How Many People Get Into Medical School?

April 9, 2015
Emily Hause

Medical School Test Takers, Applicants, and Matriculants





Hello my med-school hopeful readers! Today I’d like to talk about a question you may be wondering: “how many people get into medical school?”

Getting accepted is the first key to unlocking the “good life” through a career in medicine, so let’s discuss the recent admissions stats in detail.


Medical School by the Numbers

According to the AAMC, in 2013, over 48,000 people applied to medical school in the U.S., which was a record number! Of those nearly fifty thousand applicants, just over 20,000 (20,055) of them matriculated into their first year of medical school. This is the first year that medical school matriculations topped 20,000! Fortunately for you hopeful applicants, medical schools continue to add spots to meet demand for future physicians.

Fun Medical School Application Facts:

  • The application pool is nearly evenly split between males (53%) and females (47%).
  • Most applicants report backgrounds with research and/or community service, which is pretty typical.
  • In the past twenty or so years, medical school first-year enrollments have increased by almost 22%!

Okay so, less than half of applicants end up matriculating in a given cycle. What does that mean for you as a future applicant? Well, the same AAMC report states that the average applicant in 2013 had an undergraduate GPA of 3.54 and a median MCAT score of 29.


Should You Focus on Your GPA, the MCAT, or Both?

If you’re early in your undergraduate career, focusing on your GPA to get it above the average is a great start. You want to build a solid foundation for your application and, more importantly, your knowledge base when you start medical school. Keep the MCAT in the back of your mind, but focus on your undergrad classes for the first two years.

If you’re later in your undergraduate career, say Junior or Senior year, or even graduated, the MCAT is where you want to focus your energy. That doesn’t mean you can neglect your undergrad classes, but your GPA is less mobile at this point. That means the MCAT is one of the major admission factors, which you can impact to improve your application. The average applicant may have an MCAT score of 29, however the average matriculant score is closer to 31. What that means is, every MCAT point counts!


New Medical School Options

In the next two years, we can expect seven new medical schools to open in the United States in Washington, Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Oregon. What’s even more interesting is that all of these programs are Osteopathic Medical Schools, which reflects on the growing popularity of these programs. Often, pre medical students forget that both M.D. (allopathically trained) and D.O. (osteopathically trained) physicians are licensed in the United States, and with the shift towards more primary care physicians, the osteopathic path is a natural fit since historically, the majority of its graduates practice as a primary care physician.

But the news gets even better! Currently, there are 23 schools throughout the United States that are forming and awaiting accreditation and the split is about 50/50 between M.D. granting and D.O. granting programs. So the opportunities to study medicine in the U.S. will continue to be on the rise for current undergraduates. Be sure to explore all of your options, so you find the right fit!

Kaplan can help you achieve your MCAT goals, guiding you toward a successful medical school application and a career in medicine.  Each point that you increase on the MCAT moves you past thousands of other applicants and moving towards your true goal of becoming a physician and living your version of the “good life”!


We want to hear from you!Tell us what the good life means to you in the comments section, on Facebook, and on Twitter using #kaplangoodlife. We may share your story in an upcoming post. Then stay tuned for more articles to get you inspired!

Visit to see what the good life has in store.

Happy studying!

Emily Hause

Emily Hause Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over six years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a second-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.

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