The 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?