Fay8

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Aug 20, 2010
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Last edited:

OrangeRoost

What the Cluck?
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Nov 27, 2008
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Hi all,

Do I apply disadvantaged? I was hoping someone could help me out with this question. I've read through a few posts on this subject, but most deal with only the financial aspect of being disadvantaged. I want to apply in 2011 to mostly osteopathic schools. It would be interesting to hear from people--how being disadvantaged affected their med school application experience. Did it come up during interviews, for example?

I had a lot of "interesting" experiences mostly when I was a kid. Parent with serious undiagnosed mental health issues-hospitalizations, out of work, etc. (This parent is doing okay now due to a fantastic Dr) My other parent was disabled in a car accident (brain injury). We were also economically disadvantaged, almost losing our house a few times, struggling to put food on the table. When I was older, things improved a little bit. We still had money issues throughout college, and I had to work in high school and more in college. Now, I'm personally doing okay (minus the ugrad debt), and I have a wonderful spouse.

Would you recommend I apply "disadvantaged" or should I just mention these experiences as inspiration for wanting to work with underserved populations and wanting to go into primary care/psych fields?

Is there a stigma attached to mental health issues? Would I not want to mention my parent's struggle?


Thanks,

Fay
If you haven't started your personal statement yet, you should definitely talk aout how your parents' mental health issues affected your decision to pursue medicine. Also if you are applying for the waiver, do so early. I was approved and it took a while for it to be processed. Then you will be able to apply to 3 schools for free. Best of luck!
 

EBAMom

Accepted C/O 2015
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The AACOMAS application does not ask for a specific explanation of how you were disadvantaged - you just check the box for 'economically disadvantaged' or 'medically disadvantaged' which just means you came from a medically underserved area. I applied disadvantaged as I was the first person in my family to graduate high school and, like you, my family struggled to have enough to eat and a roof over our heads. I also qualified for a fee waiver - which I strongly suggest because it made my application fees MUCH more manageable. In interviews, it NEVER came up. However, I did talk about my childhood in a couple of my interviews due to the fact that I had a lot of challenges to overcome.

I don't know a lot about the mental illness aspect, but if it is a significant part of why you want to become a doctor and work with underserved populations, then I don't see any problem with mentioning it. Just make sure that you relate it to yourself and your motivations.

Hope this helps.
 
OP
Fay8

Fay8

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Aug 20, 2010
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Thank you both for the responses. The waiver suggestion is interesting. But since I'm married and my spouse is financially stable, I probably won't apply for it.


Thanks again.
 
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jhu6569

5+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2010
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Academic Administration
Speaking here as a very long time COM faculty member; consider very carefully how you wish to portray yourself on any application file. What "we" think matters is what is "you now", not what perhaps was important to "you-then". Certainly an over-statement here understand.

Bottom line? Explain how your previous experiences (good or bad) have prepared you for the NOW. And, do not assume that your personal experience is in any way unique. Many applicants have had tough times. Some of them have overcome, others have not. Be prepared to "sell" yourself. But, be honest!
BS is easily identified at this level of critique.
 
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Fay8

Fay8

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Aug 20, 2010
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JHU6569- Thank you for the message and the good advice.

My question is: Can I apply as disadvantaged if I was relatively disadvantaged most of my life? I am a few years out of school, so I am no longer dependent on my family. I imagine there's a difference between a 21-year old dependent in college and a 25 year old working adult that helps support her family. In the end, I just want to make sure I represent my situation correctly.

Thank you everyone for the responses.
 
Aug 20, 2010
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New York City
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JHU6569- Thank you for the message and the good advice.

My question is: Can I apply as disadvantaged if I was relatively disadvantaged most of my life? I am a few years out of school, so I am no longer dependent on my family. I imagine there's a difference between a 21-year old dependent in college and a 25 year old working adult that helps support her family. In the end, I just want to make sure I represent my situation correctly.

Thank you everyone for the responses.
Ummm didn't you just read what the admin wrote? You "were" disadvantaged but they are asking if people are currently disadvantaged hence the "you now." So you shouldn't apply as disadvantaged because you are currently stable.
 
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Fay8

Fay8

5+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2010
75
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angryazn88- Yeah, thanks for the clarification (spelling it out for me). For some reason, I thought the admin's comments were more general. Obviously, I will not be applying as disadvantaged.

Well, seeing as this question gets asked a lot, I hope this helps other people..


Thanks all