Beating the Odds (Disadvantaged Status)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Nefertari, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. Nefertari

    Nefertari Undercover Premed
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    Did anyone else just see on Kron4 (in San Fran Bay Area) a special "Beating the Odds"???? It was a really intense documentary that followed several students from disadvantaged backgrounds and broken homes who made it to college (mostly UC Berkeley). Man, it was so heavy I got all choked up, esp. since it reminded me of my own early days!

    After watching it, I really wanted to encourage anyone who has gone through such experiences to definitely apply w/ "disadvantaged status"--there needs to be more of us in med school!!!! Even if you've already submitted the primary, many 2ndaries allow you to elaborate on your background.

    My #'s are nothing to brag about, but I think that applying as disadvantaged has really helped to round out my application. My freshman & sophomore grades & mcats are so bad that my premed advisor actually discouraged me from applying--I'm so glad I ignored his pessimism, b/c I've received 2ndaries from 4 UC's so far (even though I took Aug mcat). Of course, since college I have redeemed my grades w/ post-bac and grad work. So don't be discouraged-- those of you w/ similar circumstances or those who are drowning w/ 2ndary fees!!! :) ;)
     
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  3. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    yeah, they highlight a student during the news every once in a while. some of the stories are pretty amazing!
     
  4. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**
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    You guys mind giving more specifics on these students?
     
  5. dpy

    dpy Senior Member
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  6. Nefertari

    Nefertari Undercover Premed
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    I missed the first 15 min or so, but let's see . . .
    Latina and black students from Oakland ghettos who made it to UC Berkeley & participated in Summerbridge. Both commented on how they didn't have many personal possessions to bring 1st sem. freshman yr and how "class-shocked" they were. The young man said he couldn't afford a blanket & just used Berkeley sheets. Their counselor commented that a lot of kids in Summerbridge can't even afford books, basic clothing (i.e. coat, shoes), a fridge, microwave, etc. . .

    A Chinese woman (also UC Berk) whose mom worked in the garment industry for below min. wage had been interviewed a few years ago on TV & some philanthropists saw her & donated $ to a fund which allowed her to attend college. She graduated & is going into journalism.

    Another black woman from Oakland ended up going to law school @ U. of SF.

    White brother & sister @ SF State who had been through foster care and then lived on their own since h.s., working full-time to pay rent & everything. They considered college their primary home & in between semesters, stayed w/ friends since they have no permanent home. The sister really struck me when she said "College food is delicious!" :eek: That really slaps some sense into those of us who have complained @ cafeteria food!

    Many stories of entire families living out of cars, not having water, electricity, ect. . .

    They didn't interview anyone going to med school--I think it's harder to find students who can beat the odds of med school. I don't remember all of them, but if you're interested, they said you can check out their profiles on the kron4 website.

    Anyhow, affirmative action or not, these students esp. deserve to be considered for med school if they're able to tackle the obstacles @ each step and meet the requirements. They may have lower GPA's & mcat, but it should be considered that they also worked full-time through school to support their families (parents & siblings), & usu. have strength & maturity not seen in 21 yr olds. These life skills are essential to surviving med school, passing the boards & becoming a compassionate doctor.
     
  7. LoveDoc

    LoveDoc Respect the Rhesus Monkey
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    Thank you Nefertari.

    I think God sends angels like you to encourage us all!
     
  8. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**
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    Stories such as this are always amazing/inspirational...do you really think you can complain about the little things ever again?
    Thanks for sharing Nefertan.:)
     
  9. They didn't interview anyone going to med school--I think it's harder to find students who can beat the odds of med school. I don't remember all of them, but if you're interested, they said you can check out their profiles on the kron4 website.

    The reason for this is that the system doesn't try to help these poor kids enough when they are young. It's pretty hard to catch up with the academic requirements in any kind of reasonable time frame when you have spent years in awful inner city schools and working jobs outside of school, and therefore any interventions society makes later on is not likely to be as helpful, unfortunately.

    Anyhow, affirmative action or not, these students esp. deserve to be considered for med school if they're able to tackle the obstacles @ each step and meet the requirements. They may have lower GPA's & mcat, but it should be considered that they also worked full-time through school to support their families (parents & siblings), & usu. have strength & maturity not seen in 21 yr olds. These life skills are essential to surviving med school, passing the boards & becoming a compassionate doctor.

