My thoughts on the medical school admissions process...

TheLadyVanishes

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Frankly, the mere cost of applying to medical school via AMCAS, and then again for secondary's, is steep enough to amaze me that so many students can afford it. And then consider the interviews! The cost of traveling, staying in hotels, food., etc.
Here's my post on another thread about the costs of the medical school admissions process, and my perspective as an SES disadvantaged nontrad, who made more money as a new-ish grad than my parents ever have. I'd just feel silly copying and pasting it here :)
I would assume that adcoms take the applicant's background into consideration when reviewing their app. Mine may have helped me - my stats are solid, I applied early and broadly - but maybe it was that extra something, who knows? What worries me are the costs of the application process itself, as those are taken into account nowhere and there is no FAP/financial aid to help you.
The other thing I would address to OP is that I *never* thought of myself as "disadvantaged" until AMCAS said I was. Growing up, I was never hungry, never went without medical care or a roof over my head, I had nice Christmas presents and family vacations. Yes, I was aware of not having as much money as others, but I never felt harmed by my family's economic status. So if someone like me who grew up solidly lower-middle class is the lowest rung of disadvantaged, who is *not* disadvantaged, and are the truly disadvantaged so absent from this process that there's no real category for them?
 
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BlackBox

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Entire books have been written about this phenomenon at the undergraduate level. It is a topic well known to us in med admissions. AMCAS appears to be doing something about it by tagging applicants from presumed lower SES households with EO1 and EO2 designations. you can read more about it here: https://www.aamc.org/download/330166/data/seseffectivepractices.pdf
Yes, but how does this translate within the admissions process? I can't help but believe, many schools have criteria that supersedes socioeconomic status. After all, what does it really mean? It isn't like the MCAT- a standard metric to normalize a population.
 
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Enough with this wealthy whining crap. Blame your parents for "not" giving you the lifestyle you want.

Seriously guys, man up and start getting things done. Create your own opportunities and stop whining about the born rich kids.
Everyone on this thread IS getting stuff done. It's not like we're all flunking college and blaming SES. In fact, many have already made it so I think people are in a position to talk about things they perceive as unfair
 

SunsFun

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Enough with this wealthy whining crap. Blame your parents for "not" giving you the lifestyle you want.

Seriously guys, man up and start getting things done. Create your own opportunities and stop whining about the born rich kids.
I did. I've been fortunate to get where I wanna be in this process. My parents barely speak English so it would be really difficult for me to expect a lot of help there. They did their absolute best and I am grateful for that.

You're making a mistake thinking that either I or the OP are winning about out own situations. We are not. We discuss a topic that interest me personally because I believe that a society with a fair distribution of opportunity will be a better one to live in for everyone.
 

SunsFun

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sb247

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What?

Ok so you're saying that people from disadvantaged backgrounds have to work much harder than others to even begin to think about getting into medical school. Right.
absolutely, it's also more difficult to buy expensive cars or live in nicer neighborhoods without money.....but it's no place for the system/gov to interfere
 

NuttyEngDude

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You're making a mistake thinking that either I or the OP are winning about out own situations. We are not. We discuss a topic that interest me personally because I believe that a society with a fair distribution of opportunity will be a better one to live in for everyone.
I believe in this as well. In the end, you want people that will excel at their jobs not just be able to perform them. Outside of medicine, in research and engineering you want people who are the best thinkers, who can give you the best advancements or in business make the most money for all. This is highly subjective and easily destroyed by bureaucrats.
 

LizzyM

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Yes, but how does this translate within the admissions process? I can't help but believe, many schools have criteria that supersedes socioeconomic status. After all, what does it really mean? It isn't like the MCAT- a standard metric to normalize a population.
Of course, schools will have criteria that supersede SES. Do you think we'd say, "Oh, the MCAT is a 16 but this guy's a EO1 (first in family to graduate college) so that's ok." No, an MCAT >16 is likely to be a requirement regardless of SES. Does it seem wise to admit low SES applicants who are unlikely to succeed? On the other hand, if an applicant impresses us with a great distance traveled and is 0.1 gpa and 2 MCAT points from our average for matriculants, we might consider what else the applicant brings to the table and one of those things can be the viewpoint of a student who grew up in a low SES home and who may understand that culture (working class and/or welfare class) from first hand experience. That can be an asset in a class discussion about health policy or motivating patients for behavior change or any number of topics. That applicant might get an interview whereas the suburban raised applicant of high SES with the same scores might not (those folks are a dime a dozen).
 

