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SES disadvantaged?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by TheLadyVanishes, Jun 19, 2013.

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  1. TheLadyVanishes

    TheLadyVanishes

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    This question is mostly for adcom members, current residents and medical students:

    Does "SES disadvantaged" status have a positive or negative effect - or possibly, none - on how the adcom views the applicant?

    I opted not to describe myself as "disadvantaged" but on my AMCAS application pdf, there's a line underneath the parental information that reads "SES Disadvantaged". Frankly, I did not consider myself poor, and felt much more fortunate than families who are homeless or on public assistance.

    On the positive end, I'm not sure if this is considered along with URM status in the "diversity" category. On the negative end, I read this thread (http://forums.studentdoctor.net/archive/index.php/t-782911.html) that students from low SES backgrounds tend not to do as well in medical school, and I don't know if adcoms would view me as more of a risk than an applicant who's from a family full of MDs :(

    Or I'm just becoming SDNeurotic as I wait for my AMCAS app to be verified...
  2. Mt Kilimanjaro

    Mt Kilimanjaro

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    I'm not an ADCOM, but my understanding is that the bolded trend is counterbalanced by the realization that "diversity" includes more than recruiting a group of people with many different skin colors who can subsequently be lured onto a staircase for a photo when the time comes to print a new admissions brochure. Socioeconomic diversity is an important part of "diversity" and schools recognize that all forms of diversity are important in any medical school class. So, I don't think there's conscious discrimination against low SES applicants (but the reality that people tend to associate with similar people will always exist). I think the trend of low SES students struggling academically in medical school serves more as a wake up call that encourages extra help given to medical students from these backgrounds. Some schools have summer programs and tutors aimed at reversing the trend cited in the 2010 thread you linked to.
  3. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor

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    Indicating SES disadvantage will not hurt you (if you meet criteria). It helps the committee ensure that all strata of the country are represented in medicine so that all have a better chance to be served.
  4. Mt Kilimanjaro

    Mt Kilimanjaro

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    It automatically appears on your application based on the biographical questions you answer about your childhood. Not sure if this is new, but it's not something you get to choose unless you lie about your parent's education, income, use of government assistance, etc or refuse to answer.
  5. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor

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    Yes, and there is no reason to dissemble. It will not hurt.
  6. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    Yes, the automatic "SES Disadvantaged" is new and I think that it will be like the (U) = underserved and (R) = rural in that it might help and certainly won't hurt. Schools do want diversity and not just in color/ethnicity. Being in a under-represented group that struggle more than the majority means you need more support and more help in med school (study groups, tutors, etc), not rejection. Patients and fellow team members need your perspective.
  7. sciencebooks

    sciencebooks

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    That's what I was thinking. I'm not sure if it would ever come up in interviews or anything because it's so touchy, but I feel like from my perspective (I did not apply disadvantaged but fit the criteria of AMCAS for this new box), I've seen how health care effects people from different levels of SES, have heard from family with and without the funds for health care, etc. It kind of opens one's eyes a little to the fact that a lot of discrepancies exist.
  8. LiveLoveLearn

    LiveLoveLearn

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    Interviewers WILL bring up touchy information if you include it in your application (and it isn't a blind interview). I didn't check the "disadvantaged" box, but shared information about a lot of family issues that I have that led to my living independently of my parents prior to graduating high school. The details are definitely sensitive, but it came up in all of my interviews that weren't blind. So, if you aren't comfortable speaking about it, you shouldn't include it in your application.
  9. sciencebooks

    sciencebooks

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    I'm definitely not. I also wrote about certain sensitive details because I feel comfortable discussing them and know they were formative. For the SES stuff, however, you don't really have a choice in "including" them since the questions are built into required sections, you know? Which is fine by me, but I was thinking maybe they'd be less likely to bring up something like "Oh, the biographical section shows your family only made ~[amount] per year" than mentioning it if you specifically applied disadvantaged and wrote the essay, included it in your PS, etc. I've never been through the process so really, it was more or less just a guess.
  10. pyrrion89

    pyrrion89 MD Class of 2018 Bronze Donor

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    Does it really mean you need more support? I was classified as SES E-01 (the poorest designation) but my scores are very high. So I am still considered someone who needs more support and help? Doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I am misreading this.
  11. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    As a group (at the population level), students classified by AMCAS as "disadvantaged" (using parents' highest education completed as a proxy measure) are more likely to do poorly (repeat a year, fail to complete medical school in 5 years, not pass the boards, etc) when compared to a group of students who come from higher SES families.

