There’s no pre-med major at Vanderbilt. Biology is a fairly difficult major. Medicine, Health, and Society would be a good choice, it’s fairly easy. You can do well in anything really though; just avoid engineering. You don’t even have to major in science: as long as you fulfill the med school requirements (chem, orgo, bio, physics, biochem, calc 1) you could even be a history or english major. Choose what you are most interestd in.
Your major is somewhat irrelevant because the main portion of the grade deflation is due to the weed outs: gen chem, gen bio, physics, calculus, orgo, and biochem. All of these classes are curved to the B-/C+ border, so 50% of students in the class get below a C+. A’s are typically reserved for only the best students; in my bio I class, only 5% of the class was given a full A, so only 10 kids in a 200 person lecture. Once you get into your upper level classes junior and senior year, good grades come much more easily.
Many will argue that you should just go to state school as a premed. State schools can certainly be a bit easier, so if you really don’t care where you go and are committed to being in medicine without a doubt, that would be a good option. However, I would advise against completely selling your soul to premed. If you really like the school you can still succeed, and it could be disappointing if you ended up not wanting to go into medicine in the end and realize that you didn’t go to your preferred school.
You can absolutely succeed at pre-med here, with a few skills. Contrary to what you might expect, you can definitely pull a 3.7+ and have a good chance at a 3.85+ with two skills: conservative scheduling and being a good planner. Most kids come in here with the mindset of being the academic elite of their high school and bite off more than they can chew. What you have to do instead is protect yourself by taking the easiest classes humanly possible while also fulfilling the AXLE (liberal arts requirement classes). Limit yourself to 1 weed out per semester. If you have to double up, take physics+orgo with low hours. Use ratemyprof and relationships with upperclassmen to find out the easy classes. One of my friends operated like this, and is graduating with a ~3.95 as a neuroscience major. He is smart and hardworking but not a super genius; he was just an excellent scheduler and planner.
Here’s an example schedule that would be ideal for a good GPA:
Freshman year fall: gen chem I+lab+lowest possible level language of your choice part 1+freshman writing seminar =12 hours.
Freshman spring: gen chem II+ lab+lowest possible level language of your choice part 2+2 easy axle requirements (psych and sociology classes are good for premeds).=15 hours.
Freshman summer (if possible): Physics I+physics II. or calc 1.
Sophomore fall(with physics taken over summer): Bio I+lab+ easy axles or major requirements:= greater than or equal to 15 hours
Sophomore fall(without physics taken over summer): Bio I+lab+ physics I+lab+super easy axles = less than 15 hours.
Sophomore spring(with physics taken over summer): Bio II+lab+ easy axles or major requirements:= greater than or equal to 15 hours
Sophomore spring(without physics taken over summer): Bio II+lab+ physics II+lab+super easy axles = less than 15 hours.
Sophmore summer: something productive. volunteering, clinical experience, research.
Junior Fall: Orgo I+lab+ easy axles or major requirements:= greater than or equal to 15 hours
Junior Spring: Orgo I+lab+ biochem+easy axles or major requirements:= equal to or less than 15 hours.
Junior summer: MCAT. take early if you want to go straight in to med school, take late in the summer if you want a gap year.
Senior year: finish up major requirements and AXLE. Throw in calc sometime if you want it, but its not a real requirement.