Do Interviews Influence Admission Decisions? An Empirical Analysis From an Institution

Mil Med. 2021 Feb 26;186(3-4):426-436. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usaa477.

Abstract

Introduction: The admission interview is regarded as one of the most significant moments in the process of applying to medical school, but there is limited empirical evidence that supports this claim. Previous analyses have offered what is largely anecdotal evidence of the interview's importance while also suggesting that there is ample opportunity for ethnic and gender bias to impact interview scores. We also asked what medical schools can learn from comparing the attributes of matriculants and those applicants who rejected offers of acceptance.

Materials and methods: This study investigated the association between interview performance and admission committee decisions for applicants applying to the School of Medicine of the USU. The study cohort included all candidates who were invited for an on-site interview at the USU in 2014, 2015, and 2016 (n = 1825).

Results: Seventeen percent of the variance of the outcome variables-admission committee decisions to accept, place on the alternate list, or reject an applicant-can be explained by considering interview scores alone. Applicant age, race, ethnicity, and gender did not significantly impact interview overall ratings. Matriculants to the USU had similar interview ratings and distribution of gender, race, and ethnicity when compared to those applicants who rejected offers of acceptance. Matriculants were more likely to have previous military experience.

Conclusion: Our analysis provides some justification for the importance of the interview in the admission process. Applicant demographics (age, race, gender, and ethnicity) were not associated with interview scores. Differences between matriculants to the USU and those who rejected offers of acceptance are small, indicating that the USU continues to build a class body that excels in both cognitive and noncognitive domains.

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • School Admission Criteria
  • Schools, Medical
  • Sexism