The Impact Of The College Environment On Black Students' Access To A Medical School Education
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentMathematics and Science Education Program
ProgramDoctor of Education
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The focus of this study was to explore factors influencing the disparity in the acceptance rate for African American students into medical school as compared to their white counterparts. This study compared the college environment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Principally White Institutions, with respect to African American students' perceptions regarding their college experiences and the extent to which they perceived that their experiences enhanced or diminished their success in gaining access to medical school. The community cultural wealth framework was used to explore whether the HBCU or the PWI is the better environment for undergraduate science majors. By use of the CCW framework the study explored which collegeenvironment nurtured students to be successful as a biology major, obtain a competitive MCAT score and ultimately secure acceptance into medical school. A qualitative research design served as the best approach to explore the object of inquiry in this study: the students' perception of their college environment, and their perceptions of their college experiences. The findings suggest that both the HBCU and the PWI reveal characteristics that enhanced and diminished the potential for success in the biology pre-med program. The results of this study specifically addressed barriers to access as factors which may be contributing to the disparities in the number of African American students admitted to medical school. These barriers are related to differences in the social dynamics of the university. In this study both groups of students perceived that there were the negative faculty attitudes, but these seemed to have little impact on access to medical school. Student motivation and identification with a supportive community seemed to have more impact on the potential for career success.