Some of the most common questions we receive from premedical students are about the best pre med majors. In this guide you will learn the following:
- What undergraduate pre med majors are associated with the highest GPA.
- What undergraduate pre med majors are associated with the highest MCAT.
- What undergraduate pre med majors are associated with the highest medical school acceptance rate.
- How you should choose the best pre med major for you!
- Much more!
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
Ideal Premedical Applicant Profile
When getting ready to position yourself as a competitive premedical applicant, you likely already know the following:
- You want to earn the highest GPA, especially in your biology, chemistry, physics, and math (BCPM) courses.
- You want to take a traditional premedical curriculum as well as upper level BCPM classes.
- You want to position yourself to earn the highest MCAT possible.
- You want to get the best letters of recommendation possible.
- You want to participate in the right scholarly, social justice, and extracurricular activities.
- You want to demonstrate that you possess the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) core competencies in your medical school personal statement and application.
So, is there a specific premed major that will allow you to increase your chances of getting in to medical school while satisfying the six items listed above?
Is there a major medical schools prefer to see? To understand what the best major is for premeds, it is important to review the AAMC data for medical school applicants and matriculants based on primary undergraduate major. We will review the key items of what you need to know to choose your major strategically while also ensuring you study what you enjoy most during college.
Let’s first review the GPA data for medical school applicants based on major.
MCAT and GPA Data for Medical School Applicants Based on Pre Med Majors
To determine the “best premed major,” let’s first review the number of applicants from each group, and the average MCAT and GPA from highest to lowest:
|Number of Applicants
|Math and Statistics
|Specialized Health Sciences
Interestingly, the highest average MCAT for medical school applicants is earned by math and statistics majors (510.9). However, this group also has the smaller number of applicants (381 applicants last year). Compare this to more than 31,000 biological science majors. Now let’s see if the highest MCAT and GPA translates into the highest acceptance rates for each major by examining this data for medical school matriculants.
MCAT and GPA Data for Medical School Matriculants Based on Pre Med Majors
It may not come as much of a surprise, but, the groups with the highest medical school acceptance rates come from the three groups with the highest average applicant MCAT and GPA. The data for medical school matriculants from each major group with percent accepted, average MCAT, BCPM GPA, and Total GPA is below.
|Mean BCPM GPA
|Mean Overall GPA
|Math and Statistics
|Specialized Health Sciences
By reviewing this data a few things become clear:
First, the three groups with the highest medical school acceptance rates (Math and Statistics, Physical Sciences, and Humanities) also earned the highest MCAT scores in both the medical school applicant pool and the medical school matriculant pool.
What is most interesting about last year’s data is that Humanities majors had the second highest acceptance rate (50.5%) yet did not have the highest average MCAT and GPA (513, 3.74 overall GPA, 3.64 BCPM GPA). Of course the reasons for this are open for interpretation but it is possible that Humanities majors are more distinctive in the sea of science and math majors.
Acceptance rates were lowest for the three groups (Social Sciences, Other, and Specialized Health Sciences) with the lowest average MCAT and GPA for both the medical school applicant pool and the medical school matriculant pool.
Overall, the highest acceptance rates were earned by those major groups that earned the highest MCAT scores and had high GPAs as well.
Therefore, earning the highest MCAT and GPA possible is what helps to guarantee success in the medical school admissions process regardless of the major.
What is the Best Major for Premedical Students?
So, when choosing your premed major, this is what you need to ask yourself:
Which major will allow me to earn the highest MCAT?
What major interests me most?
Clearly, a higher MCAT score correlates with a higher medical school acceptance rate regardless of major. So, if you are someone who loves biology, it might be easier for you to earn a high GPA and MCAT by majoring in biology.
However, if you enjoy English, for example, maybe that major would afford you more time and flexibility to study for the MCAT more effectively.
You should also find out which majors at your college have a reputation for being extremely difficult and which are more reasonable.
With so many medical school requirements to satisfy, rather than focusing on what “looks good” to admissions committees, it is ideal if you can choose the academic discipline that interests you most. Why? Genuine interest in a subject usually leads to a better academic performance. However, you also want to choose the major that will give you the time to explore other extracurricular and scholarly interests and provide the time you need to focus on MCAT studying to earn the highest score possible.
Major Selection and Medical School Acceptance
The final lesson is that your major selection alone will not impact your chances of admission to medical school. We do not advise you to choose a difficult major just because it might impress admissions officers. The bottom line is, above all else, your MCAT and GPA are the two metrics medical schools use to screen applicants so higher numbers in both categories, will certainly improve your chances of getting accepted to medical school.
If you decide on a very tough major or one that is not aligned with your interests and strengths, you might earn a lower GPA which would hurt your medical school candidacy. A more demanding major might also cut in to MCAT preparation time which could hurt you.
So, in the ideal world, it is best to find the major that interests you most while allowing you to earn a high GPA and time to prepare for the MCAT.
Should I Pursue a Minor?
More and more undergraduate students now have the option to easily earn minors in other disciplines. The reality is that a minor will not improve your chance of medical school acceptance. Medical school admissions committees review your course selections carefully and every course taken is listed on your application.