When it comes to becoming a physician, the academic rigors, years of schooling, and personal sacrifice common to the effort are well-known. This process is a sort of rite of passage, an intellectual marathon that only the best and brightest can complete. As such, medical schools should select candidates best-suited to excel throughout school and cultivate the skills that will allow them to practice in the best health care system in the world. The process by which these candidates are selected, however, may come as a shock.
In examining documents made public by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), it becomes apparent that race plays a disturbingly large role in the medical student application process. The documents provide data about the applicant pool from years 2009-2011 — namely, the number of applicants within a given GPA and MCAT score range, and how many of those applicants gained acceptance to a school. These data, it turns out, are organized by race.
A quick scan of the documents reveals that white students applying to medical school with a GPA in the 3.40-3.59 range and with an MCAT score in the 21-23 range (a below-average score on a test with a maximal score of 45) had an 11.5% acceptance rate (total of 1,500 applicants meeting these criteria). Meanwhile, a review of minority students (black, Latino, and Native American) with the same GPA and MCAT range had a 42.6% acceptance rate (total of 745 applicants meeting these criteria). Thus, as a minority student with a GPA and MCAT in the aforementioned ranges, you are more than 30% more likely to gain acceptance to a medical school.