Medical School Admissions Responding To Our Changing Healthcare Landscape

medical school admissions

Medical school admissions officers are adjusting their expectations of medical school applicants in response to the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Medical schools seeking to reduce the current and projected shortage of primary care providers are changing the way they select applicants, meaning that the next generation of prospective medical students must think differently than students did in the past.

Competition is increasing

The increase in applicants to U.S. medical schools shows no signs of slowing. Larger applicant pools means more competition. Transcripts and MCAT scores are up, and the average GPA for all applicants from 2015 was nearly 3.55. Competing with nearly 50,000 applicants lessens the chance for an average student to be admitted. When asked about competition, 60 percent of admissions officers reported that admission is more competitive than just five years ago.

Primary care is the future

More and more medical schools are looking for different ways to identify students committed to primary care over happier and higher paying specialties. Primary care is the primary focus of medical programs and will increase over the next decade, so students who can convince admissions committee members they are serious about primary care – through their volunteer work at clinics, for example, will gain an advantage in the screening process.

More applicants are selected based on the Holistic Review

The Holistic Review is AAMC’s flexible, individualized way of assessing an applicant’s capabilities based not only on academics but on life experiences, personal attributes, and non-science activities. The doctors of tomorrow are what schools are intensely searching for: well-rounded individuals who can relate to people. In recent years, more students with undergraduate degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences are granted U.S Medical school acceptance than ever before!

Three-year medical degrees

Resulting from higher medical education costs, and limited available residency programs, making them extremely hard to find, expect to see more medical schools offering a three-year medical degree with condensed courses so that students can graduate a year earlier. Accelerated programs will be especially valuable in attracting students into choosing primary care. Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine and Texas Tech University School of Medicine are the first to do it. Other schools are currently experimenting with a three-year program for select students.

See for yourself in The New Medical School Preparation & Admissions Guide, 2016

Joseph Bryant
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