You're doing it wrong, part 3: disadvantaged

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I'm sorry if someone else has posted a similar story, but can someone give me a quick yay or nay if I should put myself down as URM? Can PM if anyone is interested. tl;dr: food stamps & some ****ty times during the great recession, had a parental suicide sophomore year in high school.

URM stands for underrepresented in medicine, and generally describes racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the overall population.

Being classified as URM has nothing to do with food stamps, ****ty times, or parental suicide, although those factors may contribute to a legitimate claim for being disadvantaged.

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I've been going back and forth on whether I should select this for myself. After reading through this thread I'm leaning towards not doing it but am still not 100%. I'm 37 (38 next week...don't force the age jump too soon!), and this thread makes it appear that you are only considering the younger folks with a being potentially disadvantaged. At least when it comes to admissions.

tl;dr -Grew up in a rural community (<2000 people) with sub-par high school which also had the highest pregnancy rate in the state for three of the years I was there. We're number ONE! My family was blue collar but financially stable as far as I could tell.
-After high school and on my own I had been on food stamps a few times. Worked while eventually making it through college and grad school. Finally in a secure job (jobs actually) while I'm applying right now.

I've been looking at this as "Do I fit the 'spirit' of the question" and I don't think that's true, even if there are elements of truth. And, if this selection only applies to experiences while under 18, then I guess it's a no.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks!
 
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I've been going back and forth on whether I should select this for myself. After reading through this thread I'm leaning towards not doing it but am still not 100%. I'm 37 (38 next week...don't force the age jump too soon!), and this thread makes it appear that you are only considering the younger folks with a being potentially disadvantaged. At least when it comes to admissions.

tl;dr -Grew up in a rural community (<2000 people) with sub-par high school which also had the highest pregnancy rate in the state for three of the years I was there. We're number ONE! My family was blue collar but financially stable as far as I could tell.
-After high school and on my own I had been on food stamps a few times. Worked while eventually making it through college and grad school. Finally in a secure job (jobs actually) while I'm applying right now.

I've been looking at this as "Do I fit the 'spirit' of the question" and I don't think that's true, even if there are elements of truth. And, if this selection only applies to experiences while under 18, then I guess it's a no.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks!
If your family was blue collar, you are likley to be classified as EO-1 (google AAMC EO-1 if you want to know more about this), even if you don't check the "disadvantaged" box and explain your circumstances. It is also likely that your childhood community will be classified by AMCAS as (U) (underserved) and/or (R) (rural).
 
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If your family was blue collar, you are likley to be classified as EO-1 (google AAMC EO-1 if you want to know more about this), even if you don't check the "disadvantaged" box and explain your circumstances. It is also likely that your childhood community will be classified by AMCAS as (U) (underserved) and/or (R) (rural).

Thanks LizzyM. I'll look at that.

I figure they would classify that somehow. But does that mean anything to those who graduated from that school 20 years ago? Do adult occurrences in the disadvantaged characteristics (i.e.food stamps, etc.) also count? It seems like a 'No' there.
 
Thanks LizzyM. I'll look at that.

I figure they would classify that somehow. But does that mean anything to those who graduated from that school 20 years ago? Do adult occurrences in the disadvantaged characteristics (i.e.food stamps, etc.) also count? It seems like a 'No' there.

Disadvantage section is suppose to explain why you were behind your peers upon arrival at college. In one case I saw it explain why, given the circumstances, a HS graduate joined the Marines and served for 3 years before matriuculating at a service academy. The applicant was applying at age >30 but the disadvantage section was still relevant.

With regard to the (U) and/or (R) of your hometown, experience shows that on a population basis, those who grew up in (R) and (U) settings are more likely to choose to practice in such settings that those who did not grow up in those areas. So, some schools will put some weight on that childhood experience, even if it were 20 years ago.
 
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Disadvantage section is suppose to explain why you were behind your peers upon arrival at college. In one case I saw it explain why, given the circumstances, a HS graduate joined the Marines and served for 3 years before matriuculating at a service academy. The applicant was applying at age >30 but the disadvantage section was still relevant.

