Anyone willing to help by critiquing an essay (or at least parts of it)?

  • SDN Site Updates

    Hey everyone! The site will be down for approximately 2 hours on Thursday, August 5th for site updates.

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
I am writing an essay for Pitt Med. I am not actually an applicant for Pitt Med, but was selected to interview there as part of an undergraduate program. I was asked to bring anything that I thought would help me for my interview, so I though I would write the essays (kind of like a mock application). Here is what I have written so far for my essay about how I can bring diversity to the school:


?The doctor is a person who has been trained to think, to observe critically, and to realize that a human being is not a conglomeration of integrated complex systems, but an individual with a personality of his own.? -William A. R. Thomson

Imagine a place where your heart thumps immediately before the most invigorating experience of your lifetime. You know you have spent the past months rehearsing, yet your palms still sweat and your voice becomes hoarse. Suddenly, these signs of apprehension vanish and you find yourself in astonishment upon the world?s most creative plateau: the stage.


I am going to continue by writing about my first experience performing at a rock concert. I know that that Pitt wanted it to be limited to 250 words, so I'll try to do that. Feel free to criticize or make suggestions.
 

TTSD

Sexually Deprived
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2003
3,289
8
Outside your orifice
Status (Visible)
I'd like to read more before making a critique.

But I believe most people will agree here, try not to start anything with a quote. They want to see your originality, not someone else's. Also, 250 words goes by FAST.

With that being said, also be careful of using the word "You," within 250 words you're going to have to bring it back to, "I" to demonstrate how you yourself are going to bring diversity to the school.

Is this for some BS/MD program?
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
Ok, so you suggest that I take out the quote and avoid using you. Thanks for the help so far. By the way, I applied to Pitt as an undergraduate applicant for pre-med, and they selected me for an interview. They recently began a program like a BA/MD program. So in essence, it is for a BA/MD program. I'll post more when I write it, but do you think that writing the essay is going overboard?
 
About the Ads

Sharkfan

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2004
254
0
Southeast USA
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Why would an essay be going overboard if Pitt has given it a word limit? Seems like they've acknowledged it, no problem.

I would rather do too much than too little, assuming this is something that matters to you.
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
About the essay going overboard, the thing is that they haven't asked me to write it. I want to write it and submit it. I wanted to know if writing it even though they did not ask me to will be considered as going overboard. It turns out that they did not even see my undergrad app. The CAS chose me to interview with a few dozen others. Along with my essays, I plan on bringing my HS transcript, SAT and ACT scores, and teacher recs. I'm concerned that if I write the essay, they might not even read it thinking that I am trying to hard to suck up. When I write more, I'll post. How does it sound if I change the you to I?


I remember a place where my heart thumped immediately before the most invigorating experience of my lifetime. I knew I had spent the past months rehearsing, yet my palms were still sweaty and my voice became hoarse. Suddenly, these signs of apprehension vanished and I find myself in astonishment upon the world?s most creative plateau: the stage.
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
Sharkfan: you sent me a PM saying that it would also be a good idea to make it professional. Do you think that I should make it professional, or keep the personal opening with the imagery. I was thinking about starting with the opening I just wrote, then write about how and why I became interested in rock music, and then conclude by writing my experiences with the band. I am thinking of POSSIBLY finishing by writing a conclusion with the quote to tie it in with the topic. Any ideas?
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
Well, they are going to interview me, and want me to "submit anything that you think will help your cause" (words of the admissions officer I scheduled my interview with). I figured that I would submit something that every applicant submits, this essay. I am writing it because I want to. I am very interested in Pitt Med and would like to get accepted. I just hope they reward people who go above and beyond what they are supposed to. I added a bit more:


I remember a place where my heart thumped immediately before the most invigorating experience of my lifetime. I knew I had spent the past months rehearsing, yet my palms were still sweaty and my voice became hoarse. Suddenly, these signs of apprehension vanished and I find myself in astonishment upon the world?s most creative plateau: the stage.
Beginning in early adolescence, I was immediately drawn by the poetic qualities of rock music. I heard music about every possible topic from love and romance to sacrifice and failure. For me, rock music was the silenced poet?s means of spreading his voice. Something within the loud drum beats and guitar sequences also attracted me. What was referred to as perpetual commotion by my parents was a way of escaping from the stresses and pressures of society.
Years later, I find myself in the same position. I still find myself overcome with rock music.


