GPA repair.
 
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gamache

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Do the one that has the classes you're most interested in and that you expect to find most stimulating. This is your degree.

It's also not impossible to change your major should you change your mind...
 
May 19, 2020
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Figure out which major gives you higher GPA at Duke and also gives you enough time for ECs.

I'd argue this is a very limiting and unproductive way to choose a major. From my experience, students who set up their undergrad program in a cold, calculating fashion to check the box to get into medical school have issues writing strong personal statements and interviewing well.

On the other hand, students who choose a major because they're genuinely interested do well, develop, and are more likely to develop interesting experiences to share.

It's the equivalent of doing volunteer work and getting clinical experience to check a box on an application.

Your four years of undergraduate education should not be all about the next thing. Especially given the really high attrition rate of students who go into undergrad wanting to study medicine largely because of parental pressures and because of a limited set of experiences with possible careers.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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I'd argue this is a very limiting and unproductive way to choose a major. From my experience, students who set up their undergrad program in a cold, calculating fashion to check the box to get into medical school have issues writing strong personal statements and interviewing well.

On the other hand, students who choose a major because they're genuinely interested do well, develop, and are more likely to develop interesting experiences to share.

It's the equivalent of doing volunteer work and getting clinical experience to check a box on an application.

Your four years of undergraduate education should not be all about the next thing. Especially given the really high attrition rate of students who go into undergrad wanting to study medicine largely because of parental pressures and because of a limited set of experiences with possible careers.
Since OP expressed equal interest in Biology and Neuroscience and I advised them to looking into GPA implications.
 
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SilentAnon_404

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To expand on this:
-We dont care if its Biology or Neuroscience, which are both biological sciences and are the same
-We dont care if its chemistry or math or engineering or political science or economics or philosophy
-We dont care you have a double major, three minors, or four of kind unless your playing poker
-The content of the major is mostly irrelevant
-it is the student skill set, such as the ability to take a full course load, time management, study discipline, etc, shown by the success as an undergraduate via GPA.
-By choosing a major you can be successful in and excel at also shows judgment; you get no points for attempting some difficult majors/minors
-The main advantage of taking a biological science major is having prereqs as part of the curriculum as well ability to overlap with MCAT material
Thank you for this. Now I won't be stressed that I'm not doing a double major with triple minors like 50% of the people at my school.
 

gonnif

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Thank you for this. Now I won't be stressed that I'm not doing a double major with triple minors like 50% of the people at my school.
Use the extra time to
1) get excellent grades in your single major
2) prep well for MCAT
3) Get involved in more and/or in-depth with activities both in and off-campus

And always remember 4 of a kind beats a full house
 

Rudycon

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Apr 8, 2018
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Thank you everyone for your replies and opinions/insight! I will probably select some generic classes for first semester that will knock out some premed and graduation reqs but won't lock me into any set major/path. I'll use my time as a freshman to explore both neuroscience and bio to see where my interests lie. It's good to hear that major choice doesn't matter all that much.
 
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