With regard to the (U) and/or (R) of your hometown, experience shows that on a population basis, those who grew up in (R) and (U) settings are more likely to choose to practice in such settings that those who did not grow up in those areas. So, some schools will put some weight on that childhood experience, even if it were 20 years ago.

That first part helped clear things up a lot! I think I was losing the forest through the trees, as it were. Thanks!

I live in an urban environment now and I would much rather be back in a smaller community.

Edit: I love that your profile image is Dame Judi Dench being all...Denchy...
 
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I had cancer when I was young and has shaped my whole life basically and I've lived with my grandparents since I was 3 because my parents are certifiably crazy lol. But there was this huge court battle that lasted years and really affected me emotionally. I'm planning on touching partially on some of this in my personal statement. But I'm not sure if I should expand on it in the disadvantage section?
 
I had cancer when I was young and has shaped my whole life basically and I've lived with my grandparents since I was 3 because my parents are certifiably crazy lol. But there was this huge court battle that lasted years and really affected me emotionally. I'm planning on touching partially on some of this in my personal statement. But I'm not sure if I should expand on it in the disadvantage section?
Were you poor or well-off growning up? Did you arrive in college behind your peers ?
 
I had cancer when I was young and has shaped my whole life basically and I've lived with my grandparents since I was 3 because my parents are certifiably crazy lol. But there was this huge court battle that lasted years and really affected me emotionally. I'm planning on touching partially on some of this in my personal statement. But I'm not sure if I should expand on it in the disadvantage section?
To reiterate, the disadvantaged prompt is not about who had the most horrible life.
 
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New to sdn. Would you considered this disadvantaged? It goes out of the 0-18 age range a little. @LizzyM @Goro


Age 16 -
1) mother lost her job due to recession
2) bankruptcy
3) we lost our house

Age 17
4) my parents moved to another state and signed guardianship of me over to my neighbors, so I can finish high-school here.
5) I did 20-30 hours of chores around the house per week during my senior year and tutored their daughter.
6) I sold everything that I owned and saved up $1,000.
7) my guardians were on food stamps and having financial problems, so they asked to borrow $700 to pay rent.

Age 18
8) a few months later, they kicked me out of the house and never paid me the $700 back.
9) With $300 and no place to live, I signed up for the Air Force and stayed a night or two between multiple friends houses for about a year. Thanks to having wonderful friends, I only had to sleep in the park a couple times.

Age 19
10) eventually, my money ran low and for 2.5 months I was spending $30/month to feed myself. My body deteriorated 40lbs of almost entirely muscle over 2.5 months before the Air Force sent me to basic training. I was severely malnourished and in a fog everyday.
Sound disadvantaged to me. But when did you join the Air Force? At 19? What were you doing in the mean time?
 
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Thanks for answering @Goro. That’s where the problem lies. I was waiting on the Air Force to ship me out, for over a year. They were taking forever but I always felt like at any moment I would leave. After a while, I realized I needed a job so I started searching but I couldn’t find any for some reason. I applied to 50-100 different places that I could walk to because I didn’t have a car or much bus money. Granted I didn’t really have any work experience at the time so my resume consisted of things like guitar or MMA and nothing of value.

I also wasn’t aware of resources to help me at the time, didn’t have easy internet access, or a smart phone. I didn’t own any nice clothes for an interview either, so basically finding work was very difficult and even places like McDonalds had 20-30 applications with some people having bachelors degrees.

The problem is that there isn’t enough space to describe all of these additional things in the disadvantaged section.

PM me with a first draft of your disadvantaged statement and we can see if we can make it work within the space constraints. You'll also list your military service in the work & activies section so that's covered there.
 
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PM me with a first draft of your disadvantaged statement and we can see if we can make it work within the space constraints. You'll also list your military service in the work & activies section so that's covered there.
Thank you both for your assistance. I’ve been reading a lot of the information that you both provide and have learned a great deal. Your guidance is extremely valued and I appreciate it dearly. I will type up a rough draft and send it to you soon @LizzyM.
 
