Will medical school acceptance become more difficult?

Cpt Ahab

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I was taking a break from homework when I had silly thought, "What if every pre-med student knew about and used SDN?" Surely the difficulty of receiving an acceptance would increase by some factor. :bookworm:

So that led me to another thought, "What will this process be like in 10 or 20 years?" :borg:

What I'm getting at here is just how extreme will this process become? At some point it will be standard for every student to know and live by @WedgeDawg 's ARS or take an ungodly challenging MCAT. Data shows cycles become more and more difficult every year, albeit by a small percentage.

Anyways, I thought this might be fun to discuss, and I would like to hear what all of your thoughts are.
 
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What is important to realize is that the number of medical school matriculants is fairly constant over the years, with maybe a slight increase over the recent years, thanks to the opening of new medical schools and AAMC warning of physician shortages. However, the number of applicants follows somewhat periodic trends that resemble US business cycles (i.e. economic fluctuations).

More information can be found here (esp. page 3).
 

a_borgia

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Well, the rise in number of applicants has far outpaced the rise in number of medical seats, so it is safe to say things are getting more difficult. The same goes for the MCAT - if 10k people take it, there are 3k people above the 70th percentile, but if 100k people take it, you'd need to be at the 97th percentile to be in the top 3000 students. That's obviously pretty extreme, but actually does reflect why the average MCAT of schools has been shooting upwards. There was a time when WashU was the only school with an astronomical MCAT avg, and now Penn, Hopkins, and UC are all within the same range.
 
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My MCAT instructor mentioned SDN and NO ONE in the class had a clue what he was talking about. Except me. :angelic:

Subsequently, they had a lot of questions about admissions, etc., that would be common knowledge for anyone who frequents these forums.

I mean, SDN has been around for a long time. Guess people don't know how to use Google when they have a question. :rolleyes:

In other words, you have nothing to worry about, OP.
 

Crayola227

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Let's hope not.

Anyone that doesn't get into medical school can count themselves lucky, so sure, until they fix the system the more people who are forced to find a job that doesn't srive you to suicide the better

MUHAHAHA
 
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Cpt Ahab

Cpt Ahab

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My MCAT instructor mentioned SDN and NO ONE in the class had a clue what he was talking about. Except me. :angelic:

Subsequently, they had a lot of questions about admissions, etc., that would be common knowledge for anyone who frequents these forums.

I mean, SDN has been around for a long time. Guess people don't know how to use Google when they have a question. :rolleyes:

In other words, you have nothing to worry about, OP.
You sound like a self aggrandizing snob to be honest lol. Although, I do think it's kind of weird not many people use SDN; for many, I know the guidance counselor is sufficient in giving them timelines for volunteering, shadowing, research, MCAT, applying, the works. Some counselors are adamant that their way is the way despite what others say. Therefore, people don't really have a reason to seek elsewhere for advice.

I know I don't have anything to worry about. I'm not applying in 10 or 20 years.
 

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Expectations may change over time. Recently, we've seen schools devalue calculus (in favor of statistics), while the MCAT has removed its writing section and added a psych/soc section.

So in 20 years, who knows? Maybe a second language will be required...or a year of world history...or maybe schools will start to value artistic expression over hospital volunteering...whether or not that makes admissions "more difficult" will depend on numerous factors which the denizens of this forum would never be able to predict.
 
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Chelsea FC

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Maybe doctors will be chosen in hunger games like matches ... A good way to prepare you for the career you have infront of you
 

Yazo

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The U.S. is facing a physician shortage, if anything there'll be more spots for us.
When I say us I mean let's disable the ability to create new accounts and access the site so only we can bask in the knowledge that has been posted here. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
 

Justtheworst

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Isn't there a large projected shortage of doctors coming up in the mid 2020s even though the numbers of applicants have steadily risen over the past few years? We're all going to be caught with our pants down if more seats aren't open by then. My sources are just some googled up news articles but if there really is going to be a 90,000 physician shortage by 2025 then the number of seats given over the next five years is going to have to go up by a third or more...
 

Crayola227

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Isn't there a large projected shortage of doctors coming up in the mid 2020s even though the numbers of applicants have steadily risen over the past few years? We're all going to be caught with our pants down if more seats aren't open by then. My sources are just some googled up news articles but if there really is going to be a 90,000 physician shortage by 2025 then the number of seats given over the next five years is going to have to go up by a third or more...
More important will he if there are enough residency training slots. That MD is a good for nothing $250K without it for the most part.
 

