Mark myself as economically disadvantaged? How poor is poor?

Oct 20, 2013
45
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Pre-Medical
Thanks for the advice guys! I'm going to mark it ! :)
 
Last edited:

Mr Avante

Sep 3, 2012
774
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Appendix
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Non-Student
Checking the box is always optional. However, I recommend doing it for clerical purposes.
You will have to explain your reasoning of why you consider yourself disadvantaged. Nevertheless, it will be a very good opportunity to restate what you just wrote.

Cheerio
 
Last edited:
Feb 11, 2013
10
1
Status
Medical Student
Sometimes, schools don't ask for any details. Sometimes they do--in which case they will ask things like if you have ever been the recipient of funds from any federal means-tested programs, such as Free and Reduced School Lunch, or state Children's Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). I would say that if you are a Pell Grant recipient, this would probably qualify you, as the rules for Pell Grant allocation are pretty stringent.
 
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rain4venus

5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2013
467
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I would say that you definitely qualify, but what it comes down to is how confident you feel about being able to justify your answer if you do check the box.

There are absolutely people who are poorer than you and didn't check the box because they grew up happy and never knew any different, and there are people quite a bit richer than you who did check it because their parents couldn't buy them brand name clothes every year for back-to-school and they *felt* very disadvantaged. (no, I'm not saying this is all people by any means)

I kinda wish they could make it more objective - like that it applied to everyone who grew up within x% of the poverty level in the county where you lived or something, and that's it. They could still ask questions about how disadvantaged you felt in interviews, but as it is it seems like it has at least as much to do with the personality of the person and how entitled they feel as with their actual economic situation. The happiest person I know grew up very poor to a single mother, but she would never consider herself disadvantaged in any way. But I was a brat when I was a teenager and except for the fact that my family was above the income cutoff, I'd probably easily be able to justify being economically disadvantaged, because my parents didn't buy me tutors or fancy SAT classes or anything like that. And I had to get a job when I was 15 for extra spending money.
 

NYCNative

Staten Island Dump
7+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2013
233
172
Also, they probably will never bring it up or ask you about it unless you write about it in your personal statement / secondaries. Maybe some adcoms can weigh in, but I haven't gotten the impression that they put economically disadvantaged people in a special pile for consideration.
 
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374018

Filet Mignon
Jan 26, 2011
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Just answer the question truthfully. Based off of your description you are definitely economically disadvantaged and you are thinking into this way too much.
 

BABSstudent

Established Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2011
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Seattle
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Attending Physician
You pretty much answered your own question. Don't mark it.
He said he received a pell grant which means he is considered poor by the federal government. He totally qualifies, especially for a self reported application.
 

darklabel

PGWhy
7+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2012
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Yeah, it won't necessarily give you a huge boost, but adcoms can at least get a better understanding of you and your story/background so definitely mark it.

There are schools that given need based grants sometimes so definitely be on the look out for that. :thumbup:
 
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