CollegeAdvisor.com presents its majors series webinars on Biology in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panel will share their insider perspectives on how they chose their majors, how they applied successfully to colleges, and how they pursued their majors in college. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
Welcome to the CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Biology. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Start off. We couldn’t meet our panelists.
Okay, Caroline, you’re on mute.
My bad. Hi everyone. I’m Carolyn. I graduated last June with a degree in human biology from Stanford.[00:01:00] Since then I have been at home and so Cal and I’ve been simultaneously studying for my cat and also doing a ton of college advising through CollegeAdvisor .com.
Hi everyone. I’m Marissa. I’m a senior at Yale. I said you biology and science history. I’m also pre-med like Carolyn I’ll be studying for my I’m cat chewed. And I’ve been working with CollegeAdvisor s since November have loved working with kids on their college applications. That’s kind of me in a nutshell.
Hi everyone. I’m Lara, I’m currently a sophomore at Harvard college. I’m studying molecular and cellular biology with a secondary, which is Harvard’s funny way of saying minor in psychology. So I’ve also been working with CollegeAdvisor .com since November and having a ton of fun, just walking people through the entire process.
So I’m currently [00:02:00] still deciding between pre-med or pre-grad. In other words, I could go on to med school or go onto a biochemistry PhD still deciding.
Okay, great. Thanks a lot for feeding here. Now we’ll go through some frequently asked questions. You guys can just go in the order that your names are on the slide. Sounds good. So what led me to my major I’ve actually wanted to be a doctor since I was six. Since I was really little, so I knew that in college, I was likely to major in something biology-related.
Stanford is unique in that it has a human biology major and a biology major. So I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study. I didn’t even know the differences. They sound so similar, but ultimately I really liked that human biology allows you to create your own specific concentration. And so my concentration was the epidemiology and biology of infectious diseases.
[00:03:00] So I studied all sorts of infectious agents. And was also learning about social structures and societal factors and the epidemiology of infectious diseases. So how, how all of that interacted? And so I officially declared my major at the end of my second year. And it was during the second year when I was taking the core classes that I became very attracted to the major.
So at Yale, I’ve kind of done this weird blend of stem and humanities that I’ve really come to like so I, I came into college, very stem and very pre-med and thought I would be yells version of a biology major, which is molecular cellular and developmental biology. And then kind of just fell in love with journalism.
And with history yell has this unique history of science medicine and public health major. And I took classes in that, loved it. And that’s what I declared as in my sophomore [00:04:00] year, but still stayed pre-med. And then my senior year I realized I could complete the MCDB, the biology BA. So I just declared that as well.
And I think it’s a good mix again, of journalism, humanities science, and you can still be pre-med and not be fully stoned, which is great.
Yeah. So I also came into college with kind of the idea of. Concentrating in something really into biology. Definitely. Wasn’t sure exactly what if it was going to be more neuroscience, but it was going to be more molecular based if it was going to be more organismic based. But I eventually settled on molecular biology just because it’s so fascinating to me that literally one single molecular change can completely change essentially the entire functioning of an organism.
And that just absolutely fantastic fascinates me. I was also attracted to the career prospects that a biology major could give me, as I said before. I’m either going to be going into med school or going to be into a PhD, [00:05:00] but either way, those are both careers that have continuous learning and development, which is really attractive to me.
And yeah, I was just always fascinated with the human body on a single cell level which definitely contributed to my interest. Psychology has been quite a later interest for me. So I grew up in South Africa applied as an international student and never had. Opportunity to study anything like psychology.
But in college I definitely got the chance to explore. And so I declared both my major and my minor in my first year of college. Okay, good. Next frequently asked question is what extracurriculars did you do?
All right. So in high school although I was always very interested in attending medical school when they there just weren’t a ton of medical oriented opportunities in my area. And so as a result a lot of the activities that I [00:06:00] engaged with had to do with like serving my community and my community is about 35,000 people.
And my family has had roots there since the seventies. And so it was important to me to do. Activities that related to improving my community and my high school, since my dad also went to the same high school I went. So I was a part of, pretty much all of these organizations listed freshman year through senior year, but it wasn’t until like my junior year that I started getting leadership positions in those activities.
I would say that for NHS, which, you know, every school has an NHS branch I worked to like revamp the requirements necessary to stay in the program because a lot of high schoolers as many of you can probably relate join NHS for the title of like, oh, the national honor society. But I really thought that it was important that we.
Actually do things that support the organization’s [00:07:00] mission. So I was very involved in that associated with that idea. East Funeka is like the Latinex NHS. So similar premise and then class cabinet was important to me because I wanted to give back to my high school in some ways. So it was a lot of prom planning and organizing with our school’s ASB.
Hurdling was just for fun. I, I cannot hurdle, honestly, it’s been a few years, that was just a fun experience. And then I come from a Catholic family and so growing up, my family is very involved and in high school I became a youth minister, which basically was a role, a leadership role in which you mentored other younger kids who were doing some of the programs that our parish hall.