    So, some schools will encourage students who have risk factors for poor outcomes to take advantage of supportive services. If you don't think you need those services, then they aren't gong to force them on you.
  12. kad690775

    kad690775

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    I think what the SES status is trying to do is start to look at applicants economic status rather than race as a way of diversifying applicants. If neither of your parents earned a four year degree, it's more likely you grew up in a poorer household than someone who has at least one parent who is a doctor. Also if you make it past your parents education status that's looked at as a plus.
  13. TheLadyVanishes

    TheLadyVanishes

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    I know the SES disadvantaged assignment is a relatively new thing, but I'm wondering how it's weighted compared to being a racial URM?

    pyrrion89 - I was assigned to an underserved student support group in undergrad, but didn't really need their help so I dropped out after the first term. Maybe it's the same in medical school.
  14. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor

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    There are far more poor applicants than UIM.
  15. Mt Kilimanjaro

    Mt Kilimanjaro

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    But relatively speaking, aren't poor matriculants represented in similar proportions. To underrepresented racial groups?
  16. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor

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    Yes. A proportionately similar number of UIM's are low SES compared to their parent population. The percentage of UIM's that apply is so small, however, that it is dwarfed by the numbers of poor majority applicants.
  17. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    What are UIM?

    For years we've used URM to describe ethnic and racial minorities that are under represented in medicine. Let's not go around changing that well known acronym.
  18. nemo123

    nemo123

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    I always thought that acronym meant under-represented minorities...
  19. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor

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    URM=underrepresented minority. UIM is under-represented in medicine. The term evolved to emphasize that identification was for the purpose of improving service to a community not for the benefit of the identified individual.
  20. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    How does UIM work if not for the benefit of the (an) identified individual?

    And here's AAMC's definition of URM.

    https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/urm/
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  21. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor

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    For the benefit of the community he represents.
  22. Mt Kilimanjaro

    Mt Kilimanjaro

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    Great SES-related post in WaPo today. Not about medical school, but touches on many things that directly affect medical school admissions, especially to the most elite institutions.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/21/the-complacency-of-the-meritocrats/

    Some highlights:

    "One study examined intergenerational mobility between 1979 and 2000. A child in the top socioeconomic quintile had a 55 percent chance of remaining in the top 20 percent, and only an 11 percent chance of falling into the bottom 40 percent. The comparable mobility figures for children in the middle quintile were 13 percent and 31 percent. More recent data on the top 1 percent surely telegraph more extreme differences in life chances."

    "Anthony Carnevale and Stephen Rose analyzed family background data regarding students who attended the top 146 colleges in the United States. Seventy-four percent of students come from the top quartile of family socioeconomic status. Only 10 percent came from the bottom half of the distribution."

    "The "Harvard Crimson" reports that 45.6 percent of Harvard undergraduates come from families with annual incomes exceeding $200,000, the top 3.8 percent of the American income distribution. Less than 18 percent of Harvard students have family incomes in the bottom 60 percent of the American income distribution."

    "One night, my car died on the highway. A tow truck arrived, and I chatted with the driver. He drives I-94 all night long, fixing flats, providing jump-starts and tows. That's hard work, but there's a large labor pool available for it. He supports his fiancé and child on $31,000 a year. I believe it's presumptuous to believe that Greg Mankiw and I make fundamentally greater contributions merely because we hold more lucrative jobs. One might ask why two professors should have health insurance and he doesn't, why our kids should attend vastly superior schools. "It's your just deserts" is no compelling response."
  23. Dbate

    Dbate

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    I'm somewhat worried about this. I didn't check the disadvantaged box on my AMCAS application, but AMCAS automatically stated that I was SES disadvantaged without my consent.

    Will this be brought up at interviews? It seems unfair if applicants don't indicate they are disadvantaged to then turn around and automatically classify them as such.
  24. TheLadyVanishes

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    Can't remember where I read this, but I think that the AMCAS assignment of SES disadvantaged was to identify truly disadvantaged applicants who are too proud or modest to identify as such.
  25. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    This is new this year... I'm not sure adcom members and interviewers will know what to make of it.

    Personally, as an interviewer, I would not bring it up. I'd much rather talk about the applicant's experiences, motivation for medicine, interest in opportunities afforded at this med school, etc.
  26. BruinBear13

    BruinBear13

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    Are you designated as SES disadvantaged if it just says "SES Disadvantaged" under your parents' information or is that just a header and the designation would be below?

    I am asking because, according to their chart, I should be SES E-01 but it only says SES Disadvantaged for me. But perhaps that is because my parents completed their highest education in another country...
  27. Mt Kilimanjaro

    Mt Kilimanjaro

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    Like the GPA numbers, the classification (EO-1, 2, 3, etc) only appears after verification.
  28. Lexipi

    Lexipi

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    I am listed as SES disadvantaged (I would also be SES E-01)... I don't think it matters though
  29. mymembernames

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    This is kinda scary because I can see adcoms rejecting strong applicants who are disadvantaged b/c they will be more "risky" according to the studies done. So in a way it will backfire. Or maybe I'm just thinking too hard about it, but I can see personal bias playing a role with not taking such students. It makes sense since there are so many competitive applicants, so why risk it?
  30. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    On the other hand, if the LCME, the organization that accredits medical schools, starts asking schools what proportion of its student body is in each SES category according to AAMC classification, then schools may have an incentive to accept some students in the lower classifications. This could also be a way to seek a more diversified student body by SES rather than by race (something that comes up with every discussion of URM).
  31. TheLadyVanishes

    TheLadyVanishes

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    Although LCME hasn't taken action yet, as the SES categorization is a new thing for AMCAS.

