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November 20, 1972

Too Many Medical School Applicants

JAMA. 1972;222(8):1051-1052. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210080131024

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This fall more than 13,000 students entered US medical schools. Another 23,500 persons who had applied were not admitted. Many of the rejected applicants had excellent, some even superior, qualifications. The harsh reality is that, despite the addition of more than 1,000 new places in medical schools this year, there is not room for all the qualified persons seeking admission.

Ten years ago, when only 15,800 students applied for the 8,600 places in the first-year class, medical educators feared a shortage of well-qualified applicants. However, in the past decade, the number of applicants to medical school has varied almost directly with the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded by US colleges. The Office of Education has predicted that the number of college graduates will continue to increase at least until the 1980's. If this prediction is borne out, and if the present proportion of college graduates applying to medical schools persists,