Newly Arrived Class is Largest in School of Medicine History

August 31, 2017

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Aug. 31, 2017 – There are 136 of them. Their average age is 24 and their experiences include professional mountain biking, missionary work, bartending, military service and oyster farming.

They’re the members of Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Class of 2021, the largest in the school’s history.

The 69 women and 67 men in the recently arrived class were chosen from among 9,281 applicants, another school record. From that original pool, 473 candidates were selected for interviews.

“We work hard to identify the best to invite for interviews because we simply cannot interview everyone who is qualified,” said David Grier, M.D., associate dean of admissions and student financial services at the School of Medicine, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “If we could just go by MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) scores and GPAs, admissions would be a simple task. But it takes much more than that.

“I’ve interviewed people with tremendous grades and MCAT scores from great schools who can’t communicate. Students must be able to relate to people to become good physicians.”

The total of 69 female students matches the School of Medicine’s all-time high for a class, which was set last year, and marks the second straight year and third time overall that women have outnumbered men.

The members of the Class of 2021 received their undergraduate degrees at 75 different institutions. Thirteen of the students have earned master’s degrees and one holds a Ph.D.  Together, the new medical students are fluent or proficient in 25 languages other than English.

Forty-six of the new students are residents of North Carolina and 25 are members of racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in medicine.

“In some ways, our students are a lot like their peers nationwide,” said Grier, who is also a professor of pathology at the School of Medicine. “Statistically, they reflect national trends in the number of applicants, female students and older students.”

In addition to the prospective physicians, the School of Medicine has welcomed another 224 students – 55 working toward Ph.D. degrees, 57 pursing master of science degrees, 88 in the Physician Assistant Program and 24 in the Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA) Program.

Media Relations

Mac Ingraham:, 336-716-3487

Eryn Johnson:, 336-713-8228