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AMCAS personal statement

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treetrunk

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Hello,

I have been a long time viewer of SDN but just joined today. I have read the advice about writing AMCAS essays for M.D./Ph.D. applicants but was wondering if any current M.D./Ph.D. student would be willing to read mine and give me some feedback. I think it's good but it reads more as an expository essay rather than a story. I don't know if this is a big deal. :confused: Thanks for your help.

-treetrunk
 

treetrunk

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Aw snap. Looks like no one wants to help a brotha out. :(
 

SaltySqueegee

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I've posted on these forums before regarding how to plan for a personal statement. Here are some of my thoughts that I wrote to a friend in an email back in June of 2003. I am applying for the Fall 2004 entering class.

"I actually started synthesizing my personal statement
about 6 months ago. 1.5 years prior to that, I made sure that I kept a journal of any events, thoughts, or people I thought to be
influential (and how they influenced me) on my decision
to become a physician, or things that make me who I am today.
In the end, I condensed my journal
writing (approximately 50pages of
type 10 font, single space) into a list of bulleted
thoughts (about a page long). From there, I proceeded
to brainstorm some themes that I saw to be common
amongst my most influential topics on my bulleted
list. Once I picked my theme and 3-4 topics of
interest (it's as hard as hell to try to not use all
of the topics bulleted, but I forced myself to limit
it for reasons listed below), I used my journal
entries to write my statement (it's pretty amazing how
much feeling you can put into a journal entry when it
is fresh in your mind). From there, it was mostly
playing with revisions for six months and rewriting
the intro and conclusion over and over again. Finally
I came to the end product. If your anything like me,
totally science oriented with skills lacking in
written communication, you need to start this project
super early. In all I spent a year and a half on
maintaining a journal, and half a year putting it all
together, for a total of two years worth of work. But
in the end it was totally worth it, and I believe my
personal statement truly represents what I found to be
pivotal to why I want to go into the field of
medicine.

If you end up having a bulleted list a mile long, try
doing what I did. Pick the 3-4 most compatible topics
that make a cohesive theme. The other topics on your
list can be inputted into the 15 post-secondary
experiences in the form of mini-essays. So, in this
way I was able to put down all that I deemed made me
suitable for the field of medicine. When my personal
statement and post-secondary experience fields were
lacking in a particular area that I believe is
important to me, I requested that my recommenders
focus a good portion of their letters on these topics.
In addition, I requested that they comment positively
on any inconsistancies that may show up in my
application ( 1)my science focus has been counter
balanced by my comparative religious studies
professor's letter, 2)my less than stellar background
in written communication and verbal reasoning (VR 8)
has been compensated by me asking my professors to
positively comment on my written and oral
communication skills. In this way, I believe my
application has become well-rounded. Yes, the
Personal Statement is important, and should state many
good reasons for the question of "why medicine?"
However, in my mind focusing on making the personal
statement somewhat interesting (want it to catch their
eye so that they will pay attention to the rest of the
application), and utilizing the post-secondary
experiences and letter writers, a well rounded
application can be obtained by anyone.


(Referring to my friend
I think you have plenty of positve experiences that
show that you have tested the waters of medicine. The
secret to writing the personal statement is relating
each experience back to the theme you have chosen and
how it has influenced your view in medicine. For
example:

Blah Blah Blah... (insert an experience)... Blah Blah
Blah... has made me realize that there is something
more to just science in the field of medicine... Blah
Blah Blah... (insert transition sentence).

There are two things to notice: 1)stating an
experience (one of the 3-4 topics picked) and then
2)saying how it has influenced you. #2 is the
trickiest, because you want to come across as a person
who is humble (emphasize the whole "I have so much to
learn[from professors, patients and experiences]
idea"), proud to be a part of something big (in this
way you could lend creedance to your
professors/physicians that have been influential in
your life), and constantly improving on specific
traits (i.e. it has allowed me to hone my skills in
the art of patient interaction). One major fault to
avoid is to explain an observance (i.e. you observed a
physician performing a procedure), but fail to relate
it back to how you will apply that experience in your
own life (i.e. it has driven me to be a more sensitive
person... blah blah blah...). To this end, I can
totally understand your statement that you have always
wanted to be a physician. (Referring to my
friends statement in an email.) However, I think the
admissions committees are looking for examples of how
you have tested this notion that you have held since
your youth. In other words, it is already expected
that you should want to help people. On a bizarre
note, one sure way to not get into medical school is
to say, "I don't like people, I have trouble
interacting with them, and I faint at the sign of
blood."

In the end, you will probably find (as did I) that it
was not any one particular/spectacular event in your
life that has lead you into the field of medicine, but
a multitude of positive experiences all reaffirming
your choice to be a physician. Your job is to say
which ones are the most important, and creatively
explain how they relate to your qualifying skillset as
a future physician. In my opinion, I believe that a
person who focuses on a good sampling of experiences
(even if they were not extraordinary), is much better
off than the person who takes his whole personal
statement to say how he saved a child from an oncoming
train. As spectacular as that may sound to that
applicant, he will have missed the opportunity to show
leadership, maturity, humbleness, communication and a
multitude of other traits that can truly only come
from an applicant that has really tested the waters,
so to speak. So in that sense, I believe you're in
the best position for explaining why you want to be a
physician. (Again, referring to my friend's email.)
 

SaltySqueegee

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You may want to think about picking up a book Titled "101 Essays that will get you into Medical School", which give pretty decent examples of essays that are everything from science related to missionary work. :thumbup:

As for reading a persons essay, I apologize that I will not do it. I truly believe that an essay is by nature personal, and can only be corrected for grammar, flow and clarity, and not necessarily Theme or Content. You might want to consider a close friend or someone who is willing to sit down with you to hear your entire story. Those types of sessions are usually best at producing 'good' essay material. :thumbup:
 

surge

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treetrunk,

I'll read your PS, but I'll need a bit of time as I'm totally swamped in the lab.
Can you PM it to me?

Serge
 

treetrunk

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Hey thanks for the offer, Serge. I actually submitted it already. Hopefully it'll do the trick. :D
 

HotSteamingTurd

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Hey treetrunk,

feel free to PM me your personal statement, I'd be happy to help a future MSTPer out!
 

HotSteamingTurd

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oops nevermind, i didn't read the previous post.

oh well, that's what happens when you're post call, one becomes stupid and absent minded.
 
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