Med School Admissions Statistics, Part I: How Many People Get into Medical School?

The first day of autumn is coming this Saturday, and that means it’s admissions season!   If you’ve already gotten in your AMCAS application, you may be spending a decent amount of this time out of the crisp air and – instead – focusing on finishing up secondary applications, preparing for interviews, and charming admissions committees with your excellent credentials. MCAT Blog

Considering how much time and energy we’re putting into this, let’s make sure we understand some of the numbers (after all, we’re science people, right?).  This post is the first in a series focusing on medical school admissions statistics.  Today, we tackle one of the most important questions:  How many people get into medical school?  And – as a follow-up – what can I do to increase my chances?

The AAMC releases a wealth of valuable information each year about the admissions process.  If you haven’t found it yet, take a look at the AAMC FACTS tables.  Here, we’ll look at two in particular:  the number of applicants and the number of matriculants (individuals who were accepted to at least one medical school and officially enrolled).  We’ve generated a graph of this information to the right.  What’s striking here?  Well, while the number of applicants has increased quite a bit (from about 33,600 a decade ago to almost 45,000 last year!), the number of available seats in medical school hasn’t increased proportionately.  As a consequence, the percentage of accepted applicants has fallen over the last ten years, from a high of 49.0% in 2002 to 43.8% last year.  This information is NOT meant to scare you; rather, it points out how imperative it is to do everything you can to be a part of that group.  So what can we do to get there?

Of course, the significance of a strong MCAT score and GPA, extracurricular activities, experience within medicine, and stellar recommendations cannot be overstated.  But when it comes maximizing that acceptance rate, consider the following:

  • Apply broadly – The national average of schools a pre-med student applies to is 13.  This accounts for individuals who were accepted by early decision (applying to only one school), however, so the average for the rest is a bit higher.  While you certainly shouldn’t send an application to every medical school in the country, don’t limit your options by applying to fewer than ten.  Not only do you want to get in, but it’s always great to have options!
  • Geography – Many state medical schools have higher acceptance rates for in-state applicants than out-of-state applicants; in fact, some schools will only accept in-state applicants for their medical programs.  If geography is working in your favor, use that to your advantage!  Not only do you benefit from your residency, but you may also get a whopping reduction in tuition.  No state school?  Check for partnerships with other schools – if you live in the Pacific Northwest, for example, you may be eligible for the WWAMI program.
  • New medical schools – There are certainly new medical schools emerging (even since I entered medical school in 2009, eleven new schools have been accredited).  These new schools are eager to teach the next generation of physicians.  Make sure you’re using up-to-date resources when searching for schools so you don’t overlook a great opportunity.

If you’re in the midst of applying, what strategies have you used to maximize your opportunities to go to medical school?  If applications are still a bit of time away, what do you think you could do to help prepare for them – even as a freshman in college?

This article is Part I in a three-part series on Medical School Admissions Statistics.  For more information, check out:

  • guest

    who cares?  Doctors come out of school with crushing debt and then spend 3 – 10+ years in residnecy & fellowships (where they can’t afford to pay back their loans).  To go from bad to wors compensation in all but the very best fields is no where near where it was before – a good sales rep will make more than an internist and will not have to worry about getting sued.  Ask yourself why you would want to be accepted to medical school 

    • Alex Macnow

      Thanks for your comment.  You are indeed correct that the indebtedness of medical school is a major consideration for those entering medical school and — to be fair — residency is not exactly the highest-paid position in the working world.  Gone are the days of the multi-million dollar physician given free cruises from pharmaceutical companies.

      That being said, doctors do still make a solid income in a steady job market; the world always needs more doctors.  And pre-med students aiming for medical school should certainly analyze their reasons why that’s their end goal.

      Hopefully you, like me, are entering medical school because you not only perceive a strong desire in yourself to help people — to be the OB/GYN at the bedside providing a woman with what may be the best day of her life, to be the oncologist sticking by a patient’s side through every step of chemotherapy as they battle cancer, to be the palliative care physician providing comfort and solace to a patient who’s diagnosis we just cannot cure.  Group this with the positive social mission of the field, a commitment to social responsibility, and an enjoyment of life-long learning, and you fit the profile of many of the students entering medical school these days.  And, as I said, you will make a healthy living.

      I hope this helps provide some clarity on the issue.  We look forward to working with you every step of the way:  as an undergraduate, medical student, resident and as the physician you were meant to be.

      • Jim Lou

        I agree.

        Too many people become doctors because of the earning potentials. That is wrong. These people don’t really care about their patients, who are just represent money.

        These doctors don’t have the best relationships with patients. They tend to be gruff and impatient. They don’t consider anything the patient has to say.

        Medical schools recognize this and are changing their curriculum to include courses in doctor-patient relationships.

