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md/phd personal statements - supplementals

i guess its no secret that that supplementals for almost every school is "why md/phd" - basically variations on the theme. i suppose this is one essay that should be easy to modify (lengthen/shorten, final goals oriented/previous research oriented). though i know the personal statements for amcas was supposed to be a literary tour de force i was planning on making this a bit more straightforward. since you guys have gone through this last year - do you have any suggestions for what you wished you did(n't) do? just anything in general before i set out on writing essay 4/WhoKnowsHowMany. thanks -
-jot
 

JJ4

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    What not to do....hmm...now that's a tough one being that the PS is one of those things where anything goes. What I did NOT do was mention outright that I'm applying MSTP -- but I stressed the academic medicine component and my commitment to basic research heavily. On that note, I guess I wouldn't go off in a direction that presents yourself as someone that's very clinically driven, meaning something in the context of the "Patch Adams phenomenon"....that just wouldn't go hand-in-hand with your MSTP essay.
     

    Bikini Princess

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      I disagree, JJW. Although I'm just applying now (and you got into Mayo!! :) ) I think showing that you enjoy patient contact is a good idea. After all, this statement will be read by the MD committee, who doesn't care so much if you are MD/PhD. Being MD/PhD doesn't mean you won't be with patients...why not show this, especially on your primary app?
       
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      perhaps i wasn't clear - i'm referring to the md/phd only supplementals. those are "why md/phd" and only read by the md/phd committee. they specifically ask you to state your goals with a combined degree and your prior involvement in research to some varying degree. anything to say about those essays? thanks though jj4 - have anything about those?
      -jot
       

      JJ4

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        Point well taken Bikini Princess :D
        I guess I was speaking specifically on how I approached the whole thing. As MD/PhDs our desire to do compassionate science is an important part of what drives our research. But I think you know what I meant by the "Patch Adams Phenomenon" :wink:

        The MSTP essay is a place to present your scientific prowess (and from what I've read on this forum jot, you've got a solid standing -- so I think you'll have plenty to say so your main issue is going to be editing :D ). The best part is that on most applications they don't really set a limit on this (most, not all).

        Being that there's enough room, when I first started, I had a tendency to describe my research experiences in "too much" detail, to the point that it at times read like part of the discussion section in one of my papers -- which is not a good thing to do. Being that as undergrads we've been working on very focused ideas in the lab, we tend to pick up the jargon when we are describing our experiences unintentionally. But we should remember that the person reading the essay may not even know anything about our area of research so be concise and too the point. While the scientific reasoning behind what we did is important to explain for the reader's following, you should avoid "discussing" the ideas at length.

        I had a friend who worked on a very specific project for about 3 yrs. who applied MD/PhD last year and his MSTP essay read like a journal article -- definitely not the way to go!
         
        thanks JJ4 - i guess more srtaightforward is the way to go on this one. now that i look more carefully at specific applications it looks like most - as you said - have no limit, which is pretty decent. the jargon point is well taken. any others have tips/advice/things not to do? thanks
        -jot
         

        Bikini Princess

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          Thanks for the advice, JJW! Just wondering..should we try to make our MSTP essay something which tries to merge together all our research experiences into one cohesive goal?

          After all, I'm still not quite sure what branch of medical research I want to pursue. Neurosciences, molecular genetics, microbiology..are we supposed to already know this before we write the essay?

          If so, I'm in trouble. :D
           
          hey i agree bikiniprincess - i'm certainly don't have it nailed down what i want to do - i guess i'm going to have to be a bit vague about that. kinda sucks about yales md/phd secondary cause it makes you pick one field only for interviewing purposes. i guess we choose a field that we are famaliar with - not something that we want to go into? i'd rather not face some bigshot neuroscientist in my current relatively unenlightened state - a computational/developmental biologist would be up my alley, but i dunno if i want to do that. whatever i'm sure they can't fault me too much for being academically schizophrenic. or maybe they can. :)
          -jot
           

          Bikini Princess

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            Jot: I'm thinking that they want us to choose an interviewer who will be able to understand the research we have done. Not necessarily what we want to go into.

            I'm wondering, did you only check like 2-3 of the interest area boxes on the primary app? Is it ok to check most of them?

            (For 2002'ers, this is a new feature..you check boxes corresponding to your interest area for the MD/PhD part of the primary)
             
            i checked 4 i think - cellbio/molecbio/neuroscience and other if possible (computational bio). they are all tangentially related in some way. wow that was unprofound. i don't know if it would be alright to check everything, but if you can see how things are related and give a reasonable reason why you are interested besides i like everything (however true that maybe) then i think its ok. last year my friend who was interviewing md/phd was positive he was going to do immunology or bust- the passion of his life. many of his interviewrs commented that he should keep his mind open and wait for rotations (mt sinai notably gave him a hard time), and some admired his committment. some middle ground seems reasonable, but i dunno, i'm interested to see how this play out (for personal reasons :wink: ).
            -jot
             
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