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Between H.S and college: would like pre-study STEM advice?

  1. Jun 4, 2015 #1
    The safe path for me is pre-med, which means biology. For career purposes, I imagine it's in my best interests to double major (Bio, computer sci, maybe a minor in business or economics). I've been told that having tech schools will make an M.D. even more valuable.

    Which reminds me-- I've been wondering if I should do Bio or Molecular Bio? I've heard that Molecular is biology, but more in-depth.

    Anyway, my math, chemistry, and bio skills are not ready for college level.
    I'm certain I will have struggles with the GEN eds.

    My game plan is to binge Khan Academy for math, go through my old chemistry textbook, and this (http://101science.com/biology.htm) for Bio.

    Any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2015 #2


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    Self-directed study is good. ANY major field in college is also good for development if you intend to try medical school. The physical or natural sciences or maybe mathematics would be better. Biology does not need to be your major field if med school is what you want. You want to develop a critical, analytical mind and technical knowledge, and this is why the physical sciences could be more useful. This really means, anything in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. If "biology" is what you want as a major field, consider a more specific choice within it, like Biochemistry, Microbiology, or botany, or zoology. Do not ignore elective choices in computer science.
  4. Jun 4, 2015 #3
    I'm well aware that I don't quite to be a Bio major, but I'm told it's the most convenient thing. Could go into more detail with computer science? When you say specific choice, do mean the classes I choose within the major?
  5. Jun 4, 2015 #4


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    What I mean is, more focused interest within the more general field of Biology.
  6. Jun 4, 2015 #5
    as for computer science???
  7. Jun 4, 2015 #6
    I'm not sure I would call getting into medical school a safe bet, it is very competitive. It's not hard to pick up the extra classes for it with any STEM major.

    Basically just studying bio because you think it is the easiest path to med school isn't a good idea. You should major in something you enjoy that should have potential career paths for you in case medical school doesn't work out. Bio is also very broad you should focus on what area of biology you would be interested in, if that is what you are truly interested in studying not just purely for medical school.
  8. Jun 5, 2015 #7
    Very bad idea. Khan Academy provides a very fake sense of knowledge. You must go through an actual textbook and you must work out many problems yourself (especially hard problems where you get stuck on). That is the only way to learn math. Khan Academy should only be used as a secondary resource. Do not "binge" it. Binge on an actual math book instead.

    Also, med school as a safe choice? Seriously?
  9. Jun 5, 2015 #8
    Safe choice= people will pay for a doctor for the foreseeable future

    I have a pre-calc text book I bought cheap off a former roommate. I would like to make sure my algebra 1&2 are good enough before I pick that up.
  10. Jun 5, 2015 #9
    That is not really an argument. People will also pay for engineers in the foreseeable future. And they will pay for garbage collectors. Etc. There are other arguments you should take into account:

    1) Is it easy to become a doctor? I mean, you can study pre-med and then not make it into med school. That is a possibility you should take into account. What will you do then?
    2) Are there too many doctors? Will there be too many doctors in the future? Sure, people will always need doctors, but if there are too many of them, you might still end up without a job.
    3) Do you like being a doctor? Why do you want to become a doctor aside from it being a safe job?

    And please, only double major if it interests you, not because it will look good in your career.
  11. Jun 5, 2015 #10

    I think my interests lie in biotech and biomedical engineering. Human enhancement sounds awesome.

    I've also heard directly and indirectly from doctors that PHDs are less likely to get research grants and such than M.Ds. I'm not sure, but it sounds PHDs don't quite get the respect they should.
  12. Jun 5, 2015 #11
    Then things become even more puzzling. Why not pursue that? Why would you go to med school aside from "there will always be need for doctors".
  13. Jun 5, 2015 #12
    I don't know whether this is true. But regardless, an engineer and an MD have a very different skillset. When doing research, you will likely require both of these skillsets (together with many others). So even if the MDs get the research grants, they will still need the expertise of the biomedical engineers.
  14. Jun 5, 2015 #13
    Honestly, because most people I've talked to say the following things about medicine:

    1. Human capital (job availability and how much people think I'm worth)

    2. credibility and respect (The less scientifically experienced automatically think I'm extremely intelligent, just because of the M.D status)
  15. Jun 5, 2015 #14
    So would you even like being a doctor? Have you volunteered in a hospital before and did you like it? Are you just doing it for the money and the respect?
  16. Jun 5, 2015 #15
    My experiences with medicine have been through my father and uncle (both geriatric psychiatrists), and a few surgeries.
    The ideal situation is that I found something within medicine that I particularly like.

    My current vision is to be a science entrepreneur or businessman, with the M.D backing me up.

    I'm told that I'd have to do outside research if I want to connect my potential experiences in medical school with the current tech savvy.
  17. Jun 5, 2015 #16
    I'm told I should avoid engineering, because I don't have the math talent. I won't be as good as I'd like to be.
  18. Jun 5, 2015 #17
    Just to note here, this is unlikely due to the fact that the supply of doctors in the US is artificially limited by the American Medical Association. Whereas grad schools and law schools take in as many people as they want, medical schools are a bit more cautious (this is also a potential reason doctors are paid so well).
  19. Jun 5, 2015 #18


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    Math Talent is not all the same. Maybe you DO have the potential to be able to use some of mathematics as a language and as a tool. Any pre-medical route will include at least one year of college level Calculus, which necessarily includes at least one semester of Trigonometry, and often a bit more beyond the one year of Calculus.
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