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The Classic Dreadlocks Question

Discussion in 'Underrepresented in Healthcare' started by Z K, Sep 6, 2014.

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How will my decision affect interview outcomes?

Poll closed Oct 6, 2014.
  1. Positively, they will love your diversity!

    10.0%
  2. Positively, for other reasons.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Neutrally.

    20.0%
  4. Negatively, you look like a *fill-in-the-blank*.

    40.0%
  5. Negatively, for other reasons.

    20.0%
  6. I don't know enough to say.

    10.0%
  1. Z K

    Z K
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    Me
    30 year old nontraditional caucasian
    34 MCAT (92nd percentile)
    cGPA 3.87
    sGPA 3.96
    4.000 GPA for last 12 of 15 consecutive semesters... (full-time, while working 40-hour weeks)

    So... It's been about 4 years since someone last asked something similar... will NOT cutting my dreadlocks significantly affect my acceptances? In fact, shouldn't it increase them in this 'diversity' oriented application environment?

    After much contemplation, I've decided that I'm not going 'straight' for my interviews. Rather, I'm going to go in with an 'honest' approach. As silly as it might sound to many of 'YOU people' (semi-to-mostly joking there)... dreadlocks are an important part of my socio-spiritual identity. If I ever find that they somehow compromise my ability to perform as a physician, they're gone without question... But from the standpoint of simply trying to make a more pleasurable impression with adcoms during interviews, I'm not giving them up.

    I will dress up really nicely, be clean shaved, and act as professional as I naturally am... am I wrong in my assessment that *see above question in blue.*







    [​IMG]
     
    #1 Z K, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014
    HinduHammer likes this.
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  3. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Are you a practicing rastafarian? Or do you just like reggae?
     
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  4. Z K

    Z K
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    Dreadlocks have historical roots in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Rastafarianism. It's rather immaterial as well as politically incorrect to ask what specific tradition I follow... what does it matter? It's an important part of my socio-spiritual identity, period. If you need to know, how about... I am a practicing Hindu and more specifically, saiva pamtha.
     
    #3 Z K, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014
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  5. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    When you talk about your reason being socio-spiritual and then mention you would lose them in a heartbeat for medicine, you don't convey a concrete devotion to whatever socio-spiritual reason you have......that's why I asked.

    It's possible some people might judge against the hair but I think most people would be fine. It's not like a bonus point situation though. "White guy with dreads" isn't a prize demographic. Hindu might be, but your appearance doesn't convey hindu...maybe talk about it in your PS a bit
     
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  6. elizabetts

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    Try to make them look as neat as possible. I know two people with dreadlocks who are currently MS1 at a Top 5 med school and one who just finished law school at a Top 5 law school.
     
    Z K likes this.
  7. kate8822

    kate8822 Naturopathy is real medicine too...
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    Your stats seem awesome, and as you mentioned, you will be clean cut and shaved. I second the opinion of Elizabetts, just make sure they are as neat as possible. Perhaps long enough to be tied back for sake of being clean/sanitary. I have super long hair and I'd make sure it's always put up, not left to freely hang loosely. Hope that helps?

    If all else fails, would it be terrible to actually contact before the interview to ask? Or if you are feeling comfortable enough in your said Identity, bring it up with the interviewer to clear the air and just get it done and over with. Getting rid of any ignorant assumptions they might conjure.
     
  8. bonedoc82

    bonedoc82 Orthopedic Surgery Resident| Author
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    Hey bro, if you dreads define a part of who you are, then by all means keep them. One of my classmates, who graduated from Georgetown with me, had dreads.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck!

    Dr. Webb
    Orthopaedic Surgery Resident
    ================
    www.fiverr.com/awebbster_1982
    Like my page at: facebook.com/awebbmd
    Follow me at: antoniowebbmd.com
    Follow me at: twitter.com/drwebb82
     
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  9. Z K

    Z K
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    I guess it's time for an update! I'll update this again, and definitely at the end of the season.
    TMDSAS (3) Apps completed
    (1) Pre-interview Rejection
    (2) Post-interview Rejections​

    AMCAS (22) Apps completed
    (19) Pre-interview Rejections
    (3) Post-interview Rejections​

    I've interviewed at...
    University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW)
    University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)
    Baylor College of Medicine (BCM),
    University of Colorado School of Medicine (UCDenver)
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein)​
     
    #8 Z K, Feb 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  10. Giic

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    I would advise you to not update this again until after you have gotten a job. It's just safer that way. Don't put it all out there. That's not how the game is played. All the best.
     
  11. Nija2021

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    As long as they are cleaned up and you look professional i don't think it would be a problem
     
    Z K likes this.
  12. Z K

    Z K
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    Well boys and girls, I think we can wrap this thing up. It's basically the end of the application cycle, and I have no acceptances! Technically, I'm still on three wait-lists, but I'm pretty confident nothing will become of that. I'll be reapplying this year!
     
  13. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    something is off here.
     
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  14. TheTao

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    You mean other than the fact that the OP looks Black?

