Selection Factors

The Committee on Admissions is responsible for the identification, selection, and recruitment of students for Boston University School of Medicine. Decisions are guided by the goals and objectives of the school, as reflected in our committee mission statement and its accompanying statement of values and principles:

To identify, select, and recruit students who are likely to excel academically, engage vigorously in the life of our campus, enhance the diversity of our school community, and contribute generously to our society in the care of patients, in the conduct of medical research, and in the advancement of the public’s health.  Qualities of intellect, character, compassion, motivation, preparation, and life experience are all considered; as these factors may each influence a physician’s potential to succeed in a rapidly changing and pluralistic society.


The Committee on Admissions conducts a comprehensive, flexible, holistic review of all applicants.  This process is defined as follows:

A flexible, highly individualized process by which balanced consideration is given to the multiple ways in which applicants may prepare for and demonstrate preparation for a career in medicine.  Candidates are evaluated by criteria that are institution-specific, broad-based, mission-driven, and that are applied equitably across the entire candidate pool.

In applying these principles, the Committee on Admissions strives to bring together a diverse student body constituted by academically gifted, highly motivated, resilient students who share a deep commitment to the values and goals of our profession and our institution.  This review focuses on each individual applicant’s talents, accomplishments, experiences, and potential to contribute to the learning community; drawing upon information from the academic record, life history, recommendations, essays, and interview.  We select and recruit students who are diverse in numerous ways, including but not limited to, their educational, social, cultural, linguistic, economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and in their life experience.

We have thousands of amazing applicants, and each has a unique story to tell.  We want to know your motivations for a career in medicine and to understand how you’ve grown and get a feel for what you have dedicated to the pursuit of your passions.  We want to state clearly that applicants should not worry that participating in legal protests, even if they are arrested, as it will not be held against them.  All institutional and civil/criminal violations are reviewed individually and considered as part of the applicant’s story.

In choosing to include race and ethnicity among the multiple factors that contribute to diversity and are therefore considered by the Committee on Admissions, Boston University School of Medicine affirms its longstanding commitment to inclusion of groups which have been subject to discrimination and which, without special commitment, would not be represented among our students in meaningful numbers.  A diverse student body is consistent with the history and mission of Boston University School of Medicine and is a core educational imperative of the institution for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • The ability to understand and value a patient’s culture is a key element of physician competence and is best taught by life experience, rather than as an abstract object of study;
  • Diversity promotes understanding in a pluralistic society and contributes to the breakdown of stereotypes and biases;
  • A diverse student body promotes a rich, lively, enlightened discussion and prepares students for a heterogeneous workforce and society;
  • Racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse leadership in medicine is critical to progress in healthcare and in society as a whole;
  • A diverse student body will contribute to a diverse physician workforce, supporting improvements in access to health care for vulnerable populations and a reduction in racial and ethnic disparities in health status.

Predicting success in medical school is an inexact process, and predicting who will make an excellent physician is even more challenging.  While we must be confident that candidates have the intellectual capacity and organizational skills to excel in a rigorous academic environment, we look beyond these factors to a more comprehensive evaluation of the intellectual, experiential, and personal qualities an applicant may bring to the study and practice of medicine.

After interview the files are reviewed yet again, this time with the interviewer’s report providing important, but not necessarily determinative, guidance in our final decision about acceptance. By this stage of the process each applicant file has been scrutinized and discussed by no fewer than 8 members of the Committee on Admissions.

Individuals interested in additional information are encouraged to browse our Viewbook.