lege of Medicine to develop a program dedicated to improving the health of the Latino community in California is a good example. This newly proposed program seeks to identify and recruit talented students with Spanish-language ability and a prior record of service to the Latino community—both race-neutral variables that are likely to enrich the applicant pool and ultimately their entering classes.
Many schools will find that their missions encompass research, teaching, public service, or other particular goal. Development of an evaluation process that will assess each goal will increase the likelihood that the admissions process will achieve its intended result for each campus. Creating evaluation forms for each major goal helps to categorize these elements in the admissions process. In one model currently used by a California medical school, the knowledge assessment form evaluates the results of the MCATs and the GPA as well as the actual transcript to assess academic trends. Another form allows the educational context or “distance traveled” to be studied and actual performance to be adjusted. In some schools, each file reviewer and interviewer is asked to evaluate the elements of the distance traveled so that each evaluator may place the applicant’s accomplishments in context. The skill assessment form evaluates the “tools set” that the student has acquired in his or her extracurricular activities and how these skills will help the student’s career.
Value is given to depth of study and achievement rather than superficial sampling, accomplishments rather than future plans, and demonstrated ability rather than aptitude. The attitude assessment form depends on the description in the letters of recommendation about each candidate’s determination, dedication, and desire to learn and serve. Sample forms that rate these elements are enclosed in this paper and are currently used by one school.
Using summary forms that are devoid of grades and test scores is labor intensive and requires a large cadre of well-motivated and trained volunteer faculty and students. However, analyzing and ranking the personal attributes of the candidates and how the candidate’s knowledge, character, and accomplishments fit the mission of the school are vital for selecting a diverse class. The executive admissions committee at one school ultimately will make a decision based on two simple questions:
How will this candidate contribute to and benefit from your medical school?
Will accepting this candidate be in keeping with the mission of your medical school?
Other schools use similar questions, including an assessment of the extent to which an applicant is predicted to be a leader and to contribute