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how appropriate is it to mention religion/God??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sc227, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. sc227

    sc227 New Member

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    just wondering, how appropriate is it to mention relgion/God in personal statements and during interviews?
     
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  3. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Welcome! Hey, that's my first welcome! Don't get too used to it. <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />

    Don't do it. There is little place for the supernatural in medicine (IMHO). Sorry people! Just an atheist's perspective. :D You may run across one or two of us in the process. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  4. spicoli

    spicoli Member

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    Very appropriate if it is what you believe in. If you believe in what you are saying, then say it. I dislike the academic view that many physicians and pre-meds have towards religion. Many people don't believe in it because they feel they are better than it. They feel that their MD or "soon to be MD" is justification for not believing in such a meager thing.

    The interesting thing is that an overwhelming majority of your patients are going to hold on to religion during your interactions with them. You will be their support during the most trying time in their life and they will look for intellectual, emotional AND spiritual guidance from you. Religion is the most powerful placebo vehicle you have in your repetoire of medicines, don't let some paltry belief in academia quelch this great utility.

    Pardon my quick typing and bad grammar.
     
  5. Bnd4RENT

    Bnd4RENT Junior Member

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    I totally agree with spicoli. For me, my faith is a HUGE part of who I am, and motivates a lot of my thoughts on medicine. If you feel its appropriate for you to discuss your spiritual side, i say go for it!
     
  6. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Strong Argument: utilizes tangible evidence

    Weak Argument: utilizes hypotheticals and the supernatural

    Think about your audience and what is best for you. You can believe in god all you want when you are an MD. You've got to get there first, though. Unless you are applying to Loma Linda, you might get a few of these if you talk about a god in your personal statement: :rolleyes: . I'm just giving you an honest opinion from the stance of a writer, atheist, and person who will one day practice medicine (and may be on an admissions committee). I'm gonna leave it at this. You'll have to decide which path is best.

    No, I am not above "God". That's such a silly claim. It is not he who believes himself to be merely "dust in the wind", but rather he who believes he is made in the image of God who is arrogant. (Sorry for using the old lyrics. <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> ) I get that rediculous "arrogant" label all the time from my Catholic father. :mad:
     
  7. spicoli,
    could not have said it better.

    SC227... My advisor told me to stay away from my religious beliefs, but it is a big part of my life and who contribute to who I am and my character. The medical field is in dire need for physicians with character and I think the med school committees realize this as well.
    God Bless you all
     
  8. altaskier

    altaskier Altaholics Anonymous 92'

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    If faith is an integral part of your life and you would like to combine it with medicine, apply to Loma Linda Medical School in California. You do not have to be Seventh Day Adventist. They look for people who have a sincere interest in faith and medicine.
     
  9. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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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 BlameItOnTheNurse:
    <strong>spicoli,
    could not have said it better.

    SC227... My advisor told me to stay away from my religious beliefs, but it is a big part of my life and who contribute to who I am and my character. The medical field is in dire need for physicians with character and I think the med school committees realize this as well.
    God Bless you all</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Do you realize the underlying arrogance in this?

    Having faith = Having character
    Lacking faith = Lacking character

    I'm pretty passionate about certain things. I hope I don't let this turn into another abortion thread. Just think about what you are saying and how insulting it is before posting, please.

    I apologize if I have said anything offensive. My parents are both Catholic, my brother is Baptist and my sister is Protestant. I have been exposed to religion. If you feel you need religion, fine. I'm just giving you sound advice that may help you in your application process. Do you want to do anything to jeapordize your chances for admission? If so, include religion. I'm sure you will receive a couple rejections because of it (right or wrong, it will happen...I guarantee it).

    good luck
     
  10. Doctora Foxy

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    My undergrad has a LOT of religious people. I went to read the 6 sample personal statements that were in the premed office. One is mine, so that one won't count. 3 out of the 5 others talked about religion. I thought it was weird and possibly inappropriate, although it is probably a very common PS topic. Look at the med school diary on SDN--the only applicant who has been posting a diary discussed religion in his PS too.

    Don't forget that you want to stand out as an applicant. But if religion is the only thing that drives you to pursue medicine, I guess you have to go with it. IMO, I would stay away from ANY PS topic that could be controversial. You never know what type of person will be reading it, but that person will determine the future of your life! So be careful what you write.
     
