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Personal Statement

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surge

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Hey guys,

I'm kinda hoping for some thoughts on an issue I'm having...

I wrote a personal statement (AMCAS) that, in itself, is very honest and relatively humble, with a strong emphasis on the humanistic motives behind my decision to pursue an MD/PhD, but, clearly one that revolves around my motives for going into research. Without tooting my own horn, I feel it's a good piece of writing, and I wouldn't feel any hesitation to send it in today.

I did however decide to take up a professor of mine up on his offer to read it. Now, I was aware from the very start that he's a pure PhD (cognitive psychology).... And, true enough, his comments were right along the lines of 'too personal, too modest', not enough about specific research goals, etc. It's funny, because he clearly states that the 'part in the middle' where I talk about my research motivations and what I've done is great, while the 'beginning and the end' (where I relate it to the practice of medicine) is 'not needed'.

Of course, it is inherent in the nature of our pursuit (MD/PhD), that the picture we are trying to paint is more complex than that. I think we all face the daunting task of explaining why we want to do both, while catering to both MDs and PhDs. So I figured that my AMCAS essay should be of this tone, and I would save the hard-core research for the MD/PhD essay (secondary). I'm not sure if he realizes that there is another specific essay.

Is this a good strategy?
I don't want to lose an MD that screens my essay due to the lack of personal reasons, but I don't want some researcher squinting at the lack of empirical pursuits.


Serge
 

isidella

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Hi there,

I am in a similar situation. Very personal PS, (it made my best friend cry - she is a surgery resident). She said it showed the emotion behind my undeniable motivation. Most people who go MD/PhD do not do so on a whim. They have deep, emotional reasons for marrying themselves to biomedical research. If your PS reflects this, do not be worried/ashamed (IMHO).

Never fear, in secondaries you will have opportunities to describe your research in detail. I also described my research briefly in my secondary experiences section on AMCAS.

It will be interesting to see others feedback about this. I wondered how other MSTP applicants do this. I never asked on the boards because I felt right just doing it my own way.

Good luck,
Isid
 

mjs

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Simply put, if you think your essay is strong enough to get you through any screening process to get your MSTP application, you're fine. Remember your audience in this essay is going to be anyone who might consider you an applicant, be they combined degree admissions folks or otherwise.

Also, while its important to never underestimate the importance of one essay, it is possible to overestimate them as well. AMCAS statements are a forum for you to express any reason you have to be a doctor and because of that, I don't think anybody reads them too terribly seriously for any specific content. The secondaries ask the specific questions, so just write your most sincere stuff and shine your love for this first essay.
 

Sonya

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hmm.

Can you have anyone else read it? like, ask a doctor/resident, etc if the research emphasis is strong enough. as a PhD, if it considers the clinical/humanistic p art enough. How about someone on your school pre-med advisory (or the admission comitee of a nearby medschool)

Sonya
 

energy_girl

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Serge,

I strongly believe that you should keep the statement as it is now. Nearly all MD/PhD programs have an additional application where you can convey your research experiences and goals in more detail. Your personal statement is meant to be personal, and I think your tying in your research with your motivations for going into medicine is the best strategy.

I used to review personal statements for my premed office and for Kaplan. In my experience, the most well-received personal statements are ones that are very personal--instead of talking generally about cooperation in medicine or how rewarding medicine is, the ones that people remember are statements about the applicant's own experiences. Your professor is not wrong in that you do want to communicate your research goals. But the most important thing at this stage is your personal experiences and motivations.

Good luck,
Leana
 
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