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Has COVID-19 Impacted Medical School Admissions? How to Prepare.

Saying COVID-19 changed our world is the biggest understatement of the year, if not the decade. From canceling elective surgeries to viral hotspots, telemedicine, and political controversies over protective gear, COVID-19 has been a tumultuous and difficult experience for all of us in the medical profession. Clinical providers remain hard-pressed to respond to the influx of COVID-19 patients, but the virus has also impacted the other end of the medical profession. How has the pandemic affected medical school admissions? What is the experience of medical students today?

Med School Admissions Are Not Down

The AMA reports schools with rolling admissions structures have filled the majority of their spots. We know almost all second-look days, where undecided students travel to look at schools, went virtual this year.

However, despite all this, admissions will be just as robust as last year. U.S. News & World Reports suggested that some med schools received 10% more applications last year than at the same point in 2019. Pre-med students seeking to attend top medical schools will still need to distinguish their candidacy from other med school applicants. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) says application volumes are 16% higher than last year at this time. The article suggested:

“Some pre-meds say the coronavirus outbreak has solidified their desire to enter the medical profession because they want to help address the healthcare challenges that the crisis has exposed, such as the lack of preparedness for controlling the spread of infectious disease.”

Some of the changes medical students can expect this year include:

  • Distance interviews for the few medical schools that still have spots open. Candidates that haven’t prepared for these activities should prepare for the interview, in the same way they would have for an in-person event.
  • While the MCATs were postponed through May, most students were able to continue their studies and many schools are working with applicants as they prepare for later test score availability.
  • Service opportunities, which are so important to the medical school application process, have been curtailed. There are a few volunteer activities still open for pre-med students, from assisting the elderly who are at risk if they leave their homes or tutoring school-age children.
  • However, future on-site med school classes will almost certainly remain virtual. Look for webcams to take you on hospital rounding, and 3D images to replace hands-on cadaver work. In March, the AAMC suggested that teaching hospitals remove students from direct patient care to conserve protective gear and thwart the spread of the virus.

The new face of medical school during the coronavirus is not face-to-face at all. That means some of the hands-on interactions medical students receive at the patient’s bedside may be missing. Still, educators have done their best to rise to the challenge and create a safe alternative to traditional learning at a time that remains challenging for everyone in the field. The good news is that students working from home have a vast array of learning materials at their fingertips thanks to the power of the Internet.

UHC Solutions works with these healthcare professionals to help place them at FQHCs all around the county. We are the experts that help match healthcare clinicians with the right organization to support their careers. Talk with our team today.

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