How many of premeds make it until the end ?

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by tennisball80, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. tennisball80

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    Hello,

    This is from Tennisball80 again. :poke:

    I often hear people saying that a lot of premeds do not make it until their senior years and only a handful of premeds apply to medical schools in the end .

    Do you have any experiences to share with me about that ? :cool:

    Feel free to make a comment !
     
    #1 tennisball80, Dec 9, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  2. bookgodess15

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    Er... Well, I talked to a pre-med counselor a few weeks ago and asked her the very same question, and she told me that most of the people who came in, planning to be pre-med, went on to medical school. Of course, at this school, pre-med is not a major so she can only go off of the how many kids come to see her their freshman year, not how many came in with a vague idea of wanting to be pre-med, took Biology 101 and quickly switched to a philosophy major.

    I think that the drop rate depends on the school that you go to (i.e., how selective it is in choosing students and how rigorous the courses are), too.
     
  3. MilkmanAl

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    Very few of the people I knew who said they were pre-med at the start of college actually ended up following through with that. Maybe 25%? Given that about half of applicants don't get accepted, a pretty small percentage of people who profess being interested in medicine actually meet with success.
     
  4. GoSpursGo

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    At my school, we started off in a "pre-med" residence hall freshman year, where the point would be that we could encourage each other and help each other out. We started with 16/22 of the people on the hall claiming to be pre-med. By the end of the first semester, there were really only 4 of us left who were seriously pre-med; there were another 2 or 3 who had failed/withdrawn from Intro Bio I who tried again next year and still couldn't hack it, and the rest either dropped the class and never came back or stuck it out for the rest of the semester to get the credit hours and then switched majors. Since then, we've lost another one of the four to PhD aspirations, and another one of us is holding off on applying for a year to make his app stronger. So out of the 16 of us, only 2 of us are left applying in our senior year.
     
  5. coldweatherblue

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    you can't think of it in terms of "some people don't make it so maybe I won't make it."

    think of it like, "I'm gonna put the work in and have faith that whatever happens works out for the best."

    personally, I started off as a bio major, then moved out of the country for a while, came back changed to a humanities major, then afterwards decided to do medicine anyway. It wasn't planned at all but you just ride whatever comes your way and know that as long as you take care of your responsibilities (ie, getting good grades, rocking the MCAT, spend your time either working hard or playing hard) things will be alright.

    one day at a time fellas. enjoy every day, work hard, and you'll end up doing something good.
     
  6. Trail Boss

    Trail Boss Senior Member
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    I think about a quarter of the people I knew in the dorm made it. It was pretty obvious who was and who wasn't in retrospect. My and my roommate both made it, I can think of at least 5 people on my floor who had change their career plans by the end of the second quarter, and a few more who last their way by the end of college, of the people I stayed in touch with anyway.
     
  7. psipsina

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    I can remember in intro to cell bio on the first day of college, the professor asked all the pre-meds to raise their hands. Obviously most of the room. He then said that only a third of us would make it through the class (which was super super easy btw). He was right!! And that doesn't count the major weed outs that are ochem and the MCAT. At my school the pre-med committee could turn you down for a committee letter, which is a requirement for applying to medschool, if your gpa was too low or your MCAT was too low. Then the bragged that 60% of our applicants got in, . . yeah 60% of your thrice weeded out students get in ,. . . whoopdeeshizit.

    Its not even that these people aren't smart enough, alot just realize that medicine isn't worth all the hard work for them and that they would be doing something a touch less demanding. I have a friend who is brilliant, both parents are doctors and she went to an IVY and got great grades, but when it came down to studying for the MCAT she just wasn't motivated enough to hit the books hard . . . she realized this and decided not to even take the test.
     
  8. combatwombat

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    Around 50% of applicants get in somewhere, and over 90% of those accepted become doctors. Thus, the bottleneck is during the premed years for sure. Kind of absurd when you think about it, choosing our doctors based on how well they can learn things plant anatomy and Diels-Alder adducts.

    Anyway, when you account for all the college students who start out calling themselves premed and then switch as soon as they hit bio or orgo, this bottleneck becomes even more severe. I tried to contact my school's pre-med dean for statistics on how many start freshman year saying they're premed and how many go on to apply, but got no response.
     
  9. Delo_Ohm

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    Haha, Don't worry about statistics. If medicine is your passion you can make it. It takes just as much hard work and commitment as it does intelligence, so again, do not worry about the percentages. Wouldn't anyone who reports this skew it positively for their school anyway?

    More often than "I was pre-med, but I am no longer" I hear "Med school, yeah I was/am thinking about that, I just don't know if _______ (excuse here)."
     
