jetsfan1234

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In all of my interviews, I've been asked if my one of my parents or grandparents are doctors. The answer, in my case, is no...but why do they ask this? It seemed like many of the other applicants had at least one doctor parent. I almost feel like it might be considered an advantage among adcoms, for whatever reason. Thoughts?
 
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It's hard to say and probably is an advantage at some schools and works out to be nothing at others. Pros: you might have a better idea of what being a doctor is like/more exposure. Cons: they may assume you are trying to go into medicine because of family pressure rather than your personal fit with the field.

All in all I think it comes out even, maybe a slight advantage depending on the school.
 
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Ambitionista

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I have been asked this question as well in a few of my interviews. Half of the time it seemed as though my interviewers knew the answer to the question, (which is no and pretty apparent on my AMCAS app), but they still asked anyway. :shrug:

I could see it being a plus if an applicant has family members that are doctors. In such as case, the interviewer may be more reassured that the applicant knows what they are getting into.

I could also see it being a plus if an applicant does not. Such an answer could add to their "distance traveled".
 

crimsonkid85

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I honestly don't know if some of these answers are serious. I have sat on my school's AdCom as a student member and at least speaking for myself, if your parents are physicians that does NOT place you at an advantage in my book. If your parents are both physicians, that signals to me that you grew up comfortably in the top 10% of the national's socioeconomic circles. And so, if you do not demonstrate to me that you took full advantage of your parents' resources in terms of what you have accomplished, I will count that against you.
 

Plue00

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I honestly don't know if some of these answers are serious. I have sat on my school's AdCom as a student member and at least speaking for myself, if your parents are physicians that does NOT place you at an advantage in my book. If your parents are both physicians, that signals to me that you grew up comfortably in the top 10% of the national's socioeconomic circles. And so, if you do not demonstrate to me that you took full advantage of your parents' resources in terms of what you have accomplished, I will count that against you.
That's how I would see it too
 

lalalaaaaaa

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I got asked this in an interview and the interviewer definitely questioned me further on if I knew how hard medicine is on a family when I said no. It was strange and I think I would have gotten a pass on being lectured if I said yes. So I think catalystik is correct.
 
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I honestly don't know if some of these answers are serious. I have sat on my school's AdCom as a student member and at least speaking for myself, if your parents are physicians that does NOT place you at an advantage in my book. If your parents are both physicians, that signals to me that you grew up comfortably in the top 10% of the national's socioeconomic circles. And so, if you do not demonstrate to me that you took full advantage of your parents' resources in terms of what you have accomplished, I will count that against you.
Yeah I agree. It's like not having parents that were well off is an advantage. But, others would argue that having doctor parents is an advantage. I would say one of them has to be a disadvantage, and for your reason listed above, I would say that having parents as doctors would be cool and fortunate for those kids, but not necessarily an advantage for those kids.
 
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Yeah I agree. It's like not having parents that were well off is an advantage. But, others would argue that having doctor parents is an advantage. I would say one of them has to be a disadvantage, and for your reason listed above, I would say that having parents as doctors would be cool and fortunate for those kids, but not necessarily an advantage for those kids.
Why not both?

I'm under the assumption that having doctor parents IS an advantage in the high socio-economics background you have, and the easy access to the medical world you get. And not having doctor parents is a disadvantage generally, except in the context of applications because that's adcoms trying to make it fair.
 
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I honestly don't know if some of these answers are serious. I have sat on my school's AdCom as a student member and at least speaking for myself, if your parents are physicians that does NOT place you at an advantage in my book. If your parents are both physicians, that signals to me that you grew up comfortably in the top 10% of the national's socioeconomic circles. And so, if you do not demonstrate to me that you took full advantage of your parents' resources in terms of what you have accomplished, I will count that against you.
minor correction. assuming a low income of $150,000 a year (i believe most docs make more than this), a household of two doctors can easily make > $300,000 a year. that's not the top 10%, that's almost the top 1%.
 

vc7777

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I honestly don't know if some of these answers are serious. I have sat on my school's AdCom as a student member and at least speaking for myself, if your parents are physicians that does NOT place you at an advantage in my book. If your parents are both physicians, that signals to me that you grew up comfortably in the top 10% of the national's socioeconomic circles. And so, if you do not demonstrate to me that you took full advantage of your parents' resources in terms of what you have accomplished, I will count that against you.
Even as a student member, don't you think you need to be open to their situations? While I appreciate the sentiment to try and assess if they took advantage of all their resources growing up - I don't think the parents' degrees are a proxy for income or socioeconomic advantage. By your reasoning children of MD/PhDs - a group you aspire to join - who are even more educated but often lament their reduced incomes should be held to an even higher standard? I contend they are probably more likely the kids to be living hand-to-mouth (certainly earlier in their childhood during their parent's training) compared to the child of a more traditional middle class income. Don't you think? An applicant's available resources and situations cannot be assessed by their parent's educational degrees.

