Applying to Medical School? The Odds are Against You

Being pre-med is not easy and trying to go to medical school is difficult. When trying to achieve something so difficult, it is only natural for failure to play such a big part of it. Think about the NBA or NFL for example. Millions of people aspire to go on to play professional sports but if you look at the statistics, merely a handful of people actually get to live their dreams of participating in professional sports. Although compared to professional sports, pursuing medicine is not the same level of difficulty but nonetheless it is hard. If you take a look at the numbers it is pretty interesting:

  • There are more than 200,000 premed students in the United States. This number is not even accurate because many students may start out as premed but not declare it or decide after a semester or two that they no longer want to be premed. So this is a definite understatement and the number of students is actually a lot larger.
  • There are more than 48,000 premed students in the United States who are applying to allopathic (MD) schools. About ¼ of the students who started out as a premed student actually go on to apply to medical school.
  • There are more than 14,000 premed students in the United States who are applying to osteopathic (DO) schools.
  • Out of the almost 50,000 students that apply for medical school, about 20,000 students actually matriculate into medical school which is less than half of the number that apply.

Taking a look at the statistics you will notice that the odds are against you – 200,000 pre-med students to 20,000 students who actually start medical school. That is 1:10 so if you think about the hundreds of students in your Biology class, out of the 10 students next to you, only one of you will go on to medical school. That is a rough thing to hear and is sad but you have to remain positive if you do want to pursue medicine. The odds will forever not be in your favor but the only thing that is on your side is your motivation and desire to pursue medicine.

You might be thinking what is the point of trying to pursue medicine if the odds are against you. The point is that there are many things you can do in your life in which the odds will be against you. But if the thought of failure scares you more than the thought of not trying to pursue your dreams, then that is something you have to consider. For me, the thought of not trying to pursue medicine scared me more than anything and therefore applying to medical schools was the only natural choice. People will always try to scare you out of doing certain things because the probability of you being successful may be low. Just remember that someone has to end up in those positions and if you really want to you can beat the odds.

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