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Is the Personal Statement really THAT important?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by TechMan, May 13, 2002.

  1. TechMan

    TechMan Dreams Stuff are Made of.
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    I have noticed quite a few of you say that you spent several MONTHS working on your personal statement. Now i know most of you are science guys and don't like to write stuff, but come on, is it really that important, and does it really take that long to come up with something good?
     
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  3. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    One Word:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It's what separates you from all the others in your group with similiar GPA's MCATS....

    Unless you have like 30000 hours of volunteer and a 42 mcat with a 3.9999 gpa....then it IS important..
     
  4. Future_Doc

    Future_Doc Senior Member
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    It's VERY important. It gives adcoms an opportunity to learn something about you outside of the numbers. Some people do spend a great deal of time on this. There are also review services that will critique your statement, edit and such. I spent about 6 hours total on mine. I think it was pretty good. I guess I thought for probably my whole post-bacc career what I wanted to say, and then when it was time to put it in writing, it was easy. Don't write about your grades, extracarrics, awards and the like. Those things are already in your app. Tell them something about you and set yourself apart from other applicants.
     
  5. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    scoob, i like your picture :p
     
  6. lady bug

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    It is extremely important, but I don't think it is critical that you spend several months writing it, unless you have trouble writing essays. Just make sure it is well edited(several times). I'm writing mines right now for this application cycle, although I've been thinking about what I want to put in it for some time now. Hope that helps!
     
  7. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member
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    Yes, The personal statement is HUGE! This and the interview are the primary links that the admissions comittee has to you as a person. I don't care what your numbers are, if you can't give them a dose of humanity with those 5300 characters, then you're in for a long year.

    Oh, and as a quick addendum; I have no idea what I'm talking about. :p
     
  8. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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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 lola:
    <strong>scoob, i like your picture :p </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Thank you :)

    It was fun dressing up in those boxers....
     
  9. Hero

    Hero Senior Member
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    you have a big flat arse :p :D
     
  10. The Fly

    The Fly 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 Hero:
    <strong>you have a big flat arse :p :D </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That would be the front, not the rear . . .

    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> :p :D
     
  11. Laura JC

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    I spent several hours writing my essay, and made it into something that I really loved. I'm glad I spent a lot of time on it, because several of my interviewers referred to it and quoted it. I decided to write mine in story form, choosing a few incidents from my life, both small and large, that illustrated, rather than reported, my decision to become a physician.
    Let's face it, once you make the first cut at a school, everybody's basically on the same level. Everybody has good grades, good scores and good recs. I think it's crucial to write something that will get noticed. I don't mean something gimmicky-but something that really illuminates you and the way you feel about medicine.
     
  12. MorningLight2100

    MorningLight2100 Senior Member
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    While it's certainly not necessary to write an essay worthy of a Pullitzer, you have to think about the fact that the adcoms are FLOODED with applications, and that numbers-wise, many of these are stellar because since freshman year of undergrad the mantra "GETTING IN TOUGH...MUST GET GOOD GRADES!" is pumped into our heads by competitive premeds and AAMC zombies alike. The only components, pre-interview, that the adcoms have to really get a feel for you beyond the ID numbers and the transcripts are your extracurrics, your letters of rec, and your personal statement.

    That said. . . the essay really doesn't have to be an obstacle, however, even in spite of its importance. By it's very nature, the statement is your one chance to really let yourself shine, to tell the adcoms the things that *you* most want them to know! Of all of the parts that comprise your application, you perhaps have the most control over your essay, and over what you reveal to the adcoms through it. I'm not sure how you usually write, but the best advice that I can think to give you (although I'm only a single lonely little (and I do mean little) speck in the vast sea of med school application history), is to write from your heart. . . write so that the reader comes away from the essay with a feeling for who you are. As others have mentioned, avoid regurgitating what has already been addressed in your application, i.e., classes, ECs, etc. Remarks about such things, or a verbatim restatement of your resume, won't enhance your app or tell the adcoms anything about you that they don't already know. Instead, if you write about an activity you've done, make sure you focus on what it has MEANT to you, what you've learned from it. . . and how this has influenced your life (and, if applicable, how it influences your decision to become a doctor or your ideas about your own medical practice).

