subzero0174

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Hey guys. I am new to this forum and just have a quick question. I am planning on applying to medical school in about a year, and have a question about my volunteer record. I have had over 200 hours of OR volunteer experience, and I also volunteered for the John Kerry campaign in 2004. I am just wondering if you guys think I should even put this down on my application. I have been told that most MDs are extremely conservative. I do not want to ruin my future career just because the interviewer or person reading my application disagrees with my politcal views. Any suggestions or experiences? Thanks guys
 

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subzero0174 said:
Hey guys. I am new to this forum and just have a quick question. I am planning on applying to medical school in about a year, and have a question about my volunteer record. I have had over 200 hours of OR volunteer experience, and I also volunteered for the John Kerry campaign in 2004. I am just wondering if you guys think I should even put this down on my application. I have been told that most MDs are extremely conservative. I do not want to ruin my future career just because the interviewer or person reading my application disagrees with my politcal views. Any suggestions or experiences? Thanks guys
At the same time, do you want to betray who you are or be ashamed of it for professional gain? The bottom line is that you devoted a large amount of time to our democratic process, and you should absolutely put that in your application/resume. Such an item will probably not even register in the grand scheme of adcom decisions...but if anything, I would think it sets you apart in a positive way. Your numbers, letter of rec, and interviews will decide your fate...and if your political volunteerism is used against you in any way, then you'll be all the better for not going to such a dispicable place. Good luck!
 

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i am definitely on the left of most people, and as a former organizer for a healthcare union, my political stance was well-known in interviews. i surprisingly found that 90% of my interviewers openly shared my political views. i would just make sure that you talk about your experience in terms of specific issues (like US health care) and stay away from political party bashing.

regardless of your political stance, interviewers just want to see that you are passionate and committed about something, and will be impressed to see that you followed through on your convictions. they will be even more impressed if you took a leadership position in the process.
 

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Definitely!

I agree with lulubean, if you've got something you're really passionate about and are highly active in, put it in your app and then highlight, circle, and underline it. It gives you a wonderful experience to talk about in interviews and really sets you apart from the rest of the field.

And not all MDs are conservative, and not all schools are conservative. Poke around to see which ones lean more to the left, not just because they'll like your experience but also because you'll probably be happier there. For example I know that Case is quite liberal and very politically active, especially so for a Midwestern school.
 

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subzero0174 said:
Hey guys. I am new to this forum and just have a quick question. I am planning on applying to medical school in about a year, and have a question about my volunteer record. I have had over 200 hours of OR volunteer experience, and I also volunteered for the John Kerry campaign in 2004. I am just wondering if you guys think I should even put this down on my application. I have been told that most MDs are extremely conservative. I do not want to ruin my future career just because the interviewer or person reading my application disagrees with my politcal views. Any suggestions or experiences? Thanks guys
There's a huge difference between the political views of physicians involved in academia and those treating rural patients in some farming community in Oklahoma. Most M.D.'s at the med schools are surprisingly liberal, or at the VERY LEAST, open to those of different politial persuasions. Hiding your political ideology would do nothing more than do a disserve to yourself and your interviewer.
 

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but don't liberal tendencies tend to increase with increasing education levels? So I'm not too sure about the statement that most M.D.s are conservative. In fact, the ones I've interacted with in my experiences have been even farther to the left than I am. Definately do not hide that you were involved in a political campaign. I think it shows that you were passionate, involved and will help you stand out by having something different.
 

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I know when I interviewed at a school, my interviewer started telling me about things which he could not ask me about due to discrimination. I dont think a political party preference would make an impact on your application more than your religion, race, gender, sexuality etc. since they CANNOT discriminate against you
 

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OP:

I agree with the other sentiments on this thread. Involvement is more important than belief where applications are concerned. Highlight your experences, idealism, teamwork, and leadership. Stay away from discussing how great John Kerry is and how bad Bush, Dean, et al are. By keeping the focus on you, you can show how great you are without angering AdComs. I can send you a copy of an essay I wrote about campaigning for Dean if you are interested and PM me.



Brain said:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but don't liberal tendencies tend to increase with increasing education levels?


Not true. People without any college attendence (HS degree or less) tend to be more liberal than conservative. College dropouts are 50/50. College grads are quite conservative. People with advanced and professional degrees tend to be more liberal. People PhDs tend to be uniformally liberal. Therefore, the further you are away from just having a BA/BS, the more likely you are a liberal.

The other three major factors that generally influence party allengence are:
Christian church attendence: Liberals go to church less often--break even is at 1 attendence / 2 weeks. Note: Most non-Christians in the US are liberal.
Gender: More females are liberal
Age: People between 35 and 65 are more conservative
 

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I think adcom would care more that you care about something one way or the other. If I were on adcom, I'd really want to know how you were involved. To me that would say, "this person gets involved with what he cares about." That means a lot especially because the American Medical Association is really pushing activitism in medical politics. I'd write it down and be very proud of it.