EDIT: Also - IMHO I would recommend you take nearly anything Cat says with as much gravitas as you can muster on SDN.
 

EMDO2018

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At some schools its a huge advantage.
 
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Why not both?

I'm under the assumption that having doctor parents IS an advantage in the high socio-economics background you have, and the easy access to the medical world you get. And not having doctor parents is a disadvantage generally, except in the context of applications because that's adcoms trying to make it fair.
I still sort of disagree here. Your statements would conclude that most students who apply are disadvantaged because I'm sure more students who get into med school don't have parents that are doctors that do have doctor parents. And then also, as stated above, it makes it look kinda like your parents have either paved (or paid for that matter) your way to success and pushed you to become a doctor for their reasons. I don't know; I'm just thinking that not having doctor parents who weren't that well off would be advantageous because it shows more of a personal will to become a doctor and also significant hardwork and dedication (not that applicants with doctor parents don't possess these qualities as well), but I think you understand what I'm saying here.
 

SunsFun

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Even as a student member, don't you think you need to be open to their situations? While I appreciate the sentiment to try and assess if they took advantage of all their resources growing up - I don't think the parents' degrees are a proxy for income or socioeconomic advantage. By your reasoning children of MD/PhDs - a group you aspire to join - who are even more educated but often lament their reduced incomes should be held to an even higher standard? I contend they are probably the more likely the kids to be living hand-to-mouth (certainly earlier in their childhood during their parent's training) compared to the child of a more traditional middle class income. Don't you think? An applicant's available resources and situations cannot be assessed by their parent's educational degrees.

EDIT: Also - IMHO I would recommend you take nearly anything Cat says with as much gravitas as you can muster on SDN.
Nothing is going to tell you the exact resources available to each applicant but the decisions still have to be made. Having both parents with MDs is a good sign, combined with other relevant info, that the applicant had more resources and more doors open to him/her than the average kid.
 
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minor correction. assuming a low income of $150,000 a year (i believe most docs make more than this), a household of two doctors can easily make > $300,000 a year. that's not the top 10%, that's almost the top 1%.
The top 1% has an income starting at 750k, so not nearly near that number.
 

Espadaleader

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Why is this even being argued? If both parents are doctors that is an insane advantage from day 1. Yes, money is important, but more important than that is the social and intellectual capital the parents have. Its not a "wow" factor in admissions per se but you cannot discount the advantages physicians parents confer to their kids up to that point. This is why an overwhelming number of medical students have physician parents.
 

CarlosDanger

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Overall having doctor parents is a huge advantage. They have the resources to provide you with the best education possible, they probably motivate you to perform well, and you have an unobstructed window into the medical field from a young age. They have the money to hire a tutor to teach you german when your 4 years old, a nanny to take you to the library, have a friend who you can shadow, etc etc. During admissions however, you'll probably be held to a higher standard, because adcoms are assuming you should have taken advantage of these privileges. Like everything in life, there will be some exceptions, but thats what they're thinking. If you are a child of two MD/PhDs, and you're applying to med school with a 3.4 GPA and a 30 MCAT compared to another kid with the same stats who is a first generation college graduate, the adcom will look at you as lazy.

So, I guess I could see how a person could see this as a double edged sword, but overall its a HUGE advantage.
 
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Overall having doctor parents is a huge advantage. They have the resources to provide you with the best education possible, they probably motivate you to perform well, and you have an unobstructed window into the medical field from a young age. They have the money to hire a tutor to teach you german when your 4 years old, a nanny to take you to the library, have a friend who you can shadow, etc etc. During admissions however, you'll probably be held to a higher standard, because adcoms are assuming you should have taken advantage of these privileges. Like everything in life, there will be some exceptions, but thats what they're thinking. If you are a child of two MD/PhDs, and you're applying to med school with a 3.4 GPA and a 30 MCAT compared to another kid with the same stats who is a first generation college graduate, the adcom will look at you as lazy.

