angrypremed

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I am trying to sign up for the MCAT, but for ethnicity there is nothing that has a middle eastern or an arabic ethnicity, so what am I? I know I am not any of the other things they stated.
 

IDoIt4Love

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I feel your pain. I forget what I put down but you could put down like "other" or either caucasian or asian:( there really isn't much else we can do...
 

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I am trying to sign up for the MCAT, but for ethnicity there is nothing that has a middle eastern or an arabic ethnicity, so what am I? I know I am not any of the other things they stated.
There are several ethnicities missing. I have a fairly unique mix (one of which doesn't really fall under any of their categories) and since there is not an "other", I chose "decline to state." I guess Middle Eastern would technically be considered Asian-American...just like Chinese, Indian, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani, and Persian. :rolleyes:
 
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cyclin M

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Yeah I have this problem too. One of my friends told me that if I put "decline to state" they assume I'm white...but this doesn't sound right to me at all. Should I just put other? :confused:
 

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Better yet, call the AAMC. I am sure they have the answer you are looking for.
 

Pedsbro

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Yeah I have this problem too. One of my friends told me that if I put "decline to state" they assume I'm white...but this doesn't sound right to me at all. Should I just put other? :confused:
I've never heard that...that'd be pretty dumb of them to do that. Haha, they wouldn't assume that with me if they looked at my name..probably. Just remember, there is no "other" on AMCAS. Some secondaries give you more choices, including "other", but AMCAS does not.
 

rama kandra

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better to go with other or use the secondary to make the point more clear.
 

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I would choose asian since middle eastern countries are in asia. My roommate puts that down and she is Iranian.
 

ChemEngMD

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I would choose asian since middle eastern countries are in asia. My roommate puts that down and she is Iranian.

According to the US Census Arabs are white. So would most Iranians (persians) because they are definitely of white descent.
 

rama kandra

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I don't care what any atlas says, the Middle East is now slowly becoming a separate territory from what we call traditional Asia. Our perception of Asia is wholly different b/c of globalization and politics - I don't even think Indian people are really Asian, I would prefer to be called subcontinental myself.

Go with anything other than Asian, if you are from the MEast.
 

Raryn

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Everyone from Eurasia that is west of India is Caucasian by that narrow classification.
 
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235009

I am trying to sign up for the MCAT, but for ethnicity there is nothing that has a middle eastern or an arabic ethnicity, so what am I? I know I am not any of the other things they stated.
i was struggling with this same dilemma when i was filling out the AMCAS...i'm assuming that you are from an african middle eastern country and are considering putting african american (for obvious reasons). I would advise you not to do that because you will have to walk into an interview to be accepted and the interviewer will certainly expect a black person and will likely automatically get the impression that you were trying to game the system to get an admissions boost.

unfortunately the AMCAS is dumb and does not have a category for other so you would be considered white.

if you are from an asian middle eastern country and u are struggling between putting asian or white then it really doesn't matter at all.
 
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you're supposed to put Caucasian/white
I'm middle eastern and thats what I do
sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and put down Asian.
 

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As others have stated, Caucasian is the correct classification. But if you feel that your ethnic identity has had a particularly strong impact on your desire to enter medicine, then you should write about it in your PS. Other than that, they honestly won't care so don't stress out about it... especially for the MCAT. ;)
 

bruinhd

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Yeah I have this problem too. One of my friends told me that if I put "decline to state" they assume I'm white...but this doesn't sound right to me at all. Should I just put other? :confused:
NEVER "DECLINE" anything in an application for anything -- you are an open, ambitious person, remember? Don't decline to state. If you are unsure, put "other". That's what I did, I'm mixed race. I'm not going to decide that "hmm, today I feel more white than asian".
 

flip26

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I think "Asian" is a bad choice - it conjures up the "ORM" (over represented) minority Asian applicants at elite undergrads and med schools.

Technically I think white/Caucasian is correct, or "other" would suffice.
 
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235009

NEVER "DECLINE" anything in an application for anything -- you are an open, ambitious person, remember? Don't decline to state. If you are unsure, put "other". That's what I did, I'm mixed race. I'm not going to decide that "hmm, today I feel more white than asian".
stupid advice. and no, you didn't put "other" because that doesn't exist on the MCAT or the AMCAS

I think "Asian" is a bad choice - it conjures up the "ORM" (over represented) minority Asian applicants at elite undergrads and med schools.

