When people discover our profession, they either love us or hate us. As part of our academic careers, we serve as admissions officers at Ivy League medical schools. Everyone has strong thoughts on the subject and specific questions for us. How do we choose candidates? Do we give an edge to minority students? Is the deck stacked against a low-income white applicant?
We're amazed at the many myths and misconceptions that surround the Ivy League admission mystique. Despite a strong public relations campaign to encourage applications, we repeatedly see qualified students hold back, while other less talented candidates feel entitled to admission for irrelevant reasons. We have the challenging job of assembling a talented, diverse class from an overwhelming number of candidates. Due to space limitations, we must reject 80-95% of all applicants, including many with perfect test scores and grade point averages. How do we do it? What gives an applicant an edge?