        • Vichammer

          Noooo.. U don’t have TIME to spend with patients.. It’s not a luxury you have anymore.. The paperwork is un.buh.lieveable!! I luv taking care of patients but have come to realize that getting penalized for their poor decisions is ridiculous.. That’s the reality of primary care.

        • Elba

          Unless you want to spend 15 or more years learning neurosurgery, there are a lot of professions you can enter that take less time, earn you the same amount of money and leave you with less debt than being a doctor. If the old way of practicing medicine no longer applies, neither do the old canards – that doctors are a bunch of people who just want to get rich, dont take time with their patients and so on. I talk to doctors all the time, and most of them tell me that they want to spend more time with their patients but each patient now comes with a time burden of anywhere between 5-45 minutes of supplemental paperwork, phone calls, approvals and often the doctor will spend several hours in the evening or on weekends just to catch up.
             Once medicine moves away from the private practice model to the work-for-hire model, a doctor will not only be treated like an employee, but could also start to demand the rights and benefits of an employee. Just wait until your single-payer government employed doctors decide to go on strike.

          • Mairead

            Just wait until your single-payer government employed doctors decide to go on strike.

            If it’s organised properly, single-payer will reduce the paperwork to near zero, increase the number of docs who want to do medicine, and decrease the number who want to get rich. That seems like win-win to me.

      • Karenita1

        That was a great ideal when I entered medical school. Unfortunately the reality that I’ll be forced instead to fill out a million and one forms and type notes and be judged on whether I can do an initial interview in 15 -30 min and actually only spend about 10% of my day (if so much) with the patient has set in and it is most dissatisfying. 

      • Auburn 14

        No one ever mentions the doctors family who because they love him/her put up with no holidays, no social engagements, no real vacations, no meals together as a family, no privacy, no planning of any kind, no warm fuzzy togetherness, no awards for being top notch and a lot of no’s too numerous to mention. Now it’s coming down to no money for even the simplest things in life foregoing retirement entirely. I’m married 49 years to a physician who is loved as much by his co-workers as by his patients (who follow him wherever he has gone). He has worked for 45 years in the medical field, is 71 and still works twelve hour days. He IS THE PHYSICIAN he was meant to be and the physician that epitomizes the zenith of the profession. Would he do it again? Not knowing what he does today.

  • Bruce Lee

    You gotta be nuts to become a doctor now.By the time you get out of residency, you will be working for the national health care system as a flunky trying to pay off your loans. You will be told when to show up and when to vacation by some federally appointed administrative hack who will earn more than you. The salad days are over for docs. Go to work for the government and you will be in the same class as the IRS workers, but slightly better than the mail handlers. And of course, every little error in judgement results in you being sued and tied up in court for years by the plantiff’s attorneys.

  • Anonymous

    Because Mr. Macnow is a student he is minimally qualified to address the reality of practicing medicine.  The profession is completely different than forty years ago.  Now we have to ask insurers for permission before doing the right thing.  Congress is involved in our daily work to the point that it is a choke hold.  Congress has mandated that we use federally approved medical record systems.  I have now been using one for fourteen months.  Using this software has increased my office hours over 10% while reducing my efficiency by about 20%.  I love being a physician, I love my work, I love my relations with my patients.  I went into medicine with one goal, I wanted my epitaph to read, “He never refused to treat the poor”. But here is the reality:  I am 58, I still owe $290,000 in student loans, My retirement is worth $105,000 and I work over 80 hours/week. I have a modest home and I drive a Hyundai.  I estimate that it costs me $14 in overhead for every patient I see in the office.  At times Medicaid pays me $7 for that same office visit.  In other words, I have to PAY $7 to see a Medicaid patient.  

    Here is another example of the stupidity with which we are now faced.  I can successfully treat a patient in the hospital with congestive heart failure and emphysema. I can bring him back from the brink of death.  I can work daily with that patient, while dramatically reversing the recent deterioration of his health.  I can do everything right, offering nutritional and life-style counseling, I can sit at his beside an hour a day helping him to understand how to change his life for the better and achieve improved health.  I can arrange for a home nurse to visit the home and reemphasize all the things taught in the hospital.  I can have nutritionists, therapists and psychologists meet with him daily in private as well as in group discussions.  We can involve his family in this process.  But, if that patient then leaves the hospital and drives directly to the local Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet where he proceeds to singlehandedly consume an entire Giant Family Pack of salty, greasy fried chicken all while smoking a pack of unfiltered Marlboros, resulting in sudden deterioration of his condition and subsequent readmission that very evening to a hospital then Medicare will now refuse to pay for the readmission because the theory is that his readmission to the hospital is somehow my fault.

    This is one simple example, of hundreds, reflecting the future of medicine.

    My son wanted to be a doctor.  I said, “Do something else.”

