Medical School Admissions Initiative

Provided by the Yale Health Professions Advisory Program (source: Association of American Medical Colleges) 


Medical schools are dedicated to achieving a system of medical education that prepares physicians and scientists to meet the nation’s evolving health needs, while reducing application barriers and encouraging students from a wide variety of disciplines, majors, and backgrounds to apply to become the next generation of doctors. 

Beginning the transition to competency-based medical education (CBME) is one example of this dedication. As the gateway to medical school, the admissions processes and related practices must evolve with changing medical education requirements. While a complete transition to competency-based admissions (CBA) is the long-term goal, there are several short- and mid-term objectives that will facilitate this transition. CBA is an approach to admissions that employs processes intended to determine each applicant’s ability to demonstrate a core set of entry-level competencies needed to succeed in medical school, residency and in practice. 

These competencies include: 


Service orientation 

Demonstrates a desire to help others and sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings; demonstrates a desire to alleviate others’ distress; recognizes and acts on his/her responsibilities to society, locally, nationally, and globally. 

Social skills 

Demonstrates awareness of others’ needs, goals, feelings, and the ways social and behavioral cues affect peoples’ interactions and behaviors; adjusts behaviors appropriately in response to these cues; and treats others with respect. 

Cultural competence 

Demonstrates knowledge of social and cultural factors that affect interactions and behaviors; shows and appreciation and respect for multiple dimensions of diversity; recognizes and acts on the obligation to inform one’s own judgment; engages diverse and competing perspectives as a resource for learning, citizenship, and work; recognizes and appropriately addresses bias in themselves and others; interacts effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. 

Team work 

Works collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals; shares information & knowledge with others and provides feedback; puts team goals ahead of individual goals. 

Oral communication 

Effectively conveys information to others using spoken words and sentences; listens effectively; recognizes potential communication barriers and adjusts approach or clarifies information as needed. 


Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others 

Behaves in an honest and ethical manner; cultivates personal and academic integrity; adheres to ethical principles and follows rules and procedures; resists peer pressure to engage in unethical behavior and encourages others to behave in honest and ethical ways; and develops and demonstrates ethical and moral reasoning. 

Reliability and Dependability 

Consistently fulfills obligations in a timely and satisfactory manner; takes responsibility for personal actions and performance. 

Resilience and Adaptability 

Demonstrates tolerance of stressful or changing environments or situations and adapts effectively to them; is persistent, even under difficult situations; recovers from setbacks. 

Capacity for Improvement 

Sets goals for continuous improvement and for learning new concepts and skills; engages in reflective practice for improvement; solicits and responds appropriately to feedback. 


Critical Thinking 

Uses logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems 

Quantitative Reasoning 

Applies quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world. 

Scientific Inquiry 

Applies knowledge of the scientific process to integrate and synthesize information, solve problems and formulate research questions and hypotheses; is facile in the language of the sciences and uses it to participate in the discourse of science and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated. 

Written Communication 

Effectively conveying information to others using written words and sentences. 


Living Systems 

Applies knowledge and skill in the natural sciences to solve problems related to molecular and macro systems. 

Human Behavior 

Applies knowledge of the self, others, and social systems to solve problems related to the psychological, social, and biological factors that influence health and well-being.