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I've heard certain "psych" specific caveats to the personal statement and I wanted to confirm whether any of them were true.

1) Limit the use of the "I" pronoun as it can sound narcissistic .
2) The Psych personal statement can be a bit longer (like over a page?)

Also would it be ill-advised to go into specific interests within the personal statement? e.g. child psych?

Thanks!
 

slappy

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1. It can be a little nauseous if someone overuses "I" in a personal essay, but doubt anyone's going to analyze you from your writing and think you're narcissistic.
2. It can be however long you want. But you don't want it to be longer than 1 page.
 

wolfvgang22

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Just don't say you want to do Child Psych unless you really mean it. ;)
 
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can i talk about a family members depression and how i saw their recovery process and how remarkable it was?
 

splik

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2) The Psych personal statement can be a bit longer (like over a page?)
Keep it as short as possible. 600 words or less. But you could technically write as much as you like. I saw a 12-page personal statement last year. that is probably more indicative of narcissistic pathology than using 'I' alot.

you should be as specific as possible about your interests and future goals. so yes you if you are interested in child then say that. they might use the personal statement to match your interviewers with people who share your interests.
 

wolfvgang22

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Yep. Depression is one of the most common illnesses in humans. Showing a mature and thoughtful response to mental illness is cool. I would avoid coming across overly emotional or saccharine. Just my opinion.
 

ima4ltrwrd

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Try and fit a couple sentences about why Psych compared to the rest of medicine... specifically point out some frustrations you have experienced with surgery, medicine, primary care etc... and then how Psych fits into that picture with its strengths and weaknesses. Also, reference a patient you saw at some point during a psych rotation and how it really made you think about the pathology. Being able to tie these in with your broader interests show that you have really thought about this decision and are making it for the right reasons.
 
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If you do, you'll blend in nicely with the hundreds of other personal statements the programs receive.
blend in--in a bad way? i'm honestly not doing it for that reason alone but it is a huge catalyst in my decision to go for it.
 

notdeadyet

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blend in--in a bad way? i'm honestly not doing it for that reason alone but it is a huge catalyst in my decision to go for it.
Slappy is just saying that what you describe is a common theme on PS's. Doesn't make it bad...
 

hamstergang

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blend in--in a bad way? i'm honestly not doing it for that reason alone but it is a huge catalyst in my decision to go for it.
Most PSs are the same, more or less. Most don't really matter. You just don't want one that sticks out in a bad way. Though in many of my interviews the content of my PS did come up, so you should probably know what you write.
 

Nasrudin

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1. It can be a little nauseous if someone overuses "I" in a personal essay, but doubt anyone's going to analyze you from your writing and think you're narcissistic.
2. It can be however long you want. But you don't want it to be longer than 1 page.
How bout referring to your full name in the 3rd person?
 

MacDonaldTriad

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How bout referring to your full name in the 3rd person?
“If future psych intern match here, it make future psych intern very happy. Very happy indeed.”

Or more commonly; “It would be a very high honor to have the opportunity to train at such a highly esteemed institution such as yours. I know that learning from you, the most amazing psychiatrist in the world would set my position in life very highly.”:vomit:
 
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jakeislove

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“If future psych intern match here, it make future psych intern very happy. Very happy indeed.”

Or more commonly; “It would be a very high honor to have the opportunity to train at such a highly esteemed institution such as yours. I know that learning from you, the most amazing psychiatrist in the world would set my position in life very highly.”:vomit:
What about people who are going to cure every mental disease? :)
 
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ok cool, makes sense guys. thanks for the clarification. sorry i'm a little on edge. i've had a really awful week since i found out i failed the COMLEX PE humanistic domain no less, when every evaluation i've ever gotten has given me high marks for interpersonal skills.

also, im sorry to hijack this thread, but my psychiatrist is super busy and won't get me the LOR until end of September, should I just put 2 LOR's in (they are specialty neutral from my preceptors for FM and IM just describing me as a good candidate for residency in general).

thanks
 

Nasrudin

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Send in the app and update it with LOR after. You'll often get interviews on less than a full investigation of your file. Some programs dig deeper for ranking. Or so I hear from the people here involved in such things.

