Pre-Med Academics

4 Non-Pre-Med Classes to Take During College as a Future Physician

During college, most pre-med students focus on finishing their medical school requirements. The strategy is to get as many A’s as possible while finishing their major and pre-med requirements. Often times this strategy neglects some other classes that may be even more useful during medical school. Here is a list of non-pre-med classes to take during college and why:

1. Statistics/Statistical Programming

Taking a statistics class is a triple thread because it fulfills a pre-med requirement, can increase your BCPM GPA, and be useful for medical school. Understanding statistics is becoming more and more important to medicine. Reading research papers requires at least a basic knowledge of statistics. But if you understand statistics very well and you can even use statistical programming software such as SPSS, R or SAS, you can be an extremely useful researcher. Being able to use stats in this way allows you to publish much more as a medical student, making you a more competitive residency applicant.

|| Read: The Path to Earning a Dual Degree

2. Personal Finance

Taking a finance class is just useful in general, even if you are not going to be a future medical student. Even though managing your finances is something you can learn on your own, you’ll be surprised how little education future physicians get about managing their money. This happens because doctors have a very set track of going to medical school and residency without really making money in between each step. Learn how to invest, save, manage debt, make a budge, and even negotiate a salary. College is the perfect time to learn how to be a true adult.

3. Computer Programming

Knowing how to program is just a great life skill. It can make you so much more useful and productive. For example, a lot of medical research requires programming. I learned the basics of SQL and it made instantly made me so much more valuable in my research team. Keep in mind that languages like SQL, Python, and C++ are useful in almost any setting. If you are a doctor in the future and know how to program and you know about finance, you can build a practice, market your practice, run a website, etc.

|| Read: How Perseverance As a Nontraditional Applicant Pays Off

4. Nutrition/Personal Health

You’ll be surprised how little you learn about nutrition in medical school. It’s unfortunate because nutrition is such an important part of medicine. Learning more about nutrition will enable you to take care of both yourself and your patients better. You also do not learn much about the benefits and nuances of exercise in medical school. These two subjects are not only interesting to learn in college but very useful as a future physician.

Edward Chang

Edward Chang is the Co-founder and Director of Operations of He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a urology resident at the University of Washington. He also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, graduating with a major in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. If you are interested in contributing to, please contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EdwardChangMD and Prospective Doctor @ProspectiveDr.

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