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This section of AMCAS and AACOMAS was a really great example of how reality can be twisted. I grew up behind the Iron Curtain and it just so happened that the ages 0-18 correspond to either the fall of real socialism/communism and the post-transformation hyperinflation. Thus, in terms of income, I could have said that my parents made less than $100 a year and we had to survive at that income. I ended up picking an income bracket corresponding to something that would signify an equivalent lifestyle that we had. Just a fun observation...
 
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My PI who used to be on the admissions committee told me I could be considered as disadvantaged. I wanted to run it through @Goro @LizzyM to see if he is right. He told me to submit as disadvantaged and let the adcoms decide if I actually am.

I grew up overseas and I consider my family as middle class.

Age 18-20 (2012-2014):
Came to CA by myself at age 18 with no relatives here and attended community college.
OOS status.
Took me three years to transfer to a 4 year institution due to budget cuts and lack of classes at my CC.

Age 20-23 (2015-2017):
Prior to applying to transfer I realized that I would have to shell out loads of money bc I was an OOS status. So I began working FT and going to school FT. My parents stopped supporting me at this point due to some internal family problems. Even after I transferred, I worked FT and went to school FT for three years. I paid everything by myself with the help of food stamps, private/public student loans, and FAFSA. Skipped a quarter to work some more because I could not afford going to school. Then during winter quarter I finally got approved IS status and still worked full time to pay off some residual debt from school.

Age 24 (2018):
Was able to live off of FAFSA and food stamps.
Also worked PT at a lab job on campus.
Finally graduated.


Thank you!
 
My PI who used to be on the admissions committee told me I could be considered as disadvantaged. I wanted to run it through @Goro @LizzyM to see if he is right. He told me to submit as disadvantaged and let the adcoms decide if I actually am.

I grew up overseas and I consider my family as middle class.

Age 18-20 (2012-2014):
Came to CA by myself at age 18 with no relatives here and attended community college.
OOS status.
Took me three years to transfer to a 4 year institution due to budget cuts and lack of classes at my CC.

Age 20-23 (2015-2017):
Prior to applying to transfer I realized that I would have to shell out loads of money bc I was an OOS status. So I began working FT and going to school FT. My parents stopped supporting me at this point due to some internal family problems. Even after I transferred, I worked FT and went to school FT for three years. I paid everything by myself with the help of food stamps, private/public student loans, and FAFSA. Skipped a quarter to work some more because I could not afford going to school. Then during winter quarter I finally got approved IS status and still worked full time to pay off some residual debt from school.

Age 24 (2018):
Was able to live off of FAFSA and food stamps.
Also worked PT at a lab job on campus.
Finally graduated.


Thank you!
Disadvantaged generally means situations in your youth that affected your ability to go to college. You fall outside that criteria, it seems.
 
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Would the adcom consider it disadvantaged if a student was under 18 for a few years during college and thus were not able to get clinical experience or shadowing due to age restrictions? Or would it be better to not mention it?
Sorry to quote this a little late, but this does mean that underage people can't get clinical experience or is it a situation that is exclusive to you? Is it because underage people can't legally sign contracts such as HIPAA? Is this only a thing in America?
 
Out of curiosity, would you guys say death of primary income parent + receiving SSI benefits = disadvantage? It pretty clearly affected my youth + education attained before college.
 
Sorry to quote this a little late, but this does mean that underage people can't get clinical experience or is it a situation that is exclusive to you? Is it because underage people can't legally sign contracts such as HIPAA? Is this only a thing in America?
You can get clinical experience but it's just more difficult to find places that will accept you.
HIPAA can be done by anyone.
It's most likely due to liability issues that most places only accept students over 18 to volunteer
 
Just keeping it short and sweet, if you entered college at a disadvantage compared with your fellow students in the classroom due to poverty, poor k-12 education, exceptional hardships (catastrophic family situation) then it might be worthwhile to consider checking that box and writing the <1325 characters for the prompt.

