Premed at William and Mary vs. Virginia Tech

Hello! I am currently a high school senior and intending on following a premed track when I start attending college this fall. I know that being “premed” largely consists upon taking premed requisites, but I would like to know what it is like at different schools. Even though most premeds are required to take the same courses regardless of which college they attend, I know William and Mary is more academically rigorous and have heard they do not curve grades. However, I’ve also heard that Virginia Tech tends to “weed out” students in these prerequisites. Could anybody tell me their experiences as a premed at either of these schools and/or the pros and cons of being a premed at these two respective schools?

Congratulations for getting into two excellent colleges!

Regardless of the college, it’s going to be tough and weedout at both. There’ll be no “easier” choice there.

Premed is just an intention and most HS students with that intention never actually apply to med school, so do you have a favorite, if med school is out of the picture? Is there an environment you prefer (mountain+ college town v. historic site)? Which vibe? Did you get a scholarship at either one?

What major are you thinking of?
(Please don’t just say biology and actually look through all the possibilities at each college, and find 2, if possible 3 majors at each college that aren’t biology.)

Pre-med anywhere is effectively a weed-out process, since students who do not consistently earn A- or higher grades overall and in science courses will find it very difficult earn a college GPA that will get them past automated rejection criteria at medical schools before their applications get to human readers.

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Thank you so much for responding! And even though I’m aware a lot of premed wash out, I’m absolutely sure that I want to stick with it-getting the grades will be the tough part! I actually will not be majoring in biology, but data science, since it is something that I think I’d enjoy and is relevant in many career fields. But as of now, I really don’t know which college I’m leaning towards but I will most likely base my decision off of whichever financial package is more promising. Again, thank you for the advice - I’ll keep in mind that premed classes will be weed outs in general!

Yup, I’m starting to get that sense now of premed being more or less quite difficult regardless of the college. I’ll work hard to hopefully get past that criteria you mentioned!

Working hard is one of these necessary but insufficient conditions: if you don’t work hard, you’ve got no chance (after all, you’ve got to be better than 80-90% students in each class) but working hard isn’t sufficient to be better than almost everyone. Office hours, tutors, everything matters (BTW, tutors are frequently used for students getting a B+ who need help getting to A-. As a premed, every grade below A- is a potential problem). Focus. Luck, even. So everything you do it to make sure that even if bad luck strikes, you’re still above the threshold.
Also, don’t disdain “easy” courses. For instance, some colleges have a 1-credit “college methodology and life” course. Many strong students laugh at it. Don’t. Instead, count your blessings: sure, it’s often obvious advice, and sure, it’s an easy A, but… what’s the problem with an easy A when all other courses are going to be hard As? Take the gift and dont snicker with the other clueless freshmen.

You have to be ready and look at it like a marathon - not a sprint.
For instance, don’t make the common mistake of piling up Calculus, General Biology (+lab) and General Chemistry (+lab) your first semester. You don’t know what you’re in for, yet, so take EITHER Bio OR Chem that semester. Second semester, take one more - by that point, you know what’s expected, you’ve adjusted to the demands and type of work.

Build an optimal sequence for all 4 semesters (with some VA CC courses thrown in for your major’s pre-reqs but not premed pre-reqs), keeping in mind you’ll likely change it as you go, it’s just a roadmap, you can explore along the way, but you don’t want to start your journey without a map. :slight_smile:

BTW your choice of major is excellent. Very versatile, in-demand, builds your science GPA and background.

Lot of it is planning and ensuring you have a correct load you can handle each semester. If you have a choice between professors who give more As as opposed to curving the class pick those who give more As. Pay attention to professor’s profiles online where other students discuss them before enrolling in their classes.

I can’t thank you enough for your advice! I completely agree with all that you said and will take it into account when coming into whichever college I choose this upcoming fall. I do have one more quick question though: I’ve not really heard about many people who picked my major (though I do believe it is versatile, like you said) and been premed - would you happen to know what it is like to balance this major’s courses with requisites?

Oh that is a good point, I will look into that!

Just in case you haven’t seen this in your research.

Good luck! Both are great schools.

Thank you!!

Some courses may be applicable to both your data science major and pre-med. Math and statistics courses are the obvious ones. Depending on how the major is designed at the college, there may be some options of application fields within the major; if so, and you choose a science application field, the science courses could be applicable to both.

You should choose the place where you think you’ll be comfortable and do well. Medical school admissions is largely driven by GPA and MCAT. You should try to avoid classes that don’t help prepare you for the MCAT and are difficult. Some engineering classes may fall into this category. In addition to GPA and MCAT, you’ll want a place where you can get a good reference from a professor and ideally do independent research guided by a professor.

There is a website called gradeinflation.com that has information on average GPAs at different colleges. There you can see average GPA at Virginia Tech was 3.150 and W&M was 3.33 for the most recent years measured.