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Reacting to pandemic by applying to medical school

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:24 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - As coronavirus cases continue to climb in some areas, so does the need to help. Several medical schools are seeing increases in enrollment. Among them, Boston College graduate Mary Grace Kelley. For her, it’s a case of sit and wait.

“I’m currently just waiting for interview invitations,” said Kelley.

She’s applied to 15 medical schools, hoping to become an orthopedist like those who helped her during her hockey years.

“Learning about what they do and how they help people, it just immediately sparked by interest,” said Kelley

That interest is cemented by what she’s seeing with the pandemic.

“I think it’s awesome that first responders are sort of in the spotlight now,” said Kelley.

Other are noticing as well.

“Students have really seen what healthcare workers are doing on the front lines and said, 'You know what, this is maybe what I wanna do,” said Dr. Sahil Mehta of MedSchoolCoach.com, a service that helps students get into and through medical school. He adds there is a big jump in applications this year.

“Typically you see a one to two-percent increase in any given year is what the data typically shows”, said Mehta.

This year it is up 17% nationwide according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

But Boston University School of Medicine is seeing a 26% increase.

“I anticipated the increase because I knew the economy was going to be struggling with COVID-19,” said Kristen Goodell of the Boston University School of Medicine.

Goodell said applications usually go up when job numbers go down. But she also thinks people may be inspired by the intellectual challenge of COVID-19 and the increased focus on racial inequality, especially in healthcare.

"They’re going to think, You know what? It’s up to me, my generation to step in and do something, " said Goodell.

“I just love reaching out and helping people so, yeah, it’s definitely right up my alley,” said Kelley.

Kelley went to Boston University undergrad and hopes to get accepted to the medical school there. Admissions are on a rolling basis but she’ll definitely know by next fall.

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