Technically I think white/Caucasian is correct, or "other" would suffice.
i sortof agree with the negative connotations of putting asian

and again, no "other"!
 

ChemEngMD

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i was struggling with this same dilemma when i was filling out the AMCAS...i'm assuming that you are from an african middle eastern country and are considering putting african american (for obvious reasons). I would advise you not to do that because you will have to walk into an interview to be accepted and the interviewer will certainly expect a black person and will likely automatically get the impression that you were trying to game the system to get an admissions boost.

unfortunately the AMCAS is dumb and does not have a category for other so you would be considered white.

if you are from an asian middle eastern country and u are struggling between putting asian or white then it really doesn't matter at all.

Yeah plus the point is that as an Arab-African you would never face the same prejudices as a Black-African...actually in a lot of North African countries the Arabs are very prejudice against Blacks. So to even consider trying to take advantage of a program that is put there to help those of us out who actually need it would put you on bad terms at the medical school and with any actual URMs. You don't want that drama homie.
 

bozz

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My Egyptian friend always puts down African-American. It's true.. nothing else fits better.
 
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235009

There was an 'other' option for ethnicity when I signed up for the MCAT
oh...they might have changed it then...i did take the MCAT a while ago when it was still on paper. this year's AMCAS application definitely didn't have an "other" option though...hopefully they'll be changing that soon.
 
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I am the Stig

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Yeah plus the point is that as an Arab-African you would never face the same prejudices as a Black-African...actually in a lot of North African countries the Arabs are very prejudice against Blacks. So to even consider trying to take advantage of a program that is put there to help those of us out who actually need it would put you on bad terms at the medical school and with any actual URMs. You don't want that drama homie.
Good point. I don't know how aware adcoms are with respect to these inter-ethnic relations that do substantially afflict the lives of applicants that have lived outside of the US.

Slight tangent:
E.g. I used to live in an area where there was hatred between several ethnic groups of immigrants from my homeland. Even though in the US I am classified as "white", I do not feel as that is an appropriate label. "White" in the US in common conversation is never used in a racial sense, but in an ethnic one. The ethnicity it describes stems from the US demographic composition of the 18th and 19th centuries where virtually all "whites" were of British/Irish (and later German) descent. The term when used as a describer of "race" is really a veiled attempt at forcing new immigrants from Europe and the Middle East to adopt this label and a new ethnic identity. That is essentially why we can't stand choosing white as an identifier. We are not whites in the ethnic sense. The universities should ask for country of origin if they are interested in the specific inter-ethnic relations we faced and from there they can categorize it however they please. Since race is an entirely social construct they should do away with using it and just use ethnicity.
 

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i can't remember what i put for that but i reviewed my application and it seems that i declined to respond however i put that my first language was arabic and it seemed to work out fine for me.
 

cyclin M

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My Egyptian friend always puts down African-American. It's true.. nothing else fits better.
Yeah I have 3 Egyptian friends who put this, and have had no issues with interviews and what not. I mean, it is true and if they don't want you to put it, they should offer and option like Middle Eastern.
 

flip26

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Yeah I have 3 Egyptian friends who put this, and have had no issues with interviews and what not. I mean, it is true and if they don't want you to put it, they should offer and option like Middle Eastern.
Well, the real question is are they claiming URM status? Are they gaming the system by being "cute" with the African American label, because clearly everyone understands what is meant by "African American," right? Because "egyptians" are not URMs under the definitions...I think this could end up backfiring on an applicant if they are trying to "pass" as a URM...
 

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Yeah I have 3 Egyptian friends who put this, and have had no issues with interviews and what not. I mean, it is true and if they don't want you to put it, they should offer and option like Middle Eastern.
Not sure if Egyptians should put African-American... but if you're from Somalia or Sudan I would definitely classify you as both Arab and Black.

Application forms really need to add a "Middle Eastern" checkbox. More and more organizations are doing this, AAMC needs to get on the bandwagon.
 

flip26

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Not sure if Egyptians should put African-American... but if you're from Somalia or Sudan I would definitely classify you as both Arab and Black.

