When you first come to BYU you may be curious as to what students are studying, it is a university after all. However, there actually is no need to ask anyone their intended field, because the entire BYU population can be wrapped up into just a few majors: Pre-Med, Pre-Law, Pre-MBA, Pre-Dental, and elementary education. Not one of those (with the exception of the latter) is an actual major, but BYU kids tend to think otherwise. BYU does not offer a Pre-Med major, nor does any other university. There are majors that prep you for post-grad education, but those are usually along the lines of BioChemistry or Political Science. However, whenever you ask a student his or her major, they so often reply, “I’m Pre-Med” instead of Exercise Science or Chemistry.
I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to stand there in confusion wondering why in the world BYU would call a major strictly Pre-Med. BYU has its weaknesses, but allowing students to major in anything ‘pre’ isn’t one of them. Also, it might be beneficial for you to understand some of the reasoning behind this pseudo-major.
Possibility #1: The majority of BYU students actions are centered around getting a date and/or getting married (preferably in the same week). BYU girls are easily impressed by future potential success, success that will pay for them to live in Highland, the East Bench, or Southern California as soon as possible. Dating a young man that has intentions of going to Dental School allows them to fantasize of their future dream home. For some reason, the girls do not register the fact that the guy’s 2.4 GPA will probably not get him into Dental School, and even if it does he will be $200,000 in debt by the time he finishes. Young men have caught on to the fact that the ladies don’t see these downsides, so they use it as an easy way to catch a mate, or at least a NCMO.
Possibility #2: BYU students come from backgrounds where they are used to being the best, the academic elite, the kids with limitless potential. Often these BYU people are shocked when they come to BYU and realize that there are a 30,000 other kids just as successful as (if not more than) themselves. By informing everyone that they know that they are going to Medical School they feel like they are still keeping their head above the crowd. They are not just another Biology major or Chemistry nerd—they are going to be a doctor! Very often they fail to focus on the actual application part, and their pre-status never becomes status, but it gets them through college anyway.
Possibility #3: First impressions are tough. Considering that college students usually get asked their major before their name, word choice is critical.
Whatever the reason, it is safe to say that the pre-status majors are a result of the fragile confidence of so many in the BYU population. Try not to ridicule them openly when they inform you what they are ‘studying,’ but be charmed by their drive and ambition.