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Questions from yet another Bio Major

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Karina, Aug 15, 2001.

  1. Karina

    Karina Surgeon in training...
    10+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2001
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    Resident [Any Field]
    Ok, so I'm a Biology Major. I happen to find it an interesting subject, and I happen to be very good at it ;) I know some med students, and they say that majoring in Biology is a mistake and that I need to have a very good application to stand out. Is it really that bad? And my second question: Let's say Med school doesn't happen for me first time I apply, or that I decide med school wasn't for me, or whatever. What will that degree in Biology do for me? What kind of jobs will I be able to get? Are there many jobs out there? I would appreciate any kind of response. I'm kindda new to the States and I have questions that no-one seems to answer. Maybe you guys can help!
    Thanx a lot! :)
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  2. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2001
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    Hi Karina,

    Welcome to SDN!

    I do not think I can answer your question re: your chances with a bio major. I am not sure why current med students are telling you it will hurt you - by the numbers (in the MSAR), bio majors are the most represented at medical schools. Granted, if you look on a percentage basis, it is lower than some other majors. But, you have to keep in mind that fewer people are in those "other" majors. Like I said at the beginning, though, do not take my word for it -- I was a biochem major, so I do not have first-hand experience with this. But, I have learned that most of the "rules" of med school admissions are not true (e.g., don't be a bio major). Do what you like, and the rest (e.g., grades, MCATs, happiness) will happen on its own.

    As for your question about what you can do with a bio major, there are many possibilities. The standard answers are: research (working in a lab), teaching high school science, or going on for an advanced degree (master's or Ph.D.) - so that you can, again, teach or do research. :) Most people will tell you that getting a Ph.D. in biology is a bad idea, because there are few jobs and the pay is sub-par. But, I do not agree, if what you want to do is teach and/or do research. Other than that, if you want an advanced degree, you can also go to law school or business school (though b-school will require you to work for a few years in "industry" first, to understand what the current business climate is like). Law school does not require any major and has no pre-reqs other than a college degree and LSAT scores. Business school is similar, but you do need some industry experience. If you are not looking for an advanced degree, you can become a health care consultant (amazingly these folks equate a bio-science degree with knowledge of health care), work for a medical school or university in a non-research job (e.g., clinical trials coordinator, IRB liason, IRB staff personnell, administrative work), become a technical writer (e.g., explain complex scientific terms and ideas) or a science writer for a newspaper/magazine, work for a health insurance company (e.g., claims), become a pharmaceutical sales representative or an investment banker... the list goes on and on. Basically, with a college degree, you can start working in some capacity. How interesting the work is and how much you'll get paid will vary widely.

    In the end, what matters is that you major in something that interests you. You will do much better in your classes (e.g., grades) and will be a happier person. With a strong GPA (in whatever discipline you choose), you can pretty much set your future. Never major in something just because you "think" it might look good on a resume or grad school application. I'd say that about 40-50% of my college friends are NOT working in the same field that their major was in. Unless it is a highly specialized field that requires specific knowledge (e.g., civil engineering, computers), you should be able to get into that career with "work experience" (starting at the bottom) or by pursuing an advanced degree. Hope this helps. Good luck!

    -- Becky
  3. fishtolive

    fishtolive Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
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    That's it, end of story, no mas. who cares what people say...got a major ya like and you'll do well...don't waste four years of college trying to "stand out" for a med school....do what ya gotta do! there's plenty of research out there if med school doesn't pan out...we're in a pretty big scientific age if you haven't noticed recently...chill.

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