What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Neuroscience Major Weed-Out Culture: Real Students’ Stories

This article is a first-person account by Moriah Kofsky, a CollegeVine livestream contributor. You can watch the full livestream for more info. 


What’s Covered:



What Is Weed-Out Culture?


Weed-out culture is an environment typically found in historically difficult STEM majors, where classes are designed to filter out students. It is especially common in pre-med and other medicine-related majors. A university can only pass along a certain number of students each year. Classes, especially the ones in the first two years, are intentionally difficult, and students who don’t pass the academic standard will fail. 


How to Cope with Weed-Out Culture


Awareness of weed-out culture is the best way to cope with its existence. Know ahead of time if the class that you are signing up for is designed to have a certain number of students fail out. This way, you can adjust your studying and grade expectations accordingly. 


In the first couple years of the neuroscience major, students will take difficult courses like general chemistry, general biology, and organic chemistry. These classes involve hours dedicated to pure memorization and studying, so you might not have time for typical college experiences like football games, sororities, or clubs. Knowing this and knowing that it will only last the duration of the class can help immensely. Having an end date to your struggles can be valuable to your mental health during especially challenging periods.  


Balancing Your Time 


Learning how to balance your time is a skill that you will learn throughout your time at college. Many complex and time-consuming classes are at the beginning of your neuroscience major. To survive this challenging time, you will need to balance your time well. Pick the clubs or organizations that are essential for you, and dedicate your energy to participating in them. Classes will often take up most of your schedule and energy, so you will want to prioritize what’s important to you. 


Also, make sure you’re balancing your time in your courses. The classes that you will take as a neuroscience major are rigorous, and you will likely have to dedicate a significant amount of time to studying. At some points, it might feel overwhelming, but keep in mind that stressing about it won’t change the outcome. Acknowledging that your classes will be difficult and that there will be highs and lows will free up time that you would have otherwise spent worrying. This can be hard to implement, so check out these tips for practicing self-care


Reaching Out to Your Professors for Help


There are so many things that you need to keep in mind throughout your college experience, and it’s okay to ask for help. Remember, you are the one choosing to attend college and are probably investing a great deal of money into your education. The university that you are attending is supposed to help you succeed in your academic endeavors, so if there is a class that you are struggling with, reach out to your professor or advisor. Try to establish relationships with these mentors early on so you feel comfortable asking questions. 


Many of your courses will have learning assistants, teaching assistants, and study groups within the class. Utilize all these helpful resources. Collaborating with your classmates is one of the best ways to get through a challenging course. Having classmates whom you can ask questions or reach out to for help will assist you in your studies and can be great for your mental health. Weed-out culture is especially present in these difficult courses and can be mentally draining, so being able to talk to people who are on the same journey as you is a great resource.