You're doing it wrong, part 3: disadvantaged

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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?

The circumstances that led up to qualifying for Pell Grants may be worth exploring.

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The circumstances that led up to qualifying for Pell Grants may be worth exploring.

Basically, my parents are both well educated (professional degrees) but a divorce caused economic hardship, which qualified me for the Pell Grant.
 
Basically, my parents are both well educated (professional degrees) but a divorce caused economic hardship, which qualified me for the Pell Grant.

If you had economic hardships at some point from 0-18 that caused you to enter college well behind the starting line that your fellow students were on, then it would be worth checking the box and offering a brief essay about your circumstances. If a divorce after you finished HS meant that your family was trying to pay for two housing units, legal bills, etc that go along with a marital break-up, then you have less of a case to say that you had a disadvantaged childhood although by the time you got to college the family's net income was low enough to qualify you for federal assistance. I hope that makes sense.
 
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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.
Thanks for this. I needed the confirmation.
 
Thank you so much for this thread, it's given me some great insight on the disadvantaged question. I had a question about my own circumstances and identifying as disadvantaged if any of you could help me with that.

My family and I are first generation immigrants, I came here fairly young but participated in the whole immigration process until my teenage years. Both of my parents are well-educated (Master's degrees), but because of visa and status issues, they weren't allowed to use them for over 10 years and spent a long time in menial/physical labor jobs or small businesses which suffered after '08. After citizenship though, they were able to use their degrees for stable jobs. I grew up on some govt programs such as CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program; is this acronym well-known? would I need to write it out in full in my essay?) and reduced lunch at school, but I happened to be in a well-funded public school district. I may have been behind compared to my peers around me in K-12, but was not comparably behind to the national average when I went to undergrad because of good district. I still do need to consider financial stability on a regular basis for any activity, and worked through high school and undergrad. What do you think?

Also, does the essay just need to list facts about how we are disadvantaged, or does it need to physically explain how SES affected our access to opportunity in college?
 
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You wrote most of the answer to the question in your post. I lightly edited:
My family and I are first generation immigrants. Both of my parents are well-educated (Master's degrees), but because of visa and status issues, they weren't allowed to use them for over 10 years, and spent a long time in menial/physical labor jobs or small businesses that suffered after 2008. I grew up receiving government assistance in programs such as Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and reduced lunch at school. I was fortunate, however, to be in a well-funded school district. I worked through high school to help support my family, and was academically behind most of my peers during K-12.
 
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Hello, reposting here in hopes of getting a faster response.

I have completed my AMCAS primary application and compiled all of my letters of recommendation. The head advisor of my school's pre-medical committee told me my Disadvantaged Status essay was fine to submit. However, I have some reservations about it and would like the input of fellow members here before I submit my primary tonight. Some parts of it will be redacted for confidentiality, but any help would be appreciated.

Throughout my life, I have coped with Asperger's Syndrome. While this helped me greatly excel in academic subjects such as Mathematics and Statistics, I initially struggled to make friends and maintain meaningful social interactions. Upon entering the [Redacted University], a few academic mentors helped me improve my social skills, and I became comfortable enough to initiate conversations with other like-minded individuals. Through speech and vocational therapy, I made progress overcoming the challenge of engaging with others and now feel confident of meeting new people and making friends. However, I have been economically disadvantaged since my early years in Elementary School. After my parents divorced, I lived with my single mother for the past sixteen years. Though my father would hesitantly fund my education, he cut me off financially after completing my undergraduate studies. As per her W-2 Form, my mother showed me that she consistently earns less than $10,000 a year. Consequently, I desired to help her out as much as possible and became employed by the [Redacted University's] Peer Tutoring Program at the [Redacted Center]. By tutoring students in various mathematics subjects, ranging from introductory College Algebra to Calculus, I refined my social skills and financially aided my mother as best I could.

tl;dr As far as my financial situation goes, my father was required to provide child support until I turned 18. Thereafter, he reluctantly funded my undergraduate education. Paying for all my applications + MPH Program was done by myself, as I have had to work multiple jobs ever since May 2020.
I replied to your other post. Don't cross-post. It goes against the terms of service.
 
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Here is some examples of what I think would qualify for this status.Was your household so poor growing up that you had to work as a teen to support your family at the expense of your education?
Did you take special education classes in high school which put you behind your peers when you started college?
Were you too hungry growing up or constantly moving due to evictions to focus on school?
Did you have mental health issues growing up that impacted your academic performance that your family didn't believe in and caused you to struggle until you could get treatment?
Did you suffer severe abuse that impacted your education?
 
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I know the disadvantaged status is mainly about income, but how would it sound if I talked about my family's low-income and connected to them being unaware of some of my medical conditions that may have impeded my college academic performance?