BlackBox

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Of course, schools will have criteria that supersede SES. Do you think we'd say, "Oh, the MCAT is a 16 but this guy's a EO1 (first in family to graduate college) so that's ok." No, an MCAT >16 is likely to be a requirement regardless of SES. Does it seem wise to admit low SES applicants who are unlikely to succeed? On the other hand, if an applicant impresses us with a great distance traveled and is 0.1 gpa and 2 MCAT points from our average for matriculants, we might consider what else the applicant brings to the table and one of those things can be the viewpoint of a student who grew up in a low SES home and who may understand that culture (working class and/or welfare class) from first hand experience. That can be an asset in a class discussion about health policy or motivating patients for behavior change or any number of topics. That applicant might get an interview whereas the suburban raised applicant of high SES with the same scores might not (those folks are a dime a dozen).
Obviously, I wasn't referring to an extreme example of a student with an MCAT of 16.
 

astromfs

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Everyone has the same opportunity to be on the top in this nation, some have to work much harder than others to be successful. Everyone has the opportunity to be successful, all depends in how bad you want it.
 

LizzyM

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Everyone has the same opportunity to be on the top in this nation, some have to work much harder than others to be successful. Everyone has the opportunity to be successful, all depends in how bad you want it.
You are very ignorant if you believe that everyone has the same opportunities. Very ignorant.
 

Great White Buffalo

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@SunsFun too

This is funny. My PI's daughters were fortunate to "perform research" in his lab every summer and shadow a ton of physicians through his connections. You can cold-call, but I would be lying if I wasn't a bit envious of that...

;)
Yes, technical term is called back scratching. The perks of academic life (and that it is a small world).
 

Great White Buffalo

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You are very ignorant if you believe that everyone has the same opportunities. Very ignorant.
I agree that everyone doesn't have the same opportunities. What is important is doing the best you can with the cards you have been dealt with.
(and ending your sentences with a preposition!!)
 
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Of course, schools will have criteria that supersede SES. Do you think we'd say, "Oh, the MCAT is a 16 but this guy's a EO1 (first in family to graduate college) so that's ok." No, an MCAT >16 is likely to be a requirement regardless of SES. Does it seem wise to admit low SES applicants who are unlikely to succeed? On the other hand, if an applicant impresses us with a great distance traveled and is 0.1 gpa and 2 MCAT points from our average for matriculants, we might consider what else the applicant brings to the table and one of those things can be the viewpoint of a student who grew up in a low SES home and who may understand that culture (working class and/or welfare class) from first hand experience. That can be an asset in a class discussion about health policy or motivating patients for behavior change or any number of topics. That applicant might get an interview whereas the suburban raised applicant of high SES with the same scores might not (those folks are a dime a dozen).
I realize it's way easier to complain from our side since we are not ad com, so I have a question; how often are you forced to choose between candidates who you perceive to be equally admissible? How often do ad coms disagree on what to weigh more (ORM low SES vs URM high SES, etc)?
 
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Lot of really clueless libertarians in this thread. It is actually very disheartening to know that many considering going into this field unironically believe that everyone has "equal opportunity." What does this do to the practice of medicine? I wonder for example, if MDs would be less flippant about prescribing opiates if they grew up in a community that saw many lives and families destroyed by them.
 

LizzyM

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I realize it's way easier to complain from our side since we are not ad com, so I have a question; how often are you forced to choose between candidates who you perceive to be equally admissible? How often do ad coms disagree on what to weigh more (ORM low SES vs URM high SES, etc)?
We are never choosing between 2 applicants. Even if we are down to our last offer letter, we have hundreds to choose from and those not chosen will go on the waitlist. It is very hard to decide those last ones. In some ways, I wish we had a lottery to choose among equally qualified candidates. If we give the seat to a white guy when there was a black guy who was equally admissible, we're criticized. If we give it to a black guy with high SES over a white guy with low SES, we are criticized. What would your solution be?
 