Do keep in mind that every student can list family income, work before age 18 (y/n), birthplace, hometown, high school alma mater, parents' highest level of education and occupation. All this also paints a picture that can be helpful. AMCAS also assigns you an EO category based on parents education and employment (if parents were educated in the US).
 
Is the EO category given to the applicant?
AMCAS determines it and puts it on the application using a rubric. Google EO AMCAS to see the rubric. It depends on your parents highest level of education (HS, college, beyond undergrad) and their employment (blue collar, white collar, professional).
 
Just keeping it short and sweet, if you entered college at a disadvantage compared with your fellow students in the classroom due to poverty, poor k-12 education, exceptional hardships (catastrophic family situation) then it might be worthwhile to consider checking that box and writing the <1325 characters for the prompt.

Do keep in mind that every student can list family income, work before age 18 (y/n), birthplace, hometown, high school alma mater, parents' highest level of education and occupation. All this also paints a picture that can be helpful. AMCAS also assigns you an EO category based on parents education and employment (if parents were educated in the US).
Wait so does education outside of US not count then for parents? Is there a field to indicate that? Just kinda curious.
 
EO is determined only if parents highest education was in US. I didn’t develop the rubric so I can’t explain the rationale.
List your parents names, whether they are living, where they live (county and state if US, or country is outside US) highest schooling, alma mater, and occupational category from a menu.


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Sorry to quote this a little late, but this does mean that underage people can't get clinical experience or is it a situation that is exclusive to you? Is it because underage people can't legally sign contracts such as HIPAA? Is this only a thing in America?

HIPAA is not a contract that you sign, it is a law dictating, among other things, how private medical information is maintained by healthcare providing insititutions. In order to ensure that their employees/volunteers follow this law, most institutions will have some type of HIPAA training required as part of their institutional policy, but it isn't standardized by the law itself. Similarly, it is typically institutional policy that will determine what opportunities underage people might have (unless it is something that may be governed by, for example, child labor laws).
 
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Is this thread still alive - thought I might give it a shot :)

Would I be considered disadvantaged if I grew up as a first-gen student where my parents didn't speak English, so I literally had to translate EVERYTHING for them since I was in elementary school... it's been a huge burden on me, and made college quite difficult for me because I was constantly tied down to my responsibilities at home and at school. In fact, one of my major motivators on why I want to pursue medicine is because I want to bring immigrants the medical care that they often can't find because of doctors who don't know how to deal with non-native English speakers.

On top of this, my parents lost their jobs due to covid and I'm planning on mentioning this as well. Would this qualify me as disadvantaged?
 
Is this thread still alive - thought I might give it a shot :)

Would I be considered disadvantaged if I grew up as a first-gen student where my parents didn't speak English, so I literally had to translate EVERYTHING for them since I was in elementary school... it's been a huge burden on me, and made college quite difficult for me because I was constantly tied down to my responsibilities at home and at school. In fact, one of my major motivators on why I want to pursue medicine is because I want to bring immigrants the medical care that they often can't find because of doctors who don't know how to deal with non-native English speakers.

On top of this, my parents lost their jobs due to covid and I'm planning on mentioning this as well. Would this qualify me as disadvantaged?
No and no.

From the wise LizzyM: It might be completely legit to self-identify as "disadvantaged" even if you are cis, white and male. "Disadvantaged" is meant to help identify people who may not look disadvantaged on the surface but who grew up with "less" than the vast majority of applicants. (As you could see when you got to college and realized that your "normal" was much less than usual state of affairs for most college students.)

Did you live in Section 8 housing? Qualify for free lunch? Work for spending money and/or to help with household bills before age 18? Those are all questions (or related to questions) on the AMCAS that help explain "disadvantage". Basically, it’s the question, "did you grow up in poverty such that poverty limited your choices/opportunities and your preparedness for college?" Some people growing up in poverty don't attend very good K-12 schools and are less prepared for college than students who attended better schools.

The disadvantaged section is not about NOW, and not about who had the most horrible life either.
 
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No and no.