    • Hhhh

      As an Intensive care nurse serving an inner city population, I can only concur with your comments. Insurance companies and the government seek to blame the health care providers because they didn’t teach the patient well and/or clearly enough! People make BAD choices. Those same people expect to eat, drink, smoke and maintain a BMI of their own choosing and then to come to health care providers for a magic pill that will make it all better. And if the providers can’t deliver that pill, then they are guilty of malpractice. Billions could be saved by documenting compliance, education and the ramifications for ongoing bad choices. I can provide care humanely and keep a patient comfortable as he or she experiences the result of his or her choices. Their life, their choice, their responsibility. Every patient has the right to make that bad choice, but fixing that bad choice shouldn’t continue to bankrupt the nation. Pick a random of “chances” for a patient to quit drinking, smoking, drugging, eating crap or whatever. I guarantee there will be a huge number of patients who pole vault over that number. It is the reality of health care in America. Bad choices, no personal responsibilities for the result.

      • RN2

        I think you did not understand the main point the Dr made and tho I agree that education is important, I think people get educated from middle school up on the importance of exercise, not smoking, alcoholism, diet. If they want to make bad choices as adults they should be free to do so but they should PAY for it and not shift the burden. The Drs point that a lot of people may miss is that insurers now will not pay for a readmission if it is related to the original complaint. So that means the patient who accesses the services of the hospital a second time, doctors, nurses, technicians is treated for free. The upshot of this is another form of ‘patient dumping’, which is notorious in certain urban areas and it is unfortunate that the patient’s second admission – the dump – is often not the hospital that first treated the patient but into a poorer hospital that is already having issues with collection and funding.

        • Ron_inmd

          Yes, let’s defend the “illegal” dumping, the hospitals’ have no choice. Maybe Hospitals and Doctors’ insurance would be lower if surgeries were guaranteed to not leave “objects” in patients or operate on incorrect organ/limb.  Even mere carpenters, measure twice, cut once!

      • link dump

         From a patient’s perspective, too many depend on the health care system to formulate their care without active patient involvement.  If the care plan is too difficult, then the fudge on it.  This results in worse than expected results.  As a diabetic, I see doctors far more than I would like to.  But the health care industry is not balmeless.  The routine that I fell into was to go to my PCP for a problem that may or may not have been related to my cronic condition.  His response was to prescribe another drug to address the symptom, not the underlying cause. This may be the result of having too many patients with too little time, so it is easier to just slap a band-aid on it.  What it means to my quality of life is having to monitor the drug interactions and side effects myself and bring it up with my doctor if and almost certainly when they occur.  So yes, the patient must take more responsibility for their own care.  But the practitioners should also take responsibility for finding the why of a situation, not just how do we treat the symptom or at least mask it.  Perhaps that is why specialists do make so much more than PCPs.  By the time the patient sees them, he or she is in much worse condition and the specialist is tasked with finding the cause.  Even they can be guilty of the same thing though.  My last encounter with a cardiologist resulted in a new blood pressure medicartion that was only marginally effective without determining why my BP had suddenly spiked after years of being stable.

        • Nursemomski

          Most people, especially the elderly, don’t question what their doctor says or does.They feel doctors know everything, they don’t! When I go to my doctor we come to an agreement about what is or isn’t done. 

          My eldest was born with congenital heart and hearing loss. From the time she was born it was a constant fight with doctors (mainly residents) and nurses who thought I was young and stupid. So after four children I went back to college and earned my degree as a Registered Nurse specializing in Pediatrics. Doctors looked at me in a different light. The daughter they said would only live to be two is coming up on her 42nd birthday.

          With the new healthcare laws and regulations all I can say is EDUCATE YOURSELF people! It has come down to you and your health against the system. Doctors are not happy with all the regulations either, they spend more time on paper work than paying attention to what you have to say.  

    • Taconghuy39

      The problem is the huge salary gap between primary care physicians and specialists.  I can’t explain why the specialists make three times more than I  do as a PCP.  I think the Medicare need to create some balances between PCP and Specialists.  I predict there will be no US graduated MD entering Primary care. How do they pay their loans, how do the live with long working hours and very little pay?

      • Buyem

        my son just graduated with a 3.55 at u of texas..scored a 2.9 in the test..applied to all texas med schools and got no responce??????

        • Mur77

          must be a white male!

          • Sparta of Phoenix AZ, USA

            More than likely…Medical School is one of the most political professions you will ever get into…There is no insurances in getting through the door…Your hard work is only a small factor the rest of your future is in the hands of some admissions committee. 

        • Anonymous

          Maybe he spelled his address wrong. What is a responce?

    • RS

      I love to hear you doctors complain all the time.  Do you think any profession is the same as it was 40 years ago and has not been changed by economics and complications from a rapidly deteriorating economy.  At least people with medical degrees can still find employment and pay off their student loans, not so for many other professions that have also become more difficult to practice as one would have 40 years ago.