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We are never choosing between 2 applicants. Even if we are down to our last offer letter, we have hundreds to choose from and those not chosen will go on the waitlist. It is very hard to decide those last ones. In some ways, I wish we had a lottery to choose among equally qualified candidates. If we give the seat to a white guy when there was a black guy who was equally admissible, we're criticized. If we give it to a black guy with high SES over a white guy with low SES, we are criticized. What would your solution be?
I have no idea...I couldn't make it as an ad com member haha
 

plumazul

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Of course, schools will have criteria that supersede SES. Do you think we'd say, "Oh, the MCAT is a 16 but this guy's a EO1 (first in family to graduate college) so that's ok." No, an MCAT >16 is likely to be a requirement regardless of SES. Does it seem wise to admit low SES applicants who are unlikely to succeed? On the other hand, if an applicant impresses us with a great distance traveled and is 0.1 gpa and 2 MCAT points from our average for matriculants, we might consider what else the applicant brings to the table and one of those things can be the viewpoint of a student who grew up in a low SES home and who may understand that culture (working class and/or welfare class) from first hand experience. That can be an asset in a class discussion about health policy or motivating patients for behavior change or any number of topics. That applicant might get an interview whereas the suburban raised applicant of high SES with the same scores might not (those folks are a dime a dozen).
We have been talking about these issues for decades, yet there has been no progress. AAMC has recently stated that URM participation rates are stagnant. Do we just give up or do we try something different?
 

astromfs

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You are very ignorant if you believe that everyone has the same opportunities. Very ignorant.
Coming from a family where both parents were unemployed makes me a very ignorant person about the reality... the first thing I accepted is that I was at a disadvantage because I had to find work to support the household while studying and learning english, same goes to paying the DAT prep material, application, dent school, etc.

Right now I'm proud of myself for working that hard, maybe others have done it in an easier route maybe not. I took advantages of the opportunities to grow and be successful. I have never used my disadvantage to fill my ego or to feel better than other people.

Americans have amazing opportunities since they have really good public schools, welfare programs, cheap housing for the poor, food stamps, public libraries, etc... Be grateful and take advantages of those amazing opportunities.
 
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Someone from a trailer park in Appalachia is just as likely to become an MD as someone from a wealthy family. They just have to work hard. Its actualyl easier for the Appalachia person because the adcoms will know they "traveled farther" while actually the wealthy guy was working weally weally hawd at his summer internship while staying in a condo paid by his parents.

This is what some people actually believe.
 

sb247

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We have been talking about these issues for decades, yet there has been no progress. AAMC has recently stated that URM participation rates are stagnant. Do we just give up or do we try something different?
It isn't the role of government to artificially produce certain numbers in a given field/profession. The only role of government is to ensure that all have equal rights (not equal opportunity, equal right) to pursue entry to the field.
 

BamaNicole

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Everyone has the same opportunity to be on the top in this nation, some have to work much harder than others to be successful. Everyone has the opportunity to be successful, all depends in how bad you want it.

You're assuming that everyone in this country even has access to the same opportunities which is sadly not true. Sure, I can use my experience and say "hey I pulled myself up by my boot straps why can't you?" But the reality is I'm assuming that everyone even has boots.
 

Syndicate

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I actually feel a little sorry for kids coming from high SES families. This is only my personal opinion though.

My parents were immigrants who came to this country with about $100 in their pockets. My mom worked two jobs (waitress & nanny) while my dad was unemployed. We lived in a small apartment in a bad part of a major city. I was bullied and teased all throughout elementary and middle school because my English was horrible and I never had the luxuries my classmates had. In addition, My parents and I were discriminated everywhere we went. I channeled all this stress and pain and told myself that I would get into a good college and earn a lot of money & prestige and show all those who've bullied and teased me who's boss.

Today, my parents live in a $1 million house, I currently attend a top 10 ranked college and I'm headed to medical school next summer. I never thought I'd say this but if it weren't for all those people who bullied/teased me, treated my parents and I like crap, and doubted me, I wouldn't have had the motivation to excel in school and get myself into medical school. Therefore, that's why I say I kinda feel sorry for kids from high SES cause they won't experience these kind of situations that will drive them and motivate them to excel and prove everyone wrong.
 

plumazul

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It isn't the role of government to artificially produce certain numbers in a given field/profession. The only role of government is to ensure that all have equal rights (not equal opportunity, equal right) to pursue entry to the field.
Government? The goal of the NGOs (e.g. AAMC) in a position to do so, should be to create an environment that will provide the best healthcare for all segments of our society. It is the fulfilling of this goal that demands participation from all.
 
