Tippyboat

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In writing the personal statement or in interviews, does it sound naive to cite a lot of experiences with having a parent as a doctor and how that gave you insight about the profession?
Of course it won't be "I want to be a doctor because my mom/dad is." But the fact that they're in the field, do I want to simply mention that, omit it or elaborate on it?
The fact is it DOES influence me. In a way, it's like shadowing a doctor for your whole life. I know we're supposed to write about experiences that convinced you you want to be a doctor, so does communicating with a parent suffice for that?

Thank you
 

Greonis

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I personally believe that you should mention it. My reasoning for this belief stems from some rumors I've heard about adcoms liking to see applicants whose families are involved in medicine. It supposedly indicates a substantial degree of indirect exposure to the lifestyle of a health care professional, starting at a very young age. It is true that some adcoms may frown upon it (believing that you are only going into the field due to familial pressure), but since no one knows for sure due to the turbidity of the admissions process. I would guess that far more adcoms approve of it than those that don't, so you can assume that it is a "safe" bet to include such background information.

The key to minimizing adcom doubts, as you have already discussed, is the presentation. You want to present it as one of several factors that led you to make a well-informed decision about becoming a physician. Most likely, your "parental exposure" involves growing up with your parent and concomitantly witnessing several aspects of his/her career. You might have accompanied him/her to a clinical setting, listened to stories around the dinner table, or been exposed to different specialties through family friends. Whatever you did, I would suggest introducing it as the "spark" of your interest in medicine, followed by presenting your clinical/leadership activities (volunteering, clinical research, shadowing, etc...) as experiences that sealed the deal (confirmed your interest and led you to apply to medical school). I agree that you should never mention parental "pushing" to go into the field, as that is a surefire way to convince them that you are only interested in medicine because your parent was.

Also take into account that you are required to list your parents' occupations on the AMCAS application. It might raise some eyebrows if you list one or both parents as being physicians yet make no other mention of it anywhere else.
 
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Nevadanteater

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...I discovered that doctors don't have to be like my parents (we're very different).

HAHAHHA

Always a good thing to discover.

------------

This has come up (directly and indirectly) in two different interviews that I've had. If this influenced you, include it, everyone has different exposures to medicine, as long as those exposures have been at least somewhat formative in your decision to medicine, it is worthwhile.

</study avoidance>
 

montessori2md

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Faculty at my school are quite fond of legacy students, I'd see it as an asset on an app, as long as you can make your PS demonstrate maturity as well. MDworld really is a clique/set of cliques, and as a legacy, you're sort of already in it -you know some of the cult's mores (think Harry Potter....) and you have a ready-built support system. These are things that will make the ride easier for you.
 

lainapox

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Having physician parents can be really useful and informative - you know what a typical day of ____ specialty can be like, what some hardships are, what some benefits are, what the effect on relationships can be (with children, parents, spouses/significant others, etc), and how to deal with those things. It can be disadvantageous because adcoms may think you want to be a doctor to please them or be like them, so I suggest mentioning it at the end of an essay, or mentioning it during an interview so they can see YOU first, and then your family second. For example, I said that I'm familiar with the emotional difficulty of residency because my parents were residents when I was 5-10 years old (around there) and I saw how hard it was on them, but ONLY after I wrote an extensive essay about what draws me to medicine. As someone else said previously, it's kind of like shadowing a physician, just not while they're at work. You get all the background stuff, like the frustration at insurance companies, office conflicts, snippets of conversations with patients, and ALL THE PAPERWORK. I've found more reasons not to be a doctor from living with my parents than I have in any "clinical exposure" activity.
 
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njbmd

In writing the personal statement or in interviews, does it sound naive to cite a lot of experiences with having a parent as a doctor and how that gave you insight about the profession?
Of course it won't be "I want to be a doctor because my mom/dad is." But the fact that they're in the field, do I want to simply mention that, omit it or elaborate on it?
The fact is it DOES influence me. In a way, it's like shadowing a doctor for your whole life. I know we're supposed to write about experiences that convinced you you want to be a doctor, so does communicating with a parent suffice for that?

