Is a double major worth it….specifically is it worth all the extra time, grueling effort and stress? There’s no easy answer that fits every situation. But here are some considerations when deciding your premed path.
Will a double major impact your sGPA?
A double major in say, biochemistry/genetics, or chemistry/engineering, or biology/physics, will set you up for a life of devotion to your books. Given that each major will throw some pretty tough classes at you, and given that you’ll need to do well in all of them, you can assume that either (1) you’ll have to study harder than everyone else; (2) your undergrad path will take a little longer than everyone else’s (easily a year); or both.
If your path becomes so demanding that your science GPA drops, that’s when you could be playing with fire. Is a double major worth it at that point?? While you don’t need a 4.0 to get into medical school, the adcoms will be looking closely at how you approached your science classes, and whether you proved you could pull your weight. Your sGPA should never be more than .2 lower than your overall GPA.
Could double majors overlap?
With two scienc-ey majors, it’s possible that you can create a little “overlap” between them, taking one class to satisfy requirements in both majors to shorten the time needed to finish. But here’s another way to look at it: if you choose carefully, you may be able to have just one major (say biochemistry), and sprinkle in some classes from your second choice (say genetics), as part of your major classes, and get the classes you’re craving without having to choose a second major after all.
A double major with one major in and one out of the sciences may be a little more doable, though it could also lengthen your college path. For example, a double major in Chemistry and English requires two distinctly different tracks that rarely intersect, so it could take an extra year to get to the finish line. But—and this is a big but—if you are passionate about both, there’s no reason you can’t pull it off.
So when is a double major worth it?
It may be worth it to you if you have the drive and passion to keep up with the heavy load. It may be worth it if you want the extra knowledge base and are that interested in gaining it. It may be worth it if you have the extra time to pursue the added classes. And…it may be worth it if you’re not that worried about your 4.0 sGPA potentially dropping to a 3.7.
Also, there is the possibility that a second major in the social sciences could help you improve your score on the CARS section and/or the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the MCAT. In this case, a double major may be “worth IT.”
When is a double major NOT worth it?
If you’re only pursuing the double major to impress, then it’s not worth it. Adcoms will give more props if to you for spending all that extra time doing a research project that gets you published. Or joining in valuable volunteer activities, shadowing and working in medical settings—things that you would have little time for with that fancy double major.
The double major is also not worth it if you’re already struggling under the weight of your current science classes.
Final thoughts: Is that double major worth it??
If you’re extremely passionate about studying an added subject area and want the extra knowledge, just be advised that you’re signing up for a much tougher path. But if you have the drive to do the work AND get the grades (and you know whether you are), it could be something that expands your undergrad experience and makes you deliriously happy!
If you’re still not sure, commit one semester to the double track and see how it goes. You’ll probably know in a few months the answer to that query: is the double major worth it?
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