Medical school applications have skyrocketed. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of applications in this last year’s admissions cycle was up 18% over the previous year’s totals. With this increase, it is clear that medical school admissions are becoming more competitive. What should applicants consider when applying to medical school, especially if they are non-traditional?
Most experts speculate that last year’s spike was a reaction to the pandemic. The heroic actions of doctors on the frontlines fighting Covid-19 surely inspired some applicants to pursue careers in medicine.
Others turned to medical school as a ticket to a stable, well-paying career. The healthcare workforce rebounded faster and remained more stable than other industries during the pandemic. In October, the unemployment rate among healthcare workers was less than 3%.
Still, others may have cited the pandemic as a reason to reach for their lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. According to one survey conducted this summer, nearly six in ten people say the pandemic caused them to rethink their careers.
Regardless of what’s causing the upward trend in applications, it’s clear that medical school admissions are becoming more competitive. In 2020, acceptance rates at the most competitive medical schools, like New York University and Stanford, hovered at about 2%.
Those numbers are daunting for any aspiring doctor. However, for “non-traditional” applicants, the medical school admissions process can seem even more harrowing.
As the name indicates, non-traditional students don’t fit the typical profile of a medical student. These students generally do not transition into medical school after completing their bachelor’s degrees. Nevertheless, gap years have become increasingly favored, and non-traditional status can work to their advantage.
To see all of our tips for nontraditional applicants, check out our latest article on Forbes.