# A quantitative discussion of the URM disparity

#### dokein

7+ Year Member
Let me preface this post with two things: 1) I really want an honest discussion with facts involved without flaming/racism, and that 2) I believe some URM consideration is necessary because of racism and cultural issues (e.g. few race-appropriate role models) independent of financial considerations, and also because of the disparity in the proportion of URMs in the doctors and patient population.

However, I strongly believe that the current magnitude of URM consideration is too high. To address this I compare African-American to Asian-American populations because they represent the statistically lowest and statistically highest groups. For counterargument #5, all non-URM and all URM are considered.

The average MCAT for accepted Asian-Americans is 6 points higher than that for accepted African-Americans.*

Accepted African-Americans: 26.1 average, 3.6 SD
Accepted Asian-Americans: 32.2 average, 3.6 SD

The average sGPA for accepted Asian-Americans is 0.4 higher than that for accepted African-Americans.*

Accepted African-Americans: 3.28 average, 0.41 SD
Accepted Asian-Americans: 3.62 average, 0.29 SD

*Source #1: http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/start.htm
**Source #2: MSAR

a. Counterargument 1: Morehouse, Howard, and Meharry are responsible for the relatively low average MCAT/GPA of African-Americans.

This is not true. If we factor out the three schools, the Accepted African average MCAT goes from 26.1 to 26.3 and the Accepted African average GPA decreases from 3.28 to 3.27.

Calculations: (26.1*1336-25*82-25*80-27*42) / (1136-82-80-42) = 26.3. **

b. Counterargument 2: The Carribean schools are responsible for relatively low average MCAT/GPA of African-Americans.

This is not likely. Only 10% of the Ponce, U Central del Carribean, and San Juan Bautista are black (total of 18 people at the three schools).** This does not significantly affect averages.

c. Counterargument 3: Many African-Americans are accepted with higher MCATs than Asian-Americans.

This is partially true, but it is dependent on your definition of many. Based on the standard deviations listed above, and the 95th percentile African-American accepted applicant is equivalent to the 50th percentile Asian-American applicant.

This means that if you are an average Asian-American in medical school, only 5% of fellow students who are African-American will have a higher MCAT than you.

If you are a 25th percentile Asian-American in medical school, only 16% of fellow students who are African-American will have a higher MCAT than you. If you are a 75th percentile Asian-American in medical school, only 1% of fellow students who are African-American will have a higher MCAT than you.

d. Counterargument #4: Only 36.5% of African-Americans get accepted, versus 44% of Asian-Americans
.

This statistic addresses the need for URM, but is irrelevant to the extent of URM. It is explained mostly by the statistics of applicants*.

African-American applicant: average GPA=3.23, MCAT=21.6
Asian-American applicant: average GPA=3.52, MCAT=29.0 (note, higher statistics than the average African-American accepted)

e. Counterargument #5: URMs form a small enough proportion of the medical school class that it does not influence your chances of acceptance.

This is not true. The extent of influence can be addressed statistically.

The grand mean MCAT for all matriculants is 30.8, with a standard deviation of 4.1. There exists 18390 matriculants.*

matriculants:
URM: average MCAT=27.2, stdev=4.24, n=2593
non-URM: average MCAT=31.5, stdev=3.71, n=15763

applicants:
URM: average MCAT=24, stdev=4.24, n=6278
non-URM: average MCAT=28.6, stdev=3.71, n=35875

Currently, in order to have a 50% chance of being accepted as a non-URM your MCAT needs to be at the 78th percentile of the non-URM group. Since half of the accepted people are above and half are below, the calculations suggest that 7892*2, or 15784 total non-URM are accepted (very close to the actual number, 15763).

In order to have a 50% chance of being accepted without any URM consideration (assume the new non-URM mean = current grand mean), you need to be in the 72nd percentile, or 20090 total non-URM are accepted.

This means that 4,306 people (about 12%) are not accepted as a direct result of them not being URM.

#### jturkel

7+ Year Member
good, informative write up. i really like your responses to counter-arguments d and e.

i dont want to get too involved on this on here as it will lead to nothing, but i can say that at the University of Arizona, there is currently an African-American medical student who had a 21 on the MCAT. And there is one matriculating with a 24 MCAT and a 3.2 sGPA. i know U of Arizona is not a top 20 medical program, but it is certainly well respected, as i have been told in many interviews at top 20 schools. these occurrences are not only at morehouse, meharry, and howard. they happen everywhere.

also, just to add on.....i feel there should be a standard that must be achieved on the mcat.....a set passing score, like on the STEP 1 test (i'm sure there is one on STEP 2, but dont know fore sure). and people below that score should not be considered.

for the record, 24 MCAT is 38.9&#9472;44.6 percentile and 21 is 23.7&#9472;28.3 percentile. IMO, there should be a passing score of at least a 60% (a D- is more than reasonable....anything below is failing, though as premeds, most of us obviously consider anything below an A or B failing).

A 27 (57.3&#9472;63.6 percentile) should be the minimum score received to be considered for allopathic medical school....IMO....i know it might sound extreme/harsh, but i'm being brutally honest.

oh, i know that the MCAT is kind of curved, so a 60% could change from test to test. and yes, i know that 60 percentile does not equate/reflect to/on the number of questions answered correctly on the test.

and for the counterargument saying that MCAT scores do not correlate to success in medical school, studies have been done that directly correlate MCAT scores to STEP1 scores. and if you don't pass STEP1, you don't go on. (obviously, both the MCAT and STEP1 can be re-taken).

#### dokein

7+ Year Member
f. Counterargument #6: Not only the MCAT/GPA is taken into account, there are other things like ECs, interview skills, etc.

This is certainly true, but MCAT/GPA are the only two measures we have real data on. It is unlikely that all URMs have incredibly better ECs/interview skills than all non-URMs.

One additional factor is the likelihood of serving in underserved areas and future patient-doctor comfort. Of course, this is the entire reason behind URM in the first place--this thread is not meant to discuss whether some URM action is needed at all, but rather what magnitude of action would be fair.

g. Counterargument #7: The student has to take the USMLE anyway, if they are not qualified to be a doctor they will not pass.

The MCAT/GPA work gives you the opportunity to take the USMLE. If space/funding in medical schools were not a factor at all, we could admit everyone and filter directly by USMLE score. 4000+ people lose the opportunity to take the USMLE every year because they are not URM, and that is inherently unfair.

This thread is discussing where balance lies between the necessity to obtain URM doctors and that unfairness.

#### JJMrK

##### J to the J
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
So what do you propose?

#### mipp0

10+ Year Member
f. Counterargument #6: Not only the MCAT/GPA is taken into account, there are other things like ECs, interview skills, etc.

This is certainly true, but MCAT/GPA are the only two measures we have real data on. It is unlikely that all URMs have incredibly better ECs/interview skills than all non-URMs.

