Couple of questions regarding PS and applications in general

Apr 8, 2010
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Hello everyone, my first post here after lurking around for quite awhile.

I was looking through the PS suggestion thread and it noted that if you had any lapses in grades or anything that they should definitely be mentioned in PS. Well, the second semester of my freshman year my suitemate committed suicide, kind of threw me off for my first semester of sophomore year. I ended up with a 3.0, getting two Bs (in human anatomy and first semester o-chem) and a C (in calculus) that semester. Since that one rough semester I've gotten 4.0s, my first two semester were 3.78s. I've written out my PS as a narrative of sorts explaining what events in my life have led me to want to pursue medicine, and I'm not entirely certain how I could really fit this in there save as some silly addendum.

Secondly, I am currently receiving a scholarship from my state for scoring a 30 on the ACT, would this be substatial enough to warrant a slot on the activities list?

Lastly, what are some general recommendations for listing of hobbies on the AMCAS? Do they look for things that are more group based? I lift weights recreationally; currently working towards being able to actually be competitive in an amateur powerlifting meet. I'm not really convinced that this is something that has much of a place on the application, however.

Oh, one more thing, would it be worth mentioning that I am approaching fluency in German?

Thanks a ton, any help you guys could render me would be immensely useful.
 

bluezeno

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Jun 12, 2008
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One semester of mediocore grades followed by all 4.0 is impressive and your grades seem highly competitive. You can add an addendum if you want, or not include the suicide at all and just save it for the interview as it might be an interesting(?) topic. I would advise against tying this story into your PS if it doesn't flow well. Again, like I said, you shouldn't need to worry about your grades because they are fantastic.

Regarding the scholarship, why wouldn't you add it in? It's a scholarship!

Regarding weight lifting, I wouldn't add it. It seems like it's not a big part of your life. However if it is and you can write about it like it's an impt. part of your life, then definitely add it in.

Fluency in German is great and you should definitely add it in as in this day and age knowing an additional language is a huge plus. However, if this is due to your classes, don't bother mentioning because your transcript will already show that your taking the highest level German course. However, if you were able to use this German ability to do something cool, then I'd add it in the extracurricular slot. When I was applying, I mentioned that I was fluent in Korean and that this helped me setup a business I started in undergrad.

In sum, it all depends on priorities. You only get a limited number of slots for extracurricular activities so list the most important ones first and if there's space and if you can make it sound important, write about it.
 

silverhorse84

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Mar 31, 2008
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Hello everyone, my first post here after lurking around for quite awhile.

I was looking through the PS suggestion thread and it noted that if you had any lapses in grades or anything that they should definitely be mentioned in PS. Well, the second semester of my freshman year my suitemate committed suicide, kind of threw me off for my first semester of sophomore year. I ended up with a 3.0, getting two Bs (in human anatomy and first semester o-chem) and a C (in calculus) that semester. Since that one rough semester I've gotten 4.0s, my first two semester were 3.78s. I've written out my PS as a narrative of sorts explaining what events in my life have led me to want to pursue medicine, and I'm not entirely certain how I could really fit this in there save as some silly addendum.
If it's not easy to fit in, then I wouldn't do it. The 4.0s speak a lot, and you can always use it as an answer to a secondary question (there are some that ask about challenges and what not).

Secondly, I am currently receiving a scholarship from my state for scoring a 30 on the ACT, would this be substatial enough to warrant a slot on the activities list?
Not sure about this one

Lastly, what are some general recommendations for listing of hobbies on the AMCAS? Do they look for things that are more group based? I lift weights recreationally; currently working towards being able to actually be competitive in an amateur powerlifting meet. I'm not really convinced that this is something that has much of a place on the application, however.
I put all my physical stuff in one activity (so I said I enjoyed working out and it included blah, blah, blah).
Things don't have to be group based, but I'd put related things together.

Oh, one more thing, would it be worth mentioning that I am approaching fluency in German?
I'd say add it. But be ready for them to test you during interviews. So if you say you're fluent, I have heard of schools that give you an interviewer who also speaks the same language, so they can converse with you in said language

Thanks a ton, any help you guys could render me would be immensely useful.
 

DrSmooth

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The safest way to include languages that you are not 100% fluent in and avoid setting unrealistic expectations of your ability is to rate yourself on a 5 pt language scale. For example, under EC/Hobbies/Avocations I listed "Foreign Languages - Spanish, Urdu, Hindi". Under the description I explained how I picked up each language and where I currently stand in my conversational ability, 2.5 for Spanish and 3.5 for Urdu & Hindi on a 5 point scale.

For sports stuff I included running 3 marathons and my PR, and how the experience related to MCAT prep. I would include powerlifting if you have the room and don't have a hobby or sports type EC listed. You could also include a last line about other hobbies like music, movies, reading or whatever that would not warrant a whole entry but help them get to know you better.