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Help! Duke Essay!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by brandonite, Dec 3, 2001.

  1. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Before you get after me, I only got the email from Duke four days ago about their secondary. So, I know I'm late, but... ;)

    I've been trying to write that stupid ethics essay for the past two and a half hours, and have gotten nowhere. I write for about 10 minutes, then realize its garbage, and deleteit. The best I have so far is when I almost caught somebody cheating on a test (I'm a TA), but that's pretty lame, and very hard to write 5000 characters about. I could write about some wierd junior high-esque situations (he said, she said stuff!) but that doesn't seem like a good idea at all.

    I need inspiration! What worked for everybody here?
     
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  2. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    very easy solution to your problem...

    do what i did: erase the email and never think about Duke again. The school aint worth the secondary essays_ if you are good enough to get in there, chances are you can get into a bunch of other really amazing places that dont have such a bitch of a secondary, and that are in better locations than north carolina.

    no offense to anyone. i know med schools dont get any better than duke, but the secondary is obsenely difficult and i really dont care to live in NC; i would pick a handful of much less reputable schools over it in a heartbeat.

    -just my 2 cents.
     
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  3. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Well, I didn't apply to Duke, but Pittsburgh had a similar "ethical dilemma" question. I wrote about my decision as to whether to claim Hispanic ethnic status (I'm 1/4 Hispanic, although you'd never know it, and I'd almost never know it except for my Mom talking about relatives I never see.) My brother claimed it on his undergrad applications whereas I had not. I wrote about a conversation my family had at my college graduation as to whether I'd be claiming it or not on my medschool applications. It was actually kind of a fun essay to write! Haven't heard a word from Pittsburgh, so I can't say whether it worked or not!
     
  4. Weeble

    Weeble Senior Member
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    I got stuck scraping the bottom of the barrel for my dramatic "Johnny-drugs-are-bad/movie of the week" dramatic dilemma for a long time too. In the end I ended up writing about experimenting with smoking as a teenager, pretty ho-hum as far as drama goes.

    Along the lines of what SMW said, I don't think it has to be a classic, short term 'ethical situation.' Probably the most important thing is that they just want to see you being thoughtful. If you can find something to write about that will allow you to show your thought processes, how you wrestle with different sides of decisions or situations, that's really all they can ask for. Good Luck!!
    :)
     
  5. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    OK, thanks for the ideas!

    I don't think I'm going to drop the app. I really like Duke and the medical school. I'll give it some more thought, and hopefully something will come to me. I don't have much of a clinical background (only research) so I don't have any of the usual medical ethical situations. Maybe something will come to me. If not, I'll try and turn one of my bad ideas into something decent...

    But I think after hour four, it's time for bed. ;)
     
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  6. HairlessHeart

    HairlessHeart Member
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    Just don't lie on the question like my roomate did. That makes me ill....
     
  7. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member
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    I had decided not to do the Duke application, but last week, right before the requested two weeks, I started having second thoughts. I went to the web application at 11:30 PM on Thursday, looked at the questions, and started writing. I had to go to work on Friday, but I finished it that night, and submitted it at 11:30 PM that night. I think it was my land speed record for secondaries. Something about the ethics questions struck a chord with me, I guess. Call me a masochist, but I also kind of enjoyed the research controversy question.

    I didn't think I had anything for the ethical situation either, but something popped into my head, and I ran with it. You don't have to come off sounding like a moral hero, either. I know I didn't.

    And I second the "don't lie" post. A good plan overall, but especially in the med school process. They will catch you, they will hang you out to dry, and you will deserve it.

    Time will tell if they thought my essays were any good.
     
  8. sar520

    sar520 Member
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    don't let the obnoxious application keep you from applying! i am sure they don't read them that closely, b/c i wrote a ton of really random things for my essays and i interviewed there a while ago. trust me, these were not award-winning tear-jerking essays. they were run of the mill, sort of just good enough to be ignorable-type essays :)

    ps: i also turned my ap in a few days late. i guess they didn't care.
     
  9. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    I spent 4 days on that essay; which is alot compared to the 20 mins (no kidding!) that I spent writing my personal statement. So I'm going to have to agree with sar520; Do what you can and send it in. It will feel good having it off your chest.
     
  10. EC

    EC

    Hey Brandonite,

    Why not write about the time you caught someone cheating? That could be a really good essay topic if you explained your thought process and how you dealt with the problem. I don't think they expect us to write necessarily about life/death ethical dilemmas. I think that they're just trying to get a glimpse of how we think and what kinds of factors shape our decision-making.

    Nick
    (I have a new login name because I couldn't log in with my old name for some reason.)
     
