gublagu3

2+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2014
122
60
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey guys,
According to AAMC, the number of individuals applying to medical school has gone from 42,000 in 2010 to 52,000 for the past cycle. What has caused such a surge in the number of applications? To me, this seems like an unrealistic increase. Im just wondering where all the applicants are coming from.

As a side note, have any adcoms observed that standards are higher for getting into medical school as a result of a larger pool?

The link to the AAMC article with the above statistics is: https://www.aamc.org/download/321494/data/factstablea16.pdf

-Thanks in advance
 

mimelim

Vascular Surgery
7+ Year Member
Sep 19, 2011
4,828
14,321
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
My personal opinion...

More people are applying, the quality is staying exactly the same. Even the increases in GPAs, MCAT and other "hard" metrics, these are a result of better test prep and a general increase in awareness of the application process, rather than an improvement in the quality of applicants. The additional people applying makes things more competitive for sure, but the reality is that for the bulk of applicants, it means very little. The people that should get in, get in.

As for why there is an increase in the number of applicants. The number of college graduates continues to increase, one would expect the number of applicants to increase. However, not at the rate that you cite. I think the most likely explanation is economic turmoil. Medicine is not the best field to go into to make oodles of money. But, it is by far the safest field in terms of job security and earning a good sized pay check. Uncertainty drives people toward recession proof fields. Also, unemployment or the threat of unemployment on graduation pushes more people toward continuing education.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 10 users

JustAPhD

Not a hummingbird expert
5+ Year Member
Jan 5, 2016
3,472
8,836
Ice Coast
Seems that the average MCAT/GPA values are holding fairly constant even with the increase in apps.
I always kind of had this idea that the current climate of science was scaring people off and into more stable careers such as medicine. If that's actually true or not I have no idea (obviously that wouldn't account for the entire increase though).
 
About the Ads

Lawpy

30 boxes
7+ Year Member
SDN Ambassador
Jun 17, 2014
55,686
146,032
Replacement Chat
forums.studentdoctor.net
My personal opinion...

More people are applying, the quality is staying exactly the same. Even the increases in GPAs, MCAT and other "hard" metrics, these are a result of better test prep and a general increase in awareness of the application process, rather than an improvement in the quality of applicants. The additional people applying makes things more competitive for sure, but the reality is that for the bulk of applicants, it means very little. The people that should get in, get in.

As for why there is an increase in the number of applicants. The number of college graduates continues to increase, one would expect the number of applicants to increase. However, not at the rate that you cite. I think the most likely explanation is economic turmoil. Medicine is not the best field to go into to make oodles of money. But, it is by far the safest field in terms of job security and earning a good sized pay check. Uncertainty drives people toward recession proof fields. Also, unemployment or the threat of unemployment on graduation pushes more people toward continuing education.

Glad to see another reputable member believing that economic factors are responsible for affecting medical school competition. I always figured the cyclical pattern in admissions statistics was related to business cycles
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,876
10,041
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
A four year professional school followed by a federally subsidized three plus years of residency is a place to hide and wait out a down cycle in the economy for some. Whenever graduate or professional school applications go up, it's mostly a signal that job prospects for new college grads aren't so good.
 

Mansamusa

2+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,299
1,335
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
1) I think lots of things are going to ****e in this country. Careers that people were once able to just pick up, like library science, now cost over $100K in loans. Medicine is charging an obscene amount, but we at least have the (hopefully not false) hope that we will be able to pay it off. Academics is crap nowadays too. I had a friend just drop out of her Caltech PhD for an industry offer and all the PhD students I work with are going into industry only. A PhD isn't too appealing right now. Academics requires a lot of work for little reward and stability and putting up with a lot of competitive bs for a low salary. So I think people who, a generation ago, might have gone to different careers, are looking towards the medical fields.

2) More lower-income students are going to college and then making the leap to med school

3) New MCAT. I would have considered waiting longer to apply in order to save up more money, but my MCAT is from 2013 and expires after this cycle. Don't want to take the new test.

