Should Medical School Be This Competitive?


Something doesn’t seem right. On one hand, we have alarming statistics about
the physician shortage across the United States, and on the other hand, it’s incredibly difficult
to become a doctor. In fact, some of the more competitive medical
schools in the U.S. accept less than 4 percent of applicants. We need more doctors, but it’s so difficult
to become one. What gives, and what are the implications
for our future doctors? Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. Statistics from the Association of American
Medical Colleges, or AAMC, reveal a steady increase in the number of applicants to medical
school each year. In the 2018-2019 cycle alone, only 21,600
out of close to 53,000 applicants successfully matriculated. That’s a success rate of only 40%, meaning
most med school applicants fail to get accepted to any medical school. And the competition is getting stiff – the
average MCAT score of matriculants in this year compared to the previous year has increased
by close to a full point. The reason it’s becoming so competitive
is simply a matter of supply and demand. Younger generations are particularly eager
to pursue a career in medicine, as it allows for a positive impact on society, emphasis
on science, technology, and interpersonal connections. It allows for autonomy and critical thinking. It pays well too. Being a physician is a pretty great job. The 2018 AAMC Physician Supply and Demand
Report projects a total physician shortage between 43,000 and 121,000 physicians by 2030. That’s just 11 years away. And because it takes so long to train physicians,
we need to get started on addressing these issues sooner rather than later. Population growth and aging are the primary
drivers of increasing demand between 2016 and 2030. During this period, the U.S. population is
projected to grow by 11% from 324 million to 359 million. More specifically, the population under the
age of 18 is projected to grow only 3%, while the population over 65 will grow by 50%. And we all know that seniors have a much higher
per capita consumption of health care than younger generations. Given the medical school admissions statistics,
the problem seems obvious – open more positions in medical schools! But the situation is more complex than that. Since 2002, class sizes have risen by approximately
30%. More students are matriculating to medical
school than ever before. So what gives? The doctor shortage has multiple causes beyond
just medical school class sizes. One factor, for example, is the number of
U.S. doctors who are nearing retirement age. Another factor is that today’s doctors are
more eager to find work-life balance than their predecessors. Doctors from previous generations often chalk
this up to millennials being entitled and lazy, but I’d argue against that. In fact, if you want to see me compare medicine
in the old days versus modern day, including which parts are harder and easier in each,
let me know with a comment down below. It’s a topic I’m considering if there’s
enough interest for it. Certain regions have more severe doctor shortages
because physicians prefer to live in wealthy metropolitan areas with an abundance of highly
educated individuals like themselves. But it’s the low income areas, with less
educated populations, that are in the greatest need of physicians. Additionally, most medical schools are in
these metropolitan areas that already have plenty of physicians. And freshly trained doctors usually practice
close to where they went to school or close to their hometowns. But these factors all pale in comparison to
one. Arguably the most important and severe limitation
is the number of residency positions. It doesn’t matter how many fresh medical
school grads you’re minting if they aren’t able to complete their residency training and be board certified. This scarcity of U.S. residencies has created
a bottleneck in our doctor supply chain. Residency positions in the United States are
funded by Medicare. Therefore, to increase the number of practicing
doctors, you need to increase Medicare funding. Unfortunately, calls to increase Medicare
spending to fund new residency slots is usually met with deaf ears on both sides of the aisle. For that reason, funding hasn’t increased
since 1997. It’s ultimately in the hands of federal
legislators. However, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction
Act of 2019 proposes adding up to 15,000 new Medicare-funded residency positions over a
five year time span. It was introduced to the Senate earlier this
year, and in my opinion, would be a big step in the right direction. Everyone knows it’s incredibly competitive
to get into medical school, particularly one that is highly esteemed. But I don’t think it will always be to this
extreme. I mean, it will always be relatively competitive compared
to other professions, as it’s a great field. Not only are you intellectually stimulated