One additional factor is the likelihood of serving in underserved areas and future patient-doctor comfort. Of course, this is the entire reason behind URM in the first place--this thread is not meant to discuss whether some URM action is needed at all, but rather what magnitude of action would be fair.

g. Counterargument #7: The student has to take the USMLE anyway, if they are not qualified to be a doctor they will not pass.

The MCAT/GPA work gives you the opportunity to take the USMLE. If space/funding in medical schools were not a factor at all, we could admit everyone and filter directly by USMLE score. 4000+ people lose the opportunity to take the USMLE every year because they are not URM, and that is inherently unfair.

This thread is discussing where balance lies between the necessity to obtain URM doctors and that unfairness.

Thank you for this post. I was considering doing one myself after my MCATs, but kudos to you friend.

#### dokein

7+ Year Member
So what do you propose?
This is a difficult question.

I think that the primary justification is to increase the number of URM doctors working with URM patients.

Therefore, I propose that if you are URM and you sign a contract stating that you will serve in URM minority / underserved areas (whether as a primary care doc or a neurosurgeon), you be placed in a separate pool of applicants under consideration. Each school can decide the percent of applicants in its entire class it wants to accept from this pool, and some national funding will be given to students accepted from this pool.

If you are URM and not willing to sign a contract there should be two categories:

1. Demonstrated interest (through activities, other extracurriculars -- NOT just the personal statement!) showing significant interest in working with underrepresented communities.

Some URM consideration but not the full amount (e.g. maybe an average difference of 1/2 standard deviation (1.8-1.9 points) on the MCAT) is acceptable

2. No demonstrated interest.

I do not think it is morally justified to admit URM students solely for the purpose of racial diversification. I understand that this is a learning tool and increases the class experience, and I agree, however this advantage is not adequate relative to the harm.

No URM consideration. Hardship considerations may be addressed in the hardship section currently existing on the AMCAS.

#### jla314

I believe that there are real benefits to diversity in a study body, which extend far beyond the mere possibility of creating doctors for underserved communities. Exposure to a diverse range of life experiences and ideas is collectively beneficial for any group of students, and especially so for future doctors, who - by the nature of their profession - will encounter such diversity of life experiences and ideas in their careers.

I also believe that a key practice in fostering diversity involves taking students from *all walks of life,* including those who do not have the same skin color as you, or did not have a privileged upbringing, or did not have the same access to test preparation courses/materials, or the money to pay for tutors, or the time to study those extra few hours instead of work, etc. Just because quantifiable data on these experiences is not available does not mean that they are not important. Discounting these experiences in favor of taking the students with the highest scores would lead to medical school classes filled with clones. I fail to see the benefit in homogenizing the medical student population when the fact is that our country is becoming increasingly diverse.

And whether you like it or not, admitted URMs (even though their scores on average may be lower) do just fine and become highly qualified doctors. URMs are not the only people with compelling life experiences, and you will find plenty of non-URMs who have much to offer (who are also accepted to medical school with lower scores).

It is sad that people are so willing to discount people's life experiences as worthless or marginalize them in favor of GPA and MCAT, when in my opinion these experiences are perhaps the most valuable features of my future classmates.

As an aside - your proposed solution doesn't allow non-URM students to factor their desire to serve underserved communities into their application process. It's ridiculous to think that only URM doctors will be serving URM or underserved patients.

#### Rach83

10+ Year Member
For counterargument #5 would it not be more accurate to take into account the PR schools (and possibly the HBCUs) since they are largely comprised of URM students. Most ORM students' chances of acceptance are not at all affected by the number of URMs that are accepted into these schools since most applicants do not consider PR schools to be an option. I'm not sure what the enrollment numbers are for PR schools, but if you're going to line things up the way you did, it might be useful to consider this (both the MCAT averages in PR and enrollment numbers).

#### flip26

10+ Year Member
I believe that there are real benefits to diversity in a study body, which extend far beyond the mere possibility of creating doctors for underserved communities. Exposure to a diverse range of life experiences and ideas is collectively beneficial for any group of students, and especially so for future doctors, who - by the nature of their profession - will encounter such diversity of life experiences and ideas in their careers.

I also believe that a key practice in fostering diversity involves taking students from *all walks of life,* including those who do not have the same skin color as you, or did not have a privileged upbringing, or did not have the same access to test preparation courses/materials, or the money to pay for tutors, or the time to study those extra few hours instead of work, etc. Just because quantifiable data on these experiences is not available does not mean that they are not important. Discounting these experiences in favor of taking the students with the highest scores would lead to medical school classes filled with clones. I fail to see the benefit in homogenizing the medical student population when the fact is that our country is becoming increasingly diverse.

And whether you like it or not, admitted URMs (even though their scores on average may be lower) do just fine and become highly qualified doctors. URMs are not the only people with compelling life experiences, and you will find plenty of non-URMs who have much to offer (who are also accepted to medical school with lower scores).

It is sad that people are so willing to discount people's life experiences as worthless or marginalize them in favor of GPA and MCAT, when in my opinion these experiences are perhaps the most valuable features of my future classmates.

As an aside - your proposed solution doesn't allow non-URM students to factor their desire to serve underserved communities into their application process. It's ridiculous to think that only URM doctors will be serving URM or underserved patients.

So, OP: require contracts of URMs? Like indentured servitude?

This whole "discussion" is ridiculous and racist. What the OP wants is a supposedly color blind system with mandatory MCAT and GPA cutoffs. The OP's proposals would place virtually 100 percent of the decision to accept matriculants on grades and MCAT, and that simply is not going to happen because "stats" are only the starting point.

#### LizzyM

##### the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member

So, OP: require contracts of URMs? Like indentured servitude?

This whole "discussion" is ridiculous and racist. What the OP wants is a supposedly color blind system with mandatory MCAT and GPA cutoffs. The OP's proposals would place virtually 100 percent of the decision to accept matriculants on grades and MCAT, and that simply is not going to happen because "stats" are only the starting point.
Sounds more like segregation for doctors and patients of color.

Otherwise, I'm just ignoring this thread as the OP has no say in admissions policies and to think otherwise is folly.

#### DrSmooth

##### Secret Recipe Soda
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Sounds more like segregation for doctors and patients of color.
My thoughts exactly. And who says med school admissions should be fair? The mission of medical schools is to train doctors who will effectively impact the health of the nation. That includes addressing health care disparities, which still exist *despite* URM admission policies. Apparently, more needs to be done systemically to increase the URM applicant pool. How would that be for "fair"?

BTW PR schools are *not* "Caribbean schools". They are American allo med schools.

#### IDoIt4Love

##### Breathe...just believe.
10+ Year Member
I think this is a fair topic to discuss. True, MCAT and GPA are only a part of a person's applications, but we have been hearing throughout college that the purpose of assessing people by their MCAT and GPA is to see whether or not they will be able to handle the level and rigor of coursework in medical school. If they cannot handle it, they will not succeed in medical school. If these two measures are so good at determining success in medical school, to accept anyone (URM or not) with sub-par scores really undermines this claim and is down right hypocritical.