4) Medicine is cool. TV amplifies the cool aspects of medicine, while downplaying the crap. And people still have the false image of the rich doctor

Edit: Saw that you said the increase between 2010 and now, when a lot of what I said might be more geared towards an increase over the last 10 years or so but some still apply
 
Last edited:

7331poas

5+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2015
2,941
3,809
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
1) I think lots of things are going to ****e in this country. Careers that people were once able to just pick up, like library science, now cost over $100K in loans. Medicine is charging an obscene amount, but we at least have the (hopefully not false) hope that we will be able to pay it off. Academics is crap nowadays too. I had a friend just drop out of her Caltech PhD for an industry offer and all the PhD students I work with are going into industry only. A PhD isn't too appealing right now. Academics requires a lot of work for little reward and stability and putting up with a lot of competitive bs for a low salary. So I think people who, a generation ago, might have gone to different careers, are looking towards the medical fields.

2) More lower-income students are going to college and then making the leap to med school

3) New MCAT. I would have considered waiting longer to apply in order to save up more money, but my MCAT is from 2013 and expires after this cycle. Don't want to take the new test.

4) Medicine is cool. TV amplifies the cool aspects of medicine, while downplaying the crap. And people still have the false image of the rich doctor

Edit: Saw that you said the increase between 2010 and now, when a lot of what I said might be more geared towards an increase over the last 10 years or so but some still apply

I would 100% be going into research instead of med school if the climate was different.
 

gublagu3

2+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2014
122
60
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
@CoomassieBlue57 thanks for linking the thread. One really interesting thing I noticed on your thread was that someone mentioned that part of the increase in applications could be the result of more non-trad applicants applying to medical school, which I never thought about but def makes sense.

Overall, I agree with @mimelim , that the biggest factor in increasing medical school applications is the relative stability of medicine in comparison to other field. However, the increase in applications nevertheless insane.
 

allantois

Conversation Starter
7+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2013
4,218
5,129
Status (Visible)
  1. Other Health Professions Student
As I work for the Science department, I see many PhD grads unable to really find a good job, so other students take notice and switch from PhD to MS programs in the hopes of applying to med school. That's just one additional source of applicants!

Also, other health careers are yielding significantly diminishing returns.
 
Last edited:

order66.exe

5+ Year Member
May 27, 2015
259
392
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student

Terry Toma

5+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2015
353
1,054
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
The economy definitely has something to do with it. When people can't find decent jobs, application rates for all kinds of graduate programs will increase.

The changing climate in academia probably also has something to do with it. People who might have taken the PhD route are seeing the writing on the wall that short term contracts are the new normal for university employment, and they're taking a shot at MD programs to try to avoid living out of a suitcase for a decade or two while they search for the increasingly elusive tenure track job.
 
About the Ads

Officer Farva

Gimme a liter of cola.
2+ Year Member
May 1, 2015
594
475
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Medicine is a relatively safe field during economic troubles, despite what many non-trads in my classes say about "finding themselves" late in life (no judgement, got to make financially sound moves at the end of the day). My undergrad used to place a lot of people on Wall Street, but in recent years that number has been declining in favor of HYP kids, although people I know there also have been having difficult times. I know law school grads from great programs, not Harvard or Yale caliber though, pulling in $30-40k a year, which is less than lots of college grads with just a BS. Aspiring scientists who would love nothing more than get a PhD and cure a disease in the lab are staring down bleak prospects for grants, and electing to go either MD/PHD or MD as a result due to safety. Since nothing is safe anymore, people are going into medicine because it is the safest bet. However, recent doctors I know are starting to debate this due to the general incompetence in the pencil pushers and administrators who work in the hospital setting.

