2008-2009 Personal Statement Questions Thread

Torey01

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    For those of you who have already written your personal statements, where did you find the most help? Books, a web site? I have a general statement written but would like to eliminate and refine with more structure.

    Also, I heard that you should pay more attention to the secondary statement any advice or specifics on that???

    Thanks to all...
     

    Dr. MAXY

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      I gave mine to some faculty members to read, Then I gave it to my pre-med commitee as well. I also went to a summer program at UAB School of Medicine and I gave it to the Admissions committee and the dean of admissions to have a look at it. Some doctors also read it. Finally, a couple of english profs looked at it and corrected any grammar errors and last minute mistakes.
      IMO, I think the personal statement and the secondary statement are of equal immportance.
      Maybe the secondary might weigh a little more.

      GOOD LUCK
       

      OsteoMed02

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        Torey01,

        The online AACOMAS app doesn't give you a whole lot of room to go in depth on your personal statement. There is a limited amt. of characters that you can have, so you won't be able to do anything elaborate. Last year while I was applying I did a lot of refining, rewriting and had some fellow classmates and med students read over it for me. Insofar as the content is concerned, I included some thoughts on how I chose osteopathy, what I thought of its philosophy and briefly recalled an experience I had that influenced my decision to become a physician. Save a lot of the detail work for your secondaries because you often are required to write several lengthy essays. I hope this helps! Good luck!

        Julia
        MSUCOM Class of 2006
         
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        bryce

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          I am trying to draw from a certain instance from when I was in Iraq the last time [I was injured, but that sure as hell isn't my focus] and the few positive and many negative experiences that both myself and my bb's encountered over the course of several months as they are all centered around our patient care. I really want to emphasize that I want to be an ARMY Dr. bc of the dramatic effect that the health care staff could have had on all of these guys lives' and how I am going to capitalize on what I have seen and gone through first-hand for the betterment of these amazing men and women. Problem is, I have no clue as to how in the hell I am going to do it in my ps. If anyone with experience in this arena could help me out I'd greatly appreciate it.:thumbup:

          Take Care-
          Bryce
           

          Nanon

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            I am trying to draw from a certain instance from when I was in Iraq the last time [I was injured, but that sure as hell isn't my focus] and the few positive and many negative experiences that both myself and my bb's encountered over the course of several months as they are all centered around our patient care. I really want to emphasize that I want to be an ARMY Dr. bc of the dramatic effect that the health care staff could have had on all of these guys lives' and how I am going to capitalize on what I have seen and gone through first-hand for the betterment of these amazing men and women. Problem is, I have no clue as to how in the hell I am going to do it in my ps. If anyone with experience in this arena could help me out I'd greatly appreciate it.:thumbup:

            Take Care-
            Bryce

            I've never been in the military, but I have my own pretty tough experiences that have led me into medicine (homelessness, extreme poverty, mentally ill parent, etc... ). Basically, I'm describing the trajectory from there to where I am now, focusing mostly on where I am now. You could maybe use the same tactic by describing how your experiences in Iraq are informing who you are now, as a person and an applicant. I think you should be honest about the impact Iraq had on you - don't hold back. But be really careful about criticizing the care you and your buddies got. Keep the grapes sweet, and the focus on yourself and your dreams, KWIM? Believe me, I could write reams about the crappy care that poor & homeless folk get and how that motivates me toward medicine, but a) that's not the whole story, and b) that's not going to tell them who I am, which is the whole point of the PS.

            I'll read yours if you'll read mine. :D

            S.
             
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            cargirl110

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              I want to include a paragraph on my research experiences and what it has taught me and how that will prepare me to handle medical school and make me a better physician. Should I leave that out on my PS since DO schools are not research-oriented or just include it? Thanks!
               

              prionsRbad

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                You're fine. Include it. I talked a lot about my research in my personal statement, secondary essays and even in my interviews. Just because a school isn't "research oriented" doesn’t mean they don't want to hear about your experiences.
                 

                Algorhythmik

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                  Hey All:

                  I'd be glad to help out as a reader. I'm an English/Creative Writing tutor on campus (in addition to being a biomed grad student and tutoring in physics and calc) and scored a perfect T :hardy: on the essay section of the MCAT on both of the 2 different occasions during which I took said exam.

                  I also scored a 5 on AP English in High-School and have won several scholarships and writing contests in the recent past.

                  Translation: I know how to write very well, and would be glad to take a look at people's essays and help them out as much as I can given my work-load.

