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Personal Statement

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by driven, Apr 23, 2002.

  1. driven

    driven Member
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    Hey guys,

    It seems like SDN has become my support team in a matter of days. You are all really a wealth of knowledge :D I was reading some sample statements, and it seems like most write about "why" they want to become doctors. Aren't schools bored of hearing that. I'm sure by now thay have heard every reason in the book.

    I am married and have a son, and thats why I took a couple years off after undergrad. I really DON'T want to mention this in the essay because I think it will hurt me. Thoughts?

    I really want to focus on this essay because I think it will either make me or break me.

    Thanks in advance...
     
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  3. mongoose

    mongoose Membership Revoked
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    welcome to sdn. I just wanted to say that I think you should mention your family in your personal statement. I did and I think it was an advantage for me. I feel it shows the admissions committee that you are very dedicated to becoming a doctor and that going to medical school wasn't just an after thought, instead it is something you really desire. It worked for me.
     
  4. Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

    Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003] Platinum Member
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    Does it really matter for the AdCom if both of my parents are doctors?
     
  5. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member
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    driven,

    I agree with you that you should leave it out. I mentioned in my statement that I have a kid and all of my interviewers asked me what I was going to do with him when I'm in school. This is an illegal question, but I have been told that my mentioning it in my essay 'opened the door' so they could ask.

    I'm not sure if it hurt me or not, but I didn't get in to any schools this year. My qualifications are pretty good, so it makes me wonder - especially since I'm female.

    Anyway, when I reapply next year, I'm not going to mention it.

    However, in your case, it would explain why you took some time off - which might be important information for adcomms. I have no proof that it was held against me, but I guess I'm paranoid now.
     
  6. Taty

    Taty Senior Member
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    Hi, I that type of applicant who has " the hard-luck tale". Though, it was one of the major reasons why I decided to be a doctor and do research, I would like not to mention it in my essay. Do you think I can avoid it somehow,or I have to mention it there??? :confused:
     
  7. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by RNA Ladder 2003:
    <strong>Does it really matter for the AdCom if both of my parents are doctors?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">For some schools it could help you b/c you are obviously aware of the compromised lifestyle that a physician often leads. However, if you portray yourself as 'i know what i am getting myself into. blah blah' you might come off as conceited, arrogant. You don't want them to think you have a princess/prince complex. Start working on that. :p
     
  8. trout

    trout Senior Member
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    I am not sure you mean this by "why" you want to be a dr. but I wrote about what I have done that lead me to this career particularly since I am older. These activities just highlighted my personality. I agree with spacecadet, I don't have children but am a little older and a school decided it was far game to ask me if I thought children would upset my life while I was in medical school (blind interview and I don't look that much older). It is ironic in a way because many older students do better in school, yet in the admissions process it seems to be negative. The admissions people probably spen about 1-2 mins per essay so you want to write something that will catch their eye and something they will remember! Good luck...
     
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  9. vyc

    vyc Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by RNA Ladder 2003:
    <strong>Does it really matter for the AdCom if both of my parents are doctors?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">yes. in addition to what has been said above, they can also question your motives more.
    are you just becoming a doctor bc this is what you've been surrounded with?
    or is the desire to become a doctor really coming from YOU? etc.

    i think it can definitely help you too though.
     
  10. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member
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    Originally posted by Taty:
    [QB]Hi, I that type of applicant who has " the hard-luck tale". Though, it was one of the major reasons why I decided to be a doctor and do research, I would like not to mention it in my essay. Do you think I can avoid it somehow,or I have to mention it there??? :confused: [/QB

    Taty, I can understand that maybe you don't want to open the door to talking about something that to you is really personal; however, one thing I have discovered in this whole process is that you have to be willing to do whatever you can to improve your chances of standing out. Especially if this story is what led you to wanting to become a doctor. Admissions committees DO want to know how you got where you are.

    Now, I don't know you and of course I would not advocate doing something you're really uncomfortable with, but based on everything I've seen, overcoming adversity, struggling to get where you are are all things that adcoms look really highly upon. Turn that struggle to your advantage by showing how much you've learned, what a profound impact it has had on you, etc. (if, on the other hand, your hard-luck tale involves things like drug arrests or something like that, get some advice from a reliable prehealth advisor as to how to include such information). good luck.
     
  11. deva

    deva Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by RNA Ladder 2003:
    <strong>Does it really matter for the AdCom if both of my parents are doctors?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">It would probably be best if you made up another answer for why you want to go to medical school. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior Member
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    Driven,

    First of all, I think it is the very rare case where the essay makes an applicant. They make it seem like it matters so much, but I have yet to be convinced that it does. It can probably break you, but it probably won't help that much if the rest of your application is weak. (not assuming yours is BTW :) )

    Your main problem is that you're going to have to account for those two years out of school. Even if you don't put it in your essay, every secondary will ask you about them. In my experience Trout is right, you are at a disadvantage if you are older. You have to prove your dedication more than if you are just coming out of undergrad. And usually the best way to prove that you're as (if not more) suited to medicine as a fresh graduate is to use the experiences you've had while out of school. Personally I think having a child is great preparation for medicine but I can also see where an interviewer/ad comm member may not. If you decide to leave your kid out of your essay, you will need to think of some other great reason that you took two years off.

