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First few years in college

  1. Jan 17, 2009 #1
    I can't decide between wanting to become a neurosurgeon or an engineer/computer programmer. I will be able to enjoy either one, equally, I'm pretty sure. But will there be any advantage for me if I decide on one as soon as possible, or will the first few years of college require me to take the same courses either way? The two are very different career options; med vs. math/logic.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2009 #2

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    You don't major in neurosurgery in college... you have to go to medical school after college for that. I don't think most colleges even have a major for pre-medical studies. For pre-med, it doesn't matter much what you major in, so long as you get in the recommended range of basic courses (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.). Some colleges probably offer a biology major with a pre-med concentration, but that isn't really necessary, so long as you have the courses that med schools look for.

    So... you might consider starting out in the engineering program, but add other courses that would be useful for pre-med. After a year or two you'll have a better idea whether you really want to stick with engineering, or would rather shift over to focus on pre-med.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2009 #3
    Just to second what jtbell, I recently looked into how to get into medical school to satisfy my curiosity, because my girlfriend said she was thinking about trying to become a doctor. Turns out as long as you have:

    * one year of English
    * one year of Calculus
    * one year of Physics
    * two years of Chemistry (general and organic)
    * one year of Biology

    you can get into nearly any medical school in the country (well assuming the your application is good enough, of course.)

    Beyond that, you can major in whatever you want.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2009 #4

    jtbell

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    I once served on my college's committee that interviews pre-med students and writes letters of recommendation for them. One of the big things that we (and med schools) look for is things like medicine-related summer work or internships, for example helping in a doctor's office during the summer. It helps a lot if you have some experience with the nitty-gritty aspects of daily work in medicine.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2009 #5
    If you want to be a neurosurgeon you need to know beforehand how competitive it is, so that you can work as hard as possible to do it. Medical school is hard to get into as it is (in the US only about 40% of people who apply get into med school anywhere), and then once you're done with med school, applying for neurosurgery residencies is one of the most competitive disciplines to get into. So, you gotta make those A's!
     
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