Following a national trend, the number of Harvard seniors applying to medical school fell for the third consecutive year according to a recently released report from the Office for Career Services (OCS).
The drop is far more pronounced at Harvard than it is nationally. From 1998 to 1999 there was a 33 percent decrease in medical school applications among Harvard students, compared to the national 6 percent drop.
Such a large drop-off, though, is not unprecedented.
"In the past [the application rate] has faltered when the economy is very strong," said Le Ann Michelson, the health career advisor at OCS who prepared the report.
"The quality of applicants is not going down. People who are more marginal are taking themselves out of the application pool," she said.
Though only small numbers of Harvard students are applying to medical school, it does not necessarily mean that the profession is losing popularity. Many wait until a few years after graduation to apply.
In 1999, 136 Harvard seniors sweated through the application process, but 200 alums set their hopes on medical school as well.
Michelson said the numbers also don't include the increasing number of students who defer their acceptances for a year.
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