and helping patients, but you also have rock solid job security, a very high salary, prestige,
and professional flexibility. That being said, it’s far from perfect,
and the public perception of medicine will eventually catch up to the reality. Currently, society at large has rose tinted
glasses about what it means to be a physician – remnants of the golden age of medicine. The reality is less ideal. Physician burnout and suicide rates are at
an all time high, as are student loans, and physicians’ interests are being encroached
upon from multiple angles as we are notoriously bad at advocating for ourselves. I’m not trying to dissuade people from becoming
doctors, but I do think that out of all the students interested in becoming physicians,
some portion of them would be happier doing something else. If you’re unsure whether or not it’s a
good field for you, I’ve created a video specifically to answer that question. As a pre-med, its stressful and frustrating
that getting into medical school is so competitive. I get it. I was once in your shoes too. But as a patient or even a physician, you
want the medical school application process to be competitive. You want the best and brightest to become
doctors. Look at the significant hurdle of getting
into medical school as the first step in demonstrating your commitment to the field. Medical schools don’t design the application
process to be easy. Medical school is tough, and they need to
ensure those who are accepted can handle the rigorous course work and endure the challenging
clinical training. It’s in their best interest to identify
the top candidates who will ultimately thrive in medical school and become stellar physicians. Several years ago, having a high GPA and MCAT
was enough to open doors. Since then, things have changed. While these objective measurements are good
predictors of your USMLE Step 1 score, they’re not good predictors of whether or not you’ll
be a good physician. Being a physician is a multifaceted profession,
and personal strengths in addition to academic strengths are essential. Are you a leader? Have you demonstrated compassion? Are you resilient? A team player? Medical schools look to these questions to
evaluate you as a candidate. Most pre-meds focus on a checklist mentality
– I need to do some volunteering, some clinical exposure, a little bit of research, check,
check, check. Medical school admissions committees can see
right through this on your application and during the interview. Even with a top GPA and MCAT score, your chances
are slim if you fail to demonstrate your personality. Instead of a checklist mentality, I’m a
strong advocate of a narrative based application. Have you noticed that the average GPA and
MCAT at some top medical schools aren’t as high as you’d expect? Why isn’t every matriculant getting at least
a 90th percentile MCAT score? There are plenty of applicants with strong
numbers that lose spots to those with weaker numbers. And it’s because of the power of a strong narrative. What is your story to landing on the medical
profession? Why should our medical school pick you as
an applicant? Do you add value and diversity to the class
– a unique background, interests, or skills? Are you resilient and able to handle the arduous
training in medical school and beyond? These are some of the questions you should
be asking yourself while completing your application. And whatever you do, don’t make your personal
statement just a rehashed version of your CV. This is by far the most common mistake we
see applicants make and it significantly reduces the strength of your application. “I wanted to become a doctor because of
A, then I did clinical experience B and learned important lesson C. Then my research in X
taught me Y and now I’m going to focus on becoming Z, etc.” This is the checklist mentality in practice
and most students don’t even realize their essay comes off this way until we’ve shown
them. This is one of the many things we focus on
at Med School Insiders. We understand the importance of a narrative
based application over a checklist mentality because our team of physician advisors has
served on medical school and residency admissions committees. They know firsthand how to make an applicant
stand out and how to get them accepted. You can learn more about our pioneering approach
and why we have the highest satisfaction rates in the industry at MedSchoolInsiders.com/our-method/. The first 30 customers to sign up for our
services will receive $30 off their purchase using the coupon code COMPETITIVE2019. Link in the description below. If you’re applying to medical school this
year, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any video topic requests, let
me know down in the comments below. My priority is always providing you guys with
value and helping make the journey to becoming a doctor a little more manageable and a little
more fun. Make sure you’re subscribed with the notification
bell enabled, and I will see you guys in that next one.

