Among states, who tends to matriculate the highest scoring of their own applicant pool?

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efle

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AAMC Tables A-19 and A-20 provide some interesting information: the average applicant and matriculant MCAT per state, and the Standard Deviation for each.

Right away you can take a glance to see who has the highest and lowest matriculant MCATs relative to the overall pool of test takers:

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But, states also vary greatly in the average MCATs of their applicants. So what about the position of an average matriculant within their state's own applicant pool?

By finding the Matric - App difference in each state, dividing by the state's standard deviation for applicants, and using the NORMSDIST function in Excel, you can quickly find the z-score and percentile of the average matriculant relative to the applicant population of just their own state.

So, by state, who tends to matriculate the highest scoring of their pool? Top and bottom below, and full table here.

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Edit: To clarify what this chart shows: Pick a state, say Idaho. The average Idaho resident that got into medical school outscored 68% of other Idaho residents. Compare to Hawaii - the average Hawaiian that got admitted outscored 84% of other Hawaiian applicants.

I find this pretty interesting! I would not have guessed, for example, that the average Maine and Mississippi matriculants actually beat about the same portion of their own states' applicants.

Bonus by region, top sorted by Matric MCAT and bottom by percentile among own region:

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I'm surprised to see California so low and Florida so high considering they have so many med schools.

Great work @efle!
 
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Yeah this is amazing, if medicine doesn't work out you may want to consider data science
 
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How is the applicant pool defined? Are they students with residency in these states or students who attended school in that state and are subsequently applying to that state's medical school?
 
How is the applicant pool defined? Are they students with residency in these states or students who attended school in that state and are subsequently applying to that state's medical school?
State residency. So the way to read it would be: The average matriculant from New Hampshire (has no instate school) had an MCAT equal or higher than 84% of other applicants that are also New Hampshire residents. Conversely, the average matriculant from Delaware (also has no instate school) had an MCAT equal or higher than only 73% of other applicants that were Delaware residents.
 
State residency. So the way to read it would be: The average matriculant from New Hampshire (has no instate school) had an MCAT equal or higher than 84% of other applicants that are also New Hampshire residents. Conversely, the average matriculant from Delaware (also has no instate school) had an MCAT equal or higher than only 73% of other applicants that were Delaware residents.
It's good to be from Oregon
 
Yeah I'm jealous. I'm from California but love the pacific northwest, so the envy of WWAMI and Oregon residents is very real
Quickly move to Portland, tattoo yourself, and learn to unicycle. You'll be a shoo-in for OHSU!
 
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I know there is less variability, but could this same thing be done for GPA?
 
I wonder where texas falls...on one hand they're very generous to low MCATs, but on the other their retention of high caliber IS applicants is basically unmatched. I doubt there's a state that retains a higher percentage of its +95th percentile applicants than texas.
 
I wonder where texas falls...on one hand they're very generous to low MCATs, but on the other their retention of high caliber IS applicants is basically unmatched. I doubt there's a state that retains a higher percentage of its +95th percentile applicants than texas.
Texas is at the very top for GPA and near the top for MCAT. So although they as a state have a weaker avg matriculant MCAT overall, it looks like (relatively) high numbers are more important within the Texan resident pool than within most other states.
 
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Great post! Sorry for the bump but I was sent here from the compilation of essential threads. I do have a question about the practical application of the results; how can we summarize? Earlier in the thread, someone concluded that being an applicant from Oregon is a good thing. I can't figure out, logically, why that is a reasonable conclusion. Doesn't it say more about the relative strength of that state's applicants?
 
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Great post! Sorry for the bump but I was sent here from the compilation of essential threads. I do have a question about the practical application of the results; how can we summarize? Earlier in the thread, someone concluded that being an applicant from Oregon is a good thing. I can't figure out, logically, why that is a reasonable conclusion. Doesn't it say more about the relative strength of that state's applicants?
Think of it this way. You are from state X. You want to know how far above your state average you'd have to be, to reach the level of a typical matriculant.

If you are from Oregon - lucky you! The average Oregon person who gets in was top ~30% of their state by MCAT. (And only top ~40% by GPA).
If you are from New Hampshire - bad news! The average NH person was top ~15% of their state. Harder to hit that.

