LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The pandemic is likely behind a recent surge in applications to the University of Kentucky's College of Medicine.
Last year, 2,777 applied, according to Associate Dean for Admissions Dr. Wendy Jackson. This year that number surged to 3,792. That's a 37% increase.
"I was absolutely shocked," she said over a Zoom interview.
Jackson said there could be several reasons for the sharp increase. For example, she said applicants may be attracted to the college's great curriculum, positive environment, or simply, job security.
She said, of course, that the pandemic is a likely pull as well.
"I think that people saw the need maybe a family member had COVID and suffered through that experience and they were sort of drawn in that manner," Jackson said. "Or maybe they appreciated the need during a pandemic or during a crisis for frontline workers and they wanted to contribute in that way."
She said she is happy to see this many people interested in the education UK has to offer its future doctors.
"I think it's exciting because we are trying to recruit the top-notch most well-rounded applicants to come to UK College of Medicine and hopefully keep them in this great commonwealth to help us address some of the health disparities that occur here," she said.
Health disparities were brought to the forefront of the pandemic, and current medical student Kaylin Batey also hopes this new group keeps the conversation going.
"I think with that a passion, hopefully, in these new applicants to engage in these conversations and to participate and interact in these communities," Batey said in a Zoom interview.
He said he also hopes the positive changes come through the makeup of the class itself.
"My hope would also be that you see an increase in underrepresented groups be encouraged to enter medicine," Batey said. "That means great things for health equity."
Out of the nearly 3,800 applicants, there are only 201 spots.