Trashing the “PREMED” Label

As a college student, I have met a crazy hodgepodge of people. It was like all the cliques that were featured in Mean Girls…

(freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, JV jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, Varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the plastics, asexual band geeks, cheerleaders, JV cheerleaders, etc– for more info on any of these groups click here!). Except most of the people were not that extreme… and there were a few more groups than those that are listed above.

mean girls.jpeg

For me, the PREMED label is something that has stood out to me for several reasons:

  1. I, myself, have used this label to present myself to numerous amounts of people
  2. 60% of my school uses this label & the uni I go to basically markets itself to future docs

And why does this happen? Why do we go around parading a label that is not even a real major?


Sure, the “premed” label demands a certain amount of respect.

It means that you are intelligent and driven enough to pass Organic Chemistry (which is a huge pain in the ass btw) and the MCAT with an acceptable score.


It means you are ambitious (becoming a doc in America is at the top of the social ladder for respect and honor).


It means you or your family has the money to pay for it or that you are prepared to go into major debt to pay for 4 years of school.


How many of us really do end up getting into med school (most of which have a 1-5% acceptance rate) and can afford to pay for it (avg $280k for private; $207k for public )?

But… what happens to those who donot get into medical school after calling themselves “premed” for 4+ years of college? It’s a very daunting idea, but I think it’s something that needs to be addressed.

The end of the world is not coming. You have graduated college, and you will find some form of employment. Here are some options:

  • Take a gap year or gap years
    • like the transition b/w high school and college, some people need time to get their life together for med school because they refuse to settle for anything else
    • take the MCAT again to get your ideal score
    • get more clinical hours in (let’s be honest, a full course load does not give much time during the school year to get those hours in)
    • figure out if you really want to go to medical school (it’s a 4 year commitment, or 8 year if you sign on to a MD/PhD program)
    • conduct research, act as a medical scribe or EMT


  • Physician Assistant
    • avg salary:$92,460 a year, $43.72 an hour
    • avg edu: Master of Science in Medicine or equivalent


  • Nurse Practioner
    • avg salary: $91,450 a year, $43.25 an hour
    • avg edu: Master of Science in Nursing


  • Research Scientist
    • avg salary: $76,000 a year
    • avg edu: Master’s or doctoral degree in professional field


  • Physical Therapist
    • avg salary: $81,110 a year, $38.39 an hour
    • avg edu: Master of Science in Physical Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy


  • Professor
    • avg salary: $98,974 for professors, $69,911 for associate professors, $58,662 for assistant professors, $42,609 for instructors, and $48,289 for lecturers
    • avg edu: Master’s degree; doctoral degree often required


  • EMT, surgical technician, pharmacy technician
    • avg salary: around $30,000-$50,000 a year
    • avg edu: High School Diploma, Trade school or technical college training


  • Pharmacist
    • avg salary: $114,950 a year, $56.09 an hour
    • avg edu: Doctor of Pharmacy


I’m sure there are PLENTY more of jobs in the healthcare or medical or science field that you could look into as well.

I am not saying that you should not aspire to become a doctor. I think that being a doctor will allow you to directly help people and they are definitely needed. However, I do think that labeling yourself as “premed” before you know with 110% confidence that you will become a future doctor, that maybe you should steer away from that.

I do understand that everyone has their personal motivation for going into medicine, but I don’t think ALL roads lead to becoming a doctor. There are so many other possible career options in the healthcare field that I think don’t get nearly enough attention because there is a large majority of people charging ahead to become future doctors.

Instead, I think you should call yourself “prehealth” or maybe just get rid of the label altogether. Study what interests you, what you have to for med school if that is what you plan on doing, and just see where you are four years later. There is so much more of the world you have yet to explore, and by labeling yourself for all 4 years will close so many doors that might hold something fascinating behind them.

On that note, I hope you are having an amazing day.

If you have any premed related questions or precollege questions, feel free to send them my way.





Here are some sources in case you feel the need to factcheck me:


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