I wasn't diagnosed with sleep apnea until after I graduated college and my sleep apnea is considered severe, which would have affected my energy, motivation, and even memory consolidation, impairing my academic performance. My parents have known I stop breathing in my sleep but thought nothing of it, which can be attributed to them being low-income and not being aware of how serious sleep apnea is. Needless to say, the person who noticed and finally recommended I get treated wasn't my parents.
 
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I know the disadvantaged status is mainly about income, but how would it sound if I talked about my family's low-income and connected to them being unaware of some of my medical conditions that may have impeded my college academic performance?

I wasn't diagnosed with sleep apnea until after I graduated college and my sleep apnea is considered severe, which would have affected my energy, motivation, and even memory consolidation, impairing my academic performance. My parents have known I stop breathing in my sleep but thought nothing of it, which can be attributed to them being low-income and not being aware of how serious sleep apnea is. Needless to say, the person who noticed and finally recommended I get treated wasn't my parents.
Disadvantaged status is about reaching college behind your fellow students, or taking a non-traditional route to college, due to financial circumstances (e.g. joining the military right out of HS). If you had impairments due to a medical condition that was undiagnosed and untreated because your family was low income, and had limited access to medical care, make that case but don't use it as excuse for poor grades/scores in college.
 
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Disadvantaged status is about reaching college behind your fellow students, or taking a non-traditional route to college, due to financial circumstances (e.g. joining the military right out of HS). If you had impairments due to a medical condition that was undiagnosed and untreated because your family was low income, and had limited access to medical care, make that case but don't use it as excuse for poor grades/scores in college.
I'm not looking for an excuse, so much as an explanation for taking a non-traditional route to medical school. I decided to do a master's because my research is weak (I have plenty of clinical volunteering and community service) and to get involved with ECs that will help broaden my horizon and solidify my application's theme because I now know what my long-term goals are (and no, it's not the infamous cookie-cutter I want to help the underserved community). And I know about how Master's classes often have inflated GPAs, so I'm also taking lecture based courses that are similar to the ones medical students take (my program allows you to take senior level undergrad courses to count towards your degree) while working part-time, among other things related to my application's theme to show I can handle an academic load. And I was able to score a 515 on my last MCAT as well and I am fairly certain I can get a comparable, if not better score (CARS was my biggest weakness so I am reading 1 CARS passage a weak to develop my reading comprehension for CARS for the next 1-2 years), so I have no intention of using my sleep apnea as an excuse, but as an explanation and show now that it's been treated, I can handle the rigors of medical school.
 
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I'm not looking for an excuse, so much as an explanation for taking a non-traditional route to medical school. I decided to do a master's because my research is weak (I have plenty of clinical volunteering and community service) and to get involved with ECs that will help broaden my horizon and solidify my application's theme because I now know what my long-term goals are (and no, it's not the infamous cookie-cutter I want to help the underserved community). And I know about how Master's classes often have inflated GPAs, so I'm also taking lecture based courses that are similar to the ones medical students take (my program allows you to take senior level undergrad courses to count towards your degree) while working part-time, among other things related to my application's theme to show I can handle an academic load. And I was able to score a 515 on my last MCAT as well and I am fairly certain I can get a comparable, if not better score (CARS was my biggest weakness so I am reading 1 CARS passage a weak to develop my reading comprehension for CARS for the next 1-2 years), so I have no intention of using my sleep apnea as an excuse, but as an explanation and show now that it's been treated, I can handle the rigors of medical school.
Doesn't count as disadvantaged in my book.
 
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Doesn't count as disadvantaged in my book.
So using my family's low-income status resulting in my sleep apnea being undiagnosed until after ungrad isn't disadvantaged? It does adversely affect my education and assuming I do well while juggling all these other things, grad school would showcase my growth. So I don't use the sleep apnea as an excuse but to explain how it adversely impacted my undergraduate grades.
 
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So using my family's low-income status resulting in my sleep apnea being undiagnosed until after ungrad isn't disadvantaged? It does adversely affect my education and assuming I do well while juggling all these other things, grad school would showcase my growth. So I don't use the sleep apnea as an excuse but to explain how it adversely impacted my undergraduate grades.
Reread what LizzyM wrote.

The primpt is not about who had the more horrible life, like the old TV show Queen for a Day.
 
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Reread what LizzyM wrote.

The primpt is not about who had the more horrible life, like the old TV show Queen for a Day.
Got it. I'll focus more on my family being low-income and relying on rental assistance and how that caused my conditions to be undiagnosed but I won't use it to explain my poor grades. I guess that makes sense since I will have to show my academic growth anyways. Thanks everyone!
 