Application forms really need to add a "Middle Eastern" checkbox. More and more organizations are doing this, AAMC needs to get on the bandwagon.
What is really needed is a system that can accurately identify applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds - using race and ethnicity as a proxy for determining disadvantaged backgrounds is missing the point.

The whole "URM / Affirmative Action" admissions thing is supposed to do this, but there are plenty of blacks who come from fairly "advantaged" backgrounds who get an added advantage in admissions for the wrong reasons...and plenty of whites who come from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds who get no added advantage...

The system is screwed up...and I am as white as the driven snow and have no advantages or disadvantages coming from a very mainstream middle class background, and I have no dog in this fight...
 

TexanGirl

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I don't care what any atlas says, the Middle East is now slowly becoming a separate territory from what we call traditional Asia. Our perception of Asia is wholly different b/c of globalization and politics - I don't even think Indian people are really Asian, I would prefer to be called subcontinental myself.

Go with anything other than Asian, if you are from the MEast.
:thumbup::thumbup: Totally.

As an interesting aside, the first Indian immigrants (from Punjab, Haryana, Kashmir, etc) used to be considered whiteby the U.S. and were thus eligible for citizenship. Then, in 1923, in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, they overturned their prior ruling and said that although Indians were a "Caucasoid" race, they do not fit the common man's definition of a "white" person, so citizenship was revoked for Indians who had previously claimed white ancestry (this was at a time when citizenship was restricted to only free white persons).
 

cyclin M

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Well, the real question is are they claiming URM status? Are they gaming the system by being "cute" with the African American label, because clearly everyone understands what is meant by "African American," right? Because "egyptians" are not URMs under the definitions...I think this could end up backfiring on an applicant if they are trying to "pass" as a URM...
Well if you put African American are you assumed to be URM automatically? I just know that these students put African American, their motivations I do not know. Whether that's valid I'm not sure, but based on what other people have posted here Middle Eastern people should probably go with Caucasian, even though that still seems weird to me.
 

cyclin M

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What is really needed is a system that can accurately identify applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds - using race and ethnicity as a proxy for determining disadvantaged backgrounds is missing the point.

The whole "URM" admissions thing is supposed to do this, but there are plenty of blacks who come from fairly "advantaged" backgrounds who get an added advantage in admissions for the wrong reasons...and plenty of whites who come from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds who get no added advantage...

The system is screwed up.
I agree! I can't believe people haven't figured this out yet. It's such a degrading and offensive system to automatically assume everyone of a race is disadvantaged.
 

TexanGirl

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I am trying to sign up for the MCAT, but for ethnicity there is nothing that has a middle eastern or an arabic ethnicity, so what am I? I know I am not any of the other things they stated.
Most Arab-Americans are considered White/Caucasian legally, but I understand your reservations in designating yourself as that, especially if you've never considered yourself white.
 
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flip26

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Well if you put African American are you assumed to be URM automatically? I just know that these students put African American, their motivations I do not know. Whether that's valid I'm not sure, but based on what other people have posted here Middle Eastern people should probably go with Caucasian, even though that still seems weird to me.
I think the answer to this question is "yes." If you list yourself as an African American, you qualify as a URM, and URMs are afforded certain advantage in college and med school admissions.

Maybe a URM who knows more about it can chime in here...

Here is something official on URM definitions from AAMC: http://www.aamc.org/meded/urm/start.htm
 

cyclin M

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I just read this other thread about this and apparently if you pick "Asian" the menu expands and if you click "other" you can type in what ethnicity you are. Anyone care to confirm this from actually experience? I don't have an AMCAS page yet.
 

ChemEngMD

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What is really needed is a system that can accurately identify applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds - using race and ethnicity as a proxy for determining disadvantaged backgrounds is missing the point.

The whole "URM / Affirmative Action" admissions thing is supposed to do this, but there are plenty of blacks who come from fairly "advantaged" backgrounds who get an added advantage in admissions for the wrong reasons...and plenty of whites who come from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds who get no added advantage...

