Is it worth getting your personal statement professionally edited?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by cipher, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. cipher

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    Have any of you used one of these services that professionally edits and revises your personal statement or do you know of anyone who has used them? If so, do you recommend it? I'm willing to do whatever it takes to write the best essay that I can, but I'm not going to spend $150/hour (not a typo) unnecessarily. I'm always hearing that you should just pass your essay around to friends and family members, which may be great for identifying faults in grammer and syntax, but they're not really in a position to know what it is that medical schools are looking for in a personal statement. The benefit of using a professional service seems to be that they ought to know whether or not your essay effectively serves its purpose. I've read a book on how to write a personal statement and I've seen dozens of "successful" personal statements, but I'm still very unsure if mine will stand out or if it will be just another boring run-of-the-mill essay.
    If I seem fanatical about this, it's because I am. I'm a very average applicant (3.75, 31Q)and unless I submit a memorable personal statment my application will quickly be heading towards the circular file in the shape of a paper airplane. Therefore, I want to write something exceptional. I want mine to be the gold standard by which all future personal statments are measured. I want adcoms to see my essay and submit it for publication in the Journal of the Best m*****f'ing Personal Statements Ever Written.
    So any help would be appreciated.
     
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  3. jdub

    jdub Senior Member

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    hello

    first of all, i just wanted to say that your numbers aren't very average, they are very solid and will definitely warrant you some interest. second, i did use one of those services, as well as the book, "40 essays that will get you into medical school". i think i used ivy essay, or something like that, the address is in the above book. i spent $75, after i had friends and family edit the thing for me, and the service pretty much cut it down an made it a more focused essay. i haven't gotten in yet, and i am feeling a little doubt, but i have gotten 8 interviews this year and i have similar numbers (32q, 3.51). so, i personally think that it is worth the extra money to have it professionaly edited.
     
  4. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    I looked into this. I was told that it would cost me ~$40/hr (something crazy like that). Since it was only a couple pages long and had been proofed many times before by friends, I thought it might be ok...until one woman told me it would take her "a few hours" to edit (she hadn't even seen it yet!!!). I was like, "MY GOD!!!". A couple hours to edit a paper less than 2 pages in length! I told the lady that I'd pay her $20.00, no more no less. If it took her 10 minutes, she'd be earning $120.00 per hour. If it took her the full hour, she'd be making $20.00 an hour (which isn't bad!). She told me to take a hike (very rudely)! Some of these people have a lot of nerve! I'm not paying someone $120.00 to edit a personal statement, even if they graduated as a Journalism major focused on editing from Princeton with a 4.0 GPA!

    It's not worth it! Do it yourself. These weasles rob foreign students blind here! They know that these people don't have a strong grasp on english, so they charge them $40.00 an hour to edit their thesae. Hmmmm.... $40.00 an hour to edit a BOOK!!! REDICULOUS!!!
     
  5. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior 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 tastes like burning:
    <strong>I'm a very average applicant (3.75, 31Q)and unless I submit a memorable personal statment my application will quickly be heading towards the circular file in the shape of a paper airplane. Therefore, I want to write something exceptional. I want mine to be the gold standard by which all future personal statments are measured. I want adcoms to see my essay and submit it for publication in the Journal of the Best m*****f'ing Personal Statements Ever Written.
    So any help would be appreciated.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I somehow doubt that getting a professional service to read and edit your PS is going to produce the best personal statement ever written. I have no experience with these services, but I would guess that they have some sort of formula to help you produce a "successful" statement, which you say you are already familiar with. My advice is to write your statment and have someone you know (and trust) help you edit it. Show it to a lot of people. Make sure it reflects you and what an amaizng PERSON and APPLICANT you are. Because ultimatly that is the value of the statement. It showcases what is unique about you. The goal is for the adcoms to say "what an amazing applicant, I really want to meet this person" not "what a well written personal statement". If you put your heart into it and spell everthing correctly, you should be able to save your $$.
     
  6. it actually makes me pretty annoyed, and i haven't ever said this until now, when people consider themselves "average" and have above average numbers. DUDE, your gpa is at least .15 better than the national accepted average, and your mcat is 1 point higher. you are a "strong" applicant. now tell your friends that think alike to stop pussyfooting around the word strong, and always thinking they're average. is it an inferiority complex? maybe. are you pretending that you're average to fool even yourself into working harder? almost definitely. it's annoying. just realize you're a good applicant already DAMNIT. not just you, but everyone else that claims they're average but actually have very good numbers.

    maybe i should point out that when you're a so-called "average" applicant with a 3.6 gpa and 30 mcat you're almost DEFINITELY gonna get into a school. why? am i crazy? no. that's the average for people ACCEPTED. that means chances are very good that you'll be accepted. and they increase with the number of schools you apply to. apply to 15 schools with a 3.6 and 30 and you'll at least get into one. actually i can't guarantee that, but i can guarantee that you'll have PLENTY of interviews with average numbers. now your numbers are NOT average. apply to 15 schools and you'll get a few more interviews than the average applicant (assuming other factors like ECs are similar).

    now stop knocking yourself down on purpose and have some confidence. you done good. tell your friends....

