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Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Jun;11(6):695-8.

Participation in the academic associate program: effect on medical school admission rate.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Several emergency medicine programs are using premedical students as research assistants for clinical research in the emergency department (ED). These programs have been shown to enhance faculty research productivity, but the effects of these programs on the students' goals have not been assessed. The authors evaluated the effect of the Academic Associate Program (AAP) on medical school acceptance rates.


From 1997 to 2002, premedical students who attended informational sessions about the AAP completed a 28-item survey including demographic information, educational experiences, career goals, grade point average (GPA), and prior research participation. Premedical students who had a career goal of becoming a physician were included in the study if they matriculated into medical school or changed their career plans by the fall of 2003. Medical school acceptance was determined by contacting students or their parents via telephone and e-mail. Students enrolled in the AAP were compared with Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) data to determine whether they were more or less likely to be accepted into medical school.


During the study period, 198 students enrolled in the AAP had attained a final disposition with respect to medical school matriculation. Students were a mean age of 22.4 +/- 3.0 years, 55% female, and 43% nonwhite. Most students (91%) were junior year or later with respect to educational level. Prior research experience included being an author on an abstract (25%), being an author on a manuscript (17%), and presenting research at a scientific meeting (14%). The mean GPA ( +/- standard deviation) for Academic Associates was 3.38 ( +/- 0.31). Medical school acceptance rates were 79% for students in the AAP (95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 73.1 to 84.5). This is higher than expected based on AAMC published data with a 49% (95% CI = 48.5 to 49.5) acceptance rate for students with a mean GPA of 3.46.


Compared with AAMC data, students in the AAP have a higher medical school acceptance rate despite a slightly lower GPA. This finding suggests that participation in the program enhances a student's likelihood of matriculating in medical school.

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