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Acceptance rates at US medical schools between 2010-2012 reveal racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics

medschoolThe chart above (click to enlarge) is an update of one I’ve posted several times before, here’s a link to the most recent CD post on this topic from about a year ago. That post generated a lot of interest and got almost 100 comments, so I thought it was time to do an update. The chart displays some of the acceptance rates for Asians, whites, Hispanics and blacks to US medical schools with various combinations of MCAT scores and GPAs for the years 2010-2012 (aggregated), based on data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

For 2012, the average GPA of all students applying to medical schools was 3.54 and the average total MCAT score was 28.3. The highlighted blue column in the middle of the table displays the acceptance rates of four racial groups for applicants to US medical schools with GPAs that fall in the 3.40-3.59 range containing the average GPA, and with MCAT scores in the range between 27-29 that contains the average score. Acceptance rates for students with slightly higher and slightly lower than average GPAs and test scores are displayed in the other columns. In other words, the table displays acceptance rates by race and ethnicity for students applying to medical school with average academic credentials, and just slightly above and slightly below average credentials.

Here are some observations:

1. For those students applying to medical school with average GPAs (3.40 to 3.59) and average MCAT scores (27-29), black applicants were almost three times more likely to be admitted than Asian applicants (84.0% vs. 28.1%), and 2.5 times more likely than white applicants (84.0% vs. 34.1%).  Likewise, Hispanic students with average GPAs and average MCAT scores were about twice as likely to be accepted to medical school as white applicants (68.0% vs. 34.1%), and more than twice as likely as Asian applicants (68.0% vs. 28.1%). Overall, black (84%) and Hispanic (68%) applicants with average GPAs (3.40 to 3.59) and MCAT scores (27-29) were accepted to medical school at rates much higher than the average of 34.8% for all students with those academic credentials.

2. For students applying to medical school with slightly below average GPAs of 3.20-3.39 and slightly below average MCAT scores of 24-26 (first column in the table), black applicants were more than 7 times more likely to be admitted to medical school as Asians (65.4% vs. 9.1%), and more than 5 times more likely as whites (65.4% vs. 12.2%). Compared to the average acceptance rate of 20.3% for all students applying with that combination of GPA and MCAT score, black and Hispanic applicants were much more likely to be accepted, and white and Asian applicants were much less likely to be accepted to medical school.

3. We find the same pattern for students with slightly above average academic credentials. For example, for applicants with MCAT scores of 30-32 (slightly above average) and GPAs between 3.40-3.59 (average), the acceptance rates for blacks (93.2%) and Hispanics (80.6%) are much higher than for whites (54.2%) and Asians (48%).

Bottom Line: In my previous post, I concluded that the medical school acceptance data suggest that medical schools must have admission policies that favor blacks and Hispanics over Asian and white students, for applicants with the same academic credentials (GPA and MCAT score). Even if factors other than GPA and MCAT scores (which are probably the two most important ones) are considered for admission to medical school, wouldn’t it still be very hard to conclude that admissions policies to medical schools are completely “race-neutral” and completely free of any racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics?

Here’s why the issue is important: In some states like California, Washington, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and Michigan, racial preferences in college admissions are currently prohibited by law (although the Texas and Michigan policies are currently being challenged). For example, Proposal 2 in Michigan, which was passed into Michigan Constitutional law by a 58% margin of voters in 2006, states:

“The University of Michigan, Michigan State University (both have medical schools), Grand Valley State University, and any other public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

The AAMC doesn’t provide acceptance data by individual medical school, so we can’t conclude that any of the four medical schools at public universities in Michigan (University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State and Oakland University) are practicing racial favoritism in admissions, but it’s clear that Michigan state law, and the laws in several other states, expressly prohibit that practice. Based on national data, is there any conclusion other than the obvious one – that US medical schools are giving special preferences for admissions on the basis of race, at least for certain preferred minority groups (blacks and Hispanics) over non-preferred minority groups (Asians) and whites? When a black applicant with average academic credentials is three times more likely to be admitted to medical school than an equally qualified Asian applicant, what other conclusion is there?

59 thoughts on “Acceptance rates at US medical schools between 2010-2012 reveal racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics

  1. Wayne, thanks for posting this.

    I have seen many competent African American doctors who exercise competency and compassion at their profession. You are presuming that, if I were to not get accepted, that I would be blatantly disrespectful of any attending who is an African American. That is a strong presumption, lol.

