Why Getting an MD is More Challenging Than Ever: The Numbers Tell the Story
Is it more difficult to get into a U.S. or Canadian medical school today than in years past? The numbers suggest that may be the case.
Projections of a looming U.S. physician shortage that were made over a decade ago led to the construction of new medical schools and an increase in class sizes at existing schools. As a result, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, actual enrollment has grown 30 percent since 2002. But in that same time period, applications to medical schools increased by nearly double that (57.7 percent) making the actual admissions process more competitive.
In a recent report, US News and World Report noted that the competition is particularly strong in primary care programs: the average number of applicants at the top 10 primary care programs more than doubled between 2006 and 2016: from 3,273 applicants to 7,175. Because available seats did not grow by nearly that amount, the acceptance rate fell from 8.8 percent to 4.6 percent.
Not only are there more people looking to enter medicine, each applicant is applying to more schools: the typical applicant in 2016-17 sent in 16 applications. For U.S. medical school admissions departments, that means more than 800,000 applications. The situation is similar in Canada.
The increasingly intense competition for medical school seats is a key reason why international schools, such as Saba University School of Medicine, are an increasingly attractive option.
Originally founded as an alternative for qualified U.S. and Canadians, over its 25 year history Saba has become known for its academic excellence, reflected in the near perfect 99% first-time pass rate Saba students achieve on the USMLE, and its outstanding track record of residency placement in both the U.S. and Canada.
In addition, because Saba is one of the few international schools to have earned all the necessary approvals and accreditations, graduates of Saba are eligible to practice medicine in Canada and all 50 U.S states.