The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will welcome its 11th class, its largest to date, on July 27.

The Class of 2024 will have 49 members who will undergo a four-year curriculum to earn medical doctorate (M.D.) degrees. Previous classes have had around 42 students, but the medical school gained approval to increase its class size starting this year to 49.

“We are excited to welcome this outstanding new class, and to offer seven more seats to students who are so well-qualified for careers in medicine,” said Lee Learman, dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “Members of the Class of 2024 bring rich backgrounds of professional, educational, and cultural experience. As with our smaller class size of 42, having 49 students supports the formation of a close-knit community, with rich relationships among students, their faculty, and our community.”

“The increase in our class size allows us to cultivate seven additional scientist physicians whom we hope will work collaboratively, effectively, and sensitively toward a better health future for our communities,” said Melanie Prusakowski, associate dean for admissions. “The candidates are outstanding, and the admissions team expects big things from this class.”

Almost 4,300 people applied to be part of the Class of 2024, with 332 participating in interviews for a position. The final 49 members of the class come from 15 states; 12 students are from Virginia. About 61 percent of this class are women.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine continues to make strides toward diversity and admitting students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine. Six students (12 percent) in the Class of 2024 come from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups. Seven students (14 percent) are the first in their families to attend college. About a third of the class meet a federal benchmark defining low-income students or were the first members of their families to attend college.

The average age of the class is 25, with most taking time after college to pursue graduate studies, work, do research, and/or gain clinical shadowing experience. Ten have master’s degrees and one has a doctorate. The average member of the Class of 2024 has completed more than 2,390 hours of research and accumulated more than 4,100 hours of clinical experience.

The class represents 35 undergraduate institutions. The University of Virginia has the most representatives with five students, followed by three each from Boston College, the University of California Berkeley, and Virginia Tech. The Class of 2024 adds 13 new colleges and universities to the list of 128 undergraduate institutions represented in the previous 10 classes: College of the Holy Cross, Columbia College (Chicago, Illinois), Liberty University, Millsaps College, Mount Holyoke College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Randolph-Macon College, Regis University, Seton Hill University, University of North Dakota, University of Oregon, and Xavier University.

The Class of 2024 will undergo orientation the week of July 27-31. Because of COVID-19, orientation will be primarily virtual, with limited in-person, smaller group sessions. Orientation will allow the new students to learn more about the college, Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, and the surrounding community. They will also begin some of their studies, working in teams on their first problem-based learning patient case. The following week they will begin their first official block of study.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine welcomed its first class in August 2010. Since then, seven classes have graduated, each with a 100 percent match rate to residency.