This year, 105 medical students chose Washington University School of Medicine. Here, see some of the reasons we chose WUSM.

Default image

Elizabeth J.D.


Washington University in St. Louis is the perfect place to go if you want to become a leader in the medical field. What I believe sets Washington University apart from other institutions is the emphasis on a quality medical education with cutting-edge research in a collaborative environment. The living expenses are also a plus because St. Louis is a very affordable city. Students here are also passionate about addressing health disparities, which was a strong attraction for me to come here. I felt like the faculty here valued my interests in being a good physician-scientist and giving back to my community and made me feel like I belong. Coming here, I can vouch that this is still true, and I am very thankful to be here. 

The main attraction for me to attend WashU was the research opportunities that medical students could get involved in. Right off the bat, I could easily connect with professors and hear more about their research. One of these professors was Dr. David Gutmann, who I met with on Zoom. He shared all the fantastic work he is doing with pediatric patients with neurofibromatosis and the research happening in his lab. I knew that this would be a community where I could follow exciting questions and not compromise in the local community’s involvement level. Now that I am here, I have also found many mentors at various levels who are willing to share their experience in neurosurgery and radiation oncology. 

Most importantly, I wanted to learn in an institution that prioritized community engagement. This substantial portion of the new Gateway Curriculum exposed students to learn about health disparities and ways to engage with the community sustainably. Now that I am here, I am thrilled that I am part of a medical school that cares about these things and is invested in changing things for the better. The exposure to patient care with a diverse population of patients was also significant, and it has been something I feel good to be part of every day. I believe WashU was the best institution where I could catapult my career into being a leading scientist and physician, and become involved in changing the structural barriers of health for vulnerable populations.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WhyWashU_Lab-1024x768.jpg

Pumpkin carving with lab members

Default image

Jenny J.


When I was applying to medical school, I didn’t expect to end up at WashU. After leaving Southern California to go to college in Oklahoma, I missed living near a large city and had hoped that I would be able to go to medical school in a place like Los Angeles or New York City. However, I was pleasantly surprised. St. Louis combines the convenience of a metropolis with the low cost-of-living of a smaller city. There’s always something new to explore, from Forest Park to the Saint Louis Art Museum, and many of these activities are free! 

Additionally, although it sounds cliche, I really loved how I immediately felt at home when I came to St. Louis for my interview. The students seemed to know the faculty and each other really well and it felt like such a tight-knit community. Despite all of the difficulties that come with only being able to interact with most people on Zoom, I feel like everyone has tried their best to make sure that no one feels left out. All of the upperclassmen and faculty have also been extremely welcoming and are always happy to talk about their experiences and share their advice.

Finally, the new curriculum was also something that drew me to WashU. One of the things I found to be very unique was the Explore curriculum. While there are opportunities to get involved in research, advocacy, education, and innovation at other schools, there aren’t many schools that provide students with dedicated time to explore their interests in these areas. I also really like how WashU includes longitudinal courses on community engagement and health systems science in our curriculum. Additionally, shortening our preclinical curriculum to a year and a half gives us more time for subinternships and electives before residency applications. Although I was a little apprehensive about going to WashU when the school is transitioning to a completely new curriculum, the fact that all of the students I talked to said they felt like the administration is very responsive really alleviated my concerns and reinforced my decision to come here. 

Navigating a new curriculum amidst a global pandemic has definitely made starting medical school a bit more challenging and unpredictable, but I have really enjoyed my time here. The people at WashU are some of the smartest and most accomplished people I have ever met, yet everyone is so down-to-earth and supportive. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be here, and I am excited to see where the next few years will take us. If I were to choose again, I wouldn’t choose any other school.

Default image

Kendall J.


As I was making my way through the rigorous medical school application process, I had two main goals: Get into medical school (of course!) and find a school where I would truly thrive. While thriving means different things to every person and even shifted dramatically for myself due to the pandemic, WashU was the medical school that to me displayed a clear commitment to wanting their students to flourish and supporting the study body. All the students I spoke with appeared to be clearly enjoying themselves in medical school, indicating to me that WashU students had the room to explore their interests outside of the classroom, the balance to take care of themselves, and the immense support of their peers and the school. “WashU pours 110% into every student,” stated one M1 during our virtual second look weekend. I believed her then. And now, three months into medical school, I know she was right. 