    Although I agree with you that such people are very deserving of all the help we can give to them and deserve special consideration, I think there are limits. Although GPA and MCAT are not the end all and be all; they are predictive to some extent of how you will handle the academic demands of med school and show to a degree how prepared you are for at least the first two years. It sucks for these people that they were not able to get an ideal GPA or MCAT due to poverty and family demands, but it sucks even more for them to go into med school unprepared for what lies ahead because academics could not be a top priority in their life. I understand admitting a disadvantaged applicant with somewhat lower-than-average MCAT scores, but to admit someone with a 3.0 and 21-ish MCAT because of their disadvantaged status is not good for the student or the school. Yes, maturity and personal strength are vital in becoming a doctor, but so are knowledge and competence. As a patient, I would want to know that my doctor was able to pass everything at a high enough level in a reasonable period of time, and I fear that the people in the stories you mentioned may not be able to jump the academic hurdles. It's a shame; cause I agree with you that they would probably make excellent doctors with some help from society. The problem is that such someone needs to intercede earlier on the childrens' behalf, not when they are in their 20's.

    BTW, though I may complain about my life and people on SDN and my manic-depressive illness, I am honestly grateful for what I have in life because I know it could be so much worse. I was in a mental hospital for 2 weeks (that's right, a patient), and what the people in there went through really put things in perspective for me. Nearly everyone in the hospital was a drug addict, homeless, or both. My depression issues about nearly failing anatomy, gaining weight, and not having a bf seemed incredibly stupid compared to the $#-+ that these people went through every day. I'm glad that SF has TV shows that showed the stories you were talking about because people (myself included) do need a reality check.
     
  10. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    well said, katie:)
     
  11. Nefertari

    Nefertari Undercover Premed
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    Katie,

    It's wonderful that you've come out of your experiences intact and w/ a wider perspective. When my brother spent a month in the psych ward after attempting suicide, I also met people with similar exp, which made me feel like "gosh, my brother almost killed himself, but our situation is still not half as bad!!"

    I definitely agree w/ you--of course there are limits & competent doctors should be expected to fall w/in the accepted range of #'s (~ 3.2 gpa, 24 mcat). As with any self-respecting person, I wouldn't want to be accepted w/ sub-par #'s & have that be held over me. I was thinking more of cases in which someone rejected w/ perfect #'s might resent that a disadvan. or URM applicant is accepted w/ slightly lower stats. In this situation, life exp. should be considered. As seasoned mcat takers, we know that the difference between a score in the high 20's and that in the low 30's is a matter of answering a few more questions right in each section. I don't think this difference is an accurate determining factor in selecting which applicant will be a more effective doctor, esp. in the area of patient interaction. Even the UC Davis 2ndary states,

    "The SOM seeks individuals whose future contributions to a career in med cannot be determined solely by grades and test scores. Your responses will aid in identifying the kinds of exp which reflect qualities needed to contribute to the health care needs of this state & throughout the country."

    As a health care provider myself, I went to school w/ people w/ perfect #'s who had poor interviewing and listening skills. At times, their arrogance alienated patients from the inner city. Many of my patients also talk @ having doctors with the same attitudes.

    I used to work in a school for at-risk kids w/ many support systems, and each year, only a handful slipped through the cracks to go on to college. I agree that more needs to be done from the grade school level. Also, AAMC and med schools need to do more to financially help students during the application process. Look @ the AAMC fee assistance program--I reported that my income last year was $5,000 (I could only work part-time b/c of prereqs & mcat prep), my single mom (w/ 3 younger kids) earned below $30K, and I was still ineligible!!:wow: They expect you to be almost homeless to be eligible for assistance, but if you're homeless, how do h*** do you EVEN consider med school!!!! :rolleyes:

    I don't mean to offend anyone w/ what i've discussed--we've all worked hard. Just to remind you that if you feel slighted during the process by what you perceive to be unfairness, just do a reality check (as Katie mentioned) and ask yourself if you would prefer to have lived through our experiences. :)
     
  12. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler
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    Yeah, AMCAS FAP can be a pain in the @$$. You have to be pretty much on the verge of homelessness to get it. :rolleyes: Of course, that's an exaggeration, but it's pretty close. But you definitely should have gotten it.
     
  13. LoveDoc

    LoveDoc Respect the Rhesus Monkey
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    it boils my blood

    :mad: :mad: :mad:

    for people who have not walked in the shoes of a disadvantaged student to give their 'expert' opinions concerning what they are or are not capable of.

    o well i guess that's the privileged mentality speaking.

    money, support, and genuine love can make a huge difference in the outcomes of a student's performance.



    -signed the past 'have not'
     

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