Gandyy

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10 years ago, the MCAT average for matriculants was a 28 or 29. Now even a 29 is considered borderline for MD admissions.

GPA matriculant averages have stayed the same surprisingly enough. Its definitely going to get harder. Its already insanely hard to get into a well established medical school.

That being said, if the average on the MCAT becomes a 33-34 for matriculants, and the test stays just as hard as it is now........then it might be impossible for some people to get into medical school.
 
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As the economy recovers less people will apply to medical school. In 10-20 years however increased automation and skill floors for most other jobs of comparable standing will have most likely pushed "Max employment" down and medicine will probably reach peak competitiveness at that point until technology permits less skilled workers to do the same job for less money.
 

goldy490

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Isn't there a large projected shortage of doctors coming up in the mid 2020s even though the numbers of applicants have steadily risen over the past few years? We're all going to be caught with our pants down if more seats aren't open by then. My sources are just some googled up news articles but if there really is going to be a 90,000 physician shortage by 2025 then the number of seats given over the next five years is going to have to go up by a third or more...
The big problem is that the population (especially the elderly population) has ballooned in the US over the last 50 years or so. But as Crayola said the number of residencies hasnt changed. The government funds residencies, so congress' approval is needed to provide those extra doctors. From what I've read (I don't have the source though, so correct me if Im wrong), at the current rates of MD and DO school expansion, there will be more US grads than Residency spots for them by some time in the late 2020's. The government cant provide any new residences because, as I understand it, the money necessary is tied up in things like medicare and medicaid.

So the way I see it, med school admissions may not be the problem, it may be RESIDENCY admissions/Matching. Right now its pretty much assumed if you get into a US school you will match, have a job, and be able to pay off your $250K debt. If thats not the case anymore, I could see med school becoming horrifyingly competitive. Imagine the motivation students would have to screw each other if the bottom 5-10% of any given med school class faced economic ruin.
 

Gandyy

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The big problem is that the population (especially the elderly population) has ballooned in the US over the last 50 years or so. But as Crayola said the number of residencies hasnt changed. The government funds residencies, so congress' approval is needed to provide those extra doctors. From what I've read (I don't have the source though, so correct me if Im wrong), at the current rates of MD and DO school expansion, there will be more US grads than Residency spots for them by some time in the late 2020's. The government cant provide any new residences because, as I understand it, the money necessary is tied up in things like medicare and medicaid.

So the way I see it, med school admissions may not be the problem, it may be RESIDENCY admissions/Matching. Right now its pretty much assumed if you get into a US school you will match, have a job, and be able to pay off your $250K debt. If thats not the case anymore, I could see med school becoming horrifyingly competitive. Imagine the motivation students would have to screw each other if the bottom 5-10% of any given med school class faced economic ruin.
This probably wouldnt get to this point because if it medical school showed any hint of being like what our law school situation is today.... then applications to medical school would drop very sharply.
 

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So the way I see it, med school admissions may not be the problem, it may be RESIDENCY admissions/Matching. Right now its pretty much assumed if you get into a US school you will match, have a job, and be able to pay off your $250K debt. If thats not the case anymore, I could see med school becoming horrifyingly competitive. Imagine the motivation students would have to screw each other if the bottom 5-10% of any given med school class faced economic ruin.
What you describe is closely related to what has happened to law schools in the past decade or 2.
 

ChrisMack390

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I am always shocked when I meet people who either don't use SDN or have not acquired the basic knowledge provided by SDN in some other way. I know several applicants who didn't apply until the fall, didn't apply to any DO school despite low end stats, haven't volunteered in years, etc.

When I first became interested in going to medical school, one of the very first things I did was google a few questions about the process. Nearly any medical school related search lists SDN in the top 3 links. How are other people not doing this?
 

Gandyy

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I am always shocked when I meet people who either don't use SDN or have not acquired the basic knowledge provided by SDN in some other way. I know several applicants who didn't apply until the fall, didn't apply to any DO school despite low end stats, haven't volunteered in years, etc.

When I first became interested in going to medical school, one of the very first things I did was google a few questions about the process. Nearly any medical school related search lists SDN in the top 3 links. How are other people not doing this?
The bolded is what boggles me the most. Put in anything about pre-medical advice... and SDN comes up.