Sure, in the real world there is a definite need for doctors to serve under-served communities. But the fact we are all forgetting is that are all TYPES of under-served communities. There are latin-american and african-american inner-city ones as well as LOTS of rural ones where the population is mostly white, and people don't have access to care. Why not let people from rural communities off easy with their scores too, since, if we go with the current logic about URMs, people from rural communities are surely more likely to serve rural people than others...

BTW, I do NOT endorse this logic at all. There are plenty of URM doctors that do NOT serve under-served communities of any color, and the opposite can also be said for many non-URM doctors. Race really should not matter. If this was purely a matter of getting more doctors into under-served communities, we should ALL be able to sign contracts, whether we are URM or not (5 years, 10 years, whatever it is) vowing us to serve under-served neighborhoods, and be given special consideration for that--the consideration that URMs are currently being given.

I do not believe that contracts of this sort are akin to indentured servitude; they are opportunities for those who REALLY want to pursue medicine, despite their sub-par scores. It is a chance to prove one's self and give back to communities in need at the same time. Nobody is being forced to become a doctor, and acceptance to medical school is not a right, but a privilege that is earned by hard-work and high levels of performance.

If you cannot get good scores but also are not willing to do some community work, on what grounds do you feel that you deserve to become a doctor? What makes you deserving of a spot that others have to meet much higher standards to earn? Certainly not the color of your skin. If we want to make the argument that life experiences are an important aspect of the application, then we should give those with real life experience a break on the scores, not just people who are black/latino/american indian. To automatically assume life hardships about EVERYONE from these populations IS racist.

Last edited:

#### morning

##### butane in my veins
I believe some URM consideration is necessary because of racism and cultural issues (e.g. few race-appropriate role models) independent of financial considerations, and also because of the disparity in the proportion of URMs in the doctors and patient population.

However, I strongly believe that the current magnitude of URM consideration is too high.
Isn't the average amount of black students matriculating every year a whopping 7%? So how low do you want to go? How few URM students is a low enough magnitude for you? 5%? 3%? 1%?

#### jla314

I think this is a fair topic to discuss. True, MCAT and GPA are only a part of a person's applications, but we have been hearing throughout college that the purpose of assessing people by their MCAT and GPA is to see whether or not they will be able to handle the level and rigor of coursework in medical school. If they cannot handle it, they will not succeed in medical school. If these two measures are so good at determining success in medical school, to accept anyone (URM or not) with sub-par scores really undermines this claim and is down right hypocritical.

Sure, in the real world there is a definite need for doctors to serve under-served communities. But the fact we are all forgetting is that are all TYPES of under-served communities. There are latin-american and african-american inner-city ones as well as LOTS of rural ones where the population is mostly white, and people don't have access to care. Why not let people from rural communities off easy with their scores too, since, if we go with the current logic about URMs, people from rural communities are surely more likely to serve rural people than others...

BTW, I do NOT endorse this logic at all. There are plenty of URM doctors that do NOT serve under-served communities of any color, and the opposite can also be said for many non-URM doctors. Race really should not matter. If this was purely a matter of getting more doctors into under-served communities, we should ALL be able to sign contracts, whether we are URM or not (5 years, 10 years, whatever it is) vowing us to serve under-served neighborhoods, and be given special consideration for that--the consideration that URMs are currently being given.

I do not believe that contracts of this sort are akin to indentured servitude; they are opportunities for those who REALLY want to pursue medicine, despite their sub-par scores. It is a chance to prove one's self and give back to communities in need at the same time. Nobody is being forced to become a doctor, and acceptance to medical school is not a right, but a privilege that is earned by hard-work and high levels of performance.

If you cannot get good scores but also are not willing to do some community work, on what grounds do you feel that you deserve to become a doctor? What makes you deserving of a spot that others have to meet much higher standards to earn? Certainly not the color of your skin. If we want to make the argument that life experiences are an important aspect of the application, then we should give those with real life experience a break on the scores, not just people who are black/latino/american indian. To automatically assume life hardships about EVERYONE from these populations IS racist.
Who is assuming life hardships about everyone from these populations? I'm confused where you got that from. (Anecdotally, you have an example right here in me - I am hispanic and have lived a comfortable life).

I said "URMs are not the only people with compelling life experiences, and you will find plenty of non-URMs who have much to offer (who are also accepted to medical school with lower scores)". You can infer this from AAMC statistics, and anecdotes are plentiful (example: my advisor at Harvard MSTP is non-URM with an MCAT score of 30!). As an aspiring physician and a chronic patient myself, I think that life experience can make for better doctors than good MCATs, regardless of race. In particular, I believe that the MCAT is a test that can sometimes reflect good test-taking ability rather than just good problem solving skills or solid science knowledge. Poor GPAs can often be explained by circumstance rather than by lack of potential.

Obviously the lower MCAT scores and GPAs that are still accepted to medical school do just fine, or else I'm sure adcoms would have upped the thresholds that they are willing to accept. The majority of people accepted to medical school succeed. Adcoms, believe it or not, have a pretty good idea of what it takes to succeed in medicine. And apparently, those low 20s MCATs and low GPAs have the potential to succeed, despite what people around here may think. The scores are just part of the picture, and trying to form judgments without full information is foolish.

#### He2

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
"On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. "

Sounds more like segregation for doctors and patients of color.

Otherwise, I'm just ignoring this thread as the OP has no say in admissions policies and to think otherwise is folly.
"The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. "

"In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time."

can i get a cheeseburger?

#### armybound

##### urologist.
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
I think when you start seeing patients you'll understand why schools push diversity.

Also, MCAT/GPA is not a direct measure of future success, as much as we'd all like to think it is. You'll see high GPA/MCAT students struggle in med school and you'll see low GPA/MCAT students excel. The idea behind people coming from hardships explains a lot. And it's not just URMs who catch a break from coming from an underpriveleged background -- it was a large reason why I was accepted, I imagine.

One thing you might not consider is how this system negatively impacts URMs. We had a lecture from an african american physician not long ago where she described patients speaking in Spanish (they assumed she couldn't speak spanish, but she can) saying they didn't want the black doctor because she wasn't as good as a white doctor. You'll find yourself looking at your classmates this same way. You'll assume they had a lower GPA and MCAT than most people and that they were just accepted because they were URMs. There is absolutely no way to know that, and it's extremely unfair to them to assume that they're not as deserving to be there as you are.

#### PinkIvy08

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
OP, go enjoy life. I can't believe you actually sat down and wasted your time on this. Go out and have some fun in this beautiful weather and stop harping over something you have no control over. This topic has been beaten to death, and you know this. Not really sure why you think throwing in statistical support that very few care to read thru and dispute is going to change the direction of discussion.

Furthermore, why is this statistical analysis limited to Asians vs. Blacks? I'd guess this is the biggest discrepancy in stats between racial groups, making your supportive data look a lot stronger than it really is.

Finally, your last statement in bold... I'm sure all 4000+ people "not accepted as a direct result of them not being URM" had stellar ECs, life stories, presented themselves on interviews, blah blah blah. Riiight. That's quite a bold conclusion to come to.

