COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS COMPLICATES TODAY'S ADMISSIONS
Today's medical schools compete for the best and brightest among the thousands of men and women
who apply every year to become physicians. As a result, the admissions process has become more complex.
What once was a fairly predictable timetable of activity, today resembles a jigsaw puzzle. Ed Dagang,
UC Davis School of Medicine director of admissions and outreach, explains the process.
The admission cycle for all medical schools, including UC Davis School of Medicine, begins June each
year through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). The application service delivers
the first batch of verified applications to our admissions office by the end of June. Application screening
begins immediately and continues until the last file has been reviewed, sometimes taking months. For the
2002-2003 admission cycle, the medical school received over 3,600 applications for our 93 spots. Our admissions
committee completed reviewing files by February 2002. Over 400 applicants were selected for interviews,
which started in October 2002 and concluded eight months later, in May 2003.
Our office has received over 4,000 applications for the 2003-2004 admission cycle. I anticipate that
the admissions committee will select 400 to 500 applicants to interview.
Even though there are 93 seats in each year's entering class, the admissions committee typically offers
initial admission invitations to 110 to 120 applicants. The committee knows that many of our prospective
students have applied and will likely be offered admission to other medical schools. They may even choose
to attend another school. We have had cases in which prospective students to whom we extended admission
chose instead to attend UCSF, UCLA, UCSD, Harvard and other fine medical schools across the nation. The
factors determining where these prospective students ultimately choose to study include prestige, family,
school strengths, research opportunities and the best scholarship options.
Attrition to other medical schools often pares our admissions list down. We fill open spots with applicants
from our waiting list. This list will have 100 to 200 applicants that the committee interviewed.
Some schools make late admission decisions as late as July or August. This can impact us by causing
a late opening in our entering class. Again, we turn to our waiting list to fill the spot. One year, we
had an applicant change his mind about entering UC Davis the Friday before orientation week. You can bet
the student on the waiting list was happy about that!
For the 2002-2003 admissions cycle, we extended 198 offers of admissions more than double the number
of seats available. Experience tells us to be prepared for a similar scenario this year.
The days of firm dates for admission have fallen by the wayside. As you can see, as other schools become
more flexible in their admission dates, we respond similarly to be competitive.