      • TiredMD

        I’m glad you love to hear doctors complain, because you’re going to hear a lot more complaining–until the doctors finally quit complaining, quit, and move on to something else. I, too, became a physician because I wanted to help people and this was the best way I knew how. I worked hard, sacrificed for years, and am finally in the upper middle class. I write off over 60% of customary charges as “charity” (why that shouldn’t be tax-deductible, I don’t know). I have never wanted to work anywhere that didn’t treat all comers, no questions asked, and have even gone on “medical missions” at my own expense to treat 3rd world patients, just because. I still work over 80 hours per week (at age 61). Sure we can always find employment, and you had better hope that there will always be people crazy enough seek careers in the medical field. And they had better be the best our educational system can produce. Unfortunately, there is little at present to entice students in that direction except the most altruistic. Careers in entertainment pay well–careers in the health professions do not. This is not a profession for members of the “me” generation. After 11 years of further education after graduating near the top of your college class, try working two full-time jobs–and then some–and see if you can’t exceed the average physician’s income. I’ll bet you will.

        • JSCabeen

          Dear TiredMD, I’ve worked in Entertainment, and now I work in Medicine as a Family Practitioner. I guess you MEANT to say something like “Big Movie Stars make even more than Physicians.” FYI, 9 of the 10 highest-paying occupations in America are 9 specialties of Physician. The only other “job” to break our monopoly is CEO. It’s in Forbes, check it out. If I hear one more Physician complain about how hard their life is, especially economically, I will personally start printing bumper-stickers proclaiming “SINGLE-PAYER NATIONAL HEALTHCARE NOW!!!”, just to help reduce our bloated, obscene pay-rates to something more comparable to the rest of the Developed World.

          • Elba

            There are lies, d___ed lies and statistics. What you say statistically may be true, but it is not reality. In my area of the Northeast the non urban primary care doctor makes on average about 115,000 (more in urban areas but the cost of living is higher also). That is less than not only CEOs, but many college professors, superintendents of education, lawyers, corporate accountants and even many contractors. Yes, many subspecialists make more than a primary care physician but so does my plumbing contractor. And none of those I mentioned had to go through college+medical school+internship+residency and incur hundreds of thousands in debt.
               I do not want single payer health care. That is just shifting the responsibility for payment to someone other than the patient and whether it is the insurance bureaucracy or the government bureaucracy, it is parking some massive bureaucracy between the doctor and the patient. The patient pays for routine care and insurance pays for critical care model worked well until people were sold on buying expensive insurance models instead of paying directly for routine services. 

          • Mairead

            Funny that Medicare works so well (apart from the reimbursement rate reductions mandated by the ones who want to kill Medicare and replace it with more for-profit gouging).

          • Sparta of Phoenix AZ, USA

            Dude, notice you cited “Specialties”…That is key…A family physician or GP of any kind makes about 3 times less! In fact, most specialized nursed make more than a Family Medicine Doc, stop lumping them all in to the same camp! 

        • Gconran

          …totally agree with your assessments.  Not a doctor, here, but someone who has been doing a lot of reading on nutrition.  Unfortunately, even in a nanny state (where we are headed), the focus isn’t on proper nutrition, but on state-sponsored nutrition, which means the recommendations are still being controlled by big business via proxy.  Follow the money.  Who made the comment that “it’s easier to change a man’s religion than change his diet” was correct.  The only good news is that there are lot of people finding that lifestyle dietary approaches (like being a raw vegan) do more good than harm.  It will take a lot more time, though, and in the meantime, we have to deal with the broken system/government.  Like attorneys, and accountants, there will always be ‘work’ for folks with education and training.  But it’s not as rewarding, meaningful, or exciting as it’s made out to be on TV.

        • RN2

          You are right. As ‘altrustic’ as we all want doctors to be, whatever profession you are in you expect to be compensated in proportion to what you put into the educational process, the liability, the skill and the work load. Doctors who were educated up to about the 70s or early 80s were your A+ students, the ones with the 4.0 averages and the 1400 SAT scores. Now, there is a lot of talk about how low a score you can get on the MCATs and still get into medical school because the top graduates are going into administration, law, engineering and more and more of the med school applicants are from that sector a notch or two down, who are less ambitious, happy to be hired by some hospital to pay them a salary so that they can have more free time. Where the squeeze comes in is that the medical education debt does not go away, so even these applicants are thinking – ‘Do I want to carry hundreds of thousands of debt into my 30s or 40s?’. This is an interesting blog, but a more interesting blog is one i read where people talk about why they are walking away from either medical school or medicine. And the only way to supplement that drain is to fill your spots and your residency programs with foreign medical graduates and hope that their training was as good as US medical training which – odd enough – is still the best in the world.

        • Sparta of Phoenix AZ, USA

          “Unfortunately, there is little at present to entice students in that direction except the most altruistic.”