    I hope that what mymembernames says doesn't happen, but now I'm getting paranoid.

    On the other hand, according to this study from Texas (https://www.aamc.org/download/330166/data/seseffectivepractices.pdf), SES disadvantaged students tend to have lower MCAT scores - EO-1 at 26.2 versus EO-5 at 30. I'm not sure if this could be the fact that URMs can generally be accepted with lower MCAT and GPAs, and that URM students may be more likely to be in the lower SES status brackets?* I would imagine that college performance, imperfectly measured in GPA, and MCAT (said to predict USMLE performance) would have some correlation with success in medical school.

    Looking at the Texas study, although the lower SES students fail at a higher rate no matter the MCAT score, there's an independent correlation between low MCAT score and higher rate of failure. High SES students with a low MCAT fail at a higher rate than low SES students than with an average/high MCAT.

    * I don't want to open that can of worms on this thread, but I'm not an anti-URM or anti-AA person at all.
  32. I Love Cats

    I Love Cats

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    So, this thread actually seems to be advocating for the side that being labeled a disadvantaged applicant, whether automatically assigned or self-proclaimed, actually makes one disadvantaged when applying to medical school as a result of the stigma from various statistics. Even though this could be considered a "diversity" benefit, it still seems like a net loss for the applicant's chances. Is this summing it up?
  33. Mt Kilimanjaro

    Mt Kilimanjaro

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    No.

    Neurotic pre-meds are speculating that it is a net loss. LCME and common sense demand increased diversity in medical school classes. This includes socioeconomic diversity, which correlates closely with things like MCAT score (almost a 4 point spread between highest and lowest SES categories).

    As for its effect on your chances of admission, the best you could say is that no one knows. However, it's hard to imagine a school consciously discriminating against low-SES students out of fear that a tiny percentage of them might not graduate on time or at all. If such a school exists, I don't want to go there, and I sincerely hope the LCME rains smack down upon their institution.

    It seems like Texas compared people within SES groups, which makes a lot of sense to me. Compare EO-1s to other EO-1s and compare the children of medical school faculty to other children of medical school faculty. The resources and opportunities of these two groups varied greatly and this should be acknowledged as part of "holistic review process."
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  34. GoPelicans

    GoPelicans

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    If you have good grades and a good MCAT, I think applying disadvantaged - and having legit disadvantaged circumstances - would only be a plus for your application. I definitely admire the medical student from a single-parent household who grew up in skid row more than the typical student from a large family of physicians who had everything handed to them.

    Keep in mind OP the typical med student comes from an upper middle class household where at least one parent holds a graduate degree. Do you significantly deviate from this? If so, share it on the application... adcoms are way too busy to be playing detective work with your circumstances.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  35. Espadaleader

    Espadaleader

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    I'm an URM and EO1 though my MCAT score + GPA is above the matriculant average. The word cosigner does not exist in my life nor does credit. I'm worried schools would use that against me. I hear a lot of people talking about parents cosigning loans to pay for medical school.
  36. Espadaleader

    Espadaleader

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    My credit is as good as possible for a college grad but that isn't saying much.
  37. survive5

    survive5

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    I do think that's just a header. Beneath it is just blank.
    I have no siblings, but there's this "Siblings" under "SES disadvantaged".
  38. Trek19

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  39. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

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    What was your verbal score? :rolleyes:

    You cannot not jump to any conclusion about medical school admissions based on that article.

    Let's face it, there are few applicants to medical school who aren't going to borrow to cover most or all of the cost of attendance. Having grown up poor or not won't change the fact that most young adults and their families don't have $120,000-300,000 lying around to cover the cost of med school and so it is of no consequence to med schools whether or not a student can "afford" their school.

    What is of interest is finding people who are can identify with the poor and who may be inclined to serve them as physicians. For what it is worth, some people believe that those who grew up in poverty are more likely than those who grew up in affluence to choose to serve the poor as their physicians. Here on SDN, every discussion of race almost always turns to advocacy for using socio-economic status rather than race in evaluating applicants (actually, we use both).
  40. swimmer125

    swimmer125

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    You don't need a consigner. I actually haven't heard of anyone whose parents consigned their med school loans haha
  41. Trek19

    Trek19

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    Sorry I forgot what century I was in :) I swear I only used bode to feel better about walking on my knuckles all day.

    You are absolutely right that it is too early to make snap judgments based on a single article. But I also think the article isn't overly inflammatory in its presentation. Half of the space is actually devoted to justifying the practice of bumping qualified "poor" for (slightly) less qualified "rich" so more money can be funneled to the "poor" who are actually selected. But why mislead people about the process and say you are need blind? If anything being transparent about the process demonstrates the need for increased financial aid funding.

    My snap judgement was that applicants are required to be transparent, but then they are (possibly) being mislead about how the process they are investing in is actually conducted. I'm not bitter! :D

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