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I want to chime in as an ORM who applied disadvantaged this most recent app cycle and qualified as the lowest SES... all my II's (9 so far) have come from schools where I was +/-2 average MCAT and GPA listed in the MSAR (my LizzyM is 72). I applied to quite a few reach schools thinking my SES profile might give me a little boost, but I don't feel like that was the case... only 1 II to a top 20. My sweet spot seems to be the USNews 25-30 range.
 
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Lucca

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"Just World Fallacy" all over the place.


The American Dream is basically a crapshoot. Statistically, this is the obvious case. The problem with success stories of the disadvantaged is that the bias on SDN is for already successful people - regardless of socioeconomic background - since the only reason we're on here is because we've gotten this far and exchange information with each other in order to become more successful. Therefore, no matter how many people come out here and say "I was disadvantaged and succeeded therefore other people should succeed" the fact that the socioeconomically advantaged have much more opportunity remains true.

Here's my story and before you go ahead and assume I'm falling into the same trap I've described above, just finish reading it. I'll be as succinct as possible.

I'm an immigrant. My family came to the United States out of fear of political persecution after they voted against the ruling regime and were summarily fired from their jobs (see: Lista De Tascon) . We won the greencard lottery that the US sponsors for Latin American countries. Already, Fortuna! We came here with a good amount of savings, lost it all immediately since my parents couldn't find jobs, were forced to move back to the country, sold everything we had for 7000$, then came back. We were pretty poor for a while. We lived in apartment in a not-so-nice part of town. Our first and only piece of furniture was a couch we picked up from a dumpster and re-upholstered. The classrooms at my school didn't have doors and it didn't offer ESL (English as a Second Language) classes so I retook the first grade in order to learn English. My parents found work as a mechanic and teacher's assistant (both educated and trained Engineers back home, by the way) and things started to look up. Luck, again. I'm half-blind and one of my eyes is small and gray and generally off-putting so I basically had no friends during this time in my life. Luck, again. I consider this my saving grace because everyone I knew from back then does drugs, runs with a gang, or has otherwise ruined their lives already or - should I say - had their life ruined. Luck, luck, luck. Are you sensing a theme here?

Flash forward some years. We could finally afford a prosthetic eye for me and I started to make friends/have a real social life. My dad finally learned enough English to be hired by an engineering firm and my mom sought out more training as a teacher since it turned out she loved it. She started making more than minimum wage but my dad's income securely catapulted us to the top 5% of American families. For a while it wasn't noticeable since a lot of our money went to our family back home and we were all still in the mind-set of being poor and not buying too much, spending too much, and playing things close to the chest; however, it wasn't long until even the leftovers were enough to afford one luxury vehicle and one semi-luxury vehicle in a safe, upper-middle class suburban neighborhood with a top 100 public high school. Luck, luck, luck.

I was fortunate enough to be given a merit scholarship that covers about 60% of my projected total expense as an undergrad when they could have easily given that honor to someone else. I would have had to pay the full sticker price otherwise thanks to my parents income, and could have done so with minimal cutbacks (the school wasn't too expensive to begin with, comparably). I dropped acceptances to higher tier institutions since I knew I wanted medical school or some other form of graduate education from the start and took the money. Regardless, I love the school I attend and couldn't be happier.

Sure, I worked really hard in high school for this. But how responsible am I for this, really? Me, personally. What did I do? Just take a time to think about how big a role exactly you had in your success. How much of it wasn't dependent on people liking you, on good teachers, on good schools, on people giving you a chance, on the US government, on a hurricane, on a rainy day, on a color of tie you chose.

Taking responsibility for so much variance, all of the chaos of life just seems so absurd to me. This is why we have safety nets. Sure, to a degree people are responsible for a future, but to make the argument that the American Dream is attainable by everyone is ridiculous.

What do I propose? I don't know, honestly. Probably something systemic and basic; education, healthcare, community empowerment programs. The morbid obesity of Europe's social system? The anorexic negligence of a destitute African state? In these terms the United States can't stop eating but can't help but vomit it back out.

More than anything, the biggest advantage I've enjoyed after "becoming wealthy" is mentors. Wealthy people are generally successful and educated. Generally. They have great advice. They open doors. They offer you internships, tutoring, they teach you about stocks, they teach you about foreign languages. They tell you how you can better manage your money, how you can save it. They tell you what schools to go to, and where, and how to apply. The application process, especially as an immigrant, was a complete and total mystery to my family and I relied entirely on friends and the parents of friends who had attended elite institutions. Mentorship is the greatest boon anyone can have in their education.
 