    Just sayin', I'm sure a few adcoms were confused the identity didn't match the phenotype.
     
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  15. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    no that this dude with such stats is not getting any love something is off about this applicant
     
  16. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    yeah, 19 pre-interview rejections with a 3.8/34....something isn't being shared
     
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  17. Z K

    Z K
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    I'm not hiding anything... I didn't submit my secondaries as quickly as I should have. It took maybe 6 weeks to complete them all.
     
  18. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    1. What could possibly take 6 weeks about secondaries?

    2. There is still something else, even if you don't realize it. Those stats should have got more interviews from 22 schools. Are you bad at writing essays? Did you only apply to the top 22 schools in the country? Any of your letters have a risk of not being positive? And disciplinary/arrest record?
     
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  19. Z K

    Z K
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    True... I'm not going to get started on this one.

    1) I'm wired for science, not language, check my MCAT. Higher level writing, e.g. a well-written app essay, takes me much longer than an average applicant. In the end, they were well polished and decent.
    2) ~6 were top colleges, I've good reasons to believe my committee LOR was favorable, and have no disciplinary/arrest records.

    Maybe it was my app picture? I've heard the first cut at UTH is of those not having 'professional' photographs. I'm sure my app was trashed at that stage.

    When I reapply this year, I'm still not sure if I'm going to cut my hair. If I do, the month I'm accepted I'll be starting them again. I'll do whatever I feel is right; so, save the logic people, I've heard it all. I'll be adding DO schools this time around as well as having a real backup plan.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    You were in a coat/tie in your pic right?
     
  21. Z K

    Z K
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    See original post.

    I recon if I'm not able to explain in eloquent terms why dreadlocks are an important part of my spiritual practice, along with a letter of support from a local Pujari (Hindu temple priest), I'll just cut it. That seems reasonable to me.
     
    #20 Z K, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  22. Dare2Dream

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    Your dreadlocks are fine, the one thing I would have suggested was to have a plain background like a wall and possibly a more neutral shirt color. The dreadlocks represent who you are so I wouldn't change them but for the other things, you could er on the side of caution to look as professional as possible. With 5 interviews, you still did well. As a nontraditional, you are expected to show clear commitment to medicine so that is where you need to make sure you have made that clear with volunteering/shadowing and possibly a letter of rec.
     
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  23. fresnomike

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    @Z K you have great stats, but as a resident in one of the most friendly states in regards to in-state medical school admissions, why would you only apply to 4 out of 9 schools? Especially when applying to the remaining 5 would be the same price (and 1 of those has no secondary)! Any specific reason? I would encourage you to apply to them next time, even if they are just back ups. I've heard some TX schools don't necessarily favor when in-state applicants don't apply to all the TX schools when they submit a TMDSAS app since it's the same price regardless (have heard it portrays a false sense of superiority, even if it's not necessarily true). Though I've heard this has hurt some people in the past, obviously some applicants still do it and get in - but why take that chance, and the chance to not get accepted anywhere.
     
    #22 fresnomike, Jun 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
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  24. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring
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    Girl got into my school with dreads this last cycle (DO). It's definitely possible.
     
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  25. Z K

    Z K
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    I believe it... and that's *great* advice. I didn't apply to all schools because I didn't expect that I'd attain zero acceptances. Live and learn. I've already decided that I'll be including all of Texas this time around. =)
     
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  26. Z K

    Z K
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    Yeah, I'm back... back for Round 2. And as you can see, I'm still sticking with it. This will be my last application cycle attempt.

    It'll be my final round.
    TMDSAS (9) Apps completed
    AMCAS (17) Apps completed
    AACOMAS (10) Apps completed


    [​IMG]
     
  27. DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

    DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines Pink Panther & Hope Diamond
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    Can I just ask a personal question @Z K ?

    Why did you post this here in the URM category? For one thing, this forum seems to be less active since there are far less people of color in the medical field.

    Maybe you might find more forum responses in the pre-allo forum.
     
    #26 DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines, Sep 7, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
  28. teeayejay

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    I'm curious as well.
     
  29. Z K

    Z K
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    For me this is an issue of being underrepresented in medicine. I have dreadlocks for cultural and spiritual reasons. If there were more people like me, we'd have a check-box. We just don't have those numbers yet... hope that answers your question. =) @teeayejay @DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines
     
  30. DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

    DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines Pink Panther & Hope Diamond
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    I have much to say, but I won't. But I will just say this: it really makes me sad that people who have not had to struggle in the same ways people of color have think that they can appropriate hair or a tan and call themselves URMs.

    With or without your dreadlocks, you'll still be one of the majority group who mostly makes the admissions decisions not just in med school, but in life. If you cut them, you'd probably stand out less though.

    URM isn't just a box you can check. Otherwise, religious affiliation would be a box. Hell, my veganism would be too.

    Having messy dreads does not make you URM, it makes you unique among your peers.

    #RachelDolezal
    #thatrichIndiandudewhopassedforBlacktogetintoMedicalSchool
     
    #29 DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines, Sep 9, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
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