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Islamic Groups on Application?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by styphon, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. styphon

    styphon Senior Member
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    Now...Various people have warned me not to put my involvement with Islamic organizations on my application because of the strong prejudice old white men (who happen to be on every commision board at every medical school) towards Islam. I have been involved with 3 such groups in the past few years..So what do you guys think?
     
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  3. Bones2008

    Bones2008 waiting for retirement
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    put them on your app and f*ck whoever doesn't like them.
     
  4. chicagohope

    chicagohope Member
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    its tough..if you are very involved and its a major part of your application and who you are I say do it.
    BUT if its just a few clubs that you dont hold a leadership role in, then think about it some more.
    I am only saying this bc i was asked questions about my religious beliefs and Islam in a REALLY rough panel interview. I thought they were inappropriate, but I answered them the best i could. I have not heard back yet from the school.
    And My frnd who wears a scarf was kinda hounded at the SAME school about her Islamic religious values and choices as well. She did NOT get in, but that could be for any reason. But i do wonder...

    However if you are prepared to discuss them articulately and be proud of your faith you should be fine.
     
  5. ChiaPet312

    ChiaPet312 Senior Member
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    put them on. i was invovled with an islamic newsletter...wrote and did artwork for it. i listed it. had no problem.
     
  6. lyragrl

    lyragrl Mold-a-rama fan
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    Agreed!! You have a right to be proud of your accomplishments and activities!
     
  7. CalBeE

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    See this is the Med School Admission process, not the time to show your pride in a religion. Sometimes we all have to do somethings that we don't usually do to get into schools (Like writing those letters of intent, and maybe exaggerating a bit about how much we learned from our EC's).

    If you feel that it may raise some concerns, then maybe leave them out. However, if what you do mostly are charity/community service work with the Islamic groups, I don't see any problem with that.
     
  8. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    Just to be safe, I would leave it off. It's really hard to sue for discrimination if you can't prove you were rejected because of your religious affiliation. The app process is so random that you may be rejected and reasoned away as one of those random decisions when it may have been the islamic factor.
     
  9. Bones2008

    Bones2008 waiting for retirement
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    This is ridiculous. To the OP, there are many, many muslims living in the U.S. and across the world. Do what you want, but ask yourself this: do you want to go to a place that would've not let you in if they knew you took pride in being active in your religious faith? That's a question only you can answer for yourself. My advice is to not concern yourself with some weird "ideal" persona to present to the adcoms (which you think is non-Islamic). Be proud of who you are, how you were raised, and what you want to become.

    I think in general there's this pervasive mindset among premeds that they have to somehow be the "perfect" person for adcoms, even if that means employing deceit or putting on a false front. The ironic part of this is that no premed is on an admissions committee and therefore has no way to base these feelings on facts. Just be yourself, man. Be proud of what you stand for.

    If you have pride in anything, whether it be varsity football, professional singing, or worshiping God, then that is part of who you are. You, the person that is you, are applying to become a doctor to people. Don't be afraid to let anyone else know what things you stand for. Let everything else work itself out. Good luck, bud.
     
  10. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    The OP is worried about being rejected because of his religion. Should that happen, there is no way to prove it. If it is a valid concern, or something that will be troubling you the entire year you are going to be applying, then relieve yourself of the stress.

    Of course it comes down to a personal decision, but there is no reason to believe that your concerns are NOT valid.
     
  11. beastmaster

    beastmaster Senior Member
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    Yea, it'll make for great conversation when you're explaining to your friends why you got a stack full of rejections and a CIA investigation.

    Pardon the sarcasm, but it would be to your advantage to expect some of these unfortunate preconceived prejudices and find ways to avoid them.
     
  12. Deuteronomy

    Deuteronomy Member
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    what happened to the "physicians" compassionate, altruistic, and unflagging love and service for all human beings. If there are literally racist doctors out there, then what has this country come to?

    This is medical school admissions for crying out loud. As the previous poster mentioned, if a particular school chooses not to admit you based on your "personal" convictions and beliefs, then they are not worthy of your presence. Period.
     
  13. CalBeE

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    Bones, I'm not saying you should lie in your app, nor you should portray who you are, but you just gotta be "Strategic" in the process.

    Sometimes unanimous or near-animous vote is needed for straight acceptance. So say majority of adcom has religious tolerance, but just 1-2 members are not, you may be waitlisted instead.

    Also when you write about your personal statement, you have a target audience in mind--You won't just write whatever that you like. The bottom line is, the admission process is as much about revealing yourself as selling yourself.

    If something may raise a red flag, and you're not totally comfortable defending it during interview, it's probably better to leave it out. The admission process is too expensive and time-consuming to take risks like that.
     
