Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums
AjayArumugam

Electrical Engineering to Med School

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm in High School right now, and I'll be applying to colleges in the coming fall. I was wondering if it would be disadvantageous to major in something non medical related like engineering for pre med. I have always been interested in electrical engineering but I'm afraid it's going to make me less competitive for med school. I have heard that Med Schools do not care about the major you choose; however, is it possible to have relevant ECs and research experience in the medical field when majoring in engineering?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AjayArumugam said:

Hi, I'm in High School right now, and I'll be applying to colleges in the coming fall. I was wondering if it would be disadvantageous to major in something non medical related like engineering for pre med. I have always been interested in electrical engineering but I'm afraid it's going to make me less competitive for med school. I have heard that Med Schools do not care about the major you choose; however, is it possible to have relevant ECs and research experience in the medical field when majoring in engineering?

I did a mechanical engineering undergrad and now am a staff surgeon.

It's possible to do. It's easy to get relevant ECs if you look around. As for research, you can do any kind of research if you feel like. To be honest, it's just another EC to the selection committee. They don't care if you do it or not (as long as you have other ECs).

The biggest issue is engineering is brutally hard. Remember, it's a professional school, the same as medicine, dentistry and law. It's designed to produce highly competent professionals. What makes it bad from your point of view is it is essentially set up to cull a certain percentage of the class every semester. Unlike the other three schools I mentioned, where it is hard to get in but easy to stay in, engineering is easier to get in (not that easy mind you) but hard to stay in. It's designed to fail the weakest out. For example, in my engineering class way back in the day, we started with 257 people in term 1. By the time we graduated, less than 130 of them were still in engineering. And the number of people pulling out GPA's of 3.8 or more was few and far between, despite almost everyone who survived being very smart people. Interestingly, this is also the way the French medical school system works from my understanding.

If you want to do medicine, pick something that you can have an easier time getting high marks in. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, select something you are interested in, passioniste about and can become a Plan B. For example, studying kin will give you a good background for medicine, is not hard but voluminous, so straight A’s are very possible to achieve, provided you work hard always and balance your courses with easy electives, such as intro to acting, etc. This will give you a foothold in the healthcare field should medicine not be achieved.

i note that many successful applicants study geography of all things in undergrad, and I assume it is for the grades, although this does not prepare you.for a Plan B.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote
9 hours ago, NLengr said:

I did a mechanical engineering undergrad and now am a staff surgeon.

It's possible to do. It's easy to get relevant ECs if you look around. As for research, you can do any kind of research if you feel like. To be honest, it's just another EC to the selection committee. They don't care if you do it or not (as long as you have other ECs).

The biggest issue is engineering is brutally hard. Remember, it's a professional school, the same as medicine, dentistry and law. It's designed to produce highly competent professionals. What makes it bad from your point of view is it is essentially set up to cull a certain percentage of the class every semester. Unlike the other three schools I mentioned, where it is hard to get in but easy to stay in, engineering is easier to get in (not that easy mind you) but hard to stay in. It's designed to fail the weakest out. For example, in my engineering class way back in the day, we started with 257 people in term 1. By the time we graduated, less than 130 of them were still in engineering. And the number of people pulling out GPA's of 3.8 or more was few and far between, despite almost everyone who survived being very smart people. Interestingly, this is also the way the French medical school system works from my understanding.

If you want to do medicine, pick something that you can have an easier time getting high marks in. 

 

Thanks for the reply. As a mechanical engineering major, were you able to achieve a competitive GPA? Also, will Med Schools consider the fact that I might be an engineering major and allow for a below average GPA?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, AjayArumugam said:

Thanks for the reply. As a mechanical engineering major, were you able to achieve a competitive GPA? Also, will Med Schools consider the fact that I might be an engineering major and allow for a below average GPA?

I suppose I was. They let me in. Now i was in the top 3 or 4 of my class, so i wasn't the normal engineering student. 

I don't think they will. You need to check each school individually though. 

EDIT: I forgot to capitalize the "i" twice in a sentence about me being ranked high in my class. Normally I'd fix that, but I am gonna just leave it like that because the irony is great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm an obligated engineer, but not PEng, who now works as a staff ER and ICU doc.  Medical schools will not forgive a less-competitive GPA because you did engineering.   And your GPA likely won't be as good as somebody from (totally random example...) Mac Health Sci.   As far as I know, the old line about "look to your left and look to your right -- one of you won't graduate" is still true.

