Getting an MD is More Challenging Than Ever: The Numbers Tell the Story

Getting into medical school has always been a challenge. But there is growing data to suggest that it is more difficult than ever.

While class sizes at U.S. medical schools have grown in recent years—and new schools have opened—it has not been enough to keep pace with the increase in the number of applicants.

According to a recent US News and World Report (citing data from the Association of American Medical Colleges--AAMC) between 2006 and 2016, the number of applicants to U.S. medical schools increased by more than 35 percent, rising from 39,108 to 53,042.

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 for the class entering in 2006 to 7,175 applicants for the class entering in 2016. Because available seats did not grow by nearly that amount, the acceptance rate fell from 8.8 percent to 4.6 percent.

There are not only more people seeking to become physicians, each applicant is applying to more schools: the typical applicant in 2016-17 sent in 16 applications resulting in a whopping 830,016 submissions.

While the AAMC data is for U.S. schools, the situation in Canada is similar.

The increasingly intense competition for medical school seats at allopathic institutions is a key reason why a few select international schools such as Medical University of the Americas, which have secured the full set of US approvals and accreditations (and are approved to participate in U.S. Federal Student Aid program) are an attractive option.


Get in touch for more information

Latest blogs

How to Succeed in Medical School

Careers and residencies

One of the most important things you can do in medical school is to learn how to study efficiently. You will have a lot of coursework and material.

Read more
Tips for succeeding in medical school

A guide to writing a medical school personal statement

Careers and residencies

If you are like most prospective medical students, you would have spent a significant part of your life preparing to submit a personal statement.

Read more
How to write a personal statement for medical school?

How to get a successful residency match

Student life Careers and residencies

Residency placements are decided during the match process on what is referred to as ‘Match Day’ and mark an important point for every medical student

Read more
Residency Match

MUA at ICEF Dubai 2022

Business and industry insights

On Monday 7 to Thursday 10 February, MUA participated at ICEF Dubai 2022, to further elevate their commitment to growth and expansion.

Read more
MUA at ICEF Dubai 2022

What is hematology and what does a hematologist do?

Careers and residencies

Hematologists are internal medicine doctors who specialize in disorders related to blood and the lymphatic system.

Read more
What does a hematologist do?

How to become an Endocrinologist?

Careers and residencies

Endocrinology is the study of hormonal glands and the diseases and disorders that affect them.

Read more
How to become an endocrinologist?

How to become a pediatrician?

Careers and residencies

Discover pediatric medicine and how to become a pediatrician, with average salary information and how you can start your pediatric medicine journey

Read more
What is a pediatrician?

How to become a psychiatrist?

Careers and residencies

Learn about the critical role of psychiatrists, as well as how long it takes to become one and average salary data for psychiatrists in the US.

Read more
What is a psychiatrist and how do they differ from psychologists?

How to become an ER doctor

Careers and residencies

If you are thinking about a career in emergency medicine, MUA’s guide can help you make a decision.

Read more
How to become an emergency medicine doctor?

How to become a sports medicine doctor?

Careers and residencies

Sports medicine physicians treat sports related injuries in both athletes and nonathletes.

Read more
How to become a sports medicine physician?

How to prepare for your residency interview

Careers and residencies

Are you preparing for your residency interview? Read MUA’s guide on how to prepare and what questions to ask.

Read more
How to prepare for your residency interview?

What is a vascular surgeon?

Careers and residencies

If you are interested in vascular surgery and want to discover more about what a vascular surgeon does, MUA’s guide is here to answer your questions.

Read more
What is a vascular surgeon and what do they do?
Back to top