  14. JohnHolmes

    JohnHolmes Large Member
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    Unless your Activities are the Following, I think its FINE to list:

    Date: 12/00-present
    Type: Service
    Activity: Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade
    Position/Leadership: Sleeper Cell Operator/Martyr for Allah

    Date: 3/01-present
    Type: Service
    Activity: Hamas
    Position/Leadership: Liberator of Palestine

    ----------

    But seriously though. I honestly think you are fine with this. I think everyone realizes diversity, espectially in medicine is important post 9/11. As long as you can keep open mind and don't let your religion blind you, as this goes to every religion, it will prolly be more helpful than harmful.

    CCW
     
  15. lyragrl

    lyragrl Mold-a-rama fan
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    What's next, then? Pretending you're straight when you're not? Pretending you're white when you're not? This is 2004!! Legally, you cannot be denied admittance to medical school based on race, gender, religion, ethnicity or pregnancy. I would be ashamed to attend a medical school that excluded someone based on any of those characteristics.

    Besides, how is being a member of an Islamic organization any different than being a member of a Christian/Republican/Democrat/Jewish/South Asian/East Asian/whatever club? There's nothing shameful about it.
     
  16. Ryo-Ohki

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    Actually, the Supreme Court just said they could. :horns: :smuggrin:
     
  17. 34140

    34140 Senior Member
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    Its a sad world when your religious practices become such a burden against you. I myself participate in my local chapter and would be proud to put that on. Why would you want to go to a school that doesn't want you b/c of your religion anyways?


    'I am only saying this bc i was asked questions about my religious beliefs and Islam in a REALLY rough panel interview. I thought they were inappropriate, but I answered them the best i could. I have not heard back yet from the school.
    And My frnd who wears a scarf was kinda hounded at the SAME school about her Islamic religious values and choices as well. She did NOT get in, but that could be for any reason. But i do wonder...'

    What medical school was this?
     
  18. lyragrl

    lyragrl Mold-a-rama fan
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    Absolutely.
     
  19. CalBeE

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    I think most people agree that if the Islamic groups you mentioned are service-oriented, it would totally be fine.
     
  20. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    Whereas the MSU at my school thinks it's spreading awareness, it actually spreads hate and inflammatory literature that I, as an Arab, am ashamed to be associated with. Be careful which associations you are affiliated with.

    FYI, our MSU is monitored by the gov. and there are police at every one of their events. Some things can hurt you, you know? Just use your wisdom.
     
  21. ma-bas

    ma-bas Senior Member
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    As a fellow Muslim, don't hide it! I have heard from and admissions committee member, that me ethnicity may indeed have hurt me this year, but as I have no specifics there isn't anything I can do about it. So why hide who you are? How will it help you?

    Is being a doctor more important to you than being a Muslim? I doubt it, or you would never have participated in these groups to beging with. We need to show the country that we are Americans too, that we are professionals too, and we are not all psychos. Ultimately, you will do yourself and everyone you touch, a great service by showing them that Islam and compasssion go hand in hand, and how better to do that than being a Muslim and a physician.
     
  22. MeganRose

    MeganRose Senior Member
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    This is so idealistic. The fact is that there are prejudiced doctors, they're people like everyone else. Sometimes its best to work things from the inside out. If the OP omits this info gets in, then he can become part of a new type of adcom that doesn't care if you're muslim or not... Including it may be the right thing to do but you could be standing by your convictions on the medical school's doorstep. To the OP, I say examine how it makes you feel to not include it and go with that feeling.
     
  23. Spitting Camel

    Spitting Camel Anteater for Life!
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    THANK YOU, oh voice of reason!
     
  24. good_faith

    good_faith Senior Member
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    Excellent

    :clap: :clap:
     
  25. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    First, doctors (or doctors-to-be) are humans, they are fallible just like everyone else. I am very proud of who I am and where my roots are, however there is a time and a place for everything. You definitely should list some of your religious activites, but try and pick the one or two that made the biggest impact (you aren't required to list every itty-bitty EC you participated in). The best advice I got about applying to med school is that I should check my individuality at the door, the time to unleash my California/Irish/English/Native American/Yankee+Confederate attitude is after I've been accepted. Its a whole lot easier to change the system once you have been accepted! Good Luck!
     
  26. bruinrab

    bruinrab Senior Member
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    To the OP:

    Ignore the people who issuing blanket opinions to leave it off. If your experience was anything like mine, these activities probably took a lot of time and effort on your part. Why deny yourself the opportunity to talk to adcoms about what you gained and what you invested in them?