So, I guess I could see how a person could see this as a double edged sword, but overall its a HUGE advantage.
This makes complete sense. It's a lifestyle, educational, and financial advantage. But could be a disadvantage as well. This is the best way to put it.
 

vc7777

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Nothing is going to tell you the exact resources available to each applicant but the decisions still have to be made. Having both parents with MDs is a good sign, combined with other relevant info, that the applicant had more resources and more doors open to him/her than the average kid.
I agree - decisions have to be made - however assumptions do not. You wouldn't make assumptions about the quality of a car based on the MSRP, would you?

Beyond what Catalystik mentioned, I think this is entirely a minor point (save maybe select situations e.g. where there are concerns about the applicant's commitment to medicine raised elsewhere in the application). However I took issue with equating degrees and advantages. If anything I know many children who's parents' involvement in medicine was a negative influence on their interest and hardly an advantage. Making generalizations about an applicant is not the point of the adcom- it does the school a disservice.
 

SunsFun

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I agree - decisions have to be made - however assumptions do not. You wouldn't make assumptions about the quality of a car based on the MSRP, would you?

Beyond what Catalystik mentioned, I think this is entirely a minor point (save maybe select situations e.g. where there are concerns about the applicant's commitment to medicine raised elsewhere in the application). However I took issue with equating degrees and advantages. If anything I know many children who's parents' involvement in medicine was a negative influence on their interest and hardly an advantage. Making generalizations about an applicant is not the point of the adcom- it does the school a disservice.
To be frank the entire process, in my opinion, is based on many different assumptions. Degrees of the parents are obviously not a crucial pieces of information but can be used as important pieces of the puzzle. In this sense when the comparisons are made, family history should not be swept under the rug but rather used to understand the candidates and their situations better.
 

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vc7777

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To be frank the entire process, in my opinion, is based on many different assumptions. Degrees of the parents are obviously not a crucial pieces of information but can be used as important pieces of the puzzle. In this sense when the comparisons are made, family history should not be swept under the rug but rather used to understand the candidates and their situations better.
I agree that understanding the applicant's situation growing up is crucial to understanding what their trajectory is. I also appreciate that you are pessimistic about the admissions process. But maybe a more optimistic way to look at the role of the admissions committee is to think of them as combating generalizations and assumptions.

On that note, getting back to the question of the OP - the adcom and interviewers ask this to understand you as a person and shouldn't be read as something sinister or conferring advantage/disadvantage.
 

crimsonkid85

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vc7777, I think you bring up very important points. Indeed I am open to every applicant's specific situation. I do not make any assumptions simply based on what is on the paper. In fact, this is what the interview is for.

I think that children of MD/PhDs should be held to higher standards. For example, if a child of MD/PhD parents is applying for MD/PhD programs, I would hold him/her to a higher standard than I would a child of non-medicine, non-scientific background parents. I say this simply from own experience. My parents are scientists who immigrated to this country and work as lab technicians. They are not MDs. Their combined income is less than six figures. However, because of this, I basically grew up in a laboratory. I first sexed a fruit fly when I was 6, and I first held a pipette when I was 9. I ran my first Western (for fun!) that very same year, and I cloned my first gene when I was 11. Even though my parents are not wealthy by any means, I would say that I had an advantage in science compared to a friend of mine (also a MD/PhD student), whose parents (also immigrants) fled their country due to political reasons and lived for most of her pre-college life on food stamps. Thus, I would contend that I should have been held to a higher standard.

Separately at least in my book if the child of MD/PhD parents is applying for MD only programs I do not think that is materially different from a child of MD parents applying for MD programs.

And -- as for MD/PhDs making less. They do make less but let's not forget most MD/PhD's aren't exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel here. In the end, I agree with you that advantage is not always measured in dollars, but simply would like to assert that dollars usually always translates to an advantage.


Even as a student member, don't you think you need to be open to their situations? While I appreciate the sentiment to try and assess if they took advantage of all their resources growing up - I don't think the parents' degrees are a proxy for income or socioeconomic advantage. By your reasoning children of MD/PhDs - a group you aspire to join - who are even more educated but often lament their reduced incomes should be held to an even higher standard? I contend they are probably more likely the kids to be living hand-to-mouth (certainly earlier in their childhood during their parent's training) compared to the child of a more traditional middle class income. Don't you think? An applicant's available resources and situations cannot be assessed by their parent's educational degrees.
 

vc7777

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Well said. Tip my hat to you.
 