So I did a bunch of like stem pre-med things in high school. I was lucky enough to with about 30 minutes outside of Syracuse, which has Syracuse [00:08:00] university and then also I’m a medical school. So I had kind of those resources available to me. I come. First gen college student, I, you know, don’t have any connections to pupil in the medical field.
And I think one thing that is really important for high school students to know is that you can go really far and get a lot of great opportunities just by asking. And so I just cold emailed probably at least like 50 researchers in Syracuse, just being like, I am so excited about biology and neuroscience and like, I would love to work in your lab.
And all you need is one good response. And I had, I was lucky enough to work in two labs in high school. And it was really instrumental in sort of fostering my love for science and research, but also learned a lot of key skills that you’ll learn anyway in college. So it was nice to have sort of that background and same thing with Dr.
Shadowing. And I just emailed doctors who I thought were interesting and they were nice enough to be like, yeah, sure. Come on in. So I saw it. I shot a couple of neurosurgeons, which was crazy. I shadowed in a anatomy [00:09:00] lab at our med school. So all great experiences. And then did a bunch of things just with neuroscience, which is what was like my bread and butter in high school.
I just thought it was like learning about the brain. It was just so interesting. And so I started a neuroscience club organized a TEDx conference just for more like engagement in the sciences and humanities at my school. And then I also, I did some volunteering particularly increasing women in stem, in entrepreneurship as well.
Yeah. So, like I said before Africa from a really small town, my graduating class was just a couple of dozen people. So I really had to be creative and kind of creating my own opportunities. And I think that’s also something all of the high schoolers listening to this webinar can take away. A lot of the times you honestly need to make, do with what you have.
And I think college has definitely look favorably upon that. Upon you just taking the resources that you have, we all know some people have more opportunities than others, but it’s all about taking all the opportunities that you [00:10:00] possibly can. So in doing that, I became head leader of my student council.
Member of the junior town council of my town. Again, these weren’t really prestigious positions just because my town and my high school were so small, but again, it just showed kind of initiative and being ready to take all the opportunities that are there. So I’d definitely encourage of you guys to do that.
I also did a long distance running again, just for fun. Not much going on in terms of competitions in my high school, kind of like the whole extracurricular scene in general. But I really enjoyed long distance running is just kind of a stress reliever. And then lastly, I was the founder of a bunch of clubs at my high school.
Like I mentioned before, extra curriculars really weren’t a big focus. I think lots of the international students listening to this webinar right now might be able to relate. Often there’s a culture of you just go to school, get your academics finished, go home, and then that’s that. But [00:11:00] I ended up starting the first community service or volunteer organization at my high school.
And eventually ended up running that for essentially the whole length of my high school. Again, just really important for me to contribute to my small town.
Okay. Next question. What was your college application process like?
So my college application process started. I would say the summer that I was studying for my SATs, I just dedicated that summer studying I took the sat the fall of my junior year. And I kept on hearing that, you know, you should take the sat and the act because you may score higher on one or the other because they’re these tests don’t really test what, like how smart you are, they test how well, you know, how to test.
And so I took the act and I scored significantly [00:12:00] better. And I took that spring of my junior year. And then the summer, I didn’t include this in the slides, but the summer between junior and senior year, I did a summer program at Cornell by the Telluride association it was a humanities program.
I wanted to do a humanities program because I never really explored that side. The, like the books that I read were because I was forced to in high school and I thought, you know what? I need to expand myself a little bit more in that realm, even though I am a pre-med. So I did that. And then around came fall of senior year.
I applied to 15 schools, but I really didn’t know where I was going to end up finances were a big factor as to where I would end up. And so for that reason, I didn’t apply early anywhere. Also because I wasn’t ready. The deadline of November 1st came around and I still really hadn’t started writing my essays.
So I was cramming like November and [00:13:00] December. Please don’t do that. Like do not do that. Be smart start. Even if you’re applying regular decision, I advise you to start writing in October. If you do decide to apply early action, start thinking about those essays in August.
Yeah. So I actually only took the act. I think I kind of like was too stressed out by that sat and it just seemed like I think it’s a common, like trope that like, if you’re more stem oriented, that act might work out a little better for you. No idea how true that is. But in my case I took the act, I think twice, maybe three times a week.
Two times. I can’t really remember. But definitely took one in the spring and one in the fall. And the fall of my senior year. So I spent the summer before really just grinding out act prep and did really well on it. And so I wrote essays sort of sporadically between September and December.
I think I was really holding out on my, like one early [00:14:00] action school to come through positively. So I, and usually those results come out like maybe December 15th. And so I was like, okay, if I get a yes from the school, I won’t have to do. Any other my applications. But I was deferred to RD. And so had to do everything and, you know, in the last two weeks, which wasn’t ideal.
