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Medical School Applicants, Enrollment Reach All-time Highs

Gains Increase Urgency to Lift Federal Cap on Residency Training Positions

Washington, D.C., October 24, 2013—A record number of students applied to and enrolled in the nation’s medical schools in 2013, according to data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).

The total number of applicants to medical school grew by 6.1 percent to 48,014, surpassing the previous record set in 1996 by 1,049 students. First-time applicants, another important indicator of interest in medicine, increased by 5.8 percent to 35,727. The number of students enrolled in their first year of medical school exceeded 20,000 for the first time (20,055), a 2.8 percent increase over 2012.

“At a time when the nation faces a shortage of more than 90,000 doctors by the end of the decade and millions are gaining access to health insurance, we are very glad that more students than ever want to become physicians. However, unless Congress lifts the 16-year-old cap on federal support for residency training, we will still face a shortfall of physicians across dozens of specialties,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. “Students are doing their part by applying to medical school in record numbers. Medical schools are doing their part by expanding enrollment. Now Congress needs to do its part and act without delay to expand residency training to ensure that everyone who needs a doctor has access to one.”

First-time Applicants, Total Applicants, and First-time Enrollees to U.S. Medical Schools, 2013  The overall growth in medical student enrollment can be attributed, in part, to the creation of new medical schools as well as existing schools’ efforts to expand their class sizes after the AAMC, in 2006, called for a 30 percent increase in enrollment to avert future doctor shortages. In 2013, 14 medical schools increased their class sizes by more than 10 percent. Four new medical schools welcomed their first classes this year, contributing to about half of the overall enrollment increase. Since 2002, medical schools have increased the number of first-year students by 21.6 percent. [click graphic to enlarge]

The diversity of students applying to and enrolling in medical school remained relatively steady, with two notable gains. The number of first-time female applicants increased by 1,102 or 6.9 percent, after remaining flat in 2012. The number of Hispanics/Latinos attending medical school continued to increase, rising by 5.5 percent to 1,826 enrollees.

Additional highlights:

  • As in past years, the total number of men and women applying to and enrolling in medical school is fairly equally split, with male enrollees accounting for approximately 53 percent and female enrollees accounting for 47 percent of the 2013 class. In addition to the increase in first-time female applicants, the total number of men applying to medical school increased 5.8 percent from 24,338 applicants in 2012 to 25,760 male applicants in 2013. 

  • The overall quality of this year’s application pool remained strong, with nearly three-quarters of applicants reporting research experience and two-thirds reporting voluntary community service. This year’s applicants reported an average undergraduate GPA of 3.54 and a combined median MCAT® score of 29.

Charts containing this year’s data are available in the right-hand sidebar.

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The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 128,000 faculty members, 75,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org/newsroom

Contact
Lesley Ward
Telephone: 202-828-0655
E-mail: lward@aamc.org

2013 Applicant Enrollment Data Charts


National Press Teleconference

AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., discusses 2013 medical school application data with members of the press.



The "Me" in GME

News and Perspectives from the AAMC's Chief Public Policy Officer


Previous Enrollment and Applicant Data Charts