Oh, and how did I forget to bring up disadvantaged status, something conveniently overlooked in your argument. I'd guess (and there is no data provided to us to support or refute this) that a much larger proportion of Blacks and Latinos identify as disadvantaged as compared to non-URMs. This is a HUGE confounding variable not included in your argument. Something people like to keep overlooking when they make ridiculous claims like yours.

#### bookfreak89

10+ Year Member
can i get a cheeseburger?
Nope.

Just want to know: Isn't there also a lack of URMs in academic medicine and medical research as well?

#### He2

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
I'm Asian, I support affirmative action, but I do think the OP has a perfect right to gripe. Frankly, I don't understand why people are so afraid of having this discussion and just run back to talking points. It's the classic example of why we are indeed too unwilling to try to understand what its like to be someone who looks different, who the world looks at differently.

I tend to think when I hear these arguments (which, btw, the OP does an incredible job with the numbers. obviously went through them carefully) its not about the validity of Affirmative Action. Affirmative action has positive effects when its framed within the values of collectivism, as a poster has mentioned. However, Affirmative action also has negative effects when it's framed within the values of individualism. We're talking about two entirely different merits, both correct when put in relation to those values.

For example, on the topic of individualism. We tend to think, especially as students who work hard, that you should get what you worked for and earned. This is why we all pretty unanimously hate that person in our classes who says " I didn't study, yet I got an A." There's a thread floating around for that. Thus, when a Non-URM sees people who earned less get into better schools, people feel disenfranchised. I am Asian, I know how Asians feel, especially since a lot of them came to this country with nothing, and had nothing to do with the segregation of the past generations. They came here, and built a life from scratch. This is why I know many people in the Asian community who say "they didn't want the black doctor because she wasn't as good as a white doctor". They feel like Affirmative action allowed less qualified people to get in when they were on the outside looking in.

On the other hand, I've also lived in a ghetto. I see how truly disadvantaged many minorities are. When you are told you "act white" for studying hard BY YOUR TEACHERS, it leads to issues with wanting to excel in academics. And, it is true that culturally, academia is not as deeply ingrained in the culture of a black/URM because of past racial resentment. This makes sense, and on a whole, AA is good for society.
On a less political note, let's take the NBA. Could you imagine what would happen if Affirmative Action were required for the NBA? Its incredibly hard to be a white or Asian person to be accepted on the playground. Have you ever seen what happens to Jeremy Lin at Basketball games? But if we required AA, a lot of more qualified minorities who are more talented would not get a job on a roster. A lot of minorities would feel incredibly disenfranchised. This is why the OP is pissed. But then again, it's the NBA, and it has no societal value. This is why we need AA.

#### VTBuc

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Every time I see one of these threads crying about URM I think the same thing:

If you spent less time crying about other people and more time strengthening your own application, you'll have nothing to worry about.
Posted this in another thread but it seems appropriate here...

#### Meat

##### The Redder, the better.
OP, go enjoy life. I can't believe you actually sat down and wasted your time on this. Go out and have some fun in this beautiful weather and stop harping over something you have no control over.
Perchance the OP doesn't have to same ethnic advantages as you, thus he can't spend a majority of his time frolicking in green pastures and doing significantly less stellar in school. Maybe the OP feels like the application system is biased against his race, something he had no choice about. Maybe the OP is frustrated that a fellow human being, of a different race, gets superior treatment to his own kind. Maybe he feels the application process is a bit racist and wants others to see the magnitude and numbers behind these acts.

I don't know though, you'll have to ask the OP.

#### FIREitUP

10+ Year Member

So, OP: require contracts of URMs? Like indentured servitude?

This whole "discussion" is ridiculous and racist. What the OP wants is a supposedly color blind system with mandatory MCAT and GPA cutoffs. The OP's proposals would place virtually 100 percent of the decision to accept matriculants on grades and MCAT, and that simply is not going to happen because "stats" are only the starting point.
Or maybe we have a check box in AMCAS asking if you wish to interview for spots where you have to work in underserved areas (doesn't have to be race specific). Then there could be a separate pool of applicants that apply for those spots (they can concurrently apply for regular spots if they so choose), and perhaps get some sort of repayment plan. So it would be kind of like Sophie Davis or something. I don't really see how you could label it indentured servitude, since all of residency is just that.

Either way, this is a simple solution to a complex problem that is more deeply rooted than an application process.

#### VTBuc

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
I should also mention that the acceptance rates for EACH race is in the mid-40s.

#### Musclemass

PinkIvy08 - +1

Fireitup, many schools have programs for underserved segments or areas.

If schools targeted class diversity based upon the nation's population diversity breakdown, there would be no groups over or under represented. It appears many schools (many private ones) do this implicitly in some approximation. Maybe that's a model they should all follow.

#### FIREitUP

10+ Year Member

PinkIvy08 - +1

Fireitup, many schools have programs for underserved segments or areas.

If schools targeted class diversity based upon the nation's population diversity breakdown, there would be no groups over or under represented. It appears many schools (many private ones) do this implicitly in some approximation. Maybe that's a model they should all follow.

#### IDoIt4Love

##### Breathe...just believe.
10+ Year Member
Oh, and how did I forget to bring up disadvantaged status, something conveniently overlooked in your argument. I'd guess (and there is no data provided to us to support or refute this) that a much larger proportion of Blacks and Latinos identify as disadvantaged as compared to non-URMs. This is a HUGE confounding variable not included in your argument. Something people like to keep overlooking when they make ridiculous claims like yours.
It's this sort of guess that keeps URM status as a special thing in the admissions process. We can't assume anything about anyone; individuals all have different stories. While I strongly believe in giving people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds a break, I do not believe in giving blacks or latinos or anyone else a break on the count of race. Not all blacks and latinos are poor, and not all whites or asians are rich.

#### bookfreak89

10+ Year Member
Perchance the OP doesn't have to same ethnic advantages as you, thus he can't spend a majority of his time frolicking in green pastures and doing significantly less stellar in school. Maybe the OP feels like the application system is biased against his race, something he had no choice about. Maybe the OP is frustrated that a fellow human being, of a different race, gets superior treatment to his own kind. Maybe he feels the application process is a bit racist and wants others to see the magnitude and numbers behind these acts.

I don't know though, you'll have to ask the OP.
Completely unnecessary comment. Hey look, your d*ckishness is showing.

#### dokein

7+ Year Member
LizzyM: "Sounds more like segregation for doctors and patients of color."

Likewise, I could easily label affirmative action "reverse racism". It is not productive to the conversation.

The "separate applicant pool" is admittedly not well thought out--it should be phrased as differential consideration from the same applicant pool, which currently already exists.

Flip26: "So, OP: require contracts of URMs? Like indentured servitude?"

People who get primary care scholarships (once they get into medical school, of course) are required in some cases to sign a contract dedicating some years of service to primary care. Military scholarships, some years of service to the military. Advantages in admission to medical school + scholarship money for the potential to serve in URM areas should also require a similar contract.