So again, good advice to get started early. Don’t leave things to the last minute. So I applied to about 10 schools. I use fee waivers, which if you come from a low-income background, these can really be lifesavers, especially, you know, if you’re applying, you know, right after Christmas like for my family spending a thousand dollars on applications, you know, especially right after Christmas would be kind of crazy.
And so few waivers it’s as simple as like asking your guidance counselor, if you’re you feel like your family might be in a tough spot. So highly encouraged those, if they’re available to you. What I wish I had known, I think I selected schools. I applied to based on academics versus like FA and if I could actually see myself there, so I would try and look at schools more holistically and also emphasize sort of having a [00:15:00] well-rounded school list and that you don’t have too many reaches or too many safety schools have a good amount of safety target and reaches.
I applied to maybe one safety school and then probably the rest reaches. And it worked out thankfully, but I’m, you know, it very well couldn’t have. And so I would, I would suggest that.
So I had quite an atypical application experience of essentially just me and Mr. Google figuring everything out. I didn’t have any kind of advisor or any kind of college counselor, because again, that goes back to the point of just, I guess, making, do with what you have. And definitely I’ve been able to help people through CollegeAdvisor .com who also don’t have that background of knowing what the college application process is like, or maybe don’t have an advisor or college counselor can help them through that.
So essentially I was just me figuring everything out. I took the act and my sophomore year, I was just kind of a trial run. It was about five to six hour drive to get to the testing center. And yeah. Ended up [00:16:00] being very happy with my results and only took it the once in my sophomore year and just the act.
And then I ended up applying to 15 schools, early action, where I could, so in South Africa, the academic year runs from January to December. So my kind of academic year, didn’t exactly line up with the U S system, which meant I had to take essentially half to about three quarters of a gap year. But it also meant that my kind of application timeline ended up being rather a strangely place, like right in the middle of my bunch of final exams and things like that.
So I ended up applying early action where I could and just seeing where things ended up what I wish I had known, honestly, I wish I’d known a lot, but definitely up there is thinking also about your fit with the schools you’re applying to whether that is location, whether. Whether that is academic or athletic scenes, whether that is what kind of residential options you might have a bit available to you, whether that is finances, all of those things are hugely important.
[00:17:00] And I also just want to add to not stress about it too much. I know it’s a hugely, hugely stressful process. But at the end of the day, you can only do your best in any stressing beyond like, after you’ve submitted those applications is honestly not productive and it can honestly be very detrimental to one’s mental health.
The next question I have for you is what extracurriculars did you do in college? So upon starting college at Stanford I was definitely looking at pre-med opportunities. I wasn’t so much interested in research at first, for me, it was all the clinical applications of medicine that interested me and how I could start getting involved with helping underrepresented populations in medicine.
So I found out about Cardinal free clinics, [00:18:00] which is a really neat program. It’s run by a Stanford undergrads and medical students and supervised five Stanford. Practitioners and I was a Spanish interpreter and a preclinical volunteer. Preclinical volunteering is basically what medical assistants do, but we can’t be called medical assistants because we don’t have associate’s degrees, but basically we’re the ones who take down notes on why the patient is there, what their symptoms are.
And then we present everything to the physician. So that was really cool. And because I was also a Spanish interpreter, I would conduct a lot of those interviews in Spanish. So that was an awesome opportunity that I did freshman year through senior year. Also freshman year, their senior year, I was a part of what you could say is like the Latin X premed organization.
And so that was chair and I had a, some sort of like leadership position sophomore through senior year. It [00:19:00] was such a great group of people to be a part of, or such an awesome group to be a part of with great people. We got to connect a lot with Sanford medical students, medical students at UCF.
And we also got a chance to do a lot of volunteering at various clinics. So great experience with that. I started doing research my sophomore year just to see what research could be like right off the bat. I knew that I did not want to be working in a wet lab. Do not like bacteria, it could not be me.
So I did clinical research, which involves more analysis of data and like blood tests. So I did some time about a year and a half at the division of pediatric rheumatology, taking a look at immunological markers and analyzing that type of data. And then I did another year and a half at the division of infectious diseases and worked with [00:20:00] data involving also immunological markers, but with respect to infectious diseases my senior year, I was a dorm RA, a resident assistant, which is basically like the people who.
Supervised dorms. That was such a fantastic experience. Every college has its own dorm culture and RA culture. And I, I had a fantastic experience with that. And then Abla is an organization in which students kind of mentor custodial, Stanford staff in English. So you’re teaching people English.
Unfortunately, I only did that my freshman year, and that was just because I was, I started getting really busy, all the other commitments that I had already been a part of were getting increasingly. Busier. And so I had to drop some things. So that’s all to say that if you decide to do something [00:21:00] in college, you’re not bound to it.
I think it’s important to put your mental health above, like joining as many extracurriculars as possible. And it’s okay to say no. A lot of people at these colleges are super ambitious, want to say yes to everything, but you should not. Or else you’re, you will get burnt.
