University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Medical Education with 3-Year Regional Campuses: Do They Attract a Different Type of Applicant?

William J. Hueston, MD; Robert Treat, PhD

WMJ. 2020;119(1):22-25.

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Background: In response to calls to increase class sizes, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) opened two new 3-year community-based regional campuses in 2016 and 2017. The goal of this study was to analyze whether the applicants and accepted student pools differed for the school’s 3-year and 4-year campuses.

Methods: Deidentified data from Wisconsin applicants to MCW for the class enrolling in 2017 were categorized based on their preference for the Milwaukee or a regional campus. Applicants and admitted student data were compared on Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score, undergraduate school grade point average (GPA), sex, age, research intensity of their undergraduate school (Carnegie 1 classification vs all others) and Wisconsin county of residency.

Results: Regional campus applicants were significantly older (24.6 vs 23.7, P = 0.023), more likely to reside in nonurban counties (33% vs 13%,  < 0.001), attend nonresearch-intense undergraduate schools (65% vs 44%, P < 0.001) and had lower mean MCAT scores (d=0.77, P < .001) than applicants to the Milwaukee campus. Regression models indicated 4 applicant qualities were associated with a preference for 4-year (values > 1.0) or 3-year (values < 1.0) campus: graduation from a Carnegie 1 undergraduate school (OR = 1.626; 95% CI, 1.01 - 2.62), a higher age at the time of application (OR = 1.092; 95% CI, 1.01 - 1.18), total MCAT score (OR = 0.916; 95% CI, 0.89 - 0.95), and permanent residence in a rural Wisconsin county (OR = 0.349; 95% CI, 0.21 - 0.59). When we examined students who were accepted and matriculated as opposed to just applicants, regression models showed that students with higher ages were more likely to attend the 4-year campus (OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.15 - 1.76), while a higher total MCAT score (OR =  0.83; 95% CI, 0.76 - 0.91) and rural county residency (OR = 0.27; 95% CI, .1 - 0.73) were associated with matriculation to the 3-year regional campuses.

Conclusions: These results indicate that the regional 3-year campus model is attracting and selecting students with some differences from those at MCW’s 4-year campus. After adjusting for other characteristics, students matriculating to the regional 3-year campuses are nearly 4 times more likely to come from a rural county and have slightly higher MCAT scores.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis (Hueston, Treat).
Corresponding Author: William J. Hueston, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226; phone 414.955.4208; email; ORCID ID 0000-0001-8545-317X.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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