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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?

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

  1. All of this reinforces the perception that a black physician is only a doctor because of affirmative action. I’m not sure in reality if there is all that much practical difference in patient outcomes between someone who graduated med school at the top of his class and one who barely got by (I’d like to know if there is any info on this), but it always crosses my mind.

    • my experience is there is a wide range between the abilities of doctors for finding resolving rather complex issues — minor issues you are probably correct.

      A more important issue to me is these are today stats – I wonder how they will change after Obamacare where a lot of would be doctors will be seeking other fields.

    • I’m not sure in reality if there is all that much practical difference in patient outcomes between someone who graduated med school at the top of his class and one who barely got by

      My experience is the computer and math fields is that this is huge. The difference between the worst and best grad students looks to be greater than the difference between the average high school graduate and the average college graduate. The tails at the top of the distributions are fat and long. In every graduate math and engineering course I took, there were at least two or three that seemed to just get everything that was taught effortlessly going through the program. At the same time, forgetting the fwe that just didn’t get it no matter what, there were those that studied for 10-12 hours per day and were just getting by. The differences between these and those at the top were enormous.

      The average doctor has an IQ of 125, but in every new class starting medical school, there is almost certainly someone with an IQ of at least 140 and one with an IQ no higher than 110. The average high school graduate has an IQ around 100 and the average college graduate has IQ around 115.

      • “The average high school graduate has an IQ around 100″

        No. IIRC, Arthur Jensen says it’s 105. Many people are weeded out even before high school. These days, thanks to the democratization of higher education, the average college graduate might have an IQ of 107. College degrees today are used mainly for the purpose of covering up mental incompetency.

        • This only drives home my point even more. The difference between the best student and worst in a given medical school class is far larger than the difference between the average high school graduate and college graduate. My point was that there is a huge practical difference between the top doctor in a class and the one who barely makes the grade, yet passes anyway.

      • The problem with your theory is that medical school is not identical to computer science or mathematics graduate school. There are multiple “step” exams (the USMLE discussed here: required in med school whereas other graduate schools will have maybe 1 exit exam. There are 3 chances for subpar students to get eliminated (Step 1 and 2 are taken while in the program and Step 3 is taken after completion). Yes, medical students that can’t pass the exams after I believe two unsuccessful attmepts do get kicked out of medical school.

        There IS one advantage to higher scores on those step exams, and it is that the individual is more likely to get into a more competitive residency program. The reasons for these programs being competitive could range anywhere from more available funding to just being a competive modality (such as surgery or radiology). So everyone here can rest assured that no one who is academically unqualified to practice medicine is able to practice medicine.

  2. The white rate is problematic for two reasons: first, legacies are much more likely to be white than Asian(and especially donor-fuelled legacies). Second, Jews are bundled into that group. As Ron Unz has previously pointed out, Jews’ academic performance has fallen quite dramatically the last 20 years, but their acceptance rates have stayed flat or even inched up. This means that if you’re a poor, rural WASP who doesn’t have a rich family which can donate and you’re not Jewish, your acceptance rate on high performance levels may indeed be below the Asian one.

    That statistic is muddy.

  3. “In a staggering case of affirmative action gone wild, officials in a major U.S. city are actually recruiting minorities to be lifeguards at public pools even if they’re not good swimmers. It’s all in the name of diversity … To diversify the lifeguard force, Phoenix will spend thousands of dollars to recruit minorities even if they’re not strong swimmers, according to an official quoted in a news report. Blacks, Latinos and Asians who may not necessarily qualify can still get hired, says the city official who adds that “we will work with you in your swimming abilities.” — Judicial Watch

    You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your kids drowning helped further the lefts racist agenda.

  4. “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it” — Nancy Pelosi

    Obamacare gives “‘priority’ for federal dollars is to be given only to those institutions offering ‘preferential’ admissions to underrepresented minorities (according to race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation and religion….). Thus, schools will be unable to compete for essential federal funding unless they adopt admission policies that intentionally and deliberately discriminate.”

    Furthermore: “The Senate bill even creates a federally funded and administered medical school called the United States Public Health Services Track to ‘grant appropriate advanced degrees.’ Priority in admissions is to be given to ‘students from rural communities and underrepresented minorities.’ (‘Underrepresented minorities’ is liberal code for ‘Asians need not apply.’) Naturally, other sections of the bill require lots of data collection regarding race, ethnicity, sex, and so on.” — Washington Times

    Well, at least the Democrats are consistent. They and their union cronies have given minority communities second rate schools for generations, and now they’re working on providing them with second rate health care.

    You can see why these policies would engender such loyalty on the part of their grateful recipients.