The system is screwed up...and I am as white as the driven snow and have no advantages or disadvantages coming from a very mainstream middle class background, and I have no dog in this fight...
See this is what you don't get...me as a Puerto Rican male and many of my counterparts as Black, Puerto Rican, Mexican, or Native American males/females have faced hardships that are irrelevant to our socioeconomic backgrounds. We face the prejudice of being presumed poor, ignorant, and incapable of things. This is something that we face no matter how rich we are or how advantaged we are. This is something that white people will never have to face in the same facet. That is the point of the URM...and that is why they have a separate category for disadvantaged. The other point is that we are more likely to go back and work in undeserved black/hispanic/native american communities to attempt and help people despite most likely receiving less pay and being in worse conditions. Get it?


I think the answer to this question is "yes." If you list yourself as an African American, you qualify as a URM, and URMs are afforded certain advantage in college and med school admissions.

Maybe a URM who knows more about it can chime in here...

Here is something official on URM definitions from AAMC: http://www.aamc.org/meded/urm/start.htm

Yes if you put African-American you are presumed a URM. Just like all Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Native Americans are considered URM. It has to do with the percent of your ethnicity in the total population of the country versus the percent of your ethnicity that are in the medical field. That is why Asians, Indians, Arabs, and other Hispanics despite being minorities are not "Under-Represented in Medicine."

So if people are putting down "African-American" and are of Arabic background they are gaming the system because if they are not of Black-African descent then they will never really face the same prejudices and stereotyes that blacks do. I do feel that Somalians and Sudanese people despite being of mixed background would be considered black because they were mixed with Arabic a long time ago...similar to how some black people in the United States are lighter skinned due to racial mixing between slave owners and slaves hundreds of years ago. Also, what are the chances of a North African Arab person going to work in undeserved African-American communities? Not nearly as high as African-American people doing the same. Hence the classification difference and the reason for it.
 

angrypremed

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See this is what you don't get...me as a Puerto Rican male and many of my counterparts as Black, Puerto Rican, Mexican, or Native American males/females have faced hardships that are irrelevant to our socioeconomic backgrounds. We face the prejudice of being presumed poor, ignorant, and incapable of things. This is something that we face no matter how rich we are or how advantaged we are. This is something that white people will never have to face in the same facet. That is the point of the URM...and that is why they have a separate category for disadvantaged. The other point is that we are more likely to go back and work in undeserved black/hispanic/native american communities to attempt and help people despite most likely receiving less pay and being in worse conditions. Get it?





Yes if you put African-American you are presumed a URM. Just like all Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Native Americans are considered URM. It has to do with the percent of your ethnicity in the total population of the country versus the percent of your ethnicity that are in the medical field. That is why Asians, Indians, Arabs, and other Hispanics despite being minorities are not "Under-Represented in Medicine."

So if people are putting down "African-American" and are of Arabic background they are gaming the system because if they are not of Black-African descent then they will never really face the same prejudices and stereotyes that blacks do. I do feel that Somalians and Sudanese people despite being of mixed background would be considered black because they were mixed with Arabic a long time ago...similar to how some black people in the United States are lighter skinned due to racial mixing between slave owners and slaves hundreds of years ago. Also, what are the chances of a North African Arab person going to work in undeserved African-American communities? Not nearly as high as African-American people doing the same. Hence the classification difference and the reason for it.

I agree with you that Arabs are not under-represented in med school, but I dont agree with you stating that you guys are the only individuals that face hardships, as an immigrant my father faced unemployment for 7 and a half years while he had an MD/PhD, that by some people is considered hardships (he got his degree from England, I believe Oxford), so many other races do face hardships, but I dont think its because the stereotype that they believe they are incapable of doing anything but rather, pure racism and thats all there is probably to it. And I agree with the other poster, that you could be arabic and still be disadvantaged. Dont get me wrong, you may be disadvantaged but surely you are not the only one at that position, as you can see, the middle eastern/arabic race is not even put down as an option, probably not because not enough arabs take the MCAT, but a different reason (hence they are also disadvantage, during interviews or whatever it may be)
 

bruinhd

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oh...they might have changed it then...i did take the MCAT a while ago when it was still on paper. this year's AMCAS application definitely didn't have an "other" option though...hopefully they'll be changing that soon.
wow, who's giving stupid advice now? so quick to judge we are.

maybe we should exercise a little more tact before we put our foot in our mouth as well?

i took the mcat in both 2005 and 2008, and there was an "other" category.
 