Yeah, I completely, you agree with that? So my again, I’ve kind of had this like science and humanities thread throughout college. So I was the editor in chief of my of the ugly news magazine. The YDN is sort of the main campus paper at Yale. So oversaw a staff of about 30 students who were editing stories who were writing stories, designing the magazine coordinating production and things like that.
So it was really great leadership experience. And, you know, previously to that, I was I was reporting on yelled med school and Yale new Haven hospital, which was very illuminating. And it probably taught me more about what it really means [00:22:00] to be a doctor or research at a big academic institution than I ever would’ve learned in a research lab or shouting a doctor or anything like that.
So it was really a fantastic experience that I learned a lot from, and certainly learned a lot of communication skills from, which is also really important to, to being a physician too. And so I also did research my kind of bread and butter has been psychiatry and neuroscience, like I said before.
So I worked in psychiatric genetics, looking at the genetics specifically of things like OCD and intakes I’m and that’s also sort of the clinical scribe work I do too. I work with a clinic at the med school and I take notes for the For the physicians. And I see families particularly children who have OCD, ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, things like that.
And so last summer I spent my time at CNN health virtually because of the pandemic but being there was also or being there virtually at least was incredible in such a great experience, seeing how quickly things move from press conference [00:23:00] to, you know, being on online on CNN or even on TV.
So it was a fabulous experience. And then the most fun thing I’ve probably done was being a student photographer for a yells sort of administration. I basically was paid to just go to events on campus and I would sit like courtside at basketball games or football games. And it was a ton of fun.
And I think it’s probably like the best student job on campus. And that’s kind of, you know, glassed four years of, of Yale for me.
Yeah. So I came into college, totally overwhelmed by all of the options that there were. I think that’s a pretty common experience, especially if you come from a smaller high school or maybe if you are an international student, it’s totally normal to come into college and be overwhelmed. Like, oh my goodness, there are so many options.
And I don’t really know. What I’m interested in, do you want to kind of strike a balance between exploring and kind of narrowing down? But sometimes that’s extremely hard to do. So just like the second what’s been [00:24:00] said already, definitely don’t feel any obligation to think you’re going to tie yourself down to this one thing for the entire four years.
But personally I was very fortunate to pretty early on find a lot of organizations that I was really interested in and things that I was really passionate about doing. So first the, the Harvard college undergraduate research association, I’ve had a fantastic time with them, essentially just promoting undergraduate research at Harvard college, especially now with everything being virtual there being extra challenges to kind of find in the lab to kind of getting started in research.
It’s been absolutely fantastic because it’s also had a component of mentorship to younger students kind of just getting into research. Secondly, I’m currently an internal writer and editor for Bravia and the Harvard science review. So those are both just kind of published science publications on campus, essentially taking these dense, scientific research articles and putting them in a format.
That’s easy to understand for anybody who has, for example, a high school [00:25:00] background in that subject. So I think that’s hugely important, especially when we have so much information out there. But so much of it is hidden. Behind, like kind of this dense language I’m in really not accessible. It’s the majority of people.
So that’s been absolutely amazing. I’m also current thing the chair of domestic outreach and volunteering for fabric. So that’s a foundation for the international medical relief of children. That’s more like a global health focus club and I’ve also had a fantastic time doing that. I’ve always also been involved as a research assistant at the Dana Farber cancer Institute.
So I started research last summer and are the words the summer after my freshman year. Unfortunately that was the start of the pandemic. It’s crazy to believe where you’re on from that now. So. Up until this semester, all my research has been virtual. There’s definitely been an interesting experience.
Definitely not the kind of like at the bench work that I wanted to do. But this semester I’m going back to research in person and it’s an absolutely fantastic so far, definitely with all [00:26:00] the precautions. But it’s been a fantastic, it’s definitely leading me more into kind of the PhD direction. So again, that’s something that extracurriculars can definitely help you with maybe narrowing down kind of career options or maybe opening up career options that you never thought to consider.
And then lastly, I’m part of the leadership Institute of Harvard college, essentially just a mentoring program in the Boston area, giving kind of interactive leadership seminars to high school students. It’s also been a fantastic way to just kind of get out in the community and kind of get out of the Harvard bubble.
So now what are some common college classes for biology majors?
I can go ahead. And you guys can definitely pitch in so generally your first year you take general chemistry since you will have to take general chemistry or Ganek [00:27:00] chemistry and maybe biochemistry. It really just depends on your biology major and any specific concentration you do. So if you do cell and developmental and molecular biology, you’re likely to do pretty much all three types of chemistry.
It really just depends on your college. If you are pre-med, you will definitely need to take all three types of chemistry or those three. And as far as like taking biology classes, again, it depends on your major. I didn’t take any biology classes until my second year. And that’s just because the core classes are.
Freshmen can’t take the core classes for the human biology major. So it really just depends physics. You tend to push off if you’re pre-med usually, if you’re just a biology major, you don’t need to take physics. That’s generally what the experience has been at Stanford. It could be different elsewhere.