Maybe I'm just too idealistic.
 

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If you put it down be prepared to talk about your experience and relate it to your desire for medicine. I think that your experience is really interesting and something that most adcoms will want to bring up to get to know you.
 

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subzero0174 said:
Hey guys. I am new to this forum and just have a quick question. I am planning on applying to medical school in about a year, and have a question about my volunteer record. I have had over 200 hours of OR volunteer experience, and I also volunteered for the John Kerry campaign in 2004. I am just wondering if you guys think I should even put this down on my application. I have been told that most MDs are extremely conservative. I do not want to ruin my future career just because the interviewer or person reading my application disagrees with my politcal views. Any suggestions or experiences? Thanks guys
Mention the OR experience. Eschew the volunteer campaign work. Few people will care. Those who do are more likely to hold it against you, either because they voted for President Bush or because they are mad at Kerry for losing. Are you trying to make some kind of political statement or are you trying to get into medical school? Remember, even if most of the admission committee are Kerry supporters, you only have to offend one of them to nudge what might already be a marginal application from the "accept" to the "reject" pile.

I am a Republican and an old-school conservative (that is, I was a conservative before it was cool and before we started winning elections) and even though most of the faculty at my medical school are conservatives as well, I would never think of interjecting politics into the application process.

It is bad manners, for starters.

Incidently, most of the faculty down here are pretty conservative, as are most of the physicans and residents I met on the residency match interview trail.
 

trinitrotoluene

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Panda Bear said:
Eschew the volunteer campaign work. Few people will care. Those who do are more likely to hold it against you, either because they voted for President Bush or because they are mad at Kerry for losing. Are you trying to make some kind of political statement or are you trying to get into medical school?
First, I really hope you are not on any admissions committees with that additude. Do you realize what a narrow-minded comment that is? If I were on an AdCom, I would never hold it against someone if they campaigned for Kerry or Bush (even though I despise them both) as long as they respected my beliefs and didn't trumpet theirs. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. All citizens should encourage each other to participate in the political process...not penalize each other.
 

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Panda Bear said:
Mention the OR experience. Eschew the volunteer campaign work. Few people will care. Those who do are more likely to hold it against you, either because they voted for President Bush or because they are mad at Kerry for losing. Are you trying to make some kind of political statement or are you trying to get into medical school? Remember, even if most of the admission committee are Kerry supporters, you only have to offend one of them to nudge what might already be a marginal application from the "accept" to the "reject" pile.

I am a Republican and an old-school conservative (that is, I was a conservative before it was cool and before we started winning elections) and even though most of the faculty at my medical school are conservatives as well, I would never think of interjecting politics into the application process.

It is bad manners, for starters.

Incidently, most of the faculty down here are pretty conservative, as are most of the physicans and residents I met on the residency match interview trail.
I don't know...I think the most important part, underneath political underpinnings, is showing adcoms that the OP put a great deal of time and effort into serving the community. Rather than omitting it altogether, maybe the OP could just state the service as volunteer for a political campaign, and leave the name/party, etc. to the adcoms' curiosities. I think it could be a valuable part of an application, as it has certainly been important in the OP's life.
 

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ornis4 said:
I don't know...I think the most important part, underneath political underpinnings, is showing adcoms that the OP put a great deal of time and effort into serving the community. Rather than omitting it altogether, maybe the OP could just state the service as volunteer for a political campaign, and leave the name/party, etc. to the adcoms' curiosities. I think it could be a valuable part of an application, as it has certainly been important in the OP's life.
Agree. Leave who you worked for out of it.

I'm a conservative, and I had some liberal prodding me during a law school interview. It wasn't fun, and even though I felt proud that I could throw out a bunch of statistics she couldn't respond to, it's not a good thing to win an argument with an interviewer.

There was a tension throughout the rest of the interview process. She even went on to ask me if I actually thought Reagan's policies ended the Cold War and whether I thought abortion was actually murder (and yes, I answered yes to both).

Not cool. It was an alumni interview, and it was, however, kind of cool to have one of the other associates at the firm stop me as I was leaving and give me a high five. Apparently I interviewed with one of the most liberal women at the firm.

Anyway, I ended up calling the school involved, telling them what had happened, and getting a new interview.

I don't think you'd be so lucky in the med school appliation process, so I'd remove all potential inflammatory material from your application.

Just be generic and say you worked for a political campaign. If you want to be more specific, a presidential campaign.
 

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Just FYI, medicine and business professionals tend to lean conservative.

Academics and lawyers lean liberal.
 