100 thoughts on “Should Medical School Be This Competitive?

  1. You guys asked for it. Medicine in the old days vs medicine in the new days is happening. Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss it 😉

  2. You’re right. Something has to give with the residency position shortage crisis. I wrote an article called “a viable solution to our residency crisis” that I think solves the problem without having to beg congress for money.

    I’d love to hear feedback from this bright group of people about it.

  3. I'm a medical student in England and I think that the fact that it's so competitive and there is shortage of doctor, is what makes this profession so prestigious.

  4. This is not only is the US but all over the world a problem! But a place for a medical student cost more than 4 times that of nearly every other student! thats why there are not more places for new students!

  5. When I was a freshman in college in 2015, my pre-med advisor told me that I needed a 3.5 GPA and a 508 (74th percentile) on the MCAT to have a solid chance at medical school. Now if you want a solid chance at an MD school you need at least a 3.8 GPA and a 511 (83rd percentile) and a bunch a research with all the other ECs to get in. We need to create new medical schools in this country more quickly, lots of good applicants are being left out.

  6. I needed this exact video. For my capstone project I’m researching this exact topic (health professionals shortage). This helps so much I cannot even express how grateful I am to actually find this!

  7. Is there lessons, websites, youtube channes or even games that can help new student with chemistry?
    if anyone knows please share it with me.

  8. I live in Australia, but I’ve always wondered whether there is doctor shortages going on. Also it would be good to see the comparison in old medicine vs modern

  9. It is arbitrary how competitive medical school is. You could open more schools and increase residency positions. Problem solved. However, the shortage does keep wages artificially high for physicians. The shortage is hurting them in the long run with increasing autonomy among NP and PA.

  10. Info on that Bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/348/text
    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s348#
    18,000 Med Students go unplaced every year!
    It doesn't matter if you get into Med School if there aren't any places for you in residency.

  11. I agree with most of this video except for the whole "Narrative Application" part. The difference in, say, a 515 and a 519 really isn't that crazy. It's very good score vs. very good score. The real split is around the 505-510 range where no narrative will help you get in. You have to have the numbers to be considered.

  12. This is bullshit. As a patient, I don’t want the process to be so competitive that I am unable to find a doctor within a 25 mile radius of me because of this notion that doctors are somehow special and need to be geniuses with an IQ of 200.

    For many common ailments, check ups and other basic issues, a good enough doctor would suffice.

    If you want a fancy, Ivy league educated doc, then fine, go look for one. But creating a doctor shortage drives up medical costs and hurts patients especially poor or middle class ones.

  13. I finished my bachelors, took my MCAT, volunteered at hospitals, gained clinical experience working as a scribe and did research in a lab. After following your videos for several months I've finally decided against pursuing a career in medicine. I'm not going to apply to medical school, mostly because I think I'll make a bad doctor and won't be able to provide patients the care they deserve. Thank you for the insightful videos and helping me avoid a mistake that could one day cost the life of a human being.

  14. Im interested in hearing Medicine in the old days vs Medicine now. I watched a documentary on Netflix about how the Mayo clinic was started I feel as if the reason why Doctors have to learn so much about the body and work hands on is because of the Mayo brothers as well as trial and error from the ones who cane before us.

  15. Medicine pays well to some degree of due to the lack of spots available. If you oversaturated the market with doctors of all kinds then the salary would go down for many.

  16. People say it's great, but when you work with doctors they're always low on sleep and complaining about clinic.

  17. I got into medical school based on my grades and I think I would have done horrible on a test with the questions they're asking now – and I'd say I've done quite well. I understand medschool needs to be selective about who they accept, but I wonder if these questions to like 18-year olds really make sure the best people get in, are you really at that point at 18? I don't think grades are perfect either so I obviously do not have a solution…

  18. They should hire some of these retiring doctors to teach. They expect students to be athletes before they are even doctors, what a story.

  19. Residency is funded by Medicare. Increasing funding to Medicare costs all taxpayers significant money.

    I believe there needs to be a strong focus on "non-pofit" medical centers and hospitals to increase their contribution to residency funding and resident salaries. Residents are responsible for making hospitals, med centers and universities significant money when they cover shifts, assist in surgical procedures, order tests, admit patients etc etc etc. These tax exempt institutions are makings millions of dollars each year and in some circumstances as a direct result of resident work. Instead of burdening taxpayers with higher federal tax bills lets make non-profit medical entities contribute significantly to paying for the residents working for their hospitals. These non-profit centers are paying hospital administrators millions of dollars each year and are building multi-million dollar expansions, OR suites, and hospitals all the while avoiding paying federal or state taxes.

  20. Why rely on the government to fund residencies? Teaching hospitals need to find other avenues. Government is never responsive to market needs.

  21. There is more than enough doctors already, we dont need to create more supply, as salaries are already starting to come down. Just need to incentivize people to work in "crappy" parts of the country.

  22. Want to fix the doctor shortage? Pay primary doctors what they’re worth. The world has more than enough dermatologists

  23. Peace be to you! Thanks for covering this so thoroughly! Unfortunately, the Physician Assistant/Associate profession is starting to approach this paradigm (high GPA, GRE, etc.). I have seen a huge drop in Black male applicants over the years who hail from areas where they're mist needed ("da hood"). I lived, was trained, and work in these areas even after practicing medicine as a PA for almost 20 years. BTW, I'm glad you mentioned the paucity of Residencies, I didn't know about that; makes a big difference! Thanks again! 🤓❤👨🏾‍⚕️

  24. I like how you laid it out. I definitely agree with the meat of the video about why it's currently so competitive and what the issues are regarding the physician shortage, but I have a differing opinion on whether the application process should be as it is currently and whether it should be so competitive.