Espadaleader

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Disclaimer: I am not a statistician but a am going to try to make my previous point objective!

Okay, so looking at the census data there are about 200-400 doctors per 100,000 people. Which is about .2% to .4% of the nations population. If medical schools reflected the general population (we already know it doesn't financially) .2%-.4% of the medical school population should have physician parents.

I said earlier that medical students with physician parents are over represented. Does this substantiate that?
 

histidine

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Overall having doctor parents is a huge advantage. They have the resources to provide you with the best education possible, they probably motivate you to perform well, and you have an unobstructed window into the medical field from a young age. They have the money to hire a tutor to teach you german when your 4 years old, a nanny to take you to the library, have a friend who you can shadow, etc etc. During admissions however, you'll probably be held to a higher standard, because adcoms are assuming you should have taken advantage of these privileges. Like everything in life, there will be some exceptions, but thats what they're thinking. If you are a child of two MD/PhDs, and you're applying to med school with a 3.4 GPA and a 30 MCAT compared to another kid with the same stats who is a first generation college graduate, the adcom will look at you as lazy.

So, I guess I could see how a person could see this as a double edged sword, but overall its a HUGE advantage.
First of all "tutor to teach you german at 4 years and a nanny to take you to the library" are not privileges that upper class kids should have taken advantage of. They are privileges, yes. But they should not be mandatory or expected.

Can you imagine? "Well, he's got a 35 MCAT and a 3.8 GPA, but he grew up rich. Why isn't he trilingual? Why isn't he well versed in the classics? Why isn't he a concert pianist? Lazy. REJECT."

I agree that there is a certain expectation towards applicants with doctors as parents, but I think we need to curb that expectation. Just because one's parents are wealthy and connected doesn't mean the applicant was spoiled, had insider access to medical ECs, or unlimited access to tutoring and resources.

An applicant with doctor parents could be a huge advantage. Or, those doctors could just be terrible parents raising a child in a toxic household. Wealth and an esteemed profession don't automatically make one a good parent. (*somewhat related* Physicians are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population. They are just as susceptible to alcoholism and illicit drug abuse, and more likely to be addicted to prescription drugs. They are more likely to be depressed and to divorce. Addicted or dead parents are bad parents.)
 
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Mad Jack

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Yeah I agree. It's like not having parents that were well off is an advantage. But, others would argue that having doctor parents is an advantage. I would say one of them has to be a disadvantage, and for your reason listed above, I would say that having parents as doctors would be cool and fortunate for those kids, but not necessarily an advantage for those kids.
What about not having parents at all? That's what I want to know.
 

karayaa

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What about not having parents at all? That's what I want to know.
how are you even alive?
Assuming you have been raised by multiple sets of parents (adopted or fostered), it's probably seen as an advantage from a diversity/overcoming hardships standpoint. There are probably benefits as well: self-reliance, independence, etc
 

CarlosDanger

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First of all "tutor to teach you german at 4 years and a nanny to take you to the library" are not privileges that upper class kids should have taken advantage of. They are privileges, yes. But they should not be mandatory or expected.

Can you imagine? "Well, he's got a 35 MCAT and a 3.8 GPA, but he grew up rich. Why isn't he trilingual? Why isn't he well versed in the classics? Why isn't he a concert pianist? Lazy. REJECT."

I agree that there is a certain expectation towards applicants with doctors as parents, but I think we need to curb that expectation. Just because one's parents are wealthy and connected doesn't mean the applicant was spoiled, had insider access to medical ECs, or unlimited access to tutoring and resources.

An applicant with doctor parents could be a huge advantage. Or, those doctors could just be terrible parents raising a child in a toxic household. Wealth and an esteemed profession don't automatically make one a good parent. (*somewhat related* Physicians are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than the general population. They are just as susceptible to alcoholism and illicit drug abuse, and more likely to be addicted to prescription drugs. They are more likely to be depressed and to divorce. Addicted or dead parents are bad parents.)
I don't necessarily disagree with you, you twisted my words a bit. The exact situation you described about a toxic household is why I said there are some exceptions. I also don't think I should even have to go into all the reasons why a kid in the lower class can be exposed to a dangerous household.

