Medicine offers attractive and prestigious careers. Entrance to the field requires completion of medical school (which typically takes four years beyond undergraduate work) plus three to seven years of residency; limits on the numbers of students admitted foster competition for enrollment. Good grades alone never guarantee admission to medical school but poor ones preclude it. Students who are truly motivated toward a career in medicine seek to achieve; they energize their study habits into actual performance, and direct their energies toward desired outcomes to succeed in attaining their goals. Such students do not merely talk about their career - they work to achieve it. Seventy percent of United States medical schools have 2000 or more applicants per year; the average number of applications submitted per applicant is fourteen. In 2011, 19,230 individuals matriculated at U.S. medical schools, out of 20,176 accepted from a total applicant pool of 43,919.
There are 137 allopathic medical schools in the United States. About 50% of current medical students are women. Numbers of graduates from racial and ethnic minorities have been nearly stable in recent years. The Census Bureau currently estimates the percentage of underrepresented minorities in the nation's population to be 19.4%, yet only about 10% of all current medical students are from underrepresented minorities and only 2.5% of the nation's M.D.'s are black.
Costs for attending medical school range widely; one year's tuition and fees for an out-of-state student at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is $82,108 but in-state residents seeking an M.D. from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University paid only $12,644 in 2011. For the 2011 graduating medical class, the average educational indebtedness for those in debt (86% of the class) was $162,000. Due to state regulations and funding patterns, applicants are most likely to be admitted to medical schools in their state of residence. In 2011, 62% of first year medical students entered schools within their own state of residence. Incomes of physicians are in the upper decile of all incomes in the United States, with a median annual income of $166,400 for all physicians
Competency-Based Medical Education will be introduced throughout American medical schools by the year 2020. Pre-medical students will have their first encounter with this initiative with the revised Medical College Admissions Test that will be introduced in 2015 (search MCAT2015 or MR5 at http://www.aamc.org). The revised MCAT addresses concerns that were described in Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (search SFFP at http://www.hhmi.org) and Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians (search this title at http://www.aamc.org). These reports describe a pathway to competency-based admissions for medical school. Students should view the admissions process not as a checklist of tasks to be completed but as a demonstration of a core set of entry-level competencies needed to succeed in medical school, residency and in practice. Those aspiring to a career in medicine should recognize that it is not a profession, it is a lifestyle.
There are obvious differences in location, size, cost, facilities, philosophy, curricular design, faculty, and residency placement of the medical schools in the United States. The competitive candidate must be inquisitive enough to investigate the differences. A good place to start your explorations is the book "MSAR:Getting Started", which is updated annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Section for Publication Orders, 2450 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037-1127; phone 202-828-0400; homepage http://www.aamc.org/publications. The cost is $12.99 plus shipping, and it is well worth the investment. The homepage for the AAMC contains a large amount of information of interest to pre-medical students. Other organizations whose homepages may be of value are the following: American Academy of Family Physicians, http://www.aafp.org; the American Medical Association, http://www.ama-assn.org; American College of Sports Medicine, http://www.acsm.org; the American Medical Student Association, http://www.amsa.org, Rural Medical Education, http://www.ruralmedicaleducation.org. Dr. Dan Schadler (email@example.com) is the pre-med advisor at Oglethorpe University and is prepared to assist you.