A rabbi, a ballerina, and a Green Beret walk into Yale School of Medicine—all of them members of the Class of 2016. Chosen from 4,103 applicants, the 100 incoming students come from an amazing variety of backgrounds, with many impressive achievements already under their belts.

There’s the Fulbright scholar, the Mayo Clinic Ph.D., and the Half-Ironman Triathlon National Championship competitor. One entering student founded a music therapy program in Oakland, Calif., and another began an after-school tutoring program for the children of New York City’s juvenile prisons. One worked his way through college running a Subway franchise. Two were teachers in rural France and Honduras.

The students’ research has led to numerous publications, and their clinical work has already affected patients around the world. The class could hold its own in any musical or sporting event, counting dozens of musicians and athletes in its number.

Sixteen of the students were born outside the U.S., and 23 are underrepresented ethnic or racial minority groups. They hold diplomas from 53 different colleges, though two of those, Harvard and Yale, account for 31 members of the class. “We get many applications from Yale and Harvard every year, and they tend to be strong candidates,” says Richard Silverman, director of admissions. “But we’re delighted to have over 50 colleges represented in a typical class, including a significant increase in applications from California colleges in recent years.”

As part of another noteworthy recent trend, taking time off between college and medical school is no longer the exception: some 64 of this year’s entering students graduated from college before 2012. “The breadth of their experience is really quite striking.”