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How to Choose a Minor as a Pre-Med

While most pre-meds are considering what major to pursue as an undergraduate, a minor can often be an afterthought. Minors are less critical than majors but can help portray your interest in medicine and gain skills to become a physician. Follow the steps and ask yourself if you’d like to do a minor. Remember, it’s all about how you feel about it.

1. Determine whether or not you should declare a minor in the first place. 

The first thing to note is that minors are optional compared to a major. Minors are a way to differentiate yourself from other applicants, but they are more of an addition to you than your chances of admission to medical school. Before declaring a minor, determine if you can handle the minor’s coursework on top of your major and prereqs. For instance, pursuing a more time-intensive major like biology, chemistry, or physics with multiple labs along with a minor may cause a decrease in academic performance. Also, incorporating more coursework may be a burden if your major, prereq, and general requirements do not overlap. Participating in other commitments, such as athletics, club organizations, volunteering, etc, can also detract time away from completing a minor. Before submitting your decision for a minor, be truthful about whether you can complete the coursework without neglecting other aspects of your academic and personal life. If you do believe you have the time for a minor and can handle it, go to the next step in selecting what minor. 

2. Think about pre-med requirements.  

Now that you’ve chosen a minor, you could choose a minor in a subject that helps with covering prereqs for medical school, especially if your major does not overlap with the requirements for required premed courses. For example, majoring in statistics and choosing to minor in biology would be a good way to ensure you complete the introductory medical school courses. 

3. Determine if you’ll develop soft skills or a new perspective with this minor. 

It’s important to note that you do not need to minor in a difficult science for your med school application. Minoring in subjects like psychology and sociology is also beneficial to becoming a physician due to gaining a new perspective on human motivation and behavior. Additionally, minoring in English and the arts has proven to develop empathy in practicing physicians. Even a foreign language such as Spanish or French can help be able to communicate with a diverse group of patients. Success in medical school, residency, and a practicing physician will not only be based on your academic performance in hard science courses but also on soft skills such as empathy and effective communication. 

4. Follow your interests and passions. 

Medical schools are still interested in students who may not follow the traditional path of a pre-med student. As long as you show interest and are dedicated to medicine and science, pursuing something not medical-related is not going to affect your admission into medical school negatively. On the contrary, having interests other than medicine and science will differentiate you from other applicants, as med school interviewers could also discuss these interests with you.

Remember that exploring an academic topic in medical school, residency, and further in your path into medicine will be harder to do, so take the opportunity. At the same time, you’re an undergraduate to pursue something that interests you! 

Thank you for reading,

Siri Nikku 




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