And then junior year, you also start getting more in depth into the classes [00:28:00] specific to whatever biology major you choose. And then, especially in your senior year, depending if you want to do a thesis depending how specific your concentration is, then you really, really get into the nitty gritty details of your major.
So yeah, you guys can also share your experience. Yeah. One thing to know if you are interested in the pre-med row is that medical schools kind of differ in their specific requirements. These are kind of, I think the general basis some schools, for example, require that you don’t have to take or go to, but you can instead take biochemistry.
Some schools require some sort of math class or an English requirement. Stats for example, is also kind of common too. So those are the things to just kind of keep in mind that, you know, would be useful. In addition to any requirements of your bio. Absolutely. I don’t have much to add except also that in hugely various, both [00:29:00] between schools and also between majors at the same school.
And I think that especially varies in terms of kind of the specific classes, especially a specific electives associated with your major. For example, for myself, from a LeClair in cellular biology, I can say classes and focus more on organismic biology or a class at the focus more on kind of like the genetic part aspect of things or classes that focus more on the neuroscience part of things, but all kinds of unifying under kind of like a molecular level.
So definitely lots of options there. For example, at Harvard, we also have something called integrative biology, which is essentially just taking kind of aspects of all the types of biology from evolutionary and organismic biology to this more kind of molecular biology or physical and chemical biology.
So it definitely depends.
And now, what is your favorite class related to your nature?[00:30:00] It was a tie between several that I think the one that was my favorite was the one that aligned most with the title of my concentration. So this class was taught by Bonnie Maldonado who is the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford medicine.
And this class dealt a little bit into the biology of certain organisms that have caused bigger epidemics or pandemics such as like the flu and which may call it smallpox, especially when I took this class, this was Well, Stanford is on quarter systems, so that would be January through March.
But that’s when I took the class winter quarter of last year, which is when COVID was starting to stir how all over the world. And so the last half of the class we focused solely on COVID. The last three weeks of the class, I was already at home because we got [00:31:00] kicked off campus. So really interesting time to take this class.
But in general you talk a little, like I said, a little bit about the biology of certain pathogens. You talk about the role of vectors, reservoirs, environmental factors, and then you talk about, you know, what are the characteristics of, you know, the pathogens and the hosts that make this disease? This infectious or this deadly.
So I really enjoyed it because it didn’t focus on just one field. It talked about how different fields intersect within this realm of infectious diseases and human health.
My favorite class has been pathobiology. And so that’s all about how cells and tissues respond to any injury. And so we covered just first starting with cells and cell death. And how does that process work? And it sort of expanded more out to to blood and how blood responds [00:32:00] to these things and the immune system and the brain and the kidneys and all these different things.
And it was very it was taught in a manner that’s like very sort of reminiscent of like a med school class and that the information was taught kind of at that level too. It was an upper it was an upper level bio course at Yale. And I just really enjoyed it. And I, it was probably the first class where I was like, wow, I can like, see how one, how this is useful.
One for like being a clinician. But to just in med school, trying to figure out how the body works and kind of respond to injury. So it was really great class. It was really well taught. And I really know.
Yeah. So I totally agree in that there are many tides for this top position and some highlights include some bioethics classes. I had the opportunity to take absolutely amazing. I’m definitely still related to kind of my major, but also kind of branching out and taking a different lens on it. But if I had to choose this just one, it would probably [00:33:00] be molecular biology and fella medicine.
Essentially this class focuses on as it says, just molecular biology, but then essentially scales it up. So it definitely kind of attracted my innate interest to just how small changes on the level of single cells can just go up into the tissue level and into kind of the systemic level and effect essentially.
And entire human beings live. So that’s been absolutely fantastic. And I also love that the class focused a ton on application whether that was kind of clinical applications or more applications as a research sciences. So definitely kind of like a broad overview of kind of huge parts of fields.
For example, like best school, transport metabolism, cell migration, cancer, all of these kind of foundational elements of molecular biology. And just scaling that up.
What are some career options for someone who studied biology?[00:34:00]
I can go ahead and talk about the specific opportunities within the realm of medicines since I’m not as knowledgeable about the other bullet points mentioned. But yeah, straight up, straight off the bat. Being a physician being a physician’s assistant that is becoming a much more popular option for people who want to be some sort of practitioner, but are afraid to commit to four years of medical school, plus like four years of residency and maybe like three extra years of fellowship that they want to concentrate.
PAs can basically do everything that a physician can. The main difference is that a PA cannot. Like BB owner of a private practice. That’s like the main, big difference, but PAs can basically do anything else and they can concentrate as well. So if you [00:35:00] decide that, you know, you’re really into cardiology, you can be a physician’s assistant with a concentration in cardiology.