    PS. ask Swampman what he thinks about getting that PS checked professionally. he'd probably say yes, and I would too. it's very important. but i'm not talking about some crazy ass super professional service. i'm not surprised you would consider it. crazy! take it to your school's writing center a few times. they'll hook it up.
     
  7. serpiente

    serpiente Senior Member

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    I did not use the service but I wrote a pretty good essay. I had friends and my pre-med advisor read it. I would defintely recommend having a premed advisor read it (if your advisor is competent that is) as he/she knows what med schools are looking for. I also read that 40 essays book. In the end I have gotten 3 acceptances and 14 interview invites (stats 3.73, 31). I don't think the service is really worth the money unless you know you are not a very good writer. If you are confident in your writing skills and have a few readers handy, you'll be fine. Another thing is that the essay is only one peice of your application and it is very hard to write something so creative that it will really stand out. People on the ad coms have seen it all before. Work on it and proof it a lot but don't kill yourself trying to come up with a pulitzer prize winning piece of work. You'll also have the opportunity to shine in your interviews, activities etc.
     
  8. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator

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    In one word...NO!

    I agree w/ the above posters. Don't waste your money on it! If you really want "professional advice" why don't you ask your pre-professional committee for help on that. Perhaps someone representing the English department is on that committee and would be willing to read your statement. Also, these people have "some" experience with personal statements as most pre-professional committees require you submit a similar statement w/ your "packet."
     
  9. jonquille

    jonquille Senior Member

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    I also used Ivy Essays and "Essays That Will Get You Into Medical School" or something like that. I thought the book was really excellent.

    The advantage to using an online editing service is, as was pointed out in the book, that the reader knows NOTHING about you -- basically the situation that an admissions reader will be in. The editor can tell you if you come off as naive, or too confident, or whatever -- something friends/family/etc. might not catch or mention.

    Since I wanted to make the most of my ivyessays.com payment, I submitted my essays when they had gone through many rounds with friends and family, and were almost polished. It turned out that the editor basically made very few comments, because it turned out that grammatically/structually it was solid. What was most helpful was that she gave me suggestions about a few points or details I might want to incorporate or work on, or a section that she didn't feel was as important. And she also told me that she thought they were excellent essays (I really don't want to sound like I'm bragging!) -- so that at least gave me peace of mind -- which made the $$$ worth it too. I really understand about wanting to make your essay great. I definitely was very invested in mine as well.

    I'd say use any editing service that seems to have had experience with helping people with MED SCHOOL essays/admissions. And go for it!

    Good luck. (And remember, take enough breaks from your computer!)
     
  10. jonquille

    jonquille Senior Member

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    Also, by the way, each essay (I had just my two AMCAS ones done professionally) cost about $75 to have edited.
     
  11. serpiente's post BACKS up competely what i said about your saddeningly average numbers.

    see dude, tomorrow looks pretty good for you.
     
  12. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    not unless you're a terrible writer and you have absolutely no one around you can count on to do a good job helping you edit.

    jonquille, welcome to SDN!! :D Sorry to contradict you before welcoming you. I can see how someone might want to pay for peace of mind. But it sounds like you really didn't need that service. However, the money is small potatoes compared to what the entire process ends up costing, and peace of mind is worth a lot. :) Btw, I want a perfectionist like you for my doctor!! :D
     
  13. 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 A. Caveman:
    <strong>see dude, tomorrow looks pretty good for you.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Unless he's applying to UF! <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> Nobody know what the hell they want! If you bust your ass, they look down on you. :D

    Am I bitter?!? Noooooooo! Not at all! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    You do need to have a kick ass essay. You can create one without these services. Hell, I'll edit your paper for half the price these nuts want! Did I mention I make a living writing? :)
     
  14. trout

    trout Senior Member

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    Hey taste like burning...I just sent you the longest pm in the history of sdn so you better read it :oops:
     
