More Students Applying to Medical School During the Pandemic, Universities Say

Medical schools across the country report a spike in applicants -- especially from students of color -- since COVID-19

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With COVID-19 putting an emphasis on frontline medical workers, more students are ready to put on a white coat themselves. Medical schools across the country report a spike in applications, especially from students of color.

At Georgetown University’s medical school, applications are up 24% overall and 40% from underrepresented minorities. The University of Maryland along with Howard University have also seen a rising number of applicants.

“Since the pandemic started, the passion I had has actually increased,” said Eunice Odusanya, a senior at Howard University who recently applied to 16 medical schools.

Odusanya has dreamed of studying medicine since the first grade, when doctors helped her with asthma. She plans to go into surgical oncology. Odusanya lost her grandfather to cancer, and hopes to someday find a cure.

She also hopes to help communities of color, which have been hit hardest by COVID-19.

“Who better to do it than us, when you see someone who looks like you, who has experienced the same thing that you have experienced?” Odusanya said.

Dr. Hugh Mighty, dean of the Howard University College of Medicine, is uplifted to see a rise in applicants, especially from underrepresented groups. He said that many schools are doing virtual interviews, which makes it easier and more affordable for students to apply.

“If you are a minority aspiring physician in this country, there is work to be done and you see that,” Mighty said.

Odusanya was recently accepted into Howard University’s medical school, but is still waiting to hear back from others before deciding. Wherever she ends up, she’s certain that the pandemic has galvanized her passion.

“It has actually motivated me to learn more, to grow more, and to be the best that I can be,” Odusanya said. “Because people are actually depending on my success.”

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