Medical School Applications, Enrollment Up in 2011

The number first-time applicants to medical school was up 2.6 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, while total enrollment in medical schools increased by 3 percent to 19,230 students in 2011, according to new data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Total applications (first-time and other applicants) rose 2.8 percent for 2011. Applications from African Americans were up 4.8 percent, while enrollment of African American students was up 1.9 percent. The number of Hispanic applicants rose 5.8 percent, while their enrollment rose 6.1 percent.

Medical schools have increased enrollment as part of a call in 2006 by AAMC to increase enrollment by 30 percent in anticipation of physician shortages. According to the AAMC, enrollment is up 16.6 percent since 2006, and the schools are on pace to reach the 30 percent target in 2017.

"We are very pleased that medicine continues to be an attractive career choice at a time when our health care system faces many challenges, including a growing need for doctors coupled with a serious physician shortage in the near future," said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC president and CEO.

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