    I’m sorry my post called out so much of what you are trying to break forward. I admire your intention and I hope your desire and motive is really meeting the sincere motive of the patient and that you really mean well by what you said.

    That said, I have a passion for medicine. Primary care, in particular. That being said, I really probably know more about medicine than you do. About working in the wards with medicaid patients, most, of whom specialists won’t see without paying up front. It’s the long term relational aspect of patient care, the coordination of their well being, which really drives me.

    I agree that getting into medical school is not a reward for hard work. It is a requirement, but it will not be a promise factor for acceptance. My experience has already affirmed that. But I do know, that given my experience, being a URM is such a blatant disadvantage that it misappropriates competency and objective measure when it comes to the academic rigor and profile that is medical school.

    I hope you have a passion for patient care, and really know what you are getting into. Must be nice getting in first try. If you’d like, I’d like to hear stories of your perseverance of gaining acceptance, because you have yet to prove that you are more qualified than me for earning a spot. :)

    • 1) You received 5 interview invites. Why not contact the schools and attempt to find ways to strengthen your application rather that feel that an URM “took your spot”. I have to agree with Wayne – your [original and most certainly the latter] comment wreaks of entitlement and arrogance. Not good. Probably difficult to hide during an interview as well.

      2) SMPs can only do so much to your tarnished uGPA. Consider finding one that offers linkage.

      3) Have you considered these nuggets of information:
      a – in total there were 1422 Black acceptance (37%) & 1271 Hispanic (46%) vs 4136 Asian (43.3%)… not to mention the 11689 White applicants that were accepted (46.6%).

      Strange huh? More Asians accepted than all of the URMs that were accepted and more Whites accepted than any other group.

      b – there were more Asians (your own ethnicity) (1481) that were *accepted with an equivalent or lower GPA and MCAT* than you than *all* of the Black or Hispanic applicants that were accepted.

      So why were the other Asian applicants *better* than you? What did they do that was more compelling than you? Must have been something. Clearly they had a 1-up on you buddy.

      c – All the URMS: 2859/6888 accepted. Asian acceptances almost doubled all URM acceptances and White acceptances were more than all URM *applicants*.

      Here’s the thing. You like many others are playing this objective probability game. You have chosen a minority [no pun intended] group to call out as those who were likely to have “taken your spot” based off individual probability of acceptances calculated from GPA and MCAT. What is utterly frustrating is your lack of acknowledgement for people from over represented groups that also have piss-poor stats. No one says *anything* about the 7154 white applicants with less than or equivalent stats that also got in over you (as an example). You definitely didn’t make mention of anyone from your own ethnic group that did the same.

      Go figure out what’s wrong with your application instead of trolling the net looking for medical school acceptance rates to extrapolate their significance to pad your entitlement.

    • Hi “future Asian doc…” Oh skip it…let’s just call it like it is, shall we?

      “Wannabe Asian doctor who really has a iceberg’s chance in Hell of actually becoming one unless he undergoes an extreme attitude adjustment regarding his unsubstantiated feelings of entitlement and superiority”

      There that’s better!

      You can call me, “Future African-American doctor”…you know, because I am ACTUALLY already IN MEDICAL SCHOOL…you know, because I ACTUALLY earned my spot…not just because I said so (like you), but because actual COMMITTEES OF PHYSICIANS said so. A few different committees at different schools, in fact.

      Or you could just call me Wayne…either/or

      What is really interesting is you…a wannabe doctor, not a “real” doctor or a “future” doctor…think you know more about what would make a good doctor than WHOLE COMMITTEES OF ACTUAL DOCTORS.

      Again, I point out the “S” in COMMITTEES…as in plural. As in: the several who did not let you in AND the multiple ones who did let me in.

      You think you know better than all of them: all of those physicians are wrong about you, right? All of those physicians were wrong about me, right?

      Has it ever occurred to you, just maybe…that they know something about what makes a good doctor that you don’t know? Maybe something that you think is trivial that they think is ESSENTIAL? Like humility? Like respect? Like a non-judgmental attitude? Like magnanimity? Like maybe not rationing all-of-the-above on the basis of HOW A PERSON LOOKS?

      You know…things that you can’t put a numerical value on or analyze on a table as easily as an MCAT score…but show up AS CLEAR AS DAY in a personal statement and ESPECIALLY an interview.

