wordson1

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i was just curious about what kind of things are best for a persoanl statement. i know many people say stuff about why they want to become a doctor, or when they realized, but i feel like there must be 1000's of those every year
is it possible to write different statements, perhaps ones that are totally unrelated to medicine but give a good picture of who you are?
also, how well does humor bode with the adcoms?
 

bidster

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wordson1 said:
i was just curious about what kind of things are best for a persoanl statement. i know many people say stuff about why they want to become a doctor, or when they realized, but i feel like there must be 1000's of those every year
is it possible to write different statements, perhaps ones that are totally unrelated to medicine but give a good picture of who you are?
also, how well does humor bode with the adcoms?
I would stay away from veering in the direction of sob story or comedy routine. It's fine to refer to an unfortunate life event (i.e. death, hospital stay, school problems etc) or to allow for some humor/wit in the statement, but don't let the humor or "sob" factor overpower whatever you have to say about what you experienced and HOW it influenced you into medicine. That "why medicine/how" bit is important....not the best place to deviate from the norm.

I think humor can go well in admissions as long as it's tasteful....again, just don't let it become the centerpiece of what you're presenting. It also never hurts if you can make an interviewer laugh (with you, not at you) :)
 

LVDoc

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I would advise not using humor in a personal statement; it can be misinterpreted to mean various things to a particular admissions committee member - ie. irresponsibility, inappropriateness, etc.

Instead, try to do some real introspection on the events that have occured throughout your life, and how they have shaped you thus far, especially in your decision to pursue medicine.

The subject matter is vital, but honestly, language is powerful, and if you know how to use it correctly, it won't matter what topic you address. Obviously, on a basic level, it must show your interest in medicine though. All things aside, do whatever you'd like, but make it sound good. A classical approach is "the story."
 

AnotherDork

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I agree with the other posters... you don't want to seem like you're not taking the personal statement seriously. You also don't want to seem like you're trying to wrestle sympathy or tears from them with a sob story. There's a happy medium.

On the other hand, in a secondary application (after the PS), one of the questions was simply, "Describe yourself." And since I consider myself to have a sense of humor (this is debatable), I made it kind of funny, but not so much as to seem like I was mocking the question. For what it's worth, I ended up getting into that school.
 

Mephisto

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One thing about med school admissions is that it's very cut and dry as far as application goes. If you read 'successful' personal statements, they all have a mix of essentially the same thing. Research experience, Volunteer work, some unique stuff, and that's it. Keep it simple. Don't get cute. This is different from undergrad admissions when people were free to get creative. That's not a good idea for med school. They want to see very clearly and concisely that you understand what medical school and medicine are.
 

Kazema

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If you want to make your PS stand out, you can kind of use a non-medical theme, like talking about doing cross country or something, but I think you really have to relate that activity to your desire to become a doctor and/or the experiences you've had and obstacles you've faced along the way.
 

funshine

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wordson1 said:
i was just curious about what kind of things are best for a persoanl statement. i know many people say stuff about why they want to become a doctor, or when they realized, but i feel like there must be 1000's of those every year
is it possible to write different statements, perhaps ones that are totally unrelated to medicine but give a good picture of who you are?
also, how well does humor bode with the adcoms?
If you have a good sense of humor and know you can write funny essays from past experience, then I'd go w/ being funny. Few of us can do it well, so it'd definitely make you stand out :)
 

fotolilith

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OFF THE WALL PS STUFF:
An MD/PhD I know wrote about how getting into medical school is a lot like a game of chess. But then again, he's kinda Machiavellian. :cool: Obviously, his rather outside the box statement did not stop him from getting accepted.

But I get the feeling that for every gimmicky personal statement that works, there are about 50 that annoy the adcom to no end. So, it's a tight rope walk to try not to be *too* unique.

As others stated, it's good to have a little of everything in your PS. I found it helpful to mention specific examples in my life, and then discuss how each instance impacted my drive towards a medical degree. Being specific (but not all over the globe with your examples), helps the committee have a solid picture of you (and when you're a more salient applicant, you will get better results, in my opinion).

Medicine is a very conservative field, and this definitely includes medical admissions. Most often they want a little bit of ego-flattering (ie, no critiques, and a smattering of "I know how physicians make a positive impact" - not TOO much ass kissing, tho). They want at least one or 2 solid examples of WHY you want to do medicine (some variations: how you have tested your resolve to go into medicine, what hardships you've overcome, etc) and, most importantly, what you've learned from these examples.

HUMOR: You can use humor in a secondary way - for instance, in my PS I quoted another doctor's humor in the face of a patient's scary cancer diagnosis, and wrote about how it helped the patient and the family, as well as the doc cope with the stress of his job. You probably don't want to make *your own* jokes, but if you can think of any health-care related examples in your life that brought levity, it might be appropriate in your PS.

You also want to reveal that you KNOW what you are getting into. Medicine is tough. If you can respectfully mention a specific example of how a doctor you respected faced adversity (it doesn't have to be a trauma - I wrote about how a doc I shadowed admitted she was always a little paranoid at her job, but it also helped her not to get sued, yet. It's a real fear in medicine, now). Oh, but don't be cocky and say you know everything.

So, in conclusion: in your PS you should be specific with examples, talk about the lessons you've learned, be conservative and upbeat if you can, show you understand what you're getting into, be HUMBLE (doctor's are by and large a very egotistical and insecure lot - don't make them feel threatened...make them feel you're HONORED to have your paper looked at), be empathetic, be a little nerdy (you love science!), use humor and weird gimmicks in moderation, and BE YOURSELF.

Good luck!
 

8744

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Doesn't matter. You'll look back at your personal statement four years from now and cringe.