Science Weekly: Weight a possible factor in grad school admission

Researchers followed 97 applicants who applied for psychology graduate programs at 950 different universities across the United States. The study was to see if weight and appearance had an effect on admission rates. The data showed little to no difference between acceptance rates of overweight students when it came to phone interviews or letters of recommendation.

With the letters of recommendation, researchers were trying to determine whether the quality of the letter from undergraduate mentors was affected by the applicants’ body weight. There was little data to suggest this was the case.

However, when applicants had phone interview or no interviews rather than in-person interviews, data shows the applicants who were overweight were less likely to be accepted than the fitter applicants, even when they had similar grades, test scores and letters of recommendation.

Female applicants with a high BMI were also higher in rejection rates among the applicants in personal interviews.

Although the study was conducted specifically in the field of psychology, researchers are confident the results would be similar or stronger in the bias against applicants with a higher BMI in other fields.

Information compiled from