The ongoing pandemic, and the publicity it has engendered concerning the healthcare workers at the front lines, may have had a powerful influence on young people making critical choices about education and vocation. According to the American Medical College Application Service, there have been 17% more applications to medical schools this year than last. Virginia Tech, home of the Carilion School of Medicine, may be an outlier: it has seen more than 2,000 extra applicants this year.
Dr. Melanie Prusakowski, associate dean of admissions at Carilion, said, “We had to figure out how to diagnose it, how to treat it, how to prevent it. It really brought the idea of inquiry and research moving medicine forward to forefront.”
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More applications don’t necessarily or immediately mean more medical students, much less more practicing doctors. Some schools faced with a higher number of applicants will simply choose to keep the size of each entering class the same, and to be more selective about who they admit. But that itself is a positive development.
And the laws of supply and demand apply as well to medical education as to other services. If there continues to be a higher demand for such an education, self-interested institutions will figure out a way to offer it in greater supply.