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Northwestern's Essay on "Disginguishable Characteristics"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by TMP-SMX, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    "Describe the distinguishable characteristics (non-academic) you possess and tell us how you think these characteristics will enhance your success as a FSM medical student and future physician."

    My question is what qualifies as "non-academic"?

    1) If I become friends with professors outside the classroom or because I work with them as a TA is that non-academic? (A stretch)

    2) If I am a TA for pay is that non-academic? (Probably not)

    2) If I do research for a semester for credit but then do it as a fellowship during the summer is that non-academic? (Stretch)

    4) If I hold leadership positions in student organizations that pertain to an academic subject indirectly (ACS) is that non-academic?

    I'm going to assume number 3 is not regarded as academic, but I'm wondering on 1, 2, and 3. I have other things I will write about, but I was wondering what kinds of things they are trying to get out of this essay. I understand they don't want me saying that "I am a genius and always get As." or "I am magna cumma magna phi beta kappa meiosis diploid."

    Could I just talk about the activities in reference to some characteristic I got out of it? Such as becoming a mentor or building relationships with students and professors.
     
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  3. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I'd be careful with this one. The prompt is asking you about characteristics, not experiences. Building relationships with students and profs isn't a characteristic, it's an experience. You could maybe swing it that you have a characteristic of being a people person, as evidenced by... But it might be a stretch.

    I think 1, 2, and 3 are all blatantly academic. I think 4 would probably tend in that direction too. NW is looking for the non-academic side of you. I think to avoid that might make you seem less well rounded.

    You're not the only one struggling with this one, by the way.
     
  4. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member
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    yea, it is more about a person's qualities, the humanistic side of a person. I just wrote about some qualities I felt that I had, and some of the things I have done to exhibit those qualities. :love:
     
  5. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    Good point... I would argue, however, that you can qualify your characteristics by talking about experiences that show them... Always better to show than tell. I feel like your numbers 1 through 4 are academic... Maybe talk about an EC?

    There is always the characteristic that you are a really hard worker and really care about people, which probably helps with medical school success.
     
  6. blantant

    blantant Fake-Doctor
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    Hey, that sounds good right there. But yeah, make sure to emphasize your characteristics (empathy, or being good at building relationships). I've had a hard time getting started on this one too. The hardest part for me has been relating things back to "how you think these characteristics will enhance your success as a FSM medical student and future physician."

    I don't htink the non-academic aspect is too big of a deal. All four seem to focus outside of your 'academic' traits ... like being the smartest hardest working 'cum laude alpha alpha meiosis diploid'. But what do i know.
     
  7. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    I was going to talk about characteristics such as communication skills, mentorship, patience, interests in certain subjects before I took a class on that same subject, empathy for patients, and other characteristics.

    However, if you can better prove your characteristics by showing something that was both non-academic and other things that are academic how does that make sense to withold it just because you supplemented your prior interest with taking a course in that subject?

    For example, I read a book for my own interest on Dr. Paul Farmer on Medical Anthropology and his experiences in Haiti, Peru, and Russia. A year after I read the book, I took a course on medical anthropology.

    Also, I read a book on the future of prescription drugs in this country and how the costs/other things are effecting medicine and medical research/health. This is also relevant to the medical anthropology course I took a year later. My interest and characteristic in this one is that I am politically minded and like to think about ethical situations and political issues.

    As a part of the course, I interviewed a physician of internal medicine about the medical practice, medical issues, and issues of culture and disease. This physician is my girlfriend's aunt, and I will also be shadowing her in her office in the Fall. Now I can't mention the characteristics without showing how they've panned out just because it borders on academic?

    The academic can spur interest on a non-academic pursuit and a non-academic pursuit can spur further interest on taking an academic route. It seems ridiculous to me to not mention something just because you received credit for it or it occured in a semi-academic situation.
     
  8. Just4U

    Just4U Junior Member
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    Post the question to your friends and colleagues. See what they have to say about you. Then, write about what they say, assuming it looks good for you. Be sure to relate everything back to how it will make you a good FSM student and how you will be a better doctor because of it. Dont forget to make it concrete with examples. There is a very small amount of space here (i.e. "about 400 words" really means "no more than 400 words"), so there wont be too much room to elaborate on what you write. Good luck!
     
  9. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I think the idea is that almost the entirety of your application will be related to academics. They really want to see if you have a life outside of college and all it entails. Well-rounded and all that. You'd be amazed how many people have nothing to talk about unless it relates to medicine or school.
     

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