Disadvantaged status is about reaching college behind your fellow students, or taking a non-traditional route to college, due to financial circumstances (e.g. joining the military right out of HS). If you had impairments due to a medical condition that was undiagnosed and untreated because your family was low income, and had limited access to medical care, make that case but don't use it as excuse for poor grades/scores in college.
Limited access to health care due to poverty or lack of providers in your area (can be a lack of providers who accepted Medicaid or MediCal if you had that coverage) is a legit "disadvantage".
 
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Limited access to health care due to poverty or lack of providers in your area (can be a lack of providers who accepted Medicaid or MediCal if you had that coverage) is a legit "disadvantage".
Appreciate it!
 
Disadvantaged status is about reaching college behind your fellow students, or taking a non-traditional route to college, due to financial circumstances (e.g. joining the military right out of HS). If you had impairments due to a medical condition that was undiagnosed and untreated because your family was low income, and had limited access to medical care, make that case but don't use it as excuse for poor grades/scores in college.
Follow-up questions: Maybe I won't talk about my sleep apnea but maybe about my ADHD and how I never had access to a pediatrician growing up (my parents immigrated here and I was 3 and didn't know about developmental screenings) and talk about how that resulted in my ADHD being diagnosed during college. So my question is if I explain when I was diagnosed (thereby gaining access to medication to improve my focus and accommodations, which improved my grades), would this come off as using my undiagnosed ADHD as an excuse for my poor grades or would it be more of an explanation for why I struggled academically until I was diagnosed? And if the latter, would this qualify as educationally disadvantaged since I grew up never having accommodations?
 
There is nothing wrong with stating that you had undiagnosed sleep apnea until you were N years old. There is nothing wrong with stating that you had undiagnosed ADHD until you were N years old. There is nothing wrong with explaining that your undiagnosed conditions were the result of poverty and lack of access to health care. If you had had good pediatric care during early childhood maybe these things would have been picked up and you would have been in better health in childhood and through college.

That's all you need to say. You were poor, you lacked access to care, your health issues when undiagnosed until you were N years old. Let the adcom connect the dots to your college years and the suboptimal performance prior to diagnosis and treatment.
 
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Do you have to have some sort of poor academic performance to make a claim for being disadvantaged? I've been blessed to have done pretty well through my first 3 years of undergrad, but grew up on food stamps, Medicaid, and my parents filed for bankruptcy. It has definitely shaped my goals for what I want to accomplish within medicine, if that means anything.
 
Do you have to have some sort of poor academic performance to make a claim for being disadvantaged? I've been blessed to have done pretty well through my first 3 years of undergrad, but grew up on food stamps, Medicaid, and my parents filed for bankruptcy. It has definitely shaped my goals for what I want to accomplish within medicine, if that means anything.
No, you don't have to have an academic performance problem to claim disadvantage. I've seen applicants born to teen moms, those who didn't make a straight shot through HS to college to medical school but who worked or joined the military right out of HS due to economic circumstances and/or being first gen and not knowing how to navigate the college application process. And yes, there are high schools where guidance counselors don't routinely direct people to SAT tests and college fairs.
 
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There is nothing wrong with stating that you had undiagnosed sleep apnea until you were N years old. There is nothing wrong with stating that you had undiagnosed ADHD until you were N years old. There is nothing wrong with explaining that your undiagnosed conditions were the result of poverty and lack of access to health care. If you had had good pediatric care during early childhood maybe these things would have been picked up and you would have been in better health in childhood and through college.

That's all you need to say. You were poor, you lacked access to care, your health issues when undiagnosed until you were N years old. Let the adcom connect the dots to your college years and the suboptimal performance prior to diagnosis and treatment.
Got it! Appreciate the input!
 
There is nothing wrong with stating that you had undiagnosed sleep apnea until you were N years old. There is nothing wrong with stating that you had undiagnosed ADHD until you were N years old. There is nothing wrong with explaining that your undiagnosed conditions were the result of poverty and lack of access to health care. If you had had good pediatric care during early childhood maybe these things would have been picked up and you would have been in better health in childhood and through college.

That's all you need to say. You were poor, you lacked access to care, your health issues when undiagnosed until you were N years old. Let the adcom connect the dots to your college years and the suboptimal performance prior to diagnosis and treatment.
Got it. One last question, some school secondaries ask if you consider yourself academically disadvantaged. Would not getting diagnosed with ADHD (and gaining access to accommodations) count as being educationally disadvantaged?
 
Got it. One last question, some school secondaries ask if you consider yourself academically disadvantaged. Would not getting diagnosed with ADHD (and gaining access to accommodations) count as being educationally disadvantaged?

I think that the question might be referring to underfunded school systems and poorly performing schools (large proportion of students reading and doing math well below grade level, etc), and small school systems that did not offer coursework in HS such as physics and calculus that one would find in better funded schools. This could also apply to students in religious schools that did not teach modern science.
 