ChemEngMD

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I agree with you that Arabs are not under-represented in med school, but I dont agree with you stating that you guys are the only individuals that face hardships, as an immigrant my father faced unemployment for 7 and a half years while he had an MD/PhD, that by some people is considered hardships (he got his degree from England, I believe Oxford), so many other races do face hardships, but I dont think its because the stereotype that they believe they are incapable of doing anything but rather, pure racism and thats all there is probably to it. And I agree with the other poster, that you could be arabic and still be disadvantaged. Dont get me wrong, you may be disadvantaged but surely you are not the only one at that position, as you can see, the middle eastern/arabic race is not even put down as an option, probably not because not enough arabs take the MCAT, but a different reason (hence they are also disadvantage, during interviews or whatever it may be)

While that sucks that your dad was discriminated against he still came to this country with a PhD/MD..whereas most of us of Puerto Rican/Meixcan descent our relatives came here as low-income job workers. There is a huge difference...but I will not deny that you face hardships too, I understand that, as I know many Arabic ppl from my local mosque but 50%+ of them are very well off doctors. URM is there to help promote healthcare to underprivileged communities by creating doctors that are able to relate to their patrons better. Honestly, I think ppl are fairly used to seeing Arabic doctors and will not regard them as ignorant about their job...they may regard you in negative ways as far as your religion and make unjust assumptions about terrorism and so on...but as far as your ability to do your job, you probably will not be questioned.
 

angrypremed

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While that sucks that your dad was discriminated against he still came to this country with a PhD/MD..whereas most of us of Puerto Rican/Meixcan descent our relatives came here as low-income job workers. There is a huge difference...but I will not deny that you face hardships too, I understand that, as I know many Arabic ppl from my local mosque but 50%+ of them are very well off doctors. URM is there to help promote healthcare to underprivileged communities by creating doctors that are able to relate to their patrons better. Honestly, I think ppl are fairly used to seeing Arabic doctors and will not regard them as ignorant about their job...they may regard you in negative ways as far as your religion and make unjust assumptions about terrorism and so on...but as far as your ability to do your job, you probably will not be questioned.
Point taken. Its true my father had more opportunities, but also we were so damn poor for the longest time ever, my father didnt start rich, he went to a school in Syria and the school is not that expensive (yes advantage), but he didnt have enough to afford Oxford, but rather back at the time there was a grant program that selected only the top to go study abroad and my father was selected. After all that success and hard work, no job was found. My father then adopted an African American (my only brother). I love him so dont get me wrong about what I am going to say, but when it comes to application he probably has a 90% chance higher than me to get into a med school, is that truelly fair for me since we both have the same financial means? Not truelly since he has been with us for a very long time as he joined the family at a very young age and we went into the same schools, the same education, etc. So at this case I would be disadvantaged and not him.
 
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235009

wow, who's giving stupid advice now? so quick to judge we are.

maybe we should exercise a little more tact before we put our foot in our mouth as well?

i took the mcat in both 2005 and 2008, and there was an "other" category.
i still think your advice that declining to state your race in some way will disadvantage you was stupid.

and there was certainly no "other" category when you took the MCAT in 2005.
 

rama kandra

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I think the 90% part is a bit over the top. There is no way his ethnicity gives him a 90% chance over you, assuming all things MCAT/GPA/whatever are the same. However, he will have an advantage and thats the point. Nobody can give the time or the energy to looking at every single applicants specific story.

This is why URM exists, this is why we have quotas and cutoffs - to reduce the noise as best we can. So while he has an advantage over you, that does not change the fact that ChemEngMD is right - plenty more URMs deserve the benefit of the doubt and will most likely end up serving the communities that are also under-represented.

On the end, everyone has a chance at med school and the only thing that you can do is try your best, but there will always be advantages for certain groups period. Thats kind of the story of the world in general - fighting URM or making your story seem to counter the concept is irrelevant. There will always be outliers.
 

angrypremed

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I think the 90% part is a bit over the top. There is no way his ethnicity gives him a 90% chance over you, assuming all things MCAT/GPA/whatever are the same. However, he will have an advantage and thats the point. Nobody can give the time or the energy to looking at every single applicants specific story.

