Medical Should I identify as Native American on my application or not?

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Staff member
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2013
I understand that this is a very personal question, but I'm very conflicted and would love some extra input. I'm Native American...and also not. My family is very proud of our NA heritage, and I am registered with a federally-recognized tribe. However, my tribe (Delaware Tribe of Indians) determines membership by linear descent, and my blood quantum is very, very low (1/128). Despite my family's interest in our tribe, we didn't really participate in any tribal activities. I just receive the newsletter and follow the events on Facebook. I explored our culture a bit as a kid, but never was an active participant.

I considered myself white/NA for most of my childhood, into my early adult life. Although I am very proud of my culture and am eager to learn more about it, I have become increasingly uncomfortable claiming it on applications due to my low blood quantum. On one hand, my family is encouraging me to "tick the box" because, since I'm registered with a federally-recognized tribe, saying that I'm not NA is technically untrue. On the other hand, I'm very sensitive about misrepresenting myself, particularly if there is any advantage involved (or if I would be taking anything away from another URM).

Again, I understand that this is a very personal question. I am just very on-the-fence. I need to register for the MCAT ASAP (my dates are filling up), which is forcing me to confront this once again. So...with all that in mind, would you tick the box? Thanks in advance.

It's good that you have the card, and thus are recognized as such, but it begs he question of your involvement, which you state is minimal. Numerous posters on here (applicants and interviewers alike) have stated that they were asked (or did ask if they were the interviewer) about their involvement in the community, or at the very least with other disadvantaged populations.

I doubt anyone will care about your 1/128 versus 1/50 versus 1/1,000, but curiosity will be piqued regarding the lack of involvement for someone who is recognized and checking the box.

@gyngyn @Goro do either of you have anything you want to weigh in here?


Admissions advisor
7+ Year Member
Oct 14, 2011
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  1. Academic Administration
I don't see how checking the box hurts you. But holistic review would be more than checking boxes but is about context. I would want to know how that insight helps you with working with others including patients and other students.

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