Should I apply to schools as a literature major if I want to go to med school?

Hi everyone, I’m a senior from GA that has had a rough time in high school. My little brother was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2 (the summer before my freshman year) and that really changed my trajectory/outlook on life. I had to move to Atlanta (originally from TN) so he could get therapies/go to school, etc, so my freshman year grades are really bad. I did great after that though, and took about 9 APs and got A’s in all of them (got 2 B’s my sophomore year in Spanish and after that all A’s). I’m on track to make all A’s my senior year as well and I’m a National Merit Semifinalist so I did some good stuff too!

Recently, COVID has impacted my family a lot so I haven’t been able to secure a good SAT/ACT score I’d want to show colleges, but I took the ACT twice before (in 7th grade and 9th grade) and got a 29 (7th grade) and 31 (9th grade). The problem is that these scores are very lopsided - my 7th grade breakdown of scores is: 35E, 34R, 24M, and 24S). My 9th grade was: 36E, 36M, 26M, 26S. These scores show that I’m very good in English/Reading Comp, but perhaps not as strong in Math and Science. That was the case back then (and my reading is still stronger than my math), but obviously from my National Merit SF I have improved my math.
I just don’t think I’m going to get into any competitive schools with my super low GPA and no (recent) high test scores to pull me out/justify it. I recently saw an article claiming humanities majors are actually doing really well getting into med school, and it got me thinking. I really want to stay in GA and go to a good school, so would my chances of getting in to schools like Emory/Emory Oxford, GA Tech, etc (not just these schools, schools around this caliber) be increased if I applied as a literature major rather than a biomedical sciences/engineering major? I wouldn’t mind doing that because I do love literature, but I want to know if it would A. increase my chances enough to make it worth it, and B. hurt my chances of getting into med school. I’m confident I’ll be able to do relatively well on the MCAT; I’m more concerned about the classes/courses. Thank you (in advance) for your time/patience/energy in reading this long post!

Sorry, one thing I forgot to mention was my specific GPA - its a 3.5 unweighted and a 3.67 weighted. It will probably go up after my senior year to about a 3.7 (weighted), and w/o my freshman year my weighted GPA is approximately a 4.2

Medical schools do not care what you major in - pick what you like. Also have a Plan B because right now less than half of all who apply to US MD school get in. There’s no problem keeping Plan A, just have a Plan B you’re happy with.

Since science/math aren’t your strong points, be wary taking too many of those classes in one semester - esp your first semester as you adjust to college. Take one of the pre-req classes, and devote a bit of time to it. Get tutoring assistance if needed - before it becomes an “oh cwap” moment.

Med schools accept students from all sorts of colleges. Don’t feel you must attend any one school. Consider a variety. Also look at finances because you don’t want a lot of debt. For those who can’t outright afford it, med school is very expensive and provides plenty of debt to be paid off later.

And… CC offers a Pre-med forum. There are several threads on there worthy of reading if you haven’t already.

Best wishes to you on your journey. How well you do for med school will depend much more upon you than which college you attend or major you choose.

1 Like

Regardless of major, remember that medical schools want to see high college GPAs in science (biology, chemistry, physics, math, including those that they require or recommend) as well as overall.

Seems OP is suggesting a lit major as an easier way to get admitted, considering the lower stem scores.

What do you have that shows a bona fide interest in lit?

Literature isn’t just a runner up major to the mighty stem majors. It’s not a consolation prize or short cut. Do you gave any ECs that show interest in literature? Can you actually write? Four years is a long slog if you don’t like what you’re learning. On the flip side, why are you so determined to go to bed school? Your ACT scores in the stem categories are fairly low. You don’t seem to have a burning desire to learn more about stem subjects in college. If being a dr. Is your dream then work hard & make it happen but you should also keep an open mind.

Hi yes, I see how you could think that (I wasn’t very detailed), but I did include that my scores were from the 7th and 9th grades, respectively, and I personally don’t think a 26 is terrible for a freshman? I am also a National Merit SF and my math and english scores were the same (pretty cool imo) so I’m roughly at the same level in those subjects. I’m certainly not trying to see literature as a ‘consolation prize’ - I am simply trying to better my chances to get into college. I love literature, which is why my ACT scores were so high so early on. I am choosing to go to med school so that I can help my brother and kids like him. I want to start my own clinic in Pakistan to help families struggling with diagnoses they can’t properly deal with. I have taken many, many STEM classes and I love them! I just happen to also love literature. I hope I don’t come across as someone using it/the major, but I just wanted to know if a college would be more likely to accept me if I applied as a literature major rather than a biology major because of my past, not recent test scores.

Thank you so much for all of the information!

It’s interesting how some feel Lit/English are less difficult classes. It all depends upon how one is wired TBH. I’m a Physics /Psych double major from a few moons ago. I was thrilled to only need one English class and even more thrilled when I got a B in it because the Prof told us she didn’t like giving lower grades (it was an Honors Class). Thermal Physics was an A-.

When it comes to delving into Lit, I just don’t see many of the things Lit people see. It doesn’t come naturally to me at all. Give me problems plus the math skills to do them and it’s relatively simple - even if it takes 4 pages of calculations.

H is a terrific engineer - owns his own company now. He’s not a Lit fan either and was happy he only had to take Technical Writing in college.

Med schools don’t care what major one chooses. Pick what you like and are good at. The Pre-Req classes and the MCAT are great equalizers, then EC’s distinguish between those who make the bar, not majors - or even colleges one attended.

OP, if you’re an international, beware that it’s extremely tough to almost impossible to get into a US MD school. (I only bring this up due to your Pakistan comment.) I haven’t been on the pre-med forum section of CC yet this morning, but I hope you’ve been reading there. It contains a lot of good information.

Most colleges don’t use your expected major in admissions. There are exceptions. But for the schools you mention, you could even apply as “undecided” and it wouldn’t matter.

You can major in anything. There are post-baccalaureate programs to cover prerequisites for med school, if you go that route, so if you have money for that post-grad program, you don’t even have to take science in college beyond gen eds.

Many many top schools are test-optional, and even more are test-optional during COVID. You should not use scores from grade 7 and 9. Your scores would have gone up considerably in math with additional courses.

Congratulations on the National Merit. Perhaps you can use that as a substitute for scores.

Major in what you love and what you are good at.

In terms of helping autistic kids, I don’t think becoming a doctor is the only or even best way to go. One of my kids works with autistic children. You might want to consider psychology. You could start off as a behavioral technician and if you like that approach, do grad work for a BCBA and get licensed. Look up applied behavioral analysis.

Probably more colleges do admit by major or major group than is commonly assumed, but that needs to be checked for each specific college.

If a college does admit by major or major group, then changing into a more selective major after enrolling should be expected to require another admission process.


Even if they don’t admit to specific majors, they can use the stated possible major(s) in evaluating your app.

Agree, not likely they’re going to rely on std scores from 7th andb9th grades. That’s ancient history. But that does mean scrutiny of what you do present.

Other than liking lit, you need to show how you pursued this- not just classes.