Obviously, no one with a 3.8/35 would be considered lazy, but someone with 2 MD/PhD parents and a 3.4/30 might be. I'm not saying that adcoms expect every rich kid to have had a full time nanny/tutor, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point. Would you not agree than someone who has grown up in an upper middle class family has had many privileges not bestowed upon lower class Americans? Educational, financial, economic? I'm not even saying thats a bad thing. Rich kids work very hard as well, and its ok to be rich - I will probably be a rich doctor someday. Parents usually want to help their kids. That applies to physician parents as well, who would likely give their aspiring doctor kids access resources in and out of the medical community that will help them achieve that goal. Thats why its an advantage.

These details give the adcom a better picture of who you are and what you have been through in life. Its not meant to create stereotypes, but actually create opportunities for others who come from diverse circumstances.
 
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karayaa

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Overall having doctor parents is a huge advantage. They have the resources to provide you with the best education possible, they probably motivate you to perform well, and you have an unobstructed window into the medical field from a young age. They have the money to hire a tutor to teach you german when your 4 years old, a nanny to take you to the library, have a friend who you can shadow, etc etc. During admissions however, you'll probably be held to a higher standard, because adcoms are assuming you should have taken advantage of these privileges. Like everything in life, there will be some exceptions, but thats what they're thinking. If you are a child of two MD/PhDs, and you're applying to med school with a 3.4 GPA and a 30 MCAT compared to another kid with the same stats who is a first generation college graduate, the adcom will look at you as lazy.

So, I guess I could see how a person could see this as a double edged sword, but overall its a HUGE advantage.
Like you say, if this is an assumed advantage, it would be a huge DISadvantage to have doctor parents who didn't take advantage of their income and spoil/sacrifice for their kids. Idk if it's possible to predict - but cultural stereotypes might be accurate :p
My family doctor is super poor. But his wife is an attorney :D
Doctors confer an SES advantage, but we have no idea how they spend their money - if they're super philanthropic, or if they go for the big vacations and prep schools.

I'd say the real advantage is philosophical/motivational - hanging around with someone who loves medicine.
 
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CarlosDanger

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Like you say, if this is an assumed advantage, it would be a huge DISadvantage to have doctor parents who didn't take advantage of their income and spoil/sacrifice for their kids. Idk if it's possible to predict - but cultural stereotypes might be accurate :p
My family doctor is super poor. But his wife is an attorney :D
Doctors confer an SES advantage, but we have no idea how they spend their money - if they're super philanthropic, or if they go for the big vacations and prep schools.

I'd say the real advantage is philosophical/motivational - hanging around with someone who loves medicine.
Totally agree. I was just using the economical advantages as an example because poor parents can also be powerful motivators to their kids, especially when they want their kids to escape their socioeconomic trap.

Theres also nothing preventing any applicant from explaining their unique upbringing or family situation on their application. Maybe a kid's doctor parents committed suicide or got addicted to pills, inspiring the kid to become a psychiatrist later on. Perfect example of a unique situation that would definitely be valued on his application.
 

histidine

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I don't necessarily disagree with you, you twisted my words a bit. The exact situation you described about a toxic household is why I said there are some exceptions. I also don't think I should even have to go into all the reasons why a kid in the lower class can be exposed to a dangerous household.

Obviously, no one with a 3.8/35 would be considered lazy, but someone with 2 MD/PhD parents and a 3.4/30 might be. I'm not saying that adcoms expect every rich kid to have had a full time nanny/tutor, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point. Would you not agree than someone who has grown up in an upper middle class family has had many privileges not bestowed upon lower class Americans? Educational, financial, economic? I'm not even saying thats a bad thing. Rich kids work very hard as well, and its ok to be rich - I will probably be a rich doctor someday. Parents usually want to help their kids. That applies to physician parents as well, who would likely give their aspiring doctor kids access resources in and out of the medical community that will help them achieve that goal. Thats why its an advantage.

These details give the adcom a better picture of who you are and what you have been through in life. Its not meant to create stereotypes, but actually create opportunities for others who come from diverse circumstances.

I do agree with you somewhat, I'm just hesitant to pass judgements. For example, 2MD/PhD parents doesn't guarantee a smart child. I know a couple of guys with doctor parents who worked their ass off and got around that gpa and mcat. They definitely weren't lazy, just didn't win the IQ lottery.
 

