We’ve all met the “you need to study business” parent. Whether they are our own or someone else’s! However, the subject you should major in as an undergrad may not be the same as the field you want to go into afterward.
These days, more students choose to study a topic theyʼre passionate about at the undergraduate level, then go into a professional field of their choosing. Why? Because studying what you love typically leads to your strongest performance in college. This thus leads to a stronger graduate school application or résumé down the road.
What Should I Major In as an Undergrad?
The answer to this may not be as future-dependent as you think. Hereʼs an example. You might assume that you have to major in Biology or Chemistry to attend medical school. Nope! The beauty of NYU is the flexibility to pursue all of your interests. If that means studying a humanities subject while on the prehealth track preparing for medical school, then so be it! A good friend of mine did exactly that at NYU. He majored in English at the College of Arts and Science while on the prehealth track. He now attends Harvard Medical School.
The NYU alum I know whoʼs having the most business success also majored in English. She is now an associate at JPMorgan Chase, working in the highly analytical field of business strategy. A far throw away from reading Chaucer and chatting with Zadie Smith as an undergrad!
She studied something she loved, so she was able to maintain an honors-level GPA. She subsequently obtained a highly sought-after summer internship in her junior year. This then turned into a full-time job after graduation.
Across the top law schools in the United States, the most common undergraduate majors are Psychology, Philosophy, and Mathematics. Youʼll notice these donʼt necessarily have much to do with the law! This is because majoring in something different can help you stand out in the graduate school application process. After all, not many students are smart enough to get a 4.0 in Philosophy AND crush the MCAT!
When Should I Apply to Graduate School?
The wonderful thing about graduate school programs is that they are not going anywhere! There is always the option of pursuing, for example, a Master of Business Administration at the NYU Stern School of Business after gaining years of work experience in a business or nonbusiness field. In graduate admissions thereʼs been an increase in strong applications from students who have spent some time working in the professional realm before applying. This is because professional experience can be an invaluable tool in growing—both professionally and personally—and thus helps prospectives grow into stronger applicants.
Having said this, if you know you want to go straight into graduate study after completing your bachelor’s, there are a lot of different ways to start preparing for this at NYU. We’ll discuss three of these options here.
The Prelaw Track
Prelaw is not a major at NYU. It is a track that prepares students to apply to law school in the future. The NYU prelaw program allows you to prepare for law school while majoring in any topic you choose. I have several alumni friends attending law school who majored in numerous topics at the undergraduate level. From Economics to Politics, from Philosophy to Psychology, and from Dance to Sport Management—you name it.
Once joining the track, you will be assigned a preprofessional adviser. They will guide you through different aspects of the law school application process, such as the LSAT and personal essay. The Preprofessional Advising Center can support you with your prelaw education and help you decide how, when, and where to apply to law school.
Other perks of being on the prelaw track include:
- Access to numerous events throughout the year hosted by the department. These events include
- the Lunch with a Lawyer series where you can meet with a guest lawyer who practices in your particular legal field of interest,
- Mock Law Admissions Panel and workshops such as Law School 101 and Writing the Personal Statement for Law School, and
- information sessions with the worldʼs top law schools that frequently visit the NYU campus.
- The prelaw LISTSERV, where you gain access to the weekly prelaw newsletter, The Legal Brief. This newsletter includes weekly announcements, law-related internships and job opportunities, community events, workshops, and articles about the law, law school, and legal profession. It is a great way to jump into NYUʼs exciting network of alumni.
NYUʼs Cat Richardson talks more about the many different paths to prelaw in her article for Meet NYU.
The Prehealth Track
Like prelaw, prehealth is not a major at NYU—it is a track. This track is designed to prepare undergraduates to apply to medical school. While many prehealth students choose to major in science-related subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, or Neuroscience, this is not required. As in the earlier example, students are able to major in other areas while completing their prehealth track classes. The prehealth curriculum requirements are the classes needed to apply to four-year doctoral programs in many health-care professions, including medicine and dentistry. This curriculum will prepare you to take the MCAT and kick-start your future health career.
Along with preparing you academically, some perks of being on the prehealth track include:
- Access to the prehealth LISTSERV. You can sign up for the prehealth weekly newsletter, The Medical Record. This newsletter includes
- weekly publication chronicles,
- volunteer positions,
- health-related work opportunities, and
- programs, workshops, and community events.
- Invitations to numerous events hosted by the department, such as
- Careers in Healthcare You Might Have Missed,
- information sessions hosted by top medical schools around the world, and
- the annual Application Year Overview session.
- Assistance getting clinical experience during your time as an undergraduate. Some schools require hands-on experience as part of the application portfolio, while others strongly recommend it, so this is particularly useful.
- Assistance getting research experience, which is also a critical factor for students interested in medical school or graduate school in a related field.
- Multiple medical associations and clubs that our students can join for additional community support, such as
- the Student National Medical Association,
- the Latino Medical Student Association, and
- the Association of Native American Medical Students.
NYU x NYU: The College of Arts and Science (CAS) Pathway to a Stern MBA
CAS students have a unique opportunity to participate in several professional degree programs at NYU. One is the opportunity to pursue a full-time two-year MBA at NYUʼs prestigious Stern School of Business.
This pathway allows strong CAS students to submit a streamlined application to the MBA program. This often includes waiving standardized testing scores and application fees. After two to five years of post-undergraduate work experience, admitted students will matriculate into the MBA program. They will also get a $10,000 Early Advancement Award. Admitted students will also be eligible for further NYU Stern scholarships.
Needless to say, this is an incredible opportunity for undergraduates; all of who could be majoring in any of the more than 70 options offered by CAS. From Economics and Anthropology to English and Computer Science.