Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine more than doubled its application pool for future doctors last semester, increasing its enrollment to about 15 additional students and has now received more than 6,700 applications for the new year cycle. .
The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine regularly enrolls approximately 120 students each August, based on the number authorized by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. But last year, the school admitted 135 medical students.
“We usually accept a little more to fill our class because we will have students dropping out, going to medical school maybe elsewhere,” said Cristina Arabatzis, director of admissions and recruitment for the College of Medicine. “But last year we didn’t have as many student withdrawals as we would have had in the past, based on our trends and experience.”
Prior to the pandemic, the college received approximately 4,700 to 5,000 student applications each year. Last year, the school had 7,400 students, a 52% increase over the previous year.
“This cycle,” Ms. Arabatzis said, “we still had an increase, but not as big as the previous one. We had a decrease of about 9%, more (students) than before the pandemic, but still less than last year. »
The college has received 6,750 applications so far for this enrollment cycle, which has not yet ended. Aspiring medical students applied last June, at the opening of the cycle each year. The school has not yet decided how many students will be enrolled in August.
College of Medicine students learn at 12 hospitals, 16 affiliated clinics, and 36 private practices in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and are supported by the Florida Department of Health.
“I know most medical schools have seen some form of increase in the pool of applicants for a multitude of different reasons,” Ms Arabatzis said. ” I do not think so [the decision to become a doctor] was necessarily due to the experience of the pandemic, as it is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but there are a few things that I think contributed to it. First, usually when the economy is down, people pursue higher education; second, there is an interview process associated with medical school admissions.
Once an aspiring medical student applies, she explained, a screening process will decide whether the candidate is offered an interview or not, and interviews before the pandemic were conducted in person.
“So a candidate could have applied to 25 schools across the country, for example, and if they were offered an interview in California, they would have to fly there, pay for accommodation, airfare, meals, transportation…everything,” she said. “With the pandemic, all interviews have been held virtually, which I think has attracted a lot of students who might not have the financial means to travel to different interviews.”