Introduction: The underrepresentation of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in medical education is an important social issue. There is currently little evidence about whether changes in admission strategy could increase the diversity of medical students. Denmark introduced an “attribute-based” admission track to make it easier for students who may not be eligible for admission through the “grade-based” track, to be admitted on the basis of attributes other than academic performance. The aim of this research was to examine whether there were significant differences in the social composition of students admitted via the two tracks between the years 2002-2007. Method: This prospective cohort study included 1074 medical students admitted between the years 2002-2007 to the University of Southern Denmark (USD) medical school. Of these, 454 were admitted by grade-based selection and 620 were selected on other attributes. To explore the social mix of the two tracks, we obtained information on social indices associated with educational attainment in Denmark (ethnic origin, father’s education, mother’s education, parenthood, parents live together, parent on benefit). Result: Selection strategy (grade-based or attribute-based) had no statistically significant effect on the social diversity of medical students admitted to USD. Discussion: It may be a myth that attribute-based admission widens access and increases social diversity. To the contrary, there is evidence that combining grade-based with attribute-based admission may restrict social diversity even further.
Medical Education, 2013, Vol 47, Issue 6, p. 557-561
SELECTION; Optagelsesprøver; Optagelseskriterier; Medicinstudiet; Social diversitet