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Strong Difference Between Interests and Intentions

AquaNerdAquaNerd Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
edited January 2008 in High School Student Topics
Hi All,

This may seem like a really stupid question, since after all, everybody says that undergraduate majors don't matter when applying to medical school, but here it is:

I will be applying to college next year (right now it looks like the list will be Stanford, Brown, Duke, Pomona, and UCLA), and I intend to major in marine biology in college. It's a science that's always interested me; but I'm leaning toward medicine as a more realistic career.

My volunteering and extracurriculars are all pertinent to marine biology (I volunteer as an interpreter at the local aquarium, I plan to enroll in SDSU for the summer session to take some marine biology related courses, and there's a possibility that I'll have the chance of conducting some research in marine biology this year). I plan to focus my college essays on how much I love marine biology. I've done almost nothing to suggest a medical interest.

Now for the hypothetical situation: I get into one of my top choice schools, and after four years of undergrad at that school, decide to apply to their medical school instead of a graduate program in marine biology, as the school would assume I would. Would the college understand this change of heart from marine biology to medicine, or would they tell me that I'm full of bull and black-list me from any of their graduate programs? Would it be legitimate for me to focus my undergraduate admissions essay and my extracurriculars on something outside of medicine, or should I quit the marine biology line and go volunteer at a hospital?

Post edited by AquaNerd on

Replies to: Strong Difference Between Interests and Intentions

  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    No reason you have to quit marine biology, but you do need to volunteer at a hospital during college. Nobody cares about your high school activities.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,751 Senior Member
    To more directly answer your question. There is absolutely 0 need to worry about spiteful universities. One, colleges don't follow you that closely, two it's just not an issue. But you still need to do the things necessary to be a competitive medical applicant - and really, it sounds like the only thing you'd need to add would be clinical experience such as hospital volunteering or shadowing a doctor. You can certainly still do research in marine bio and whatever other activities you were planning on.
  • AquaNerdAquaNerd Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Thanks for your quick replies. Bigredmed, I assume you mean shadowing a doctor in college undergrad, not high school, right? Thanks again.
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 9,881 Super Moderator
    FYI about Duke's program- options for marine biology on the main campus are extremely limited. Almost all of the professors and research are at the marine lab in Beaufort. Intro oceanography is offered on campus, and they recently started a marine biology FOCUS, but that's pretty much it except for one or two courses in the EOS department.

    Incidentally, a couple of professors in the Nicholas School and med school study marine biomedicine. Given your plans, that may be of interest.
  • AquaNerdAquaNerd Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    That's fine, because if I got into Duke I was planning on spending at least a semester at the Nicholas School. According to their website, Duke undergrads are allowed to take classes there. The marine biomedicine thing seems really fascinating.
This discussion has been closed.