  5. Nice try conservative propaganda site! Try to illicit lefties to come on here and argue against so called facts to make us look like we are the problem of societies ills.Then create a atmosphere where conservatives and progressives can attack each other instead of trying to find common ground to better this nation going forward.No the blessed private sector has no grounds for blame for the decline of American society.

    • instead of trying to find common ground to better this nation going forward“…

      Where’s the common ground between a productive society and a societal parasite that is the so called progressive?

  6. Nothing new here. There were 8 black students in my 1st year med school class, 1983. They were the same 8 black students who were in the class of 1982. They’d all failed the first year.

  7. The real scandal is when one examines how many blacks don’t graduate once accepted to medical school, White/asian students would never get accepted with the grades/MCAT scores that black students have because they know the outcome is usually poor. By lowering the intelligence bar to accept black students and allow them to fail, run up large student loans, and possibly endanger patients demonstrates a real racism.

  8. Dr. V, you appear to already have a certain bias that precludes you from being able to acknowledge the social situation as a WHOLE. The primary reason for lowering the bar for Blacks is not because they are inherently less intelligent; it’s more of an attempt to ameliorate particular social issues that plague black communities more than others and to account for socioeconomic inequalities. Is the system perfect? No.but one must start somewhere.

  9. Uh…I’m a Black man. I scored a 35 MCAT (10 Physics, 11 Verbal, 14 Biological)

    That’s 95th percentile. I’ll be starting med school in the Fall at Cooper Med (Camden, NJ).

    Affirrmative Action, my ass. I’ll see you haters on the wards.

    • YES!!!!! You better tell them!!! It is so sad how some of these people think AA is the only way African Americans enter medical schools. We are just as smart and brilliant as anybody else. YES SIR.

    • Yeeeeeees! You better do it… and shut them down. It’s crazy how them Caucasians ASSume so much about us…. ahhh… I can’t wait until it’s my turn to take the MCAT so I can say the same as you, “Affirmative Action, my ass.”

  10. I would like to see these numbers on an actual population basis, ie 300 asians, 500 white americans, etc. This information can be easily skewed by the number of physicans in practice and medical school 80% are not black, as is more than likely the current case for the white population. This post is misleading in that the only statistic given here is a percentage. It does not mean that they are less qualified as some may suggest. It actually infers that a smaller pool of more qualified applicants are exerting the efforts to get into medical school. This allows for more physicians to care for the different populations of the United States. Seems to be stirring up trouble where there is not much to be had.

  11. I think that everyone already knew this. If you look at the living situation/life circle of the minority races, which is this article are represented as blacks and Hispanics, it is very different than the customary life for the “white & Asian” populations. Now obviously there is crossover everywhere, so there will be groups on both sides. The point is that the ability to score a 24 or higher with a 3.2 or higher is harder to do when you are in a very unfavorable living situation, regardless of race. Where these scores are not good, they are not terrible either. Rather than looking into particular races as why some people are “favored” one should look more into the life that person has lived. Growing up in a suburbs with no real problems other than pressure makes for a pretty easy road to success, as it has been demonstrated over and over. Growing up in poverty, in a “ghetto”, where drugs are gangs are an actually part of your life could make it harder to succeed. Those two stories are polarizing, and where one performed better on a test, the other has arguably achieved more.

    I applaud the person who could grow up in horrible conditions and make it to medical school, regardless of race.

    • Andrew, you have actually hit the head on the nail. I didn’t want to bother replying to the other comments, explaining what seemed plausible and what didn’t, but once I saw this one– I felt guilty to not make a note of it here for future readers! Thank you, Andrew! Yes, medical school admissions committees assess your academic capabilities by comparing your GPA and MCAT score to others who have faced similar hardships/ have a similar disadvantaged status. This includes white applicants who mark “disadvantaged” on their application and must include a statement with proof explaining why/how they were disadvantaged. Those who believe they were disadvantaged for purely cultural, ethnic, or racial reasons must also explain how this posed a disadvantage for them, even if it’s obvious. Admissions committees judge this statement against all of the other facts they can gather: from your primary applications, secondary apps, letter of recommendations, interviews, etc. The WAY in which you write about your disadvantaged status also makes a difference. It is not the pitty-olympics. No matter how rough your situation was, if you sound negative/are pittying yourself way too much, admissions committees do not look upon that favorably. If you’re going into a disease-ridden profession…in a country with a primary care shortage, then you better learn how to be optimistic and find the hope in every situation. You need to provide that hope for your patients and have the heart and gumption to advocate for them in spite of socioeconomic pitfalls or setbacks. You need to have the patience and know-how to develop a FEASIBLE treatment plan with your patient that actually takes into account his/her life circumstances. And you have to be excited to advocate for your patients when fighting with insurance companies, etc.