  11. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    <img border="0" alt="[Lovey]" title="" src="graemlins/lovey.gif" /> I have someone who agrees with me! <img border="0" alt="[Lovey]" title="" src="graemlins/lovey.gif" />

    Thanks, Foxy!
     
  12. none

    none 1K Member

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    Religion is immensely important in medicine. The majority of people are religious to some extent and thus, the majority of your patients will be. If you can understand religion and treat it with respect, then you will be in a superior position as a clinician. Religion is not something to bring up without reason, however. If you can be tactful about it, either in essays or interviews and it seems appropriate to the topic/interviewer, then by all means mention it. It's not like a research project though, don't assume everyone wants to know as some other posters have shown. I strongly recommend you do check out Loma Linda, as well as the four Jesuit institutions which do a superb job of integrating faith with medicine.

    In general, I wouldn't worry about running into atheists who are going to actually argue the topic with you. True atheists are pretty rare as it requires an intense amount of faith to be one. I think, in general, you'll find many of your interviewers are simply indifferent towards your particular religious beliefs, although they may be interested that you hold some.
     
  13. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Let me put this another way, so I don't sound like such a butthead.

    If I were on an admissions committee, mentioning religion wouldn't hurt you. It certainly wouldn't help you either. Use the limited space to provide a more convincing argument for why you should be admitted.

    good luck
     
  14. 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 spicoli:
    <strong>Very appropriate if it is what you believe in. If you believe in what you are saying, then say it. I dislike the academic view that many physicians and pre-meds have towards religion. Many people don't believe in it because they feel they are better than it. They feel that their MD or "soon to be MD" is justification for not believing in such a meager thing.

    The interesting thing is that an overwhelming majority of your patients are going to hold on to religion during your interactions with them. You will be their support during the most trying time in their life and they will look for intellectual, emotional AND spiritual guidance from you. Religion is the most powerful placebo vehicle you have in your repetoire of medicines, don't let some paltry belief in academia quelch this great utility.

    Pardon my quick typing and bad grammar.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hey Spicoli,
    It's amazing that I always agree with you. You always take words out of my mouth.
     
  15. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member

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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 spicoli:
    <strong>The interesting thing is that an overwhelming majority of your patients are going to hold on to religion during your interactions with them. You will be their support during the most trying time in their life and they will look for intellectual, emotional AND spiritual guidance from you. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That may very well be the case, but patients aren't letting students into medical school (last i heard). The people that are accepting and rejecting are admissions people with medical degrees. Why tread on toes if you don't have to? --Trek
     
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  17. none

    none 1K Member

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    Patients most assuredly are admitting medical students! Every physician is a patient at one point in their life and that is a primary reason they are concerned with admitting the most compassionate and generally qualified people out there.
     
  18. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member

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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 none:
    <strong>Patients most assuredly are admitting medical students! Every physician is a patient at one point in their life and that is a primary reason they are concerned with admitting the most compassionate and generally qualified people out there.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Correct, but the last interview i went to, none of the three interviewers looked "for intellectual, emotional AND spiritual guidance from" me. You had the right idea. Wrong type of interaction as spicoli meant. --Trek
     
  19. Future_Doc

    Future_Doc Senior Member

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    This can be a touchy subject. Without trying to argue one way or the other about the existence or importance of God in a person's life, I will try to answer your questions sc227. First ask yourself, if God is an important part of your life. Is it something you are willing to compromise in order to get into medical school? Are you going to deny your relationship with Him during the interview, or are you going to try to avoid discussing Him at all?

    Now, while it is true that you will likely have to deal with people who do not share your views, I don't believe that this will be an obstacle. I think that most people are interested in whether or not you are firm in your beliefs rather than if your beliefs reconcile to theirs.

    Let me briefly give you my experience with this issue. I believe that the desire and vision to become a physician was brought on by God. I can't explain it any other way. This was something that I was happy to share in both my application essay and my interviews. I think that the interviewers, (whether they agreed or disagreed with my views) were genuinely pleased that I was willing to stand firm in my beliefs regardless of the possible opposition to them. My interviewers (both) even e-mailed me telling me how much they enjoyed our conversation and that they hoped to see me on the wards one day. I got in on my first attempt.