Speaking of which, I can fully appreciate the tedium of reading through piles of similar sounding crap. But how about instead of just lying there like a ditzy unappreciative and overly hot young chick ignorant of her ticking shelf life who just waits for her partner to munch the rug and do the business. How about giving as good as getting. An interesting engagement is a question of chemistry. A two party affair. If you want to get a few layers deeper and get something original. Be interesting yourself. Be engaging. Don't ask the same stupid **** in a dry unaffected manner.

I still remember my best interview of the season. And we both enjoyed it. It was like bromantic mind sex between 2 straight men.

That's the problem with a personal statement. There's no room to be interesting. It's not the writers' fault. It's the whole process of asking someone to vomit up an essay about themselves while applying for a job to complete strangers.

So...no sh!t...you're bored.

How about we should just phone them all in, no body reads them and let's move onto something else...more real.
 

OldPsychDoc

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Send in the app and update it with LOR after. You'll often get interviews on less than a full investigation of your file. Some programs dig deeper for ranking. Or so I hear from the people here involved in such things.

Speaking of which, I can fully appreciate the tedium of reading through piles of similar sounding crap. But how about instead of just lying there like a ditzy unappreciative and overly hot young chick ignorant of her ticking shelf life who just waits for her partner to munch the rug and do the business. How about giving as good as getting. An interesting engagement is a question of chemistry. A two party affair. If you want to get a few layers deeper and get something original. Be interesting yourself. Be engaging. Don't ask the same stupid **** in a dry unaffected manner.

I still remember my best interview of the season. And we both enjoyed it. It was like bromantic mind sex between 2 straight men.

That's the problem with a personal statement. There's no room to be interesting. It's not the writers' fault. It's the whole process of asking someone to vomit up an essay about themselves while applying for a job to complete strangers.

So...no sh!t...you're bored.

How about we should just phone them all in, no body reads them and let's move onto something else...more real.
Of course if we ask anything REALLY interesting, we're going to get an EEOC complaint, or comments on boards like these about "unfair questions", "stress interviews" and the like...

How about if you all just promise to show up everyday, attend all your didactics, be kind to the nurses, work when you're told to, complain no more than necessary, and show interest in your patients?
 
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MacDonaldTriad

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I am so ready to dump PSs & carpet munch Nasrudin. It is mostly the interview once the numbers decide who you talk to. My anticipatory anxiety about down loading a sea of applications is very high.
 
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MacDonaldTriad

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ok cool, makes sense guys. thanks for the clarification. sorry i'm a little on edge. i've had a really awful week since i found out i failed the COMLEX PE humanistic domain no less, when every evaluation i've ever gotten has given me high marks for interpersonal skills.

also, im sorry to hijack this thread, but my psychiatrist is super busy and won't get me the LOR until end of September, should I just put 2 LOR's in (they are specialty neutral from my preceptors for FM and IM just describing me as a good candidate for residency in general).

thanks
 

MacDonaldTriad

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Obveously not a good thing to fail PE, but PE is new and I have not seen it delay anything. Probably just a matter of $. Try to retake asap and no one will care once you pass.
 
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Obveously not a good thing to fail PE, but PE is new and I have not seen it delay anything. Probably just a matter of $. Try to retake asap and no one will care once you pass.
thanks yeah i'm set for a retake. much to the chagrin of my 55 year old father who is in midst of a divorce and i had to beg him for the cash.

that being said, my retake score won't come in until december (1st week). im hoping that i'll still be eligible for some interviews in jan or dec.
 

jakeislove

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Send in the app and update it with LOR after. You'll often get interviews on less than a full investigation of your file. Some programs dig deeper for ranking. Or so I hear from the people here involved in such things.

Speaking of which, I can fully appreciate the tedium of reading through piles of similar sounding crap. But how about instead of just lying there like a ditzy unappreciative and overly hot young chick ignorant of her ticking shelf life who just waits for her partner to munch the rug and do the business. How about giving as good as getting. An interesting engagement is a question of chemistry. A two party affair. If you want to get a few layers deeper and get something original. Be interesting yourself. Be engaging. Don't ask the same stupid **** in a dry unaffected manner.

I still remember my best interview of the season. And we both enjoyed it. It was like bromantic mind sex between 2 straight men.

That's the problem with a personal statement. There's no room to be interesting. It's not the writers' fault. It's the whole process of asking someone to vomit up an essay about themselves while applying for a job to complete strangers.

So...no sh!t...you're bored.