From the wise LizzyM: It might be completely legit to self-identify as "disadvantaged" even if you are cis, white and male. "Disadvantaged" is meant to help identify people who may not look disadvantaged on the surface but who grew up with "less" than the vast majority of applicants. (As you could see when you got to college and realized that your "normal" was much less than usual state of affairs for most college students.)

Did you live in Section 8 housing? Qualify for free lunch? Work for spending money and/or to help with household bills before age 18? Those are all questions (or related to questions) on the AMCAS that help explain "disadvantage". Basically, it’s the question, "did you grow up in poverty such that poverty limited your choices/opportunities and your preparedness for college?" Some people growing up in poverty don't attend very good K-12 schools and are less prepared for college than students who attended better schools.

The disadvantaged section is not about NOW, and not about who had the most horrible life either.

Although I didn't live in Section 8 housing, I qualified for free lunch and worked in high school to support our family. English is also my second-language, so I struggled with that in the beginning years of my education.

I considered myself "disadvantaged," because I definitely saw how my "normal" was significantly different from my peers' at college... I received a pell grant and was able to attend college because of the financial aid I received. Does this not warrant my "disadvantaged" status?
 
Although I didn't live in Section 8 housing, I qualified for free lunch and worked in high school to support our family. English is also my second-language, so I struggled with that in the beginning years of my education.

I considered myself "disadvantaged," because I definitely saw how my "normal" was significantly different from my peers' at college... I received a pell grant and was able to attend college because of the financial aid I received. Does this not warrant my "disadvantaged" status?
I'm leaning yes
 
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So sorry - just wanted to confirm 100%, do you think I do qualify as disadvantaged or not?
 
I also have a slightly ambivalent disadvantaged childhood - if anyone could weigh in on this, I'd appreciate it! I'm a re-applicant this cycle and I'm trying to see what others think of my status before indicating myself as disadvantaged for this cycle.

Age 0-9 South Korea
Fairly average household

Age 9-11
Divorce, bankruptcy on father's part
Moved to Laos for 1 year and back to S Korea to live with grandmother (disruption in education)

Age 11-onwards
Single mom household with postdoc income (hovers around 50k)
Household of 1 adult, 2 children
No child support (divorce under S Korea laws) or significant support from relatives (all overseas or deceased)
Learned English, couldn't communicate at school for a year
Financial troubles, had to make ends meet through age 18
Eligible for reduced lunches, Pell grant, worked before 18 for spending money, low income housing

Upsides - Great public school district that helped me to continue on to college
Mom has always been supportive of education throughout
Received a ton of financial aid that allowed me to attend college
 
I'm gonna burn for this but... One should always ask themselves first: "Do I feel disadvantaged (honestly)?" and not "Am I considered disadvantaged?"
 
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It's disadvantaged, and I doubt growing up in India with dual physician parents will earn you much sympathy.

Degrees abroad are often worthless in the US. Had dual physician parents who immigrated here right after residency from a more "advanced" country than India and we were on food stamps lol. They just have jobs in non-medical fields now bc how expensive and difficult the move was.

Surely adcoms realize that physician salaries in many countries are low and that parental "highest degree" doesn't necessarily reflect on the student's upbringing.
 
Degrees abroad are often worthless in the US. Had dual physician parents who immigrated here right after residency from a more "advanced" country than India and we were on food stamps lol. They just have jobs in non-medical fields now bc how expensive and difficult the move was.

"...I doubt growing up in India with dual physician parents will earn you much sympathy."

carboxylicpremed said:
Surely adcoms realize that physician salaries in many countries are low and that parental "highest degree" doesn't necessarily reflect on the student's upbringing.

Surely applicants realize that adcoms do not have a reference book that describes the economic reality of being a physician in every location on the planet. The most common themes I see in disadvantaged descriptions are poverty, addiction, abandonment, housing insecurity, food insecurity, education impediments, and occasionally violence. While it is theoretically possible to be genuinely disadvantaged while growing up the child of two doctors in India, it's difficult to cast that in a way that doesn't sound like one is trying to work the system.
 
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"...I doubt growing up in India with dual physician parents will earn you much sympathy."

