Purpose To compare perception of accelerated and traditional medical students, with respect to satisfaction with education quality, and the learning environment, residency readiness, burnout, debt, and career plans. Method Customized 2017 and 2018 Medical School Graduation Questionnaires (GQs) were analyzed using independent samples t tests for means and chi-square tests for percentages, comparing responses of accelerated MD program graduates (accelerated pathway [AP] students) from 9 schools with those of non-AP graduates from the same 9 schools and non-AP graduates from all surveyed schools. Results GQ completion rates for the 90 AP students, 2,573 non-AP students from AP schools, and 38,116 non-AP students from all schools in 2017 and 2018 were 74.4%, 82.3%, and 83.3%, respectively. AP students were as satisfied with the quality of their education and felt as prepared for residency as non-AP students. AP students reported a more positive learning climate than non-AP students from AP schools and from all schools as measured by the student–faculty interaction (15.9 vs 14.4 and 14.3, respectively; P < .001 for both pairwise comparisons) and emotional climate (10.7 vs 9.6 and 9.6, respectively; P = .004 and .003, respectively) scales. AP students had less debt than non-AP students (P < .001), and more planned to care for underserved populations and practice family medicine than non-AP students from AP schools (55.7% vs 33.9% and 37.7% vs 9.4%; P = .002 and < .001, respectively). Family expectations were a more common influence on career plans for AP students than for non-AP students from AP schools and from all schools (26.2% vs 11.3% and 11.7%, respectively; P < .001 for both pairwise comparisons). Conclusions These findings support accelerated programs as a potentially important intervention to address workforce shortages and rising student debt without negative impacts on student perception of burnout, education quality, or residency preparedness.
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