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AAMC Primary Application Essay: Need Critique!

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by Dr. Mawi, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. Dr. Mawi

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    Hey guys,

    I'm pretty late in the application game and I would love it if someone could critique my primary essay. I guessing it's not smart to put the entire thing online but I'll post the first paragraph and if someone would like to see it in its entirety, I'll PM it to them. I'll leave out important details as well. Here it goes:

    "I was 10 years old and on a flight to (country) when my parents told me that we were refugees. My dad explained that ten years prior, just before my birth, he and my 7-month pregnant mother walked over 100km from modern day (country) into (country) to escape civil war. Both of my parents had less than a grade school education, no money, and knew no English. My uncle, who was a taxi driver in the U.S. at the time, helped to sponsor my family and bring us to live in (state). My parents were excited that after years of working menial jobs and saving just enough money, we were finally going back to the homeland they had been forcefully flee from. As we landed, we immediately left the airport to go to the house of my late uncle, who died in the (time period) civil war. We arrived in the middle of the night to the warm embraces of my widowed aunt and my baby cousin. I had only seen black and white photos of my aunt but it was clearly evident that she was a beautiful woman. It was shocking how her cream-colored skin and deep hazel eyes contrasted the dark, war-torn environment surrounding her; she was the picture of health in a land full of maladies."
     
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  3. SPQR MD

    5+ Year Member

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    Hmmm. Without seeing the rest of the personal statement there's no real way to judge it. However, I will say this; typically the personal statement should focus on you and why you want to be a physician; and given your limited space it should be to the point. My concern here is that you have used about 1/5 of your character limit already but the focus is more on your family and only barely hints at why you want to be a doctor.
     
  4. Moko

    2+ Year Member

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    Key points I've gleaned from this paragraph are:
    1) Your parents were at one point refugees coming from a war-torn nation, and fortunately had the help of relatives to rebuild their lives.
    2) Your parents lacked education, and you've likely worked harder than others to be competitive for medical school.
    3) If you graduate, you will be the first doctor in your family.

    I'd argue that almost everything else is irrelevant. Does it matter how many miles your parents trekked? When I think of refugees, I already assume they had experienced significant hardships. Referring to jobs as "menial" can easily be misinterpreted as insulting, especially when a large part of the patients you will see have these jobs. The details about your uncles, aunt and baby cousin, including when they died, the color of their eyes and skin, are unnecessary. These details only bog down the pace of the essay while adding nothing of substance. As your personal statement gets polished, every single sentence should be serving a purpose. Just my thoughts and best of luck.
     
    #3 Moko, Sep 12, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    Swebb6 likes this.
  5. tenblackalps

    2+ Year Member

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    This is over 1100 characters long and doesn't really say much. Why does the skin and eye color of your beautiful aunt matter? I echo pretty much everything @Moko said. Every sentence should help construct the narrative of why you want to be a doctor and why you want to work in medicine. If it doesn't serve that purpose, cut it out.
     
    Swebb6 likes this.

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