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Disadvantaged??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Wildhorse, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Wildhorse

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    Why filling out the AMCAS application, I stumbled upon this question: "Do you wish to be considered a disadvantaged applicant by any of your designated medical schools that may consider such factors (social, economic or educational)?"
    Obviously the answer for everyone should be "duh", because it sounds like a free boost to your chances. Perhaps a more appropriate question (& the proper interpretation) is if I believe I qualify as disadvantaged in accord with some guidelines?? Below that question there is a hyperlink that reads "How do I know if I should be considered disadvantaged?", which summons a not particularly helpful pop-up that you can visit at this url:

    https://services.aamc.org/AMCAS2_2016/WebApp/BioInfo/disadvantaged/index.cfm?fuseaction=DisadvantagedPopUp

    (I apologize for not hyperlinking, I'm getting the inifi-load when I try)

    By searching this site & following a few links, I found a much less ambiguous source:

    https://www.aamc.org/download/351766/data/amcassesdisadvantagedindicator.pdf

    That second url makes it obvious to me that the button I ought to click in response to the initial question is Yes. Doing so takes me to a page on which I may type a free-verse poem of no more than 1325 characters (including spaces) to justify myself. I assume it's not enough to state my parents have no college degrees & have only ever worked low-wage, minimal training jobs?? I can think of a handful of others reason I might throw in. Are they looking for a good under-dog story?? Is this the least important essay on the application??
     
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  3. CaliforniaDreamer

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    I think being first generation college student counts, and also two full time working parents.
     
  4. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    That information is already on the application where you list your parents names, occupations and highest level of schooling. Was there something about the situation that put you at a disadvantage when you got to college? did you delay college to go to work? It can work to your advantage to check the box but it can hurt you if someone things you checked the box to get an advantage that you don't deserve (i.e. Kid works to afford stretch limo to go to prom. Dad making 250K thinks this builds character in his kids who will understand the value of a dollar. Kid self identifies as disadvantaged for having to work while in HS.)

    If you feel you need the additional space to explain the circumstances that lead to your disadvantage, then check the box.
     
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  5. Goro

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    I'm sure LizzyM could write a book on how entitled Millennials define "disadvantaged"!
     
  6. Doug Underhill

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    What do you guys think of a general rule stating that if your family was on government assistance, you can check the box? SDN seems to really dislike the disadvantaged box.
     
  7. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    It might support the case that you were disadvantaged but it is not definitive. Say your family qualified for food stamps and school lunch for one year while your dad, who worked on commissions, was sick and on disability. You still lived in a middle-class suburb, went to a good public school, etc. After that year (let's say, 5th grade) everything was back to normal and Dad was back at his sales job. Would you say that such an applicant should self identify as "disadvantaged"?
     
  8. Doug Underhill

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    The problem is that the guidelines aren't clear and it sounds like there are minimal upsides and heavy downsides for checking the box. It's hard to determine whether you're "Poor But Not Truly Disadvantaged" and the adcoms will throw your app in the trash for checking the box or "Truly Disadvantaged" and the box is somehow advantageous in a nebulous way. Why not just set an unambiguous threshold for applicants?
     
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  9. Pusheen

    Pusheen silently judging
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    That pdf from aamc seems to be saying that if your parents aren't in a executive, professorial, or managerial position, you are disadvantaged. That doesn't seem to make sense with what I've been hearing here and elsewhere about what is truly disadvantaged.
     
  10. Wildhorse

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    Au contraire. The problem is that the guidelines I found in one place at aamc.org are not in the least bit ambiguous, but are based entirely on criteria established elsewhere in the application, making the disadvantaged question pointless. On the other hand, one would have to dig to find the aamc disadvantaged criteria page that I did. If one were simply to consider the uninformative popup inserted in the application itself, the subject seems open to interpretation on an individual basis rather than macromanaged by clear rules.

    I'm not so sure. It sounds to me like many school might simply overlook that particular essay. Only "medical schools that may consider such factors" will care??

    Perhaps somebody actually reads what we type & decides whether or not it's fair on a more individualized basis. The subjectivity of that may seem unfair, but it seems to be what is intended. It seems it ought to be another self-interpreted portion, like the other essays.
    The rules at the second link in my OP are unambiguous, but I have a feeling they're outdated & not intended to be used anymore. If it were just a yes/no question with no essay it would make sense to use them. Since it isn't, I believe they're looking for a sob story, but I would much rather be considered for who I am than as a victim of circumstance.

    Accepting the above, the dilemma is ultimately a personal hang-up in my case. I can think of a hundred ways my parents/neighborhood/schools/birthright/circumstances have kept me from otherwise being the ideal medical school applicant, but do I really want to blame myself on them?? I would rather be my own person. I despise even being asked about my parents income/education/jobs. I like to think I am beyond that. However, if I were to express my reasons for believing I ought to be considered disadvantaged I would want more than 1325 characters to do it.

