What is it Like to Drop Out of Medical School?

The reasons why students leave medical school are numerous, but what makes them quit are largely unknown. Although medical school attrition can affect the reputation of a medical school and staff morale, it’s often the personal consequences of dropout that matter most. This study sought to explore the factors associated with student dropout over a ten-year period and the personal effects of dropout on individual students.

Although the lack of desire can be a contributing factor to why students fail, other reasons include undiagnosed or undertreated mental illness, overconfidence, or family pressure. Torn Kuzma, a former medical student, dropped out of the U-M Medical School during her second year. She hoped to become a doctor to better herself as a person. Upon hearing this, she decided to ask her former classmates for feedback. She found that the majority of students who didn’t like the program dropped out in their second year.

Other causes of dropout include poor study habits and high volumes of material. Stressful situations such as family problems, depression, and personal relationships can affect a medical student’s success or failure. Getting on the wrong side of people is another major factor. Students who don’t want to study too much may end up avoiding certain classes. Regardless of the reasons, dropout rates are not uncommon in medical schools and can affect the entire future of a medical professional.

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