How about we should just phone them all in, no body reads them and let's move onto something else...more real.
Dude,

You're not supposed to talk about brainal sex here. :)
 

Nasrudin

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Of course if we ask anything REALLY interesting, we're going to get an EEOC complaint, or comments on boards like these about "unfair questions", "stress interviews" and the like...

How about if you all just promise to show up everyday, attend all your didactics, be kind to the nurses, work when you're told to, complain no more than necessary, and show interest in your patients?
True. So it's just that kind of awkward work party. Not enough getting butt naked, smoking, drinking, and generalized inappropriateness to get to know people.

On the flip. How bout if you tell us if you really have our backs in a pinch, if your didactics are worth showing up for, what the nursing culture really is like at your sites, if there's stuff to complain about in the first place, and how keen you are exactly on people shutting up and doing what their told above all else?

There's an opposite end of each coin you're tossing.

I picked my program largely based on the fact that the guy running it is someone I have a gut feel for how much I can trust him. I haven't been disappointed. But the way he conducted himself at interview day was entirely atypical in this regard.

So I think we see it the same way. The process is constraining.
 

OldPsychDoc

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On the flip. How bout if you tell us if you really have our backs in a pinch, if your didactics are worth showing up for, what the nursing culture really is like at your sites, if there's stuff to complain about in the first place, and how keen you are exactly on people shutting up and doing what their told above all else?
Absolutely yes.
Most of the time, yes...working on it...but remember that you get out what you put in.
Pretty good, very supportive for the respectful residents.
I'm not saying don't speak up about the necessary stuff--we can't fix what's wrong if we don't know about it--just don't whine about every little thing.

I'm already tired of this process, and ERAS hasn't even opened yet!
 
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Nasrudin

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Absolutely yes.
Most of the time, yes...working on it...but remember that you get out what you put in.
Pretty good, very supportive for the respectful residents.
I'm not saying don't speak up about the necessary stuff--we can't fix what's wrong if we don't know about it--just don't whine about every little thing.

I'm already tired of this process, and ERAS hasn't even opened yet!
:laugh:.

I can't imagine.

Best I can do is keep trying to be a good resident. Much simpler on my end.
 

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:laugh:.

I can't imagine.

Best I can do is keep trying to be a good resident. Much simpler on my end.
I love my good residents.
Even my OK ones.
Fortunate to not have any truly bad ones right now...and would love to figure out how to keep it that way.
 

MacDonaldTriad

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I love my good residents.
Even my OK ones.
Fortunate to not have any truly bad ones right now...and would love to figure out how to keep it that way.
I’m convinced that once you get to about 30 residents, it is impossible not to have at least one problematic resident. No matter how strong the program, there will always be that one that consumes half of your time and effort, or who is so bad for moral, real problems are amplified tenfold. These are often the brightest residents so it is easy to be fooled. I guess training is a tough process and the ways people fail to hack it are hard to predict.

“It isn’t my fault, the program….” “Well, the program hasn’t seemed to …. For the other 29 of your colleges. I wonder if there isn’t a piece of this that you can own so there might be something within your control to change….
 
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I’m convinced that once you get to about 30 residents, it is impossible not to have at least one problematic resident. No matter how strong the program, there will always be that one that consumes half of your time and effort, or who is so bad for moral, real problems are amplified tenfold. These are often the brightest residents so it is easy to be fooled. I guess training is a tough process and the ways people fail to hack it are hard to predict.

“It isn’t my fault, the program….” “Well, the program hasn’t seemed to …. For the other 29 of your colleges. I wonder if there isn’t a piece of this that you can own so there might be something within your control to change….
So besides external locus of control, what makes a problem resident?
 

MacDonaldTriad

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That is easiest to explain in the positive. A good resident:

