Comparing Admission Requirements

How Do Chiropractic Students Measure Up?

It is well known that getting into medical school involves a very stringent screening process.

Medical schools generally require at least a four-year baccalaureate degree in pre-med with a minimum GPA of 2.5 just to make an initial application to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). In addition, all prospective med students must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Keep in mind, that getting into medical school is very competitive and the chance of being accepted with a 2.5 GPA is very unlikely considering that the average applicant has a 3.7 GPA as we can see from the University of Iowa, College of Medicine web site...

Academic promise is measured by past performance (indicated by grade-point-average) and MCAT scores. Each candidate is evaluated on the basis of his/her unique circumstances. Classes admitted in recent years have had average GPA's of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale; 95% were above 3.2. Average MCAT scores have been 9-10… [1]

If your application is approved by one of the medical schools you wish to attend, you will be invited to submit:

If this second application passes muster, you will be invited for an on-campus interview, which is typically conducted by two or more College of Medicine faculty members who will meet together with you to determine if you are cut out for a career in the medical profession.

After all that, you MAY get accepted into medical school.

Chiropractic School Is Much Different

By comparison, chiropractic schools have long been known to have fairly relaxed admission standards. There is no formal screening process. You don't have to take any tests. They don't require letters of recommendation or even conduct an interview. And there is no criminal background check.

In fact, it has only been in recent years that you had to have any pre-requisite college course work.

Applicants must have a minimum total of 90 semester credit hours or 135 quarter credit hours, [with] a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.50… Applicants may earn a portion of the required and/or prerequisite credits through examination or means other than formal course work… [2]

So, on the surface it appears that chiropractic students are at least required to take some college course work before they can be admitted to chiropractic school. However, many chiropractic student have found a way to get around taking these courses as we can see by this next quote from Dr. John Badanes, a former instructor:

Compared to getting into medical school, matriculating to chiropractic school is a breeze. Only two years of undergraduate pre-requisites are needed with passing grades in the required courses. Many chiropractors have taken their basic science pre-reqs at schools that offer special 6-weekend courses in each. There is no equivalent in chiropractic of the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)… [7]

So we see that medical school obviously sets the higher standard for admission and is only looking to select the cream of the crop. They aren't trying to take a bunch of average students and somehow magically turn them into brilliant scholars.

Chiropractic schools on the other hand aren't so picky. They don't care who you are or what your motivation is. If you can obtain the minimum requirements and pay the tuition, you're in.

Here's what some chiropractors have to say about this situation:

… low entrance GPA requirement guarantees that chiropractors are the dumbest of all health care providers. [6]
Chiropractic schools are essentially trade schools, tuition dependent, and generally can not afford to be picky about choosing who's admitted. And because the schools require the tuition to remain open, they also can't afford to LOSE anyone, who, even at a chiropractic school, is below par. [7]
Chiropractic students STILL argue about why they have to take all this "medical stuff…" [7]

Of course, this low minimum standard does not mean that someone of superior intellect and abilities won't be part of the class. It just means there will be a lot of mediocre (or worse) doctors of chiropractic being turned loose to "practice" on the public.

In any event, students are students… what we're really interested in is the quality of education that these future doctors are going to receive. So let's look at the curriculum next.

Next: The Curriculum


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About the Author

Dean Moyer is the author of the books, Rebuild Your Back, Rebuild Your Neck and The Pain Relief Manual. Copies of his books are available exclusively through this website. Read more...

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Rebuild Your Back
Second Edition
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Rebuild Your Neck
The Pain Relief Manual
The Pain Relief Manual

Last updated: May 13, 2007