Acceptance rates at US medical schools in 2015 reveal ongoing racial preferences for blacks and Hispanics
The table above (click to enlarge) of US medical school acceptance rates by race is a revised and updated version of one I’ve posted several times before, here’s a link to the most recent CD post on this topic from January 2015. The series of CD posts on medical school acceptance rates by race for various MCAT scores and GPAs has generated a lot of interest and comments in the past, so I’m posting on the topic again with new data for the 2015-2016 academic year that just recently became available from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Specifically, the table above displays: a) acceptance rates to US medical schools for Asians, whites, Hispanics and blacks with various combinations of MCAT scores and GPAs for the academic years 2013-2014 through 2015-2016 (aggregated for the three years), and b) average MCAT scores and average GPAs by race/ethnic group for matriculants to US medical schools in the fall of 2015.
For the 2015-2016 academic year, the average GPA of all students applying to medical schools was 3.55 and the average MCAT score was 28.3 (see AAMC data, Table A-16). The highlighted dark blue column in the middle of the table above displays the acceptance rates to US medical schools for applicants from four racial/ethnic groups for applicants with: a) GPAs that fall in the 3.40 to 3.59 range that includes the average GPA of 3.55 and b) MCAT scores in the range between 27 to 29 that includes the average MCAT score of 28.3. 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 above displays acceptance rates by race/ethnicity for students applying to US medical schools with average academic credentials, and just slightly above and slightly below average academic credentials.
Here are some observations based on the new AAMC data:
- For those applicants to US medical schools last year with average GPAs (3.40 to 3.59) and average MCAT scores (27 to 29), black applicants were almost 4 times more likely to be admitted to medical school than Asians in that applicant pool (81.2% vs. 20.6%), and 2.8 times more likely than white applicants (81.2% vs. 29.0%). Likewise, Hispanic applicants to medical school with average GPAs and MCAT scores were more than twice as likely as whites in that applicant pool to be admitted to medical school (59.5% vs. 29.0%), and nearly three times more likely than Asians (59.5% vs. 20.6%). Overall, black (81.2%) and Hispanic (59.5%) applicants with average GPAs and average MCAT scores were accepted to US medical schools for the 2015-2016 academic year at rates (81.2% and 59.5% respectively) much higher than the 30.6% average acceptance rate for all students in that applicant pool (see bottom of highlighted dark blue column).
- For students applying to medical school with slightly below average GPAs of 3.20 to 3.39 and slightly below average MCAT scores of 24 to 26 (first data column in the table, shaded light blue), black applicants were more than 9 times more likely to be admitted to medical school than Asians (56.4% vs. 5.9%), and more than 7 times more likely than whites (56.4% vs. 8.0%). Compared to the average acceptance rate of 16.7% for all applicants with that combination of GPA and MCAT score, black and Hispanic applicants were much more likely to be accepted at rates of 56.4% and 30.5%, and white and Asian applicants were much less likely to be accepted to US medical schools at rates of only 5.9% and 8.0% respectively.
- We find the same pattern of acceptance rates by ethnic/racial groups for applicants with slightly above average academic credentials. For example, for applicants with MCAT scores of 30 to 32 (slightly above average) and GPAs between 3.40 to 3.59 (average) in the eighth data column (shaded light blue), the acceptance rates for blacks (86.9%) and Hispanics (75.9%) were much higher than the acceptance rate for whites (48.0%) and Asians (40.3%) with those same academic credentials.
- For all matriculants to US medical schools in the fall of 2015, the average MCAT score for Asians (32.8) and whites (31.8) were above the average MCAT score of 31.4 for all matriculants, while the average MCAT score for Hispanics (28.0) and blacks (27.3) had average MCAT scores below the overall average (see second to last column in table). Likewise, the average GPAs for Asian (3.73) and white (3.73) matriculants were above the overall 3.70 GPA average, while the average GPAs for Hispanic (3.59) and black (3.48) matriculants were below the overall average (see last column in table).
Bottom Line: Like in my previous posts on this topic, I’m concluding again that 2015-2016 medical school acceptance rates suggest that medical schools must have “affirmative discrimination” and “racial profiling” admission policies that favor black and Hispanic applicants over equally qualified Asian and white students. 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 profiling” practices that favor blacks and Hispanics over Asians and whites?
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 to public universities are currently prohibited by state law. 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, Wayne 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 illegal “affirmative discrimination” or “racial profiling” 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 granting special preferences for admissions on the basis of race for certain preferred minority groups (blacks and Hispanics) over other non-preferred minority groups (Asians) and whites? When a black applicant with average academic credentials is four times more likely to be admitted to a US medical school than an equally qualified Asian applicant, what other conclusion is there?
Q: When/why/how did it become so acceptable to blatantly, legally (in most cases) and routinely discriminate against academically qualified Asian-Americans and whites for admission to selective colleges and medical schools by blatantly and routinely discriminating in favor of less academically qualified blacks and Hispanics? Will there ever come a time when it becomes illegal to engage in such blatant racial/ethnic discrimination, and base admission to selective colleges and medical schools on a color-blind, race-neutral policy?