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Pre-Professional Studies at Vanderbilt

Posted by on Friday, October 16, 2015 in Academic Life.

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question from childhood, but as you make your way through high school and sort through the college search process, it’s one that young adults also face. When I was 5 years old, my lone career goal was to become Spiderman, but since no mutant spiders came along to give me super powers, I decided to get the liberal arts education that would eventually prepare me for work in higher education. It was a decision that would lead me to fascinating courses and a fulfilling career (if not one of fighting super-villains).

If your career goals are somewhat more realistic than my early childhood choices, they might include becoming a doctor, lawyer, nurse, architect, or business professional. You might also think that these goals would lead you to majors like “pre-med,” “pre-law,” or “pre-business.” However, if you take a look at our great online Find Your Major tool, you’ll see that there isn’t a pre-anything on the list. That’s because as a Commodore, you can pursue a pre-professional curriculum as a part of any major you choose.

You see, at Vanderbilt, a pre-professional course of study is something you do in conjunction with your major field of study. For example, some students may choose to major in biological sciences while pursuing a pre-professional curriculum geared toward a career in medicine. But you could also major in economics, Spanish, theatre, or anything else while also being “pre-med.” That’s the real beauty of Vanderbilt’s pre-professional study:  you don’t have to give up an intellectual passion to focus on being “pre-something.” It’s a flexible approach that lets students get the most out of their college experience.

With this approach, you’ll even have two advisers, one from your major and one from your pre-professional advising office. Your major adviser will work with you to craft a course of study that fits your interests and completes the major requirements. Similarly, your pre-professional adviser (like the folks at the Health Professions Advisory Office) will be there to guide you through the courses that will prepare you for admission and graduate study in your chosen field.

You can learn more about specific pre-professional programs at the links below. Each contains an overview of the program of study, resources for students pursuing careers in the field, and information about on-campus support for students. You can also head over to Inside ‘Dores to get some student perspectives on pre-professional study at Vanderbilt (try starting with “So You Want to Be A Doctor” by junior Anne Walker).

Vanderbilt gives you lots of options and tons of flexibility . . . now the hard part is actually deciding what you want to be when you grow up.

Pre-Professional Study at Vanderbilt

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