  10. MilkmanAl

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    It's important to note that being pre-med has virtually nothing to do with medicine. That's why you need clinical experience. "Passion" for medicine won't do much other than convince you to push through the godawful classes they make you take to apply to med school.
     
  11. UNMorBUST

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    :thumbup: QFT
     
  12. MediumDef

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    I think people are discounting the large number of people who just decide to do other things. No need to denigrate everyone who changes paths. Obviously there are people who deeply want to become physicians but just can't hack the academic rigor.
    My experience has been that the majority of pre-meds who go on to do other things are like the majority of college students in that they come in with a vague idea of what they want to accomplish and change their minds.
     
  13. tennisball80

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    Hope all the SDNers will get accepted to somewhere !
     
    #13 tennisball80, Dec 10, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  14. NPEMTIV

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    In my personal experience I would say less than 10% of those starting as premeds will ever make it to the application process. Of those that do make it the average acceptance rates for medical schools is between 15-30%. That means between 1.5-3.0% of all students who start as premeds will actually make it. The difference is in the drive. If you want it bad enough you'll get it, but as you'll see in college a lot of people realize they 1) don't want it really or 2) aren't willing to work for it.

    Hang in there and be one of the ones who make it.
     
  15. landoflogic

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    Hello Tennisball,

    I'll be point blank. The numbers you need to focus on are not the number of freshman who have no idea of what it takes to compete for a medical school spot (aka how many freshman are pre-meds and drop from being a pre-med by their senior year). The numbers that you need to take notice of are the number of applicants there are to medical schools that you are applying for. You are not competeting agains the dropouts, you are competing agains the other APPLICANTS.
     
  16. Terpskins99

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    Less than 10%? I think thats a bit extreme.

    Anyhow, my recommendation is to not worry about the percentages. Don't let it affect your decision to pursue medicine. If you want this badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Thats the bottom line.
     
  17. DrYoda

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    I've heard a few professors quote my undergrad's ratio of the number of freshmen who declaired themselves premed and those who matriculate into medical school as 1/7.

    Of course this isn't a very good study as it doesn't take into account that a lot of people just change their mind about what they want to do between freshmen and senior year.
     
  18. NPEMTIV

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    I wasn't implying it was a national average, just what I saw in my experience as a pre-med. I'm not talking about just those who want to apply but can't. I'm talking in total. By the time my senior year came around the vast majority who started out being involved on campus as a premed had moved on to other majors, fields, etc...about 10% of us were left by my recollection. I have no idea what the stats are like elsewhere, but I doubt it would be much better.

    To the OP, I also agree with another poster that the numbers you need to worry about are those who actually apply and not those who change their minds beforehand. Just study hard and keep with it.
     
  19. Tiger26

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    I'd say 10% of premeds at the start of college end up doing med school--hell everybody wants to go to law or med school then.

    Then again, you could have offered me a spot in med school and a salary for it when i was a college freshman, and I would have turned you down without thinking twice about it--life experiences really change things .. . . .
     
  20. GoSpursGo

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    These numbers are a little screwy, because obviously nobody just applies to one medical school. Roughly 40-50% of applicants any given year will get in SOMEWHERE, and then most of the other 50-60% reapply and some get in later. So if about 10% of the people who start off premed actually make it to the application process, maybe 4-5% overall would get in on their first try, and then maybe 7-8% actually wind up making it to med school eventually.
     
  21. Docere

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    Some of my friends who want to go into medicine don't really have the grades to make it through. I hate to doubt anyone, but I could easily name a couple of people whose chances don't look so good based on what I've seen here. I think they're more attracted to the prestige and money - most of them hate science and hate verbally communicating with people.

    The ones who don't make it through whom I know usually go into business. Dunno why. Most of my friends are pre-med students, so I would say probably 5% might not make it through. Very rough guesstimate though of my experiences with other pre-meds.

    Like everyone else said, it really depends on how much you truly want to become a doctor and how much work you're willing to put into accomplishing that.
     
  22. 45408

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    I'd say 10% at the most. At least half of them bailed after gen chem. We lost a lot more along the way to organic chem, physics, etc. Maybe 25% of the original group of freshman pre-meds will ever take the MCAT. When I applied, only half the people who took the MCAT actually applied to med school, and then only half of the applicants actually got in.

    It depends where you go to school too. Some schools have more dedicated students than others. Like somebody else pointed out, you're not a statistic - you're an individual. It's not like I was drawn out of a hat to be 1 out of 10.
     