Thank you

I came from a family that has 10 physicians including my father and I didn't mention this in my personal statement. I found plenty of other things to write about other than the "family" business. If having a parent that is a physician is your main influence, then write about it. After all, it's your personal statement and you can spin it any way that you want.
 

RSAgator

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as the poster above mentioned, if it has had a large impact on your decision to enter medicine then mention it. Most schools ask in secondaries what your parents do, and I would suspect that the schools that look favorably on it would specifically ask about it. Unless it's important to mention, don't try to force it in there because it will likely seem forced.
 
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DrYoda

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Well over 50% of my interviewers asked me if my parents or any other family members were doctors. So they seem to have some interest in knowing about it.
 

rocketbooster

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it helps if your parents are doctors or involved in medicine. my dad is a physician and my mom was a nurse. in my interview, the first thing the adcom member asked me was "so your dad's a doctor in ____ city, is he part of ____ group? I did my residency down there." I said "no, he isn't in that group. he's in _____." the adcom member replied "that's good because that group I mentioned is known for doing unnecessary procedures just to make more money." I of course knew this already and said "yep, my dad isn't very fond of them at all. most doctors in ____ city share that opinion."

he then asked me what specialty my mom did in nursing. I never even thought about that since my mom stopped practicing when I was born. I just told him "I actually don't know. she stopped practicing when I was born and later went back to work voluteering fulltime as a preschool teacher." so, the adcom member, who was an internist, was even interested in knowing my mom was a nurse, not a physician. unfortunately, I wasn't able to use his interest to my advantage since I couldn't answer the question haha. I thought I bit myself in the tongue real bad by not being able to answer it, but after telling the honest truth why I didn't know I think I made up for it. he gave me a very good reaction when I said she went back to work volunteering fulltime as a preschool teacher.

also in the interview, I mentioned how growing up I knew the lifestyle of a physician, the latenight calls that the hospital always made to the house phone waking everyone up, and so on; however, I did not know if that's what I wanted until I got into college and starting shadowing the many areas of medicine when I realized there was a much bigger scope of medicine than my dad's specialty. I said it was actually the ER that convinced me I wanted to be a physician since it was then I saw the full process of diagnosis and treatment for the first time. I had never seen the entire process of a patient coming in on Day1 and leaving on Day X after treatment under my dad.

I only mentioned my parent's backgrounds in 2 sentences of my personal statement.

also, another adcom member, who did not interview me but was present on the interview day, happened to think very highly of my dad as a physician. everytime I saw him he would say, "I know I've told you this, but your dad is very high in my books. Just knowing you're his son leaves a good impression of you on me." he came up to me a few hours before my interview and told me who my interviewer was going to be and what his background was. it definitely helped. he is one of the ppl on the adcom who will vote and give you a score. the adcom meets together and all score each applicant. they add up all your points and the ones with the best totals are granted admission. so, I have 2 adcom members who will be my advocates to the rest of the committee: the one who interviewed me and the other who I know only because of my dad. most applicants will only have the one advocate who interviews them.

so, as you can see, my dad being a physician only helped me. it will especially help you in your interviews, I think. in your PS, mention it but I wouldn't focus on it. the thing is one of the questions the interviewer will always ask you is what other careers have you thought about other than being a physician. you need a good answer to that and that answer should be something that your parents being doctors had no influence on. I was heavily into debate in HS so I talked about and realized how after 4 years of it that a career in law/politics wasn't for me. anyways, just keep these things in mind. your PS should show you reached the conclusion you want to be a physician. it should not start off saying "i wanted to be a doctor my whole life, so I volunteered at the hospital, did research, etc. etc. to get into med school." it should say "one of my interests was health care so I started to get some hospital exposure, shadowing, etc. and all of my experiences in the end convinced me I wanted to be a doctor." it would help if you actually DID try different possible career interests haha. you don't need to mention those other career intersts in your PS, though. just be prepared to bring them up during interviews when they are really trying to figure out if you truly want to be a physician or not and that you have put lots of thought into it.
 
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