Do Medical School Acceptance Rates Reflect Preferences for Preferred Minority Groups?
The chart above (click to enlarge) is an update of the chart from this CD post from about a year ago, showing medical school acceptance rates for Asians, whites, Hispanics and blacks based on data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for the years 2009-2011 (aggregated).For 2011, the average GPA of students applying to medical schools was 3.53 and the average total MCAT score was 28, and the chart displays the acceptance rates for students applying to medical schools with average GPAs (3.40-3.59) and average MCAT scores (27-29) in the highlighted blue column, and the acceptance rates for those students with slightly higher and slightly lower than average GPAs and test scores 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 (or just slightly above or below average). Here are some observations:1. For those students applying to medical school with average GPAs (3.40 to 3.59) and MCAT scores (27-29), black applicants were almost three times more likely to be admitted than their Asian counterparts (85.9% vs. 30%), and 2.4 times more likely than their white counterparts (85.9% vs. 35.9%). Likewise, Hispanic students with average GPAs and MCAT scores were about twice as likely to be accepted as white applicants (68.7% vs. 35.9%) , and more than twice as likely as Asian applicants (68.7% vs. 30%). 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 8 times as likely to be admitted as Asians (67.3% vs. 7.7%), and more than 5 times as likely as whites. Bottom Line: In my my previous post, I concluded that the medical school acceptance data suggest that medical schools must have race-based admission policies that favor blacks and Hispanics over Asian and white students. Even if factors other than GPA and MCAT scores are considered (which are probably the two most important ones) for admission to medical school, wouldn't it still be very hard to conclude that admissions policies to medical schools are completely "race-neutral"? Here's why the issue is important: In some states like California and Michigan, racial preferences in college admissions are prohibited. For example, Proposal 2 in Michigan states: "The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University (all three have medical schools), 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 three medical schools in Michigan are practicing racial favoritism in admissions, but it's clear that Michigan state law now expressly prohibits that practice. But based on national data, is there any conclusion other the obvious one - that medical schools must be considering race as one important factor in admissions, at least for preferred minority groups (blacks and Hispanics) over non-preferred minority groups (Asians) and whites?