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Dear Estelle,
Is it still difficult to be accepted to medical school? I am a junior at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest. My grades are significantly above average in all my classes including the courses required for medical school. Currently I’m studying for the MCATs. As in previous years, this summer I plan to volunteer at a neighborhood health clinic in Denver. This experience has been significant in cementing my interest in medicine. As I begin to contemplate applying to schools around the country, what’s your “prognosis” for my chances of being accepted? – Sandra W. Centennial

I have good news for you but am unwilling to make a “prognosis” regarding your odds since nothing is absolute these days in college admissions, even here at the University of Colorado. Due to the projected shortage of physicians plus the growing population here in the U.S. medical schools have begun in the past few years to increase the numbers of students they accept, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. There is also an increase in the number of applicants. Seeing that you’re a woman, you might be interested to know that up until recently women comprised the majority of applicants, this year their number dipped slightly to 49.8%.

My suggestion would be to maintain your excellent grades, study diligently for the MCATs, and develop a list that covers a variety of schools around the country, private and public, selective and not as selective. With the increase in numbers of applicants, competition will continue to be stiff. Of interest to those applying to medical school after 2007, the MCAT is being computerized by early 2007. This will increase the number of days the test will be offered, 20 days each year, giving test-takers their results much quicker.

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