And let's face it, the job hunt truly stinks. Editing my resume for every job submission and cover letter, interviewing, etc. Some people believe that they will be able to work the same job in medicine for life (kind of like the American dream in the 50s and 60s). Not to mention, whatever happened to on-the-job training outside of medicine? Medicine has the benefit of providing on the job training as a medical student/resident.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Lawpy

30 boxes
7+ Year Member
SDN Ambassador
Jun 17, 2014
55,686
146,032
Replacement Chat
forums.studentdoctor.net
Not to mention, whatever happened to on-the-job training outside of medicine? Medicine has the benefit of providing on the job training as a medical student/resident.

I thought internships help? At least they did for many of my friends who were in engineering and finance routes. They spent the first few months really nailing the basics down (and being paid on top of that) and helping meet the project goals.
 

Officer Farva

Gimme a liter of cola.
2+ Year Member
May 1, 2015
594
475
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
I thought internships help? At least they did for many of my friends who were in engineering and finance routes. They spent the first few months really nailing the basics down (and being paid on top of that) and helping meet the project goals.

I have done research and software development work. I was always disappointed with the quality, or lack of, training. Maybe it's field specific. With some jobs, having an internship teaches you 80% of what you need to know, but the remaining 20% is crucial and is job specific.
 

Lawpy

30 boxes
7+ Year Member
SDN Ambassador
Jun 17, 2014
55,686
146,032
Replacement Chat
forums.studentdoctor.net
I have done research and software development work. I was always disappointed with the quality, or lack of, training. Maybe it's field specific. With some jobs, having an internship teaches you 80% of what you need to know, but the remaining 20% is crucial and is job specific.

Hm that's a bit surprising. Although I agree with you that in medicine, internship doesn't immediately result in independent practice as opposed to most other types of internship. There is an extended additional training to ensure you are perfecting your skills under direct-to-indirect supervision. That is a unique benefit of medicine by far and can be appealing.
 

raiderette

7+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2014
1,819
2,142
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
There was also a mini baby boom in the early 90s. It corresponds to the reports of increased competition for college spots. I wonder if the economic meltdown also discouraged some people away from finance. Stability is not a bad goal.
 
Apr 18, 2015
817
694
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
There was also a mini baby boom in the early 90s. It corresponds to the reports of increased competition for college spots. I wonder if the economic meltdown also discouraged some people away from finance. Stability is not a bad goal.

This.

Agree that applicants aren't smarter nowadays, but there are more of them. The top 5% of students are still the same top 5% but there are more of them. The children of baby boomer's children (or in other words the grandchildren of the baby boomer generation). Don't have data to back this up but just makes intuitive sense and jives with the squeeze in elite undergrad admissions over the past 10-12 years with dipping admit rates every single year. The bubble likely is going to burst soon, but for right now the environment is difficult to say the least.

I am skeptical about the economic security rationale for a couple of reasons.....1) 19-23 year olds aren't necessarily looking at the world the way their parents might and I just doubt how many 20 and 21 year olds are choosing medicine because they have a mature, extremely long-term view of career security; 2) there is so much noise about how it's not a great time to become a physician with all the negativity about ACA, reimbursement rates, focus on primary care, etc; 3) for those who are truly worried about the future and job security, engineering has been hyped as the way to go.

I'm more inclined to think the rise is most related to increased number population-wise of the top 5% and medicine (despite all the negativity) still having some real status as the "brass ring." There are so many who believe they want to be a doctor who can't (end up getting weeded out) that those who do emerge as truly viable candidates have a hard time not wanting to go for it.
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,876
10,041
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Hm that's a bit surprising. Although I agree with you that in medicine, internship doesn't immediately result in independent practice as opposed to most other types of internship. There is an extended additional training to ensure you are perfecting your skills under direct-to-indirect supervision. That is a unique benefit of medicine by far and can be appealing.
It's much easier to screw up and kill people in medicine than in all these other careers. It's less of a benefit than a necessity to have this extended training. Learning in the job when I was a lawyer meant some people just had money and deals at risk, not Uncle Ed and Aunt Edna.
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,876
10,041
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
This.