          Hardly my friend…It is the rare exception that one still gets into medicine because of altruism. They either go in wanting money and prestige or by the end of it when looking at their loans grow. All about money and prestige…Patient comes second…

      • Minhzot

        You have no idea that amount of sacrifice that is needed to get that MD. It’s one of the most specialized and highly trained professions in the world. You don’t just stop one day and say “Hey, I want to be a doctor”. I’m not even asking for much in return – just want to be able to pay off my student loan. I don’t think that’s much to ask considering I put in 4 hard years in undergrad, 1 years of masters, and 4 years of medical school. 

        -Medical student. 

      • Btburks

        It has very little to do with the economy RS, look at it this way. We work a ton of hours, get paid what the government thinks we should and its to the point where many of us are going to refuse medicaid/medicare patients because we lose money. Show me a business that is forced to lose money by the government and I will show you one that isn’t going to be around long. Go to a mechanic and tell him you want him/her to work on your car for free and oh, by the way, not only are they going to work on the car for free but they are going to suppy the parts for free also. You are as ignorant and naive as the politicians who think they can succeed in this.

      • Jimschlichting

        Rs your job doesn’t deal with life and death and MALPRACTICE. 30 million more patients and fewer men and women wanting to deal with the odds, wait when you need an MRI, it will just that WAIT IN LINE.

    • gnchamp

      To the defense of the writer of this article; this was about medical school admissions and not the stark realities of actually practicing medicine.  They offered statistics and some light suggestions about how the amount of people applying for medical school is increasing disproportionately to the amount of medical school seats available.

      I believe there is no one else I would rather ask about how tough it is to get into medical school than a recently matriculated medical student.  The process is fresh in their minds and, alas, they got in.

      As for me, I too am a practicing physician and find myself hard-pressed to believe you are having difficulty ‘making ends meet’ when you work 80+ hours per week and driving an economical automobile.  Also, using the same EMR system for 14 months and not improving your documentation time/efficiency is probably not the fault of the EMR moreso than the user. 

      And as thought-provoking as your response may be, the only thoughts provoked in me are that you must have more than enough free time on your hands to write up that response because if you’re having trouble utilizing EMR, your typing skills couldn’t possibly be all that great.  Either that or you’re not a doc.  I would never tell anyone to “do something else,” let alone my son.  That is, unless, I was unqualified to perform my duties adequately to the point where I would struggle EVERY day and could see no way that anyone else would make it through such a miserable existance… which is hardly the case.  Good luck.

      • Food doc

        I am a 4th year veterinary students and the average acceptance rate at a US vet school is about 15% and our debt is as large as medical students. We also have to be proficient at treating a multiple of species that can’t speak to us and a multiple of clients that often have no idea how to take care of a pet. I love my profession and didn’t choose to go into it for the money. There are more important things in the world to be concerned about like why it is cheaper for a family of four to eat at McDonald’s than to go to a supermarket and buy groceries to prepare a healthy meal!

    • Ron_inmd

      I’m sure Doctor, you stated the typical patient and your situation!

    • g2008

       Here is another example of the stupidity we face. As workers we just had the % of a paycheck that goes to Medicare increased. Meanwhile you can find hospitals doing $100 million remodelings that include the atrium and physicians’ dining room, among other items. Why do they spend the money? “If we want the docs to bring patients  here, we need to compete for them”. And what does Congress propose for the current deficit. Just tell workers that they will have to wait a year longer for qualify for Medicare. So many workers will go another year without any insurance. And the providers are saying Medicare doesn’t pay them enough so unless rates go up, they may stop taking Medicare.After all they need to cover the cost of the new atrium. So we have the largest economy in the world, we pay by far the biggest share of the economy to healthcare, and as workers what do we face? More out of our paycheck for Medicare, longer waits until coverage by Medicare, possible cuts in service to Medicare providers.  And the guys who are wasting the money are telling us how bad it is because maybe right after surgery a patient might go to KFC and  trigger a response, and the physician won’t get paid 100% of their money. I suppose that has maybe even happened sometime. Life is tough for everybody, isn’t it.

    • Anonymous

      Uh doc, I don’t think Marlboros come unfiltered.  But I agree with the rest of what you said.  Try making a living seeing geriatric patients exclusively.

    • mrbommer

      All Marlboros are filtered. That is true. All kidding aside, our entire way of life has been and continues to be suffocated by bureaucrats, not enforcing unenforceable, poorly written, specious legislation, created by the well intentioned cretin. It began to exponentiate with the Great Society. Once a union bureaucrat’s job is done, well, it’s never done. It continues ad infinitum, or perhaps until the Sun becomes a white dwarf.

    • seadoc

      Beautifully written and tragically true. I, as a physician, am not as altruistic, and left the world of medicine… Cost/benefit analysis steered me to move on and out of pediatrics… Soon, patients will be seen by Nurse Practitioners – not MD’s…

      • Mairead

        Strange though you might think it, the best care -by a long chalk- I received in the past 30+ years came from an NP and a PA. Would that they were practicing where I now live.

