Can I Show My Non-Typical Path in the Disadvantaged Essay?

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Session 333

This is a mini-episode to hopefully get you excited about MappdCon and make the financial burden of attending even less!

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.

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Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

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OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I’m not an underrepresented population in medicine. But could I formulate a disadvantaged statement for having had to go through my Bachelor’s program after having my son when I was 19? 

I had my son and got married in my sophomore year of college after an “oopsie” baby. I continued on to my bachelor’s degree, we had to get on WIC. I joined the Army National Guard and worked part-time while in college to get through it all. I feel like it wasn’t the typical college experience, to say the least.” 

No More Disadvantaged Essay for 2023-2024 AMCAS App Cycle

The AAMC, which runs AMCAS, got rid of the disadvantaged essay for the 2023-2024 application cycle. 

There is no disadvantaged statement anymore. People don’t have to ask themselves if they are disadvantaged. This was the problem with this question is a lot of people assumed that disadvantaged equaled underrepresented, which is how this question led off.

The AAMC did have a “standard” definition for underrepresented when they first coined that term. Now, the term underrepresented and what qualifies as underrepresented depends on the populations that they serve.

Other Impactful Experiences Essay

That being said, they introduced a new essay called the other impactful experiences essay. And I would say 1,000%, this life experience qualifies as an impactful experience. Without a doubt, it is an impactful experience that isn’t really able to be captured anywhere else in the application.

One of the best parts about this question is that people don’t have to sit there and ask themselves whether they’re underrepresented because their skin color doesn’t qualify as such. That is why there has been a lot of confusion around the term “disadvantaged.”

“There was so much confusion around who's disadvantaged. Why are they disadvantaged? A lot of people just assume disadvantage was a financial thing.”Click To Tweet

Giving Readers More Context About You

There were so many people who squeezed the “disadvantaged” into such a narrow context. That’s why everyone was just so confused. And it was terrible. And so now, the “other impactful experiences” essay is much clearer. As a student, you want to give the reader some context.

Remember, the application is very structured. There typically is not a lot of opportunity to give extra information that won’t distract from what that specific prompt or specific essay is asking for. 

And so, the other impactful experiences essay gives you that opportunity to give some context to your application context. It gives them context of you, being an early mother or being on food stamps, or on the WIC, or being in the Army National Guard to support yourself. Whatever that may be, that gives context to the rest of your application. And that’s the perfect opportunity to use other impactful experiences.

Not every other impactful experiences essay needs to be spun into how amazing you are. Just give factual information. And so, it’s a great opportunity for that essay to write about those things the best you can.

If you want help with your essays that we do some of that, we do a lot of that at Medical School HQ. We are moving towards a character-count-based service. So stay tuned for that as well!


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