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This year is the most competetive ever?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sunshinecrayon, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. sunshinecrayon

    sunshinecrayon Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2001
    I heard today from an inside source at MCV/VCU that this years applicant pool is the most competitive yet. From what I've been reading on SDN, it sounded like this year was less b/c of all the AMCAS mess. Is this accurate?
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  3. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2001

    Because of the AMCAS mess I'm willing to bet there were FEWER applicants overall this year, but it could be that the applicants who actually waded through the whole mess were on average more committed to medicine and maybe had higher "stats" too...?
  4. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Yeh, I heard the same thing, that there were fewer overall applicants this year.
  5. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    We've all "heard" things, but is there some objective source where we could actually check on this...

    Maybe i'll do a lexus-nexus search this afternoon and see what I can dig up...
  6. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    This is what I found in the Boston Globe from 12/2/01:

  7. mdhopeful

    mdhopeful Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    Los Angeles
    My interviewer at Cincinnati told me that applications are down to around 30-34K compared to peak levels of 40-45K applicants. He had been doing admissions for 20 years and honestly said that he believed the quality of candidates is less than what it was 3 or 4 years ago, largely as a function of fewer applicants. He pointed out that historically, 3 years after every recession there is a spike in the number of applicants, which suggests that many applicants are trying for medicine for economic reasons. He believed that although the applicant pool is not as strong, current applicants might be the more dedicated ones that really want a medical career. He also told me honestly that I was a strong candidate and would probably get in, but that 3 or 4 years ago, they probably would not interview me, and if they did it would be during the spring because I am a Californian. He suspected that they might have difficulty this year filling their class with very strong candidates. Hope that helps.
  8. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR

    Those are applicant figures from last year. The applicant number for this year have yet to be released by the AAMC but they are almost certain to be lower than last year.

    Fewer appicants does not necessarily mean it is less competitive. As previously noted it could just mean that the applicants are more evenly matched, i.e. there are many applicants with good statistics.

    When a school says an applicant pool is very competitive, I would think they mean that the applicants have good stats.
  9. Doctora Foxy

    Doctora Foxy Meow 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    I'm posting an entire article from the Boston Globe that my premed advisor emailed to me about the drop in applicants due to paperwork, etc. My interviewer actually asked me specifically about this on my interview, 2 days after it was published.....we better keep up in the news :) .....

    Medicine's fading call
    The burdens facing doctors are reflected in a drop in medical school applications

    By Andrea Useem, Globe Correspondent, 12/2/2001

    Michael Gilbert had wanted to be a doctor since he was 10 years old. And until last spring he was on the fast track, a Harvard biochemistry major neatly ticking off his requirements for medical school.

    But at the end of his junior year - when his pre-med classmates began studying for entrance exams - Gilbert took a hard look at the profession and decided he didn't want to be a doctor after all.

    ''I want to help people,'' said Gilbert, ''and I'm not sure being a doctor is the best way to do that.''

    Turned off by the looming burdens of managed-care paperwork, Gilbert changed his major to biology and now hopes to work for an international relief agency when he graduates.

    Gilbert is not alone. According to figures released last month by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of applicants to medical schools for the current academic year dropped for the fifth year in a row, falling by 6 percent to just under 35,000.

    The drop was sharpest among men, down 8.4 percent from the previous year. Female applicants dropped by 3.2 percent. Applications from underrepresented minority populations fell by 4.5 percent.

    For now, officials say the drop is far from a crisis. Applicants nationwide still outnumber available spaces by more than 2-to-1, and local schools are even more competitive.

    At UMass Medical School in Worcester, the ratio of applicants to spaces in the incoming class is 6-to-1 - although that's down from a ratio of 10-to-1 several years ago. At Tufts, the ratio is 30-to-1, and at BU, it's 80-to-1. At Harvard Medical School, a ratio of 35 applicants per space two years ago fell to 32 applicants per space this year.

    Still, educators are searching for explanations.

    ''Everybody speculates, but nothing is documented. It's very hard to get data on people who decide not to apply,'' said Barbara Barzansky of the Council on Medical Education, an arm of the American Medical Association. She noted that application numbers are cyclical. During the mid-1980s, applications dropped alarmingly low before increasing to record levels in the
    mid-1990s, peaking in 1996.