"The OP's proposals would place virtually 100 percent of the decision to accept matriculants on grades and MCAT, and that simply is not going to happen because "stats" are only the starting point. "

Neither am I advocating only admitting based on MCAT. The assumption for the calculations is that the MCAT score is largely independent of extracurricular strength. Of course this may not be entirely true but in the absence of additional data we cannot assume otherwise.

PinkIvy: " why is this statistical analysis limited to Asians vs. Blacks? I'd guess this is the biggest discrepancy in stats between racial groups, making your supportive data look a lot stronger than it really is."

You are correct, my first post it is stated that "I compare African-American to Asian-American populations because they represent the statistically lowest and statistically highest groups"

"I'm sure all 4000+ people "not accepted as a direct result of them not being URM" had stellar ECs, life stories, presented themselves on interviews, blah blah blah. Riiight. That's quite a bold conclusion to come to.

No, the candidates who were not accepted did not do as well as they needed to. The issue is not whether or not they hold any personal responsibility--they do--but rather that the level of "doing well" is different for different races.

"Oh, and how did I forget to bring up disadvantaged status, something conveniently overlooked in your argument. I'd guess (and there is no data provided to us to support or refute this)"

I agree with you absolutely. If there were data to address this I would of course use it, and it is a major confounding factor.

morning: "Isn't the average amount of black students matriculating every year a whopping 7%? So how low do you want to go? How few URM students is a low enough magnitude for you? 5%? 3%? 1%?"

It is not my desire to lower the number of black students matriculating every year, but I strongly believe URM action should be diminished. The solution to this issue does not lie at the medical school admissions level, but rather at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

armybound: "Also, MCAT/GPA is not a direct measure of future success, as much as we'd all like to think it is. You'll see high GPA/MCAT students struggle in med school and you'll see low GPA/MCAT students excel. The idea behind people coming from hardships explains a lot. And it's not just URMs who catch a break from coming from an underpriveleged background -- it was a large reason why I was accepted, I imagine."

No it is not a direct measure of future success. Please see g. counterpoint #7., similar logic can be used to rebut this statement.

#### Meat

##### The Redder, the better.
Completely unnecessary comment. Hey look, your d*ckishness is showing.
Pinkivy08 said:
OP, go enjoy life. I can't believe you actually sat down and wasted your time on this. Go out and have some fun in this beautiful weather.
She suggested it, not me. Chill man, we're trying to have a discussion.

#### platformshoes

##### Round 1!
I also believe that a key practice in fostering diversity involves taking students from *all walks of life,* including those who do not have the same skin color as you, or did not have a privileged upbringing, or did not have the same access to test preparation courses/materials, or the money to pay for tutors, or the time to study those extra few hours instead of work, etc. Just because quantifiable data on these experiences is not available does not mean that they are not important. Discounting these experiences in favor of taking the students with the highest scores would lead to medical school classes filled with clones. I fail to see the benefit in homogenizing the medical student population when the fact is that our country is becoming increasingly diverse.
I love that, with the exception of the first point of "skin color", the rest of the bolded points are better identified by "socioeconomic status", not race. There are people of all colors who aren't "privileged", don't have test-prep courses, don't have tutors, or had to work through school. The URM label doesn't address those things specifically at all.

#### bookfreak89

10+ Year Member
LizzyM: "Sounds more like segregation for doctors and patients of color."

Likewise, I could easily label affirmative action "reverse racism". It is not productive to the conversation.

The "separate applicant pool" is admittedly not well thought out--it should be phrased as differential consideration from the same applicant pool, which currently already exists.

Flip26: "So, OP: require contracts of URMs? Like indentured servitude?"

People who get primary care scholarships (once they get into medical school, of course) are required in some cases to sign a contract dedicating some years of service to primary care. Military scholarships, some years of service to the military. Advantages in admission to medical school + scholarship money for the potential to serve in URM areas should also require a similar contract.

"The OP's proposals would place virtually 100 percent of the decision to accept matriculants on grades and MCAT, and that simply is not going to happen because "stats" are only the starting point. "

Neither am I advocating only admitting based on MCAT. The assumption for the calculations is that the MCAT score is largely independent of extracurricular strength. Of course this may not be entirely true but in the absence of additional data we cannot assume otherwise.

PinkIvy: " why is this statistical analysis limited to Asians vs. Blacks? I'd guess this is the biggest discrepancy in stats between racial groups, making your supportive data look a lot stronger than it really is."

You are correct, my first post it is stated that "I compare African-American to Asian-American populations because they represent the statistically lowest and statistically highest groups"

"I'm sure all 4000+ people "not accepted as a direct result of them not being URM" had stellar ECs, life stories, presented themselves on interviews, blah blah blah. Riiight. That's quite a bold conclusion to come to.

No, the candidates who were not accepted did not do as well as they needed to. The issue is not whether or not they hold any personal responsibility--they do--but rather that the level of "doing well" is different for different races.

"Oh, and how did I forget to bring up disadvantaged status, something conveniently overlooked in your argument. I'd guess (and there is no data provided to us to support or refute this)"

I agree with you absolutely. If there were data to address this I would of course use it, and it is a major confounding factor.

morning: "Isn't the average amount of black students matriculating every year a whopping 7%? So how low do you want to go? How few URM students is a low enough magnitude for you? 5%? 3%? 1%?"

It is not my desire to lower the number of black students matriculating every year, but I strongly believe URM action should be diminished. The solution to this issue does not lie at the medical school admissions level, but rather at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

armybound: "Also, MCAT/GPA is not a direct measure of future success, as much as we'd all like to think it is. You'll see high GPA/MCAT students struggle in med school and you'll see low GPA/MCAT students excel. The idea behind people coming from hardships explains a lot. And it's not just URMs who catch a break from coming from an underpriveleged background -- it was a large reason why I was accepted, I imagine."

No it is not a direct measure of future success. Please see g. counterpoint #7., similar logic can be used to rebut this statement.
I agree with this, which is why one of my goals is to increase educational awareness in black communities (how I plan to do this, I have no clue. lol). If you saw the schools that these students have access to you would be astonished at just how crappy they really are. If you read the anecdote in He2's post, that is just the icing on the cake really.

#### jla314

I love that, with the exception of the first point of "skin color", the rest of the bolded points are better identified by "socioeconomic status", not race. There are people of all colors who aren't "privileged", don't have test-prep courses, don't have tutors, or had to work through school. The URM label doesn't address those things specifically at all.
yes, and if you read the entirety of my post, you'll find that this is exactly the point i was trying to make. people of all skin colors get in with lower scores, but the OP is only complaining about how *more* of these people seem to be URM since URM average scores are lower. everyone here is ignoring the fact that non-URMs can get into medical school with low scores too.

my attempt at an explanation was (and is) to suggest that looking at averages is meaningless; we know nothing about what life experiences any applicant brings to the table, and to try to pin down someone's worthiness of medical school acceptances on their MCAT or GPA ignores the potential that an adcom sees in viewing the whole picture. Succeeding in face of economic hardship, racism, personal or familial health issues - reflects character and potential but is sometimes negatively captured in low 'stats.'