I will probably cut some of it out and make it more focused, and I have to finish the last paragraph and add a conlcuding one, if necessary
 

TTSD

Sexually Deprived
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2003
3,289
8
Outside your orifice
Status (Visible)
Sounding pretty good so far. It shows you have interests outside of medicine. Perhaps you want to weave in how much you have to prepare, dedication and commitment one must have to perform rock music? You know, to show that you have character and aren't some long-haired hippy :-D BTW, isn't one of the guys in Offspring a PhD as well?

You should probably take in a tape as well. But you also want to balance this out maybe with another few essays on your community service and the other standard fare as well to cover your butt. It seems as if this program you're applying to wants the serious little squirts who'll probably cure cancer given the chance. So remember, don't slack off in the "academic" extracurriculars either.

Most premeds, medical students and doctors have a lot of varied interests as well.
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
I remember a place where my heart thumped immediately before the most exhilarating experience of my lifetime. I knew I had spent the past months rehearsing, yet my palms were still sweaty and I felt a lump in my throat. Suddenly, these signs of apprehension vanished and I find myself in astonishment upon the world?s most creative site: the stage.

Beginning in early adolescence, I was immediately drawn by the poetic qualities of rock music. I heard music about every possible topic from love and romance to sacrifice and failure. For me, rock music was a poet?s means of spreading his voice. Something within the loud drum beats and intricate guitar sequences also attracted me. It was a way for me to free my soul.

Years later, I find myself in the same position. I still find myself overcome with rock music. However, my interests have developed into more than just a hobby of listening to it. Becoming the member of a local rock band has been the realization of one of my passions.
 

greggth

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2003
258
1
www.mdapplicants.com
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
1. Don't worry about looking too eager. Write the essay and bring it if you want to. You can throw it in the trash can at the last minute if necessary.

2. What does a rock concert have to do with medicine?
 

LaurieB

Full Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2003
651
2
Chicago
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Since they haven't asked for an essay, why don't you write a letter describing your motivation to go into medicine and to stay at Pitt?

As I see it, most schools have us write essays to get to know us better before deciding to grant an interview. Since you already have the interview, they are going to base their impression of you on how you present yourself and interact with them.

My 2 cents.
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
Well, I also wrote this essay which is part motivation for medicine and part a portrait of a physician. I sent this to all my undergrad schools and it does pertain to medicine. It does make sense to bring that essay with me. What do you guys think about this one. Of course, if I were to bring this one with me, I would probably add something about ym motivation to attend Pitt, which means I would probably need to shorten it a bit. My fear about this essay is that the committee will not even look at it, as it is quite lengthy. By the way, on the AMCAS application, are there any personal statements that you needed to write. If there were, were those personal statements the ones where they ask you why you want to study medicine or those common questions?


I will never forget the time I heard the news of my uncle?s illness. I was in a hospital room with my uncle lying next to me, lifeless. Then, the neurologist came through the door and said that my uncle would probably not survive. He had a serious case of meningitis.

For days, the entire family was a wreck. Nobody got more than a few hours of sleep. We all stood by his bedside helplessly. Then, the days turned into weeks, yet nothing but silence stirred the air within the room. We knew that the medical staff tried its best, but his condition remained unchanged.

Miraculously, one day, my uncle did awaken. However, something about him just wasn?t right. He recognized nobody and stared endlessly as the days progressed. I remember staring aimlessly into his reassuring, comforting eyes during my childhood. Now, his blank, confused eyes stared aimlessly into mine.

Months later, he sat up in bed and started to remember everything. Memories suddenly flooded me. I remembered the days of my early childhood when I used to sit in his lap and look into his eyes. I saw that same reassuring look in his eyes that I remember seeing during my childhood. Everything returned to normal.

The fact that so many were willing to do all that they could to help was a source of inspiration. Some even volunteered to spend their precious time to sit bedside with the other members of the family. They tried to console us when all looked bleak. When all hope was lost, they instilled faith and courage into my family. They tried to brighten our spirits by simply being concerned with our welfare. When some of us began to doubt a successful recovery, our doubt only reinforced their determination.

Until that point in my life, I viewed a physician as a person with all the remedies and abundant medical knowledge, as a person who just walked around wearing a coat or scrubs, everyone being identical. I realize this is not entirely true. My experience showed me that there is more to being a successful physician.

A physician must have a vast knowledge of medicine, but must also have a personality and concern for everyone. My family walked quietly into the hospital everyday. We were always welcomed by smiles and warm greetings. The team of doctors and nurses explained every course of action to us in detail, trying to reassure us. Sometimes, they were humorous in an effort to make us laugh and forget our worries for just one moment.

