Application Trends & Outcomes
Johns Hopkins University has long held a reputation for excellence in the preparation of students for acceptance to medical and dental school. These students pursue academic excellence across a range of science disciplines, learn about the social determinants of health, and demonstrate a range of personal competencies deemed essential for success in medical school and practicing medicine. Students are encouraged to explore academic interests in and out of the sciences, engaging in intellectual inquiry, independent study, and disciplined research. Johns Hopkins applicants to medical and dental school are reflective in their learning and decision-making, demonstrate social responsibility, and are committed to a career of service.
During a period of unprecedented growth in U.S. medical schools, Johns Hopkins applicants have gained acceptance at a rate 50% above the national average. Within five years of graduation, approximately 80% secure an acceptance to at least one medical school.
Medical School Application Trends
It is important to consider the current trends in medical school education to put Johns Hopkins outcomes into perspective.
According to the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), the number of applicants to MD medical schools has increased 36% since 2002, reaching an all time high of 52,550 in 2015. The number of matriculants to MD medical schools has increased 25% since 2002, reaching an all-time high of 20,631 in 2015.
The numbers of slots available for enrollees to medical school are not rising at a pace comparable to the exponential rise in applicants. Over the past five years (2011-2015), while the number of applicants has increased 16%, the number of matriculants has only risen 6.7%. First-time applicants—an important indicator of interest in medicine—increased this past year by 4.8% to 38,460. Regarding national acceptance rates, the percentage of applicants matriculating to medical school in 2011 was 44% while, in 2015, the rate was 39%.
Now let’s put JHU acceptance rates into perspective. In any one application year, approximately 70% of applicants to medical school gain acceptance to one or more medical schools. It must be remembered, however, that some students chose to move forward despite not being in an optimal position, whether for personal or familial reasons. This brings down our annual acceptance rates. Remember, within five years of graduation, approximately 80% secure an acceptance to at least one medical school.
Johns Hopkins applicants to medical and dental school come from an array of academic backgrounds including the natural sciences, engineering, the social sciences, and humanities. The majority of applicants, however, complete majors in the natural sciences and engineering. The most popular primary majors for premeds are Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Public Health Studies. Together, these four majors account for 74% of Johns Hopkins applicants.
The nation’s medical school classes also continued to diversify in 2015, with increases in nearly every racial and ethnic category. The percentage of Hispanic or Latino applicants nationally was 9.2% and African-American 8.8%. Regarding matriculants, the number of Hispanic or Latino enrollees increased this past year by 6.4%; African-American enrollees rose 10.4%.
For the most recent entry year of 2015, 11% (45) of applicants to MD medical school from Johns Hopkins self-reported to be Hispanic/Latino, 9.5% (40) Black or African American, and 4.5% (19) more than one race. The dominant groups by race/ethnicity were 38% (157) White, 34% (142) Asian. Regarding acceptance rates, the five-year (2011-2015) averages by race/ethnicity for applicants to MD medical school were White, 79%; Asian, 77.5%; Black or African American, 66%; and Hispanic, 76%.
Timing of Application
Students are applying later to medical and dental school. Nationally, over half of the applicants to medical school take at least one year prior to matriculating. This trend appears to be even more striking at Johns Hopkins, where recent patterns demonstrate that over 80% of first time applicants to medical school take at least one gap/bridge year between graduating from Johns Hopkins and applying to medical school. Students taking gap years typically pursue employment in research (e.g., NIH Postbac IRTA program), social service (e.g., Teach for America, Peace Corps), or post-baccalaureate and/or master’s degree programs. Advisors in Pre-Professional Advising and the Life Design Lab (formerly Career Center) work with students to seek meaningful gap/bridge year experiences and determine the optimal time to apply.