So to be a PA you need to attend a two year master’s program. And so that is becoming increasingly popular. I will say though, that the main complaint that I hear about people who are in PA school is that there is not as much financial aid dedicated to PA students. A lot of the financial aid does go to medical students.
But I foresee that as PA programs become more popular, more and more funding will be dedicated to. And then there’s also being a nurse practitioner. To be honest, I’m not super knowledgeable about the difference between being an NP and a PA nurse practitioners can give out prescriptions. I don’t know if, either of, you know, more about the difference between NPS and PAs.[00:36:00]
I do know that for nursing school, it is also a two year program and you can also specialize. So yeah, that’s, that’s pretty much that. And then there’s also RNs registered nurses. There’s also radiology technicians, I think for a lot of those, you just need like an associates degree. Yeah.
I’m happy to talk more about scientific research since I am strongly considering that, and even more strongly now that I’ve actually gotten back into the lab and gotten my hands on a pipette. So essentially a scientific research can essentially range from what people call weapon work or bench work.
Essentially. That’s kind of probably the picture of scientific research that lots of people are imagining, essentially think of scientists in a white coat maybe pipetting and mixing reagents together and running lots of experiments to essentially see what’s happening. Either on a cellular level tissue level maybe working with mice or other model organisms that’s [00:37:00] what is usually meant by kind of bench work or wet lab work.
But that also ranges up until clinical research and there’s definitely lots of applications to scientific research huge range essentially. You’d often go into a PhD program before going into scientific research, however, MDs can also perform scientific research. And these are people who have, who are physicians who have their medical degrees.
They can also go into scientific research. Definitely lots of options. And often these are essentially kind of like a choose your own story, kind of adventure. It’s a lot less structured than for example, going to medical school and then specializing in which case you will obviously kind of bound to a set curriculum and kind of, yeah.
It’s kind of very specific skills, but for scientific research, it often very much depends on the lab you’re placed in and the PIs research interests PEI as essentially the head of the lab. So essentially what the lab is working on, or [00:38:00] kind of like if you’re on where on that spectrum, you are from that a wet lab or bench work to more clinical work.
And then I can also take the next bullet point essentially being a faculty member at a university. So that’s often what people do after being on scientific research for a while, maybe doing their PhD degrees, maybe doing a post doc, which is essentially kind of a job you do after you get your PhD.
Then lots of times people might go and get jobs at universities, essentially just teaching other people also how to kind of pursue science at a higher level. Yeah. And so kind of the, the last, the last like sort of piece of this puzzle is sort of working sort of in the business of healthcare and biotech.
And I think for a lot of people it’s exciting. And I think for high school students, especially, it’s sort of not very discussed at this level, but it’s definitely still an option to just starting your own company on your own idea. And trying to make things happen clinically can be really exciting for some people and you probably would need some sort of [00:39:00] professional degree, whether it’s like an MD or a PhD.
But certainly even in college, you can get your hands sort of on the business side of things, through internships and things like that. So that’s definitely something to kind of keep on your radar. If entrepreneurship is something you’re interested. Something else that I do want to add on is that if you are interested in becoming a physician there is another option besides getting an MD, which is DEO.
So doctor of osteopathy off to you, a pathic medicine the, the differences between the two degrees are very subtle. For both, you do need to go to a four year program and you need to do a residency program for both. It is like usually three to seven years, depending on what you focus on. And then the other difference is that to obtain a DHEA, you need about 200 more hours.
Of course, work that focuses [00:40:00] specifically on the anatomy and physiology of bones, muscles, nerves Dos also tend to focus more on like holistic medicine, whereas like MDs focused more on like how to treat specific conditions with medication. And so DEOs are, are becoming a lot more popular especially because just comparatively speaking MD programs have gotten so, so, so ridiculously competitive and Dio programs are not, and that’s just because they’re lesser known.
Not because they’re like easier, like the training is pretty much the same. So yeah, just wanted to throw that out there.
Okay, great. So that’s the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope everyone found this information helpful and do remember that you can download the slides and the handouts tab or from the link in the public. [00:41:00] We’re going to move on to the live Q and a and all the way through all the questions that you’ve submitted in the Q and a tab, I’ll paste them into the public chat so everyone can see and then I’ll get them out loud.
Before I panelists give an answer, you can direct your question to one specific panelist or I’ll, we’ll give an answer as a heads up. If your journey have isn’t muddy, you submit question, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email. So the first question that I see is what AP classes should someone who’s considered interested in, majoring in biology.
As far as AP classes I think having a good mix of math and science classes are always good.[00:42:00] And you should only take AP bio if your school offers it. Which should be good, you know, foundational knowledge once you get to college. But I think having focusing on science and math, but also having some humanities classes, like like a push or, you know, gov and also your English classes thrown in there too.
Having a good mix is good.
I would also say that If you are interested in biology especially like molecular biology taking AP chemistry. If if your school offers it would be fantastic. College chemistry classes are fast paced and I had a very poor AP chemistry experience. And so I, I wish I would’ve learned a lot more in my AP chemistry class.