    I didn't spend months on the statement, although I know others who did. To be honest, although getting it "just write" was a bit stressful, and although I did spend considerably more time on it than I typically do on the average ~2-page essay. . . I actually enjoyed completing the statement, because it allowed me to write about some of the pursuits and people about which I'm most passionate. I know it sounds crazy. . . but it was actually kind of nice. :)

    Best of luck to you, and as always, if you have any questions when you sit down to write. . . we're here to help! :)
     
  13. hellokitty

    hellokitty Member
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    Also, make sure your grammar is perfect. Some schools use it to determine your writing skills.

    If you have a good premed adviser, it would be good to have him read it. He would know what the adcoms look for. (Mines even pointed out a few grammatical errors).
     
  14. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member
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    It really IS very important, but no, you don't have to spend months on it. I spent "weeks" on mine, but only because I wanted to make the time to put it away for a few days, take it out and make changes with a fresh eye, bounce it off a few people, etc. Make sure you make time for that stuff--don't write and submit it all in one day.
     
  15. djipopo

    djipopo SDN Angel
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    Yes, the personal statement is really that important! I won't reiterate what the other posters have so eloquently stated, but I do have one piece of advice: keep a copy of all of your drafts. That way, if you cut something out and want to include it later, you'll have it.

    Also, edit, edit, edit. Give yourself some time to write your essay, take a break from it and revisit it again, several times over. You'll definitely see your writing evolve.

    I've used my personal statement for other projects, aside from my AMCAS application, including my resume and scholarship applications.
     
  16. gmendese

    gmendese Porn Star
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    My personal statement came up in every interview I had. So, yes, it's important! Make it count.
     
  17. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Yes.

    (now that was helpfull, wasn't it?)
     
  18. analu

    analu Senior Member
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    In addition to demonstrating your "uniqueness," make sure it's a PAGE-TURNER. Make it fun, exciting, etc., but don't go overboard.

    Also, something which I don't think has been mentioned...sometimes interviews are CLOSED FILE, i.e. they only have a short bio and your essays (including any you needed to do with your secondary ap). My interviews at my state school were closed file, so boy, was I glad that I put the hours into my PS.
     
  19. dynamic02

    dynamic02 Member
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    Hey!

    I agree with everyone else-- YES, the personal statement is VERY important. :) I think it is really a chance to explain how you have matured over the years and grown in your decision to go into the medical field... in this statement, you have the ability to highlight what makes you UNIQUE and special, and what makes you a PERSON beyond all the numbers (gpa, mcat, etc). Also, you get a chance to explain what makes you "tick" as a person, and why you specifically want to help people by pursuing medicine.
    Overall, I would say make it as personal and specific as possible when explaining your experiences. Don't be afraid to mention weaknesses and the ways that you overcame them. :)
    I also had a couple of interviews that focused specifically on my personal statement... so make sure that anything you put in there, you are ready to explain in even more detail during your interview. :)
    Hope that helps!
    Good luck! =-)
     
  20. lady bug

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    Question about Personal statement: I spent the summer after my sophomore year doing research at a med school....actually it was a NSF internship and I didn't really have my own independent project like the grad students did. Well anyways, what I am trying to decide is whether or not I should write about this experience in my personal statement. I don't feel very knowledgeable about the science of the research and it has been two years, so I have forgetton most of the details about it. I'm just concerned that if it is brought up in an interview and I am asked to talk about it, I won't do so well? Do you guys think I should write about it in my PS or not?
     
  21. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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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 lady bug:
    <strong>Question about Personal statement: I spent the summer after my sophomore year doing research at a med school....actually it was a NSF internship and I didn't really have my own independent project like the grad students did. Well anyways, what I am trying to decide is whether or not I should write about this experience in my personal statement. I don't feel very knowledgeable about the science of the research and it has been two years, so I have forgetton most of the details about it. I'm just concerned that if it is brought up in an interview and I am asked to talk about it, I won't do so well? Do you guys think I should write about it in my PS or not?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I wouldn't write about something in the essay I wasn't prepared to discuss in detail. Most interviews that are open file will use your essay as a place to start conversations to put you at ease, assuming that you wrote about something significant to you and that you would be comfortable discussing. I don't think it matters that it wasn't an "independent" project (in reality most of the grad students ones weren't really either...trust me on that one) but it does matter that you don't remember what the details of it were or that it doesn't appear to be something of major significance to you.....
     

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