• Set Yourself Up For Success Webinar

    October 6, 2021 at 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific
    SDN and Osmosis are teaming up to help you get set up for success this school year! We'll be covering study tips, healthy habits, and meeting mentors.

    Register Now!

  • Site Updates Coming Soon

    Site updates are coming next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Click the button below to learn more!

    LEARN MORE

I'm having a hell of a time with my PS

stayathomemom

Now with 100% more Stay At Home™!
Dec 30, 2017
510
894
116
  1. Pre-Medical
(For background, I'm a homemaker who has been out of the workforce since 2006)

Trying to finish my PS. I hate it. I wrote more or less from the heart last year regarding my extreme nontraditional-ness and I don't think it did me any favors. So I decided to change tack this year and write a more conventional, formulaic one, but now it's...well, formulaic, forgettable, and does a terrible job of highlighting the diversity my experience would bring to medicine. In the process of writing formally, I've lost my voice completely. Part of the reason for this is I am trying to expound on characteristics that are essential to medicine, and how I display those. I have so many experiences that are informal, community-based (since as a homemaker, a lot of my impactful experiences have come from just living life in/as community) and unverifiable. In an effort to appear more qualified (and to shed the bored housewife stigma) that I am more inclined to spotlight the formal ones, which I have many, but it reads as it could be written by any 22-year-old traditional applicant.

Some of the non-traditional experiences sounds weird because they are kind of mundane. Or others just don't fall right. In one anecdote I later deleted, I told the story of one of the neighborhood kids who was a playmate of my child's, who happened to be Hispanic, parents gone working all the time, and who showed tell-tale signs of low SES (which I can relate to in my own childhood). I caught him swiping food for my pantry (no judgement, also similar to my own childhood) and from then on I made sure we always offered him food when he was over, and made an extra effort to include/encourage him. It felt super white-savior-y and "look I'm rescuing this poor kid," so I took it out. But it was one experience I had that actually added to my motivation to help families in a holistic way.

Any other extreme non-trads have this experience? Any tips?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

FrkyBgStok

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2005
4,947
1,106
326
Midwest
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
as someone who has read many personal statements when I was involved in med school admissions, in residency, and now in fellowship, I can say without a doubt, that 5% are terrible, 2% are memorable, and 93% are read and then almost immediately forgotten. Everyone tries to be part of that 2% and they just aren't. I am reading for coherency and something that makes sense. But rest assured, if your personal statement is in the 93%, it won't negatively affect you

and you are right, I think that story should probably be left out or worded in a different way. just focus on the things that make you different, like life experience. there is a lot a nontrad brings to the table just make sure you applying to schools that will appreciate that. if you are applying to a lot of MD schools or schools that may not appreciate the nontrad path as much, just make the PS like everyone else. seriously, they are all forgotten very quickly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
Upvote 0

srbm1786

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2011
163
198
266
  1. Pre-Medical
(For background, I'm a homemaker who has been out of the workforce since 2006)

Trying to finish my PS. I hate it. I wrote more or less from the heart last year regarding my extreme nontraditional-ness and I don't think it did me any favors. So I decided to change tack this year and write a more conventional, formulaic one, but now it's...well, formulaic, forgettable, and does a terrible job of highlighting the diversity my experience would bring to medicine. In the process of writing formally, I've lost my voice completely. Part of the reason for this is I am trying to expound on characteristics that are essential to medicine, and how I display those. I have so many experiences that are informal, community-based (since as a homemaker, a lot of my impactful experiences have come from just living life in/as community) and unverifiable. In an effort to appear more qualified (and to shed the bored housewife stigma) that I am more inclined to spotlight the formal ones, which I have many, but it reads as it could be written by any 22-year-old traditional applicant.