  25. Medical school competitive? R u kidding me? ANYONE can go to medical school. It's called the Caribbean. Seriously no joke. They take everyone body that comes in and interview everybody.

  26. Medicare is a disaster. People with Medicare are using more health care services than initially intended. The federal govt is spending money it doesn't have.

  27. Because we need good quality to produce good health provider. We have to improve good quality in health. Because we will face disruptive era 4 .0

  28. Maybe if we made it a little bit easier for nurses to get in med school? Then again we also have a shortage crisis 😅

  29. Great video but I disagree with the comment about the checklist mentality. People take that approach because it works. Most schools essentially have a checklist listed on their website. However, I agree the PS should not reflect that

  30. 2:24 is a total BS point.
    If you adjust for population growth, class sizes have only increased about 10%

  31. In 2019 in India, 1.6 million students appeared for the national exam for acceptance into the medical colleges competing for just under 60 thousand seats in total.

  32. I think it has to do with a lack of people that can actually become doctors. Also there are too many people that want to become doctors or try to become doctors.

  33. Dude you have no idea about India. Just search about Medical students and Medical College. When I joined my medical College in 2014 there were total 1100000 applicants for the exam out of which only 35-40000 were accepted. I don't know about the current numbers. And don't even talk about post graduation in India.

  34. Yess please do medicine old vs new. I’ve always been interested in learning about GP’s and Surgeons from the early 20th century!!

  35. Ridiculous admissions standards. Apparently you need to be Mother Teresa to get in nowadays in addition to good GPA or MCAT

  36. More on M.D. vs M.D./Ph.D.? Competitiveness, why people do M.D./Ph.D., which is right for people? Thank you! I enjoy all the videos!

  37. Can u please do a video on the most affordable med schools? Is it true that NYU med school offer free education?

  38. In India only 35,000 approx are selected from 1,500,000 aspirants …. sometimes some student do suside when they are not selected from 2-3 attempt later…😢😢😢😢

  39. Dude, I teared up a bit when you mentioned a “NARRATIVE” application. I’ll keep believing in the path I’m on!

  40. Great video! Anyway ,hi people i want to ask something, maybe some doctors can answer me ,what are your thoughts about this case of mine?
    I am twenty now and i was one of the best who did the exam and got into the uni of medicine last year and it was really easy for me ,but than i made a gap year to make up my minds clear bcs i wasn't sure that i want that for sure, and i prepared that exam in the last minute,do you guys thing that can cost me a lot in the future,so i saw there is nothing else that i am intersted in,also there was much bigger reason why i made a gap year and put my studies in a state of calm,i had to recover from some trauma and i need to become more self awere ,i used that option that u can use just once in your whole studies so i froze the year… so by the law i did not renew i just made a gap.
    P.S. i don't really care i already found that i want that i just hope it won't make my status so bad in the future , but i see that as not important that much if i have a knowladge ,nothing goes across that i hope..so i am starting this september and i can't wait ! Wish everyone to study what they are curios about!

  41. well, it should be competitive to keep the demand high and thus high salaries. even though med school is hard to get in. it is easy to get a job.
    Pharmacy is the opposite, easy to get in but harder to get a job. just look at the pharmacy profession and how it has gone down the drain.
    1. pharmacy schools are opening left and right and thus lowering standards= thus lowering the salary of a pharmacist, especially in retail ( 80% of jobs are in retail ( CVS/Wallgreens). it so hard to get a job as a pharmacist, especially as a new grad.
    2. If you think med school is cut-throat, I would say pharmacy is worse because if you do not have work experience nor the right network connections, you will be unemployed.

  42. Hey I have a question
    I'm a teen of 14 years and I really wish to be a doctor and I know I can but I'm not sure how to start since I've always been told the earlier the better. What should I learn or know before I achieve my goal?

  43. Study medical on your own. Its not in best interest of society to have so few doctors being brain washed by a few. Don't let them tell you who you are.

  44. DO IT DR. JUBBAL! Do the video on comparing medicine in the old days versus now. I mean pre-2008 we weren't getting patients on Extracorporeal Life Support out of bed and ambulating the unit. A big deal in the old days was being intubated and on a ventilator. That's an easy patient in today's ICU compared to someone with a Bi-ventricular assist device who is suffering from "right heart failure" and is waiting on the wait list for a heart transplant (NY IA only and pretty much impossible to get).

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