#### morning

##### butane in my veins
Unless anyone can come up with stats showing URMs score less on their boards or have more malpractice lawsuits levied against them or something, I fail to see how you have any case whatsoever. It comes down to: "Bawwwww I have high stats and I still didn't get in!!! It's not fair that I have such good grades and I didn't get in! Look at my high MCAT and I didn't get accepted! I studied 90% of my time and I still didn't get accepted! I've never heard of Marcus Garvey and I don't know who shot Martin Luther King Jr. and I have no real foundations in the humanities or the sociology and culture of this country and I didn't get into medical school and this is TOTALLY WRONG!"

#### NoMoreAMCAS

10+ Year Member
I see the OP got the stats from the aamc. But do individual medical schools release this type of data? I believe it would seriously help pre-med students determine where they should apply to medical school (where they'd actually be competitive). Just because a schools average MCAT is 31, doesn't mean the average MCAT for white or asian (especially males) is anywhere close to that. It would be nice to know that the actual average is 34 or 35 so you don't waste your money if you aren't realistically competitive.

10+ Year Member

#### jturkel

7+ Year Member
Unless anyone can come up with stats showing URMs score less on their boards or have more malpractice lawsuits levied against them or something, I fail to see how you have any case whatsoever. It comes down to: "Bawwwww I have high stats and I still didn't get in!!! It's not fair that I have such good grades and I didn't get in! Look at my high MCAT and I didn't get accepted! I studied 90% of my time and I still didn't get accepted! I've never heard of Marcus Garvey and I don't know who shot Martin Luther King Jr. and I have no real foundations in the humanities or the sociology and culture of this country and I didn't get into medical school and this is TOTALLY WRONG!"

only found one article, but it claims that in a past study,...

"analysis of first-time takers (n = 11,279) of the USMLE Step 1 in June 1994 revealed that the mean score for white students was 210, while the mean score for African-American students was 187"

and in THEIR study...

"the mean USMLE Step 1 score for the African-American students in the applicant cohort was 200, while the mean score for the non-African-American students was 216."

#### JJMrK

##### J to the J
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
This is a difficult question.

I think that the primary justification is to increase the number of URM doctors working with URM patients.

Therefore, I propose that if you are URM and you sign a contract stating that you will serve in URM minority / underserved areas (whether as a primary care doc or a neurosurgeon), you be placed in a separate pool of applicants under consideration. Each school can decide the percent of applicants in its entire class it wants to accept from this pool, and some national funding will be given to students accepted from this pool.

If you are URM and not willing to sign a contract there should be two categories:

1. Demonstrated interest (through activities, other extracurriculars -- NOT just the personal statement!) showing significant interest in working with underrepresented communities.

Some URM consideration but not the full amount (e.g. maybe an average difference of 1/2 standard deviation (1.8-1.9 points) on the MCAT) is acceptable

2. No demonstrated interest.

I do not think it is morally justified to admit URM students solely for the purpose of racial diversification. I understand that this is a learning tool and increases the class experience, and I agree, however this advantage is not adequate relative to the harm.

No URM consideration. Hardship considerations may be addressed in the hardship section currently existing on the AMCAS.
Interesting read, although I disagree and don't mind the system as it is now.

I think you are missing a big point: Schools aren't "upset" by accepting URM students that may have slightly lower numbers (they are not mandated to do this); these schools choose to do this. That makes the notion of a contract sort of like a fix for something that isn't broken.

I always wonder why there are no threads about the unfair advantage that children of doctors/big donors receive at those specific institutions. Oh yea...it's because URMs are the only ones getting special admissions consideration. Right

#### sewardsfolly

I want to edit what I said before just because I think it was interpreted wrong. In reading other posts I feel a bit more educated on the issue-

It seems i was very fortunate to grow up in a diverse, upper-middle class community in which differences in culture, race, ethnicity were celebrated and all of my peers/friends were encouraged and educated as equals. Honestly, to me it was simply a non-issue, everyone was the same. It saddens me to see that this was not the case with everyone and I hate to see that some people of minority groups did not experience the upbringing and acceptance many of my friends did. For that reason I saw disadvantaged status/socioeconomic status alone as something to be considered. But it seems, unfortunately, there is still some prejudice out there and I really hope anyone who was of a minority group who was discouraged from being a doctor sees past that and knows anyone who would say that is uneducated.

I think I understand the issue better now and I apologize for any comments that may have seemed insensitive- its quite the opposite of how I feel! I was simply frustrated by seeing friends (of all backgrounds) give up on their dreams due to numbers. I'm a big believer that numbers don't mean much about how you'll be as a doctor!

I simply think everyone should be viewed equally as a whole package. Upbringing plays majorly into this as making each of us interesting and different people, and for that reason I hope that differences are celebrated as interesting as they were for me in my upbringing. I simply always had experienced everyone being treated equally and fairly, as well as everyone being expected to live up to the same standards. I think I had demographics wrong as well and wrote that stuff when I was all in a fluster. I felt editing this was important because I think people take these arguments too intensely and maybe took what I was saying as more than what I meant.

Last edited:

#### randombetch

Removed
OP: excellent analysis, you should consider a career in law.

#### IDoIt4Love

##### Breathe...just believe.
10+ Year Member
Why can't the leeway for lower scores/GPAs be given based on socioeconomic/disadvantaged status ALONE regardless of race? I totally see the point of giving a second look to those with lower scores/grades who are very poor or have not had the advantages we have. The amount of money I've spent on prep courses, books to study MCAT (not to mention college, etc.) is ridiculous, and someone who can't afford that absolutely does not have the same chance to get as good a score and know what to expect. In this regard I think anyone who is disadvantaged deserves the leeway. But that should be the only determinant.
Also, to whoever was talking about how sad it was people would look at numbers only when many URMs have so many life experiences to bring to the table with their lower scores- great, so do a lot of non-URMs. Everyone who has a really unique life story/reason for not having as high a score should be considered that way. I agree that those of us lucky enough to have every advantage should be expected to perform as such. But I have tons of friends of all ethnicities/races more well-off than me. Should they get looked at just because they're more diverse of a race, when their upbringing was exactly the same as me- same schools, same neighborhoods, etc.?
Also, when looking at the % of matriculants, also keep in mind the actual demographic of the US population. I just wikapedia-ed it (always the most reliable source ) to double check what I already knew. % of US that is african-american : About 13%. Percent white: 75%. Other ethnicities even lower than african-american.
So, keep that in mind. If going by the population and trying to keep the same % of the african-american population in medicine as the percent of total white people, then it seems matriculation is about right (someone said 7% african-american, so ok, maybe a little less. But keep in mind its not 7% in a population where 50% of the total people are african-american).
So those are my thoughts. I think it is really tough to become a doctor from a less advantaged background- and people who are not as fortunate as i to have the resources to prepare (and who probably are much tougher, harder workers than I am with much more interesting life stories) should absolutely be given a second look over the numbers. There are brilliant people who come from the worst of beginnings and deserve a chance. And these people exist of all races.
Further, when thinking about diversity, just remember that we are a population that is 3/4 white! That's just the demographic of the country. So if the majority of med students/doctors are white, that's just representative of the % of the population. IF it became that 50% of med students were of a different ethnicity, it wouldn't really make sense in terms of the demographic.
Anyway, that's my two cents. I think having people different cultures and backgrounds become influences in your life/as your colleagues and friends is essential to being a doctor and also to being a well-rounded human being- I love to have a diverse crowd around me. But I don't think that it's really fair for people, just because they are an under-represented race, to get preferential treatment- instead anyone with a disadvantaged background, regardless of race, should get that second look.
my thoughts exactly. anyone who disagrees is implying that skin color really does have a direct relationship with life experiences, including hardship (and is thus wrong).

