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Monday, September 27, 2021

UC Davis Medical School experiences surge in applications

Nationwide “Fauci effect” inspires students to enter healthcare career fields

Students around the nation are responding to the current health crisis with action. Medical schools across the country are experiencing a surge in applications, a trend which medical school admission administrators have dubbed “The Fauci Effect”

“We’ve received more applications than ever before for the annual application cycle that ended Dec. 1, 2020,” said Dr. Mark Henderson, the associate dean for admissions at UC Davis’ School of Medicine, via email. “Last year we received 7,023 applications. This year we received 9,712 from students applying for admission in 2021.” 

The surge in medical school interest at UC Davis Health is similar to that of schools across the nation. UC Davis’ numbers are leading among this national trend of applications.

“The increase in applications we are experiencing at UC Davis School of Medicine is part of an upward trend that other medical schools across the country are also seeing,” Henderson said. “Our increase in applications, though, appears to be higher than at most schools—we received about 40% more applications over the previous year. Nationwide, the Association of American Medical Colleges is reporting an 18% increase.”

An increase in medical career ambitions among young people can be attributed to inspiration from leading doctors and scientists battling COVID-19. Third-year cognitive science major Tori Rarick is motivated to enter the medical field out of her observation of brave healthcare workers during the pandemic.

“I’ve always wanted to help other people in the medical field, but I think because of COVID, I see how important good doctors and health care workers are and also the prevalence of socioeconomic or racial disparities in the field,” Rarick said. “I want to help change that if I become a doctor. I was already tentatively set on the path but in the last month I’ve definitely decided to be fully dedicated to applying [to medical school].”

Like other graduate school programs, the UC Davis Medical School made pandemic relief adjustments to its application process for the 2020 application deadline, which may also explain the increase in applications this year. Updated admissions policies include accepting pass/fail grades for courses taken during the pandemic and accommodations for students who had to delay their Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) test.

“UC Davis School of Medicine will accept applications from individuals who were unable to take the MCAT due to COVID-related test cancellations,” the admissions website states. “For these candidates, we will base secondary application decisions on the information that is available to us at the time of the application.”

“Some [students] were able to take required courses online, while others had to meet virtually,” said Charlene Green, the director of the office of admissions at the UC Davis School of Medicine, via email. “As a result of these changes, our admissions committee went above and beyond to keep pace with the continuous high volume of inquiries coming in. Additionally, our committee members completed required training on holistic admissions. The School of Medicine is on track to matriculate 136 students this coming year (128 were admitted in the current first-year class). The upcoming increase, however, was planned before the application surge.”Written by: Hannah Blome — campus@theaggie.org

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