The effect of a rolling admission policy on a medical school's selection of applicants
PURPOSE: As the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (UKCM) employs a rolling admission policy, this study was designed to determine (1) whether the month during which applicants were considered by the UKCM admission committee was associated with admission status, (2) whether applicants considered early in the process differed in selected academic and noncognitive pre-admission characteristics in comparison with later applicants, and (3) what the importance of the month of the applicant's consideration was relative to other predictors of admission to UKCM. METHOD: The application files and admission committee's minutes regarding 302 applicants who received interviews during the 1993-94 application cycle were examined. Data reviewed included each applicant's gender, age, geographic origin, undergraduate science and non-science grade-point averages, and Medical College Admission Test scores; the date of consideration by the committee; interviewers' ratings; the initial motion on the applicant; and the final admission status. RESULTS: The findings indicate that the applicants considered earlier were significantly more likely to gain admission. However, upon assigning the applicants to three groups according to the month of consideration, no difference in academic qualifications was found. Regression analyses revealed that despite the effect of time of consideration, noncognitive characteristics related to UKCM's mission also predicted admission decisions. CONCLUSION: This study provides useful information to admission committees reviewing the effect of a rolling admission policy, as well as to applicants and premedical advisors, who should be aware of the potential importance of submitting applications in a timely manner.