So, I just got back from speaking with the administration here at IMS Milan about how the med schools in Italy allocate non-EU spots. I had this conversation because we here at medschool.it have been receiving many messages by people confused about the process. Actually, it turns out that it is very simple. I can explain it in two paragraphs.
Each med school in Italy individually scrolls down its non-EU candidate list. The school first gives offers to the top students on the list of whom that school is their first choice. It gives the same number of offers as non-EU places it has available. So, for example, Milan has 16 non-EU spots, so on October 11 — the day the ranking lists come out — it offers its 16 spots to the top 16 scorers who put Milan as their first choice. Then, at the same pace as the EU lists, “about every 10 days”, for all the students who did not accept the offer, the school scrolls down the list and offers a place to the next highest scorers. So if three people did not accept the offer of a place, then Milan would make new offers to the people ranked #17, #18, and #19, who put Milan as their first choice. This keeps on going, until all the places are filled, or until IMS runs out of candidates who scored above 20 on the IMAT (which is the basic score you must have to get in) and put Milan as their first choice.
At that point, IMS then — theoretically — offers any remaining spots to non-EU candidates who put it as 2nd or 3rd choice. So, contrary to what some people have been saying in some forums, your 2nd and 3rd choices do matter as non-EU applicants. However, in the past years, Milan filled up its spots long before it got to the bottom of its list of people who put it as first choice. Therefore, no one who put Milan as 2nd or 3rd choice was offered a place there. This may not, however, be the case for all of the English med schools in Italy. Indeed, in previous years, Bari, Naples SUN, and Rome Tor Vergata have all had first-round minimum non-EU IMAT thresholds of around 20, so it is very possible that these schools have made offers to people who put them as 2nd or 3rd choice.
So there you go. Hopefully, that explains everything. Non-EU applicants’ 2nd and 3rd choices do mean something. How much they mean, however, will depend on how many people score above 20. With this year’s large increase in applicants and major changes in threshold scores, we cannot know yet which of the schools might offer spots to people who put those as 2nd or 3rd choice.
Erik Campano is a graduate student in Umeå, Sweden, studying the ethics of artificial intelligence in medicine. He formerly was an academic consultant to the English-language medical school of the University of Turin. Erik completed his Bachelor’s of science in Symbolic Systems (cognitive science) at Stanford University, and then he worked for about eight years as a radio news anchor, before moving to biomedical scientific study and research at the University of Paris and Columbia University. Erik grew up in Connecticut, is a citizen of the United States and Germany, and his family is a mix of Filipino, Italian, and German.
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