Across the country, medical schools have seen a dramatic surge in candidates applying to their programs. After almost a year of dealing with the worldwide effects of COVID-19, it appears that the coronavirus has driven students to apply to academic programs that lead to careers as doctors, nurses and public health professionals.
Medical school applications have increased by 18% in the last year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. That’s a dramatic change from the 2.5% yearly increase in applications that has held true for the last two decades. Some individual schools have seen even higher increases. John Hopkins University saw a 26% increase; Boston University School of Medicine a 27% increase; Stanford’s medical school had a whopping 50% jump in applications.
Applying to medical school is a big decision – one that requires taking “pre-med” classes as an undergrad and potentially shouldering a large amount of student debt – so the increase in applicants hasn’t come from students applying on a whim. Rather, medical schools are receiving applications from students who may have considered taking a gap year or working for a year, but with the cancellation of gap year programs and the state of the economy are applying to medical schools now.
Alongside an increase in medical school applications, health field programs that require fewer years of preparation have also seen an increase in their numbers. Temple University saw a 120% increase in applicants to its masters of public health program, and Drexel University had a 47% increase in undergraduate public health applications, with an even larger increase in its public health graduate program. Applications to nursing programs increased by 6% nationally.
Based on these numbers, it’s clear that coronavirus has put a spotlight on the importance of public health fields, front line workers, doctors and nurses, and other medical professions, and students are answering the call to become the next generation of health professionals.
Has the coronavirus inspired you to pursue a career as a doctor or a health professional? Let us know in the comments, and try a free scholarship search to discover scholarship opportunities for pre-med students, nursing students, and public health majors.