Climberak

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I've noticed a trend on SDN to include every single EC in one's personal statement. For some of my EC's, I would be able to write maybe one or two sentences about each one, but nothing profound. Therefore, should I just include the EC's that have proven to be most beneficial to me as a person (i.e. the best experiences) or should I include everything that I've done?

P.S. my personal statement is already approaching the 3500 character limit.
 

eagle34

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You definately don't need to include all your EC's in your PS. Your PS should be about why you want to be a doctor and about your significant experiences. I'm sure that not all of your EC's were done because you wanted to be a doctor.
 

fizzle

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The character limit this year is only 3500? Last year it was over 5000.
 

iA-MD2013

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I've noticed a trend on SDN to include every single EC in one's personal statement. For some of my EC's, I would be able to write maybe one or two sentences about each one, but nothing profound. Therefore, should I just include the EC's that have proven to be most beneficial to me as a person (i.e. the best experiences) or should I include everything that I've done?

P.S. my personal statement is already approaching the 3500 character limit.
It's a 5300 character limit...not 3500.
 

scarletgirl777

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I have a huge misunderstanding. The aamc says 1 page of text is appropriate and then says that ~5000 characters is the maximum. I have a full page of single-spaced text and yet the character count is 3546.
spaces count. also, every time you have to go to the next line it counts as 2.
 
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Climberak

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Sorry for the dyslexia. 5300.
 

nu2004

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for the love of God, please do NOT make your PS a recitation of your resumé!

if someone told you to include all your ECs, they were wrong. your PS will be most meaningful if it touches on one or a sparing few of the ECs that were most personally meaningful to you and that best symbolize your interest in and commitment to a career in medicine.

:thumbup:
 

RySerr21

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I've noticed a trend on SDN to include every single EC in one's personal statement. For some of my EC's, I would be able to write maybe one or two sentences about each one, but nothing profound. Therefore, should I just include the EC's that have proven to be most beneficial to me as a person (i.e. the best experiences) or should I include everything that I've done?

P.S. my personal statement is already approaching the 3500 character limit.

thats basically the exact opposite of what ive been told to do... they see all of your ECs and their descriptions already...why would they want you to list them again?

when i wrote my first draft...i re read and realize that, with the exeption of the first draft...it sounded like a resume, with a few sentences about why my ECs were meaningful. so basically, im going to have to do some major revisions...think about WHY my experiences have been meaningful, which ones have been MOST meaningful, and how they have influenced my decision to become a physicain
 

nevercold

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I've noticed a trend on SDN to include every single EC in one's personal statement. For some of my EC's, I would be able to write maybe one or two sentences about each one, but nothing profound. Therefore, should I just include the EC's that have proven to be most beneficial to me as a person (i.e. the best experiences) or should I include everything that I've done?

P.S. my personal statement is already approaching the 3500 character limit.
The people that make their personal statement a recitation of their activities end up with boring, bland, and ordinary personal statements. Those personal statements suck to read. They don't lure you in or carry a story or anything. Your personal statement should say why you want to be a doctor. That should include thoughts about the profession, thoughts about who you are, formative experiences, and why you could be good at it. You'll end up including something that is in your EC list, but that should be a means to the end, not the end itself.
 

nevercold

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Seriously, I would recommend the following steps to anyone trying to write their personal statement for medical school:

1. Think about what medicine is and what it means to be a physician.

2. Outline which of those aspects of being a physician appeal to you.

3. Outline how you could do well at being a physician and studying medicine.

4. Take those three elements and present each one to the reader in a 5300 character piece.
 

Raryn

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The character limit this year is only 3500? Last year it was over 5000.
Last I checked it was around 5000 for the AMCAS. I think the AACOMAS (the DO school ap) has it around 3500, but I'm not sure.
 

brianmartin

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No, do NOT make your PS a restatement of your resume.

I included one MAJOR anecdote from a clinical experience I had....and used it as a basis for nearly my entire PS. You want to point out something important you learned.
 
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Climberak

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Thanks for the replies.

A new question: In the PS, is it G.P.A. or GPA?
 

ChubbyChaser

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neither, because you shouldn't be talking about your gpa in the PS.
He can if its really low and has an excuse for it.

