While the first-year is not too early to think about post-college plans, in most cases it is too early to make course selections based only on career intentions. Ideally, the Wesleyan experience will unite career interests with liberal learning, since most professional schools and employers urge prospective candidates to pursue a curricular program that has balance, breadth, and coherence. Except for health professions and graduate schools, the satisfaction of specific prerequisites is of secondary importance. The senior year may be the time for taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
- Graduate Study in the Arts and Sciences
Requirements for admission to graduate school in a specific discipline include evidence of academic promise and a breadth of additional courses. Students do not necessarily need to major in the field they wish to pursue, but this varies by field. Students considering graduate study should consult with their major advisor on the best preparation. A senior thesis or essay often strengthens the student’s record. Many graduate programs require one or two foreign languages. Directories of various graduate programs, as well as general advice on the application process, are available in the Wesleyan Career Center (WCC). Faculty members, however, remain the best source of advice about graduate study in specific disciplines.
- Health Profession: Pre-Medical/Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Dental
While a major in the sciences is not a prerequisite for attending medical school, most graduate and professional schools in health-related fields required coursework in the following areas:
- 1 year of biology with laboratory
- 1 year of general chemistry with laboratory*
- 1 year of organic chemistry with laboratory*
- 1 semester of biochemistry (Chem 383 or MB&B 228)
- 1 year of physics with laboratory
- 1 year of English
- 1 year of college math (a semester of statistics and one of calculus or linear algebra) is recommended
The math requirement varies widely from school to school; many schools require no math at all, while others require a full year of calculus, and others require statistics. In order to keep all options open, we recommend taking a year of college math – one semester of calculus and one of statistics.
The newly revised MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) now includes questions that require knowledge of biochemistry and statistics. At most medical schools, even if an applicant has Advanced Placement credit or a departmental exemption, admissions committees will expected to see equivalent amounts of higher level courses in that particular discipline. AP Calculus is an exception, provided it appears on the Wesleyan transcript.
While there is a section of the new MCAT (2015) entitled the "Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior," which requires some knowledge in these areas and some medical schools expect to see some undergraduate course work in the social sciences, there is no specific course that will provide comprehensive preparation for this section of the MCAT. Students should be encouraged to take courses in these disciplines that are of particular interest to them, but introductory sociology and introductory psychology are not pre-medical requirements.
Students considering health-related careers should make an appointment with the health professions advisor in the Career Center.
There is no prescribed course of study for students interested in attending law school after graduation. Instead, students are encouraged to develop skills in writing, reasoning, analytical thinking and research through a broad program of study. Skill in public speaking also may be beneficial. Wesleyan students from all majors have been accepted to outstanding law schools.
Students considering law school should make an appointment with the pre-law advisor in the Career Center.
- Business Administration
The Admission Council for Graduate Study in Management states that a solid undergraduate education in any field can prepare students for graduate study in management or business administration. They should hone their writing and communication skills, possess a degree of analytical proficiency, and have a background in quantitative courses, including mathematics, economics and computer science. Exposure to art, music, literature, philosophy, and foreign languages is also helpful. Top-tier business schools require students to gain two to four years of work experience before attending graduate school. Students may seek paid or unpaid internships or employment opportunities at many different points in their educational careers. On-campus interviewing and off-campus networking, sponsored by the Career Center, give seniors a chance to explore opportunities in investment and commercial banking, consulting, management training, accounting, insurance, and many other fields.
- Other Professional Schools
Wesleyan graduates go on to study in many other professional fields, such as education, engineering, journalism, social work, and public administration, to name a few. While there is no specific undergraduate coursework required, the Career Center staff and the faculty can assist students in selecting courses and finding internship and work experiences that will help them acquire the background needed for these fields.