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I put that I interned at the state capital for a state representative (He was Republican, I am not). I don't think it hurt me at all. Your political views have no bearing on medical school admissions.
 

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As most everyone has said on this forum, list your volunteer work with John Kerry - and apply to schools in blue states. Just kidding! Activism, regardless for which side, is impressive - it shows initiative, leadership, ability to be a team player, etc. And it might lead to some great discussions during your interviews. I have YET to encounter an openly antagonistic interviewer; most just want to get to know who you are, what makes you tick, if you have any semblance of a personality.

And I know what you mean about medicine's conservatism - I think that label is gradually falling away though...some schools are definitely a bit more old school than others, but a lot of the adcoms are made up of young professors and students - who tend to typically be more liberal than your average tenured professor.

(As an aside: thanks for your hard work with Kerry - maybe will have our redemption in 2008!)
 

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trinitrotoluene said:
OP:

I agree with the other sentiments on this thread. Involvement is more important than belief where applications are concerned. Highlight your experences, idealism, teamwork, and leadership. Stay away from discussing how great John Kerry is and how bad Bush, Dean, et al are. By keeping the focus on you, you can show how great you are without angering AdComs. I can send you a copy of an essay I wrote about campaigning for Dean if you are interested and PM me.







Not true. People without any college attendence (HS degree or less) tend to be more liberal than conservative. College dropouts are 50/50. College grads are quite conservative. People with advanced and professional degrees tend to be more liberal. People PhDs tend to be uniformally liberal. Therefore, the further you are away from just having a BA/BS, the more likely you are a liberal.

The other three major factors that generally influence party allengence are:
Christian church attendence: Liberals go to church less often--break even is at 1 attendence / 2 weeks. Note: Most non-Christians in the US are liberal.
Gender: More females are liberal
Age: People between 35 and 65 are more conservative
According to CNN National Exit Polling of the 2004 Presidential election:

When it comes to those who attained a college degree and those who didn't...

No College Degree: Bush, 53%; Kerry 47%.

College Graduate: Bush, 49%; Kerry, 49%.

Here's more detailed polling information:

No High School (4%): Bush, 49%; Kerry, 50%.

High School Graduate (22%): Bush, 53; Kerry, 47%.

Some College (32%): Bush, 54%; Kerry, 46%.

College Graduate (26%): Bush, 52%; Kerry, 46%.

Postgrade Study (16%): Bush, 44%; Kerry, 55%.
 
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subzero0174

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Well that clears that issue up. Thanks guys, I really appreciate the advice.
 

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subzero0174 said:
Well that clears that issue up. Thanks guys, I really appreciate the advice.
If a school has a problem with your political affiliation, then is it really a school that you want to go to?
 

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trinitrotoluene said:
First, I really hope you are not on any admissions committees with that additude. Do you realize what a narrow-minded comment that is? If I were on an AdCom, I would never hold it against someone if they campaigned for Kerry or Bush (even though I despise them both) as long as they respected my beliefs and didn't trumpet theirs. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. All citizens should encourage each other to participate in the political process...not penalize each other.
Easy now. I didn't say I would hold it against the OP, just that some people would. People on admissions committees are only human, after all, and your faith in their total impartiality is both touching and misplaced.

If you have a strong application, why mess it up? If you are marginal I cannot see any legitimate reason why having volunteered for the Bush or Kerry campaign would make you any more attractive. I think it could only hurt you. I mean, fer' cryin' out loud, the OP has 200 hours of OR volunteer time. I did two surgery rotations and didn't spend that much time in the OR. Seems like there is no need to gild the lily.

I am absolutely positive that if I had interviewed at UVM or some other "solid blue" medical school wearing my "W'04" button I would have serioulsy jeopordized my chances of admission. On the other hand, when I interviewed at Baton Rouge for Emergency Medicine I could confidently wear my GOP tie because I know that everybody who would interview me was a Republican. (I did an away rotation there)

If you're not sure, don't risk it.
 

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A few obsverations:

These decidions are made in committees. One or two people might get angry over the word "Kerry" and others will be thirled, but that's why many people make these decidions.

The disadvantage to not listing "Kerry" on the application is that you are in a sence lying by omition. The AMCAS application asks that you list your most significant activities. If working for Kerry was one of them, you must list it.

I would not list your political work unless it was significant and sustained over time. I listed my work with Howard Dean and Democracy for America because I've been doing it for over a year now. I help set up the statewide DFA organization in my state and wrote its by-laws. If you only went door-to-door one or two weekends, I would keep my mouth shut.

If you want to work for political candidates without encountering this problem, work for a downballot candidate or a no-name PAC. You can be involved in the process without declaring your ideology to the world.