Some of the non-traditional experiences sounds weird because they are kind of mundane. Or others just don't fall right. In one anecdote I later deleted, I told the story of one of the neighborhood kids who was a playmate of my child's, who happened to be Hispanic, parents gone working all the time, and who showed tell-tale signs of low SES (which I can relate to in my own childhood). I caught him swiping food for my pantry (no judgement, also similar to my own childhood) and from then on I made sure we always offered him food when he was over, and made an extra effort to include/encourage him. It felt super white-savior-y and "look I'm rescuing this poor kid," so I took it out. But it was one experience I had that actually added to my motivation to help families in a holistic way.

Any other extreme non-trads have this experience? Any tips?

I’m also a pretty extreme non-trad (in my 30s, mom of 4). If you’d like to read my PS and have me read yours, feel free to DM me (I don’t know if mine is effective since this is my first application cycle, but you can at least see the direction I took).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0
About the Ads
D

deleted1005514

Feel free to DM me too...non-trad 40 year old mom of 5, got in last year, took a 13 year gap in education. I had plenty of community-based stuff in my app too (church, PTA, volunteering with the kids’ sports teams, etc).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

stayathomemom

Now with 100% more Stay At Home™!
Dec 30, 2017
510
894
116
  1. Pre-Medical
as someone who has read many personal statements when I was involved in med school admissions, in residency, and now in fellowship, I can say without a doubt, that 5% are terrible, 2% are memorable, and 93% are read and then almost immediately forgotten. Everyone tries to be part of that 2% and they just aren't. I am reading for coherency and something that makes sense. But rest assured, if your personal statement is in the 93%, it won't negatively affect you

and you are right, I think that story should probably be left out or worded in a different way. just focus on the things that make you different, like life experience. there is a lot a nontrad brings to the table just make sure you applying to schools that will appreciate that. if you are applying to a lot of MD schools or schools that may not appreciate the nontrad path as much, just make the PS like everyone else. seriously, they are all forgotten very quickly.

That's reassuring, thank you.

I’m also a pretty extreme non-trad (in my 30s, mom of 4). If you’d like to read my PS and have me read yours, feel free to DM me (I don’t know if mine is effective since this is my first application cycle, but you can at least see the direction I took).

Thank you, I will. :)

Feel free to DM me too...non-trad 40 year old mom of 5, got in last year, took a 13 year gap in education. I had plenty of community-based stuff in my app too (church, PTA, volunteering with the kids’ sports teams, etc).

Wow, we are almost the same person, LOL! I will DM you, thanks!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

reaction mechanisms

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2016
262
205
116
  1. Medical Student
Non-traditional, career changing, mother here who was also just accepted. I struggled massively with my PS but was able to finally pull one together that included aspects of my motherhood/family life. Let me know if you’re interested in reading or if you would like me to review yours.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

LunaOri

Full Member
May 16, 2020
847
2,172
76
Somewhere in New England
  1. Attending Physician
  2. Academic Administration
I would recommend writing a PS that expresses who you are, and how you came to medicine. Not everyone is a 22yo whiz kid with research and publications; you don't want to sound like you are trying to be one! Personally, I like the story about your child's friend (I wouldn't mention ethnic background). It shows that you are sensitive, perceptive, and caring, which are traits I'd like to see in a physician.
I'd also be happy to review your PS and make suggestions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Upvote 0
Jun 11, 2010
67,018
2
103,021
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
  1. Non-Student
(For background, I'm a homemaker who has been out of the workforce since 2006)

Trying to finish my PS. I hate it. I wrote more or less from the heart last year regarding my extreme nontraditional-ness and I don't think it did me any favors. So I decided to change tack this year and write a more conventional, formulaic one, but now it's...well, formulaic, forgettable, and does a terrible job of highlighting the diversity my experience would bring to medicine. In the process of writing formally, I've lost my voice completely. Part of the reason for this is I am trying to expound on characteristics that are essential to medicine, and how I display those. I have so many experiences that are informal, community-based (since as a homemaker, a lot of my impactful experiences have come from just living life in/as community) and unverifiable. In an effort to appear more qualified (and to shed the bored housewife stigma) that I am more inclined to spotlight the formal ones, which I have many, but it reads as it could be written by any 22-year-old traditional applicant.