Surely applicants realize that adcoms do not have a reference book that describes the economic reality of being a physician in every location on the planet. The most common themes I see in disadvantaged descriptions are poverty, addiction, abandonment, housing insecurity, food insecurity, education impediments, and occasionally violence. While it is theoretically possible to be genuinely disadvantaged while growing up the child of two doctors in India, it's difficult to cast that in a way that doesn't sound like one is trying to work the system.

Underlining the country doesn't change things. I don't believe someone's disadvantaged unless they have those things you listed either; I did not put myself as disadvantaged despite <$20k family income the entirety of my life as not to come off as "working" any system. I apologize if I misinterpreted you, but the tone with your sympathy comment came off ignorant to the realities of the lives of many physician immigrants and I wanted to clarify it.

My point is, India or not, abroad MDs are not useable here without redoing residency and requires taking exams that most doctors (US or otherwise) forgot the content of after all those years, which many don't have the time or means for when trying to settle in a new place. And doctors in India aren't an exception. Given their position, Adcoms should have an understanding of this. As opposed to comparing these students to people who were born and raised in America with daddy the derm supporting them all their lives.
 
Underlining the country doesn't change things. I don't believe someone's disadvantaged unless they have those things you listed either; I did not put myself as disadvantaged despite <$20k family income the entirety of my life as not to come off as "working" any system. I apologize if I misinterpreted you, but the tone with your sympathy comment came off ignorant to the realities of the lives of many physician immigrants and I wanted to clarify it.

My point is, India or not, abroad MDs are not useable here without redoing residency and requires taking exams that most doctors (US or otherwise) forgot the content of after all those years, which many don't have the time or means for when trying to settle in a new place. And doctors in India aren't an exception. Given their position, Adcoms should have an understanding of this. As opposed to comparing these students to people who were born and raised in America with daddy the derm supporting them all their lives.
You're not going get any traction with this line of thought.
 
Underlining the country doesn't change things.

It was the "in" I was trying to highlight. The previous poster's question had to do with growing up with physician parents in India, not growing up with physician parents who immigrated to the US from India and could not find well-paying jobs in healthcare.

carboxylicpremed said:
My point is, India or not, abroad MDs are not useable here without redoing residency and requires taking exams that most doctors (US or otherwise) forgot the content of after all those years, which many don't have the time or means for when trying to settle in a new place.

I am well aware of this, but it's not germane to my comment.
 
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It was the "in" I was trying to highlight. The previous poster's question had to do with growing up with physician parents in India, not growing up with physician parents who immigrated to the US from India and could not find well-paying jobs in healthcare.

I am well aware of this, but it's not germane to my comment.

My bad for misinterpreting the situation.
 
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Don't think about what you had: affordable housing, school lunch, college scholarship but what you did not have that put you at a disadvantage when you got to college. Maybe financial problems as a kid precluded you from learning to swim or ride a bike which set you apart from your peers when you arrived at college. Maybe you went to a poorly funded HS that didn't offer physics or calculus or labs thus leaving you poorly prepared for pre-med coursework in college.
 
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I'm going to cross post this here, I hope that's ok. Sorry it's long.

In regards to the disadvantaged essay...
When I was in high school in the late 90's, early 00's in a podunk rural state, I had a bad case of "you don't know what you don't know." I had no idea that I could get student loans or grants. (We had declared bankruptcy at some point and my family never did any kind of fancy banking apart from having one checking account, so I may have just been under the assumption that loans were for normal people, not us poor people.) My high school was not great. I had only ever seen my high school counselor be utilized as an emotional support, but never as a resource for information about college; I was young and dumb and didn't think to ask them. Nor do I ever remember my high school breaching the subject of post-secondary education in an informational way, like telling us how to get into college. I just knew college was a place for me to go to get out of here and it cost a lot of money that somehow normal people come up with because they just have that kind of money laying around I guess? I don't know. Neither did anyone close to me in my family.
By an act of God, I took the ACT early (didn't study, as I was unaware of its importance) and wound up with a high enough score to trigger an automatic full tuition scholarship from the state to any in-state college that was only able to be triggered on that one specific testing day. (Though it worked out for me, it would have been great to know about that program in advance [*cough cough* school counselors *cough cough*]; I found out later it is a yearly thing the state does for all students so there was really no excuse.) I was still under the impression I had to pay for all of my living expenses on my own and so I worked two jobs during all four years at that state school. No one ever told me to fill out a FAFSA, and I had no idea that I could get loans to pay my living expenses.

