2 months ago
Admissions Advice

Conflicted Between Two Drastically Different Majors: Biology and English

Hi! I am a senior who is currently applying to colleges and have been conflicted for six to twelve months trying to decide on a major. I have wanted to major in biology since 6th grade with intentions of attending medical school and have taken a significant number of bio and stem classes as a result in high school. I love studying bio but I have little interest in attending medical school now, in part because becoming a Dr. doesn't fit the lifestyle I want. On the flip side, I love writing and reading and am a published writer. I never intended on majoring in english, but now I am realizing that it may suit the lifestyle I want more closely.

I have good grades in both (all) subjects, so as for admissions chances, neither is really a risk. Although, I have almost no bio-related extra c's and little english emphasis in terms of classwork with lots of bio coursework emphasis and notable english-related extra c's.

It is important to me to commit to a major for essays and letters of recommendation. I know people change majors all the time, but I don't feel confident enough in either to commit to just one right now. I honestly have no idea what to do and am torn.


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3 answers

2 months ago

I'm in pretty much the same position - I love writing (which is reflected in my ecs) and bio (in coursework).

I mulled over it for a long time, and in the end, I just couldn't justify spending so much money to study english. As an english major, college would give you a) networking opportunities b) lots of practice and c) a community of like-minded peers. All those three aren't as hard for you to find outside of college, as opposed to bio, where you need a degree.

You can be a writer without an english degree, but not anything in bio without a bio degree. You mentioned that you're already published, and imo those are credentials enough for your writing skills. I'd say, choose bio. There are lots of career opportunities that aren't medicine, and in my experience, studying other subjects gives me new perspectives to apply in my writing. If you find that you really hate bio, you can always switch in the future.

2 months ago

Hi! Since you have strong bio coursework and strong English ECs, you could apply as a double major to schools if your schools allow it. It will demonstrate that you have a passion for both and have coursework and ECs to show for it. I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with when applying to college and after they get to college (I changed my major in college). I think you should apply to whatever you feel most strongly about when it's time to apply. Since you have more emphasis on bio classes, it might be helpful to apply as that so you can get letters of rec from your bio teachers. I hope my answer was helpful, but picking your major really is so personal, so take some more time to think about it and go with what you feel is best.

2 months ago

After college, frankly it's going to be a lot easier to pay your bills with a biology degree than an English one. Even if you aren't interested in the difficult and expensive years involved in med school, you could work in biotech or pharmaceuticals, for example, and be a poet on the side. Or, if it fits your lifestyle better, you could find a job in the outdoors. Another choice, if you like writing in general, would be to become a journalist or author specializing in biology or ecology topics.

Choosing an English degree, you'll probably work teaching English, as a tech writer or for a media company to earn money while you write poetry on the side. Not necessarily a bad outcome, but generally doesn't pay as well and thus may be more stressful, leaving less energy for writing.


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