    Bottom line - stick to your beliefs and don't stray from them.
     
  20. tazman

    tazman Member

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    sc227, I don't think there is anything wrong with mentioning God in PS and interviews. If your religion is something that provides a foundation for your personality and character, then it might be important to bring it up. You should keep in mind though that admission committees want a well-rounded person, so I would keep it brief if you do decide to discuss religion. I discussed religion a little in my personal statement, but it never came up in any interviews. It also didn't keep me from getting in first time around either. :D
     
  21. strangeattractor

    strangeattractor ucla permanent fixture

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    INTERESTING TOPIC! look how diverse the opinions are on this string...now think -- the people reading your statement will be picked at random from a group like this. you will most likely have one or more person disagreeing with you. BUT! if you are a future doc type, and your religion is a deeply engrained part of why you are choosing to do medicine -- because of the nature of the profession -- you really would not be as truthful as possible in explaining why you chose medicine if you omitted it (likewise you'd be lying if you started to talk about it if you're an atheist). the people reading apps, regardless of their own beliefs, are obliged to be religion-blind, and will respect it if it is genuine.

    HOWEVER, there is a right and wrong way to discuss religion in a PS and an interview -- although the statement and interview is all about you as an applicant, i think it's important to never put the interviewer/app reader in an uncomfortable place. ie, make the religious sentiment accessible to the best of your ability to others outside of your faith, stay focused on the relevance, and don't waste words belaboring it as a little goes a long way with such a thick topic.

    that being said, i think some "higher reason" (love of mankind, obligation to others) is NECESSARY in medicine -- and should be mentioned!!!, but this is neither equal to, nor mutually exclusive from, religion. although i am agnostic/leaning very far towards atheism, i mentioned a religious concept (i wasn't bulls*****ing, of course) in my personal statement without mentioning G-d/gods/etc - and i did get asked about this in one of my interviews and spoke about the concept without delving into religion. this was my way of expressing my "higher reason" -- if you are concerned with alienating an interviewer/app reader...this might be the way to go...
     
  22. Droopy

    Droopy Member

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    i did not mention anything in my PS about religion but i did have an EC that i listed. one of my interviewers (a clinical psychologist and an agnostic) noticed the EC and asked if i could treat an atheist when i became a doctor. he then grilled me about other religions and extremist sects in these religions (including the taliban). pretty intense, but i still got in to the school. it may come up without you mentioning it in your PS.

    bottom line, you do not need to mention it in your PS. if you decide to put it in your PS, make sure you also include your political party. :D
     
  23. Meizy

    Meizy Member

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    I agree with others who say that if your religion is a large part of who you are and some kind of tangible motivation for medicine it is ok to mention it.
    Actually at a few interviews I went to I was asked about religion specifically. So to some interviewers it seem to be very important. Cuz being a doc you are faced with life/death and religion is one of the natural surface where those issues settle.. religion or faith is just another medium for interaction with patients..
     
  24. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels

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    yep. agree that understanding, or at least respecting religion is very important; as said above many times, most of your patients will be religious in some way or form

    of course,

    i won't name names, but i read just read in the "lounge" forum, some1 that mentioned that he can't stand people of any religious denomination, that practicing religion is idiotic... wrong attitude imo, it's one thing to disagree, it's another to condemn

    so i'd mention it if it is important to you... if they don't respect your beliefs, then you don't want to go there anyways (cliche, but true)
     
  25. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.

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    There have been lots of good threads on this that we discussed over the summer around PS/secondary time. Here's one
    <a href="http://www.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=002852&p=" target="_blank">http://www.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=002852&p=</a>

    this one is about god, but kinda humorous :)
    <a href="http://www.studentdoctor.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=009727" target="_blank">http://www.studentdoctor.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=009727</a>

    and I bumped up the longest one, cause there is so much in it.
     
  26. Swampman,
    i must say that you are right that mentioning God in your application could have been enough for the school to rejection letter. As for the character thing, it is just me and my way of forcing the committees to look at character as one of my qualifications. I am not saying that other applicants dont have character.
    Anyone have a interviewer mention God in their interview.

    i had an interviewer who was a war veteran and he was questioning me about the afgan war,etc. He asked me what the New Testament said to do your enemies...Which i replied to "love your enemies". he was happy w/ the answer, i think. He then asked me what the old testament said and answered the question for me. i was not sure what to say because back in the day seemed like they "kilt" everyone, which seems kind of barbaric. His answer was they would push them into a well :confused: . I guess i need to do some more reading.
    He quoted a few verses and kept tying religion into our talk. I actually think having mentioned my beliefs in my application might have got me a slot?
     
