AAMC Application Data

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Mt Kilimanjaro

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10+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2013
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I wonder when and where it will level off...

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When the economy improves

The table seems to show the opposite.

2002: post-9/11, War in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom, and S&P hits 5-year low.

2003-2007: no recession, S&P hits all-time high ~mid-2007
applicants increase every year

2008: Market chaos: Lehman/Bear Stearns fall, BAC takeover of MER, WFC buys Wachovia, housing and CDO market collapse, S&P loses >50% value
-0.2% and +0.1% (essentially flat)

2009-present: markets slowly recovering, minor hiccups along the way
+1.1%, +2.8%, +3.1%
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Interesting, that 8% increase is pretty dramatic. I wonder why everyone decided to apply so hard that year.
Doubt it. It's not like the economy has an inverse trend with that table.

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Exactly. Plus most applicants are in their early 20's and haven't been directly affected by the state of the economy (e.g. laid off). For non-trads, it's obviously a different story. The prospect of job security definitely factored in to my decision to pursue a career as a physician (as well as a plethora of other things). But I'm guessing the relatively young age and lack of independence of the average applicant is why there doesn't seem to be a correlation between the economy and the number of medical school applicants.
It's not that students aren't listening to doctors' complaints. It's that things aren't exactly rosy in other fields.
A very important question that I've never seen answered in these discussions is how many of these new applicants are actually competitive? An increase in numbers alone doesn't mean anything if most of the increase is coming at the bottom-end of the distribution.

Also, let's keep things in perspective shall we:


1996's record amount of applicants still hasn't been beaten (although we're starting to get close if you look at the latest AAMC data). These things come in cycles, probably due to a combination of generational factors (boom generations) and economic factors (it's no coincidence that med school apps sharply declined in the late 90s when the tech bubble was still booming, and then sharply rose when the bubble burst in the early 00s).