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I think that the question might be referring to underfunded school systems and poorly performing schools (large proportion of students reading and doing math well below grade level, etc), and small school systems that did not offer coursework in HS such as physics and calculus that one would find in better funded schools. This could also apply to students in religious schools that did not teach modern science.
I think I fit under that category since my 4th grade teacher said most of her students were performing below grade level, which is why she overlooked my symptoms.
Thanks a ton!
 
I think I fit under that category since my 4th grade teacher said most of her students were performing below grade level, which is why she overlooked my symptoms.
Thanks a ton!
There are also school report cards about the entire school's performance on standardized tests... although you'd be most interested in those from 10-15 years ago or so....
 
There are also school report cards about the entire school's performance on standardized tests... although you'd be most interested in those from 10-15 years ago or so....
So if my school's score is below my state's average, then it shows it was an underperforming school. Got it! Thanks a ton!
 
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I hope this answers the question. And thanks again for taking the time to read my long responses and provide your insight!
Sort of. The disadvantaged question is really targeted at circumstances from birth to the end of high school. It has long been observed that college freshmen from educated, affluent families arrive better prepared for the rigors of higher education than their classmates from less educated, less affluent backgrounds. The box allows an applicant to contextualize his/her academic performance.

If the child of a wealthy family, who went to an elite prep school and then Princeton, scores a 505 on the MCAT, it's a tragedy. If a first generation college student from a poor family graduates from UC Merced (while working 40 hours/week) and scores a 505 on the MCAT, it's a substantial accomplishment. Same number, very different interpretation.

In your case you may actually get more mileage by not claiming disadvantaged status. You can spend some time in your personal statement discussing your background, the obstacles you faced, but also the opportunities that you took advantage of. If you're crafty you can create a real Horatio Alger narrative that will probably get some traction.
 
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Sort of. The disadvantaged question is really targeted at circumstances from birth to the end of high school. It has long been observed that college freshmen from educated, affluent families arrive better prepared for the rigors of higher education than their classmates from less educated, less affluent backgrounds. The box allows an applicant to contextualize his/her academic performance.

If the child of a wealthy family, who went to an elite prep school and then Princeton, scores a 505 on the MCAT, it's a tragedy. If a first generation college student from a poor family graduates from UC Merced (while working 40 hours/week) and scores a 505 on the MCAT, it's a substantial accomplishment. Same number, very different interpretation.

In your case you may actually get more mileage by not claiming disadvantaged status. You can spend some time in your personal statement discussing your background, the obstacles you faced, but also the opportunities that you took advantage of. If you're crafty you can create a real Horatio Alger narrative that will probably get some traction.
My own opinion/perspective:

A few things are going to help the OP claim disadvantaged status: one is going to be the two-parent Employment/Occupation score. If both parents basically have less than a college education, that's going to favor a claim to be socioeconomically disadvantaged. A lot of schools do default a lot to the EO scores as a factor regardless of whether the self-disclosed disadvantaged essay is completed.

Second to me are the issues that reflect knowledge of experiencing factors relevant to the social determinants of health. The original description notes that there was concern about adequate transportation, safety from violence, and financial security. These also are general categories that will resonate with someone who is aware of those conditions being a systematic problem with access to proper education and healthcare. To me, you can be lucky and win a lottery to a residential prep school if only to escape a really unsafe living environment and get access to great resources (like a Dickensian hero)... but that doesn't mean that the person doesn't have a claim to having experienced some disadvantaged status. There is still research out there that suggests the stress of these conditions will impede proper neurological growth that could lead to challenges in learning and self-confidence.

Otherwise I agree. One's own difficulties finding parking to make it to class on time is not good evidence of being disadvantaged. (Having your workplace peers collect money for you so they can buy you a car because they see you take a 3-hour bus commute to work... that has more traction.) I agree that the issue is best addressed as something reflecting systemic challenges to what we hope are proper conditions for a strong educational foundation.
 
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Disadvantaged status is usually referring to status in childhood (up through the usual age for HS graduation). Often it is meant to identify people who started college having had fewer educational opportunities and extracurricular experiences than the typical college freshman, or who started college much later than the usual student due to teen parenthood, military service right out of HS, or a similar delay for financial reasons.

For example, your school did not offer AP classes, your HS didn't offer labs with some of the science courses, etc. Getting to college without having some of that foundational work in HS could be a type of disadvantage.

Working every day after school and on weekends to help the family pay its bills, particularly if you didn't have two adults contributing their earnings to the household due to illness, death, abandonment, etc.
 
