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Mentioning "controversial" topics in personal statement

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by yelldan, May 17, 2014.

  1. yelldan

    yelldan 2+ Year Member

    Jul 18, 2012
    I've spent a fair bit of time volunteering with my local Planned Parenthood researching and promoting sexual health and sexual identity awareness. It's something I'm passionate about, but I'm worried that mentioning my involvement with Planned Parenthood may offend some. I've read a couple of statements that have mentioned working in a "women's health clinic"; would it be advisable if I didn't mention the organization name specifically?

    Additionally, long story short-- I was diagnosed with depression not too long ago, and interacting with my psychiatrist has given me a new perspective on medicine that I'd like to talk about. However, I'm concerned that adcoms may not think I'm mentally stable enough to handle med school... any opinions/advice?
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  3. OneTwoThreeFour

    OneTwoThreeFour 5+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2012
    I would say planned parenthood yes (though heavily research school missions. Might not be so welcome at places like Loma Linda or even Georgetown). The mental health thing, definitely still a stigma that I wouldn't mention. For many it wouldn't necessarily be that you wouldn't be stable, but that you're just not 'tough enough' to be a doctor.
  4. BeMD13

    BeMD13 5+ Year Member

    Dec 31, 2012
    If you are really passionate about sexual identity awareness then I think you should go ahead and talk about it. You are right that it will offend some but if it is huge a part of who you are, let it. Don't suppress who you are to please an admission committee. You should be at a school that celebrates you, because that is where you will thrive as a student. However, if this was just something random that you did and don't feel strongly about it either way, I would say to phrase it in a more neutral manner.

    Regarding depression, unless you can demonstrate your current strength, stability, and readiness for medical school in your personal statement, I would leave that part out. Even more so, if you cannot demonstrate these characteristics in your statement, there is nothing wrong with thinking about taking a year off before applying. It all depends on your personal situation/story and how you tell it.
  5. WingedOx

    WingedOx Well, we tried. 7+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    9-7 (5-1)
    Planned Parenthood, yes.

    Depression, no. (I think this is kind of sad, really, but yes, people do attach stigma)
  6. phunky

    phunky 2+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Planned parenthood is controversial among right wing nutjobs, not doctors. That sounds like an excellent EC.

    Do not mention depression though. It adds nothing to your application and will most likely hurt you.
  7. Goro

    Goro Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Somewhere west of St. Louis
    Concur. My faculty colleagues and I constantly have our hands full of depressed, at-risk students.


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