I've been admitted to the class of 2021, and now I have questions about Pre-Med vs.Science

Hi Everyone!
Here’s just a brief background before I get started:
—(By the way, this is my first post on College Confidential, so I’m sorry if I’m asking questions that have already been covered or asking too much in general)
-Notre Dame was my top school choice, and I’m so thrilled that I got in! :slight_smile:
-Since I was five years old I’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor, and plan on continuing down that career path at Notre Dame.

  • I have done well in school, straight A’s all of my high school career, with many AP classes (mostly math, history, literature, and social sciences)
  • I have very organized study habits, and won’t stop studying for a test until I’m confident I can handle anything that’s thrown at me.

That being said, my background in science is not as strong as I would like for it to be, as I haven’t taken AP Chemistry/Biology/Physics, but I have taken honors courses at my school in these subjects and did extremely well in them. I’m also pretty good in math, and I do have college-level math experience under my belt already. I really like the science field, but I’m a little nervous about selecting courses when it comes to the next four years. I was thinking about either going into SCPP or doing a Biology Major, but am unsure about which one to take. My goal for the next four years is to maintain a high enough GPA for med school while also taking classes that ensure that I do well in the MCAT. I’ve heard mixed things about SCPP (some say it’s a very difficult program, while others say it’s easier than taking an actual scientific major). So basically my question is this: What is the SCPP major like, including the benefits and drawbacks of it compared to a science major (biology, in my case)? And also, those of you who are taking a biology major, do you feel like it’s really preparing you for medical school?

Also, I have just a few more general inquiries. Because each professor is different in teaching styles (and obviously subjects), I’m a little nervous about finding the best ways to take notes and stay on top of things with each class. Usually I’m able to catch on after a little trial and error, but I’d really appreciate it if anyone has any basic tips when it comes to studying for classes at ND. I’d also love to continue learning Spanish, but don’t want to major or minor in it, so I was wondering if freshman can take a language if they’re aiming to be in a science college.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated! :slight_smile:

I know that there is information on the ND website about how majors and programs work, and that I will be meeting with a First Year adviser as well, but I’d like to have some input from as many places as possible before I make any choices come time for scheduling.

First, congratulations that you’ve been accepted to Notre Dame. My D is a sophomore at ND with a double major in Math and Poly Sci. My suggestion would be to reach out directly to the Preprofessional Studies department. During your first weekend on campus there will be an open house and parent’s weekend. This would allow you to get more information before picking classes. It sounds as if you already have good study habits. The only special thing my D does is she tape records some courses. I don’t think it is a huge deal that you have not taken AP level science courses provided you’ve done well in Honors level classes. It is very common for someone’s plans to change. I think a Biology major is more marketable than someone with something like an SCPP major if you only end up completing undergraduate. That’s why I’ve encouraged my D to double major. She should be able to get a good job with a math degree, poly sci undergrads are not as marketable.

Thank you for your advice! I certainly feel that having a biology major would be more useful if things end up going south and I don’t go to med school. But I’ve heard that their pre-med program has extremely high success rates, so I’ll make sure to discuss it with my adviser before I make a final choice. Thanks again! :slight_smile:

I just saw this post and thought I’d respond since I’m pretty much in the same boat as you- for a while now my goal has been to become a doctor, and I also have just been admitted to Notre Dame and plan on attending in the fall! I have been debating about whether to major in SCPP, Biology, or Neuroscience, and have been going over my options, as I am also very interested in learning to speak fluent Spanish. Hopefully we get to meet sometime next year!

I hope I get to meet you too! I’m glad to know someone else is in my situation :slight_smile: I’ll be going to the Admitted Students days in April, and so hopefully a lot of my questions can be answered. I’ll make sure to post any information I learn on this thread. :slight_smile:

Speaking as a physician, and a political science major at ND, you do not need to be a science major to go to medical school. You do need prerequisites, but any major will do. Take what speaks to you - if it’s science, you can either do biology or pre-professional, but if you’d rather be a Spanish major, do that. I mentored a young woman, now in her second year of med school, who was a musical theater and Creole major. You will have a lot of science in medical school, but you also will have a lifetime of trying to understand your patients, and help them walk their journey. To do that, you need to be well-rounded, and caring, and educated. That’s what ND will give you, the degree is only secondary.

Thank you ndtxmom82, that was a very insightful response! I’ts good to know that I can still keep doing things outside of the science field! :slight_smile:

Congrats! My daughter, ND '11, was a SCPP and Music, vocal performance double major. She went to med school and is now in residency. She knew she wanted to be a doctor, and so the SCPP major seemed right. For what it’s worth, she felt very prepared for medical school and ND did a great job helping her and her classmates get in and succeed once there. I will say that the double major-whether music, or like her roommate, Spanish seemed to help in making them stand out a bit from the pure science applicants. Best of luck!