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histidine

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I want to chime in as an ORM who applied disadvantaged this most recent app cycle and qualified as the lowest SES... all my II's (9 so far) have come from schools where I was +/-2 average MCAT and GPA listed in the MSAR (my LizzyM is 72). I applied to quite a few reach schools thinking my SES profile might give me a little boost, but I don't feel like that was the case... only 1 II to a top 20. My sweet spot seems to be the USNews 25-30 range.
I'd bet if you weren't disadvantaged, you wouldn't have gotten 9 II concentrated around USnews 25-30. As an ORM with a 72LizzyM, even with outstanding ECs, those are impressive interview invites. (You also stated in another thread that your ECs were not robust)
 
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BlueLabel

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You're making a mistake thinking that either I or the OP are winning about out own situations. We are not. We discuss a topic that interest me personally because I believe that a society with a fair distribution of opportunity will be a better one to live in for everyone.
No, you are whining. That is exactly what you're doing. You're harping about a problem without following your assertions out to their logical conclusion or proposing any type of solution to them. See below for more examples of whining.

(PS: I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with whining. I do it all the time, and sometimes it can actually get the ball rolling and move the dial. But come on dude you gotta own this one)

This is the central problem with the upper class controlling who is "admitted" to any field, from finance to medical school, etc. They literally cannot even begin to comprehend how advantaged they are because they live it every day. The small things they take for granted add up to enormous insurmountable advantages. Then they have the nerve to say the working class "gets help" in the admissions process . It is like watching Saving Private Ryan and saying you know what it's like to go to war. It damages the profession of medicine terribly.
Lot of really clueless libertarians in this thread. It is actually very disheartening to know that many considering going into this field unironically believe that everyone has "equal opportunity." What does this do to the practice of medicine? I wonder for example, if MDs would be less flippant about prescribing opiates if they grew up in a community that saw many lives and families destroyed by them.
Dude, what on earth are you even talking about?? The people "controlling who is admitted" to medicine (the AAMC and admissions professionals like LizzyM who take cues from that body) are very cognizant of the disparities in socioeconomic status between applicants of different backgrounds. That's why you're asked about this on the application. Medical admissions today are far more open and mindful of the whole picture an applicant brings to the table than they have ever been at any point in the history of human kind. We can say that the lower classes get help, because they do in various ways that are so ubiquitous they don't even bear mentioning. How could you possibly deny this?

So far, you have not proposed SINGLE policy change that the AAMC or admissions committees could adopt that would alleviate the problem you're whining about in any way. But I understand why, and there's a good reason for it: the problem has been addressed and appropriate measures have already been put in place to correct for them (within the scope of what is possible from the standpoint of admissions). Policies and federal programs already exist to prioritize building a class of diverse backgrounds/SES, SES-applicants are given preference when other factors are equal, there are resources to help disadvantaged students defray the cost of application, etc.

Now, none of this is to say that "everyone has equal opportunity". Of course they don't. For example, I might be less whiny than you are (random example). This might make me more personable and interesting to talk to. This in turn might make me a more attractive candidate during an interview setting. Should I "check my privilege"? There are tons of factors applicants have no control over that are tremendously important in the admissions process. A brilliant, well-spoken, good-looking, highly motivated and ambitious candidate has all sorts of advantages and opportunities that some dumpy poorly-dressed idiot would never enjoy, but it's not the role of the government, the AAMC and certainly not LizzyM and her cohorts to address these disparities.

The wealth disparities that you're whining about here cannot be addressed in full by admissions committees. This is a deep-seated part of our social structure that can only be addressed by a combination of cautious, mixed-market government policy, charity and philanthropy on the part of the wealthy, and determination and accountability on the part of the indigent. Of course, you can come out and just say what you really mean (but for some reason refuse to say): you are jealous of the wealthy, you want them to experience an active negative bias in admissions and elsewhere in life, you desire for their wealth to be taken from them and redistributed, etc etc et al and so on. Also, lulz at the pre-med who clearly knows far better than painstakingly-trained professionals what they should and shouldn't be prescribing. You sound like you've got it all figured out, we should elect you President!! (or General Secretary or whatever)

So I urge you: propose the only logical solution that follows from your argument and we can then debate capitalism vs. communism because that's what this really boils down to.