      The last thing our world needs are doctors who are more motivated by money than by a passion for reducing the suffering of others. There are many professions that address the suffering of others, and doctors have a passion for doing it in this specific way: by directly treating someone’s mental and physical ailments in order to save or improve his/her quality of life.

      The only money you should “want” is money to pay off your student loans and provide necessities for your family. This is the physician that medical schools want.

      Medical schools have noticed a trend: there is a shortage of primary-care physicians because it is one of the least lucrative practices. Perhaps if we provided more doctors who were NOT chiefly motivated by money and were MORE motivated by serving the most critical health needs of our country, then we would not have a primary care shortage. This is also why they are drastically changing the MCAT for 2015 – cut down the organic chemistry and pump in the public health. Being an organic chemistry genius is supremely helpful in making life-saving research discoveries, but it won’t make you culturally competent or a great patient advocate.
      Medical schools have changed what they are looking for. They want to see people who understand the social determinants of health and exhibit true perseverance (so can stay dedicated to helping a patient improve his health status despite socioeconomic pitfalls, treatment failures, awful insurance companies, patient life hardships, etc.) The medical school curriculum is SO jam-packed that they cannot fit these critical lessons in. Anyone who makes it through medical school will have mastered the science well enough to be a proficient physician science-wise, but it does not mean that they will be proficient in all of the other skills that an excellent doctor truly needs today.

      Also, if we don’t have enough doctors practicing in rural communities or ghettos (causing a barrier of access to care for many), how can we fix this?: By training doctors who CAN’T WAIT to practice in underserved rural communities and ghettos. Data shows that by recruiting students from these areas, we’ve already started to address this problem because the same students almost always choose to go back and help those who are suffering from circumstances similar to those they also faced. They have their heart in it.
      There is plenty more to add here, but that is all for me tonight. :) I hope this was helpful for some folks in understanding how things are changing.

      • This is the first plausible defense of medical school affirmative action that I’ve heard. If I understand you correctly, admitting more minority students, even if it means admitting significantly less qualified applicants, will help to solve the primary care physician shortage in the US, since they will go into primary care at higher rates?

        But isn’t the limiting factor on the number of primary care physicians in the US the number of residency spots? If you don’t increase the number of residency spots (which is complicated because the US law is complicated) then you won’t increase the number of primary care physicians even if more medical students want to go into those fields. Moreover increasing the number residency spots is sufficient to increase the number of primary care physicians – no affirmative action needed.

  12. There are other criteria that medical school admissions committees base their acceptances off of besides MCAT and GPA— like life experiences and people skills. A balance would be nice, not some robotic loser who thinks they have all the answers until they mess up. If the nerds would get out more maybe they could improve the non-numbers portion of their app and stop putting people to sleep during their interviews.

  13. You all are nothing but a bunch of rice throwing republican scumbags. You are sitting behind your computer screens analyzing what you think of the statistics of brown skin Americans being accepted into medical schools as if you’re some high and mighty king/queen. PLEASE! Do not peach tone (white/Caucasian) Americans fail out of medical school just as well? Is it not true that you guys are overrepresented in the medical world? You guys have the world at your foot. And you’re upset just because the underrepresented get a little more leeway? You’re nothing but a bunch of jealous Republican, racist, and close-minded individuals who need a wake up call.

  14. The saddest part about this is that it turns into a diatribe about “underqualified” Blacks and Hispanics, and yet no one addresses the other issue: Whites and Asians are still accepted in these same categories and no one assumes they will fail or are underqualified. The rhetoric of reverse racism is fueled by hatred or prejudice of actual racism in the first place. It’s preference to let Hispanics and Blacks in when they have the same stats as Whites and Asians, yet the former two are unqualified and of course will fail. The mathematical truth is that if all the ethnic groups with these stats had an equal percentage rate in each statistical category, Whites would (as they already are now) be an overwhelming majortiy because they as a whole apply to med school in larger numbers. Equal admittance percentages would in fact show a de facto preference for Whites as 50% of 40,000 applications are from Whites and 7% are African-American. I don’t have to be a pre-med or math student to know that 20% acceptance rates in both ethnic categories for those with the same GPA/MCAT will be majority White in actual number of those who will matriculate. Medical schools will be majority Caucasian for quite a while because that is the majority who apply. The disappointing thing is that many of the posters to this board want to be doctors, and yet your comments display deeply-seated prejudice and assumptions for one group of people while excluding them for your own. As physicians, I highly doubt that racial prejudice should be part of your bedside manner. Lastly, remember that society WILL one day be dominated by minorities, the same groups that you now degrade. If you can’t respect those of them who will be your classmates, how can you treat them as a physician and how do you think their children and grandchildren will treat the ones who once surreptitiously referred to their grandfather or grandmother as the “unqualified and undeserving Beaner or Negro doctor”, especially when you carried the same stats as them. Do no harm, future doctors, and that includes misplaced prejudice. If we truly want to be fair, don’t let in anyone with a 3.4 and 24 MCAT that way Whites won’t complain about the fleecing of White Privilege. If you really want to be a doctor, then stop the thinly veiled racism masked behind arguments of reverse racism and also figure out that an 80% acceptance rate of a group that represents 7% of applicants overall is smaller number than 34% of a group that represents over 50% of the application pool. There will be plenty of Whites in your class with you to denigrate Blacks and Hispanics without you feeling outnumbered. Get over yourself, do the best YOU can, and go out into the world and do some good, instead of focusing on why Sammie has a higher acceptance rate than you.