    Also, who are we kidding here? Adcoms are probably going to realize you're Muslim from your name or other identifying info (eg, place of birth). If you don't say what positive activities you've been involved in, you give some people the opportunity to believe that either you're a "fake"/lapsed Muslim or that you are involved in activities you'd rather hide.

    As someone else already said, if there is a culture of Islamophobia at a school to the extent that they refuse to interview/accept you, that's somewhere that you most likely wouldn't be happy anyway. There's no point getting into a school and then feeling like you have to hide your faith for the next four years or face hate -- it's not going to be fun.

    I applied to over 40 schools and only got 4 interviews (2 acceptances so far :clap: ). Did my Islam-related activities reduce the number of interviews I got? Probably not, and considering that my gpa is well below average (ie, below the cutoffs at many places), I think my gpa reduced the number of interviews I got. At both places that I've been accepted to, we've talked about my faith and my involvement in those activities. I was really able to "connect" with my interviewers (2 white men at each place) and be confident that they would advocate for me (imagine that, white guys who would actually want a female minority student at their school :rolleyes: ). At both schools, I had extensive discussions stemming from what I wrote about my religion. If I hadn't talked about it in my applications, I'm really not sure that I have anything else that they would have found nearly as compelling, and I probably wouldn't have been accepted to either school.

    Now, of course, that's just how it worked out for me. Every person has to decide if they can handle what will inevitably come their way. Just don't be so quick to assume that your faith or ethnicity will keep you out of medical school, especially if there are other glaring weaknesses in your application.
     
  27. Abe

    Abe Senior Member
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    i agree with what one poster said, why would you want to go to school, that might decline you if they knew you were Muslim. If they dont like you for who you are screw them :D. I personally can't hide it my name and my skin say it all, but even if I could i wouldn't.
     
  28. English Chick

    English Chick Senior Member
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    This isn't an issue only muslims face ... I was advised by several people (incl. medical school professors) to downplay my involvement in Christian organizations. This shocked me, esp. because some of my involvement in these organizations is very relelvant to medicine. For instance, I work with the spiritual care department in a hospital as a volunteer chaplain and visit patients in the ICU. I decided to outline all of these activities fully in my AMCAS, but did not go out of my way to mention them in secondaries/interviews ... but I did get a TON of advice to leave it off entirely. So I would think very carefully about your decision - it's a toughie, and I sympathize.
     
  29. mattorama

    mattorama Walk Unafraid
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    I would put it on your app, but like others said, don't make a big deal about it (downplay a bit) during the application process. It isn't just older generations on admissions boards....look how inflammatory any religious thread on this website gets. There are a lot of 20-somethings here who like to think diversity/tolerance are a great thing, but are extremely intolerant of people who hold differing views...look at any religious thread that started out perfectly innocent, but gets flammed by the new "tolerant" generation. This is something that will probably never go away.

    Keep it down low until you are in, then after that, don't worry. I was very involved in Christian organizations in college and put them on my AMCAS, but didn't bring it up in interview/ essays.

    good luck
     
  30. 34140

    34140 Senior Member
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    Whats sad is that you join a club called and find out that they are extremists. It sucks b/c that is not they way to practice your religion, they are giving the rest of us a bad name, and its not fair. We should be proud and tell the world (as well as the admission committe) that we are not like them .
     
  31. rayraad

    rayraad Junior Member
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    As you can tell by the variety of opinions, this is a tough question to answer...and a question that only you can answer...

    But Here are my thoughts anyway:

    First, consider how good your GPA and MCAT are... If they are good and you're from an Ivy League School, then you're gonna get it no matter what...especially at the more liberal schools.

    If, however, you think you're on the borderline between getting in or not getting into medical school, then it could be a factor.

    But it can be a factor in both directions. Some admissions officers may be prejudiced, either purposely or subconsciously. But others might look at it positively because they 're looking to admit a diverse class.

    When I interviewed at Hopkins back in November, there were signs all over the place about an Iftar for Rammadan...so there are a good number of active muslims at Hopkins med, and probably other places too.

    So I say weigh all the info you have and make a decision that you are comfortable with....
     
  32. DrSal

    DrSal Senior Member
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    As a practicing, hijab-wearing (hair covering) female muslim, i do feel the pressure that is present in the OP's situation.

    However, it really saddens me that we have to think about such choices (ie "hiding" the religion). Just know that if you, the OP, do decide to downplay your faith, your heritage, and on that basis get accepted....then you've made it harder, in a way, for another muslim, somewhere else, who chose NOT to hide their faith either out of pride...or conviction, to get accepted.

    If you don't show your Islam, and X doesn't show their Islam, and Y doesn't show their Islam, and Z doesn't show their islam....and i have to go into the interview modestly wearing my headscarf and ready to discuss my faith...

