Medical School Acceptance Rate
Before we explain why the medical school acceptance rate is overrated and misused, let’s first address the issue of accuracy and cost for the information.
Beware of the Accuracy of the Information You Find!
Unfortunately, a lot of medical schools don’t publish their acceptance rates and often only report it to the AAMC and US News & World Report. As a result, unless you are willing to pay for a subscription to one of these two sites, there is a good chance you may stumble upon some rather questionable statistics.
We say this because we came across some sites (which shall remain unnamed) that appeared to calculate their acceptance rates by dividing the number of seats in the incoming class by the number of applications it received. The obvious fallacy here, of course, is that this overly simplistic calculation fails to factor in the yield, i.e. the number of admitted applicants who decide to accept the school’s admissions offer divided by the total number of applicants who were offered admission.
One of the sites we will not name calculated Yale Medical School’s acceptance rate at less than 2% while we show it as being 6.5%. (We got it straight from the Yale website though the webpage has since been removed.)
Why Acceptance Rates are Overrated and Misused
What should really matter to you is YOUR chance of gaining admission to a medical school. So, if a public medical school has a high acceptance rate, but you are not a resident of that state (or region in certain cases), YOUR chance of gaining admission will be much lower. (See the extreme difference in acceptance rates at University of Washington. Likewise, if you are an international medical school applicant, YOUR chance of admission could even be zero percent depending on the individual school.
To further convolute the appropriateness of medical school acceptance rates, admissions chances vary by numerous other factors including ethnicity, GPA and MCAT brackets, shadowing experiences, extracurricular activities … well, hopefully these are adequate to make our point.
But you’re just interested in determining the most selective schools? Well, good thing we’re not done yet! There is some pretty strong anecdotal evidence that some med schools are (rightfully) perceived as being so selective that many applicants don’t waste their time and money applying. Similarly, other slightly lower ranked schools attract more applicants because they are more open to admitting applicants from outside their own territory. (How else could one justify the fact that Morehouse often has the very lowest acceptance rate of any medical school in the country?)
TLDR Cliff Notes: Don’t waste your time focusing on med school acceptance rates. We do have a few listed on this site (such as the one for Yale) where we were able to independently verify the rate’s accuracy, but that’s mostly to educate our website visitors about the dangers of getting intimidated by some of the less-than-reputable sites that try to make it appear the average med school has a 1-2% acceptance rate. (Which couldn’t be true anyway given the fact that just over 40% of applicants successfully get admitted to med school each year!)