Admissions guidelines address academics and personal qualifications (2-17-00)
University admissions procedures have changed for Texas public universities since 1997, when the Hopwood vs. Texas court decision was announced. The result was a ruling not to consider an individual applicant’s ethnic or racial minority status during the admissions process.
To ensure continuing access to professional health career education for as many prospective students as possible, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio instituted comprehensive admissions guidelines for its Medical School. Since 1997, these new procedures have emphasized both academics and personal qualifications—a balanced mix designed to select students most likely to complete the rigorous academic program and go on to careers as physicians.
"Hopwood guided us to develop a more useful set of guidelines with which to evaluate Medical School applicants," said David Jones, Ph.D., associate dean for Medical School admissions and professor in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Beyond evaluation of grade point average (GPA) and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores, the Health Science Center’s guidelines include consideration of bilingual language ability, socioeconomic history, community service, communications skills, success in overcoming adverse conditions or experiences, future goals, knowledge of the profession of medicine, whether the applicant is from a medically underserved area and whether the applicant has the desire to serve in a medically underserved region of the state following graduation.
Dr. Jones said these guidelines are not dependent on ethnicity. Rather, they value the individual applicant’s achievements and academic preparation from the "whole person" perspective. The new admissions guidelines provide for a more exhaustive process that has the added benefit of allowing for the selection of Medical School classes that are even more demographically balanced than before the Hopwood decision.
The new guidelines have resulted in a rise in minority enrollment since 1997. The Health Science Center’s Medical School had 40 entering Hispanic students in 1999, up from the 14 students entering in 1997. Hispanic enrollment at the Health Science Center is projected to reach 25 percent by 2005.
The Medical School also is accepting more students from South Texas, historically a medically underserved area. In 1997, when GPA and MCAT scores still largely determined Medical School admissions decisions, 45 applicants from South Texas were interviewed and seven were accepted. In 1999, with the new guidelines in place, 55 applicants from South Texas were interviewed and 26 were accepted.
Contact: Will Sansom or Heather Feldman