    You see my point? There will be a ripple effect...u might get in, but if the culture of hate continues to thrive...someone else will get screwed. I think unity and pride are the solution and encourage you to list/discuss your activities and be proud of them if they really are a big part of you.

    I actually plan on incorporating faith in my PS, b/c no doubt it's a major part of me and i hope that the tranquility and peace i find in my relationship with God radiates to everyone i interact with.

    And don't forget destiny...if you're meant to get in somewhere, nothing will stop you...not even your Islam ;)
     
  33. Abe

    Abe Senior Member
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    you could always show your islam after you get in =), i don't hide the fact that im muslim, but I dont have to mention it either.
     
  34. uclacrewdude

    uclacrewdude the uclacrewdude abides
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    you dont want to go to a school where the admin/student pop. thinks muslim = terrorist. put it on your app and be proud. as a matter of fact, anyone backwards enough to think something negative about it might be even more impressed that you led a nonviolent muslim group. but like i said, you wouldnt wanna go there anyway, so all it would do would make you feel really good to turn down their acceptance.
     
  35. CalBeE

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    I think everyone has to understand that the view of your file reviewer, even that of your interviewer, is not neccessarily representative of the whole school.

    You can say, oh this interviewer is prejudice against a certain religion so why would you wanna goto the school anyway. But that interviewer is probably not even representative of the whole school.

    Things are much easier to be done once you IN med school (Like you're unhappy with the administration, wanna express your beliefs/views). So don't do things that can keep you out.
     
  36. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Junior Member
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    I seriously would not trip about this. First of all, the vast majority of the people I have interviewed with (and from what I hear, this probably applies to most applicants) are pretty liberal minded people who are far from judgemental.

    I based a lot of my personal statement on a certain political situation in the middle east which caused a great deal of hardship in terms of access to healthcare which I was intimately familiar with. I found that all my interviewers were extremely interested in my political views, and we talked for quite some time at a number of schools about the war in Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, etc. I feared talking about politics more than religion (which I also mentioned in my activities), simply because the chances of sitting across the table from someone who could hold a grudge against me politically was much greater than the slim chance they could hold something against me because I am Muslim.

    I also agree with a previous post, where someone mentioned the whole ripple effect, in that it becomes harder for the next person to interview if someone hides there religion. While I don't think it is necessary for individuals to emphatically pronounce their religion or ideals system to the admissions committee of schools, if the activities you participated in demanded a great amount of effort and involvment, I'd say put them down, as it could only help.

    Best of luck!
     
  37. rapshi

    rapshi Member
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    You are who you are. Go to a school that wants you.
     
  38. DemonDeacon

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    Assalam Alaikum!!!

    Okay, I asked about this a few months ago and I think you will find this link helpful:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=124888



    I spoke with a person from UNC Chapel Hill adcom and she told me that in this mixed up world, make thing easier on yourself and just don't put it on your application.


    I personally was heavily involved with the school's MSA, and I knew that all the rewards would come from God. I have plenty of ec's to put down, so I'm just going to make things simpler for myself and not put this down on the application. Whether this would be a positive or a negative influence on my application, I'd rather just put my faith in God and see what happens from there. This doesn't mean that I'm hiding my religion. Last time I spoke about Islam in my application, I got a question in an interview (college adm) about the Nuclear Disarmament of Iraq... I'm like wth?


    But do istikhara... see where that takes you and keep us all updated!!!
     
  39. freaker

    freaker Senior Member
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    A suggestion: if your medical calling originated in part through your faith, you may want to mention this in your personal statement. This allows you to control how others perceive the nature of your faith and how it motivates you to act in life.

    I'm a Christian, and I've been involved in numerous charity/service/mission activities with my churches over the years. I chose to leave these off of my application and to instead speak of my faith in my personal statement. Thus, I am not directly associated with any groups, and my faith stands alone.

    If an interviewer wishes to ask me about my spiritual activities, they will be doing such through the filter of understanding that I have presented in my personal statement. This gives me the leverage to control any line of questioning I may receive from an interviewer, as well.

    No, my faith wasn't the primary aspect of my personal statement, but it played an important role (as it played an important role in leading me to medicine).
     
  40. Abe

    Abe Senior Member
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    what the hell is istikhara it sounds familiar =p. Im serious too.
     
  41. 34140

    34140 Senior Member
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    its when you do an extra nifal to ask Allah for something
     
  42. calcrew14

    calcrew14 Senior Member
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    None of UC schools minds it at all. So should others. There are so many excellent muslim students and doctors. Adcoms know that.

    A successful applicant in Cali did list a good number of hours in a clinic for indigent muslims and extensively elaborated the quality of the experience in his PS. He is not a muslim though.
     

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