Several readers of the BC Medical Journal have brought to my attention an anonymous letter printed in the BC Medical Journal (2000;42:374) entitled "What’s Wrong With This Picture?" This letter presented an inaccurate and unfortunate view of the admissions process to the UBC Faculty of Medicine.
The aim of the UBC Faculty of Medicine is to select from the applicant pool future physicians who will contribute to the good of society. While evidence of academic ability is important in the selection process, non-academic qualities are evaluated carefully and account for about 50% of the decision-making process. Specifically, applicants must submit a list of verifiable activities outside the academic domain that they have participated in throughout the past 10 years, three references of which one is a personal reference and one is a reference from a community-service organization, and have at least two interviews with members of the Selection Committee.
Members of the Selection Committee are appointed and elected from a number of different constituencies. The committee includes clinicians with no university affiliation, academic scientists who are engaged in teaching and research, non-physician members, president’s appointees from universities other than UBC, students, and members with northern/rural experience and point of view. The Selection Committee members spend over 100 unpaid hours per year in the process of interviewing and selecting the best possible future physicians for the people of British Columbia.
All interviewers complete an interview training workshop run by the Equity Office at UBC. As well, any applicant who feels that his or her interview was inappropriate because of an equity issue is advised to contact my office immediately and we arrange an alternate interview. After completing their interviews at UBC, all applicants are asked to complete an anonymous written evaluation of our admissions process, including interviews. In general, applicants are very positive of the UBC Faculty of Medicine interview process, focusing on the time taken by interviewers, the knowledge of the applicant, and the one-on-one process.
Contrary to the statement in the anonymous letter, UBC is one of the first schools to inform applicants about their admission status: we currently inform applicants in late April/early May for admission in September.
The UBC Faculty of Medicine sees the selection and training of the future physicians of British Columbia as a core activity of the medical school. Our experience with the undergraduate students as they work with each other in PBL (problem-based learning) sessions, learn clinical skills and decision making in the teaching hospital, move to experience rural practice between second and third year, and work actively to enhance the health of British Columbians through activities like the development of the student-initiated clinic in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver suggests that, in fact, our undergraduate students are among the finest in North America.
—Dr Joanna M. Bates
Associate Dean, Admissions
UBC Faculty of Medicine
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