PREMED STUDENT ADVOCACY
2020 has been marked by the coronavirus pandemic and massive social change. This has been challenging for everyone, and students who aspire to enter the medical profession are particularly disadvantaged. MCAT exam cancelations, lost transcripts, canceled volunteer opportunities, and the emotional challenges that many of us have faced as frontline workers has made an already difficult career path even more treacherous to navigate. Existing inequities in the admissions process have only been amplified, and students who identify as being part of groups that are historically underrepresented in medicine are being prevented from pursuing careers in medicine.
In June 2020, we formed in response to these difficulties. Since then, we have worked to raise awareness about the potential loss of diversity facing the medical profession, as well as to advocate for change. In the summer of 2020, we surveyed over 500 of our peers, met with nearly a dozen elected officials, sent numerous letters to medical schools, and, much to our surprise, actually made an impact!
Unfortunately, despite our very best efforts, these issues have continued. Now, we are navigating the double challenge of completing the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and working with our peers applying in the 2021-2022 cycle.
December 10, 2020
Our most recent open letter addresses ongoing concerns with the 2020-2021 application cycle, as well as upcoming concerns for 2021-2022. It also has information about how you can take action and advocate on behalf of premed students.
OPEN LETTERS FROM PREMED STUDENTS
Pertaining directly to the 2020-2021 admissions cycle
DATA FROM 2020 MCAT TEST YEAR
As of 9/3/2020 (2 test dates remaining in 2020)
64% of applicants who have NOT taken the MCAT yet (or are planning to retake) are NOT comfortable contacting an AdCom explaining their situation. (n = 130)
Of applicants who have not yet been able to take the MCAT (or who are planning to retake), 92% of them will lose >$1000 if their upcoming exam is canceled and they have to withdraw their app because medical schools are still requiring the MCAT. (n = 103)
Of applicants who have already taken the MCAT this year, 90% felt as though the circumstances did not allow them to accurately demonstrate their abilities (n = 154)
Of current medical students, 89% said that they would not have been comfortable asking an AdCom for a personal exception to admissions requirements while they were applying. (n = 101)
MCAT Test Centers are not safe, especially for students at higher-risk of complications from coronavirus.
64% of recent MCAT examinees were not screened for coronavirus at all when they arrived for their exam. (n = 199)
0% of recent MCAT examinees were asked to provide proof of a negative COVID test. (n = 199)
7% of recent MCAT examinees underwent temperature checks (n = 199)
11% of recent MCAT examinees were questioned about recent travel. (n = 199)
24% of recent MCAT examinees were questioned about recent symptoms. (n = 199)
24% of recent MCAT examinees were questioned about recent exposures. (n = 199)
15% of recent MCAT examinees were asked to sign a waiver. (n = 199)
66% of recent MCAT examinees did not witness commonly used surfaces being cleaned in their test center. (n = 199)
50% of recent MCAT examinees did not witness their personal workspace being cleaned before, during, or after their MCAT exam. (n = 199)
27% of recent MCAT examinees said that masks were not enforced inside their test center. (n = 199)
20% of recent MCAT examinees personally witnessed test center staff violating mask policies. (n = 199)
29% of recent MCAT examinees said that social distancing was not possible in their test center.
24% of recent MCAT examinees personally witnessed test center staff violating social distancing guidelines. (n = 199)