For the first time ever, in the 2003-2004 admissions pool, women made up the majority of medical school applicants, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The increase in women applying for medical school was a significant factor in helping to turn around a six-year decline in the number of students who applied for medical school. The level of male applicants stayed generally consistent with the previous year.
From the pool of 35,000 applicants, up 3.4 percent from last year, 17,672 of them were women – nearly seven percent higher than last year’s admissions pool. The number of black women who applied to medical school jumped most significantly by almost 10 percent.
Despite increases in the admissions application of typically under-represented groups, such as women and minorities, the levels of actual acceptance to medical school for many groups has declined. The admission of black applicants in 2003, for example, declined 6 percent despite a 5 percent overall increase of black applications. Similarly, the admission of Hispanic medical school students declined 4 percent as well – despite application gains of 2 percent.
Jordan J. Cohen, M.D, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, sees these mixed results as “both good and bad news for the medical profession,” that “[underscore] the need for redoubled efforts to attract a critical mass of students with a diverse background in order to enhance the education of all future physicians,” according to an AAMC press statement.