First-time med school applicants down

As first reported by Modern Healthcare's Daily Dose newsletter, enrollment figures may be up, but the number of first-time applicants to U.S. medical schools declined slightly this year, according to new data released by the Association of American Medical Colleges. This obviously could impact recruitment of physicians in the future.

First-year enrollment at the nation’s medical schools in 2008 increased nearly 2% over 2007 to more than 18,000 students, the highest enrollment in history, the AAMC reported. Various ethnic groups helped boost this figure, with the number of Latino and Native American first-year enrollees increasing by more than 10% and 5%, respectively.

The AAMC reports that more than 42,200 applied to medical schools in 2008. While the overall applicant pool is one of the largest in more than a decade, “the number of first-time applicants decreased by 3%,” the association reported. On average, there were more than two applicants for every available opening at a medical school.

“In a time of great economic uncertainty, interest in the healing profession of medicine remains stable,” said AAMC President and Chief Executive Officer Darrell Kirch, summarizing the results in a written statement.

According to the AAMC, applicants to medical school this year were among the most academically qualified in history. There was also an increase in the number of applicants who had community service experience and medical research experience on their premedical resumes.

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