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disadvantaged status

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by aqua, May 10, 2001.

  1. aqua

    aqua Member
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    I'm having trouble deciding whether to claim disadvantaged status on the AMCAS app.
    I think family income and college financial aid both support the claim, but I am worried about possible consequences if adcoms disagree with claim. The main way disadvantage played out for me was in how much I needed to work during college. The reason I hesitate to mark this is that my family's income has increased in the last few years, although not enough for them to help me with AMCAS fees or med school costs at all. I would hate to claim it if it's just for extreme extreme situations but when I think about the relative advantage of my premed classmates, I feel that it's justified. Any thoughts on this section?
     
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  3. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    I'm also in the same boat. My finances have went up significantly in the last couple of years. I am also from a medically underserved county, but the schools that care about that have the list already. Maybe I'll just skip the whole section.
     
  4. ckent

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    I don't know anything about what your financial situation is or how AMCAS judges disadvantaged, but I do know that even if you do get disadvantaged status for AMCAS, many schools will still make you apply separately if you want their secondary fee, often more then the individual amcas fee, and it seems to me like that may hold up your app (timewise). My thought is that anything that might cause any kind of delay may not be worth any amount of money that you would save (1,000-2,000), you will have to spend much more then that when you fly to interviews too, and in the grand scheme of going to medical school (ie if the delay causes you to not get into the best school that you could have gotten into), considering the cost of med school (100,000) for which makes almost all of us seem financially disadvantaged when we have to borrow it all, you might want to just pay the fees. From your post, it sounds a little like that you can afford it but your are a bit resentful that your classmates are not as disadvantaged.
     
  5. ckent

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    Also, most of my classmates, myself included, did not have any family help in paying all of those fees. Some of my friends borrowed the money to pay for it with the intention of paying it back by working over the summer.
     
  6. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    Thanks for the perspective Student. I didn't consider that it might cause much of a delay. I wasn't doing the disadvantage claim for my current state, but rather the conditions I was raised in. It also asks if you're from a medically underserved county, which I am.

    After I have considered it more, I am just going to skip that section. Less essays :)
     
  7. ckent

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    If you are from a medically underserved community, I would HIGHLY encourage you to put that, as you probably fall under AA. Politics aside, AA can really boost your app (even if you disagree with the politics, I would still put it, your not the one to make the decision, they are, you are just being honest about who you are). Also, don't take that delay thing as completely from me, I have no experience with that part of the app, that's just what I think can potentially happen if you do use that disadvantaged thing (any additional thing that AMCAS has to sort through has the POTENTIAL (it won't neccessarily) to slow things down as it grinds through the bueuracracy). I also wanted to make the point that once you enter medical school, most people have no parental support, and a good percentage of us had minimal parental to no parental support during undergrad as well.
     
  8. lilycat

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    Student 515, while I think you have given good advice, my guess is that the posters are not referring to the application for fee waivers, but rather the new question on the AMCAS application that asks (as I understand it), do you consider yourself to be from a "disadvantaged" background, were there any significant hurdles you had to overcome, etc. My guess is they are trying to compensate for some of the AA policies that can favor people solely on the basis of racial or ethnic identity without regard to actual socioeconomic circumstances.

    Although I didn't have to address this last year, my best advice is that I would only answer if there were EXTREME difficulties you have had to overcome to get to this stage in your life. Singlehandedly pay your way through school, forced to stop out of high school or college in order to work to afford your tuition or living expenses, support your family, etc; came from a background with a minimal support system (ie, raised in foster care or something).

    To the original posters, I understand your frustration if you know that you had to make certain sacrifices to stay in school, ie work full- or part-time, etc., while some of your other classmates could jaunt off to medical missions in Central America with their parents' financial support. I went through the same thing. However, I don't think I would have been able to write a paragraph on why that, or other difficult events in my life make me truly "disadvantaged," -- unless you have some other very compelling issues, I think it could be perceived as being whiny. I think you would be better served addressing your need to work during college in your personal statement or on your secondary essays. I used this tactic, and I think it worked well for me.
     