  15. cipher

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    Thanks the input, everyone. If I do feel like I would like to have an online service look at my essay, which is the best to use? Accepted.com looks pretty good, but I don't know if it's any different that the plethora of other sites offering the same service. So if you've had POSITIVE experience with a particular service, let me know.
    Also, my pre-med advisor is a mental defective. She is completely useless and I'd be better off asking for advice from the rats in my lab who have cannulas surgically implanted into their hypothalamus.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> it actually makes me pretty annoyed, and i haven't ever said this until now, when people consider themselves "average" and have above average numbers. DUDE, your gpa is at least .15 better than the national accepted average, and your mcat is 1 point higher. you are a "strong" applicant. now tell your friends that think alike to stop pussyfooting around the word strong, and always thinking they're average. is it an inferiority complex? maybe. are you pretending that you're average to fool even yourself into working harder? almost definitely. it's annoying. just realize you're a good applicant already DAMNIT. not just you, but everyone else that claims they're average but actually have very good numbers.
    </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Caveman -- I should have worded this differently. Of course I'd be happy to get into a any medical school, but I'm hoping to be competitive at the very selective UC schools. And those numbers of "average" MCAT and GPA matriculants factors in all of those students who got into po-dunk state university medical school in one of those states in the middle of the country (those barren ones between California and New York) where the school accepts 40% of the applicants that apply because the state's med school applicants population is so miniscule. California this isn't.
     
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  17. EpiII

    EpiII Senior 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 SwampMan:
    <strong>They know that these people don't have a strong grasp on english, so they charge them $40.00 an hour to edit their thesae. Hmmmm.... $40.00 an hour to edit a BOOK!!! REDICULOUS!!!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I agree that the professional service might not be needed. I did not use one. If you have good content, then it is not that difficult to develop an interesting essay.

    I also agree that your numbers are good and your essay will not be the only thing to get you into med school.

    I disagree with the idea that professional editors are not worth $40/hour. They are supposed to be great at what they do and thus they charge professional fees. If you have not had professional work done before (computer programming, consultants, medical professionals, etc.) then you will be surprised at the cost, but that is reasonable in today's economy.
     
  18. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    They aren't worth $40/hr, Epi. If people without training in your field can do what you do, demand for your service isn't that great. Editors are a dime a dozen, and the skills of some non-professional editors can rival those of the "professional" editors. I would have paid some of these people if they were more realistic. They probably lose a lot of business from people who find their fees absurd. If you charge $20.00 an hour and are booked solid, you'll probably make more than someone who charges $40.00 an hour and has little business. I guess the exorbitant fees allow them the free time to dick around (this would explain the "few hours" comment about a paper less than two pages in length).
     
  19. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member

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    One problem with professional editors is while they can focus an essay and make everything a little more coherent, they don't personally know you. If an editor doesn't know you and starts to substitute words in your statement for a better sounding word, it may hurt you. When an interviewer meets you, he may wonder why you aren't as eloquent speaker as you are a writer.

    Personally, I had as many people I could find to read my statement: mom, dad, sister, boyfriend, pre-med advisor and two best friends. I then gave it to two people who didn't know me well. My final "editor" was my boyfriend's mom. She's a writer/assistant editor for the NYTimes.
     
  20. cipher

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    It seems as though the fact that professional editors don't know you would be a good reason to go to them. They have no bias prior to reading your essay and they can therefore be objective. The impression that they get upon reading you PS will be similar to the members of the adcoms who will read it, since they know nothing about you either.
     
  21. El Jefe

    El Jefe The Jefe

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    I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I didn't really let anyone read my personal statement (just my dad and my girlfriend). I made it very personal, and didn't really feel like whoring around some of my most secretest things. Anyway, almost all of my interviewers commented on my personal statement, so I think it turned out well. It might not be as "professional" as some people's statements, but I think the fact that it was unique to me made it stand out.
     
  22. Meizy

    Meizy Member

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    i haven't read the whole thread so i am sorry if i am just repeating what people said.
    My advice: NO!

    I think though you should let at least 2-3 people read your personal statement. ONE person should know you well so that they can give you a sense whether you protrayed yourself well or as best you can. Another person should not know you well so that they can comment on what they think they understood from the personal statement without knowing much about you... if they say something that you did not want to protray than you can change that... if they didn't say something you wanted to emphasize then you can correct that also. its always good to let a third person read it so that you kind of get a better consensus.. hope this all makes some sense.. don't be too attached to your first draft no matter how hard you worked at it.. keep at it..
     
  23. missMD

    missMD Member

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    People know how anxious we premed students are to get into med schools so they are always trying to run scams on us to spend our money. I also inquired about a professional service when I was writing my essay but found that they cost way too much.
    Look, don't fall for that scam. If you're still in college, try to email your old writing professors, talk to your friends and contacts and see if they know someone with excellent writing experience. Someone does not have to be an editor to be of help. Many professions require excellent writing skills. Ask some of your deans if they can help or if they know of anyone that can help. Sure it is for medical school but the bottom line is that you are trying to sell yourself by letting the reader get to know you and your passion. I would advise having someone with a biological or medical background look at it but it is not necessary that everyone who looks at it needs to have that. I used "Essays that will get you into medical school" it cost me 11.00. I recieved positive feedback from interviewers on the essay I wrote. So try to pull from your personal resources and stay away from these scammers!
     

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