“What It Means to Be a ‘Disadvantaged’ M.D. Applicant” (Ibrahim Busnaina, U.S. News and World Report)

Dr. Busnaina’s article on designating yourself as “disadvantaged” on the AMCAS application raises several interesting points. As an editor, I most often see essays explaining how the strain of working several jobs while completing the pre-med curriculum has taught the applicant how to balance a busy schedule, which is an essential skill for a medical school student. However, the purpose of a medical school application is to convince the reader that you will be a successful doctor, not a successful medical student. More compelling are essays that discuss the isolation and “lack of belonging” that Dr. Busnaina mentions. This area provides an easy introduction to a thoughtful discussion of the isolation of the medically marginalized and an opportunity to express the desire to serve these communities as an empathetic physician. I advise applicants to focus on the positive and on the future, as many of the “consequences” of a “disadvantaged” background (overcoming language barriers, being exposed to non-traditional remedies, caring for an ailing family member) will make you a better physician.

For more of Dr. Busnaina’s insightful advice, visit: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/medical-school-admissions-doctor/2012/07/02/what-it-means-to-be-a-disadvantaged-md-applicant

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