    • ferrarimom

      You are hardly qualified.

  • Alex Macnow

    Again, always good to hear multiple sides of this issue.

    As I mentioned, students planning on going into medicine for the pay should analyze their motivations for medicine and if this truly is the right career for them.  Indeed, all students should recognize what motivates them to join this challenging but rewarding career.

    We are at a critical time in healthcare.  Regardless of your political affiliation, you likely recognize that our healthcare system needs significant improvement — for patients, for physicians, and for all other staff involved in patient care.

    As someone just coming out of medical school, who could be more interested in the future of medicine and how to make the system work to benefit all parties more than me and the other thousands of students graduating from medical school this year?

    If your passion to practice medicine persists — to save lives, motivate changes for well-being, and even be involved in this ever-progressing change towards healthcare improvements, then you’re in the right place.  As a student, you must have an interest in the changes in healthcare and why they’re occurring, rather than being immediately deterred by this change.

  • Karen M. Rozier

    My son was born 15 weeks prematurely. 75% of his brain was badly damaged, he had an open patent ductus, retinopathy of prematurity, jaundice, etc, etc. He only weighed 744 grams and measured 12 inches.

    I used to be a rocket scientist for the Navy. I have several advanced degrees, including one from Harvard University. My husband is also quite learned — two architectural degrees. We had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO.

    Thankfully there was a team of doctors that did know what to do. Please send your children into medicine. The world needs many more doctors and no more rocket scientists.

    Petition | Boy Scouts of America: Award my son the National Medal of Heroism that he deserves. |

    • Jim Lou


      Your story is exactly why there is a need for doctors.

      Too many doctors are overwhelmed by the required paperwork. That is a sad fact of life. Too many doctors are leaving the profession, which is a pity. 

      Unfortunately, too many people blame ObamaCare. Obamacare wanted to have readily accessible medical records so that patients could go to any doctor and have their records available.

      Unfortunately, ObamaCare as it is today is just a compromise. The insurance companies have no incentive except for profit, which they want to maximize. Medicare and Medicaid are also victims of the need to minimize payments. This has resulted in fewer doctors accepting any insurance at all.

      • Vichammer

        Obamacare has nothing to do with the current state of medicine

      • Anonymous

        Take the bumper sticker off your forehead Jimmy boy.

  • p

    There are now many more options in the medical field that include technology and informatics, this is in big demand as all hospitals will have to eventually have some sort of electrical medical record.  Proper planning and spending will help with debt.  Also, nothing worth earning comes easy, I will still respect a doctor over some fly by night, party brat pawning pharms they no nothing about, but their suit sure looks nice.  We want to see more American born doctors.  Don’t allow outsiders to waltz in with their foreign money be at your bedside when you are in your seventies.  I want more Americans in the field.  The journey in medical school will be worth it, and know you will be respected for life.  Do some teaching, public speaking, to carve down your loans.  Best to all of you; mom of future surgeon, born in the USA. Go USA,, we are the Best!

    • axima

      P, I think you are a racist! Most of our great doctors were not born in the USA, but they do an excellent jobs treating patients.

      • Anonymous

        Calling a patriotic American mother a racist simply because she wants to see more American citizens become doctors has nothing to do with foreign born qualifications. Just self serving foreigners helping themselves to a piece of the American Pie. The mother has a right to support the USA. She’s paid for it with her hard earned dollars and the high cost of liability insurance has gone up exponentially with the increase of immigrant doctors.

    • Anon

      Foreign med grads take the jobs in locations where surgeons like your American-trained son do not want to serve, like poor inner city and rural towns.  Oftentimes, FMGs are smarter, more experienced and understanding towards patients than American med school grads.   

  • Jim Lou

    What your statistics don’t reflect is the new medical schools that have started and have classes.

    It doesn’t also reflect the fact that some medical schools have started to increase the size of their classes.

    • Alex Macnow

      Thanks for the comments.  The statistics above do reflect the change in number and size of medical school classes across the country — notice the increase in matriculants over that time (most of which is due to this establishment of additional medical schools, with a small contribution from schools that have grown their classes in recent years).

      • Alan S. Freemond, Sr. M.D.

        Are the new medical schools getting first rate faculties? I doubt it.

        I worked in Rome for a year. At the Eastman School of medicine in Rome there were 7500 students. We don’t want that. My shoe salesman in Rome was an MD!

        Talk about it being tough to get into medical school I entered in 1947. We were all back from the military. There were huge numbers of applicants.
        We need lots and lots of nurse practicioners.

        Never mind increasing the number of medical schools. How may Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Northwestern , Johns Hopkins , Duke, etc etc schools of medicine can we produce.