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My own opinion/perspective:

A few things are going to help the OP claim disadvantaged status: one is going to be the two-parent Employment/Occupation score. If both parents basically have less than a college education, that's going to favor a claim to be socioeconomically disadvantaged. A lot of schools do default a lot to the EO scores as a factor regardless of whether the self-disclosed disadvantaged essay is completed.

Second to me are the issues that reflect knowledge of experiencing factors relevant to the social determinants of health. The original description notes that there was concern about adequate transportation, safety from violence, and financial security. These also are general categories that will resonate with someone who is aware of those conditions being a systematic problem with access to proper education and healthcare. To me, you can be lucky and win a lottery to a residential prep school if only to escape a really unsafe living environment and get access to great resources (like a Dickensian hero)... but that doesn't mean that the person doesn't have a claim to having experienced some disadvantaged status. There is still research out there that suggests the stress of these conditions will impede proper neurological growth that could lead to challenges in learning and self-confidence.

Otherwise I agree. One's own difficulties finding parking to make it to class on time is not good evidence of being disadvantaged. (Having your workplace peers collect money for you so they can buy you a car because they see you take a 3-hour bus commute to work... that has more traction.) I agree that the issue is best addressed as something reflecting systemic challenges to what we hope are proper conditions for a strong educational foundation.
Hi @Mr.Smile12, I have a question about the EO score and how it is examined during the admissions process. I applied this past cycle and haven't received an II yet so I may be looking to reapply. I claimed disadvantaged status because my parents were refugees and we lived in public housing, relied on government assistance, I attended underperforming schools, started working at a young age to contribute, etc. Our area had a poverty rate nearly 3x the national average and my parents both had <high school education and worked as laborers. However on AMCAS, my "SES Disadvantage" doesn't have an EO score and it says "Unknown". I'm not 100% sure about the reason why, I called AMCAS and asked but they didn't know exactly why and said it might be because one of my parents is deceased.

Being ORM, I was curious if this affects how my application is viewed at all, did schools find it conflicting that I self-claimed disadvantaged but did not get the SES Disadvantaged box checked off?

I'm sure my lack of II's has more to do with submitting my apps late and probably subpar writing but I wonder if that EO status affected me in any way. My background was definitely touched upon in my PS since it's my biggest motive but I avoided talking too much about it in fear that it'd be seen as making excuses. Some secondaries gave me the opportunity to expand on it but a lot of them didn't. So besides from a part of my PS and my disadvantage essay, I didn't emphasize my upbringing as much. Since I'm considered ORM because of my race, I'm concerned with how this affects me because I certainly don't feel overrepresented based on my SES background. I'd appreciate any insight or advice, thank you!

edit: @LizzyM
 
Hi @Mr.Smile12, I have a question about the EO score and how it is examined during the admissions process. I applied this past cycle and haven't received an II yet so I may be looking to reapply. I claimed disadvantaged status because my parents were refugees and we lived in public housing, relied on government assistance, I attended underperforming schools, started working at a young age to contribute, etc. Our area had a poverty rate nearly 3x the national average and my parents both had <high school education and worked as laborers. However on AMCAS, my "SES Disadvantage" doesn't have an EO score and it says "Unknown". I'm not 100% sure about the reason why, I called AMCAS and asked but they didn't know exactly why and said it might be because one of my parents is deceased.

Being ORM, I was curious if this affects how my application is viewed at all, did schools find it conflicting that I self-claimed disadvantaged but did not get the SES Disadvantaged box checked off?

I'm sure my lack of II's has more to do with submitting my apps late and probably subpar writing but I wonder if that EO status affected me in any way. My background was definitely touched upon in my PS since it's my biggest motive but I avoided talking too much about it in fear that it'd be seen as making excuses. Some secondaries gave me the opportunity to expand on it but a lot of them didn't. So besides from a part of my PS and my disadvantage essay, I didn't emphasize my upbringing as much. Since I'm considered ORM because of my race, I'm concerned with how this affects me because I certainly don't feel overrepresented based on my SES background. I'd appreciate any insight or advice, thank you!

edit: @LizzyM
Usual disclaimer: every school uses the information differently during screening or review. However, to me it is most useful in assessing the overall process at the end to show whether the process selects in a biased manner for or against those with low SES scores. Many schools use the EO score as a proxy in this assessment to show that SES-disadvantaged applicants are considered and are part of the class.

We are aware of the limitations of the calculation of the score. This includes having a deceased parent (no adjustment if the parent died 10 years ago or yesterday) or having more than one parent (as in the parent/guardian remarried); this seems to be your situation. Because of these limitations, EO score cannot be used as a selection filter during screening or review by itself. Consequently, we rely on your supplemental essays as well as any disclosed childhood information to come up with a picture of the context. A holistic review process relies on multiple sources of information and consideration of a combination of factors, not just race or SES score.

