Success Story: Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Slate’s application builder empowers staff at Carle Illinois College of Medicine to create a revolutionary secondary application.

Carle Illinois College of Medicine (Carle Illinois) is a new model of rigorous, engineering-based medical education, specifically designed to develop physician innovators who will lead a lifelong journey of creative problem solving. Preparing to admit its first class for 2018, the admissions office at Carle Illinois designed a process for holistic review of the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application as their primary application, integrating the AMCAS with Slate to display the information and rubrics in Slate’s Reader view. They were driven to build upon this and develop an innovative secondary application befitting their unique mission. They also wanted their application process to decrease bias and present fewer obstacles for disadvantaged applicants while ensuring that applicants could learn about the unique culture of Carle Illinois.

The admissions team – Heather Wright and Nora Few with hourly IT help from Tod Jebe and Todd Patrick – wanted information that was more helpful than that available through the usual secondary application essays and for that they had to look outside of the metrics that typically drive medical school admissions. They wanted applicants who not only were prepared for regular medical school, but who also were confident, resilient, collaborative future innovators. Heather Wright had the genius inspiration to do something completely new in medical education – Portfolios! The Carle Illinois mission and vision are rooted in compassion, curiosity, and creativity. Heather proposed applicants present artifacts for each of these values to “show and tell” their fit for the Carle Illinois mission. Using a combination of Material Types, Reader Review Forms, Reader Tab Groups, and Reader Tab Materials, implementing our unique Portfolios in Slate was straightforward and manageable. In keeping with the goal of decreasing barriers, this secondary application would not have a fee.

In medical admissions the in-person interview is ubiquitous. Colleges of Medicine must fill their classes before March 15 and to achieve this deadline interviews must happen well before this date. In the fall of 2017 Carle Illinois was in the process of receiving preliminary accreditation from the LCME but was not scheduled for their HLC (Higher Learning Commission) accreditation review until February – and no admissions decisions (including who to interview) could be made until then. The options were to not interview at all or to interview everyone. With the help of Slate, Carle Illinois was able to choose the latter. In three months leading up to go-live of their first admissions cycle, Heather and her colleagues in admissions and IT removed the economic barriers of an in-person interview and created a video essay in Slate that would allow all applicants to share more about themselves, particularly regarding collaboration and diversity, in an equitable way. As an extra bonus, when the pandemic hit this practice of conducting video essays allowed Carle Illinois to seamlessly continue that aspect of their application process while many of their peer schools were frantically navigating the transition to virtual review.

Carle Illinois has also leveraged Slate to maintain important forms, such as mistreatment or professionalism, that need to be held outside of the regular student records system for confidentiality reasons, and to maintain a dataset of residency program contacts for marketing and communications purposes. They hope to continue expanding their use of Slate functions as they redefine medical education to revolutionize health care.

Slate allowed us to be truly innovative with our application design. Through the use of portfolios and video essays, not only were we using holistic application review in an all new way, but we also were able to seamlessly transition to admissions in the COVID era without a single hiccup. Thanks to the process we’ve developed with Slate, we are moving closer to our goal of more equitable and just admissions practices.
— Heather Wright, Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs

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