Piano major interested in medical school


Full Member
Jul 13, 2009
  1. Medical Student
    I am a piano performance major at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. I am entering my 3rd year of undergraduate study, and it wasn't until a year ago I decided that I was interested in science and medicine. I decided to take action now rather than wait for a possible post-bac program, because my school offered free cross-registration with Tufts University, where I could take all my premed required classes.

    My major problem is that I don't see how it is possible for me to achieve any sort of research experience. I have been totally on my own on as to what I should do in my situation. I plan on taking the MCAT just before my senior year, and if I feel like I do not have enough time to prepare for it, (as I am a music major at a conservatory and I have to practice 6-8 hours a day, rehearse, have lessons, teach, and complete my music program), I will postpone applying to medical school for one year after I graduate, so that I have time to prepare for it, do more volunteer work, shadowing, etc.

    Would I be considered as a non-traditional student? I have no advisors. The only guidance I have in my premed journey is this forum.

    Any advice? Thanks.


    J to the J
    Moderator Emeritus
    10+ Year Member
    Verified Expert
    Apr 27, 2007
    1. Resident [Any Field]
      Non-traditional isn't really a formal category. Your experiences will certainly make you stand out, though. Just be sure to give yourself enough time to do well on the MCAT and in your pre-reqs.


      Apr 18, 2009
      1. Pre-Medical
        Well, considering your lack of time and your inability (I assume) to switch majors, it may be best to postpone research (which you don't necessarily need to do) and clinical volunteering (which you do need to do). Keep performing well in your music classes and do what you need to do to graduate, but also try to finish up those prerequisites.

        Whenever you find you have enough time to begin working on medically related ec's, go ahead and start. It doesn't matter if you can't start until you graduate, just make sure your grades don't suffer because you tried to do too much in too little time. Just manage your time well, take your MCAT after you've studied a significant amount and are doing well on the practice tests. Good luck!
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        Full Member
        10+ Year Member
        Mar 27, 2009
        Buffalo, NY
        1. Medical Student
          I just graduated from Tufts and while Shirley and Carol (the Pre-med advisors) are very busy, I think they were pretty good and will get back to you if you email them quickly. The only thing I am going to question is if you are entering your third year and want to take the MCAT before your Senior year then you would have to take all your pre-reqs this year which is not possible. I would talk to Carol about the best way to go about scheduling your pre-reqs and talk to one of the bio prof. about doing some research, they are pretty good about helping. Also you can talk to NEMC/Tufts medical center about doing some volunteer work there I have a lot of pre-med friends who did that.


          Full Member
          Jul 15, 2009
          1. Medical Student
            Don't fret -- you're on the right track and you've got a year to get some parts of your application in order. First of all, your music background is very unique and that alone will work to your advantage in the application process. At this point, make sure you nail down your pre-reqs (remember, these will constitute your science GPA when you apply) and do as well as you can on the MCAT. If you do quite well on those two things, they will just about get you into medical school.

            As for activities, as soon as you can, start volunteering at a hospital (perhaps a university hospital like Tufts) and try to find out if you can do some clinical research there... ask a physician that you meet there, or maybe check with the staff to see if they have any research opportunities available for premedical students. Aside from that, you'll be in nice shape and you can always explain your relatively recent spark of interest in medicine. Good luck!


            Full Member
            10+ Year Member
            Jul 1, 2009
            1. Medical Student
              I understand that research and clinical volunteering do help when you're applying to med school, but I have not heard of one medical school where they require you to do research and clinical volunteering. As long as your scores are great and you do well in the interview, you could quite possibly get in.

              Now I'm not saying that I'm oppose to doing either of those things, as I am currently doing research and volunteering... but let's not put so much emphasis on those "extras", the more important thing is to do well in the classes and the MCAT
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