    • Elba

      There have been new medical colleges (Touro, etc ,) which set out to launch medical schools in inner city areas with the thinking that medical students would remain in the area to practice. Unfortunately that model has never worked. Most medical students apply to schools they think they can get into and pick the best of their acceptances. They are a lot more likely to settle down where they do a residency or fellowship than where they have attended medical school. There are also other factors; settling near a spouses family, in a state that is better for doctors (CA and NJ, no; Texas, yes), or simply where they were offered a good job opportunity. 

  • Clinton McCool

    I find it interesting that no one has even mentioned the devastating effects Obamacare will have on the medical industry. If you think it’s bad now, this is going to get REAL ugly.
    Why anyone would want to become a doctor these days is beyond me.

  • Honey

    From my view as a patient, I am thankful for each and every English speaking physician who has the guts to take on the profession.  I have had too many doctors who needed someone to translate for them.  When I ask a very personal medical question, I do not like having a third party present.  One experience, they spoke to one another in their foreign language, glanced at me, and laughed.  I could only assume they were talking about me.  Not only was it rude, it made me not ask any more questions that I really needed answered.  I checked where the doctor attended medical school and found it was not in the USA.  He might be a genius, but if I cannot understand him … I don’t want him as my cardiologist.       

  • Anonymous

    Fascinating comments.  My spouse is a physician/computer expert and I have taught Physicians both ethics and risk management AKA avoiding malpractice litigation by not killing patients. Physicians are very good people and I value not only my spouse but all our treating physicians.    I offer the following thoughts:
    1) Physicians have ALWAYS complained etc about medical record keeping. But from the time of Ramazzini  of Padua it has been recognized that medicine advances primarily  by careful medical record keeping to support therapies.  Medical anecdotes kill people
    2) Physicians have  complained about Health insurance reimbursement since it was introduced by Bismarck.  They want the respect accorded to a profession while having the income of a successful business. But the business side of medicine is no different from running an auto body shop. 
    3) Corruption, kickbacks and self dealing are a major part of the frictional cost of health care.  EG That CT scanner or Open MRI NEEDS patients .   
    4)  Health care induced injuries and diseases are so common they have their own name. 
    cf Iatrogenic Disease.    See To Err is Human from the Institute of Medicine.  Some are malpractice, some are not.  Some are litigated, some are not.  My father in law was killed and my sister crippled by iatrogenic diseases.  Primum Non Nocere

    Patients and physicians both have unreasonable expectations. Both need to work harder at real health.

    Institute of Medicine.

    To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.

    Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.

    Read more:

    Institute of Medicine.

    To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.

    Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.

    Read more:

  • 1234

    In response to the question of why specialists make more than primary care physicians.  Consider this:

    How much would you pay to have Lasik eye surgery? Procedure takes about 20 minutes.  Two or three follow up visits after surgery take a combined total of less than 30 minutes of doctors time.  So total time with docotor less than 1 hour.  People pay anywhere from 1500-5000 dollars cash.

    How much would you pay to spend 1 hour with your primary care physician to discuss your health for a yearly visit? 

    You just can’t compare procedural specialties with primary care medicine.  They are not even close.

  • Anonymous

    I majored in Mechanical Engineering in college and found that to most of my classmates, a 3.2 GPA was considered excellent.  I always thought the pre-med kids were rock stars for getting stratospheric GPAs, until I sat in on a pre-Med Calc class. Calculus for Engineers vs. Bio majors is  much, much harder.  This is an anecdote, I know, but its a symptom of a broader issue – an Engineering major, who might be just as competent in science as a bio major, cannot get into med school due to grade inflation. How do medical schools address this?  In my experience, they seem to dismiss this point.  I’ve seen very few Engineering undergrads pursue Medicine and this seems like a huge loss of talent.

    • Alex Macnow

      While I certainly can’t speak for every undergrad institution or medical school in the country, the difficulty of a student’s courseload is considered in the medical school admissions process.  Schools release information to medical schools about the grading scheme they use (and how students fare in each class), and medical schools recognize that the amount of work required in different majors may vary.  (Although I will include the fact here that EVERY major is difficult.  And they ALL require a lot of work.  Even as a musicology major, I had to put in the same long hours as an engineer — only they were devoted to composition and analysis, memorization of hundreds of musical pieces, performance, training and rehearsals).

      That being said, engineers are welcome in medical schools.  I cannot cite statistics here, but — anecdotally — I have seen MANY applicants and MANY accepted students who were engineers of various sorts in undergrad.

    • Anon

      news360, I completely agree with you and this ridiculous practice of emphasizing GPA and grades has highly contributed to lack of innovation and progress in medicine. 

      Not only did I take those advanced science classes to challenge myself in college, I also had to work part to full time to pay for living expenses.  Even though I had a much lower GPA, I can tell you that no typical pre-med student like you described would have done half as well or flunked out completely.

      They got into medical school and I got left behind.  Unfortunately, you have to play the admissions game if you plan to attend med school and make sure that you get a high GPA, etc. to fit into that generic mold.  All else be damned.  It’s all about what they want you to do, not what you want to do, in order to gain entrance into their “elite” profession. 