Some of the non-traditional experiences sounds weird because they are kind of mundane. Or others just don't fall right. In one anecdote I later deleted, I told the story of one of the neighborhood kids who was a playmate of my child's, who happened to be Hispanic, parents gone working all the time, and who showed tell-tale signs of low SES (which I can relate to in my own childhood). I caught him swiping food for my pantry (no judgement, also similar to my own childhood) and from then on I made sure we always offered him food when he was over, and made an extra effort to include/encourage him. It felt super white-savior-y and "look I'm rescuing this poor kid," so I took it out. But it was one experience I had that actually added to my motivation to help families in a holistic way.

Any other extreme non-trads have this experience? Any tips?
Talk our your ideas into a voice recorder,t hen transcribe to print and edit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

aspiringphysician10

New Member
Feb 25, 2019
5
9
36
(For background, I'm a homemaker who has been out of the workforce since 2006)

Trying to finish my PS. I hate it. I wrote more or less from the heart last year regarding my extreme nontraditional-ness and I don't think it did me any favors. So I decided to change tack this year and write a more conventional, formulaic one, but now it's...well, formulaic, forgettable, and does a terrible job of highlighting the diversity my experience would bring to medicine. In the process of writing formally, I've lost my voice completely. Part of the reason for this is I am trying to expound on characteristics that are essential to medicine, and how I display those. I have so many experiences that are informal, community-based (since as a homemaker, a lot of my impactful experiences have come from just living life in/as community) and unverifiable. In an effort to appear more qualified (and to shed the bored housewife stigma) that I am more inclined to spotlight the formal ones, which I have many, but it reads as it could be written by any 22-year-old traditional applicant.

Some of the non-traditional experiences sounds weird because they are kind of mundane. Or others just don't fall right. In one anecdote I later deleted, I told the story of one of the neighborhood kids who was a playmate of my child's, who happened to be Hispanic, parents gone working all the time, and who showed tell-tale signs of low SES (which I can relate to in my own childhood). I caught him swiping food for my pantry (no judgement, also similar to my own childhood) and from then on I made sure we always offered him food when he was over, and made an extra effort to include/encourage him. It felt super white-savior-y and "look I'm rescuing this poor kid," so I took it out. But it was one experience I had that actually added to my motivation to help families in a holistic way.

Any other extreme non-trads have this experience? Any tips?

Non-trad career-switching mom as well. My personal statement went like this: How I “found” medicine, my background at the time (which demonstrated a few of the unique experiences I felt I brought to the table), how I confirmed my interest in medicine (with one anecdote from medical volunteer experience and one from scribing).

I hope that helps!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

PeteytheFish

Full Member
Mar 24, 2020
39
111
66
  1. Medical Student
Hey OP, you seem to have a lot of PS reader offers, but I will offer as well. I am a non-traditional accepted student starting M1 at a T30 this autumn. I am changing careers after 10+ years working as a development editor at a major publishing house. My job consisted specifically of getting authors past hurdles and asking the tough questions about their writing and intentions.

If you would like another reader, I would be happy to help you. DM me your previous PS and whatever current one you have, and I'll bet we can come up with something that you're pleased with.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Upvote 0

frenchyn

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2012
650
785
216
as someone who has read many personal statements when I was involved in med school admissions, in residency, and now in fellowship, I can say without a doubt, that 5% are terrible, 2% are memorable, and 93% are read and then almost immediately forgotten. Everyone tries to be part of that 2% and they just aren't. I am reading for coherency and something that makes sense. But rest assured, if your personal statement is in the 93%, it won't negatively affect you

and you are right, I think that story should probably be left out or worded in a different way. just focus on the things that make you different, like life experience. there is a lot a nontrad brings to the table just make sure you applying to schools that will appreciate that. if you are applying to a lot of MD schools or schools that may not appreciate the nontrad path as much, just make the PS like everyone else. seriously, they are all forgotten very quickly.