      It’s really, really difficult to hide douchebaggery in a stressful situation like an interview. Try as you might, if you are not a pleasant person…you know the kind of person that ACTUAL DOCTORS have seen make good ACTUAL DOCTORS (and not just “good” wannabe doctors)…it’s gonna show. You just can’t hide it.

      Here’s a little secret for all the kiddies out there: if you get an actual interview at a medical school…the slot is yours to lose. They have already done all the weeding they are gonna do on the basis of qualifications: there are way too many applicants to interview to waste interview slots on applicants who are numerically unqualified to matriculate. What this means is if you got to the interview, you didn’t lose the spot to an individual the COMMITTEE OF ACTUAL DOCTORS felt was unqualified to matriculate on the basis of GPA or MCAT…you lost the spot to someone who had the intangibles: the desirable human qualities of a physician. They had them and you didn’t. Sorry! Some things just aren’t covered in classrooms, but matter a lot in this profession just the same.

      Now the absence of these desirable human qualities (I call it “douchebaggery”, but they may call it “assholicity” or “jerk-officiousness”…tomato, toMAHto) that simply cannot be hidden under stress sometimes coincides with other undesirable human qualities like…I don’t know…?

      …the tendency to assume the incompetence of individuals just on the basis of some inconsequential physical trait (like skin color) and/or the tendency to blame one’s personal failings on the same irrational basis.

      Yes! That’s it! There’s a word for this tendency…it’s um? Oh, dammit! Help me out! It’s…right on the tip of my tongue…it’s

      Oh yeah…RACIST! That’s it!

      I have no doubt you have met MANY African-American doctors “who exercise competency and compassion at their profession”. I’d expect no less…they are after all ACTUAL DOCTORS…not “future” doctors or even “wannabe” doctors.

      The question is: have YOU ever MET any African-American doctors who didn’t exercise competency and compassion at their profession? Think hard…I bet you haven’t MET ANY. And if you did, what was it about their skin color that “magically” made them incompetent? Hmm?

      Follow-up question: how could you…a “wannabe” doctor…have the requisite knowledge to even fairly assess the competence of an ACTUAL doctor? Were you really impressed when these African-American doctors put their stethoscopes on people’s chests instead of a person’s elbow? You know how CRAZY those African-American doctors can get!

      Lastly, let me clear up some misconceptions about me that you can think about when I am in class learning pharmacology and pathophys this Fall and you are at home stewing about me being in the seat that should have gone to you…

      1. Your uGPA is very uncompetitive. Blame yourself.
      2. My MCAT was 35, yours was lower. Again, blame yourself.
      3. As Tenbee has pointed out, thousands of white and Asian applicants with GPAs and MCAT even lower than yours are sitting in classes all over America learning pharm and pathophys right along beside me this Fall. One of them has taken your slot, not me. Again, blame yourself.
      4. You couldn’t have my spot, you weren’t good enough to take it from me. Again, blame yourself.
      5. It took me two tries, not one, to get into medical school. When I didn’t get in the first time…I blamed MYSELF…fixed what was wrong (applied to the wrong schools) and got in the next year.

      Take responsibility for your own performance and please fix your attitude about you are owed…you are owed nothing. Be grateful for everything. It’ll make you a much better doctor.

      Wayne Howell Clemmons, M2
      Medical College of Georgia
      Class of 2017

  2. BTW: Wayne, I hope you don’t fall into that person’s penis swinging contest of qualifications… you’ve already demonstrated that you have what it takes for medicine. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

    • Hey Tenbee,

      I know I really shouldn’t feed the trolls. But I do think that disabusing the bold and clueless of their erroneous and illogical assumptions about affirmative action and/or African American intelligence is actually educational for the timid and clueless lurkers out there: maybe someone’s eyes would be opened somewhere. If I could get just one person to change their thinking, particularly before they become a colleague, then just maybe I can help to improve medicine through the increase of physicians with cultural competence. It’s really difficult to effectively treat, be colleagues with, or be trainees of African-Americans if one has an inherent negative assumption of their intelligence. In other words, racism makes REALLY bad doctors with REALLY bad outcomes. Study after study has confirmed this.

      Besides the great thing about engaging in penis swinging contests is the “bigger man” always wins: it’s obvious that in numerical credentials, “Future Asian doctor” is coming up short.

      • Yes – I completely agree that it was/is a teachable moment.

        My comment and concern was about the potential contest of qualifications as a result of the Future Asian Doctor’s reply to you. The statement was kind of baiting you to start this back and forth pointless discussion about one’s CV. It’s pointless because you’ve already done what you needed to so to get in the door. That requires no explanation to anyone.

