BU’s public relations team may be loathe to acknowledge it, but the most visible news coverage the university has received lately is the suicide of former student Philip Markoff. Markoff was the BU medical student accused of stalking and killing women he met on Craigslist. He was in jail awaiting trial when he killed himself.
Like a lot of sensationalized news stories, this one attracted extra attention because it involved a middle-class, blond suspect. It seemed especially incongruous that a medical student, pledged to do no harm, would engage in murderous acts.
At the time he was arrested, I heard questions about the rigor of BU School of Medicine’s admissions process. Those seem misplaced to me. No admissions committee can delve into an applicant’s psyche, particularly when Markoff was so skilled at deceiving everyone, including the people closest to him.
If anything, Markoff’s case illustrates the need to look beyond standardized test scores in medical school admissions. At the same time, his example shows how no admissions process is infallible.