Agree that applicants aren't smarter nowadays, but there are more of them. The top 5% of students are still the same top 5% but there are more of them. The children of baby boomer's children (or in other words the grandchildren of the baby boomer generation). Don't have data to back this up but just makes intuitive sense and jives with the squeeze in elite undergrad admissions over the past 10-12 years with dipping admit rates every single year. The bubble likely is going to burst soon, but for right now the environment is difficult to say the least.

I am skeptical about the economic security rationale for a couple of reasons.....1) 19-23 year olds aren't necessarily looking at the world the way their parents might and I just doubt how many 20 and 21 year olds are choosing medicine because they have a mature, extremely long-term view of career security; 2) there is so much noise about how it's not a great time to become a physician with all the negativity about ACA, reimbursement rates, focus on primary care, etc; 3) for those who are truly worried about the future and job security, engineering has been hyped as the way to go.

I'm more inclined to think the rise is most related to increased number population-wise of the top 5% and medicine (despite all the negativity) still having some real status as the "brass ring." There are so many who believe they want to be a doctor who can't (end up getting weeded out) that those who do emerge as truly viable candidates have a hard time not wanting to go for it.
Actually when the applicant pool goes up because the best and brightest don't want to risk law or finance, the top 5% probably are stronger applicants. There were some amazing people who would have picked those other fields but are a bit too risk averse to do so in the current climate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Apr 18, 2015
817
694
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Actually when the applicant pool goes up because the best and brightest don't want to risk law or finance, the top 5% probably are stronger applicants. There were some amazing people who would have picked those other fields but are a bit too risk averse to do so in the current climate.

Maybe for non-trads but I'd be surprised how many 20 years old can make such a sober choice especially with the counter-intuitive debt and 8 years of delayed gratification.
 

Mansamusa

2+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,299
1,335
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
This.

Agree that applicants aren't smarter nowadays, but there are more of them. The top 5% of students are still the same top 5% but there are more of them. The children of baby boomer's children (or in other words the grandchildren of the baby boomer generation). Don't have data to back this up but just makes intuitive sense and jives with the squeeze in elite undergrad admissions over the past 10-12 years with dipping admit rates every single year. The bubble likely is going to burst soon, but for right now the environment is difficult to say the least.

I am skeptical about the economic security rationale for a couple of reasons.....1) 19-23 year olds aren't necessarily looking at the world the way their parents might and I just doubt how many 20 and 21 year olds are choosing medicine because they have a mature, extremely long-term view of career security; 2) there is so much noise about how it's not a great time to become a physician with all the negativity about ACA, reimbursement rates, focus on primary care, etc; 3) for those who are truly worried about the future and job security, engineering has been hyped as the way to go.

I'm more inclined to think the rise is most related to increased number population-wise of the top 5% and medicine (despite all the negativity) still having some real status as the "brass ring." There are so many who believe they want to be a doctor who can't (end up getting weeded out) that those who do emerge as truly viable candidates have a hard time not wanting to go for it.
Economics is 100% a huge contributor. Our parents did not look at job security as much because they didn't need to- the economy was better anddddd nowadays students have to invest a ton of money into our education. We have to worry a lot more about paying off debts and have a lot more to risk. And it doesn't require too much maturity- all you do is say, "Should I go $300K in debt for law school when many people aren't finding jobs? Nope, okay." Law school enrollment has dropped 24%, so people are obviously thinking about that.

There are several other careers I would have considered, but I'm not willing to sink $100K in a masters without any guarantee that I will be employed

Edit: Also, by my age (23), my mom was on her 3rd child and had a house, I don't know why you think 20 yrs olds all-of-a-sudden became incapable of thinking about their future
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
7+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
37,203
71,964
4th Dimension
Regardless of why apps have increased, I can't wait to see what the increased level of competition does to the average level of butthurt on pre-allo in the coming years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

allantois

Conversation Starter
7+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2013
4,218
5,129
Status (Visible)
  1. Other Health Professions Student
Maybe for non-trads but I'd be surprised how many 20 years old can make such a sober choice especially with the counter-intuitive debt and 8 years of delayed gratification.