                  Just PM me with your preferred e-mail addy, and I'll write you back from mine; from there, you can send me your document directly pasted into the email client or as an attached Word .doc :thumbup:
                   

                  Reyna

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                    Hi,
                    I just started filling out the application and got to the personal statement section.....is there a prompt for the personal statement for the schools? Or do we just write?? Thanks....
                     

                    utahtigger

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                      You just write!! You can write about anything for the AACOMAS Personal statement section. I would narrow your conversation to things that led you to your decision to be a doc, why a DO, things you've done to test your decision, or a personal story of something that helped define your character. It's also an opportunity to subtly (not in a negative tone) explain glaring holes in your app - bad semester grades due to illness? Family emergency? Etc. It may seem like a bunch of characters to fill, but trust me, a well written personal statement will have to be edited over and over until you have your final product. THis is your only opportunity to show your personality, who you are, rather than just what you've done. Don't squander the personal statement! And for peet's sake, don't just throw in an essay to get the app sent in... it REALLY is an important piece of the application process!

                      Prompted essays will come from the individual schools in your secondary applications.

                      Again, regarding the personal statement... if, in a worse case scenario, you receive a hold or flat-out rejection PRE-SECONDARY, you want to have some arsenal for stating your case to have your file reviewed again. Many schools will simply screen by MCAT and GPA score, and automatically send a secondary. If you don't have the best stats, your personal statement is the only way to explain YOU as a person, and that you are the result of all your experiences - some of which may have led to less than stellar stats. Once the initial screening is done, early on, the schools will review each file on hold to make a final determination. AGain, you want a strong personal statement.

                      Sorry to sound preachy, but I want the best for you and you sound like you may be alone in this process...ie, no pre-med advisor?? I was accepted to 7 schools, so I must have done something right!

                      Best of luck to you! :luck:
                       
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                      fromcali2va

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                        Ok, so I've had at least twenty people read my personal statement and after editing it 1,000 times I thought I was done. The last few people who read it thought it was a lot better and ready to submit. So as soon as I pay my fees and submit my application, I get two emails with GREAT critiques and now I feel like the one that I submitted is HORRIBLE! There are no gramatical errors, just things that should be added and things that could be taken out. Am I doomed? My stats aren't great (see my mdapp), but I think if I get interviews I can woo them with my charm:laugh: I know that nobody on here can predict my ultimate outcome, but i'm just looking for some opinions. Anyone get an acceptance that KNOWS their PS could be a whole lot better?
                         
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                        a817

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                          Ok, so I've had at least twenty people read my personal statement and after editing it 1,000 times I thought I was done. The last few people who read it thought it was a lot better and ready to submit. So as soon as I pay my fees and submit my application, I get two emails with GREAT critiques and now I feel like the one that I submitted is HORRIBLE! There are no gramatical errors, just things that should be added and things that could be taken out. Am I doomed? My stats aren't great (see my mdapp), but I think if I get interviews I can woo them with my charm:laugh: I know that nobody on here can predict my ultimate outcome, but i'm just looking for some opinions. Anyone get an acceptance that KNOWS there PS could be a whole lot better?

                          you can call or email aacomas and ask them to open your app again, so you can edit your ps. They will do it for you. But you will have to be verified again.
                           

                          WDeagle

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                            I wouldnt worry too much about it. Your application looks pretty good. You should definately get plenty of interviews, especially having applied so early. Unless your PS was absolutely terrible i dont think it will make a big difference. Besides, you'll have plenty of secondary essays which ADCOMs will probably be more interested in.
                             

                            BklynWill

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                              Really, the purpose of the PS is for adcoms to first verify that you're literate, and preferably articulate and proper. The second purpose of the PS is to provide interviewers with some substance from which they can initiate conversations. As long as your PS is grammatically correct and somewhat interesting, you don't have much to worry about.

                              :luck:
                               

                              fabu1ous

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                                fromcali-- don't second guess yourself. If you were to change your PS, a week from now, you'd probably see something else that could've been improved. You did the right thing by having people look at it-- maybe next time wait to hear their response b4 submitting :p.