      For others like me who don’t want to sacrifice their principles to get into medicine, there are plenty of other ways to gain entrance.  You will just have to struggle a lot more, but don’t give up.  You’ll be a better person for it in the end and they will be stuck with an overabundance of average doctors who only did it for the money and don’t even like it.

  • Jeburciaga

    I’m concerned about a recent news item that there may not be enough physicians in the not too distant future.Is that true, and what would it mean for health care and its delivery?

    • Alex Macnow

      Many predictions show that there will likely be a physician shortage in the United States without a significant intervention.  Programs to incentivize students to go to medical school (such as loan resorption programs for working in an underserved area) may help somewhat, but it is clear that a more efficient delivery system and an increased involvement of non-physician medical personnel will likely be a part of the future of healthcare.

  • Anonymous

    One additional piece of advice:

    While awaiting your acceptance letter from medical school, do yourself two huge favors:

    1.  Read a few pages on the Medical Miscreant website

    2.  Get yourself a copy of “America’s Dumbest Doctors” from Amazon books.

    Then, once you graduate and don your crisp white lab coat, do everything in your power to keep from being named either on the website, or in future editions of the book.

  • Jimschlichting

    With the new Obama health care program, how will it affect wanting to become a doctor?

  • John22345

    Why is it that American medschools take relatively few applicants, yet a significant number of foreign medical graduates get a residency each year?

    • Anon

      Maybe a reason why a lot of foreign med grads get accepted each year is because they don’t whine as much as you?  Just a guess.

  • M Dickinson

    I have worked in healthcare settings for my whole career (37 years). I wish medical schools could find a way to teach common-sense. Many physicians have led such sheltered and tunnel-visioned lives that they have no concept of human nature or common sense.

  • Ginnynewman

    Rude awakening No. 52:  People pay their way in.  In the late 90s, I learned that a Boston Medical School would encourage foreign applicants to make $30-50k donations to increase their chances. 

  • noobama

    obamacare will ruin medicine for doctor – patient realations-and there won’t be enough doctors practicing in the future-who wants to work hard to go to medical school for less money (thanks to obamacare and the stimulus package) and work now for the government socialized medicine! The White House and the Senate should stay out of medicine. Medicene is not the job of the future anymore. 

  • Roy Combs

    Medical management push for max $///

  • Matthew Sailhardy

    Does Obama care do anything to help the poor attend medical school? Does it level the playing field, or is it steering us to less well educated practitioners as a means of “leveling the playing field.”

  • Dylan

    I just graduated from residency in internal medicine. I have a reasonable 56K in debt and drive a used BMW. I joined a large primary care practice that owns a building and rents out 3/4 to other MD groups and a small accounting firm. I love it so far.

    The best part is all the hot reps that come around. As a single guy, Ive plugged a few holes in my social agenda.

  • ferrarimom

    I don’t believe creedwait is a doctor. Just another Obama hater and bitter Republican As a dual citizen with many years of experience living and working in the US and the EU, I have no pity for creedwait and his/her sympathizers. creedwait obviously didn’t do his/her homework before becoming a doctor, if he/she is really one. The US health care system is disfunction, disorganized, and clearly geared toward profit above all else. As a patient and victim of the US system I can tell you that the care I have received in many EU member countries is faster, safer, and cheaper. Plus my records are centralized.

  • norma fay

    I currently attend one of the foreign
    . I feel UMHS in St. Kitts really helps to prepare you for your career. They have excellent results, and will help to remedy this shortage.

  • MiddleAgedDoc

    Perspective is everything. I am an internal medicine specialist who needed to go into some debt ($150k after interest and deferments) in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s to finance my medical education. While I sympathize with many MD’s, the fact is that we are still in the upper echelon of salary earners and no one really cares to hear us bitch about our decreased reimbursement. Yes, EMR’s and insurance/gov’t regulation is a pain in the ass and burdensome but what other profession doesn’t have to deal with regulation? Some of my patients have had their whole industry/occupations replaced by technology and change. The fact is that docs in the 60’s-80’s had a pretty good run and a small percentage of them are responsible for the increased regulation now. I still make a very comfortable six figure salary, control my own hours, and can’t think of anything I would rather do than take care of people–no amount of widget selling, numbers crunching or other bullshit service can compare to being a doctor. Two of my kids are considering medicine and I support them; will it be different, more regulated and likely less lucrative? Yes, but being able to provide a highly specialized, valuable service which requires advanced training will always be profitable and successful–I did encourage them to get a significant amount of business training and public health instruction to succeed in the new world of medicine. I thought this was a good lesson for them–“Adapt or die.” I plan to slowly cut down on my office hours but stay engaged and then hand things off to a younger doctor, maybe one of my sons. Medicine is still the greatest profession. And I’m too old to be considered naive anymore.
    “Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin'”

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