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Postapplication Advisement for U.S. Medical School Reapplicants

One School’s Program

Ballejos, Marlene P., PhD, MPA; Schmitt, Cheryl L., MS; McKinney, Kara L., MA; Sapien, Robert, MD, MMM

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002538
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Problem Reapplicants make up over one-quarter of U.S. medical school applicants. Postapplication advisement (PAA) can provide potential reapplicants with concrete strategies for improvement, a contextualized basis for their scores, and a realistic idea of their chances for success. However, more data showing the effectiveness of PAA and an analysis of best practices are needed for PAA programs to be more widely adopted.

Approach In 2010, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine (UNM SOM) created a PAA program that involves a postapplication seminar (PAS), mandatory self-assessment and action plan development, and an individual consult with an admissions dean to prepare participants for reapplication.

Outcomes From 2010 to 2016, 892 applicants who interviewed and were rejected at UNM SOM were eligible to participate in PAA. Of these, 478 (53.6%) chose to participate in PAA over the seven-year period. Males had a higher participation rate (246/430; 57.2%) compared with females (232/461; 50.3%; P = .04). African Americans had a higher participation rate (12/17; 70.6%) and American Indian/Alaska Natives had a lower participation rate (17/64; 26.6%) than any other race/ethnicity. Of reapplicants who were subsequently accepted, 140/178 (78.7%) attended PAS and a consult, and 7/178 (3.9%) attended PAS only, compared with 31/178 (17.4%) of subsequently accepted reapplicants who did not participate in any PAA (P < .001).

Next Steps Additional research should focus on the best approach for assisting reapplicants with prioritizing areas for improvement in their application. Demographic data may be used to target outreach to specific populations.

M.P. Ballejos is assistant professor and vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion, Department of Family and Community Medicine, and assistant dean for admissions, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico; ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6288-1849.

C.L. Schmitt is senior statistician, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

K.L. McKinney is research specialist, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

R. Sapien is distinguished professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, and associate dean for admissions, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Funding/Support: This effort was partially funded by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: This research was approved on May 11, 2016, by the institutional review board at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine (study no. 16-137).

Correspondence should be addressed to Marlene P. Ballejos, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Office of Admissions, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, Room 125, MSC 09 5085, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131; telephone: (505) 272-8297; e-mail: mballejos@salud.unm.edu.

© 2019 by the Association of American Medical Colleges