Blog | Friday, December 11, 2015

How to increase medical school enrollment

Lawyers and physicians have so much in common, despite some benign grievances that occasionally reach the level of homicidal rage. Just kidding. Calm down, juris doctors.

Consider the similarities. Both professions serve a public who needs help. Both wield professional advice and judgment that must be tailored to an individual's unique circumstances. Neither professional is ever 100% certain of anything, and an outcome cannot be guaranteed. Both are charged to put their clients' and patients' interests above their own. (Snickering permitted here.)

Let's see what our legal brethren are up to. Law schools in America are having a serious problem that they are struggling to remedy. They need more students. Of course, they could fill their classrooms by recruiting qualified candidates to apply to their institutions. This strategy apparently couldn't fill the seats, assuming that it was even considered. So, here is their plan, brilliant in its simplicity. I will state it here in boldface, italic type.

Lower admission standards!

Dozens of law schools are deliberately lowering admission standards to increase their class sizes, as reported by The New York Times. Of course, these students will face a high bar of passing the bar, assuming that they make it to graduation. Apparently, generating highly qualified legal professionals is not the objective. The true objective: $$$.

My blog's readers are among the sharpest in the blogosphere. Let me post some queries, which I hope will stimulate some insightful responses.
• You don't think law schools are accepting unqualified applicants just for the money, do you?
• Will the exorbitant debt they will incur benefit them and society?
• When these struggling students fail the bar exam, have they still enjoyed a valuable life experience?
• Should we support lowering the admission standards to conform to the emerging norm that excellence is overrated and every competitor should go home with a trophy?
• Should we encourage this process as society desperately needs more lawyers, particularly underqualified professionals?

What's next? Lowering the passing rate for the bar exam?

Maybe there's a lesson here for the medical profession. We all hear that many areas of the country are medically underserved. Surely, there is some way we can recruit more doctors?

Any ideas?

This post by Michael Kirsch, MD, FACP, appeared at MD Whistleblower. Dr. Kirsch is a full time practicing physician and writer who addresses the joys and challenges of medical practice, including controversies in the doctor-patient relationship, medical ethics and measuring medical quality. When he's not writing, he's performing colonoscopies.