Yet there are people with no volunteering, no research, no semblence of how the application process works, going to the carribean despite how bad it is to do so, no understanding of how important your essays are. Its incredible.

I think part of the problem is that too many pre-med advisors think their "pre-med advisors" are sufficient enough to help them get into medical school when in reality pre-med advisors often deter students, not help them.
 

Dr. Death

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I am always shocked when I meet people who either don't use SDN or have not acquired the basic knowledge provided by SDN in some other way. I know several applicants who didn't apply until the fall, didn't apply to any DO school despite low end stats, haven't volunteered in years, etc.

When I first became interested in going to medical school, one of the very first things I did was google a few questions about the process. Nearly any medical school related search lists SDN in the top 3 links. How are other people not doing this?
I don't know about you guys but this is what happened to me when I discovered SDN. Just subsitute SDN for porn of course.
 

goldy490

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I am always shocked when I meet people who either don't use SDN or have not acquired the basic knowledge provided by SDN in some other way. I know several applicants who didn't apply until the fall, didn't apply to any DO school despite low end stats, haven't volunteered in years, etc.

When I first became interested in going to medical school, one of the very first things I did was google a few questions about the process. Nearly any medical school related search lists SDN in the top 3 links. How are other people not doing this?
Some people just get lucky...I have a friend who only applied to top-30 programs with no EC's, no research, no shadowing. Average GPA, only thing he had going was a 3 year old 37 mcat. To top it all off he was complete in DECEMBER. Ended up interviewing at Duke and Emory, and accepted at Emory. :mad:

That kind of stuff boggles my mind...
 

Gandyy

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Some people just get lucky...I have a friend who only applied to top-30 programs with no EC's, no research, no shadowing. Average GPA, only thing he had going was a 3 year old 37 mcat. To top it all off he was complete in DECEMBER. Ended up interviewing at Duke and Emory, and accepted at Emory. :mad:

That kind of stuff boggles my mind...
Yea, its kind of annoying when people cant admit that a good portion of this process is a crapshoot. Of course, you have a strong amount of control, but there are variables you cannot control.
 

Sho

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I was taking a break from homework when I had silly thought, "What if every pre-med student knew about and used SDN?" Surely the difficulty of receiving an acceptance would increase by some factor. :bookworm:

So that led me to another thought, "What will this process be like in 10 or 20 years?" :borg:

What I'm getting at here is just how extreme will this process become? At some point it will be standard for every student to know and live by @WedgeDawg 's ARS or take an ungodly challenging MCAT. Data shows cycles become more and more difficult every year, albeit by a small percentage.

Anyways, I thought this might be fun to discuss, and I would like to hear what all of your thoughts are.
A lot depends on the economy......
 

ChrisMack390

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Some people just get lucky...I have a friend who only applied to top-30 programs with no EC's, no research, no shadowing. Average GPA, only thing he had going was a 3 year old 37 mcat. To top it all off he was complete in DECEMBER. Ended up interviewing at Duke and Emory, and accepted at Emory. :mad:

That kind of stuff boggles my mind...
SDN is definitely extreme in some ways, BUT if you follow the common advice here and have what is considered an acceptable app here, you give yourself a very high chance of getting accepted.

We should try to track the % of SDNers that get into med school. I bet its much higher than the 40% overall.
 
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Gandyy

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SDN is definitely extreme in some ways, BUT if you follow the common advice here and have what is considered an acceptable app here, you give yourself a very high chance of getting accepted.

We should try to track the % of SDNers that get into med school. I bet its much higher than the 40% overall.
It probably is way higher, but a good portion of that is due to the very highly skewed LizzyM scores on this forum.

Everyone has a 45 MCAT and 7.6 GPA.
 

md-2020

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This probably wouldnt get to this point because if it medical school showed any hint of being like what our law school situation is today.... then applications to medical school would drop very sharply.
Also the gov't would finally come to its senses and increase physician training funds.
 
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goldy490

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Also the gov't would finally come to its senses and increase physician training funds.
Ya also I imagine the LCME/ACGME would not take kindly to any school that was regularly producing unmatched students. I've heard they keep a close eye on things like attrition rates and match success
 
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mrspecialist

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Depends on physician pay; if current trends prevail, practicing private medicine might not be both practical and lucrative as before.
 

Cotterpin

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Yea, its kind of annoying when people cant admit that a good portion of this process is a crapshoot. Of course, you have a strong amount of control, but there are variables you cannot control.
This is true for life in general.
 