TL;DR: wealth inequality is a problem that must be addressed at a much more fundamental level than medical school admissions and therefore this discussion is really just whining about its emergent effects.
 

BlueLabel

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Government? The goal of the NGOs (e.g. AAMC) in a position to do so, should be to create an environment that will provide the best healthcare for all segments of our society. It is the fulfilling of this goal that demands participation from all.
I think an important caveat here is "participation from all... that are highly qualified". At the end of the day, it is pointless to admit applicants that don't have what it takes to make it through education and training and become good physicians.

It's clear to me that the problem the AAMC faces isn't a lack of willingness to diversify and give opportunities to disadvantaged applicants; if a disparity persists then we should consider the possibility that the SES applicants from which the AAMC has to choose are either too few or not sufficiently qualified. Therefore, it follows that the solution to this problem lies not with AAMC policy, but rather with deeper structural issues within American society/demographics/economy/etc.
 
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You are really mad and missing the mark here mate.

Of course I am jealous of people born into wealth due to the massive advantages they receive through no work or merit of their own. What is hard to understand or wrong about that? Why do you think that is some kind of killer argument that you totally "called me out on" ?? Are you perhaps a bit overly defensive of your station in life mate?

Of course between two "otherwise equal" candidates the more disadvantaged one should be given the position. (This dosnt happen in practice despite all the whining about the "advantaged URMs" on SDN, as evidenced by every thread. They worked much harder to become "equal." How is that so puzzling? Do you perhaps believe in Austrian economics or vote for Ron Paul as well?
 
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BlueLabel

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You are really mad and missing the mark here mate.

Of course I am jealous of people born into wealth due to the massive advantages they receive through no work or merit of their own. What is hard to understand or wrong about that? Why do you think that is some kind of killer argument that you totally "called me out on" ?? Are you perhaps a bit overly defensive of your station in life mate?
I'm cool as a cucumber buddy ;)

That was an aside, the fact that you're a jealous person is interesting and does of course help explain your ridiculous argument, but it has nothing to do with why you're wrong. Keep rereading my post and you'll get the gist of it!
 
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Ah so you admit you have no clue what you're talking about and your position is indefensible. Got it
 

plumazul

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I think an important caveat here is "participation from all... that are highly qualified". At the end of the day, it is pointless to admit applicants that don't have what it takes to make it through education and training and become good physicians.

It's clear to me that the problem the AAMC faces isn't a lack of willingness to diversify and give opportunities to disadvantaged applicants; if a disparity persists then we should consider the possibility that the SES applicants from which the AAMC has to choose are either too few or not sufficiently qualified. Therefore, it follows that the solution to this problem lies not with AAMC policy, but rather with deeper structural issues within American society/demographics/economy/etc.
There may very well be "too few"(a problem that is certainly fixable), but are you unwilling to entertain the possibility that the current qualification metrics are flawed, biased or just irrelevant?
 
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The current system is actually perfect and beyond reproach.

It does not confer any advantages to the wealthy/those "in the know" .
 
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BlueLabel

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Ah so you admit you have no clue what you're talking about and your position is indefensible. Got it
Do you seriously want me to copy-paste my post? I understand you were unhappy with my tone, but I advanced a legitimate argument up there that went a whole lot further than "you're jealous so you're wrong".

My underlying point here is that you're focusing on the symptom and not the disease and asking the wrong person to cure it (and also being really whiny about the whole thing).

There may very well be "too few"(a problem that is certainly fixable), but are you unwilling to entertain the possibility that the qualification metrics are flawed, biased or just irrelevant?
That's a great point. I meant to add this before, but I'm curious as to how admissions standards work in other countries that are considered more egalitarian and have better healthcare outcomes (e.g. Scandinavian countries).

Does literature exist that evaluates the power of selection criteria in determining success in medical school? Does "success in medical school" (however that's defined) actually translate into "being a good doctor" (however that's defined)?

I suppose my gut instinct would be to rely on the judgment of admissions professionals who A) are the most experienced and knowledgeable as to what it takes to succeed in med school and B) seem to have a legitimate interest in rectifying inequality in the profession. But conclusive data about the metrics used would definitely be useful in deciding how best to proceed.

The current system is actually perfect and beyond reproach.

