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Medical School Applications Hit Record Highs

Pandemic Inspires a Wave of Med School Applications

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the importance of healthcare systems and workers. This has inspired more people than ever to apply to medical school.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, as of the end of August, the number of medical school applications is up almost 17% from a year earlier. Medical school applications have been gradually rising since 2008, but this marks a significant spike.

Schools Relax Application Requirements Due to COVID-19 Hardships

Applicants to medical school have faced unprecedented circumstances this cycle. Many have finished college online, or have had shadow and internship programs canceled this summer. Additionally, the MCAT and other standardized tests have been canceled at many locations due to COVID-19.

For these reasons, a number of medical schools are not requiring MCAT scores and/or have pushed their application deadlines into late fall. These loosened restrictions have contributed to the surge in applications.

Additionally, as unemployment remains high, some people, especially recent college graduates, see this as a good time to go to school rather than to join the workforce.

An Application Cycle Like No Other

Due to this rise in applications, this cycle may be more competitive than most. Additionally, in-person interviews and visits, which are usually a big part of the med school application process, will likely be virtual this year.

Despite difficult circumstances, tens of thousands of people are forging ahead with their medical school applications. As Dr. Sahil Mehta, a med school admissions coach noted, “You kind of have to take the bumps as they come. That’s part of medicine.”

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