Letter to the Editor: Medical school has process figured out

Editor:

I am writing in response to the article published in the April 8 edition of The Daily Utah Chronicle (“Pre-meds angry at U enrollment process”) regarding the complaints that pre-meds have about the admissions process at the School of Medicine. It has been a hot topic, especially given the recent audits conducted by the state Legislature. We have had a number of meetings with Dr. Wayne Samuelson, dean of admissions, and I am satisfied that the admissions process is done in a professional, non-biased manner.

I was interviewed at a number of fine schools during the application process and found the U’s requirements to be among the most stringent and demanding. Given that fact that Utahns from every major university are competing for 75 spots, it can’t be any other way (the medical school has contractual obligations to states like Idaho that don’t have medical schools).

I am certain that there are more than 75 applicants who had very high GPAs and MCAT scores, which is precisely why these are only two of the eight important criteria that the admissions committee considers.

Community service, research and quality of interview are other elements that are given equal consideration. Incidentally, the average MCAT scores and GPAs of the students currently enrolled here are high and compete with some of the top schools in the nation.

To call the admissions process unfair and random is to not understand it. The U interviews through March, and the fact that a majority of students do not hear of their status until April is actually the best way to fairly consider all applicants, regardless of their interview date.

Additionally, absolutely no consideration is given to race or gender in the admissions process. In theory, all 75 spots could go to white males from BYU if their numerical score from the eight criteria ranked them the highest. It is highly unlikely, but the unbiased nature of the admissions process leaves the possibility.

I regret that these three people in the article were not accepted and can certainly understand their worry and frustration with the admissions process (I was in the same boat a year ago). However, it is unfair to blame the School of Medicine-there is simply no better way to perform the very difficult task of accepting 75 qualified applicants from a very qualified pool of a much larger number.

To their credit, they have done an awesome job with our class. I am impressed on a regular basis at the intelligence and dedication to the principles of medicine that they demonstrate.

The fact that the committee can put together such an awesome and dynamic group of people tells me that they have the process figured out.

Bryant Whiting

First Year Medical Student