A common question I always get in my social media is: What is the best pre-med major? I guess now is a good time to explore this topic.
Every year, the AAMC releases data on the applicants and matriculants and this is information is available for everyone to see.
There were 21,000 students who matriculated last year and here is the breakdown of their majors:
Biological sciences may seem like the favored major at first, but it just means that there are a lot more biological sciences applicants. Looking at the applicant breakdown can confirm this. The breakdown looks pretty similar
Here is the acceptance rates by major:
The overall acceptance rates was close to 40%. People with majors in humanities have the highest acceptance rates at 46.16% while people who majored in specialized health sciences have the lowest at 32.79%
When it comes to MCAT scores, people who majored in humanities also did the best with an average score of 504.4.
WHY HUMANITIES MAJORS HAVE HIGHER ACCEPTANCE RATES
There are probably several reasons of why this particular group scored higher on their MCAT. One reason I can think of at the top of my head is that the critical analysis and reasoning skills section of MCAT, which is the most similar to like the critical reading section of the SATs. so you’re required to read and answer questions about complex passages, with sophisticated vocabulary and with intricate styles. So people who majored in humanities may find it easier because they do a lot of that in their major, like being able to approach literature from different perspective and develop their writing skills. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills is probably the hardest section of the MCAT to improve. You can’t really improve your vocabulary and your grasp of the English Language when you’re preparing for the MCAT, I think that just comes with years of practice and reading.
OTHER INTERESTING TIDBITS
Another thing I find interesting is that the average person who majored in Biological Sciences didn’t really do better in the Biological and Biochemical Foundations section of the MCAT when compared to the other groups. If I had to make an educated guess it’s because this group didn’t really get an “unfair” advantage, because this section is heavily covered by the pre-med requirements, like biology, bio-chem, orgo, which everyone is required to take.
SHOULD YOU MAJOR SOMETHING IN HUMANITIES?
There is so many people from different disciplines in medicine so you don’t have to major in anything specific. Like most of you know already, medicine is more than just sciences. So don’t be discouraged or worried if you wanna study something major in something that’s not scientific. If anything, that could work to your advantage when you’re getting ready to take the MCATs. There are different factors medical schools take into account when it comes to admissions. Your undergraduate GPA and your MCAT scores are something that is in your hands. So best major for you is whatever major you can enjoy the most and get the best grades in.
Let me know if I missed anything or let me know what your thoughts are as to why certain groups had a higher acceptance rates than other.