Save yourself the pain if an MD is your end goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just here to throw in my two cents as well, I did nursing for an undergrad (also a professional program). Now the pattern I noticed about these kinds of professional programs is they are not designed to be able to easily or even with a decent effort churn out competitive grades, they make professionals, not premeds. I experienced this with Nursing and in my opinion, few have it worse than the engineers in terms of securing high averages. I have heard of engineers who have taken the path to medicine, but they are few and far between ( and probably abnormal examples and nowhere near the standard). The take-home point here is that schools do not and will not care about how hard your undergrad is, they just see the numbers. The only place it would help would perhaps be in the interview where you would stand out, but you have to get an interview first to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also completed an electrical engineering degree and was accepted to medical school this year! I agree with everyone above - it's very difficult to achieve a high GPA in engineering, which is a big factor for a lot of schools when it comes to interviews + acceptances. I believe that the items you'll need to consider are the following:

  1. Will you enjoy doing work after undergrad within the engineering sector? - If yes, then engineering is definitely a great option for undergrad! One of the many reasons why I chose to pursue engineering over a typical pre-med program was because the jobs after undergrad were so much more appealing + great job market.
  2. Will you excel in engineering, academically? - Hard to predict while in high-school, but really important if you're considering medicine after engineering. Getting a high GPA isn't the goal of many engineering students - the goal is to pass. But if you know that you can test well + do well in practical assessments (ie. labs, projects) and will enjoy the material taught in your program, you can be that top % that achieve a competitive GPA! My GPA was ~3.9 (so it's possible) - all of my other friends in my program were lower; because I worked really hard to achieve that GPA for my applications, and their goal was to land industry jobs (where GPA doesn't matter). 
  3. Are you good at time management? - If you are and you can combine engineering with awesome ECs, you'll be a stand-out applicant for sure! But if not and you end up comprising opportunities (ie. leadership, involvement) just to do well academically, your application as simply an engineering undergrad will not be competitive. 

Also, you may want to consider engineering at schools other than UofT and Waterloo - where it's a bit less academically rigorous, and you'll have more leeway to do well + get involved. I don't regret doing engineering and it actually helped me develop a lot of skills that I wouldn't have been able to develop in another program! At the end of the day, there are easier undergrad programs to do to get into medicine, but it's your choice and you know what type of student you are best! 

And also in engineering, it'll be hard to find a community of peers for support during applications. I didn't have X amount of friends I also knew writing the MCAT (that I could study with) or preparing for interviews (that I could practice with). So if you do go into engineering, I suggest you dip into other activities that exposure you to other premeds so that you can make those useful connections! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, essie said:

I also completed an electrical engineering degree and was accepted to medical school this year! I agree with everyone above - it's very difficult to achieve a high GPA in engineering, which is a big factor for a lot of schools when it comes to interviews + acceptances. I believe that the items you'll need to consider are the following:

  1. Will you enjoy doing work after undergrad within the engineering sector? - If yes, then engineering is definitely a great option for undergrad! One of the many reasons why I chose to pursue engineering over a typical pre-med program was because the jobs after undergrad were so much more appealing + great job market.
  2. Will you excel in engineering, academically? - Hard to predict while in high-school, but really important if you're considering medicine after engineering. Getting a high GPA isn't the goal of many engineering students - the goal is to pass. But if you know that you can test well + do well in practical assessments (ie. labs, projects) and will enjoy the material taught in your program, you can be that top % that achieve a competitive GPA! My GPA was ~3.9 (so it's possible) - all of my other friends in my program were lower; because I worked really hard to achieve that GPA for my applications, and their goal was to land industry jobs (where GPA doesn't matter). 
  3. Are you good at time management? - If you are and you can combine engineering with awesome ECs, you'll be a stand-out applicant for sure! But if not and you end up comprising opportunities (ie. leadership, involvement) just to do well academically, your application as simply an engineering undergrad will not be competitive. 

Also, you may want to consider engineering at schools other than UofT and Waterloo - where it's a bit less academically rigorous, and you'll have more leeway to do well + get involved. I don't regret doing engineering and it actually helped me develop a lot of skills that I wouldn't have been able to develop in another program! At the end of the day, there are easier undergrad programs to do to get into medicine, but it's your choice and you know what type of student you are best! 

And also in engineering, it'll be hard to find a community of peers for support during applications. I didn't have X amount of friends I also knew writing the MCAT (that I could study with) or preparing for interviews (that I could practice with). So if you do go into engineering, I suggest you dip into other activities that exposure you to other premeds so that you can make those useful connections! :)

Thanks for the reply. What were your ECs as an engineer? I imagine they were completely different from typical pre med ECs. Would the relevance of ECs to medicine be considered in the med school application?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/7/2019 at 6:41 PM, AjayArumugam said:

Thanks for the reply. What were your ECs as an engineer? I imagine they were completely different from typical pre med ECs. Would the relevance of ECs to medicine be considered in the med school application?

I believe your ECs are evaluated in relation to CANMED roles so for example, did it fall into an advocacy role, leadership, professional, etc? You can read more here

I decided to apply a bit later on in my engineering undergrad, so I didn't really think about CANMEDs until I was filling out my application (I was unsure about pursuing medicine or grad school or industry until then)! But I chose ECs during undergrad that would make be a well-rounded learner (engineering research - scholar, technical teams - professional+communicator+collaborator, societies - leadership), and CANMEDs sort of echo the same idea. :) They were quite different from typical pre-med ECs (I never volunteered at hospitals, partake in a lot of 'charity'-related activities, or shadowed physicians). It's really about you and enhancing your own undergrad. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...