Whether it’s M4 mentors taking time to teach us extra skills in our clinical mentoring hospital sessions; Big Siblings thoughtfully delivering care packages after the completion of our first module; professors going out of their way to check-in on us in the time of virtual learning or share their stellar Spotify playlists; fellow students jumping in to support one another or plan safe, pandemic friendly events to keep us all connected; or the school’s commitment to minimizing financial barriers, it is clear that WashU is a place where people will go out of their way to invest in you. 

I am also constantly in awe of our class. We jumped headfirst into medical school in the midst of a global pandemic and at a school undergoing a complete curriculum renewal. Clearly, we love a good challenge. But more importantly, we are committed to being the best physicians we can be and recognize that the Gateway Curriculum will enable us to become those physicians. Even three months in, I know I made the right decision for me. In particular, I was drawn to the fully integrated curriculum with a 1.5-year pre-clinical phase, the opportunities for material patient engagement early on, and the emphasis on community engagement and health equity. 

WashU is undoubtedly a renowned medical school with amazing faculty, countless research opportunities, and a long history of graduating successful medical students. But ultimately, it was the people and the community that drew me here. It may seem obvious, but medical school is hard. Make sure you find the place where you will not just survive, but where you will thrive. WashU is undoubtedly that place for me, but it’s up to you to decide where that place is for you!

Default image

Sabrina G.


After my interview, I knew that if I was fortunate enough to be offered a spot at WashU, it would be one of my first choices. The Gateway Curriculum seemed like every medical student’s dream, the research and community engagement opportunities were incomparable, the faculty I met were kinder and more supportive to me than my own college professors, and the current students seemed genuinely happy and healthily self-assured. It was evident that WashU students were the best of the brightest and were amazing and brilliant in their own rights, but their personalities seemed very down to earth and very personable. Unlike some, as a Californian who went to college in the east coast, I didn’t “mind” the idea of ending up in the Midwest — in fact early on I saw the benefits of living in St. Louis that many don’t learn until moving here: incredibly affordable cost of living, great young up and coming energy of the Central West End, rich history, and plenty of opportunities for fun and a good time (barring a global pandemic, of course). Safe to say I was over the moon when I was offered a spot in the WUSM 2020 entering class.

Fast forward to summer of 2020. Second look — cancelled. Orientation — 90% virtual. White coat — no families and in small groups. I couldn’t believe that the start of medical school, something I had fantasized about for years, was going to look so drastically different than expected. Luckily, it ended being an incredibly happy and exciting time period of my life, thanks to the faculty, administration, and fellow classmates at WashU. 

Current students at my interview boasted about the kind and receptive administration, but it wasn’t until I realized how great our voice was as incoming M1s that I understood what they meant. WashU admin held weekly town hall meetings with an agenda set by our incoming class. As the situation surrounding COVID changed drastically and quickly over the year of 2020, they consistently prioritized our safety and learning, and invested their seemingly unlimited resources into preserving the positivity of our student experience and happiness. At each step of the way, they not only invited student input but requested it. 

Even with strict social distancing restrictions in place, I was able to cultivate a close group of friends early on in the school year. Our 106-person GroupMe chat turned into a space of support, teamwork, and acceptance, and the class quickly turned into one big family.

We asked over 100 of our classmates, “In 1 word, what do you like / appreciate / enjoy / value most about WUSM?” Here are some of the most common responses.

Section Editor:

Bella  Melena

Bella Melena

Why WashU Section Editor

Hi! My name is Bella Melena. I’m originally from Arvada, Colorado. I went to Drury University for my bachelor’s in biochemistry. I did a gap year in Colorado after graduation, studying diabetic kidney disease in adolescents with type 2 diabetes, and am excited to continue research here! I enjoy playing tennis, annoying my friends, and cooking new recipes!