It was not a very well taught class across the board. I think like out of [00:43:00] the 120 students that take the exam, like maybe 30 passed, like it was, it was a ridiculously low passing rate. So I would recommend AP chemistry. Sure.
So, I don’t really have anything to add to this because I never had the opportunity to take any AP classes, but I think he would second take all the AP classes you’re interested in. I think often in high school I were so focused and I myself was definitely focused on what to do to get into college.
But a huge part of high school should be enjoying the experience, but also exploring things, maybe exploring psychology, maybe exploring philosophy whether they’re AP classes or non AP classes, or maybe some other online courses that you could be involved in. I definitely second AP chemistry.
You just, based on my classmates experiences, I definitely suffered through a lot of the chemistry classes. I took when I just came into college the people with AP chem [00:44:00] definitely did their suffering in high school already when they took that AP chemistry.
Okay, great. The next question I’m seeing in the chat is what are all the different types of biology related major? I think there’s a lot of different kinds and each school kind of has their own flavors of biology majors. Like taking like neuroscience for example, is kind of biology based, right. But some schools have neuroscience or they have neurobiology, or they have cognitive science, which is kind of different from neuroscience, but it’s also kind of still under that umbrella.
And even between the three of us, there’s kind of like a swath of different like names for our biology degrees. And so there’s a lot of different flavors of biology, but certainly most schools have probably all schools have some sort of a biology major, right. Yeah to add onto that. I think some of the names you might, it might be good for you to get familiar with now.
Just so you can like more accurately assess what other [00:45:00] colleges are offering. Some of those included these that are Harvard, chemical and physical biology, essentially very much focusing kind of like on the one molecule level, like what is the chemistry happening in the cell, like move into flicks, single electrons and things like that.
Definitely chemistry as well. Lots of times biochemistry is also offered at Harvard specifically human evolutionary biology is offered. And I know lots of other colleges also do organismic and evolutionary biology definitely focused more kind of on evolution and kind of zooming biology out in order to encompass both humans and animals and their kind of like development over time.
Neuroscience is also often a major that’s often. Definitely more focused on kind of like all levels of analysis from molecular to kind of the whole organism that is the human being. But all focused kind of like on the brain and kind of cognitive science. And then biomedical engineering is also, I guess, in some way related to related to biology.[00:46:00]
Okay. The next question I’m seeing in the chat, how should high school students find biology slash pre-med opportunities outside of school during COVID night? So there are actually a ton of virtual shadowing opportunities. If you’re interested in pre-med lots of things are fortunately free. And even though that you might not get the same experience as you might’ve gotten, in-person we all know in-person shadowing in prison, physician shadowing.
Isn’t exactly an option right now, but I encourage you guys to just do a quick Google search. Lots of these programs are very accessible in terms of being free, just requiring you to sign up and also hop on a webinar, hop on a zoom. Definitely lots of opportunities for those. Mostly just for you to gauge your own interests.
Like, are you really interested in maybe writing a whole application narrative about, I want to be pre-med and I want to become a physician maybe getting a more [00:47:00] accurate. Kind of idea of what a day in the life of a physician looks like, what they’re kind of all their responsibilities look like. Not just the ones we might see on Grey’s anatomy or something similar.
And so I definitely highly recommend that. And also not something exclusively for pre-meds, but for anybody I think interested in kind of any major or concentration at all, definitely volunteering opportunities are huge, whatever that might be definitely COVID-19 has shaken up the whole world we live in.
But honestly, I would just encourage you guys to just look at the needs your community has it can, your contribution can be as small or as large as you can, maybe that’ll take the form of you volunteering at a soup kitchen. In-person opportunities for that is available. Maybe it’s going to take the form of you collect it, like organizing a collection drive for shelters, for people experiencing homelessness in your area, essentially just whatever you can do to contribute.
In these tough times, I think both look good on a college application, but even [00:48:00] more than that, you are contributing to the lives of others in your community, which is huge.
Okay. A quick break and the killer. And I I wanted to let you know what you can do after this webinar. If you want help on your college applications from any of our panelists, we have two monthly advisory plan to start a plan. And the scholar plan, they’re both monthly subscription, but you get matched with an advisor of your choice and you get one or two hours of one-on-one advising each.
We also have a larger set of packages that come with specific number of hours and an extensive relationship with their advisor as advisors who will work with you and your college. I says tubing schools, interviews, and more, and suddenly everyone at this panel, a link to get started. So you can click on this link and it takes you to our page to sign up.
Our students at CollegeAdvisor have had a ton of success. This [00:49:00] past admissions season, we had called it by their clients, get into all the IVs and have they talked to me by school, in the country I clients right as 9.8 out of 10. And that’s because advisors put a ton of care into working with you.
One-on-one through every step of your application. If you want to discuss one-on-one with any of our panelists, this is a great chance to work with us. Okay. We’re going to go back into the Q and a to get through as many questions as we can. We can just have one panelists to answer each question just to everyone’s to hot.