This is why URM exists, this is why we have quotas and cutoffs - to reduce the noise as best we can. So while he has an advantage over you, that does not change the fact that ChemEngMD is right - plenty more URMs deserve the benefit of the doubt and will most likely end up serving the communities that are also under-represented.

On the end, everyone has a chance at med school and the only thing that you can do is try your best, but there will always be advantages for certain groups period. Thats kind of the story of the world in general - fighting URM or making your story seem to counter the concept is irrelevant. There will always be outliers.

Your right sorry to get off at a tangent, its just I am frustrated that I cant really put anything in and continue to register. There isnt even an other option, which is throwing me off.
 

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While that sucks that your dad was discriminated against he still came to this country with a PhD/MD..whereas most of us of Puerto Rican/Meixcan descent our relatives came here as low-income job workers. There is a huge difference...but I will not deny that you face hardships too, I understand that, as I know many Arabic ppl from my local mosque but 50%+ of them are very well off doctors. URM is there to help promote healthcare to underprivileged communities by creating doctors that are able to relate to their patrons better. Honestly, I think ppl are fairly used to seeing Arabic doctors and will not regard them as ignorant about their job...they may regard you in negative ways as far as your religion and make unjust assumptions about terrorism and so on...but as far as your ability to do your job, you probably will not be questioned.
When Asians first started coming to this country they came from worse conditions than most Mexicans come from now. Asians assumed the most grueling, labor intensive, and lowest paying jobs and were payed 60% of what their caucasian counterparts were paid. Through a fierce work ethic, they were able to move up the socioeconomic chain.

Mexicans are known for a fierce work ethic and with time, they will move up the ladder. The only reason this might take a little longer is that a large portion of them are here illegally; it's hard to get a college degree when you aren't a citizen.

Also, you say that socioeconomic status is not a factor, but you keep mentioning that most Mexicans came here as "low-income job workers." Is this not the definition of socioeconomic status? Coming to this country with a MD/PhD should be no factor if ones socioeconomic status doesn't matter.
 

fastnfurious

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I think it can be agreed upon that people from the middle east and north africa are considered Caucasian. I have seen this on many recent applications (including at school), althought I have yet to see it on the AMCAS application.

The AMCAS needs to get a new category going because although we still are "white," we are still at a disadvantage. For example, my parents did not learn english as a first language and had to go through so much to come here. when growing up, I was always the one who had to teach myself grammar and vocab because I knew I couldn't rely on my parents for that...and like someone said, some of the arabs are at a financial disadvantage when they immigrate here
 

ChemEngMD

No need to hide behind private profiles
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Nov 24, 2008
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I think it can be agreed upon that people from the middle east and north africa are considered Caucasian. I have seen this on many recent applications (including at school), althought I have yet to see it on the AMCAS application.

The AMCAS needs to get a new category going because although we still are "white," we are still at a disadvantage. For example, my parents did not learn english as a first language and had to go through so much to come here. when growing up, I was always the one who had to teach myself grammar and vocab because I knew I couldn't rely on my parents for that...and like someone said, some of the arabs are at a financial disadvantage when they immigrate here

You can claim "disadvantaged" and explain why you feel you are disadvantaged...be it due to your family income or the fact that you had to teach yourself English. Your parents being immigrants was probably a disadvantage but how would that be anymore than someone from Bosnia or from Russia having to learn English. "URM" is not equivalent to "disadvantaged." How many times we gotta put this out there?
 

Raryn

Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
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Apr 25, 2008
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ProLogic

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Apr 22, 2008
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I believe that under the Census, middle eastern people are counted as 'Caucasian'. I do have a question though, I'm counted as Hispanic/Latino but always put down 'Decline to state'. If I ever do take the MCAT (deciding on whether to go for my 4-year after CC) are there any sort of drawbacks?
 

Kaustikos

Archerize It
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Jan 18, 2008
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Always Bespin
Not sure if Egyptians should put African-American... but if you're from Somalia or Sudan I would definitely classify you as both Arab and Black.

Application forms really need to add a "Middle Eastern" checkbox. More and more organizations are doing this, AAMC needs to get on the bandwagon.
Seriously. I'm algerian, more african-american than african-american in todays age.:laugh:
 
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