Realistically, this doesn't tell you much useful info for your own app process. The state you are from is not usually something you can change. If you are from NH you are just gonna have to score better, nothing much you can do about it. It's just something interesting.
 
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Great post! Sorry for the bump but I was sent here from the compilation of essential threads. I do have a question about the practical application of the results; how can we summarize? Earlier in the thread, someone concluded that being an applicant from Oregon is a good thing. I can't figure out, logically, why that is a reasonable conclusion. Doesn't it say more about the relative strength of that state's applicants?

Some states are lucky and some are unlucky. The reason is that medical schools like to have people from lots of different states for diversity, and the overall institution of medical education has an interest in making sure a proportion of people from each state become doctors--someone from Oregon may understand the needs of Oregonian patients better than someone from New York. All of this is especially true from applicants that apply to OOS schools, as certain schools are known for taking OOS schools (and top tier schools tend to be private and so have no in-state bias).

All this means is that it better to consider yourself against the applicant pool of your state than the overall applicant pool to understand your chances. It is similar to how the LizzyM calculator allows you to look at different races/ethnicities. So given the relative strength of a state's applicants, you need to view yourself in relation to the stats of your state (given with the original AAMC tables) and efle's excellent analysis suggests how you must do compared to that part of the data pool to be successful

In Alaska and New Hampshire, the average applicant MCAT scores were exactly the same--503.8. But Alaska wants you to be above the 64th percentile and New Hampshire wants you to be above 84 percentile. Someone with a 508 from Alaska would be more successful than a 508 from New Hampshire. 508 is below the national matriculant average and below the New Hampshire matriculant average but above the Alaskan matriculant average.
 
So I've really put some thought into this and I still don't even know what I'm driving at. My gut reactions to this, include: (1) why is life so unfair, I didn't choose to be born in FL... (2) is it actually unfair? (3) is there a statistical significance to this data? (4) Maybe I should just go to sleep. Please forgive me I'm not trying to sound combative. I also realize that I have a lot of sentences ending in question marks and I don't mean for you to answer them all just because I put you in a quote.

If you are from NH you are just gonna have to score better
So in some states, you need good scores, but in others, you don't need good scores.

This is exactly what I'm having trouble understanding. If adcoms are barometers of fitness to attend medical school, what is really causing the variances in data? It can't be that they have higher score standards for certain states, right? I can imagine the variables are numerous, because we know that there are lots of things that affect app strength. Are applicants really competing against applicants from their own state, or are they competing nationally? The answer is "both", right. Again I have no idea where I'm going with this.

medical schools like to have people from lots of different states for diversity
Do they really? I can certainly imagine that this could be true, but it conflicts with many public schools' mission statements to build in-state workforce so it has to be on a case-by-case basis, don't you think?

All of this is especially true from applicants that apply to OOS schools, as certain schools are known for taking OOS schools (and top tier schools tend to be private and so have no in-state bias).
I agree that the data would be more accurate if we were talking about OOS, for the reason mentioned above about public schools. But this assumption of this makes me even more confused when I look at Florida's numbers, since there are so many in-state schools, I would expect it to be easier for Florida natives to matriculate. I could imagine that

efle's excellent analysis suggests how you must do compared to that part of the data pool to be successful
I understand the claim but I am still feel that this is a generalization, since applicants are competing against the country's pool, not their state's pool, right?

In Alaska and New Hampshire, the average applicant MCAT scores were exactly the same--503.8. But Alaska wants you to be above the 64th percentile and New Hampshire wants you to be above 84 percentile.
Someone with a 508 from Alaska would be more successful than a 508 from New Hampshire.
I like that you chose these two schools to compare. Neither of them have an in-state public school.
There were only 38 matriculants (only 96 applicants) from Alaska that year. And only 52 (only 131 applicants) from NH. Can we be sure that there is a real difference there? Both work out to 39% acceptance rate
Now I'm looking for a cause...
Table 10 says that 68% of applicants from Alaska are white, and 78% of applicants from NH are white. Is this a significant difference in number of URM applicants? It would support support the data if true.

