The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) officially welcomed members of its Class of 2026 to begin their medical education this week. The 49 high-achieving students were selected from a record number of 6,916 applicants as VTCSOM remains one of the most selective medical schools in the country. The number of applicants was an increase of more than 500 from the previous year.

VTCSOM enrolled a record 31 female students, accounting for 63 percent of the class. About 55 percent of last year’s entering class was female. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the percentage of female students nationally has steadily increased over the past decade from 46.4 percent in 2012-13 to 55.5 percent in 2021-22. 

“I warmly welcome our newest class of students to the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and to the Roanoke region. The four years ahead will develop their professional identities with the core values of collaboration and excellence; innovation and discovery; humanism and compassion; and diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Lee Learman, dean of VTCSOM. “Our innovative curriculum will prepare them with a complex understanding of how care is delivered, how health professionals work together to deliver that care, and how the health system can improve patient care and health care delivery. I look forward to getting to know these students as they prepare to become physician thought leaders of tomorrow.”

A student wearing a Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine t-shirt smiles at another with Class of 26 on the back of his t-shirt at a baseball game.
New Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine students had a social activity at a Salem Red Sox baseball game to get to know classmates, faculty, and staff prior to beginning orientation. Photo by Ryan Anderson for Virginia Tech.
VTCSOM Dean Lee Learman and Beverly Learman chat with new students at a baseball game.
Dean Lee Learman (at center) and his wife, Beverly, chat with members of the Class of 2026 at Salem Memorial Ballpark. Photo by Ryan Anderson for Virginia Tech.

The Class of 2026 includes five students who are considered underrepresented in medicine, which the  American Association of Medical Colleges defines as those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population. In addition, eight students come from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background, and one is a first-generation college student.

“We continue to be inspired by the number of applicants who can contribute to the school’s mission,” said Melanie Prusakowski, associate dean of admissions at VTCSOM. “I feel confident that the learning environment will be further strengthened by this interesting combination of unique individuals who all spoke or wrote about their passion for serving others.”

Students in the class represent 16 states, with one each from Washington, D.C., and Quebec. Ten are from Virginia, and two are staying in their hometown of Roanoke. The students come from 37 undergraduate institutions with three having attended Virginia Tech.

VTCSOM has a rigorous curriculum in which all students are required to complete an original, hypothesis-driven research project and a longitudinal curriculum in health systems science and interprofessional practice. These requirements ensure that students develop the knowledge and skills to become scientist physicians and systems citizens who can lead improvements in health and health care. The Class of 2026 is well-prepared for these aspects of VTCSOM, having each conducted an average of 2,957 research hours along with 2,903 clinical hours. 

NL Bishop shares some details on the medical history of Black communities in the Roanoke Region with new VTCSOM students.
NL Bishop (at center), senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at VTCSOM, talks with incoming students about the medical history of Roanoke's Black communities at the Harrison Museum of African-American Culture. Photo by Ryan Anderson for Virginia Tech.

Among other class highlights:

  • Average student age: 25.
  • Number of students who have earned master's degrees: 17.
  • Average undergraduate GPA: 3.6.
  • Average MCAT score: 512.
  • Number of students who were reapplicants: 13.

After orientation week, the class will begin its regular academic schedule. Students will have a White Coat Ceremony to officially welcome them to the profession of medicine and to impart upon them their significant roles and responsibilities on Oct. 14, soon after completing the first block of study.

Recruitment for the Class of 2027 has begun, and the first round of interviews is expected to be held in-person in August. Prospective students can learn more about VTCSOM admissions and the application process on the school’s website.

An infographic containing demographic and statistical information on the VTCSOM Class of 2026.


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