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Filipino Applicants and Ethnicity Declaration on AMCAS

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

  1. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    Does anyone know if its much better to declare your ethnicity or not? I did not declare my ethnicity this first time applying, but it does come out in most of my secondaries. Anyways, I heard from one MS2 friend at a med school I interviewed that it might have been more beneficial if I declared my ethnicity. Why? That med school (and I assume there are others) review their primary applications somewhat by ethnicity. That is, they have a group of let's say latino students who are on the committee screening the latino applications sent in their direction...etc...and the same w/other ethnic groups. She said that I could have had a better chance because later that group on the committee could have lobbied to get me an interview, and maybe even acceptance? Regardless, I got the interview and waitlist w/o that kind of help or declaring ethnicity at that school and several others.

    So do you think I should declare my ethnicity this time around? I'm just trying to maximize my opportunities, but I'm thinking that its possible it can also hurt me too. But heck, if it helps to get a second look at my app by the adcoms, I'm willing to try anything. I think I'd be in already if my transcripts didn't delay my applications.

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  3. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    You can declare your ethnicity if you want to; on the whole, it will neither harm nor help you. In your personal statement you can discuss it if it has some bearing on why you choose medicine. The same applies with respect to religious and political beliefs. (Exceptions to this will be religious or ethnic "cleansing" or killing of mental or physical "defectives" or using them for medical experiments. Medical experimentation of this nature has taken place even in the US in the last century!)

    There are four "ethnic" categories of applicants qualifying as "under-represented" in the medical profession:

    Native Americans
    Mainland Puerto Ricans

    "Hispanics" in general do not qualify.

    There is a reason for only these four groups, a reason I choose not to discuss here and now. "Minority" is NOT the issue: today almost every single group of people, however defined, is a "minority" of the US population.

    You can debate this if you wish, as many do, but it changes nothing. What it will do is give you the psychological benefit you get from expressing your opinion. As for me, I keep my opinions on issues such as these to myself.
  4. tostra

    tostra Member 10+ Year Member

    May 16, 2000
    Olympia, WA, USA
    Being asian (Korean-American),I did claim my ethinicity on my primary and secondary apps. I'm not sure it had any bearing on my acceptance to medical school, because asians are not listed as an under-represented minority in the eyes of medical schools adcoms. Where I think ,mentioning my ethniciy did help me was during my personal statements. For me, being bi-cultural, was a way to discuss how I developed the appreciation I had for diversity and how it has made my life fuller through my own experiences of daily cultural integration. In other words, if you can sincerely show how your ethnicity has helped to develop qualities that will make you an excellent physician, then I would highly recommend you mention it. Otherwise, I don't think mentioning your ethnicity will matter either way.
  5. ana


    I am going to make some generalizations, and you should realize that there will be minor exception to these:

    It does not help (unless you are an URM) or hurt you to declare ethnicity. They will eventually know anyway because you will provide them with a photo. The "lobbying" does not take place until the secondary applications are already in (ie, when they have already seen your photo). The decision made based on AMCAS primary application ONLY is whether or not to send you a secondary (of course, there are those money grubbing schools who send a secondary to everyone just so they can collect the fee).

    This is too fine a detail for you to worry about :p . Focus on presenting your application in the most positive light possible. It's useless to worry about what might be going on "backstage" because there is no way for you to know what that is anyway.

    Good luck. It's tough out there ;).
  6. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    Yeah, it's kinda tough with my photo. Having some spanish blood (as many filipinos do) makes me look hispanic to some extent that I may be able to pass as puerto rican or mexican american. Anyways, one interviewer probably couldn't tell and beat around the bush until she flat out asked me what I was. I felt uncomfortable about it at the time, but I knew it was necessary for them to know. It was a regional interview, but nevertheless I was waitlisted.

    Hey, if there are any filipinos that have been accepted, what are your stats? I didn't see many during my interviews.


  7. Street Philosopher

    Street Philosopher freebird 10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2000
    ann arbor
    don't i know you... you go to ucla and know a certain... 'walrus'?
  8. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    UCLA? No, I went to another southern cali school, but not UCLA. Plus I graduated before this year.


  9. ana


    Hi. In my graduating class, there were 2 Filipinos. Flips are the least represented Asians in medschool. Unfortunately, they get lumped in with everyone else who is Asian so never get consideration as a minority.

    With reference to your physical appearance vs. your ethnicity (and I dont' meant to imply you are doing anything wrong, OK! I am just discussing a related topic), I get asked this sometimes: "I have have an Hispanic last name (as many Filipinos, Central Americans, So. Americans, etc., do), can I get URM consideration as long as I don't declare my ethnicity (ie, will they simply assume I am a URM because I look like one or have a last name that sounds like one)."

    The answer is probably , "NO." This is why: at many schools (including mine), a URM is required to certify URM status. Sometimes, it is merely checking a box and signing a form. Other times, it requires writing an additional personal statement (for instance, you might be asked to write about why you consider yourself an URM and how it has affected your life thus far and how you see it bearing on your future as a physician).

    Your file is not likely to be sent to the (usually) separate URM AdComs committee without this additional paperwork and certification of URM status.

    I sometimes serve as an interviewer for the AdComs committee at my school. I interviewed one very fine candidate, an African American male from a low income community. To my surprise, he had not been contacted by my school's minority affairs dean for special consideration. I believe this is because for some reason there was no paperwork asking for consideration as a URM filed. Anyway, we got this straightened out, but it illustrates how important documentation is. If you can't/won't document URM status, you probably won't get it.

    By the way, good luck gettng in. Let us know when the good news comes, OK? :cool:
  10. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    Thanks. I never intended to file as a URM when I applied, and have been very open about my ethnicity and background growing up. I'm wailisted at a couple of schools, but we'll see what happens. The wait kills!

  11. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Still waiting wldstyle2000?.... I just wanted to wish you luck. So any luck yet?

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