It does not confer any advantages to the wealthy/those "in the know" .
Darn skippy, and don't you forget it!

Why do you keep editing your posts? Can't decide what to say?
 
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SunsFun

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I think an important caveat here is "participation from all... that are highly qualified". At the end of the day, it is pointless to admit applicants that don't have what it takes to make it through education and training and become good physicians.

It's clear to me that the problem the AAMC faces isn't a lack of willingness to diversify and give opportunities to disadvantaged applicants; if a disparity persists then we should consider the possibility that the SES applicants from which the AAMC has to choose are either too few or not sufficiently qualified. Therefore, it follows that the solution to this problem lies not with AAMC policy, but rather with deeper structural issues within American society/demographics/economy/etc.
How do you feel about making SES status have similar effect on admissions as URM?
 

Reckoner

Lacks theology and geometry
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The current system is actually perfect and beyond reproach.

It does not confer any advantages to the wealthy/those "in the know" .
Why not respond to BlueLabel's assertions rather than mock them? Is it that hard to imagine that inequalities in the admissions process are a symptom of deeper societal problems?

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sb247

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There may very well be "too few"(a problem that is certainly fixable), but are you unwilling to entertain the possibility that the current qualification metrics are flawed, biased or just irrelevant?
The AOA showed a lot of correlation between biology mcat and medical gpa. Almost all the standard premed stats had correlation with comlex (on phone, i'll try to find link later)
 

BlueLabel

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How do you feel about making SES status have similar effect on admissions as URM?
Does anyone have data along these lines:


That breaks things down by SES? We have the racial breakdown in WAMC, but I couldn't find anything about SES (let me know if it's floating around somewhere).

I ask because I was under the impression that it was already pretty close. This is actually a pretty slippery question, because as the WAMC charts demonstrate, URM is not a monolithic concept - different races enjoy different quantitative advantages. Should SES be like being Latino? Black? Native American?

In reality, I think that SES is already considered in more or less the same fashion as URM status: it's another piece of the "whole picture" of an applicant that is taken into consideration in building a class. As a matter of fact, I happen to think SES is a much, much better tool to use than URM, but that is a discussion for another time and place and I do see the utility of URM bias.

I didn't explicitly say this before, but I happen to endorse most or all of the advantages the AAMC and AdComs give to disadvantaged applicants.

Why not respond to BlueLabel's assertions rather than mock them? Is it that hard to imagine that inequalities in the admissions process are a symptom of deeper societal problems?

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In fairness, I came out swinging. I figured from his tone he'd be able to handle a little hardball, guess not.
 
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Jul 11, 2013
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Saying that "the current system is the best it can be" along with some sick burns about "communism" and the old crybaby argument about "the selection criteria being massively biased towards the rich is a symptom of some other problem why are you punishing success" is apparently "advancing a legitimate argument."

And I need to respond by single handedly redesigning the entire admissions process to "refute" the "argument" that the current system is actually perfect and any advantages conferred to the elite are "someone else's problem" instead of just pointing out that the OPs post was actually really dumb. Sure that's a good use of everyone's time.
 

BlueLabel

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Saying that "the current system is the best it can be" along with some sick burns about "communism" and the old crybaby argument about "the selection criteria being massively biased towards the rich is a symptom of some other problem why are you punishing success" is apparently "advancing a legitimate argument."

And I need to respond by single handedly redesigning the entire admissions process to "refute" the "argument" that the current system is actually perfect and any advantages conferred to the elite are "someone else's problem" instead of just pointing out that the OPs post was actually really dumb. Sure that's a good use of everyone's time.
Nothing makes a point of view more attractive than petulance... not.
 

plumazul

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Why not respond to BlueLabel's assertions rather than mock them? Is it that hard to imagine that inequalities in the admissions process are a symptom of deeper societal problems?

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Are you only reading one side of their exchange?
 
Jul 11, 2013
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So to be clear your position is that admissions has "done all they can" to address the massive inequalities that allow the wealthy advantages in entering the medical profession, and any attempt to address this further would be "communism" somehow. That is what I am meant to "refute"?

For a person who complains so much about "whiners" you sure do enjoy playing the victim. Wah he's pointing out that what I said was wrong. He's being petulant :(
 

SunsFun

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Does anyone have data along these lines:


That breaks things down by SES? We have the racial breakdown in WAMC, but I couldn't find anything about SES (let me know if it's floating around somewhere).

