Recession Not Deterring Medical School Applicants

Compiled By Staff
December 4, 2009

Results of a recent survey indicate that medical school applicants are the least likely of graduate students to decline their admissions because of the troubled economy.

The survey was conducted by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions and was based on responses from 82 medical schools. Of those that responded, only 20 percent reported that more medical school applicants declined admissions in 2009 compared to 2008 because of financial reasons. Meanwhile, 28 percent of admissions officers at MBA programs reported an increase in those who declined admissions because of economic issues. At law schools, the figure was 39 percent.

Kaplan officials attributed the differences to several factors. Jeff Koetje, director of pre-health program for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, noted that law and business students can be more flexible about when to embark on graduate programs.

"With the flexibility comes the opportunity [for students] to say 'this is not the right time for me,'" he explained to the University of Minnesota's student publication, The Minnesota Daily.

Moreover, Amjed Saffarini, executive director of pre-health at Kaplan, noted in a press release that those interested in medicine are often very determined to reach their goal and are therefore less deterred by the cost.

"We know that aspiring doctors are extremely committed to what has been for most a goal since childhood," he said. "Knowing long in advance the costs associated with medical school, many have saved for years in anticipation, and not deterred with the tuition bill comes. That said, those who are considering declining admissions because of financial hardship should know that nearly a quarter of medical schools have actually increased financial aid. The aid is out there and with a strong application, prospective students can increase their likelihood of getting some."

Luke Verret, a biology junior at Louisiana State University, is an example. He told LSU's student publication, the Daily Reveille, that he decided on medical school while in high school, and the economy was never a factor.

"I was planning to take out student loans anyway," he was quoted as saying in the Daily Reveille. He noted that medical school "is expensive for most people, so I imagine that people would need help through loans regardless of the economy."

Phillip Radke, a second-year medical student at U of M, agreed. "Most people go into the process knowing that medical school costs hundreds of thousands of dollars," he told the Minnesota Daily. "You will be taking out loans, and it's going to cost a lot of money."

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