#### VOP

5+ Year Member
Why can't the leeway for lower scores/GPAs be given based on socioeconomic/disadvantaged status ALONE regardless of race? I totally see the point of giving a second look to those with lower scores/grades who are very poor or have not had the advantages we have. The amount of money I've spent on prep courses, books to study MCAT (not to mention college, etc.) is ridiculous, and someone who can't afford that absolutely does not have the same chance to get as good a score and know what to expect. In this regard I think anyone who is disadvantaged deserves the leeway. But that should be the only determinant.
Also, to whoever was talking about how sad it was people would look at numbers only when these URMs have so many life experiences to bring to the table with their lower scores- great, so do a lot of white people non-URMs. Everyone who has a really unique life story/reason for not having as high a score should be considered that way. Those of us lucky enough to have every advantage should be expected to perform as such. I have tons of friends of all ethnicities/races way richer than me. Should they get looked at just because they're more diverse of a race, when their upbringing was exactly the same as me- same schools, same neighborhoods, etc.?
Also, when looking at the % of matriculants, also keep in mind the actual demographic of the US population. I just wikapedia-ed it (always the most reliable source ) to double check what I already knew. % of US that is african-american : About 13%. Percent white: 75%. Other ethnicities even lower than african-american.
So, keep that in mind. If going by the population and trying to keep the same % of the african-american population in medicine as the percent of total white people, then it seems matriculation is about right (someone said 7% african-american, so ok, maybe a little less. But keep in mind its not 7% in a population where 50% of the total people are african-american).
So those are my thoughts. I think it is really tough to become a doctor from a less advantaged background- and people who are not as fortunate as i to have the resources to prepare (and who probably are much tougher, harder workers than I am with much more interesting life stories) should absolutely be given a second look over the numbers. There are brilliant people who come from the worst of beginnings and deserve a chance. And these people exist of all races.
Further, when thinking about diversity, just remember that we are a population that is 3/4 white! That's just the demographic of the country. So if the majority of med students/doctors are white, that's just representative of the % of the population. IF it became that 50% of med students were of a different ethnicity, it wouldn't really make sense in terms of the demographic.
Anyway, that's my two cents. I think having people different cultures and backgrounds become influences in your life/as your is essential to being a doctor and also to being a well-rounded human being- I love to have a diverse crowd around me. But I don't think that it's really fair for people, just because they are an under-represented race, to get preferential treatment- instead anyone with a disadvantaged background, regardless of race, should get that second look.
You can click disadvantaged regardless of race on the AMCAS. But you'll have to explain it. A girl from my lab knows a white girl who was raised in a bad part of Baltimore(think "The Wire"), with pretty average stats has a scholarship to Johns Hopkins. Now I don't know the rest of her application, but with average stats she was able to explain her disadvantaged status and gained admission w/ scholarship.

I never really get these threads, it seems more like a place to stroke your ego post rejection with good stats. I recently went into a final pool decision from the University of Iowa, if you followed the school thread you'd see plenty of non -URM's with lower stats were getting accepted while those with higher stats were getting rejected. Even some non-URM's with lower MCAT scores got in over me, who am i to place blame on?

So even non-URM's with low stats get in over non-URMs with higher stats. So why is the sole focus on most of these threads focused on URM's?

#### JJMrK

##### J to the J
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Why can't the leeway for lower scores/GPAs be given based on socioeconomic/disadvantaged status ALONE regardless of race? I totally see the point of giving a second look to those with lower scores/grades who are very poor or have not had the advantages we have. The amount of money I've spent on prep courses, books to study MCAT (not to mention college, etc.) is ridiculous, and someone who can't afford that absolutely does not have the same chance to get as good a score and know what to expect. In this regard I think anyone who is disadvantaged deserves the leeway. But that should be the only determinant.
Also, to whoever was talking about how sad it was people would look at numbers only when many URMs have so many life experiences to bring to the table with their lower scores- great, so do a lot of non-URMs. Everyone who has a really unique life story/reason for not having as high a score should be considered that way. I agree that those of us lucky enough to have every advantage should be expected to perform as such. But I have tons of friends of all ethnicities/races more well-off than me. Should they get looked at just because they're more diverse of a race, when their upbringing was exactly the same as me- same schools, same neighborhoods, etc.?
Also, when looking at the % of matriculants, also keep in mind the actual demographic of the US population. I just wikapedia-ed it (always the most reliable source ) to double check what I already knew. % of US that is african-american : About 13%. Percent white: 75%. Other ethnicities even lower than african-american.
So, keep that in mind. If going by the population and trying to keep the same % of the african-american population in medicine as the percent of total white people, then it seems matriculation is about right (someone said 7% african-american, so ok, maybe a little less. But keep in mind its not 7% in a population where 50% of the total people are african-american).
So those are my thoughts. I think it is really tough to become a doctor from a less advantaged background- and people who are not as fortunate as i to have the resources to prepare (and who probably are much tougher, harder workers than I am with much more interesting life stories) should absolutely be given a second look over the numbers. There are brilliant people who come from the worst of beginnings and deserve a chance. And these people exist of all races.
Further, when thinking about diversity, just remember that we are a population that is 3/4 white! That's just the demographic of the country. So if the majority of med students/doctors are white, that's just representative of the % of the population. IF it became that 50% of med students were of a different ethnicity, it wouldn't really make sense in terms of the demographic.
Anyway, that's my two cents. I think having people different cultures and backgrounds become influences in your life/as your colleagues and friends is essential to being a doctor and also to being a well-rounded human being- I love to have a diverse crowd around me. But I don't think that it's really fair for people, just because they are an under-represented race, to get preferential treatment- instead anyone with a disadvantaged background, regardless of race, should get that second look.
You should read previous posts before jumping the gun.

Allowing URMs to matriculate with lower numbers is not about attempting to correct for low income/fewer opportunities growing up. That's what disadvantaged status is for.

Admitting URMs with lower numbers is about attempting to create excellent physicians for the broadest possible range of people.