  27. dukee

    dukee Senior Member

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    it is funny you guys mention religion. I just had a penn state interview and all the guy wanted to know was about the religion of India, the differences between Hinduism and the religion of Islam, free will, re-incarnation...by the end I did not know if it was appropriate. I hope I did okay...
     
  28. sc227

    sc227 New Member

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    thanks for the opinions :)
    i'll keep my fingers crossed ... i think i will mention a bit of religion but not get too detailed about it. i'll have to take the chance of being rejected. *shrugs* that's life -huh?! all about taking risks! =P
     
  29. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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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 Future_Doc:
    <strong>First ask yourself, if God is an important part of your life. Is it something you are willing to compromise in order to get into medical school? Are you going to deny your relationship with Him during the interview, or are you going to try to avoid discussing Him at all?

    Bottom line - stick to your beliefs and don't stray from them.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hmmmmm................by the same logic, we should all be discusiing our love lives with admissions committees.

    I don't think sticking to one's beliefs necessitates bringing religion into a med school interview. Of course, if you've been on a church affiliated medical mission, then by all means, mention it. If you've been a leader in a campus religious group, then it will be on your app. I'd say, let your actions speak for you.
     
  30. lamyers1

    lamyers1 Senior Member

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    I agree with SMW and Swampy. I disagree with none, being an atheist is a lack of faith, not a strong faith. I should know as I am one, and I do not practice it, think about it nor have faith in it. I simply don't have a belief in a god. Big deal. Trust me when I say it takes no work.

    Religion doesn't bother me, but what people fail to realize is that religion a personal decision, for example, like sexual choices. Do you walk up to a stranger and say, hi my name is John and I am bisexual? No you also do not say, hi my name is John and I am a Christian. Being a homosexual might be the driving force behind someone wanting to be a doctor but no one is going to put that on their PS. Why? Because it is personal and might be controversial to someone else. People have to understand that it is the same with religion. Much as you would like to believe that the world is not biased against what you believe, better play it safe and keep personal business separate from professional while you can. But for now...I did not choose, and I'm sure Swampy did not choose to mention our beliefs in our PS, for obvious reasons. Why would anyone else?

    Go ahead, have at it.
     
  31. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels

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    good post, lamyers... you might have swayed me, here :D

    i still think it's ass that so many med school academics look down on religion (and hey, i'm not even christian myself!)

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by lamyers:
    <strong>I agree with SMW and Swampy. I disagree with none, being an atheist is a lack of faith, not a strong faith. I should know as I am one, and I do not practice it, think about it nor have faith in it. I simply don't have a belief in a god. Big deal. Trust me when I say it takes no work.

    Religion doesn't bother me, but what people fail to realize is that religion a personal decision, for example, like sexual choices. Do you walk up to a stranger and say, hi my name is John and I am bisexual? No you also do not say, hi my name is John and I am a Christian. Being a homosexual might be the driving force behind someone wanting to be a doctor but no one is going to put that on their PS. Why? Because it is personal and might be controversial to someone else. People have to understand that it is the same with religion. Much as you would like to believe that the world is not biased against what you believe, better play it safe and keep personal business separate from professional while you can. But for now...I did not choose, and I'm sure Swampy did not choose to mention our beliefs in our PS, for obvious reasons. Why would anyone else?

    Go ahead, have at it.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  32. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver

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    I think that perhaps the reason that some adcom members (or the science community in general) would look down on religion is that there is a fear that overtly religious people may in fact be more biased towards their potential patients than individuals that are either religious and don't have to bring it into a PS/Interviews or people that are not religious at all. I don't think religion should play any role in health care. I think the responsiblity is to treat the patients, regardless of their beliefs or practices or opinions. There should be as close to complete objectivity in the doctor/patient relationship as possible. The doc's relationship with God is part of the world beyond healthcare. If you want to bring God into people's lives, become a minister.

    Let the flames start rolling in...

