Non pre-med biology students’ dilemma in a pre-med oriented biology major

Prottusha Sarkar, Staff Reporter

Biology is a science. It is a science that people want to study for different reasons. Some study biology for the sake of the subject itself and others, like many students at Case Western Reserve University, default to it as a pre-medicine student. Different goals of these biology majors dictate that they are pursuing different types of knowledge in the same discipline. As a result, some biology students feel that their need is not properly addressed by the biology major requirement at CWRU.

One reason that many pre-meds are biology majors is because its curriculum easily and flexibly fits medical school prerequisites while still offering enough room to study other subjects that might be of interest. Therefore biology appears very attractive to pre-meds, since majoring in it allows those with other academic interests to fulfill their medical school requirements while also studying something that they find personally enthralling.

However not all biology majors aspire towards the same goal. There are many biology students who enter biology with pure interest in this subject. Often these students want to go into biology research and study biology further. Whatever the case may be, the curriculum design for biology majors still seems to resemble the website of a medical school’s required courses. Non pre-meds are forced to follow what is essentially a pre-med core with a few changes, which can be detrimental to students who want to further their knowledge of biology.

Moreover, some biology students feel that “non-pre-med students don’t get enough support,” according to Alexis Balog, a second year Biology major. Balog said that in many of her core classes “the professors make sure to specifically mention and cover things that pre-meds need to know.” The professors and advisors are well-intentioned when trying to help their students, but can forget that students with non pre-med interests need support and advice as well.

On one hand, these facts can be disappointing or even disencouraging to biology majors that aren’t pre-meds. On the other hand, the design of the major helps pre-meds to gain footing and work towards their dreams. There is no easy answer to this dilemma.