I've run out of steam. Thanks for your time.
 
So I've really put some thought into this and I still don't even know what I'm driving at. My gut reactions to this, include: (1) why is life so unfair, I didn't choose to be born in FL... (2) is it actually unfair? (3) is there a statistical significance to this data? (4) Maybe I should just go to sleep. Please forgive me I'm not trying to sound combative. I also realize that I have a lot of sentences ending in question marks and I don't mean for you to answer them all just because I put you in a quote.
1 - I'm from CA I can relate
2 - Depends what you think fair means for this whole process. Is it unfair to have no state schools where someone is from? Well, what stopped them from building a better app that was competitive for the private schools that dont care about residency?
3 - Probably not for some of the very low n states or for states that are close together in z score, but for larger states that are further apart, I'd say certainly. I'm too lazy to figure out any p values.
4 - you dont sound combative no worries

So in some states, you need good scores, but in others, you don't need good scores.

This is exactly what I'm having trouble understanding. If adcoms are barometers of fitness to attend medical school, what is really causing the variances in data? It can't be that they have higher score standards for certain states, right? I can imagine the variables are numerous, because we know that there are lots of things that affect app strength. Are applicants really competing against applicants from their own state, or are they competing nationally? The answer is "both", right. Again I have no idea where I'm going with this.
A few things that would affect the z scores that come to mind immediately:
  • presence of state school(s)
  • how exclusively those schools draw from instate
  • whether those schools heavily emphasize scores
  • ORM/URM state demographics
Applicants obvs compete mostly with instate peers for their instate MD seats. Nationwide I don't think there would be that much of an effect though. Like I doubt app reviewers at midwest or east coast private schools ever say "oh, too bad this guy is from California, if he was from a more unique state I'd have totally interviewed him".

Again I don't want anybody to look at this and think it's a tool for chancing themselves or picking states to apply to schools in. You're much better off comparing yourself directly to school acceptee data in the MSAR. It's just an interesting stat to look at - like I said, I never would have expected to find out that some states pull so much more heavily from their upper end!
 
Was California removed?
 
2 - Depends what you think fair means for this whole process. Is it unfair to have no state schools where someone is from? Well, what stopped them from building a better app that was competitive for the private schools that dont care about residency?
Non-sequitur. The fact that something didn't stop people with poorer apps from getting into a med school whereas there were higher barriers in place for those with no state school is sufficient to show it's unfair.
 
For private med school in the states where there is no public med school, in-state applicants do get some preference (e.g., Brown to RI residents, maybe Dartmouth to NH residents?)... so I heard.
 
Non-sequitur. The fact that something didn't stop people with poorer apps from getting into a med school whereas there were higher barriers in place for those with no state school is sufficient to show it's unfair.
Here's the logic, imo: the definition of fair for us has to be that with enough effort, one can get in. Fair has to just mean accessible to anyone not equally accessible.

And that is because the alternative falls apart immediately. If we say fair means it should take the same amount of effort for anyone to get in it is a pointless conversation to begin with because some people come into this process as genetic lottery winners with better brains.

Makes zero sense to complain about fairness in how high the bar is moved for you vs another person when you have different heights to begin with.

That's if you want to be able to describe the process as fair, anyways. If you give up on calling it fair then yes, state residency is an unfair modifier in a system that was already inherently unfair.
 
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For private med school in the states where there is no public med school, in-state applicants do get some preference (e.g., Brown to RI residents, maybe Dartmouth to NH residents?)... so I heard.
I don't think this is true. People from that state might be over-represented in the student body, but that can be because yield is higher for them (they get to stay home) rather than because they get admitted at a higher rate.
 
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I don't know if I saw a solid response in the comments, but is this based on public, private, or both, for the state's MD schools?

this is only about students applying and students matriculating (into any school, in or out of state), sorted by their state of residence.
 
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[...] that can be because yield is higher for them (they get to stay home) rather than because they get admitted at a higher rate.
This is an excellent point and not something I had considered. I see 99% OOS apps for Dartmouth but 84% OOS matriculants, and was always confused about how NH residents can be so over-represented.
 
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