    In response to the recent slide, some are directing their concern less at medical schools than at the profession itself.

    ''If medicine ceases to be attractive to the best, the brightest, and the most idealistic and public-spirited of our young people, we have a lot to worry about not just as medical educators but as future patients,'' said Jordan Cohen, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

    He would like to see doctors ''broadcast to the world'' - and to would-be students such as Gilbert - that changes brought by managed care ''are not destined to victimize doctors.''

    Others, however, are less worried about medical bureaucracy than about the crushing debt load that medical school can impose on students, many of whom are forced to take out loans to pay for four years of tuition and living expenses.

    At Tufts medical school, where the average student graduates with a $145,000 debt, Robert Sarno, the dean of admissions, worries that potential students from lower- and middle-income backgrounds will be scared away permanently from medicine.

    ''The costs of medical education won't go down. At some point it's going to become so expensive that most people just won't be able to afford it,'' said Sarno, predicting that private schools like Tufts may go back to asking for state and federal assistance to reduce costs.

    John O'Connors, associate dean for admissions at Boston University School of Medicine, speculated that the strong economy over the last few years has made med school look less attractive to potential students. ''When students face a choice after college of either starting a job right away and earning $90,000, or borrowing $100,000 for eight years of training, it's hard to

    O'Connors and others expect the number of applications to rise over the next few years if the economy languishes in recession. Yet while the dot-com bust has already led to an uptick in law and business school applications, medical schools have yet to see such an upturn, either in applications or the numbers of students taking the MCAT entrance exam.

    Amidst the uncertainties, Barzansky suggests that the most successful strategies for attracting new students will not be quick fixes. Rather, they should take the long view.

    ''Many medical schools reach out to high school science programs, trying to interest students early on,'' said Barzansky. ''Once that applicant pool is developed, they tend to stay in the pipeline. It's a slow process, but it's been shown to work.''

    This story ran on page C1 of the Boston Globe on 12/2/2001.
    ? Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.
  10. shorrin

    shorrin the ninth doctor 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    the tardis
    my advisor at uchicago said they've seen the best bunch of apps that they have seen in a long time! Kudos to you guys that even got interviews there!
  11. vkrn

    vkrn Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Hi, everyone. Today an interviewee was saying that because the AMCAS mess prevented schools from doing their preliminary screening, many applicants received secondaries from schools they wouldn't have considered themselves competitive at.

    This may mean that while the overall pool of applicants has decreased, the ratio of applicants per spots has increased dramatically.
  12. vkrn, that is an Excellent point. that combined with the fact (because i've heard it also, and hearing something three times makes it true) that this year the applicants are some of the best ever could be making this application process much more competitive than the 35,000 applicant pool makes it appear to be.
  13. UCLA2000

    UCLA2000 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    the hospital
    I heard from one of the admissions officers at one of the schools I interviewed at (sorry I don't remember where) that this year's applicant pool had really high numbers....

    dunno if it's true or not.
  14. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    Manitoba, Canada
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by UCLA2000:
    <strong>I heard from one of the admissions officers at one of the schools I interviewed at (sorry I don't remember where) that this year's applicant pool had really high numbers....

    dunno if it's true or not.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I think it's possible that the class of 2006 will have good stats, but yet be not quite as numerous. I mean, if you're going to go through the trouble of studying for the MCAT, and do well, are you going to let a few AMCAS problems get in your way? Those who maybe didn't do so hot on the MCAT, and knew they didn't have much of a shot, would be much more easily discouraged from applying by that whole AMCAS mess.

    Perhaps with the internet, people are more aware of the GPA/MCATs it takes to get into medical school, so people with MCATs beneath 20 or so don't even bother applying these days.

    Just a couple of ideas... :D
  15. UCLA2000

    UCLA2000 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    the hospital
    I thought about one that. I think that the AMCAS mess helped to weed out people that had borderline stats. Why deal with such a pain in the butt if you didn't think that you stood a good chance....
  16. but those people with 20s weren't competitive anyway. i'm curious how sooo many competitive applicants are applying this year. since the mcat is standardized, you can only have a certain number of "acceptable" mcat scores, so that means that the ones with the lower mcats that are competitive must have gpas that compensate for it. so nearly everyone is very competitive because gpas aren't standardized and apparently everybody's got a good one this year.

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