    • Exactly. It’s so annoying when someone extrapolates from one piece of data. The % of white applicants who are accepted to medical with less than a 3.4/30MCAT is greater than the number of ALL URM applicants that *even apply*.

      Additionally, most people are unaware or simply refuse to acknowledge board examinations when discrediting the cognitive capacity for URMs to succeed in medical school. All medical students that plan to practice in the USA will need to pass their boards.

  15. Let me shed some light to many ignorant comments about racial preference: If you were able to look at the bigger picture, you would try harder to find data to draw ACCURATE conclusions from. So here we go: first of all, let me give you an example. If a 1,000 white applicants apply to medical school with certain credentials, and only about 500 get accepted – then the acceptance rate will be 50%. Now, if 200 black applicants with the same credentials apply yo medical school, and only 140 get admitted – then the acceptance rate would be 70%. To be CLEAR, applicants of both races have the SAME credentials (i.e. equal GPA and/or MCAT scores). SO, an ignorant person would look at this example on the basis of percentage only, Blacks 70% vs White 50%, to argue that there is a racial preference. An EDUCATED individual would notice that 500 WHITE applicants were admitted vs. 140 BLACK applicants, so that MORE white applicants were admitted, but at the same time underrepresented communities with the same intellectual abilities are being brought in to serve in medicine.

    In conclusion, percentages are invalid to make ACCURATE conclusions if the complete data is not present. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DOUBLE CHECK FOR YOURSELF THE ACTUAL NUMBERS, PLEASER REFER TO THE FOLLOWING LINK:


  16. The percentages are misleading ,we need actual numbers. For those who are retarded,what I mean is 1 out of 2 is 50% and so is 10 out of 20. So you need the actual numbers of the minorities in medical school before you make your KKK conclusion.

  17. I served a number of years on a west coast medical school’s admission committee. I never once heard a committee member say we should admit someone because of their race. As others have suggested, the bigger problem is that there are so few qualified black and hispanic applicants.

    Medical schools like diverse class — not so much in how they look but the type of people they are, their source of motivation, their viewpoints, and the type of career they’re likely to pursue. We get a lot of applicants who are a carbon copy clones of one another. Black and hispanics may have been more likely to have engaged in activities that are uncommon for the rest of the applicants. When asked how they spent their summer an applicant might say “working in a free-clinic caring for migrant farm workers” or “prepping for MCATs and selling magazines”. Which one of those stand out from the crowd and have a more believable commitment to improving the nation’s health?

    Public med schools have a mandate to train physicians who are likely to engage in needed fields (primary care) and underserved areas. So its easy to understand why blacks and hispanics tend to score points in their extracurricular activities and for their career objectives.

    Med schools don’t admit students simply based on an applicants by MCAT and GPA. We should all be thankful for that because there are many qualities that you would like to have in your doctor that are not reflected in these scores.

  18. For all of the smart future doctors requesting numbers instead of percentages – click on the blue AAMC link in the first paragraph.

    • I’m sure those that commented on the percentages are well aware of all the data presented in the AAMC tables. Their argument, including my own, is the extrapolated implication based on percentages… it’s a misleading statistically ploy.

  19. Medical Schools aren’t prejudice. They are trying to be more holistic in their admission process. Think about the fact that if you were Black (or Hispanic), the likelyhood of you succeeding in undergraduate is MUCH less than that of a White or Asian student. These students who make it from these backgrounds are usually very ambitious, they overcome obstacles not faced by their counterparts. They are probably more awesome and interesting people, and they are likely to make better and more understanding doctors, which is what Americans need!

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