My mother has never went to HS, my father didn't continue after his freshman year in HS... Am I at a disadvantage?

Do you Consider me disadvantaged?


  • Total voters
    50
May 19, 2020
26
13
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello All,

As my title suggests, I'm seeking some input on whether or not I should jot myself down at disadvantaged on my AMCAS app.

Some background...
- I was born from considerably poor town in the Philippines (now a U.S. citizen).
- My mother has never went to HS, my father didn't continue after his freshman year in HS. (This was also in the Philippines)
- After moving to America, my parents worked at Costco; my father collecting boxes and my mom worked in the food court and serving samples.
- My parents worked to support seven children, including myself.
- No healthcare professionals in the family.
- My six siblings did not attend college.
- I was the first college graduate in my family (Associates degree and bachelors).

Would you consider me at a disadvantage, and if so, do you have any suggestions on how I should tell my story? Thanks.
 
Mar 18, 2019
323
588
Status
Pre-Medical
From what you've shared it certainly appears that you have reason to indicate disadvantaged status. Did you or your family ever receive government financial assistance (food stamps, subsidized housing/education)? Did you receive a Pell Grant in undergrad?

I only ask because I read an application review of an individual who had indicated disadvantaged because of immigrant parents and little parental education but didn't mention until the financial aid application that his parents held millions of dollars of property and assets due to an extremely successful business.
 
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May 19, 2020
26
13
Status
Pre-Medical
From what you've shared it certainly appears that you have reason to indicate disadvantaged status. Did you or your family ever receive government financial assistance (food stamps, subsidized housing/education)? Did you receive a Pell Grant in undergrad?

I only ask because I read an application review of an individual who had indicated disadvantaged because of immigrant parents and little parental education but didn't mention until the financial aid application that his parents held millions of dollars of property and assets due to an extremely successful business.
Thanks for the reply! I did receive the pell grant and federal/state loans, and whatever need based financial aid my school could offer. My parents did work and with the help of my siblings, they funded a majority of my community college, but we definitely could not afford the private school I ended going to. I relied on complete loan and scholarship-based funding.

Edit: I just reread that anecdote again. Jeez, I'm glad his parents business did well despite the limited education.
 
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Mar 18, 2019
323
588
Status
Pre-Medical
I am curious why 3/7 of the current respondents disagree with OP reporting disadvantaged. Would anyone else care to share their opinion?
 
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Engrailed

Are your hands dry as well?
Moderator
Jun 8, 2019
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OP, maybe I am wrong, but it sounds like you grew up in a low-income household. Additionally, I assume your parents didn’t really speak English when they moved here and probably had to overcome a lot of barriers to educate and raise you.

Would definitely mark as disadvantaged unless, as someone mentions above, your family somehow had a multi million $ savings account. Highly doubt that is the case!
 
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May 19, 2020
26
13
Status
Pre-Medical
OP, maybe I am wrong, but it sounds like you grew up in a low-income household. Additionally, I assume your parents didn’t really speak English when they moved here and probably had to overcome a lot of barriers to educate and raise you.

Would definitely mark as disadvantaged unless, as someone mentions above, your family somehow had a multi million $ savings account. Highly doubt that is the case!
Thanks for your input! And yes, we fall under the limit for low income housing. When we arrived here, my parents couldn't really speak or understand English well, though I'm happy to say that they have made considerable progress.

On another note, It would be nice to have a multi-million$ savings account...
 
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Engrailed

Are your hands dry as well?
Moderator
Jun 8, 2019
1,977
3,449
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for your input! And yes, we fall under the limit for low income housing. When we arrived here, my parents couldn't really speak or understand English well, though I'm happy to say that they have made considerable progress.

On another note, It would be nice to have a multi-million$ savings account...
From one internet stranger to another, great job on having come this far and i hope your application cycle goes well
:love::luck:
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
24,584
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I voted "maybe". First generation college students are often assumed to be at a disadvantage because their parents didn't attend college and are unfamiliar with the way things are done in college, the resources available to applicants and students, and so forth. Depending on the HS you attended, your advisor may have had limited knowledge of options for higher education and the financial aid available for college. That too, could put you at a disadvantage. The course offerings at your HS may have also been substandard compared to the average student in a HS geared toward college prep. Any of those things could have put you behind your peers as you approached the start of your college career and would qualify you, IMHO,as disadvantaged.

Clearly, your parents employment in custodial services and food serivce/retail while supporting 7 kids was not the road to riches but if you had enough to eat, had safe housing, and had the school supplies you needed to succeed, you were blessed by their hard work and the support of your siblings.
 

DarkKnight835

It's not brain science or rocket surgery!
2+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2017
47
108
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Medical Student (Accepted)
Your story is strikingly similar to mine! I was born in Southeast Asia and my family didn’t immigrate until I was 11 years old.

I went to an ESL school my first year in America while my parents worked in the service industry. They didn’t have qualifications for better jobs since they themselves didn’t even get to go to high school in their own country. Despite their hard work (working 60-70 hrs, 6-7 days a week), we still struggled to make ends meet. Even after choosing to go to an instate school, I still needed government assistance to finance tuition and living cost.

My parents weren’t rich in their home country, but they also didn’t have to worry about whether or not they would food for dinner. Nevertheless, they sacrificed their livelihoods to come to this country so that my siblings and I could have the opportunity to make something of ourselves, the opportunity they themselves never had.

With all that being said, when it was time for me to apply to medical school last cycle, I 100% selected the option of being disadvantaged. I worked 3 part time jobs throughout college while taking a full course load as to not put another financial burden on my parents. Now I don’t know if the schools I’d applied agreed that I was disadvantaged (since even @LizzyM could not definitely voted you are disadvantaged despite our backgrounds being very similar), I’m happy to report that I was accepted to an MD school the very first time that I applied. Good luck OP!
 
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QueenAudrey

2+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2016
104
101
Status
Pre-Medical
Maybe OP could use their background for a secondary essay (adversity or diversity) if they chose not to apply as disadvantaged?
 
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