  11. penelope

    penelope Member
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    During my Duke interview last year, one of my interviewers had read my ethical dilemma essay very thoroughly and even asked me to comment further on it. So be thoughtful in your response, because they DO pay attention. Good luck.
     
  12. sar520

    sar520 Member
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    i wish they had asked me that instead of the freakin capital of the philipines . . .

    (no i'm not kidding)

    -s
     
  13. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member
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    Oooh oooh oooh! Manila!

    Why in god's name did they ask you that?
     
  14. brandonite

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    Thanks for the advice, everyone. After spending the day in the lab, my brain is pretty well shot now, but I want to get this secondary off today or tomorrow, so I'll spend the rest of the night on it... :mad:

    If nothing brilliant comes to me, I'll write on my sub-par idea, and hope that they don't take things too seriously. It was a student (a guy that I know somewhat well) who was using a little hand-held organizer in a test, and he claimed it was for translation (his first language is Chinese). So, not only was he someone I knew, but if it really was a translator that he needed, then I didn't want to take it away from him... I suppose I could come up with 5000 characters on that...

    Original - I put together my personal statement in about 3 hours, so I've now spent more time on this than the Duke essay. I knew exactly what I wanted out of medicine, and that was easy to articulate, but this is another story...
     
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  15. Premed2003

    Premed2003 Senior Member
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    I just came across this thread, and I'm interested how everyone ended up doing with the Duke ethics question. I'm going to be applying to Duke, and hopefully will receive a secondary. How long was your response?

    Are most secondary essays short, or are they long like the personal statement. Is there a length requirement?

    Thanks
     
  16. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Duke's was far and away the worst secondary there was (I've heard horros about Stanford) They are one of two schools that changed their secondary (that I know of) from last year (I guess 2 years ago). That being the case, I wouldn't worry about it until you see the Duke app because I think they might change it again being as everybody bitched and moaned about it.
     
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  17. bebe2

    bebe2 Senior Member
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    PreMed:

    In case you don't have the questions, word-for-word. They are below. As Jalbrekt said since they changed last year's, they probably will change these again. But I do think you should think about answering these questions, because they (especially Essay question 2) may come up in some interviews. I answered the dilemma question with an issue I was having in high school. Some first-years told me that they were asked about the dilemma in their interviews. SO make sure it is a real dilemma and one you can speak about.

    Short Answer (I believe these were 1000 characters or less)

    Question 1

    In the adjacent space, please provide us information on the most important community service/volunteer activities in which you have been involved. Please indicate your role, the length of time that you were involved, and the number of hours/week, if applicable, that you participated. How has participation in these activities impacted your preparation for a career in medicine?

    Question 2

    Among the service activities that you listed on your AMCAS application, in which activity did you feel that you truly made an impact on someone else? What was the impact on you?

    Question 3

    Each student brings strengths and weaknesses to the medical school class. How might your own experiences or lack of experiences, strengths and/or weaknesses, advantages and/or disadvantages contribute to the makeup of next year's class? How have these impacted your personal development and how have they contributed to your preparation for a career in medicine?

    Question 4

    In the adjacent space, please provide a list of your honors and awards. Indicate the one(s) of which you are proudest and why.

    Question 5

    Please provide a chronological list of your work experience while in college, or subsequent to your graduation, if applicable. Please indicate the length of your employment, number of hours worked/week, and your exact job title.

    Question 6

    Have you participated in or conducted investigative research? If so, please describe below. If you have published or are listed as an author on a publication or a manuscript in press, please provide the title, authors, and name of journal.

    Essay Questions

    Essay 1

    Describe a difficult moral or ethical situation that you have encountered and how you dealt with it. What personal strengths, values, and beliefs helped you deal with this challenge? (5000 characters or less)

    Essay 2

    The scientific and popular news media have heralded several "life-extending" and "life-altering" technologies--among which are embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, genetic intervention, and organ transplantation. While such technologies represent remarkable developments and applications of our emerging scientific understanding, these technologies raise critical issues with respect to the ethics, morality and economics of these technologies. Identify some of the critical issues evoked by such technologies and address what potential moral, theological, and ethical questions might arise from the decisions made regarding developing and using these technologies in the care of patients (5000 characters or less).
     
  18. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by bebe2:
    <strong>
    Some first-years told me that they were asked about the dilemma in their interviews. SO make sure it is a real dilemma and one you can speak about.
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">True! My student interviewer (who BTW has as much say as the faculty interviewer) asked me about my ethical dilemma; and if I remember correctly we taled about it for a good 5 mins.
     

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