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Some people just get lucky...I have a friend who only applied to top-30 programs with no EC's, no research, no shadowing. Average GPA, only thing he had going was a 3 year old 37 mcat. To top it all off he was complete in DECEMBER. Ended up interviewing at Duke and Emory, and accepted at Emory. :mad:

That kind of stuff boggles my mind...
Curious.

If one was to come here and ask WAMC with those numbers, they would be told to give up and try again in a couple years after doing an SMP (while maintaining a 4.0), shadowing no less then 6 doctors (of different specialties, of course), and checking off all 12 of the most impressive ECs. (And don't forget to apply in the first week!)

I guess it illustrates how much of a crapshoot the whole process is.
 
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Gandyy

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Curious.

If one was to come here and ask WAMC with those numbers, they would be told to give up and try again in a couple years after doing an SMP (while maintaining a 4.0), shadowing no less then 6 doctors (of different specialties, of course), and checking off all 12 of the most impressive ECs. (And don't forget to apply in the first week!)

I guess it illustrates how much of a crapshoot the whole process is.
I've seen applications from friends who applied to all the same schools. There was no distinct difference in any of their applications, but they were received with wildly different results.

Who reads your application?

How tired were they when they read it?

How much time did they spend when reading it? Was it at the end of the day, and they didnt put in the full amount of time they might have if it was 11 AM in the morning and not 4:45 PM in the afternoon?

Did someone pick up on some of the stronger points of your application, or did they just notice the negatives first?

How lenient is that school's particular admissions committee with certain negative variables on your application relative to other school's admissions committees?

Did you get the tough interviewer who wasnt going to like you either way as people form a subconscious bias of you in 15 seconds?

Did you have particular EC's that specific school admissions committee values?

What is their REAL stance on multiple MCATs besides the party line they give you when you call them?


I could go on and on, and I'm sure a lot of you could add to this list. Its a crapshoot. However, if you did end up getting accepted, I am not saying you got "lucky" or whatever. Accepted students usually worked their asses off and should feel proud and honored.
 
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md-2020

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^Could be a URM/LGBTQ as well. Many confounding factors.
 
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cantankerous

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Depends on how the healthcare system is organized. If medicine becomes more and more socialized, likely there will be more spots open for medical schools and residencies (at the cost of cutting physician salaries).
 

Mad Jack

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Isn't there a large projected shortage of doctors coming up in the mid 2020s even though the numbers of applicants have steadily risen over the past few years? We're all going to be caught with our pants down if more seats aren't open by then. My sources are just some googled up news articles but if there really is going to be a 90,000 physician shortage by 2025 then the number of seats given over the next five years is going to have to go up by a third or more...
There is no physician shortage. That's a myth perpetuated by the AMA to further their agenda. There is a misallocation of physicians, not a lack of them.
 

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Expectations may change over time. Recently, we've seen schools devalue calculus (in favor of statistics), while the MCAT has removed its writing section and added a psych/soc section.

So in 20 years, who knows? Maybe a second language will be required...or a year of world history...or maybe schools will start to value artistic expression over hospital volunteering...whether or not that makes admissions "more difficult" will depend on numerous factors which the denizens of this forum would never be able to predict.
I don't think schools will ever devalue clinical exposure. Too many people could get halfway through med school, or worse residency, and realize that medicine isn't for them. The other things you mentioned just go a long with being a well-rounded applicant, so that is already desirable. I don't think they'll be required, but they may start being used as a form of applicant screening for some schools.

As the economy recovers less people will apply to medical school. In 10-20 years however increased automation and skill floors for most other jobs of comparable standing will have most likely pushed "Max employment" down and medicine will probably reach peak competitiveness at that point until technology permits less skilled workers to do the same job for less money.
Let's be real though, the jobs that people lose from automation are likely to be factory jobs or jobs like cashier or telemarketer where there isn't a high level of skill required. I doubt that many of those individuals are going to suddenly decide that they want to go back to school for 8-10 extra years so they can be a doctor. It might happen to some, but not on a scale that will make a significant impact on the competitiveness of medicine.

I am always shocked when I meet people who either don't use SDN or have not acquired the basic knowledge provided by SDN in some other way. I know several applicants who didn't apply until the fall, didn't apply to any DO school despite low end stats, haven't volunteered in years, etc.