                                Good luck to you! :luck:
                                 

                                ATrain

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                                  I can honestly say that the PS was the most difficult part of the application process for me, even worse than MCAT. Not only was it an arduous task, but so difficult to be satistfied that you are fully represented by it in a meaningful way. I hated mine and will never look back on it since it would make me cringe to hear me babble on about myself and my story.
                                  I think you should be fine, your stats and EC's are great. You will have a choice in schools :thumbup:
                                   

                                  scdocusc

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                                    the best way to way to write a personal statement is to integrate personal experience, charactartistics, goals, and weakness into a coherent work that is a story. Each one is different so good luck. In my case, my personal statement helped me out a bunch and got me a good amount of interviews so take your time on it and write a strong essay
                                     
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                                    MossPoh

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                                      I think it is natural for people to kind of feel uneasy about the PS. I know I did when I realized it was so short compared to the limit. Make it an interesting read. These people read tons of these stupid things. Most of them are exactly the same. I chose to emphasize things that put me into medicine and summed it using my experience (a very particular one). I then went into how it was a weakness that I improved upon and all this other jazz. I wouldn't worry too much. As long as you can spell and don't have horrible fragments or run-on sentences, then you should be fine.
                                       

                                      whoknows2008

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                                        So my personal statement is nearly done, but I will not be able to shadow a DO until July. (I will have a LOR by this time.) Will this hurt me if I don't put it in my personal statement since I don't have anything to talk about? (Also, I won't be able to put this in my application since it hasn't happened yet ...)

                                        In my statement, I talk about shadowing a physician (MD-but I don't specifically say he is an MD), volunteering, and research. I don't want to waste time to submit my application but waiting around to shadow ... but if it will help me!
                                         

                                        prionsRbad

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                                          So my personal statement is nearly done, but I will not be able to shadow a DO until July. (I will have a LOR by this time.) Will this hurt me if I don't put it in my personal statement since I don't have anything to talk about? (Also, I won't be able to put this in my application since it hasn't happened yet ...)

                                          In my statement, I talk about shadowing a physician (MD-but I don't specifically say he is an MD), volunteering, and research. I don't want to waste time to submit my application but waiting around to shadow ... but if it will help me!

                                          You're fine. It won't hurt your PS if you don't talk about shadowing a DO. I didn't mention my shadowing experience in my PS either, but I included it in my EC's. You should list the future shadowing under your EC section, IMO. Good Luck! :luck:
                                           

                                          fabu1ous

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                                            Quite frankly, it may be a good thing.

                                            Agreed. I am yet to meet a helpful premed advisor. Unless you have a 4.0 and a 35+ mcat, they pretty much doom you to failure.

                                            Sooo true. Advice like, if you want to pursue this dream of being a doctor, retake your first four years of undergrad, score a 40 on your MCAT, and after volunteer 10 yrs in a 3rd world country. Then, you might be competitive :thumbup:.
                                             

                                            fabu1ous

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                                              As for specific PS advice, I searched online for sample personal statements to get an idea of how to make a statement flow. I'm sure you already have an idea of why you want to be a physician, but if you're like me, you didn't know how to say it in an interesting way.

                                              The samples gave me ideas on how to approach my ideas, and allowed me to weave in important points I wanted to make, within an interesting story. After ofcourse, I had people who write really well give me pointers (like, ugh, I fell asleep in the first paragraph) and were able to thoroughly proof my final product.

                                              Good luck to you! :luck:
                                               

                                              deutsche106

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                                                Hey guys,
                                                Do you guys happen to know what's the topic for the AACOMAS perosonal statement? It looks like it doesn't tell you the topic on the website: "The colleges will see your personal statement exactly as you enter it in the box below. You are advised to check your spelling, syntax, and grammar before submitting your personal statement.

                                                You may type directly in the box or cut and paste from a word or text processor." Do you choose your own topic like why i want to go to medical school, why i wanna be a doctor etc.


                                                Thank you!
                                                 

                                                Bruinette

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                                                  Hey guys,
                                                  Do you guys happen to know what's the topic for the AACOMAS perosonal statement? It looks like it doesn't tell you the topic on the website: "The colleges will see your personal statement exactly as you enter it in the box below. You are advised to check your spelling, syntax, and grammar before submitting your personal statement.

                                                  You may type directly in the box or cut and paste from a word or text processor." Do you choose your own topic like why i want to go to medical school, why i wanna be a doctor etc.


                                                  Thank you!

                                                  I don't think there's a specific prompt, but addressing "why i want to go to medical school, why i wanna be a doctor etc." will definitely be a good idea. :D
                                                   

                                                  orangepiggy

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                                                    I have already made it clear that I work as a GI technician that helps perform colonoscopies and endoscopies in an earlier paragraph. In order to keep my character count within the limit, is it okay if I use "scopes" rather than "colonoscopes and endoscopes"? Thanks a bunch!
                                                     
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