  23. Dissected

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    my school does this too, but they brag a 90% eventual matriculation. I think they had a good few years and from then on threw that 90% out there. But, I have to say, the weedout classes are really intense so they do a good job of scaring people away/destroying gpa's :laugh:.

    I know a small amount of people actually go the distance, but its not like all is lost for everyone else..There are a lot of rewarding careers in the health field (with much less stress and liability I might add :thumbup:).
     
  24. Flushot

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    I second this in terms of my own experience. We had a little premed gathering at our freshman orientation too and they said right away only about 25% of all premeds would follow through and eventually apply. That was a pretty generous number in itself.

    I joined a premed freshman interest group for my first year. I'm Facebook friends with all of them and out of the 16 of us, at least from what they tell everyone, there were only 2 of us that are trying/tried.
     
  25. alwaysaangel

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    Yeah agree with everyone else here.

    My school is pretty competitive. Ochem, Physics and Calc weeded out about 50% of the original "premeds." 50% of those left when they tried to get a couple of upper division bio courses in.

    Of the 25% who went on to take the MCAT about half of those got too low of scores or gave up.

    Of the rest (12.5%) half of those will not get accepted.

    Meaning for every 100 premeds who walked onto my college campus only about 6 ended up in medical school.

    But as others have said - you don't need to think of it that way - you need to look at it as whatever is best will happen in the end. If you are meant to make it through you will. If you aren't then you will find another passion that you like better. Its easy to walk into college at 18 saying you want to be a doctor - but a lot of those people will realize they don't like it. Thats the VAST MAJORITY of the attrition.
     
  26. phospho

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    i totally agree
     
  27. Flushot

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    I think just being here on SDN as early as high school is a good thing. You learn a lot about how things really are and quickly too. I'm way too thankful for the amount of information and support that I got out of here, which greatly helped me on getting this far.

    Getting educated early is a massive plus. If you can sift through all of these threads and still have the drive to plunge into the thick of it, then I would count you as part of the few who endured.
     
  28. 202781

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    It is the amount of dedication one has that determines his success, not his "natural abilities". Anyone could become a doctor if they are willing to make sacrifices. I came into college without a major and it wasnt until my junior year spring term that i decided that I wanted to be a microbiology major and go to medical school. I really had to knuckle down to be able to complete the 12 microbiology classes that I took last year as well as study during my free time for the MCAT. If I can do it, you can too, because you already know the career you want to go into which will allow you to plan your time accordingly.
     
  29. Flushot

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    I don't know...I think there is a level of natural aptitude that someone needs to make it. I wonder how many of my fellow premeds freshman year could make it if someone had a gun to their head the entire time, telling them to make it to med school.

    Motivation and interest do help in the success, but if one's life depending on it, I doubt that even then, not everyone could cut it.
     
  30. Thrombomodulin

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    #30 Thrombomodulin, Dec 18, 2008
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  31. katarina90

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    I'm not sure about the statistics, but I can definitely vouch for the part I bolded. College in general (not just for premeds) is a time of personal discovery, and a lot of people end up changing their major. There are people that will switch because of grades (had a friend switch from 'bio pre-professional' to education because of a D in intro bio) and many who will decide to pursue other options.

    Many of my classmates have decided to go the physician assistant or physical therapy route, and a small percentage have switched to nursing. I think this is more because those careers really clicked for them, and they didn't know about some of those options when they began college.

    OP, in college you will see people drop out (for personal, financial, and other various reasons), fail out (much less frequently, but also happens), change majors (again--various reasons), or change career paths. The best thing to do is not let it shake your confidence in your own abilities, and just keep going. If you work hard I'm sure you'll be one of those who make it to the end.
     
  32. NurWollen

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    A lot of people start out as freshmen saying they want to go into medicine without really knowing whatthey want to do. As others have mentioned, they quickly realize that medicine isn't for them when they take their first hard science class. However, once you get past that point, there are alot of serious, smart people that I think have a great shot at going till the end and becoming doctors.
     
  33. tennisball80

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    Thank you guys for comments :)
     
  34. obbobbo

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    Everyone worries that it is extremely difficult to get in to medical school. I guess it is tough, but mostly because it takes a lot of work. I had a few rough semesters early in college, but with hard work towards the end I was able to get in. Trust me, if I can get in to multiple schools, you can too. Just work hard and you'll make it.
     
