Phenomenon: This study explored Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino medical students' perceptions of the medical school admissions process. Previous research has explored other elements of the medical education continuum. However, little is known regarding minorities' perceptions of navigating the medical school admissions process. To address this gap in the literature, this exploratory study suggests a conceptual model describing why minorities apply to medical school and the influences affecting their admissions experience.
APPROACH: This qualitative study utilized a grounded theory approach. Between December 2012 and January 2014, the principal researcher conducted one-on-one telephone and in-person small-group interviews, as well as web-based telephone feedback sessions, with Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino medical students.
FINDINGS: Thirty-three students participated, including 23 Black/African American and 10 Hispanic/Latino medical students. Participants represented 25 U.S. allopathic medical schools. Emergent themes are categorized under 2 headings: (a) motivations for a career in medicine and (b) barriers and supports. Motivations for a career in medicine include perceived fit, prior experience or knowledge, encouragement and role models, desire to help others, interest in science, and perceived benefits. Barriers and supports included information, guidance and social support, financial and academic factors, and persistence. Insights: Building on theories of student college choice and academic capital formation, the researcher's analysis and interpretations result in the proposal of a conceptual model describing minority applicants' experience in medical school admissions. The study also suggests research and practice implications related to premedical advising, mentoring, financial assistance, information, outreach, and data collection.
Published In/Presented At
Hadinger, M. (2017). Underrepresented Minorities in Medical School Admissions: A Qualitative Study. Teaching and learning in medicine. 29(1) 31-41.
Education | Medical Education
Department of Education, Medical Education