I would put GPA
 
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Climberak

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neither, because you shouldn't be talking about your gpa in the PS.
Jolie, normally I would agree with you. However, I'm discussing how my grade point average went from a 3.4 both semesters of my freshman year to 4.0's during my sophmore and junior years. I think it's something worth mentioning.
 

sunny1

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Jolie, normally I would agree with you. However, I'm discussing how my grade point average went from a 3.4 both semesters of my freshman year to 4.0's during my sophmore and junior years. I think it's something worth mentioning.
Couldn't you mention it in a more roundabout way that talks about what in you changed (i.e., from my freshman to my sophomore year I found my calling after participating in bla bla activity and it renewed my focus on academic studies by bla bla...) as opposed to explicitly saying "I had a 3.4 GPA freshman year and brought it up to a 4.0 by...". I mean, the ADCOM will be able to see your year-by-year GPA and I don't see the reason to list it so specifically in your PS as long as you address what it was that changed for you. I think it will be more refined that way.
 

flip26

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Jolie, normally I would agree with you. However, I'm discussing how my grade point average went from a 3.4 both semesters of my freshman year to 4.0's during my sophmore and junior years. I think it's something worth mentioning.
Listen to Jolie South here - her advice is solid.

Don't waste your limited PS space explaining (or it may be seen by a reader as "making excuses" for) your lousy grades. The upward trend will be obvious.

Don't draw any more attention to your bad grades than will already be obvious from your cum GPA...
 

Jolie South

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Jolie, normally I would agree with you. However, I'm discussing how my grade point average went from a 3.4 both semesters of my freshman year to 4.0's during my sophmore and junior years. I think it's something worth mentioning.
i disagree. it'll be obvious from your amcas how your gpa improved over the years as amcas breaks down your gpa by year. i think a crappy freshman year and improving gpa/upward trend is quite common.

I wouldn't waste time attracting attention to the negative aspects of your app unless the causes are really significant (i.e. death of a parent, severe injury/illness, etc). if you've made it out with an acceptable gpa (i'm guessing you're at around a 3.6-3.7), i don't think adcoms will look down on you for one crappy year. heck, i had a 3.1 for my junior year for no good reason. a 3.4 isn't that bad and if someone is concerned about it they will ask for more details at your interview.

if you had a cumulative gpa of 3.3 or below with tremendous circumstances, then i'd say to explain it.
 
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Climberak

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Couldn't you mention it in a more roundabout way that talks about what in you changed (i.e., from my freshman to my sophomore year I found my calling after participating in bla bla activity and it renewed my focus on academic studies by bla bla...) as opposed to explicitly saying "I had a 3.4 GPA freshman year and brought it up to a 4.0 by...". I mean, the ADCOM will be able to see your year-by-year GPA and I don't see the reason to list it so specifically in your PS as long as you address what it was that changed for you. I think it will be more refined that way.
Sunny,

Yes, that's what I'm trying to do. I'm not directly mentioning numbers, nor my sub par performance. Here's what I wrote:

"... I studied for my classes with a new found vigor. As a result, my grade point average has significantly increased over the past three semesters. I have realized the solid connection between my coursework and my desired vocation..."

Edit: Both my science and overall GPA are about 3.79 (depending on my O-chem final on Thurs). It's not that I have crappy numbers, I just want to explain why I have good ones.
 

nevercold

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Grade point average
In any body of writing, you should always write out something the first time you use it--EXCEPT if it is something that you can be completely sure the audience will understand. Your audience will understand GPA, so I would not type "grade point average (GPA)" anywhere. Either spell it out the whole time or abbreviate it the whole time. You should be able to do either and still be using appropriate English.
 

greg1184

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You certainly don't want to include every EC you have done on the personal statement. That is what your activities list is for. The point of the personal statement is to give an ADCOM an idea of you and why you want to go to medical school. The only ECs you might want to mention are the ones relevant to why you want to pursue medicine.
 

gujuDoc

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I've noticed a trend on SDN to include every single EC in one's personal statement. For some of my EC's, I would be able to write maybe one or two sentences about each one, but nothing profound. Therefore, should I just include the EC's that have proven to be most beneficial to me as a person (i.e. the best experiences) or should I include everything that I've done?