The next question is how is it typical that is a biology major? Is there a big workload?
I think typically, I mean, your classes are going to be pretty rigorous. I mean, especially at a top school you’re basically up against, you know, some of the most talented students in in the country and like the world and you know, you have to put in the work but I would [00:50:00] say with good course planning, it’s absolutely manageable.
Don’t pile on, you know, your requirements at the end of, you know, you’re seeing your junior and senior year because that’s when things kind of pile up and things become unmanageable. But at least at Yale, sort of the typical thing a lot of people do is taking too sort of time intensive courses and then to sort of less time intensive that are more fun.
And that kind of spreads out the workload while still hitting major requirements and things.
Okay, next question. When should someone start applying for college and for scholarships?
I would say that it depends if you want to apply early or regular, if you want to apply early, you want to submit a good application. I would say, definitely start thinking about what you want to write in August. Just because school usually starts like end of August [00:51:00] ish maybe earlier. And you really will find yourself Struggling to balance school in college apps, especially if you’re taking a rigorous senior year course load.
As far as scholarships some scholarship applications do open up summer before your senior year. That would be like the Coca-Cola scholars program. But I would say that the majority of scholarship opportunities that are not like full tuition scholarships are usually gonna open up January of your senior year.
And the deadlines are usually like in March or April. I would recommend you especially pay attention to any local scholarships because you will likely be, if you have top grades and test scores and extracurriculars, you’ll be a big fish in a small pond and you will rake in money that way. That was my strategy.
And I got about. 17 or 18 K for my freshman year, just from [00:52:00] outside scholarships.
So the next question is what were the classes slash majoring defenses? If you want it to go more into Marine slash wildlife slash environmental biology,
I think your core classes will leave you the same like basic biology, chemistry, physics, that kind of thing. Just because those are essential to any kind of, biocentric like major you go into. But once you get into upper level classes, that’s when you’re going to start differentiating and taking those major specific requests.
Okay, so next question is, are there any virtual volunteering opportunities for our high schoolers that any of you Nella?[00:53:00]
I personally don’t know of any, but you know, certainly ask around and and I think, again, going back to what I said earlier, there’s such I can’t understate how important it is to just put yourself out there and see what you can create for yourself. So don’t always rely on something, you know, being there, but if there’s something you want to do, figure out how you can do it, kind of just putting yourself out there email call people that kinda.
Okay. Now the next question for you is can I take any non-related science classes during my major? Yes, absolutely. Definitely college has been a fantastic place for me to just explore all of my interests from philosophy to linguistics, to psychology and everything in between.[00:54:00] It’s absolutely amazing at Harvard.
It’s kind of similar to what it sounds like at Yale in terms of people will normally do, would be called to piece of classes. So peace out essentially stands for problem sets, which essentially means kind of just homework that involves you kind of solving problems. These are very common in stem classes like your biology or organic chemistry, your physics classes will all be counted as these pieces causes.
But definitely there’s a lot of space in your schedule to kind of fit it in. All of the interests that you might want to explore. So Harvard always puts up this nice little pie graph and split up into three parts, one, just being kind of the core requirements of your major whatever you major in there will be a certain amount of required classes that you’ll need to take.
Often. You’ll have a lot of scope of choice with them as well, especially when you get to your electives that might be tell them that you need to choose from, and you just need to do a certain number of those to kind of like graduate with your degree. And then at Harvard, at least another third would [00:55:00] be more general education requirements.
So these are often very broad. For example, at Harvard, there are you need to take a feast, one class in the social sciences, one class in humanities and one class in kind of stem. So those are obviously huge umbrellas. And under those, you can take an amazing variety of things from government to, like I said, linguistics to psychology, to sociology.
Absolutely everything under the sun. And then at these, for Harvard, the last third ends up being completely elective. So often what people will do, especially if they’re planning on going to a PhD or an MD program or a DEO program, or any of those other competitive kind of post-graduates opportunities we’ve been talking about.
Often people will take a, B some of those classes to do some more challenging electives in their major. So maybe more challenging upper level biology classes. But there’s definitely also space in there to just essentially explore whatever you want. And I usually suggest you do that [00:56:00] especially early on in college.
Definitely remain flexible, keep an open mind about everything. You might end up deciding to minor in something that you never knew you were interested in, or you might even decide to change your major to something completely different. So yeah, definitely excited to explore. Okay, great. Item is a good piece of advice for our last question.
It’s seven o’clock now. So that’s the end of the webinar. Thank you for our panelists for being here and thank you for everyone in the audience for asking such great questions. We had a great Ted time. You about biology, and I hope this webinar was helpful for you. This is iPhone Saturday, February major, serious.
If you’re addressed as in any other majors. So thank you all for coming out to tonight’s session. We’re going to end the webinar now by other lines.[00:57:00]