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mentioning specialty/dual degree/future plans in PS?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by premd, May 10, 2008.

  1. premd

    premd Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2005
    Is it okay to talk about your specialty/dual degree/future plans in the personal statement? Or should you just limit the essay to why you want to be a doctor?
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  3. 87138

    87138 Guest

    Jan 14, 2006
    If you have particularly compelling reasons for a specific specialty, it might not be a terrible idea to tie that interest into your PS. I'd avoid even remotely trying to pigeonhole yourself, however.

    As far as dual degrees, I'd probably avoid that, but that's just me. I'd assume if you were interested in one, you won't apply to schools that don't offer that particular dual degree. But if for some reason you did, I'd think you might get less than serious consideration.
  4. paranoid_eyes

    paranoid_eyes 2+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    i am totally putting down on my app that i wanna go into psychiatry. the doctor i was shadowing told me it might even help me since no one nowadays WANTS to go into psych (according to him)....and yes i have a compelling reason

    as for dual degree, i wouldn't put that down
  5. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    I disagree...I dont see how it could hurt to tell them you wanna pursue a MD/MBA or MD/MPH or whatever.
  6. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy" 5+ Year Member

    May 23, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    MD/MBA is no different than MD/PhD, though I really suggest leaving that for a different essay. Most schools have you explain the PhD part in a different essay, so I'd stick with that.

    Future specialty = no no in a PS since 99.9999999% of people don't have the experience to make a reasonable decision about specialties.
  7. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    I think it depends on your specialty. If you plan on going into cardiology it is probably best left out unless you have a really compelling reason because I don't think you actually gain anything from saying it. I don't think med schools are looking for any specialty in particular usually (could be mistaken). In my case, however, I plan on going into primary care and I think that will actually boost my chance of getting an interview (and an acceptance) to many schools because there is an actual need for it.

    You need to evaluate what you are actually hoping to gain by telling them those facts about yourself. Are you conveying any meaningful information that will make you more appealing?

    A counter-example to not saying your specialty plans would be a classmate of mine. He plans on going into plastic surgery, but he has a good story for why. He used to have nasal problems and had plastic surgery to fix them and felt a huge boost of confidence after the issue was fixed, and was inspired to give that gift of confidence to others. He's a very genuine person so I think in his case a story like that would actually benefit him quite a bit if he were able to convey the honesty behind the story.
  8. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    My opinion is that the PS would be best used to speak about what you've done, versus what you intend to do; future plans for specialty, additional grad work, etc. seem like they reasonably could change based on knowledge that the applicant picks up. I'd suggest sticking with accomplishments/experiences that have brought you here, ready to apply.

    The other danger to listing specialties in the personal statement is that it goes to all schools.. If you're certain you want to be a cardiologist, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, etc. would most likely pass you by, as they focus largely on primary care preparation. Also, if the person reading the personal statement is not fully convinced the reason for choosing a specialty is compelling, or if that person has personal qualms/problems with physicians in that specialty, the PS may be viewed less positively.
  9. milliya

    milliya Soon To Be Saving Babies 2+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    North Carolina
    i don't think there's any harm in specifiying a future specialty if you have a good reason. you're not really making a decision right then and there about your specialty. any applicant with common sense should understand that it is possible, even probable, that they will have a change of heart (and it might be helpful to mention that you understand that), but there's no harm in going into med school with a vision, even if that vision changes along the way.
  10. BlackSails

    BlackSails 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Yes, as long as you make it clear that you know you dont really know enough to make an informed decision.

    "So, Interviewee, what speciality do you want to go into?"
    "I want to be a neurosurgeon because of what I saw on Grey's Anatomy" = bad
  11. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2003
    I wouldn't focus on the dual degree, but rather your well-conceived career plan that may necessitate a dual degree.
  12. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2003
    I disagree, I think everyone should dedicate some PS space to future plans. People don't go to med school just because they did A, B, or C - they go to med school so they can do X, Y, or Z.
  13. cpants

    cpants Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    Talking about specialty plans is good, it shows that you have thought about medicine and your career. Talking about dual degree/future plans might not be a great idea, especially if those future plans involve a career not actively practicing medicine. They don't want to train doctors who will become insurance company executives or pharmaceutical consultants.
  14. cpants

    cpants Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    Also, if you are applying to state schools, I wouldn't mention any plans that don't involve practicing medicine in that state.
  15. Green Grass

    Green Grass Physician 10+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    Under Your Feet
    Do you think that residency programs will hold it against you if you mentioned Specialty A in your PS, but switched to Specialty B in those four long years?
  16. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    I would think that residency hospitals don't have any idea what specialty you said you'd take in your PS. Med schools are probably the only ones with access to that information, and it's always up to you what you want to specialize in; if you change your mind, you change your mind.
  17. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    I think expressing your interest in a particular specialty based on prior experiences is fine, but like other have said, don't make it sound as if you've committed yourself to a specialty when you aren't even a med student yet.

    As for the rest (dual degree, life plans, etc.) include those in secondary responses. A lot of schools tend to ask what your objectives in life are, what interests you about the school.

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