The Coronavirus COVID-19 has vastly affected the entire world. This pandemic is continually making its mark on our society. Although we are uncertain of the long-term impact of the virus, we can predict that multiple industries will have to alter their normal routines.
Colleges and universities are not exempt. Institutions are now in a state of uncertainty trying to prepare for the Fall 2020 semester. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus COVID-19 has peaked during a time many medical schools are making their final decisions and preparing for new medical students.
The spring semester is when medical school admissions are finalized. Usually, April marks the last month in which students and schools make their final decisions. Also, during the spring semester many schools host interviews, second look days, and formal tours of the medical school.
With the recommendation of social distancing, medical schools cannot host their traditional admissions activities. Not being able to physically visit the campus and speak with faculty can hinder student’s final decisions.
Students with multiple medical school admissions offers may be faced with the dilemma of making their top pick without being able to have a second look at the school. Many schools are offering virtual alternatives, but it is not the same as physically experiencing the school environment.
Short-term, medical schools are relying on educational technology to make their last round decisions on new medical students. The admissions process is being affected from multiple angles.
The majority of higher education institution employees are now operating from home offices with limited capacity. This may affect response time, paperwork processing, and overall communication to students.
2020 Applicants & Interviews
The good news is that a lot of medical schools are doing a great job of adapting to the “new normal” of our society. Although some operations may be altered, medical schools are still extended offers to students.
Medical schools are using social platforms such as Zoom and GoToMeeting to host interviews with prospective students. These interviews are being conducted as if they were held on-site. The same protocols and levels of professionalism are expected during the virtual interviews.
Students are encouraged to dress professionally and prepare for the interview as if they were in person. Many medical schools are trying to keep the admissions process as steady as possible. Prominent deans of schools have commented that the medical school admissions process will not be compromised by the pandemic.
What Happens After Being Admitted into Medical School After Coronavirus COVID-19?
After medical schools make their acceptance, they will then have to prepare for the onboarding of new students. Unprecedented precautions and accommodations will have to be considered.
Many medical school classes are “hands-on” training. I predict that virtual simulations and virtual training will be used more frequently due to the pandemic.
Also, large class sizes will have to be tapered down and innovative approaches will need to be implemented to support large groups of students.
Truthfully, the upcoming semesters have many unknowns. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) premed students, current medical students, and traditional medical classes will all experience a shift in the near future.
Pre-Med Students & Medical School Applications
Choosing a Medical School
Choosing a medical school during Coronavirus COVID-19 may be challenging, but it is not impossible. There are many resources available to assist you with the process.
Organizations like the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) have already issued guides to help students during this trying time. This is a perfect example of organizations and schools thinking ahead to prepare for future medical school applicants.
Technology will be used at an all-time high during this pandemic. If you are a pre-med student searching for medical schools, take advantage of technology and virtual tools. Virtual tours of schools, virtual information sessions, and communication are essential during this time.
Internships & Volunteering
Current pre-med students’ ability to volunteer in health care facilities may be affected by the impact of Coronavirus COVID-19. The summer months are extremely important to pre-med students. This is the time to participate in summer internships and volunteer experiences.
Pre-med students will have to be innovative as they prepare for medical school. In the near future, traditional approaches may be more difficult to accomplish. Students will need to be creative and take advantage of the many resources available to help them fulfill pre-med pre-requisites.
Internship programs and volunteer experiences are still possible during Coronavirus COVID-19. Consult with programs such as International Medical Aid Internships to determine the best ways to still participate in a healthcare internship.
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) has been affected by the Coronavirus COVID-19. Medical schools use the MCAT as one of the determinants to accept students into medical schools. Usually, this exam is taken a year or a few months prior to applying for medical school.
Many students were previously scheduled to take the MCAT exam in March and April. Testing dates were canceled due to the pandemic. This can impact the timeline of some students’ medical school applications.
Students should know that the AAMC has been working diligently to help alleviate the worries about the canceled MCAT exams. In fact, in the last week, they announced that 3 new dates have been added to the 2020 MCAT testing calendar.
Efforts are being taken from all fronts to make sure that students are prepared and not delayed in their medical school applications. I conducted extensive research on many medical schools and was pleasantly surprised to find that schools have already made provisions for MCAT testing.
In the last few weeks, some schools have announced that students should still complete their medical school applications even if they did not take the MCAT exam. Schools are encouraging students to submit the applications as planned without the MCAT test results.
Provisions for some schools have been put in place to accept applications under the promise that students will complete the MCAT at their earliest convenience. All other materials will be used to support the applicant and the MCAT score will be the final determinant when received.
Globally, everyone is being impacted by the Coronavirus COVID-19. Both medical school admissions and medical school applications will be impacted in some capacity, but provisions are being put in place to streamline the process.
It is refreshing to see how quickly, and efficiently medical schools and institutions are coming together to make sure that current and future medical students have the resources needed to be successful.