The continued increase in rates of medical school applications



Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Fauci speaks at a meeting. The increase in medical school applicants in recent years could be due to the ‘Fauci Effect,’ a term which Minasi explained was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical schools anticipate a competitive admission cycle this year as the number of applications into programs across the nation continues to rise. 

The Kaplan education organization announced in a briefing that across the United States application rates began increasing in the 2020 to 2021 academic year. A survey conducted by Kaplan revealed that those increases are not going to change in this current application year.  

“Of the admissions officers surveyed, 50 percent predict that the number of applicants will stay at last cycle’s elevated volume; 33 percent think that number will increase; and only 17 percent believe there will be a decrease in applicants,” the Kaplan News Release said. 

Kaplan’s Senior Director of Pre-health Programs, Petros Minasi, gave insight on the reality of what an increase of medical school applications has created for students.  

“The number of seats to medical school has stayed the same, but the applications have gone up. So all of a sudden you have a lower admission rate,” Minasi said in a phone call interview. 

A possible explanation for the increase in applicants in recent years could be due to the ‘Fauci Effect,’ a term which Minasi explained was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge of medical information and media has possibly explained the increase in interest and passion in students.  

“Some schools have reported double-digit increases in applications received. There is an increase or call to action in students seeing healthcare come to the frontline. This is an increase we have seen in the past two years. The Fauci effect has been a term coined,” Minasi said.  

Minasi said COVID-19 has caused changes to the application process that were unheard of prior to the pandemic. For example, interviews have been conducted virtually, rather than in-person. 

“Among the biggest changes to the admissions process is the advent of the online interview in lieu of an in-person interview — 88 percent of medical schools say they extend this option to prospective students now. This was almost unheard of just two years ago,” the Kaplan News Release said. 

This transition to online interviews is one change that many medical schools plan to continue to use even in the post-pandemic era, Minasi said. He said school admissions have begun to adjust and adhere to the increase in medical school applicants in order to keep up with the demand. Additionally, he said the increase in medical school applications is seen as a positive for the U.S. and its medical future. 

“The positive is that more students are taking the next step to pursue a career in medicine. The U.S. has needed more healthcare providers for years. The number of available seats is moving upwards,” Minasi said. “This has been a lifelong dream for a lot of students.” 

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