Study Questions Fairness of Veterinary School Admissions
Certain groups are at a disadvantage, say a former college dean and an AAVMC researcher.
The authors of a study that found unintended bias in veterinary school admissions are calling for a re-examination of the entire process.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges study concluded that admission offers were lower for candidates from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups as well as for Pell Grant recipients and first-generation college students. In addition, candidates from rural communities and candidates who aspired to practice in rural communities were similarly shortchanged.
“The playing field is certainly not level for all candidates,” wrote authors James W. Lloyd, DVM, Ph.D., and Lisa Greenhill, Ph.D. “Candidates from disadvantaged groups must overcome disproportionate degrees of difficulty to achieve their goals.”
Dr. Lloyd is the former dean of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Greenhill is the AAVMC’s senior director of institutional research and diversity and a Today’s Veterinary Business columnist.
Veterinary school offers of admission, Drs. Lloyd and Greenhill stated, “tended to be higher for candidates who were white, male, grew up in suburban communities, were not Pell Grant recipients and whose parents attended college.”
“These findings signal a very real need to re-examine admission processes,” they wrote. “Schools and colleges of veterinary medicine should objectively and rigorously review their admissions processes and re-evaluate those elements, such as the number of veterinary, animal or total experience hours, that may be a source of inherent bias against particular groups of applicants.”
Drs. Lloyd and Greenhill acknowledged that “many disadvantaged candidates are ultimately successful in gaining an offer of admission.”
“But the playing field is certainly not level for all candidates,” they stated. “Candidates from disadvantaged groups must overcome disproportionate degrees of difficulty to achieve their goals.”
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