CarlosDanger

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I do agree with you somewhat, I'm just hesitant to pass judgements. For example, 2MD/PhD parents doesn't guarantee a smart child. I know a couple of guys with doctor parents who worked their ass off and got around that gpa and mcat. They definitely weren't lazy, just didn't win the IQ lottery.
Yeah. I think getting a great MCAT is really tough, and its probably just not in the cards for some people to score a 35 regardless of upbringing, although I would argue that anyone who works really hard as an undergrad can achieve a great premed GPA. I guess I just think that knowing stuff about parent/family/socioeconomic backgrounds does the opposite of passing judgement. It keeps the adcom to consider someone who just had a rough time in life, overcame something unique, etc. It provides the opportunity for a chance they may not have had.
 
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I honestly don't know if some of these answers are serious. I have sat on my school's AdCom as a student member and at least speaking for myself, if your parents are physicians that does NOT place you at an advantage in my book. If your parents are both physicians, that signals to me that you grew up comfortably in the top 10% of the national's socioeconomic circles. And so, if you do not demonstrate to me that you took full advantage of your parents' resources in terms of what you have accomplished, I will count that against you.
Classic Harvard kid dinging others for using family connections. If you do in fact go to Harvard know that you got their either because you are a URM or really rich. 99.9% of kids at Harvard fall into the above category. I don't go to harvard but I went to a "less prestigious" ivy.

Secondly, what you are saying about using your parent's resources makes absolutely no sense. Yes a lot of Doctors kids want to become doctors because they lived comfortable lives and want the same for themselves. However, I would actually say the majority of doctor parents tell their children not to become doctors. Mine hate the field and both saved enough to retire early. You generally see a lot of wealthier kids and middle class kids go to med school. Generally upper middle class (which is full of law types and medical types and hired skilled labor) are against their respective studies.
 
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histidine

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Yeah. I think getting a great MCAT is really tough, and its probably just not in the cards for some people to score a 35 regardless of upbringing, although I would argue that anyone who works really hard as an undergrad can achieve a great premed GPA. I guess I just think that knowing stuff about parent/family/socioeconomic backgrounds does the opposite of passing judgement. It keeps the adcom to consider someone who just had a rough time in life, overcame something unique, etc. It provides the opportunity for a chance they may not have had.
At most schools I think GPA is mainly a function of hard work, though some schools are notoriously tough, as are some majors.

I agree, I just think an interviewer/adcom/app-reader shouldn't come to conclusions based solely on whether or not the applicant has doctor parents. Crimsonkid85 made it sound like he judges that cohort of interviewees to a higher standard without ever considering other factors.
 

Goro

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Nope. For me, it's something I actually worry about. Is the applicant applying because s/he wants to, or because it's what the parents want?

quote="jetsfan1234, post: 14749628, member: 555106"]In all of my interviews, I've been asked if my one of my parents or grandparents are doctors. The answer, in my case, is no...but why do they ask this? It seemed like many of the other applicants had at least one doctor parent. I almost feel like it might be considered an advantage among adcoms, for whatever reason. Thoughts?[/quote]
 
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SunsFun

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I think this reply from LizzyM should be here as well. Most people have read it already in another thread but I am sure people googling this question in the future may find it useful.
@onyisraw
We know that higher SES is an advantage. So, given that most physicians are in the top 5% of earners in America that does place physicans' kids at an advantage over many others. However, it is on par with kids whose parents are high earners in other professions.
We know that shadowing and jobs in health care settings are important. It would seem that doc's kids have an easier time of networking to find someone to shadow and many can find a summer job in a parents' office. Letters of recommendation from partners or physicians who depend on referrals from dear old dad might be easy to come by. This is an advantage but professors kids might have a similar advantage in getting lab positions or a big break on school tuition. Still, they are head and shoulders above the kid whose parents are teaching elementary school or cleaning the elementary school.

On the other hand, to whom much is given, much is expected. So, if you have all these advantages, you'll be expected to have made the most of the education you've been afforded, taken the necessary steps to do well on the MCAT, used your connections to do shadowing and volunteering and even working and so forth.

Advantage or not? Glass half full or half empty.
 