Shows up for class on time
Does assigned QI projects without having to be dogged to do it
Charts timely without having to be dogged to do it
Follows through on treatment plans discussed in rounds without needing to be reminded
Shows up for assigned shifts, or finds their own trades if they can not
Goes to individual supervision without having to be monitored for attendance compliance
Works well with support staff
Chips in when someone is out without needing assurance that things will come out fair in the long run.
Does all of the regular system trainings like HIPPA, Sexual Harassment…. Without being reminded 3 times.
Willingly sees doing interviews as an important part of the job.
Understands that when they are selected to present at conferences, it is because they were involved in the particular case discussed and it wasn’t done specifically to pick on them.
Plans vacation time in advance, or doesn’t complain if they are told no last minute.
Can mature to the point that conflicting supervision advice is an opportunity to learn differing theoretical frameworks and not just evidence of psychiatry being a big joke.
Makes an effort to do the assigned readings
Recognizes weaknesses and makes plans to work on these
Recognizes administrative efforts to improve the system and uses their own criticisms of the program to make constructive suggestions and not an opportunity to spread discontent.
Understands that some conflicts are inevitable, but is self-aware enough to stand outside of the fray or at least not contribute to its escalation.
Understands that performance reviews are most useful when they point out weaknesses and can take in suggestions without becoming defensive or falling into rationalization.
Knows that training is hard and stressful and is mindful enough to recognize their own signs of stress before doing something they will not be proud of later.
Knows that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but sometimes the best way to survive the process.
Is tolerant of the fact that others will progress at their own rate and weak links need support and sometimes active protection from those less tolerant.

I’m sure I could fill 10 more pages, but I’ll stop.

Maybe it would be fun to hear some residents make a list of “good attendings… and don’t…..”
 

rierodz

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Hey, I'm applying later this year and just had a question regarding my PS. My personal statement touches upon a somewhat controversial subject in regards to the unjust treatment of the mentally ill from my home country in some of the provincial regions. Do you think that that topic is a bit too controversial for my PS? Or should I just leave it vanilla and talk about why psychiatry, what qualities I have, etc..?
 

splik

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Hey, I'm applying later this year and just had a question regarding my PS. My personal statement touches upon a somewhat controversial subject in regards to the unjust treatment of the mentally ill from my home country in some of the provincial regions. Do you think that that topic is a bit too controversial for my PS? Or should I just leave it vanilla and talk about why psychiatry, what qualities I have, etc..?
what do you mean applying later this year? if you mean applying for the US Match then if you don't apply now as a foreign applicant it doesn't really matter what you write, it will be moot because you might not get anywhere.
 

OldPsychDoc

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Hey, I'm applying later this year and just had a question regarding my PS. My personal statement touches upon a somewhat controversial subject in regards to the unjust treatment of the mentally ill from my home country in some of the provincial regions. Do you think that that topic is a bit too controversial for my PS? Or should I just leave it vanilla and talk about why psychiatry, what qualities I have, etc..?
That's fine--get it in. As splik says, the clock is ticking...
 

Doctor Bagel

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That is easiest to explain in the positive. A good resident:

Shows up for class on time
Does assigned QI projects without having to be dogged to do it
Charts timely without having to be dogged to do it
Follows through on treatment plans discussed in rounds without needing to be reminded
Shows up for assigned shifts, or finds their own trades if they can not
Goes to individual supervision without having to be monitored for attendance compliance
Works well with support staff
Chips in when someone is out without needing assurance that things will come out fair in the long run.
Does all of the regular system trainings like HIPPA, Sexual Harassment…. Without being reminded 3 times.
Willingly sees doing interviews as an important part of the job.
Understands that when they are selected to present at conferences, it is because they were involved in the particular case discussed and it wasn’t done specifically to pick on them.
Plans vacation time in advance, or doesn’t complain if they are told no last minute.
Can mature to the point that conflicting supervision advice is an opportunity to learn differing theoretical frameworks and not just evidence of psychiatry being a big joke.
Makes an effort to do the assigned readings
Recognizes weaknesses and makes plans to work on these
Recognizes administrative efforts to improve the system and uses their own criticisms of the program to make constructive suggestions and not an opportunity to spread discontent.
Understands that some conflicts are inevitable, but is self-aware enough to stand outside of the fray or at least not contribute to its escalation.
Understands that performance reviews are most useful when they point out weaknesses and can take in suggestions without becoming defensive or falling into rationalization.
Knows that training is hard and stressful and is mindful enough to recognize their own signs of stress before doing something they will not be proud of later.
Knows that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but sometimes the best way to survive the process.
Is tolerant of the fact that others will progress at their own rate and weak links need support and sometimes active protection from those less tolerant.

I’m sure I could fill 10 more pages, but I’ll stop.

Maybe it would be fun to hear some residents make a list of “good attendings… and don’t…..”
Out of your 30 or so residents, how many meet all these criteria? I'm guessing very few. Those who think meet it might just be better at keeping their mouths shut. I think regression is a natural part of residency for most trainees and lots of us spend some time in training hanging out in the paranoid-schizoid position.
 