Let's see: you graduate summa cum laude with a BS in Biology and realize that the only thing you can do with it is to get a job as a barista, but probably not even that because your less studious classmates have more work experience than you do. So, the reality of things hits college graduates pretty fast.

There are so many who believe they want to be a doctor who can't (end up getting weeded out) that those who do emerge as truly viable candidates have a hard time not wanting to go for it.

I could subscribe to that line of thinking.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Apr 18, 2015
817
694
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Economics is 100% a huge contributor. Our parents did not look at job security as much because they didn't need to- the economy was better anddddd nowadays students have to invest a ton of money into our education. We have to worry a lot more about paying off debts and have a lot more to risk. And it doesn't require too much maturity- all you do is say, "Should I go $300K in debt for law school when many people aren't finding jobs? Nope, okay." Law school enrollment has dropped 24%, so people are obviously thinking about that.

There are several other careers I would have considered, but I'm not willing to sink $100K in a masters without any guarantee that I will be employed

Edit: Also, by my age (23), my mom was on her 3rd child and had a house, I don't know why you think 20 yrs olds all-of-a-sudden became incapable of thinking about their future

I meant how parents might view things NOW, in middle age, and not when they were your age. Not dissing 20 year olds either. Just don't think 20 year olds view the world the way 45 year olds view the world. And there is constant noise about how un-lucrative medicine may be in coming years. Are you discounting prestige and cultural norms as factors? Many of you could get a masters in biomed engineering and be making good money with less debt, without an extra 6 year delay, and very good job prospects looking forward.

BTW, to the extent you are right, I'm not one who believes the straight-line pressures on all of you in the arms race to success is a good trend. The days of "finding yourself," exploring, experimenting, etc seem to be over. Knowing who one is doesn't even rank anymore, and the notion of having an identity seems almost like a nostalgic memory.
 

raiderette

7+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2014
1,819
2,142
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I am skeptical about the economic security rationale for a couple of reasons.....1) 19-23 year olds aren't necessarily looking at the world the way their parents might and I just doubt how many 20 and 21 year olds are choosing medicine because they have a mature, extremely long-term view of career security
As a first-generation college student raised by a single mother, I guess I have always worried about money. I think the recession really shaped my attitudes on debt, watching my mom get laid off and being unable to find a comparable job with just a high school diploma.
 

Mansamusa

2+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,299
1,335
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I meant how parents might view things NOW, in middle age, and not when they were your age. Not dissing 20 year olds either. Just don't think 20 year olds view the world the way 45 year olds view the world. And there is constant noise about how un-lucrative medicine may be in coming years. Are you discounting prestige and cultural norms as factors? Many of you could get a masters in biomed engineering and be making good money with less debt, without an extra 6 year delay, and very good job prospects looking forward.

BTW, to the extent you are right, I'm not one who believes the straight-line pressures on all of you in the arms race to success is a good trend. The days of "finding yourself," exploring, experimenting, etc seem to be over. Knowing who one is doesn't even rank anymore, and the notion of having an identity seems almost like a nostalgic memory.
Uhhhhh, definitely not cultural norm for me. Neither of my parents went to college and only 1/3 of my siblings went to school. I chose the path for myself. Bio engineering would still be a competitive job market and I love medicine, but would hate engineering. Job security is not the sole reasoning for choosing med school, but when deciding between jobs that I would enjoy the security of medicine tipped me towards that career.

(Plus medicine is very versatile and I feel like most people can combine their non-medical academic interests with medicine. My PS was actually about how medicine is the crossroad of disciplines and how no other field could engage my interests like medicine and my PS seems to have been well-received. I don't have to worry about the other careers I'm giving up because I can incorporate them into medicine)
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 5 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.