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medception

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Dec 20, 2013
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I come from a weird situation. I am considered middle class, not entitled to any scholarships due to financial need, or waivers of application fees, test fees, etc. The issue with this is that my mother just very recently became middle class. She spent her entire life working hard to get to where she is now. She has copious amounts of debt because she was supporting two children completely on her own (okay, she got $175 from my dad per month, which is essentially nothing if you're raising the kids yourself.) She isn't in a place to help me financially during college because she's paying back all of her debt. I actually had to miss an application cycle simply because I couldn't afford to register for the test in time because I had to pay to get my car fixed. After all this, looking at an account balance that has $10 in it and somehow making that last two weeks, I look on the website to see if I'm eligible to a waiver. I'm not because my mother makes too much. I wish they had a method of putting in how long your family has been at the financial level it is now so they could compensate for this kind of issue, but I realize that just could create more issues such as "Do we ask how much debt the family has?" And such.

I could only afford the Kaplan test prep book and Princeton (which I've since found out is not a great buy) as a bundle and ended up DATbootcamp on a credit card. I couldn't afford any computer software, DAT destroyer, or the "best" options.

So yes, having a large income, in my instance, would have greatly affected what I could do. It would have been an advantage in life. My EC's, DAT scores, and GPA are all from my own doing. I couldn't get daddy or mommy to buy me a fancy prep course. I couldn't go to a fancy private college. If you ignore the fact that wealth is an advantage when it comes to essentially everything you're ignoring facts. So yeah, if I'm broke, you are rich, and we have the same stats... I am pretty sure you could have done much better. (Hypothetically speaking, of course. I'm looking good on stats provided my DAT comes back looking decent.)
 
Oct 25, 2013
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I come from a weird situation. I am considered middle class, not entitled to any scholarships due to financial need, or waivers of application fees, test fees, etc. The issue with this is that my mother just very recently became middle class. She spent her entire life working hard to get to where she is now. She has copious amounts of debt because she was supporting two children completely on her own (okay, she got $175 from my dad per month, which is essentially nothing if you're raising the kids yourself.) She isn't in a place to help me financially during college because she's paying back all of her debt. I actually had to miss an application cycle simply because I couldn't afford to register for the test in time because I had to pay to get my car fixed. After all this, looking at an account balance that has $10 in it and somehow making that last two weeks, I look on the website to see if I'm eligible to a waiver. I'm not because my mother makes too much. I wish they had a method of putting in how long your family has been at the financial level it is now so they could compensate for this kind of issue, but I realize that just could create more issues such as "Do we ask how much debt the family has?" And such.

I could only afford the Kaplan test prep book and Princeton (which I've since found out is not a great buy) as a bundle and ended up DATbootcamp on a credit card. I couldn't afford any computer software, DAT destroyer, or the "best" options.

So yes, having a large income, in my instance, would have greatly affected what I could do. It would have been an advantage in life. My EC's, DAT scores, and GPA are all from my own doing. I couldn't get daddy or mommy to buy me a fancy prep course. I couldn't go to a fancy private college. If you ignore the fact that wealth is an advantage when it comes to essentially everything you're ignoring facts. So yeah, if I'm broke, you are rich, and we have the same stats... I am pretty sure you could have done much better. (Hypothetically speaking, of course. I'm looking good on stats provided my DAT comes back looking decent.)
And with all that being said, hopefully when you're able to apply, you'll have the upperhand over more fortunate applicants with the same stats as you. Good luck when you apply.
 
Dec 20, 2013
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And with all that being said, hopefully when you're able to apply, you'll have the upperhand over more fortunate applicants with the same stats as you. Good luck when you apply.
I'm hoping so but the actual figure my mom makes puts me just above the cutoff for waivers and such so I dont really know how I can bring that story up organically. If they ask why I "decided" to take a gap year, then I'll be excited as hell and tell them that story. Lol. The entire story is much more interesting too. (Had a tire blow out on the highway one day, needed to use my moms car because I wouldn't have time to get it fixed before I had to be at work. Driving to work had ANOTHER BLOWOUT, which made me have to swerve to avoid dying but still hit a curb and cause damage to the car.)
 