My figures on education and political beliefs delt with the left-right devide and not who voted for Bush and Kerry. I (and many others) would argue that Kerry is really a pro-business, DLC moderate.

Appologies to Panda.
 

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trinitrotoluene said:
A few obsverations:

These decidions are made in committees. One or two people might get angry over the word "Kerry" and others will be thirled, but that's why many people make these decidions.

The disadvantage to not listing "Kerry" on the application is that you are in a sence lying by omition. The AMCAS application asks that you list your most significant activities. If working for Kerry was one of them, you must list it.

I would not list your political work unless it was significant and sustained over time. I listed my work with Howard Dean and Democracy for America because I've been doing it for over a year now. I help set up the statewide DFA organization in my state and wrote its by-laws. If you only went door-to-door one or two weekends, I would keep my mouth shut.

If you want to work for political candidates without encountering this problem, work for a downballot candidate or a no-name PAC. You can be involved in the process without declaring your ideology to the world.

My figures on education and political beliefs delt with the left-right devide and not who voted for Bush and Kerry. I (and many others) would argue that Kerry is really a pro-business, DLC moderate.

Appologies to Panda.
No problem. I was just trying to give the OP some politically neutral advice. I would give him the same advice if he had worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

I don't know if not mentioning an activity is the same as lying. Unlike grades, the AMCAS does not require that you list any extracurricular activities at all and my understanding is that the decision to include an activity is left up to the applicant.

Not flaming anybody. Just an observation.
 

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subzero0174 said:
Hey guys. I am new to this forum and just have a quick question. I am planning on applying to medical school in about a year, and have a question about my volunteer record. I have had over 200 hours of OR volunteer experience, and I also volunteered for the John Kerry campaign in 2004. I am just wondering if you guys think I should even put this down on my application. I have been told that most MDs are extremely conservative. I do not want to ruin my future career just because the interviewer or person reading my application disagrees with my politcal views. Any suggestions or experiences? Thanks guys

Personally, I am pretty conservative and hardcore anti-John Kerry. But I was still too lazy to devote any time to the Bush campaign. So, if I was on an adcom, I would find it quite impressive that you would devote so much time to a politician you supported whether I agree with you or not. I am sure that any conservative members of an adcom would feel the same way.
 

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I think you should definately put your volunteer time on the Kerry Campaign. Other applicants put their volunteer hours spent on religious missions (medical or not), and other church/religion-related experiences, such as youth leader. Why shouldn't your experience with something you feel passionately about prevent serious consideration of your candidacy just because a particular individual on an admissions committee disagrees with that particular point of view? Like an earlier poster said (in different words, that I don't remember exactly) why would you want to attend an institution that would reject you for a reason so unprofessional as that? By the way, people that volunteer with Planned Parenthood (a pro-choice organization) submit that fact on their applications. By the way, thanks for working on the Kerry Campaign. Sorry your efforts weren't rewarded with a win. We were really close. Anway, it could have been worse, Bush could have actually gotten that "mandate" that he claims he received despite the closeness of the race. Good luck with med school admissions.
 

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Scarletbegonias said:
I think you should definately put your volunteer time on the Kerry Campaign. Other applicants put their volunteer hours spent on religious missions (medical or not), and other church/religion-related experiences, such as youth leader. Why shouldn't your experience with something you feel passionately about prevent serious consideration of your candidacy just because a particular individual on an admissions committee disagrees with that particular point of view? Like an earlier poster said (in different words, that I don't remember exactly) why would you want to attend an institution that would reject you for a reason so unprofessional as that? By the way, people that volunteer with Planned Parenthood (a pro-choice organization) submit that fact on their applications. By the way, thanks for working on the Kerry Campaign. Sorry your efforts weren't rewarded with a win. We were really close. Anway, it could have been worse, Bush could have actually gotten that "mandate" that he claims he received despite the closeness of the race. Good luck with med school admissions.

Once you're in, it doesn't matter if you managed to fool the admission committee or if they have political beliefs different than your own. It is better to conform to standards to get an acceptance than to jeapordize your chances by, and don't take this the wrong way, standing on principle.

After you get in you can cut loose. If I had interviewed at UVM (for example) you can bet I would have posed as a political moderate and given them the usual orthodox, inoffensive answers demanded by the situation.

There are times when it is better to say nothing. Although, to be honest, I don't think working for the Kerry Campaign is that controversial so on second thought it might not matter. The key is not to be "in your face" about it.

I would never mention my collection of assault rifles during an interview, for example. Some people just have a visceral reaction to guns, liberals, conservatives, gays, religion, and many other subjects.

(I mention Vermont and UVM because I am from Vermont originally and UVM is my Alma mater.)
 

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talking about how many rifles you own is a lot different than recording a volunteer experience on your application. I wasn't suggesting being "in your face" about anything at all.