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Personal Statement Help

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by junathon, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. junathon

    junathon wa wa
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    I'm trying to draft up a personal statement for the upcoming application season and can't come up with anything. :confused: Can someone give me some advice?
     
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  3. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    Dude, I'm with ya. It seems like all these people 'round SDN have had some life altering moment about which they find it easy to write a captivating story. I, on the other hand, have no captivating story. I've yet to cure anything and I haven't mediated any peace talks in a 3rd world country on the brink of civil war.

    Search for the threads called "Why do you want to be a doctor" and "why medicine" or anything like that and see if anyone elses reasons inspire the Shakespeare in you.

    Oh! I've also been advised to sit down with a high volume of my favorite alcoholic beverage and a pen and just write away.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    Write about that one time when you were little and you came within inches of death but doctors saved you and how that inspired you.
     
  5. Bones2008

    Bones2008 waiting for retirement
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    Whatever you decide to write your statement on, remember this: Make it unique. If, after writing it, you can see the same thing being written by someone else, rip it up. The PS is your opportunity to make yourself stand out, not blend in. Adcoms want to see from your PS that you are a person who is a good fit for the medical profession. Note that there are ways to do this besides directly addressing the question: "Why do I want to be a doctor?" A lot of secondaries ask you this question, anyways, so why waste your personal statement answering it? Avoid the cliche taglines and stories -- the adcoms have seen them all before. Try your best to present the person that is you. Good luck.
     
  6. hamhamfan

    hamhamfan internet fairy
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    Darn, my essay so far has been working on that topic. Also, my presentation/theme is pretty unique... and I'm afraid that I will instead look like some kind of antisocial psycho (but I'm trying to look like a person who cares a lot for others). It's a topic that probably most people can't relate to but it is definately a unique reason/theme for why I want to become a doctor.
     
  7. junathon

    junathon wa wa
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    What are those cliche taglines and stories?
     
  8. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    I don't think the personal statment matters much but that is just my opinion. As long as it is well written and basically describes your experiences, you're set. It took me a couple of hours to do it, and I had someone good in English proofread it. It's no big deal. :thumbup:
     
  9. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous
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    This may sound generic but the best thing you can do is write something that will be unique to you (meaning it could only apply to you and couldn't be describing another applicant) and interesting. Keep in mind that some adcoms have to read hundreds to thousands of these. The key is catching their eye.
     
  10. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    This may help:

    1) Make a list of all the extracurricular activities that you've done.

    2) Make a list of all the volunteering activities that you've done.

    3) Make a list of any experience with the medical field that you feel is important to you.

    3) Circle the ones from 1) and 2) that were related to medicine.

    4) Elaborate on specific moments during those activities or experiences that fortified your convictions of pursuing a career as a physician.

    5) From your topics in 4, you now have several qualities that you feel make a good physician, e.g. compassion, dedication, conviction, love to work patients, enjoy learning about medical science, research, fighting disease, etc...

    You now have a theme and specific anecdotes to support your personal statement.
     
  11. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    The PS is important. It separates the men from the boys and women from the girls.
     
  12. Kalel

    Kalel Membership Revoked
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    Accepted.com has some excellent advise for PS writers. I even used their advise for my residency personal statement (you should keep your PS on file, in case you need to "recycle" parts of it for future personal statements). Be sure to check out their sample essays too.
    http://www.accepted.com/medical/AmcasEssay.aspx
     
  13. felipe5

    felipe5 Fingerpickin' Good
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    I think some of the cliche stories include elements such as
    --"I've wanted to be a doctor my whole life"
    --"everyone in my family are doctors"
    --"I want to help people"
    --"I love science"

    I agree with the previous posters in that the PS should exude you and only you....avoid using other people's names in it (I shadowed Dr. xxxx and Dr. xxxx and was inspired by professor xxx) for your name is the only one you want people to remember after reading it. I wrote several different drafts of mine, and eventually ended up trashing them all because I had a deep feeling that I did a crappy job of painting a picture of myself in the statement. My final draft was completely different than all the rest, yet I knew deep down when I was writing it that it would be the one to send off. Good luck!!!!!
     
  14. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    While I agree that writing about something unique about yourself is a great idea, I don't think writing about why medicine is important to you is necessarliy a bad idea either. The hard part is avoiding cliches. If you have an interesting or eye-catching road that led you to want to become a physician, it's all the better, but definitely not a mandatory requirement for a good PS. Tell your own story, and let the reader feel your passion for the subject you choose to write about.

    There's a PS thread floating around containing a list of sdn'ers willing to read statements for the upcoming app cycle, but I can't seem to find it using the "new and improved" search function.
     
  15. greenie8

    greenie8 Senior Member
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    The best advice I ever received in regards to writing my personal statement was to "show, not tell."

    Basically instead of:
    "Volunteering with sick kids taught me a lot about my inner strengths and weaknesses. This growth along with my compassionate nature has proven to me that I will be a good doctor yada yada "

    Try something like this:
    " Sarah was a child at the hospital where I volunteered. Usually she was active and engaged, but one day it seemed like all her energy had left her. Instead of our usual hide-and-go seek games, we sat together and read her favorite books."

    With the second option, the readers will see that you are compassionate, caring etc without you blatantly spelling it all out for them. It is a much better read and definitely more interesting. The PS should always leave the reader wantting to meet the writer.

    I think my PS definitely helped me in the admission process. Many of my interviewers commented on it. I spend a ton of time on it though and went to my school's writing center for about 5 weeks beofre I finally submitted it.

    Hope this helps.
    greenie
     

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