Philosophy a Practical Choice
(1) Improve your GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT standardized test scores.
The first and often most important criteria used for admission to graduate programs are your standardized test scores on the Graduate Records Exam (GRE), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The study of philosophy dramatically aids your performance on all of these tests. Philosophy majors consistently score higher than students who have majored in other disciplines. Click here to see an overview of how philosophy ranks amongst all the tests.
Philosophy majors consistently score very highly on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), required for application to medical school—which has earned philosophy majors the highest percentile chance of acceptance rate to med school with an average of 50%, whereas the average for all other majors is 37%, with Biology at 35%, Chemistry at 39%, and Biochemistry at 43%.
Philosophy majors consistently score very highly on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), required for application to most all graduate business programs—typically fourth out of 35 surveyed majors, whereas International Business majors rank 24th, and Business Education majors rank 27th.
Philosophy majors consistently score very highly on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) required for application to law school—with the philosophy major, on average, scoring second out of the 29 majors surveys, whereas prelaw majors score 28th and criminal justice majors just behind at the 29th position.
(2) Develop and hone invaluable skills.
Philosophy cultivates your abilities to analyze challenging situations, carefully assess the possible outcomes, and solve problems effectively. It superbly teaches you to read, research, write, and speak clearly and with a high degree of sophistication. Honing your ability to think critically and creatively, philosophy trains you to ask the right questions and allows you to formulate strong arguments and present your ideas persuasively and with passionate adherence to truth and with a concern for value. Philosophy successfully prepares you for a well-lived life and work in law, medicine, business, government, religion, education, and more, and provides you with the skill set that allows you to create, adapt, and succeed in any personal and professional setting. Information (ever-changing and always just becoming obsolete) can be looked up and instructions followed on-site; philosophy teaches you how to learn, to integrate new knowledge, to acquire unique insights, and to master new technical vocabularies—these are critical skills to acquire jobs, succeed in them, and professionally advance in any field.
(3) Ensure future job flexibility.
Studies show that the Philosophy major leads to better employability and higher average salaries across diverse fields. The Times of London reported philosophy graduates having an employability rate at 98.9%--calling it, “in commercial jargon, the ultimate ‘transferable work skill’” (8/15/1998).
The American Philosophical Association’s vast study on the discipline showed that while the median starting salary for Philosophy majors lags $3,100 behind those in Business Management, mid-career salaries for Philosophy majors jumps $9,100 ahead of those same mid-career Business Management majors. Payscale.com confirms the median mid-career salaries of Philosophy majors to be $81,200 (which is the highest of all studied majors in the humanities).
“In a world where people change careers many times, the skills that philosophy teaches you are wonderfully transferable”
(David Schrader quoted in Diane Cole, “Learn Philosophy: The Classic Discipline can help with Contemporary Dilemmas ad Modern Careers,” from U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 18, 2008)
(4) Enrich and complement other majors.
As a double-major or minor, philosophy will teach you to think more deeply about your other or primary area of study. Benefits of double-majoring with philosophy—in addition to all of the other benefits from philosophy, such as the development of critical thinking skills, honing the arts of writing and interpretation, and promoting your own spiritual and intellectual enrichment—include the revelation of unexpected linkages between the fields, the development of an unique perspective within both, and generally helps deepen and strengthen your understanding of your other field of study. In addition, philosophy as a second major or minor is simply impressive to future employers.
(5) Set yourself apart as a job candidate.
A philosophy major will markedly differentiate you from other candidates, be it for graduate school or a career. Philosophy has a long history and very positive reputation; it shows you to be intelligent, thoughtful, analytically minded and creative all at once.