  9. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    lilycat, you read my mind. After I considered the question more, I just didn't think my background would constitute an extreme hardship. I don't want to sound whiny, either. That's not the way I am.

    That said, I wonder if the suggestion about AA would truly come into play in my situation, as I am from a severely underserved area, and do intend to return here upon completion of my training. And I did get to go to a kaplan-type course for free (yeah, lucky me :)).

    Let me tell you a short version of why I considered entering this section; I'd like for others to tell me if they think it was extreme enough. (sounds like a tryout for the WWF ;))

    I came from a very poor family, my first levi's were bought by me when I was 15 and could work for myself. I worked on farms during high school to make enough to pay the electric bill, water bill, etc, whatever was late that month. I didn't think it was that bad when I was going through it, but it did cut into my education quite a bit. Directly resultant from my skipping school to work, I almost failed out, and only got a 1.8 or 1.9 HS GPA. I immediately went to work following HS, and later to the Army. Presently I am definitely NOT in a hardship, as was reinforced tonight in the free clinic. THOSE people are in hardship, not me.

    What do you guys think? You won't hurt my feelings, so let the opinions fly :)
     
  10. lilycat

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    Hey Jamie, that's a tough call. If you feel comfortable doing it, go for it. I know you have some really compelling experiences already in your application (I believe you are writing about your child), but it sounds like some of these economic hardships you've endured are probably central to who you are and why you are going down this path now. If you don't write in the disadvantaged section now, trust me, you will have the chance to write about those experiences in your secondaries. But, I think you can probably make a compelling case if you do choose to use the disadvantaged section. Good luck.
     
  11. haitiansensation

    haitiansensation Junior Member
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    Here's my take on the situation, and take it for what it's worth:

    From what I have observed so far in med school most of the kids here, about 98%, are from upper-middle class backgrounds. You know the type - private schools throughout education years, designer clothes, sports cars, sushi bars and what not but most importantly the resources to significantly enhance and well round their applications through studying abroad or starting a free health clinic and other amazing extracurricular activities.

    If you do not check the box you will have to compete and have your credentials judged against these people. Another thing to consider is that the people most likely to be reading the files or interviewing you will also come from a similar upbringing. Human beings are afraid of what they do not understand. The upside though is that by going this route you the spots available for this type of person or "non-disadvantaged" status are far greater at around 98 for a class of 100.

    The other option is to check to box and play the so called "socioeconomic card". The positives associated here include the proclammation of diversity by med schools and your unique life experiences. The bad side though is that it seems that only about 2 spots are reserved for this type of applicant. By going this route you will also need to outcompete other disadvantegeds with more horrible sob stories than they have. But if your grades, test scores and other activities are better than them you might win out even with a less horrible upbringing by being in the catagory of "disadvantage but not really disadvangated" or "he's almost like us and he's credentials are pretty decent so why not"

    Either way it seems like a no win situatin to me so in conclusion I say just flip a coin because admission are pretty much a crap shoot anyways.
     
  12. You qualify for disadvantaged staus if you:

    1)Have tortillas, rice and beans as part of your daily diet or have a Spanish first and last name

    2) Enjoy KFC and Watermelon.

    3) Have Lived in a Tee Pee or Wigwam at any point throught your life.

    However, If you stand in the sun for an hour and your neck gets red then you are not elegible.
     
  13. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    Thanks lilycat and hatiansensation for the ideas, and especially to josejalapeno for your unrelenting humor.

    This is going to be a tough call.
     
  14. Mikado

    Mikado Senior Member
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    I read the description of your childhood. You are definately from a dissadvandtaged background.

    Declairing this will help you with the state schools but hurt your chances with the posh ones. The overwhelming feeling in the US is that beggers can't and shouldn't be choosers. Not my personal opinion. I think the best places should go to the strongest candidates. If you want to go to a top (upper-class) school, declairing is probably not what you want to do. In any case good luck.
     
  15. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    Thanks for your advice Mikado. I am primarily interested in gaining admission to one of my state schools, so maybe I will put it in there. I hate this question. They should list some kind of parameters. Oh, well :)
     

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