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"narrowness" of personal statement

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by epsilonprodigy, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    Since the beginning of my conscious thought, I have pretty much known I want to be a surgeon. Sure, I know things change, and who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with OB or patho in med school, but surgery is what I always go back to. Do you think it's acceptable to discuss my interest in surgery in particular (rather than a more general "my journey toward medical school"- type essay) or is such narrowness viewed as naive/diluded?
     
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  3. PeterPesto

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    It's your personal statement: tailor it as you deem appropriate. Personally, I think you can make brief mention to your interest in surgery - or perhaps your affinity for tinkering with things - but I wouldn't make it a central focus of your essay.
     
  4. Narmerguy

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    You certainly can mention your interest in surgery but I think the idea is to show why you want to be a physician and how you've tested that desire--not to show why you want to be one specific type of physician.
     
  5. Captain Fantastic

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Double edged sword on this one. How can you say you want to be a physician and then not have an idea what kind of physician you want to be? You really can't picture yourself in a kind of practice? Sorry, but when I was applying I day dreamed about being a doc all the time and I at least had some ideas about what I wanted to do in medicine. Now, that changed in my 3rd year of medical school when I got a better understanding of things, but I at least had an idea when I applied.

    My favorite question to ask is, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" An applicant that can talk at all intelligently about the type of practice they'd like to be in, the balance of clinic/hospital/OR/administrative/research time they desire, and maybe even the type of community (rural/urban) is someone who has a decent understanding of medical practice and of themselves. They actually learned something from shadowing and investigating the profession. If what they say sounds reasonable I know they've thought this decision through and aren't just going to medical school because it sounds cool. Double bonus if what you say is backed up with experiences documented in your application.

    My point is you have life experiences that made you think medicine was for you. It's okay to leverage those in explaining your path to medicine.

    The only caveat would be, don't paint yourself into a corner. While you might have ideas about the type of practice you see yourself in, you also recognize you have very limited experience and have an open mind to other specialties. ;)

    There's a lot of finesse that goes into a medical school application and interview. It's definitely not all about numbers. :luck:
     
  6. ucsfstudents

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    Yes, you can mention your interest in surgery. the ADCOM uderstand that things change and appreciate some kind of thought into what kind of doctor you want to be. But don't make that the focus of your essay.
     
  7. Narmerguy

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    The vast majority of PS are not focused on any one specialty. I'm not sure how you can say that it's hard to say one wants to be a physician without knowing what type of physician one wants to be? There are elements of being a doctor that unite all specialties together.

    Either way, I do not think the PS should be about why he thinks he would/should make a good surgeon. To a medical school, they must ask themselves what the applicant will do if he cannot make it into a surgical specialty? Does he find nothing else valuable about attending medical school and becoming a physician? If so, then why not write about that.

    No one is suggesting that he can't mention it and I'm sure he was perfectly aware of that before he started the thread. However, your PS can very much be too narrow if you don't address what draws you to being a physician in general and instead only what draws you to surgery.
     
  8. Captain Fantastic

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    No worries, we basically agree. "My point is you have life experiences that made you think medicine was for you. It's okay to leverage those in explaining your path to medicine."
     
  9. StudyShy

    StudyShy XOXO
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    I pretty much had to explain how my interest in medicine stems from wanting to work in OB. I would say that it would be fine to mention it, but always try to keep an open mind.

    I'd also be happy to read your PS if you want. The more eyes, the better for things like PS's! :luck:
     
  10. music2doc

    music2doc Student of Mad Doctoring
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    Echoing others, I'm going to say it's great to have (and mention) specific interests, but you don't want to pigeon-hole yourself (so no "I think surgery is the ONLY thing I'd want to do" types of statements). I think a lot also depends upon how well you can back up your interest when you state it. If you say "I am really interested in surgery" but all you've done is shadow a general surgeon for 10 hours, you might have some trouble reasonably backing that up. If, on the other hand, you say, "I am very interested in pursuing surgery" and were a part-time OR Tech for 2 years during undergrad, I would expect most interviewers to give you minimal flack about your desire. Of course, they would also expect solid responses from you because of that experience.
     
  11. Narmerguy

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    Hmmm, you're right we do. :thumbup:
     
  12. Avoidthetiger

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    I thought SDN-stance was that ADCOMs DIDN'T like hearing about one specific specialty you wanted to be in. They want a future physician that will be interested in learning all fields....
     
  13. StudyShy

    StudyShy XOXO
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    That's true. There are instances, however, that make it more okay to talk about a specific field. It all depends. To play it safe, it's best to be broad and not limit yourself.
     
  14. music2doc

    music2doc Student of Mad Doctoring
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    Exactly. I'd suspect any time when the applicant has clear experience that evidences an understanding of that specialty and will be highly likely to receive acceptance into such a program, it is probably acceptable to specify an individual specialty. A classic example is that of the psychologist (doctoral) or other mental health professional who, after a few years of practice, decides s/he could provide more comprehensive services by becoming a psychiatrist. Since psychiatrists are in such high demand and low supply in many areas and because such an individual has already shown such strong commitment to that field, those individuals seem to be quite successful when they apply (assuming grades, evidence of science aptitude, MCAT, etc. are all in place).
     
  15. chronicidal

    chronicidal Scrub
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    It would be naive if you discuss surgery in a way that hints at anything disparaging towards other specialties.
     
  16. 235788

    235788 God Complex
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    Being there is a shortage of Primary care, maybe focus on that area.... Pre-surgeons are a dime a dozen
     
  17. YouNeverKnow22

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    disagree--most people bull**** they want to be primary care docs and from speaking to ADCOMS they see right through that. Like a poster said earlier if you have a clear idea/experiences to back it up it should def. be mentioned.
     

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