    And Swampman...we agree on something, finally!
     
  33. UCLA2000

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    If I were reading a personal statement that mentioned alot of religious ideas I would be very turned off by it. I personally wouldn't want my physician/classmate preaching at me. I am sure that there are people on the adcom that feel the same way that I do.

    Can it help? Sure maybe some people might like it if you mentioned God..but on the other hand it could work against you as well.

    Statements such as "I have a strong character because I am religious, and the medical profession strongly needs people with character" can be disastrous.

    1. You're implying that only religious people have character.

    2. You're replying that the readers (who are in the medical profession) lack character.

    3. You're showing your arrogance and insensitivity to the beliefs of others (not the best trait in a physician).

    Religion has NO PLACE in a personal statement, and it should not be brought up in the interview setting either.
     
  34. PelicanMan

    PelicanMan Senior Member

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    I remember reading a persons personal statement and it had religion involved in it. When I read it, I was completely turned off.

    The person said that they wanted to be a doctor because Jesus was a healer. Now I am not a politically correct person and I am just going to speak my mind.

    I believe that someone who says that they want to be a doctor because of god is full of BS. Even if there is a god, how does he make you want to be a doctor? I would really look down heavily on a person that mentioned religion in their statement. Like some others have said, religion has no place in medicine. People should be treated equally regardless of their religion. The other things that people have to realize is that Medicine is a SCIENCE above all things. Science and religion do not mix.

    Now I am going to get alot of crap for this but at least I spoke my mind.
     
  35. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
    Physician

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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 PelicanMan:
    <strong>I remember reading a persons personal statement and it had religion involved in it. When I read it, I was completely turned off.

    The person said that they wanted to be a doctor because Jesus was a healer. Now I am not a politically correct person and I am just going to speak my mind.

    I believe that someone who says that they want to be a doctor because of god is full of BS. Even if there is a god, how does he make you want to be a doctor? I would really look down heavily on a person that mentioned religion in their statement. Like some others have said, religion has no place in medicine. People should be treated equally regardless of their religion. The other things that people have to realize is that Medicine is a SCIENCE above all things. Science and religion do not mix.

    Now I am going to get alot of crap for this but at least I spoke my mind.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I completely agree with you and Swamp Man. I just don't see a need for talking about religion; it seems unnessecary and dangerous.
     
  36. quake

    quake Senior Member

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    Sc227, I'm going to do well to give you my opinion without being belligerant to the people who have given dissenting opinions.
    I say that if religion is an important part of your life then it does not hurt you to make some reference to religion in your application. My personal statement had strong religious undertones. In some of my secondary essays I even quoted passages from the bible. All the schools I applied to extended interview invitations to me, From Harvard, Johns Hopkins, right down to my state school. I have received great acceptances thus far. Even though I was afraid I was going to have to answer many questions on ethics based on the religious undertones in my application I was not asked a single question on ethics in any of my interviews. Religion came up only twice including my Harvard interview. Even then my interview told me his religious affiliation (which is different from mine) just to reassure me that he doesn't think religion is stupid. My personal statement was NOT a religious dessitation, that would be digressing from the purpose of the statement. All I am saying is that if religion is very very important to you, it will show in your application whether you choose to make a big deal out of it or not. I hope that this honest account of my own application would help you to make the decision that is best for you. Best wishes.
     
  37. Detroit Mick

    Detroit Mick The Supinator

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    I would think it depends on the school. I wouldn't mention it at State Schools but I thik it would be appropriate to mention at those schools having some sort of religous affiliation.
     
  38. Future_Doc

    Future_Doc Senior Member

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    It's funny . . . some people act like by expressing your beliefs, that you are attacking those that believe differently, and therefore you should not mention your beliefs in an app. or interview. Of course, these are the same ones that are attacking those of us who believe differently than them. Interesting.

    And, to clarify (because some will say anything to try to support their argument) - you should feel free to mention your RELEVANT beliefs. There are lots of things that we all believe in . . .gravity, market fluctuations, death and taxes. I'm not at all saying that ANYTHING you believe in or support to put on your app. And, I am certainly not saying to put every personal thing on your app. as SMW has suggested. All I am saying is that if you feel that it is relevant to why you want to be a doc or why you think you would make a good doc, then by all means, put it down.
     

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