So in my opinion and in response, I would say you have a strong claim for being socioeconomically disadvantaged based on the facts you disclosed, which could easily be verified if necessary.
 
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Disadvantaged status is about reaching college behind your fellow students, or taking a non-traditional route to college, due to financial circumstances (e.g. joining the military right out of HS). If you had impairments due to a medical condition that was undiagnosed and untreated because your family was low income, and had limited access to medical care, make that case but don't use it as excuse for poor grades/scores in college.

How would parental neglect fall in alongside this and economic hardships? Some details are changed for anonymity sake:

I went to a fundamentalist "christian" school since kindergarten. We as a school publicly burned the science books that were sent to us. By age ten my parents had significant financial hardship, and pulled me out of school. They refused to send me to public school.

I was "homeschooled" for a few years with similar non-science and heavily skewed/useless other textbooks until I quit school altogether around 14. The state that we were in had religious exemptions, and I was not forced to go to public school nor were my parents forced to continue to educate me. I did 0 standardized testing and wikipedia was my education as the nearest library was 10 miles away (no vehicle).

The family's economic condition worsened, and we lost the house when I was 17. I was trying to get my GED but was not allowed to live with my parents anymore. My brother and I were homeless as I struggled to find a $7/hr job. The money I made went almost exclusively to medicine for my brother, food was acquired creatively and through pantries. We squatted in houses for over a year as I was trying to educate myself at libraries in my spare time (18).

This put me on a nontraditional route into college, as I was not able to attend until almost 23 at a CC, and have continued to work full time for most of my education.


Peace and blessings to everyone who reads this, and to everyone still struggling, hang in there.
 
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How would parental neglect fall in alongside this and economic hardships? Some details are changed for anonymity sake:

I went to a fundamentalist "christian" school since kindergarten. We as a school publicly burned the science books that were sent to us. By age ten my parents had significant financial hardship, and pulled me out of school. They refused to send me to public school.

I was "homeschooled" for a few years with similar non-science and heavily skewed/useless other textbooks until I quit school altogether around 14. The state that we were in had religious exemptions, and I was not forced to go to public school nor were my parents forced to continue to educate me. I did 0 standardized testing and wikipedia was my education as the nearest library was 10 miles away (no vehicle).

The family's economic condition worsened, and we lost the house when I was 17. I was trying to get my GED but was not allowed to live with my parents anymore. My brother and I were homeless as I struggled to find a $7/hr job. The money I made went almost exclusively to medicine for my brother, food was acquired creatively and through pantries. We squatted in houses for over a year as I was trying to educate myself at libraries in my spare time (18).

This put me on a nontraditional route into college, as I was not able to attend until almost 23 at a CC, and have continued to work full time for most of my education.


Peace and blessings to everyone who reads this, and to everyone still struggling, hang in there.
Sure sounds like disadvantage to me!
 
Sure sounds like disadvantage to me!
this made me laugh, out loud, quite hard. I never really thought of myself as it. but when you said that it was kind of like a lightbulb, lol. I had most of that repressed.

I'm leaning toward applying just D.O. (afaik they don't have disadvantaged essay) so I kinda posted it hopefully for posterity sake for anyone else who may see this in the future and be in a similar situation, and of course should I head the other way as well.

Thank you for the smile, I needed it!
 
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Yes, you certainly started college behind your peers given that you needed remediation and weren't ready for many years after those of your birth cohort had graduated college. Poverty and neglect certainly count as disadvantage.

Very glad you made it! Good luck as you move forward on your journey.
 
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Underserved:

Medically Underserved Area/Population: Your community has limited number of medical professionals/clinics within a certain radius. Are you in a MUA? See this page for a map Medically Underserved Areas / Populations (MUA/Ps) | HPSA Acumen

Underserved School District: your secondary education school district did not offer many honors, AP/IB or college prep courses/opportunities; and/or a high percentage of students are at or below the poverty level. Are you from a disadvantaged school district? See this study: Disadvantaged_Districts_Report.pdf (edlawcenter.org)

Immediate Family’s Socio-Economic Status

The Federal Government broadly defines 'immediate family' as 'spouse, parent, child, sibling, mother or father-in-law, son or daughter-in-law, or sister or brother-in-law, including step and adoptive relationships.'

Are you/(will you be) the first in your immediate family to graduate high school, college or receive a professional degree? Then you are disadvantaged.

Did your immediate family receive any federal assistance such as SNAP, TANIF, Section 8, HUD Housing, Disability? Then you are disadvantaged

Applicant:

Any physical, mental and/or learning disability/chronic health condition that affected your scholastic endeavors is considered disadvantaged.

Non-traditional students and/or minorities underrepresented in medicine are considered disadvantaged.
 
