Report numbers of scholars are making use of to San Antonio med colleges. Is COVID-19 the trigger?

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Overworked and understaffed as a healthcare provider, San Antonio’s two medical schools are fighting COVID-19 from the front lines and seeing a record number of new uses.

UT Health’s Long School of Medicine experienced one 20% increase in applicants for the year 2021 Year of entry, while tThe University of Incarnated Word School for Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) recorded the highest number of applicants since their first grade in 2017 – an increase of 18.6% over the previous year.

UIWSOM Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs Andrea Cyterski-Acosta said that there is There is no doubt that the global pandemic is leading to an increase in applications.

“Doctors and other health care workers have worked tirelessly for the past few months,” she told Current. “You showed commitment, passion, resilience and true bravery.”

Indeed, the local lace reflects a national trend. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, applications to medical schools in the United States are up 18% year over year.

The phenomenon is known as the “Fauci Effect” and refers to the prominent role that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, and countless medical staff have played during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Dr. Fauci’s deep knowledge and experience, behavior and commitment to leading this country through the pandemic have drawn all of our attention,” said Cyrterski-Acosta. “The generations of medical schools, Millennials and Gen Z, have a strong sense of community and civic responsibility that was heightened during COVID.”

While the pandemic may have inspired many to apply, getting to medical school is a “marathon,” according to a Long School of Medicine admissions officer. The majority of U.S. medical schools require a tedious checklist of medical prerequisites, a minimum of 3.5 GPA, shadow hospital experience, and high scores on the MCAT admissions test. Often times, even with these check boxes checked, aspiring doctors send dozens of applications and personal statements.

“If [witnessing the pandemic] For some, this was a first inspiration. They are unlikely to be fully prepared to apply this current cycle, ”said Judianne Kellaway, Long’s assistant dean of admissions and outreach.

Change requirements

Texas State University student Synda Harper is one of these new medical school applicants. A non-traditional one college student and mother, Harper wants to start a second career. she said her application process was a three year journey.

“There is so much going into the process that it isn’t a whimsical decision to apply to medical school,” said Harper. “There are so many very specific requirements that you must meet that it is very difficult to switch that way if you already have another career or major.”

Applicants would likely need to start with a background in a STEM area prior to applying, Harper added.

However, that doesn’t completely rule out the recent inspiration of some students from the pandemic.

Cyterski-Acosta said that some applicants who have already met certain requirements could quickly complete the rest of the work needed to be competitive in this year’s pool.

Changes to this year’s application process while The COVID-19 crisis also provides logistical explanations for the rise. according to to local experts.

Long’s Kellaway says the virtual environment created by the pandemic has given people more time to complete the tedious application process. This is a potential contributing factor to the nearly 1,000 additional applicants to their school over the past year.

“It’s a huge document with over 200 questions that takes hours to complete,” said Kellaway.

“Significant” increase

Long has seen a steady increase in applicants over time, but Kellaway said this year’s year is “significant”. Currently, 6,312 applicants are vying for just 220 seats.

In a normal year, students spent at least a year after graduation gaining extracurricular experience. The cancellation of such personal opportunities during the pandemic could lead some to apply earlier, she said.

“We know from many applicants that their research, hospital volunteering, missionary travel, and service experience have been canceled,” said Kellaway.

Applicants for the 2021 cycle also struggled to plan their MCATs.

In line with other medical schools, Long has extended its admission cycle to give applicants additional time to take the test. Meanwhile, both San Antonio medical schools are accepting test scores up to five years earlier instead of the usual two- to four-year standard.

“It is possible that some students saw the shift in the timeline and applied this cycle because they originally thought they couldn’t complete these other components of the application, but now they have time,” said Kellaway.

UIWSOM, where 4,573 applicants are fighting for 150 places, is even considering applications without an MCAT score for the entry year 2021.

Texas student Harper plans to submit her application late in the cycle as she has struggled with multiple MCAT cancellations. She has concerns about the large pool of applicants this year.

“I plan to submit my application anywhere,” she said. “The climate is becoming increasingly competitive for applications in medical schools.”

But in the end, said Harper, that’s a good thing.

“I honestly think there has been a shortage of doctors for so long,” she added. “I think people have risen to this challenge and are trying to meet it regardless of the pandemic.”

Inspired to serve

If the pandemic alone didn’t spark interest in applying to medical school, Harper said it certainly has a role in defining the field she wants to enter.

“I work in the emergency room as a nurse and clerk,” said Harper. “And working in the emergency room during COVID just confirmed how much I want to go to emergency medicine.”

Seeing the health crisis from within a hospital also helped Harper identify an even narrower area of ​​interest – a crucial aftercare outside of the emergency room.

“We had several rebounds where [a patient] was seen in the emergency room and then they’ll recover in the next few days, ”said Harper.

According to Long’s Kellaway, this year’s applicants show a passion for eliminating health inequalities, an issue highlighted by the pandemic.

“Healthcare inequalities are a common theme in the personal essays and video presentations in the applications,” said Kellaway. “And this interest is also reflected in the involvement of applicants in serving the underserved.”

Regardless of what role the pandemic plays in the spate of new applications, UIWSOM’s Cyterski-Acosta said future students can take a lesson from today’s healthcare workers.

“In my opinion, the pandemic did not glorify the profession, it showed the strength that is required for that professional calling,” said Cyterski-Acosta. “Young men and women were inspired to serve their communities in this crisis.”

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