All this to say, does any of this matter in regards to being disadvantaged? And even if it does, it feels really hard to talk about this without portraying myself as an absolute idiot. What kind of numskull doesn't even know to ask? And in the end, it worked out and I got my education, but I'll always wonder if I had known more, would I have ended up at a better college with a financial aid package and better opportunities? Or is that moot for this essay?
 
I'm going to cross post this here, I hope that's ok. Sorry it's long.

In regards to the disadvantaged essay...
When I was in high school in the late 90's, early 00's in a podunk rural state, I had a bad case of "you don't know what you don't know." I had no idea that I could get student loans or grants. (We had declared bankruptcy at some point and my family never did any kind of fancy banking apart from having one checking account, so I may have just been under the assumption that loans were for normal people, not us poor people.) My high school was not great. I had only ever seen my high school counselor be utilized as an emotional support, but never as a resource for information about college; I was young and dumb and didn't think to ask them. Nor do I ever remember my high school breaching the subject of post-secondary education in an informational way, like telling us how to get into college. I just knew college was a place for me to go to get out of here and it cost a lot of money that somehow normal people come up with because they just have that kind of money laying around I guess? I don't know. Neither did anyone close to me in my family.
By an act of God, I took the ACT early (didn't study, as I was unaware of its importance) and wound up with a high enough score to trigger an automatic full tuition scholarship from the state to any in-state college that was only able to be triggered on that one specific testing day. (Though it worked out for me, it would have been great to know about that program in advance [*cough cough* school counselors *cough cough*]; I found out later it is a yearly thing the state does for all students so there was really no excuse.) I was still under the impression I had to pay for all of my living expenses on my own and so I worked two jobs during all four years at that state school. No one ever told me to fill out a FAFSA, and I had no idea that I could get loans to pay my living expenses.

All this to say, does any of this matter in regards to being disadvantaged? And even if it does, it feels really hard to talk about this without portraying myself as an absolute idiot. What kind of numskull doesn't even know to ask? And in the end, it worked out and I got my education, but I'll always wonder if I had known more, would I have ended up at a better college with a financial aid package and better opportunities? Or is that moot for this essay?
Poor advising doesn't sound like disadvantaged to me.
 
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Poor advising doesn't sound like disadvantaged to me.
Thank you. I value your perspective. If you think it oversteps the essay's definition, I will not include it in my essay.

Though as an aside, knowing what I know now, my heart hurts for all of the kids growing up in low SES homes, who also don't know what they don't know, and are frankly disadvantaged by it. Simple steps to educate and inform the upperclassmen that could have been taken by a high school counseling office could have a big effect on their individual success. I hope things are different nowadays.
 
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Poor advising doesn't sound like disadvantaged to me.

This is one time when I would disagree with my learned colleague. If a student was growing up in a low income household and had parents who had not graduated college and went to a substandard school with poor advising and experienced advisors who exhibited what has been called the "soft bigotry of low expectations" (they make assumptions about the capabilities of poor people to succeed academically and financially and thus keep them in the dark and in their places) then yes, I would not fault the student for self-identifying as disadvantaged.
 
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Thank you. I value your perspective. If you think it oversteps the essay's definition, I will not include it in my essay.

Though as an aside, knowing what I know now, my heart hurts for all of the kids growing up in low SES homes, who also don't know what they don't know, and are frankly disadvantaged by it. Simple steps to educate and inform the upperclassmen that could have been taken by a high school counseling office could have a big effect on their individual success. I hope things are different nowadays.
They aren't! My advice to you is to think about all of the opportunities that you didn't have, from grade school through high school, and draft an essay around them. Don't limit yourself to crappy advising, which I'd bet was just the tip of the iceberg.

