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MD Program Admissions: COVID-19 Updates

Message to MD 2019-20 Interviewees, May 8, 2020

As you are aware, in March 2020, due to the COVID19 crisis, McMaster’s MD Program cancelled this year’s Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI). After extensive discussion and for a variety of reasons, it was not possible to conduct a virtual MMI.

 In developing an alternate admissions process, the MD Program leadership and admissions committee strove to align with our admissions policies and values: assessing merit; regional allocation; and the Facilitated Indigenous Admissions Process (FIAP). In addition, a number of priorities were identified: maintain the integrity of our admissions process; base decisions on evidence; ensure the proposal could be resourced while supporting the health care providers who participate in the admissions process, Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) students and staff, and the general public. The proposal below was extensively informed by UGME and McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences health professions education scientists.

 It was agreed that all interview-eligible applicants should have an opportunity to obtain an offer that is reflective of the opportunity that would have been provided by the interview.

Our researchers were able to confirm the following:

  • Purposeful selection approaches are more effective than open/random approaches.
  • GPA and MCAT have the most predictive value for cognitive skills, overall Medical Council of Canada licensing exam performance, and study success in a variety of countries.
  • With respect to the two-stage, multifaceted selection approach used at McMaster University, analysis shows that the MMI affords the potential for enough “mobility” for all individuals that make the top 552 to have a greater than 50% chance of receiving an offer of admission. The top 100 ranked individuals have a 70-76% chance of receiving an offer after the MMI.

After much discussion and consultation, and with the above in mind, the selection process outlined below was developed.  This process was subsequently approved by the MD Admissions Committee, the Medical Executive Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee and McMaster University Senate.

  • All applicants who have been offered an interview have already been pre-screened from the full applicant pool of 5000+ applicants using merit-based tools and regional distribution.
  • Following the determination of offers to applicants consistent with our facilitated Indigenous applicant stream, the top 100 pre-interview ranked individuals will be extended an offer to the medical program as their likelihood for being offered admission is greater than 70%.
  • The remaining applicants historically have an above equal opportunity of receiving an offer of admission once the interview score is included in the admissions formula.These applicants will be randomly selected to be placed on the offer of admission list, wait list, and no offer list.
  • All applicants that qualified for an interview this year but were not extended an offer of admission and do not accept an offer of admission at another Canadian medical school in 2020, will be automatically invited to the interview process for the 2020/21 application cycle if they re-apply in the 2020/21 admissions cycle.More details about this process will be provided at a later date.

We recognize that the concept of a lottery is uncomfortable to many and particularly for those who are not offered admission to McMaster this year.  To expand on this, we wanted to note that this is not an “open lottery”.  It is a lottery that is applied after the purposeful, multi-faceted screening process that reduced 5000+ applications to 552 applicants, and two additional selection processes that a) reduced the 552 applicants by the number of Indigenous applicants offered a spot in our program, and b) reduced that number by 100 students receiving offers on the basis of their composite score. A lottery provides all students who qualify for an interview, an opportunity to gain an offer of admission. Under the traditional process using the MMI, these applicants would have a minimum chance of receiving an offer of admission of greater than 50%.

We wish all of you the best and hope you and your families are keeping well and staying safe. 

 Dr. Jason Profetto, Chair, MD Admissions

Wendy Edge, Admissions Officer

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