Oct 25, 2013
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I'm hoping so but the actual figure my mom makes puts me just above the cutoff for waivers and such so I dont really know how I can bring that story up organically. If they ask why I "decided" to take a gap year, then I'll be excited as hell and tell them that story. Lol. The entire story is much more interesting too. (Had a tire blow out on the highway one day, needed to use my moms car because I wouldn't have time to get it fixed before I had to be at work. Driving to work had ANOTHER BLOWOUT, which made me have to swerve to avoid dying but still hit a curb and cause damage to the car.)
Could you pm me and let me know where I could find what this dollar amount threshold is? Thanks.
 
Aug 8, 2013
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I wish they had a method of putting in how long your family has been at the financial level it is now so they could compensate for this kind of issue,
There is a way to convey this outside of essays. AMCAS asks for the average income of your family for the first 18 years of your life. Although my mom finished residency while I was in college and now earns a phsycian's salary, my application honestly places my family's income well below "wealthy" to accurately reflect my childhood experience. No, this documentation doesn't help with application costs, but it helps with socioeconomic class assumptions during application review....I hope.
 
Feb 20, 2012
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I would have to agree that there's an advantage but it's more so for shadowing. My father is a physician and many of the parents of my friends are also physicians. I was able to easily find shadowing opportunities among many different specialties due to connections. I feel like if I had to go out and find people on my own, it'd be much harder. Fortunately, my university works with local physicians and has a shadowing course, but it only takes ~10 people a semester.
 

BlackBox

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vc7777, I think you bring up very important points. Indeed I am open to every applicant's specific situation. I do not make any assumptions simply based on what is on the paper. In fact, this is what the interview is for.

I think that children of MD/PhDs should be held to higher standards. For example, if a child of MD/PhD parents is applying for MD/PhD programs, I would hold him/her to a higher standard than I would a child of non-medicine, non-scientific background parents. I say this simply from own experience. My parents are scientists who immigrated to this country and work as lab technicians. They are not MDs. Their combined income is less than six figures. However, because of this, I basically grew up in a laboratory. I first sexed a fruit fly when I was 6, and I first held a pipette when I was 9. I ran my first Western (for fun!) that very same year, and I cloned my first gene when I was 11. Even though my parents are not wealthy by any means, I would say that I had an advantage in science compared to a friend of mine (also a MD/PhD student), whose parents (also immigrants) fled their country due to political reasons and lived for most of her pre-college life on food stamps. Thus, I would contend that I should have been held to a higher standard.

Separately at least in my book if the child of MD/PhD parents is applying for MD only programs I do not think that is materially different from a child of MD parents applying for MD programs.

And -- as for MD/PhDs making less. They do make less but let's not forget most MD/PhD's aren't exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel here. In the end, I agree with you that advantage is not always measured in dollars, but simply would like to assert that dollars usually always translates to an advantage.
So cool!
 
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jetsfan1234

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I would have to agree that there's an advantage but it's more so for shadowing. My father is a physician and many of the parents of my friends are also physicians. I was able to easily find shadowing opportunities among many different specialties due to connections. I feel like if I had to go out and find people on my own, it'd be much harder. Fortunately, my university works with local physicians and has a shadowing course, but it only takes ~10 people a semester.
I think this is definitely true. I have a pretty good research gig right now, but I have been so frustrated trying to find shadowing/clinical volunteering opportunities. It seems there is a glut of pre-meds trying to volunteer at all the big hospitals, and it's extremely difficult to get a position. I have actually received rejection letters saying "we have no clinical volunteering spots available at the moment, please don't contact us for 6 months."
 
Dec 9, 2012
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There is a way to convey this outside of essays. AMCAS asks for the average income of your family for the first 18 years of your life. Although my mom finished residency while I was in college and now earns a phsycian's salary, my application honestly places my family's income well below "wealthy" to accurately reflect my childhood experience. No, this documentation doesn't help with application costs, but it helps with socioeconomic class assumptions during application review....I hope.
Is this literally "average"? As in add up the income for all 18 years then divide by 18? If that is the case the number is going to be much lower than the 65,000 my family was making while I was in high school college. Seems like the number will be skewed since my parents were legit poor before my dad was able to get into a union, but that was pretty early on in my life.
 
Aug 8, 2013
1,395
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Is this literally "average"? As in add up the income for all 18 years then divide by 18? If that is the case the number is going to be much lower than the 65,000 my family was making while I was in high school college. Seems like the number will be skewed since my parents were legit poor before my dad was able to get into a union, but that was pretty early on in my life.
On my application, it asked for literally the average :D you don't have to put down the actual number, they give you ranges of income and you pick one.