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MacDonaldTriad

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Clearly, no one meets all of these. They are just areas where some stand out as better than others. Their paranoid stance is understandable. Residents have to navigate a lot of new territory that is unfamiliar while pretending to have competence. They are in training to gain that competence, if they were born with it, we wouldn’t need training.

I wanted to describe good qualities in a resident just for this reason. It isn’t hard to understand why any form of progressive discipline on the part of a training program has every resident freaking out wondering if they are next. I assure you that any actions toward remediation, probation or worst yet, termination are very methodically documented with corrective action plans that give multiple opportunities to improve. Most of these are confidential and from the outside it can look like someone was just let go, but that is far from the case. Fortunately, these are rare.
 

rierodz

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what do you mean applying later this year? if you mean applying for the US Match then if you don't apply now as a foreign applicant it doesn't really matter what you write, it will be moot because you might not get anywhere.
I'm still waiting for my Step 2 CK results. I wasn't going to apply this year but the program director from my clerkship and another from where I did an externship encouraged me to apply this year anyways, regardless. I know it's a long shot, but I figure I might as well try. Do you think I should submit my application now, pending my CK results as an IMG?
 

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OMG--this is so spot on! http://www.gomerblog.com/2014/10/medical-residency/
(Though I'm finding that in psychiatry, applicants often substitute a close relative's depression/autism/addiction for the "actually connected with a patient" part in Paragraph 1.)

Only 1199 more to go... :dead:
 
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Frazier

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OMG--this is so spot on! http://www.gomerblog.com/2014/10/medical-residency/
(Though I'm finding that in psychiatry, applicants often substitute a close relative's depression/autism/addiction for the "actually connected with a patient" part in Paragraph 1.)

Only 1199 more to go... :dead:
A lot of that reminds me of my med school app PS....down to triplet adjectives, the intro quote and final concluding sentence (bringing it back to the quote "full circle, baby").

Dang I was hoping to recycle for residency PS, but not now with my formula out. C'est la vie
 
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NickNaylor

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Do personal statements get anything more than a cursory perusal?
N=1, but our advisor said that more than in other specialties the personal statement and other more "personal things" matter. Who actually knows though, and I'm sure it varies from program to program and person to person.
 
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HarryMTieboutMD

N=1, but our advisor said that more than in other specialties the personal statement and other more "personal things" matter. Who actually knows though, and I'm sure it varies from program to program and person to person.
This statement is 100% true and one that I reiterate to anyone who asks for my advice on the residency application process. My personal statement was brought up at least once at every place at which I interviewed, though the feedback varied entirely. I was almost certain that some interviewers were NOT very keen on the content of what I had written, including one interviewer at the program at which I matched (that I incidentally ranked #1), though I did receive very positive feedback from a different interviewer at my current program. One interviewer (different program) described my personal statement as "the best I've read in a long time," and several others described my personal statement as "very powerful." Though, as I mentioned before, other interviewers were definitely uncomfortable with what I had written.

"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
 
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masterofmonkeys

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Just don't say you want to do Child Psych unless you really mean it. ;)
This is true. Roughly 20% of people who succesfully complete a general residency are denied licensure and board eligibility because they claimed to be into child and got out.
 

promotemma

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Of course if we ask anything REALLY interesting, we're going to get an EEOC complaint, or comments on boards like these about "unfair questions", "stress interviews" and the like...

How about if you all just promise to show up everyday, attend all your didactics, be kind to the nurses, work when you're told to, complain no more than necessary, and show interest in your patients?
Of course if we ask anything REALLY interesting, we're going to get an EEOC complaint, or comments on boards like these about "unfair questions", "stress interviews" and the like...

How about if you all just promise to show up everyday, attend all your didactics, be kind to the nurses, work when you're told to, complain no more than necessary, and show interest in your patients?

Sorry to comment on an old thread, but while trying to research approaches to writing my personal statement I came across your statement. This is exactly what I've been wanting to do! I wish I could just tell the PD what I am and what I'm bringing to the table, rather than a page of fluff. Look: I'll show up a little early, I'll work harder than most without complaint, I'm easy to get along with and moderately intelligent. Oh, I'm choosing psych because after long deliberation, the details of which I really don't need to explain, I feel like it's the best fit for me. Attached are my preceptor evals attesting to what I've said is true. Hope to see you next summer. Done.
 
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