Underserved:

Medically Underserved Area/Population: Your community has limited number of medical professionals/clinics within a certain radius. Are you in a MUA? See this page for a map Medically Underserved Areas / Populations (MUA/Ps) | HPSA Acumen

Underserved School District: your secondary education school district did not offer many honors, AP/IB or college prep courses/opportunities; and/or a high percentage of students are at or below the poverty level. Are you from a disadvantaged school district? See this study: Disadvantaged_Districts_Report.pdf (edlawcenter.org)

Immediate Family’s Socio-Economic Status

The Federal Government broadly defines 'immediate family' as 'spouse, parent, child, sibling, mother or father-in-law, son or daughter-in-law, or sister or brother-in-law, including step and adoptive relationships.'

Are you/(will you be) the first in your immediate family to graduate high school, college or receive a professional degree? Then you are disadvantaged.

Did your immediate family receive any federal assistance such as SNAP, TANIF, Section 8, HUD Housing, Disability? Then you are disadvantaged

Applicant:

Any physical, mental and/or learning disability/chronic health condition that affected your scholastic endeavors is considered disadvantaged.

Non-traditional students and/or minorities underrepresented in medicine are considered disadvantaged.
I would be cautious in advising those who come from a family of very high educational and/or economic privilege to use the disadvantaged box (even if one of the categories here applies).
 
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Underserved:

Medically Underserved Area/Population: Your community has limited number of medical professionals/clinics within a certain radius. Are you in a MUA? See this page for a map Medically Underserved Areas / Populations (MUA/Ps) | HPSA Acumen

Underserved School District: your secondary education school district did not offer many honors, AP/IB or college prep courses/opportunities; and/or a high percentage of students are at or below the poverty level. Are you from a disadvantaged school district? See this study: Disadvantaged_Districts_Report.pdf (edlawcenter.org)

Immediate Family’s Socio-Economic Status

The Federal Government broadly defines 'immediate family' as 'spouse, parent, child, sibling, mother or father-in-law, son or daughter-in-law, or sister or brother-in-law, including step and adoptive relationships.'

Are you/(will you be) the first in your immediate family to graduate high school, college or receive a professional degree? Then you are disadvantaged.

Did your immediate family receive any federal assistance such as SNAP, TANIF, Section 8, HUD Housing, Disability? Then you are disadvantaged

Applicant:

Any physical, mental and/or learning disability/chronic health condition that affected your scholastic endeavors is considered disadvantaged.

Non-traditional students and/or minorities underrepresented in medicine are considered disadvantaged.
I'll also say it's a nice start but not always universal for graduate programs. Non-traditional applicants or those taking gap years are a majority of applicants and matriculants so this does not automatically make you disadvantaged.

There are many other data that can be used to confirm the probability of being disadvantaged but the essay and self-identity need to also confirm the data.
 
I feel like I meet the fundamental criteria for disadvantaged status, but I still feel iffy marking the box. I was fortunate enough to graduate with a degree from a great institution with virtually zero debt, and took a high paying corporate job right out of college. Even though I was privileged enough to end up in this position, my childhood and college experiences were wrought with complexity. I understand that the purpose of the disadvantaged statement is opening the door to further conversation and providing more context to adcoms, but part of me thinks I might come off as whiny because I was always a strong student in spite of some of these circumstances.

A few factors that make me lean towards checking disadvantaged:
  1. Parents divorced long before my dad died, and relied on income from one parent on a teacher salary. Never under the poverty line, but we were far from wealthy.
  2. Faced the "soft bigotry of low expectations" when my high school counselor discouraged me from taking courses perceived as difficult such as physics even when required by colleges. Although I went to supposedly one of the better schools in an urban area, I felt pretty unprepared for college and there were topics presented as review material in my freshman year of college that I never saw in my life.
  3. There was a point in high school where I feared for my safety because of my mom's abusive ex, and I had to help my mom file a restraining order against him.
  4. Brother got arrested for a serious felony while in college (I was 21 at the time, so not relevant for this?) and helping my family simultaneously navigate legal processes and death threats took away a lot of my senior year study time.
  5. I worked part-time during college for spending money but covered most of the expenses with loans/scholarships/grants (including Pell Grant).

Limited access to health care due to poverty or lack of providers in your area (can be a lack of providers who accepted Medicaid or MediCal if you had that coverage) is a legit "disadvantage".
This also applies to immediate family, right? I mostly grew up in what is considered a Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Area (and it looks like my childhood address was designated a primary care shortage area when I grew up there, but the designation was withdrawn). My brother had a litany of developmental issues and my family had great difficulties finding a provider due to the chronic shortage of mental health and social work professionals in the area.
 