  35. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    I think many people greatly overestimate the intellectual requirements that are needed to become a doctor. Most college students have average or above average intelligence. Probably just about anyone with an average IQ or better could make it through med school and pass the board exams *if* s/he were a hard worker. The thing is, many people in college are not hard enough workers, which is another way of saying that they just don't want med school badly enough. There are a lot of competing activities and interests that lure people in to the point where they can't juggle it all. So the problem in most cases isn't that your average college students aren't smart enough to make it into or through med school. It's much more likely that they develop different interests and go off in another direction, or they can't prioritize their time, or they give up as soon as the going gets tough instead of figuring out how they can improve their performance.
     
  36. tennisball80

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    It's going to be a tough road for Non-US citizens/permanent residents but I going to give a shot.
     
  37. Flushot

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    I get what you're saying, but college level intelligence and standards vary wildly across the board. There's private, state, community colleges, all with varying difficulties. If a tough class was enough to make people stop being premed, what about if that class was a tad bit easier, i.e. community college?

    I kinda agree that most of the concepts needed to take the MCAT and get As in classes aren't difficult, but I feel that motivation, drive, interest, etc. are not enough.

    Still, I estimate that the percentage of people that simply can't make it for mere intelligence reasons is very small. People can overcome their weaknesses with enough time and effort, but it seems naive to say that anyone and everyone can do it.
     
  38. Law2Doc

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    Agreed. I'd say the percentage of people who start out college thinking that being a doctor was a possibility was quite high, like 95%. By junior year, maybe 10% of these folks were still premed. And only about half of all applicants to med school get in. So we are talking a lot lower than 10% of premeds who make it until the end. Some people get rocked by the prereqs. Others find other interests along the way that offer careers of least resistance, salary much sooner, the ability to spend time with SOs, etc. So it's pretty meaningless to be "premed" until you get to the later part of college, because it's sort of like calling yourself a lottery winner because you bought a ticket.
     
  39. Flushot

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    I can't remember when I stopped telling people I was premed. It wasn't just about being a little pretentious but also to remove some misconception. Instead, I would just say I'm ____ major, and I'm planning to apply to medical school in ___.
     
  40. vasca

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    I'd agree here. You don't have to be a supa dupa Einstein to become a good doctor. In fact, I've met a handful of people that make me wonder how in the bloody hell were they capable of getting the degree; they must have either hidden some intellectual talents to pass exams or cheated or something. I've met my fair share of doctors that are good in their field, but as people they are very ignorant in topics of culture or politics; not to mention many of them can't say two words in english which at least in my university is something you're forced to be able to do if you wish to pass to the next semester of the career.

    However, you do have to work very hard studying if you don't have the photographic memory some other people posess. Luckily, the memorization-a-thon portion of med school ends as an M-3 and people that are good at associating information like myself find the study load to suddenly become far less demanding.

    You enter med school fresh out of HS in Mexico, but many universities demand you to take specific short courses as their Pre-med. I had two people from my old HS enter Pre-med with me and I was thinking to myself; are these two girls serious? I knew them in HS and they had really horrible grades. They didn't even enter Area I or Area II (the toughest classrooms at my HS aimed to train students hard sciences) in their senior year. My university still accepts students if they do the easier Area III or Area IV in HS, but they have to do a far more demanding (and expensive) Pre-med program. Area I students are also forced to take the bigger course because of the lack of Biology in Area I. Lest to say, while I was actually working (the courses were easy, but I still wanted to do pretty good in them); these two girls went partying and stuff.

    I was an Area II graduate (it's a funny story how I ended up in Area II instead of Area I) which enabled me to take the cheaper course and I got in in my first try.

    I think that about 40-60% of people that did the Pre-med course get accepted in their first try. However, when I did Pre-med, there was an unusually large bunch of high excelling students (the kind of people that cry their heart out if they don't get a perfect score in everything), so the actual accepting ratio among more normal people is far lower. As I had expected, the two girls weren't accepted even though they apparently did pass the courses and I've never seen them since. An old Area II classmate of mine got in Pre-med when I was taking a semester out before entering med school. His grades in HS weren't as good as mine, but he's pretty hardworking and a pretty serious about actually working. He's an M-6 now.

    However, I must add that while entering med school is pretty lax at my university, actually staying in is hard. About 50% that enter as M-1's drop out before they finish their 4th year and while really rare, there's stories of people that drop out as M-5's. The main reason people I were friends with dropped out was because they realized medicine wasn't their thing and usually chose totally unrelated careers. One of them became a chef and is happy as hell. A fellow M-4 dropped out a year ago and she told me she's really excited about starting in a different university to get a literature degree. Just shows that at age 18 your fairy tale coated stories of med school aren't the real deal and when a lot of these people see the hard work involved and the relative few merits (at least when you're in the bottom of the pyramid as med students); they go find easier careers that demand less and let them actually earn a salary a lot faster.
     

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