uCalgary initiative boosts Aboriginal medical student admissions

April 29, 2013

According to Ian Walker, director of admissions for undergraduate medical education at the University of Calgary, the school has seen a sharp increase in the number of admitted Aboriginal applicants since it began a new initiative aimed at levelling the playing field. The new data – presented this week at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education in Quebec City – showed it’s possible to increase enrolment of Aboriginal students without changing the admission standards for all students or setting aside reserved spots for those with Aboriginal background, said Walker. Since 2010, uCalgary has been using a scoring system that compares and ranks Aboriginal applicant MCAT scores and grade-point averages against a historical data set of Aboriginal applicant scores, rather than against the non-Aboriginal applicant pool. There’s no difference in the average grades received by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in their first year of medical school. In fact, said Walker, those students who would not have gotten into the medical school using the old admissions method actually very slightly outperform the class average. Calgary Herald