P.S. my personal statement is already approaching the 3500 character limit.
That is exactly what you should do. I have reviewed tons of Personal Statements through this website and I can tell you that nothing drives me more crazy then seeing people who try to laundry list their entire resume in their personal statement. the personal statement is a time to get to know those things you don't put in the 15 amcas resume spots that may have had a significant impact on your decision to go into medicine or be a big part of who you are whether it is an illness you or a relative have had to deal with that has affected you and how you turned that around to rise above things and influence you to look at healthcare from the other side of the fence, or whether it is that you want to show your passion for the arts or sports and tie that back in with the theme of why medicine while also showing them 1 or 2 profound clinical experiences you've had, or other things of that nature.

You should NEVER NEVER NEVER try to fit your whole resume in the PS. That is the worst approach to take.
 

gujuDoc

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for the love of God, please do NOT make your PS a recitation of your resumé!

if someone told you to include all your ECs, they were wrong. your PS will be most meaningful if it touches on one or a sparing few of the ECs that were most personally meaningful to you and that best symbolize your interest in and commitment to a career in medicine.

:thumbup:
amen!!! The worst personal statements I've ever read in my time volunteering to review and critique personal statements on here have been the ones that involved trying to rewrite your resume in prose. Of course after my advice most of these people changed it up to something much much much better. some of the rewrites and later drafts from these same people were some of the most profound essays I've written.

I think there are 2 major school of thoughts with personal statements:

1. You have or your relative/friend etc. has been severely ill, making you take another look into medicine and then you show how this desire for a career in this field has been tested with experiences volunteering/working in medical setting and elsewhere.

2. You use your passions i.e. music, art, sports, etc. to draw parallel to medicine and be more subtle in showing the transition towards science and medicine.

There are a few other approaches but these are the 2 most common ones.

Oh and never start with I was born and raised in. See the sticky above where I had put dos and don'ts presented by an adcom member at USF COM.
 

gujuDoc

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neither, because you shouldn't be talking about your gpa in the PS.
That depends on the situation. If you have a really really weak GPA, you shouldn't dwell on it but in a line or 2 I've been advised to mention it and then show in the next few lines what I've done to mature and positively show that I've had a higher trend.
 

Wylde

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Just talk about how sexy the interviewer is. Works every time!

Seriously, they want diversity... no one ever uses the PS to suck-up/bribe to the adcom members. I think it's revolutionary.
 

brianmartin

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I have a trend from 3.0 to 3.7 and didn't mention it at all in my PS....it's kind of obvious by looking at the grades :p

Don't put anything like that in the PS. It should be your vehicle for explaining "why medicine"...not to make excuses!
 

DoctorDreamer

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My PS dealt a lot with my fulltime clinical experiences, life experiences with medical problems in my family, and a little with my research. I didn't even touch on my other activities, and I used all 20.
 

gujuDoc

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haha, sounds like you were doing some pretty heavy "editing." ;)
Woops meant so I READ!!!!!!!!

SORRY!!!!!!!

And I steered them in the right direction, telling them to make a theme and be able to tie in their conclusion into their intro so it sounds like it has a clear beginning and end. My bad. Typos from typing fast. :laugh: :laugh:

But yeah they wrote some awesome essays once they were steered in the right direction!!!!!!

Edited cuz I'm ******ed at checking spelling. sometimes I type so fast on here that I don't realize typos and stupid mistakes.
 

silverlining1

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The people that make their personal statement a recitation of their activities end up with boring, bland, and ordinary personal statements. Those personal statements suck to read. They don't lure you in or carry a story or anything. Your personal statement should say why you want to be a doctor. That should include thoughts about the profession, thoughts about who you are, formative experiences, and why you could be good at it. You'll end up including something that is in your EC list, but that should be a means to the end, not the end itself.
Absolutely. Don't laundry list. It hurt when I had to cut out some activities and experiences that were really important to me, but I knew I could talk about those in my secondaries later if I wanted. The important thing with the PS is to tell a coherent, meaningful story that shows who you are and why medicine is the career for you.