Why Students Quit Medical School

December 29, 2022


“There are many reasons why a student may decide to leave medical school,” explains Dr. Hans Wolf founder of WOLFPACC Physicians Achievement Concept Course. “Sometimes a student discovers they have a lack of interest in the field while others feel overly stressed about the high cost of tuition or the never-ending challenges of the curriculum.”

Although a student may find they are not well-suited to the demanding lifestyle of a medical student, another might realize they are more interested in pursuing a different career path. Ultimately why students quit medical school will be influenced by their individual circumstances and personal goals.

Additionally homesickness, absenteeism, feelings of displacement, depression, and the lack of adequate academic preparedness are common reasons cited for why students quit medical school. “As intimidating as medical school can be,” adds Dr. Wolf, “A majority students leave medical school for non-academic reasons.”

Reasons Why Students Quit Medical School

Whereas the motive for leaving medical school before graduating is close to an even split between academic and non-academic causes, the majority of the reasons given for exiting early are non-academic. If you are a student aspiring to become a physician but have doubts, it is a good idea to review some of the common reasons given for med school drop-out, including:

  • Wrong Career Choice – Before you waste a lot of time and money, make sure this is what you truly want to do. Some medical students are pushed by someone else’s expectations or may even be destined to follow in the footsteps of a medical family. Speak with a guidance counselor who can help you dissect your decisions. There is prestige in becoming a doctor, but when doubt sets in, it can be why students quit medical school.
  • Medical Student Syndrome – As students learn about the gamut of diseases, they can experience bouts of hypochondria. Although most students only experience the anxiety of potentially getting sick, an illness can happen as part of anyone’s life. That said, mental exhaustion during med school coupled with stress and an overall lack of sleep negatively affects an estimated 70% of students.
  • Overconfident and Underprepared – Regardless of a student’s academic performance as an undergraduate, medical school can be intimidating. Every medical student must make a commitment to long hours in the classroom as well as manage their time to review lecture materials and prepare for exams. Admissions tests are a prerequisite to study medicine but insufficient academic preparation makes it extraordinarily difficult.
  • No Life Beyond the Classroom – Although med students are old enough to make decisions and manage their own time, it can be difficult to allow for a social life outside the classroom. To do well, a student needs discipline and the self-organization skills to balance family, friends, studies, and the need for self-care. Allocating time for academics is important but prioritizing daily tasks for when you have the energy can be crucial.
  • Medical School Debt – Whereas finishing med school to become a doctor can be profitable, the school attended can play a major role in the size of medical school debt. So going to med school is not a decision to be taken lightly. A student’s passion for being a doctor must be balanced with their financial expectations for a career. Excluding undergraduate debt, aspiring doctors average owing around $250,000 in student loans.

Spending a decade or more in school to become a doctor takes an incredible commitment of personal time and money, especially for medical students in certain specialties. A med student’s other interests may have to wait while they pursue the opportunity to have a career in medicine. Since personal life figures into the equation, it is better for a student to make heartfelt decisions beforehand.

Not Knowing What You’ve Already Learned

“When faced with taking their board exams, many medical students panic over not knowing what he or she has already learned,” explains Dr. Wolf. “This is due in part to the vast amounts of memorization required for completing the basic sciences.” Over decades of helping students pass their USMLE or COMLEX series of exams, Dr. Wolf recognized the need for coursework that focused on the common links between the five main organ systems.

The WOLFPACC Physician Achievement Concept Course grew out of the obvious need for medical students to understand the patient as a total unit and to make decisions like a confident clinical physician. By adopting “The Power 5” methodology, Dr. Wolf and his staff began helping students to apply what they learned in medical school to the how and why of medicine. “Our goal is help each student integrate the basic sciences and apply a clinical understanding to think their way through each test question and identify the correct answer,” says Wolf.

It’s Time to Master the Concepts

Even if you are a very logical and scientific-minded person, it is important to spend some time in quiet contemplation pondering why you wanted to become a doctor before you decide to throw in the towel. There is no doubt that the stress of spending close to a decade in school with one pursuit can cause feelings of high anxiety. But, whether you are a first-year med student or a sixth-year graduate, the better prepared you are for the road ahead the more likely your chances are of becoming a physician.

An overwhelming majority of those students who enter medical school end up graduating, but not all pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for allopathic doctors or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) for osteopathic doctors. Here at WOLFPACC, our goal is to empower medical students with the information, tools, and skills they need to achieve exceptional results at every level of their medical board exams.

WOLFPACC programs are designed around four-week “live-lecture” Medical Boards Review courses that are supplemented by intensive one-on-one tutoring sessions with an MD who completed the program. We also offer six-week, eight-week, and 4-month review programs as needed. WOLFPACC’s revolutionary approach teaches you to understand medicine through high yield concepts rather than just memorizing details in preparation for each exam. In fact, students who master the Step 1 test taking skills feel much better prepared for all future exams.


Medical students as well as doctors from the United States, Caribbean, and Europe have participated in the WOLFPACC program with overwhelming success. To GET STARTED today, complete and submit the Contact Us form or call 1-904-303-1485.