I ask because I was under the impression that it was already pretty close. This is actually a pretty slippery question, because as the WAMC charts demonstrate, URM is not a monolithic concept - different races enjoy different quantitative advantages. Should SES be like being Latino? Black? Native American?

In reality, I think that SES is already considered in more or less the same fashion as URM status: it's another piece of the "whole picture" of an applicant that is taken into consideration in building a class. As a matter of fact, I happen to think SES is a much, much better tool to use than URM, but that is a discussion for another time and place and I do see the utility of URM bias.

I didn't explicitly say this before, but I happen to endorse most or all of the advantages the AAMC and AdComs give to disadvantaged applicants.


In fairness, I came out swinging. I figured from his tone he'd be able to handle a little hardball, guess not.
I agree about not bringing URM here. It definitely is off topic. I also couldn't find SES breakdown which tells me that AAMC should produce this type of data for all of us to look at. Unless we have it handy there is no way to know how big the SES boost is and whether it is noticeable at all.

Based on what LizzyM and several other adcoms post here low SES is nowhere near the boost from URM. It seems to be more akin to a rare hobby or a cool experience. If two similar candidates are in competition for one spot, the edge goes to low SES.
 
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Reckoner

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Are you only reading one side of their exchange?
Sure, it was petty on both sides, but I prefer sdn when there are some interesting arguments sprinkled in with the fecal matter.

To address the actual argument, I know you've seen adcoms on the physician scientist forum post about a lack of urm/disadvantaged applicants qualified enough to be admitted. To me this says the problem largely lies with the society feeding applicants into the system rather than the system itself, but you make a good point about the flawed/biased metrics. Out of curiosity, what do you think adcoms and the aamc could do better?

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BlueLabel

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So to be clear your position is that admissions has "done all they can" to address the massive inequalities that allow the wealthy advantages in entering the medical profession, and any attempt to address this further would be "communism" somehow. That is what I am meant to "refute"?

For a person who complains so much about "whiners" you sure do enjoy playing the victim. Wah he's pointing out that what I said was wrong. He's being petulant :(
I find it hilarious that you began this exchange by informing me that I'm "mad, mate".

Short of conclusive evidence that current admissions criteria are irrelevant to success in medical school (e.g. Admissions Committees don't know what they're doing) I'm inclined to say that yes, short of accepting sub-par applicants or instituting an active bias against higher SES applicants (I'm sure you'd love this), I'd say the AAMC has done a pretty good job of taking SES into account and doing what they can to address it. Going along with SunsFun point, I think SES status should play as big if not more of a role than URM.

The underlying problems here have to do with wealth disparity and a medical school admissions committee doesn't have the resources, expertise, or mandate to resolve them. As I mentioned before, we can debate whether or not the better alternative would be a mixed-market approach or a nanny-state wealth transfer kleptocracy. But these solutions are, once again, beyond the scope of medical admissions.

I agree about not bringing URM here. It definitely is off topic. I also couldn't find SES breakdown which tells me that AAMC should produce this type of data for all of us to look at. Unless we have it handy there is no way to know how big the SES boost is and whether it is noticeable at all.

Based on what LizzyM and several other adcoms post here low SES is nowhere near the boost from URM. It seems to be more akin to a rare hobby or a cool experience. If two similar candidates are in competition for one spot, the edge goes to low SES.
That's not the impression I was under, but I would definitely appreciate some input from those in the know as I don't have anything solid either. Specifically, when you say "low SES is nowhere near the boost from URM", which URM are you referring to? In my previous post I mentioned that the WAMC charts reveal differences between races.
 

LizzyM

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If the accrediting body for medical schools (LCME) assessed schools' efforts to recruit and matriculate low SES candidates as they do URM candidates, then we might have some traction in getting low SES applicants in the door in greater numbers. However, why would these candidates be better for society than any other candidates? Should they be admitted in larger numbers despite evidence that they have more difficulty in medical school. (AAMC data) In all likelihood, these students require more services (tutoring, counseling, etc) to be successful. Will you argue that a medical school should put its resources toward that population? We know that URM docs serve populations that are seeking to be cared for by physicians from their own group and you can tell by their faces (and sometimes their names) that they are "one of us". There is nothing to distinguish a non-URM physician who grew up poor from any other physician,, is there?