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Challenge essay topic?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by hexane19, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. hexane19

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    Which is a better topic?

    1. Serving as president of an organization and dealing with the problem of getting the same organization from different campuses to join? Example trying to have an astronomy night with other campuses with that same club.

    2. My brother in a hospital after a car accident (broken arm).
     
  2. hexane19

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  3. NotASerialKiller

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    Not trying to belittle your experience, but why was your brother breaking his arm a challenge for you? People are going to think that one is very silly unless you give more details, like if you thought his life was in danger for some reason, or it was a huge financial strain on your family etc.
     
  4. hexane19

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    Is the first choice a decent one? What about students who don't have a financial strain / or ever had their life in danger?
     
  5. NotASerialKiller

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    Well on your last thread you seemed dissatisfied with people giving you the answer I'm about to, and just wanted them to rank your ideas instead, but I'll give it a shot once more:

    It all depends on how you write it. The exact circumstances of the challenge aren't nearly as important as how you interpret it, and how you have reflected on the experience. If you take something really dramatic like a family member being diagnosed with terminal cancer, but you just describe how it was very sad, that's not a good challenge essay. If you take something really mundane (or something that seems that way) like not making the sports team you were hoping to, but it was actually a significant hurdle in your life and you grew and learned because of it, that could actually make for a great essay. People can give you minimally informed opinions just based on the headlines you're giving them, but your essay can still either be crap or phenomenal based on the degree to which this experience really affected you.
     
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  6. wasteofspace323

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    I have a question similar to the topic and I don't want to create another thread about the issue. I'm just interested in other's opinions on the matter.

    Would you consider: "What obstacles or challenges have you experienced and how have you dealt with them?" to be a standard challenge essay? The way it sets up the topic makes the challenges you choose significant as a part of who you are, and it appears as if i'm expected to give a generalized idea of recurring issues. However, as one who doesn't face discrimination (SES or otherwise), the only challenges I would experience regularly would be self inflicted (red flag (procrastinator, sperg, serial killer). Would anyone else interpret this question in this way? I'm really having trouble of even thinking of "obstacles or challenges" a white, upper middle class person would have to deal with regularly enough to write about in this context.
     
  7. NotASerialKiller

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    It's not a question about social barriers that you face because of your race or disabilities. It's the same as any challenge essay, except that instead of talking about one experience you can talk about multiple ones that hopefully tie together with some sort of theme about how you grew as a person because of these challenges.
     
  8. hexane19

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    So an ordinary topic is ok if it is spun correctly?
     
  9. hexane19

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  10. wasteofspace323

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    My understanding is that, in general, the "challenge essay" is about: 1) how you cope with problems 2) what your support systems are and 3) tricking you into admitting something thats a red flag. Not what the challenge itself is.

    Something minor/normal should be fine as long as it demonstrates the three above.
     
  11. halcyonpage

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    you are like master of bumppets lol

    From the two ideas that you gave, I'd pick the first. I found this quote on another thread and have been trying to use it to guide my challenge essays.

    I'm going to write about a time when I screwed up at work, lost a lot of privileges, and then had to slowly regain my team's trust in my competence. I know it's kind of risky to talk about my flaws but hey, hooman here.

    Do you have any stories that might be similar? It might be worth it to talk about a time you made a mistake and bounced back.
     
  12. ac62994

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    I wouldn't write about either topic. But if I really had to choose, I would go with the first one.

    P.S. Astronomy night sounds hella cute. :playful:
     
  13. MDProspect

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    Do you have any other topics in mind? The first topic seems okay, but in my opinion, if you over exaggerate the challenge, it will seem that you are just adding fluff to your application. As for the second topic, I would only write about this hardship, if you were your bother's caretaker or some sort of substantial financial burden resulted from the situation. In my challenge essay, I am writing about how one of my parents became disabled and their debt became my responsibility. This challenge has caused me to prioritize work over some of the activities that I have planned for the gap period, but I learned that you cannot foresee all of the situations that you are going to face and I have become more resilient in the process...
     
  14. hexane19

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    What are some common topics most applicants write about? I imagine there is A LOT of students who haven't experienced any type of major challenge like a parent becoming sick etc?
     
  15. MDProspect

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    It depends on the student, if you look at the previous years' threads, the trend seems to be the topics that are tangible to medical school, (i.e situations that required team effort, getting over some preconceptions that you had, and/or an activity where you taught others and learned from this experience.)
     
  16. hexane19

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    So a leadership position that required teamwork isn't too far off the mark I suppose?
     
  17. MDProspect

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    In all honesty if I was an Adcom and I saw your essay where you wrote about how you cajoled people to join your organization through activities, such as astronomy night, I would probably have a good laugh and move onto the next applicant. I am not trying to offend you and my apologies in advance. Have been elected to this organization or were you a founding member?
     
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  18. ConfusedChemist

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    You aren't the only one. I almost laughed too until I saw the ' my BROTHER broke his arm' and I cringed intsead
    OP- I do not mean to be rude. I am sure you have overcome some meaningful challenge, however it was not identified in this list
     
  19. hexane19

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    Death of a grandparent is the worst I've had but that's a bit too common =/
     
  20. gonnif

    gonnif Only 695 Days Until Next Presidential Election
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    Its not that risky, how you recover from mistakes, which I promise you all of you will make in clinicals and internship, is an important experience. It explores resiliency, maturity and self-examination.
     
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  21. Rainbow Zebra

    Rainbow Zebra Long, hard journey
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    Non-challenged child checking in (or at least no challenges I wish to disclose - - like my learning disability). Anyway, I had to resort to writing about a skiing accident where I broke my arm, and getting back on the slopes after a couple of years. I agree is it sort of lame, but the best I could come up with. Now, I really would have loved to write about my diagnosis and challenges of working with a learning disability, but that is taboo, sadly.
     
  22. MDProspect

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    @hexane19 You did not answer my question about whether you were a founding member of the organization or if you were elected into the position. In either case, you can write about the difficulties of acquiring the said position. For instance, if you were the founding member then write about the difficulties you had in establishing the organization on campus and how your tenacity and hard work made the organization widely known on campus and how you drew in new members. If you were elected, then you can write about why the club chose you over other potential candidates and what challenges you faced in executing the responsibilities of your position. Later in the essay, you can write about self-growth and why you felt it was important to tell this story to adcoms.
     
  23. Goro

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    #2

     

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