WMed Class of 2021 chosen from largest-ever applicant pool

Contact: Laura Eller

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The newest Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine students constitute a diverse group of future physicians who were selected from the largest pool of applicants ever tallied at WMed.

The 84 M.D. students who make up the Class of 2021 were chosen from a pool of 4,861 applicants, which represents an 8 percent increase over last year and makes WMed's growth greater than that of the national applicant pool.

Photo of WMed Class of 2021.

WMed Class of 2021

"I think it says a lot about our community and what we've built here at WMed that applications continue to increase and we continue to attract very strong students with our fourth class," says Jean Shelton, director of Admissions and Student Life.

Shelton adds that with each class of students WMed has welcomed since the inaugural class arrived in 2014, there has been an improvement in median MCAT scores. The incoming Class of 2021 boasts a median MCAT score in the 94th percentile compared to the 91st percentile for the Class of 2020.

About WMed's first full class

The new cohort makes up the medical school's first full class and includes 41 women, 42 men and one non-binary student from 25 states and Canada. Students range in age from 20 to 40 years old with an overall average age of 24.8. Twenty-four are from Michigan.

Fourteen—17 percent—come from demographic groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine. This adds to the diverse community of medical students and increases the total population of WMed students underrepresented in medicine to 13.5 percent.

The incoming students hail from more than 50 undergraduate colleges, where they pursued a variety of majors from biology, public health, chemistry and neuroscience to psychology, economics, philosophy and Spanish. Fifteen of the students, or 18 percent, hold advanced degrees. For the second year in a row, the University of Michigan has the largest contingent of students with 10, followed by the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Los Angeles. Three students in the new class completed their undergraduate studies at WMU and two attended Kalamazoo College. WMU and K-College both have preferred relationship status with WMed.

"We're really excited that our students come from a wide geographic background, bringing the full spectrum of pre-medical experiences and personal attributes in line with WMed's mission and vision," Shelton said. "These students are not only extremely academically prepared, they also have extremely strong personal attributes that will make them great team members and they'll be able to learn from each other."

Bridge to MD Program

The students who make up the Class of 2021 are being joined at the medical school by two students who are pursuing Master of Science degrees in biomedical sciences as part of the school's Bridge to MD Program. Now in its second year, the program is designed for applicants who have strong pre-medical experience and attributes, but would benefit from additional basic science preparation before beginning their quest to become a doctor. Participants who successfully complete each component of the program will be automatically admitted to WMed next year.

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