December 5, 1977

Medical School Admissions-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Maryland at Baltimore Baltimore

JAMA. 1977;238(23):2493-2494. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280240039006

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Dr Smith describes accurately the frustrations experienced by those who play a role in the admissions process in medical schools. He also points out that the heavy reliance on numbers as represented by grade point averages (GPAs) and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores leaves little room for assessing other equally important factors such as motivation. All of us who daily confront the realities of medical school admissions, both in the process of selecting students and those ultimately selected, the matriculants, can share with him the sense of hopelessness he feels.

However, I am not as confident about the prospects he sees with the solution he suggests. I believe the idea of a preadmissions work experience has merit in the theoretical sense but not, I fear, in the practical. Processing the applications of thousands of would-be students is very nearly overwhelming now. How could we possibly handle the