From your opinions, why Are those 2% PS memorable? Writing style? Content? How can someone from the 93% pile improve their PS to the 2% pile?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Upvote 0

FrkyBgStok

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2005
4,947
1,106
326
Midwest
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
From your opinions, why Are those 2% PS memorable? Writing style? Content? How can someone from the 93% pile improve their PS to the 2% pile?
And what made the bad ones really bad?

I have seen a surprising number of personal statements with obvious grammatical errors. and a good number of excellent personal statements that were clearly for another specialty indicating that my specialty is a back up. others that cannot articulate why they want to be a doctor or why they are drawn to a specialty. the personal statement should answer those questions and if you give me a riveting short story that doesn't answer those questions, it is bad.

the 2% are mainly subjective. they've answered the questions and they've kept me engaged, but they speak to me personally. I roll my eyes when I get an application about some hardship that is obviously embellished for the story. but a non-traditional that speaks to me personally and makes me reflect on my own personal challenges, is a phenomenal personal statement.

so in summary, you don't make your PS one of the 2%, the reader does. just shoot to be in the bell curve and you can't go wrong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Upvote 0
D

deleted1032897

Not an extreme nontrad, but a nontrad with mediocre stats who feels they wrote and talked their way in. There’s a lot of talk about showing not telling and narratives, but you have to remember above all else that the personal statement is an argument. Its not tell me your life anecdotes. It’s literally convince me to do what I can to make you a physician.

When I wrote my first PS, it was super contrived. I laugh reading it now. I even made the fatal mistake of starting with a dramatic anecdote (sigh).

The second one, I stayed true to myself. Kept it simple in language but strong in message. My anecdotes were always framed within a larger sentence that argued toward my main point or at least the point of that paragraph. Read it and ask yourself if every single sentence is supporting your argument, or if you go off on tangents to tell stories. And I think it’s OK to have informal, “unverifiable” experience- I did a lot of letting young people interested in research pick my brain and shadow me informally in lab, and always made myself available for young women athletes and scientists who needed someone they could be imperfect and real with (a big soft spot of mine). Most of my PS drew upon the small, everyday, unseen acts of mentorship that meant the most to me, not the stuff any reader could just see in W&A. I definitely think your experience would be compelling- it may just need qualified, honest eyes to tighten up the overall argument.

Keep it simple. No need to dress it up in my opinion. I really think those who read my PS appreciated this in a sea of “I knew I was Gods gift after I saw my first code in the ER I’m gonna save so many lives and also after I grew my first plate of E. Coli I knew I was gonna discover how to reverse heart disease”
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Upvote 0

8YearsLate

Sub Canus lupus familiaris
2+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2017
415
463
116
Earth
  1. Pre-Medical
Wow! Cool to see all the non-trads and parents of way more kids than I have who are grinding. Anyone feel free to DM me your PS and I'd be happy to give palpable feedback, I actually do some freelance writing/editing as a side gig.

Also agree with the "hearing it out loud" aspect - I have a "speech" feature on my computer that allows me to select text and hear it read to me. I downloaded nice smooth voices and it's helped me SO much with my PS, secondaries, etc.
 
Upvote 0

caviarglow

Full Member
May 9, 2019
12
4
1
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey OP, you seem to have a lot of PS reader offers, but I will offer as well. I am a non-traditional accepted student starting M1 at a T30 this autumn. I am changing careers after 10+ years working as a development editor at a major publishing house. My job consisted specifically of getting authors past hurdles and asking the tough questions about their writing and intentions.

If you would like another reader, I would be happy to help you. DM me your previous PS and whatever current one you have, and I'll bet we can come up with something that you're pleased with.

Hey Petey, may I DM you as well? I'm also a non-trad with 10+ years working in healthcare. I would really appreciate your help and expertise with my PS.
 
Upvote 0
About the Ads
This thread is more than 1 year 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.