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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Northerner, Sep 7, 2002.
heh ummmm. theres a lot to put into a personal statemetn adn no easy way to do it. I think ive rewritten my ps a few times and edited teh hell out of each version.
I used the kaplan medical book which had a few sample personal statements in it and reviews of it by some medical school person as how to approach it.
I tried breaking it down into whats neccessary and whats not, etc. But there was too much to really include.
if you'd like to read mine I could email it to you. I was lucky and had a friend who was a great writer help me out with it.
i didn't spend a lot of time on it, compared to some people...i wrote it in about 3 days but editted it and had a few others edit it a bunch of times..............i just wrote about a turning point in my life where i "saw the light" ...........i realized over time i watned to do medicine...........just talk about how you became interested in medicine....lot ofmy ps, included high scchool stuff..but i felt that, that showed how i got into medicine and was a good representation of who i am...............
i'm going to paste what my advisor told me...he used to be on an adcom. and he's a great guy!
"The personal statement, by its very name, gives it a dimension that makes
criticism a difficult undertaking. What you need to ask yourself is
whether or not you have covered all the bases. I think that the personal
statement should address the following areas, either directly or by
inference: why you want to be a physician; what has motivated/inspired you
along the way---people, events, circumstances, activities, et al.; that you
perform well and are enriched by team/collaborative experiences; that you
have a lifelong commitment to care for the ill and to continually advance
your knowledge of science; that you recognize the challenges of this
profession and, while confident that you will be able to fulfill the
expectations, are duly humbled by the magnitude of the
undertaking. Obviously, there is no prescriptive formula for success with
the personal statement, and when it comes down to it, the important thing
is that the essay feels right to you. Sometimes, in trying to "cover all
of the bases," content-wise the spirit/essence of your intentions gets
muted or altered. Try to find a comfortable ground that carries out your
objectives, as well as what you may think the medical schools are
seeking. Also, keep in mind that the AMCAS personal statement is only one
piece of the admissions puzzle---you will have other writing opportunities
in the individual school applications. And one last matter... as you
suggested, in terms of including your extracurricular experiences, you do
not want to dwell on these matters in the essay because that information is
available in other parts of the AMCAS application, and space is limited for
hope this helps.
I would be interested in hearing other people's comments here too. I seem stuck on what to say exactly; I am a good writer normally, but it seems whatever I write sounds like drivel.
I have the 'Essays to get you into Med School' book and to be honest, alot of them sound like Hollywood stories, or screen plays. I just want to say something honest with no gimmicks or flash, and I feel stuck as well. I am going to just try and write several copies and versions and keep psuhing until something decent comes out; plus have other people read them over.
I thought about my ps for a while....what helped me get going was to list the qualities I have that I want to portray and then match those qualities with the experiences that best developed my character and medical interests. At that point, I basically tried to talk about experiences that most other applicants probably wouldnt have, since most of the character points we are all talking about are shared. Just try to fit what you want, and not all the things that you could say. And most of all, try to stay away from general spoonfeeding of your qualities...link them to something meaningful and unique. Just write a draft to get started and then really shape your essay through editing. Good luck. Message me if you want to see my essay or need more help.
Like many of you, I wasn't sure what to include either. I started by just answering the main question: Why do you want to be a doctor. I them wrote down a list of qualities that I think I have that are essential to becoming a physician.
Instead of just blatantly stating these facts, I told stories relating to my medical work and tried to include other things about my life that completely set me apart from the rest of applicants. IMPORTANT: your personal statement should be compelling enough that adcoms would want to meet you just from reading it!!!!
After writing my first draft, I had six pages. The hardest part of the editing was choosing which story to eliminate. (Trust me, AMCAS does not give you enough space to tell them everything). Overall, accomplish these three tasks:
1. explain your reasons for wanting to be a doctor
2. give examples of your life experiences where you exhibited qualities that they look for in medical students (compassion, desire to help others, etc.)
3. Tell them something about yourself that will make you stand out of the crowd. It doesn't matter if it's a hobby or some wild experience (maybe you go bungie jumping every weekend). Then incorporate this experience into a positive character trait: adventuresome, fun-loving, etc. I happen to think this is one of the most important parts of the personal statement. When you think about it, every school is going to read at least 4000 applications saying how rewarding volunteer work as been and how people became interested in medicine when grandma got sick. But if this person won the lottery and decided to use the money to pay for their medical school tuition, than that's the person you want to meet and interview.
I have that book too, and I thought the advice it gave (aside from the actual essays, which I thought were outdated) was somewhat helpful. If anything, the list of characteristics that adcoms find desirable in a future doctor is worth looking at.
If you are not pressed for time, start out by writing a 2 page autobiography (a requirement for the secondary for UCSD). You should just free-write in the beginning, but focus it down to 2 pages in the end. That will get your creative juices going and get you thinking about yourself and how you feel about medicine. This is the advice that an adcom member gave me and it helped greatly. Good luck.
I also had trouble trying to figure out what to write in the beginning. I started by making a list of key points that I wanted to touch upon. I focused on what has enhanced my desire to practice medicine, my background (family etc), and specific activities that I felt were relavent to shaping my overall character. Everybody takes a different approach, just write about what you feel is important. I'm sure it will be great!