The fact that you managed to do reasonably well in spite of it will not make your story nearly as compelling as reflecting on every resource that was available to me and not to you (from advanced reading and math classes in second grade to every AP class known to man by 12th grade, not to mention regional and state-wide debate competitions, science fairs and competitions, etc.).

Maybe you still don't know what you don't know, so ask a few more questions here and write a killer essay that will make @LizzyM unable to rest before bringing you to her school to meet you (if the pandemic ever recedes)!!! Good luck!!! :)
 
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This is one time when I would disagree with my learned colleague. If a student was growing up in a low income household and had parents who had not graduated college and went to a substandard school with poor advising and experienced advisors who exhibited what has been called the "soft bigotry of low expectations" (they make assumptions about the capabilities of poor people to succeed academically and financially and thus keep them in the dark and in their places) then yes, I would not fault the student for self-identifying as disadvantaged.
Thank you for your perspective. I experienced exactly what you described from other members of my high school's faculty as well, and it hurt. While I strive to maintain dignity in my submitted essays and won't allow those to devolve into pity parties, I will see if I can mention it briefly and succinctly.
They aren't! My advice to you is to think about all of the opportunities that you didn't have, from grade school through high school, and draft an essay around them. Don't limit yourself to crappy advising, which I'd bet was just the tip of the iceberg.

The fact that you managed to do reasonably well in spite of it will not make your story nearly as compelling as reflecting on every resource that was available to me and not to you (from advanced reading and math classes in second grade to every AP class known to man by 12th grade, not to mention regional and state-wide debate competitions, science fairs and competitions, etc.).

Maybe you still don't know what you don't know, so ask a few more questions here and write a killer essay that will make @LizzyM unable to rest before bringing you to her school to meet you (if the pandemic ever recedes)!!! Good luck!!! :)
It was the tip of the iceberg, which is why I'm ok with omitting it if needed. And it's honestly an act of God that I managed to do as well as I did; I look back on the course of my young adulthood and I'm flabbergasted with how things came together like some cheesy coming-of-age movie. While I may briefly mention these things in my AMCAS disadvantaged essay, I might save more of it for secondaries. Thank you for your perspective.
 
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Thank you for your perspective. I experienced exactly what you described from other members of my high school's faculty as well, and it hurt. While I strive to maintain dignity in my submitted essays and won't allow those to devolve into pity parties, I will see if I can mention it briefly and succinctly.

It was the tip of the iceberg, which is why I'm ok with omitting it if needed. And it's honestly an act of God that I managed to do as well as I did; I look back on the course of my young adulthood and I'm flabbergasted with how things came together like some cheesy coming-of-age movie. While I may briefly mention these things in my AMCAS disadvantaged essay, I might save more of it for secondaries. Thank you for your perspective.
If you went to high school and graduated ~2000, I care much more about what you have done the last 20 years and what your journey has been. Even if you wrote something in that box, I think I'd largely ignore it given how much time had passed unless it was something along the lines of imprisonment, homelessness, addiction.
 
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I wrote my disadvantaged essay by essentially listing objective statements in chronological order. Is it suggested to try to show personal growth through the disadvantaged essay?

Edit: Is anyone willing to read and suggest edits for my disadvantaged essay? I added a paragraph to show personal growth. Wondering if that paragraph needs to go or if I should cut down in other areas.
 
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So to be clear, qualifying for Pell Grants in college doesn't check the "disadvantaged" box because that would have happened after age 18. Adcoms, am I correct?
 
I wrote my disadvantaged essay by essentially listing objective statements in chronological order. Is it suggested to try to show personal growth through the disadvantaged essay?

Edit: Is anyone willing to read and suggest edits for my disadvantaged essay? I added a paragraph to show personal growth. Wondering if that paragraph needs to go or if I should cut down in other areas.

I can only speak for myself, but I find it a real turnoff when applicants try to work a personal growth theme into every nook and cranny of the application. The disadvantaged box is there so applicants can provide an explanation of certain life circumstances. That's it.
 
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