#### dokein

7+ Year Member
So even non-URM's with low stats get in over non-URMs with higher stats. So why is the sole focus on most of these threads focused on URM's?
1. I think fewer people disagree with the disadvantaged box. The tie between lack of tutors/working during school is more readily apparent.

2. With the disadvantaged box, you explain it and directly show how it affected you. For most successful applicants, you also demonstrate growing from / learning from / maturing from the adverse experiences.

3. One of the major issues in analysis is a lack of transparency in the admissions process. One of the previous posters was absolutely correct in his criticism that a major confounding factor is "disadvantaged" or not.

However, there are no data to help in our analysis of this. There is a reason I do not posit a conclusion in the main post, because the extent of the disparity might be moot taking disadvantaged into account.

#### flip26

10+ Year Member
Why can't the leeway for lower scores/GPAs be given based on socioeconomic/disadvantaged status ALONE regardless of race? I totally see the point of giving a second look to those with lower scores/grades who are very poor or have not had the advantages we have. The amount of money I've spent on prep courses, books to study MCAT (not to mention college, etc.) is ridiculous, and someone who can't afford that absolutely does not have the same chance to get as good a score and know what to expect. In this regard I think anyone who is disadvantaged deserves the leeway. But that should be the only determinant.
Also, to whoever was talking about how sad it was people would look at numbers only when many URMs have so many life experiences to bring to the table with their lower scores- great, so do a lot of non-URMs. Everyone who has a really unique life story/reason for not having as high a score should be considered that way. I agree that those of us lucky enough to have every advantage should be expected to perform as such. But I have tons of friends of all ethnicities/races more well-off than me. Should they get looked at just because they're more diverse of a race, when their upbringing was exactly the same as me- same schools, same neighborhoods, etc.?
Also, when looking at the % of matriculants, also keep in mind the actual demographic of the US population. I just wikapedia-ed it (always the most reliable source ) to double check what I already knew. % of US that is african-american : About 13%. Percent white: 75%. Other ethnicities even lower than african-american.
So, keep that in mind. If going by the population and trying to keep the same % of the african-american population in medicine as the percent of total white people, then it seems matriculation is about right (someone said 7% african-american, so ok, maybe a little less. But keep in mind its not 7% in a population where 50% of the total people are african-american).
So those are my thoughts. I think it is really tough to become a doctor from a less advantaged background- and people who are not as fortunate as i to have the resources to prepare (and who probably are much tougher, harder workers than I am with much more interesting life stories) should absolutely be given a second look over the numbers. There are brilliant people who come from the worst of beginnings and deserve a chance. And these people exist of all races.
Further, when thinking about diversity, just remember that we are a population that is 3/4 white! That's just the demographic of the country. So if the majority of med students/doctors are white, that's just representative of the % of the population. IF it became that 50% of med students were of a different ethnicity, it wouldn't really make sense in terms of the demographic.
Anyway, that's my two cents. I think having people different cultures and backgrounds become influences in your life/as your colleagues and friends is essential to being a doctor and also to being a well-rounded human being- I love to have a diverse crowd around me. But I don't think that it's really fair for people, just because they are an under-represented race, to get preferential treatment- instead anyone with a disadvantaged background, regardless of race, should get that second look.

.

Last edited:

#### armybound

##### urologist.
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
it could benefit from spacing, at the least.

regardless, people from disadvantaged backgrounds are considered for their background regardless of race. the question is what percentage of your class you want to be from disadvantaged backgrounds with lower numbers vs advantaged backgrounds with higher numbers.

you need to think of admissions more as building a certain type of class instead of taking the "best" of everybody. admissions is largely qualitative.

Last edited:

#### WhizoMD

10+ Year Member
.

3. One of the major issues in analysis is a lack of transparency in the admissions process. One of the previous posters was absolutely correct in his criticism that a major confounding factor is "disadvantaged" or not.

However, there are no data to help in our analysis of this. There is a reason I do not posit a conclusion in the main post, because the extent of the disparity might be moot taking disadvantaged into account.
why do you think the numbers are lower on average for URM's? Laziness? Genetics?
I think you're focusing too much on the disparity itself, rather than the reason behind it. The averages you quoted represent the best of the URM applicant pool; the reason why that average is significantly lower than that of non-urm's, should be obvious. By focusing on empty numbers you make it seem like there's some vast conspiracy amongst adcoms to admit URM's that didn't work as hard as non-URM's to earn their seat, which really doesn't make sense. Why would someone who has a goal deliberately put in less effort towards achieving that goal?

#### Narmerguy

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
why do you think the numbers are lower on average for URM's? Laziness? Genetics?
I think you're focusing too much on the disparity itself, rather than the reason behind it. The averages you quoted represent the best of the URM applicant pool; the reason why that average is significantly lower than that of non-urm's, should be obvious. By focusing on empty numbers you make it seem like there's some vast conspiracy amongst adcoms to admit URM's that didn't work as hard as non-URM's to earn their seat, which really doesn't make sense. Why would someone who has a goal deliberately put in less effort towards achieving that goal?
Presumably because they know they can get the same results for less. I suspect that many students and individuals do think that lower scores for URM are the result of primarily laziness. There are a good few who think genetics, but that group is diminishing. However, the laziness label is intriguing because of how many people actually believe this (that obviously will not outright say it). How does one measure "effort"? How does one determine what life obstacles are harder to overcome?

I will say that the comparison to Asians that have come here and started from scratch to African Americans is a faulty one that is easily made. Any course in sociology about race development in the US will point out that the disparity between the level of education and resources of Asians coming to the US was vastly different from the level of education and resources of Africans. Furthermore, because there was no real means for education to reliably improve for African Americans, the base level an African American would receive growing up in the US is below that that an Asian brings. In truth, Asians are the highest paid racial group in the US because they come to this country with plenty of wealth, it simply is rarely monetary so it takes one-two generations to cultivate. However, Asian groups have vast support systems, a strong cultural identity to pull from, and typically a family structure that is healthy and supportive. Few racial groups, black, white, mexican, or Native American, can claim such things.

But bringing this up on SDN is an exercise in futility. Some people are understandably angry and will not rest until they've made their injustice known, others are completely apathetic and couldn't care less. Either way, there are few minds to be changed here so why we continually bring up such antagonistic topics that do nothing but inflame everyone's emotions is beyond me.

#### dokein

7+ Year Member
why do you think the numbers are lower on average for URM's? Laziness? Genetics?
I think you're focusing too much on the disparity itself, rather than the reason behind it. The averages you quoted represent the best of the URM applicant pool; the reason why that average is significantly lower than that of non-urm's, should be obvious. By focusing on empty numbers you make it seem like there's some vast conspiracy amongst adcoms to admit URM's that didn't work as hard as non-URM's to earn their seat, which really doesn't make sense. Why would someone who has a goal deliberately put in less effort towards achieving that goal?
As a proportion of the population, few URMs have the goal of being a doctor, fewer URMs understand what it takes to become a doctor (due to the environment they grow up in), and even fewer URMs have the resources necessary to do well (educational systems, culture's perceived value of education).