        I personally do not discuss my CV or past experiences with people like that because they usually don’t believe me and I found it to be just as frustrating and unsettling as the original topic that prompted my urge to share those experiences. I realized some time ago that I have other things to do and someone that firmly believes that I am inferior because of my skin tone doesn’t deserve my time or any explanation.

  3. Geez, I’m sorry I was perceived that way. If I offended anybody, I apologize. What’s interesting though is that what gave me credibility and weight to convey what I said, elicited a strong reaction in how they perceived me based on their own thought process.

    Tenbee, you have given some solid and insightful points. Thank you. It really is helpful and insightful, and I appreciate your altruistic desire to help. I really appreciate it. Criticism isn’t the easiest to accept, but you provide some valid and insightful points.

    Maybe I am a little jaded. But, is it really that wrong to communicate how I feel about it on a message board on the internet? For sure, life is not fair and I must do what I have to do to proactively improve. Sometimes, I fear my perseverance and drive can be misconstrued as arrogance and entitlement.. as most people would have given up by now. However, an opportunity to increase a depth of character and to persevere, while concurrently demonstrating and affirming what my passion is, I will be grateful for that opportunity.

    Btw, I do love seeing qualified smart african american doctors, it is good to break the mold and it is really refreshing. (I don’t mean arrogance by that). I have a buddy that is going to a top tier school and is well qualified. Really proud and happy for him. He has even said to me there is no reason why I shouldn’t be accepted. It is what it is.

    It does hurt to see how flawed the system is when I see license plates of meharry medical college alumni from the offices of pain med clinics who are known to not practice the most ethical of healthcare and to really understand the motive behind such a practice.

    Sigh, I’m going to bed. I’ll shut up for now. I apologize if I was ranting or whatever. May the best be for all of you.

    • Oh, “Wannabe Asian doctor”! You tickle me, you really do!

      You may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you certainly are the biggest.

      You said: “I do love seeing qualified smart african american doctors, it is good to break the mold and it is really refreshing. (I don’t mean arrogance by that).”

      Wow…just wow.

      The depths of your ignorance are astounding. Kudos for commitment, because that level of rank bigotry actually takes effort. Willful ignorance such as this takes serious willpower. You’ve got to shut your brain down to near moronic levels of cognition to get to where you are. I personally didn’t think it was possible, and I don’t know how you function…how do you read being this stupid? It’s simply incredible. I now have no doubt of your level of perseverance, though I somehow doubt it means what you think it means.

      Let’s unpack your ignorance, shall we?

      So “smart, qualified” African-American doctors in your view “break the mold”, huh? So much so you “love seeing it” AND it’s “refreshing”, huh?

      I see…so if the “smart and qualified” African American docs are “breaking the mold”, the African-American docs who are “making the mold” are…by definition…”dumb and unqualified”. And these “dumb and unqualified” African American doctors “make the mold” by nature of them being REPRESENTATIVE of the MASSES of African-American doctors. So most African-American doctors are “dumb and unqualified”, right?

      Then SEEING these “smart and qualified” African-American doctors is so RARE…it’s actually REFRESHING! So much so you actually “LOVE SEEING” it! It’s like whimsical, even! Like a shooting star! Or a double rainbow! Or a four-leaf clover! Or a Leprechaun! Or Unicorns! Yes! Seeing “smart and qualified” African-American doctors is like that! Like seeing Leprechauns and Unicorns! I’d LOVE to see THAT! That would really be refreshing! If only they existed! That would be so cool! Refreshing…you know! Cause those regular “dumb and unqualified” African-American doctors…they’re like…uh, horses! You know, commonplace…but those smart ones are RARE!

      I sure love seeing unicorns!

      Me too, “wannabe Asian doctor”…I sure love seeing what you call “unicorns” too. I call ‘em “horses”, though…you know, cause they are so commonplace. But I sure love seeing them all the same.

      Horses are cool!

  4. Minorities have not had a 200 year head start in the education race. Segregation ended only 50 years ago. Think about that for a minute. Many minority applicants do not have the means and resources to simply go to class and study at their leisure. Many Caucasian applicants come from families of physicians, and have been been given the groundwork to become a physician themselves. A majority of the minority applicants cannot say the same. I would expect a third generation physician to have a GPA of 3.8 and an MCAT of 35 based on his advantages, IE time available for unpaid research and studying, and resources for things like MCAT prep courses, study materials.

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