Now, I realize that physicians can touch the lives of others. It seemed as if the doctors who were treating my uncle devoted all their time and energy toward him. They spent countless sleepless nights worrying about his condition. Their devotion was inspiring. Even after the recovery, my family formed lasting bonds with those who treated my uncle, still keeping in touch on a personal level.

Additionally, a physician is not always successful or in control of a situation. In my uncle?s case, there was a realistic possibility of failure, and at a certain point, the medical staff could do no more to help him.

A physician is the nearest representation of an ideal person, even though he may not represent perfection. He must be a well-rounded person who is willing to work towards a better society. The work of a physician is not always glamorous, nor is it just a career. It is a lifetime commitment toward humanitarian work.
 

greggth

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2003
258
1
www.mdapplicants.com
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
That's nice. Use that one.

One point: in my opinion, it sounds funny when you say you stared "aimlessly" into his eyes. I'm not sure why, but that word just grates on me. Maybe it's because there is no way you could know whether you were staring aimlessly into his eyes unless you had a mirror and could see yourself staring aimlessly. I don't know. How about "absently" instead? That word has just the right mix of the objective and subjective point of view.
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
Honestly? You think that the second essay about my uncle is a nice one? I hated it when I first wrote it because I thought it was too common an essay topic and didn't stand out. Maybe I was mistaken. Any one else have an opinion about this essay? I know I could definitely work on the rough edges. Any other opinions?
 

MNgrrl

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2003
257
0
41
Seattle, WA
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Highschoolkid-

First of all, congrats on getting an interview at Pitt!

I would have to agree with your assessment of the essay - it doesn't stand out to me, and I'm not certain it would with the committee either. Honestly, I thought the other track was better with the rock music, because I think one main component of an excellent essay is that you choose a topic that not everyone could write about (i.e. you have to imagine that as future physicians many of us share similar opinions about physicians, perfectionism, determination, bed-side manner, and the uncertainty involved with medicine, and thus anyone could write the essay you wrote). I think your opinion is overall well written, and I recognize the sincerity in which you have formulated your essay.

That said, however, I feel like you need to incorporate some of those ideas into your first essay because it will be more unique. I'm not sure how you were planning to do this, but I think if you are going to write about rock music, you need to tie that in with your desire to become a physician, and what that would allow you to contribute to the community of medicine, and especially Pitt. As the reader, I have no idea what your point is with the rock concert story...

I understand 250 words is very restrictive, so I would suggest that if you do go the rock music route, don't spend too much time on describing a story - in such a short essay it's important to make as much of your writing as "meat and potatoes" as possible.

OK, this post is getting a little out of hand... In summary, here are some ideas:
1. Use the framework of the first topic if you can show a solid relationship between your rock performance and your desire to be a physician
2. If possible, condense some of the ideas in the second essay
3. Explain why you want to pursue a BA/MD program instead of going the traditional route
4. All the schools I've interviewed at want to know "Why their program?" so if you don't have space to address this in the essay, definitely think about it for your interview.

Good luck! Feel free to PM me w/ other questions...
 

Highschoolkid

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
31
0
Status (Visible)
Thanks for all of your help and opinions, but I think that I will not be bringing an essay with me. There is too much I want to address in my essay, so it is very difficult to make it a good length. The chances are that the admissions committee will not even look at it. I will definitely bring my HS Transcript, SAT and ACT scores, and my teacher recommendations (there is one for every major subject, a counselor recommendation, and one from my supervisor at the hospital I volunteer at, which makes a total of 6). I guess I'll just let this stuff speak on my behalf. Unlike traditional applicants, I will be interviewing once with the Assistant Director of Admissions (Ms. Lisa Wick), and will have a lot to say, so hopefully that translates into a very long interview with a lot of conversation. The questions which one would usually address in a personal statement are things that I will probably be asked and can definitely answer. I know why I want to go through a BA/MD program route, I know why I want to go to Pitt Med and not another school, I know why I want to become a physician, and I have a lot of motivation and inspiration for it (I grew up with my uncle who is a pediatrician whom I admire and has been my biggest influence for anything I do, my grandfather passed away just after I revealed my future plans to him, a good friend with whom I made a pact with about becoming a physician died from complications during surgery for cancer on the day of my interview, and then some). Finally, it is pretty much a guarantee that I will be asked about my hobbies and ECs, and I can talk about this stuff for hours. So thats why I chose not to submit an essay. Instead, I hope I leave a good impression with the interviewer, the kind of impression that I originally had hoped my essay would have left. Just another question, after my interview, should I send a Thank You letter (I know that many people do), and a Letter of Intent (if this remains my top choice)? How would I go about doing this? Thanks for the help everyone.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 17 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.