    I'm about 97% sure that I could be considered disadvantaged. Would I be stupid not to try?? Does it even matter very much??
     
  11. Doug Underhill

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    The AMCAS Socioeconomic Status Disadvantaged Indicator is not out of date, as per the 2015 AMCAS instructions. However, it is different from being considered a disadvantaged applicant. The former is rubric-determined and objective, the latter is self-declared and subjective. An adcom member here claimed the indicator was more used for statistical analysis than admissions decisions.
     
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  12. Wildhorse

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    So being indicated as disadvantaged by the "AMCAS Socioeconomic Status Disadvantaged Indicator" is simple thing derived from answers to the questions about parents income/education & is distinctly different from being considered a "disadvantaged applicant", which is a status one must acquire by appeal with a story of personal circumstances, which probably will include mention of the same criteria used by AMCASSSDI?? Do each of these benefit one in distinct ways??
     
  13. Stagg737

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    I would say that if it's a borderline situation and you're not sure, then schools won't hold it against you provided you explain why you think you're disadvantaged. That way schools can read the essay and come to that determination themselves. My guess is that the worst that would happen at most places is that they won't consider you to be disadvantaged and put your app in the same stack as all the other 'normal' applications. Unless of course you're obviously not disadvantaged and just trying to get a leg up, then it might go against your character.

    To answer your last post, and this is purely speculation, I'd guess that being a "disadvantaged applicant" will give you a leg-up when being considered for acceptance while the part about parent education/income may help you qualify for specific scholarship opportunities. I honestly don't know though and think that the whole "disadvantaged box" thing is just silly. If a person felt like they truly overcame excessive adversity, they could easily write about it in their essays.
     
  14. LizzyM

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    AMCAS has had the disadvantaged box with the box for an explanation as well as the section about parents occupation and education for more than 15 years. Then it created the EO categories based on parents occupation and education. In no way is EO is the same as "disadvantaged".
     
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  15. Affiche

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    There are lots of ways you can be disadvantaged without being able to check the economically disadvantaged box.

    For example, my father's income while I was growing up placed us slightly above the average household income. However, he was a single parent that spent the last 10 years of his life in and out of hospitals. Medical bills were astronomical. Because I was the only other person that lived with him, I often missed significant amounts of school because of his poor health (like 1+ week out of every month). He passed away before I graduated high school and when I began college I was literally living out of my car, but this happened around the time I turned 18 so I did not grow up economically disadvantaged. Because of this, I am incredibly grateful that AMCAS allows a disadvantaged section for me to explain my story.

    Hope this n=1 helps clear up some of the confusion.
     
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  16. LizzyM

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    There is no "economically disadvantaged" box. It is "disadvantaged". Your situation is exactly why it is not just based on parents education, occupation and income and how it is different EO which AAMC calls Socioeconomic Disadvantaged Status on its forms even though not every person with less than a bachelor's degree can be said to be low income.
     
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  17. Affiche

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    Oops, I should have been more clear! I didn't mean literally check a box...just that plenty of applicants might not be classified as such based on parents' income, education, etc.
     
  18. Doug Underhill

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    The nomenclature is confusing between the indicator and the status as well, as both contain the word "disadvantaged". A reasonable person may end up checking the box because of the rubric, which is not what AAMC is looking for.
     
  19. Gandyy

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    Jesus Christ (I'm not even Christian!) , I'm sorry to hear that. Gawd, your interviews are going to be something else.
     
  20. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Agreed. I do not like the way AMCAS has labeled their (relatively) new schema.
     
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  21. Affiche

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    @LizzyM is disadvantaged status something that is focused on in interviews? I'm comfortable discussing or not discussing it, but it'd be nice to know if I should expect it to come up.
     
  22. efle

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    You probably have a lot of control over this depending on your PS and secondaries. You can range from they'll never bring it up by never mentioning it anywhere, to they probably will bring it up if you write about it in detail
     
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  23. LizzyM

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    I have always chosen not to bring it up if it is on the application. YMMV
     
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  24. Goro

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    Never once at our school has it been a subject for discussion in our Adcom meetings either.


     
  25. Affiche

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    Excellent- thanks!

    Out of curiosity, what types of things are typically discussed in adcom meetings? Is it a rehash of numbers, PS, interview answers you liked or didn't like?
     
  26. Doug Underhill

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    Interview answers and numbers are two things that Goro has previously mentioned are discussed in adcom meetings.
     
  27. steelersfan1243

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    Piggy backing on this, but:
    Could an adcom just write a story of how the admission committee works? Are you expected to read 10 applications a day, mark which ones should be interviewed. Someone higher-up looks at the ones with the most marks for interview and has final say who interviews. Then you guys are assigned people to interview, record answers and what not. Then once a month have the printed out (or online) applications of everyone who was interviewed, sit around a round table, and go through the applicants one at a time deciding their faith?
     
  28. Goro

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    Dig up my post on "behind the curtain ".

     
  29. Goro

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    LizzyM has posted on this previously.


     

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