I feel like I meet the fundamental criteria for disadvantaged status, but I still feel iffy marking the box. I was fortunate enough to graduate with a degree from a great institution with virtually zero debt, and took a high paying corporate job right out of college. Even though I was privileged enough to end up in this position, my childhood and college experiences were wrought with complexity. I understand that the purpose of the disadvantaged statement is opening the door to further conversation and providing more context to adcoms, but part of me thinks I might come off as whiny because I was always a strong student in spite of some of these circumstances.

A few factors that make me lean towards checking disadvantaged:
  1. Parents divorced long before my dad died, and relied on income from one parent on a teacher salary. Never under the poverty line, but we were far from wealthy.
  2. Faced the "soft bigotry of low expectations" when my high school counselor discouraged me from taking courses perceived as difficult such as physics even when required by colleges. Although I went to supposedly one of the better schools in an urban area, I felt pretty unprepared for college and there were topics presented as review material in my freshman year of college that I never saw in my life.
  3. There was a point in high school where I feared for my safety because of my mom's abusive ex, and I had to help my mom file a restraining order against him.
  4. Brother got arrested for a serious felony while in college (I was 21 at the time, so not relevant for this?) and helping my family simultaneously navigate legal processes and death threats took away a lot of my senior year study time.
  5. I worked part-time during college for spending money but covered most of the expenses with loans/scholarships/grants (including Pell Grant).


This also applies to immediate family, right? I mostly grew up in what is considered a Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Area (and it looks like my childhood address was designated a primary care shortage area when I grew up there, but the designation was withdrawn). My brother had a litany of developmental issues and my family had great difficulties finding a provider due to the chronic shortage of mental health and social work professionals in the area.
It does not appear that you actually fit the definition of disadvantaged
 
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It does not appear that you actually fit the definition of disadvantaged
Good to know, thanks Goro. Mostly asking because an advisor suggested listing disadvantaged but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I'll definitely leave it off the app.
 
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I feel like I meet the fundamental criteria for disadvantaged status, but I still feel iffy marking the box. I was fortunate enough to graduate with a degree from a great institution with virtually zero debt, and took a high paying corporate job right out of college. Even though I was privileged enough to end up in this position, my childhood and college experiences were wrought with complexity. I understand that the purpose of the disadvantaged statement is opening the door to further conversation and providing more context to adcoms, but part of me thinks I might come off as whiny because I was always a strong student in spite of some of these circumstances.

A few factors that make me lean towards checking disadvantaged:
  1. Parents divorced long before my dad died, and relied on income from one parent on a teacher salary. Never under the poverty line, but we were far from wealthy.
  2. Faced the "soft bigotry of low expectations" when my high school counselor discouraged me from taking courses perceived as difficult such as physics even when required by colleges. Although I went to supposedly one of the better schools in an urban area, I felt pretty unprepared for college and there were topics presented as review material in my freshman year of college that I never saw in my life.
  3. There was a point in high school where I feared for my safety because of my mom's abusive ex, and I had to help my mom file a restraining order against him.
  4. Brother got arrested for a serious felony while in college (I was 21 at the time, so not relevant for this?) and helping my family simultaneously navigate legal processes and death threats took away a lot of my senior year study time.
  5. I worked part-time during college for spending money but covered most of the expenses with loans/scholarships/grants (including Pell Grant).


This also applies to immediate family, right? I mostly grew up in what is considered a Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Area (and it looks like my childhood address was designated a primary care shortage area when I grew up there, but the designation was withdrawn). My brother had a litany of developmental issues and my family had great difficulties finding a provider due to the chronic shortage of mental health and social work professionals in the area.
The idea here is that people who grew up in underserved areas are more likely to serve in an underserved area than those who did not grow up in such an area. So, to increase the availability of providers in those underserved areas, applicants who grew up in those areas should be favored.

Take this into account when deciding if you want to play that card.
 
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The idea here is that people who grew up in underserved areas are more likely to serve in an underserved area than those who did not grow up in such an area. So, to increase the availability of providers in those underserved areas, applicants who grew up in those areas should be favored.

Take this into account when deciding if you want to play that card.
Appreciate the additional context on why the AAMC is asking this, thanks LizzyM. Even though I grew up in an underserved area this isn't really a big motivator for me seeking out medical school, and I feel like it would be insincere/not operating in good faith if I presented my application this way. Again, not a card I feel comfortable playing.
 
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Does hx of child abuse count?

For context, this did not happen to me, but I've been seeing varying opinions on this and was curious about how other Adcoms will perceive this.
 
Does hx of child abuse count?

For context, this did not happen to me, but I've been seeing varying opinions on this and was curious about how other Adcoms will perceive this.
That would be a perverse incentive wouldn't it? "If I beat my children, they'll have a better chance of being accepted to med school."
 
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