I recently shared my experiences of applying to medical school as a low-income student and discussed my intention to continue health justice work through my MD/MPH studies. Although this is for a company that provides admissions consulting and editing services for paying clients, I have never utilized such services and try to share the wealth as much as I can. The lack of socioeconomic diversity in medicine is real and it has serious ramifications for the health inequities that persist in this country.
AAMC Analysis in Brief: Diversity of U.S. Medical Students by Parental Income
AJPH: Socioeconomic Disparities in Health in the United States: What the Patterns Tell Us
Accepted: Looking back at the application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How would you advise other applicants who may be experiencing similar challenges?
Tehreem: I went straight into medical school and I had to drop my thesis as I was missing a lot of class for interviews. I always recommend that people take at least a year off and explore other interests while also taking a much needed break before diving into medical school.
As a low-income student, the costs of just applying to medical school can be quite daunting. While I largely used test prep books from the library for the MCAT, I’m now aware that some schools offer free MCAT courses for low-income students. You can also contact schools directly when applying to see if they will waive the application fee and reimburse travel. I believe there is also a program through AMCAS in which you can get a reduction in your MCAT fee and get the first couple of schools on the application free. I applied several years ago so can’t recall the exact name.
Finally, patience is key. Wait for your scholarship and financial aid packages to come in and use good ones as leverage when talking to other schools you’re interested in.
Read the full interview for Accepted here.