When I first became interested in going to medical school, one of the very first things I did was google a few questions about the process. Nearly any medical school related search lists SDN in the top 3 links. How are other people not doing this?
A few reasons. First is that they trust their pre-med advisors (who are often terrible at their job). I mean, their advisors are paid to know how to get them into med school, so what they say must be true, right? Another is that to someone that doesn't know what SDN actually is, it might come across as just another forum. I know the first few times I came on and looked at the pre-med forums it just sounded like a bunch of people whining about random crap. I didn't start using it until my last cycle of interviews when I started looking at school specific threads, but other than that most of the threads were pretty useless for me at the time. The last thing, which is far less of an issue now, is that years ago when I started applying SDN was not one of the top google hits for a lot of the research I did on med schools. It was often near the bottom of the first page or not there at all. Idk if SDN is now near the top because they get more google hits or because I visit the site frequently, but when I was in college is was definitely not as popular as it is now.
 

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I don't think schools will ever devalue clinical exposure. Too many people could get halfway through med school, or worse residency, and realize that medicine isn't for them. The other things you mentioned just go a long with being a well-rounded applicant, so that is already desirable. I don't think they'll be required, but they may start being used as a form of applicant screening for some schools.



Let's be real though, the jobs that people lose from automation are likely to be factory jobs or jobs like cashier or telemarketer where there isn't a high level of skill required. I doubt that many of those individuals are going to suddenly decide that they want to go back to school for 8-10 extra years so they can be a doctor. It might happen to some, but not on a scale that will make a significant impact on the competitiveness of medicine.



A few reasons. First is that they trust their pre-med advisors (who are often terrible at their job). I mean, their advisors are paid to know how to get them into med school, so what they say must be true, right? Another is that to someone that doesn't know what SDN actually is, it might come across as just another forum. I know the first few times I came on and looked at the pre-med forums it just sounded like a bunch of people whining about random crap. I didn't start using it until my last cycle of interviews when I started looking at school specific threads, but other than that most of the threads were pretty useless for me at the time. The last thing, which is far less of an issue now, is that years ago when I started applying SDN was not one of the top google hits for a lot of the research I did on med schools. It was often near the bottom of the first page or not there at all. Idk if SDN is now near the top because they get more google hits or because I visit the site frequently, but when I was in college is was definitely not as popular as it is now.
I'm thinking farther along down the road. My theory is that most of the jobs currently out there for newly-minted CS grads (webdev) can and will be fully automated in 10-15 years to a big enough extent that most businesses wont feel the need to invest in human beings to do it. Before long white collar jobs will be just as endangered as the baristas, cashiers etc. It's not so much that ex-baristas are going to go back to school to pursue medicine, it's that decreased maximum employment will create fear in the job market and fear in the job market is directly correlated with volume of medical school applications.
 

goldy490

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I'm thinking farther along down the road. My theory is that most of the jobs currently out there for newly-minted CS grads (webdev) can and will be fully automated in 10-15 years to a big enough extent that most businesses wont feel the need to invest in human beings to do it. Before long white collar jobs will be just as endangered as the baristas, cashiers etc. It's not so much that ex-baristas are going to go back to school to pursue medicine, it's that decreased maximum employment will create fear in the job market and fear in the job market is directly correlated with volume of medical school applications.
Edit: I misinterpreted
 

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Isn't there a large projected shortage of doctors coming up in the mid 2020s even though the numbers of applicants have steadily risen over the past few years? We're all going to be caught with our pants down if more seats aren't open by then. My sources are just some googled up news articles but if there really is going to be a 90,000 physician shortage by 2025 then the number of seats given over the next five years is going to have to go up by a third or more...
Nope. See Mad Jacks post above. We have a distribution problem for sure (everyone wants to work in NYC, Boston, SF, LA and nobody in underserved parts of Iowa) but not a shortage or expected shortage. And med school seats have nothing to do with the number of physicians -- residency seats are where the bottleneck is. You could double the number if med school seats and not increase the number of doctors.
 

Law2Doc

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...However, the number of applicants follows somewhat periodic trends that resemble US business cycles...).
It's actually the inverse of the business cycle (in tough times people are more apt to hide out in a four year professional school rather than look for a job).
 
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It's actually the inverse of the business cycle (in tough times people are more apt to hide out in a four year professional school rather than look for a job).
Yeah that's what I meant. I was broadly referring to the economic dependency of medical school acceptance rates, so the inverse relationship is an accurate assessment.
 
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