    As for writing about "why" one wants to be a doctor, that seems to be sort of what they're looking for. Since I was not struck by the bug at 2 years old, my essay was more about "how" I came to medicine and "proving" that the skills I learned in my former career really did prepare me for becoming a physician.

    Good luck!
     
  13. bujji13

    bujji13 Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Originally posted by RNA Ladder 2003:
    Does it really matter for the AdCom if both of my parents are doctors? </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">YES!!!
    I can attest to this fact because both of my parents are doctors, and I felt this was a strong factor in my failure to get an acceptance to combined med programs in high school. I have this feeling because it was my parents' occupations (and nationality if you can believe it) was the focus of several interviews I had. And now, as a traditional pre-med, I find myself under the scrutiny of my health professions committee, and I expect to see the same response from medical schools and interviewers in this process during the upcoming year. I disagree that there are ANY benefits in the admissions process to having parents who are physicians, as it only seems to open the door to a type of excused, rationalized, and blatant discrimination.
    Nobody who has commented in such a way on what my parents do for a living has shown the slightest bit of hesitation, restraint, or tentativeness in asking me questions like "Why are so many kids of Indian parents doctors?" or "Why are so many Indians doctors" and of course "Have your parents had a strong influence on your desire to pursue medicine?" I would not be bothered by these questions, IF they were relevant. My questions are, "Why is it anyone's right to assume that my motivation to pursue medicine falls under dubious pretenses?" or "Why does anyone think that this isn't discrimination?" I don't even assume that children who INHERET their parents' businesses have somehow been coerced to enter a profession they aren't enthusiastic about, so I don't expect the same treatment when discussing entering the same GENERAL field. Sorry to rant and rave, but I have been confronted on this issue several times, and have given these questions plenty of thought...and I refuse to let anyone's narrowmindedness get in the way of my dreams again!!!! I suggest you do the same RNAladder...
     
  14. Taty

    Taty Senior Member
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    sorrento, thank you very much for your response, I think I will mention it, but not concentrate on it...I will write just what I have learned.
     
  15. ramkijai

    ramkijai Member
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    Hi Taty,
    I agree with Sorrento and think you should mention your situation especially if it is an important part of why you want to be a doctor. I was faced with the same problem because a large part of why I want to be a doctor and became interested in research is due to something that happened to me. I mentioned it in my personal statement in my introduction and very little in my secondary essays but it was a very prominent topic in my interviews. I talked openly and honestly about my experience (the good and the bad)and I think the schools appreciated my honesty and openness. And it worked! I always have a soft spot in my heart for hard luck tales and wish you the best of luck.
     
  16. Michelys

    Michelys Senior Member
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    Hey guys...

    I know you are all probably like spasing about your personal statements, but I think the thing to keep in mind is to write something about you. I know it sounds cheesy but I can remember writing horrendous drafts that just went through my motivations and experiences as a premed without really reflecting who I was and my proper motivation towards medicine. It's really easy to make the essay impersonal. Let your friends proofread the things and give you some ideas. By doing that last year I figured out which drafts were duds and which ones I could add some 'real life' to.

    As far as 'tough situations' and personal/family background, I think that is what makes you unique and what will make your essay unique as well. Everyone always tells you to 'be yourself' and just keep in mind you have to be unique to set yourself apart from the loads of other personal statements falling into the adcomms. I myself started off as a premed due to one of my best friends passing away from cystic fibrosis when I was 16. I thought about beginning my essay with some of my EC's (public health, women's shelters, etc) but in my heart I really knew what motivated me wasn't those things. They helped, sure, and I made sure to note that they further strengthened my initial desire later in the essay. I, however, realized that my essay was truly great after I searched myself as to why I had worked so hard for three years for a spot in a medical school that wasn't guaranteed to me yet. So I opened up with a striking paragraph stating my ambition to become a pediatric pulmonologist stemmed from my experiences from a loved one.

    The whole making your personal statement PERSONAL is the thing. One of my friends told me to bring the adcomm. into my life. My first paragraph set the whole tone: I vividly described my dealings with CF--from the regular days to even the horrifying pulmonary hemmorrhages. I wanted them to see that I wasn't 'over-dramatizing' anything either, this was a very sincere moment in my life and I wasn't just using it to impress anyone. Thus, I also told of how I felt during various stages of my friends illness--scared of what was happening to her, fearful of what would go wrong next, and inspired by her determination.

    As if by like, I dunno, magic or miracle (LOL) my essay fell together after that. I realized that as a premed I had used this aspect of determination that my best friend had inspired me with. I was a premed because of her, and when I screwed up and got 3 C's one semester or didn't have enough money to buy school books I just sucked it in, got up, and thought of her to carry on. I made it clear to the adcomm's that my low GPA was during a semester I tried my hardest, and failed. But I went on in my essay just as quickly as I went on to regain my academic and personal success. In the end, it really was a story of me and my ambitions to become that doctor I always have worked to be.

    So, boys and girls :) , sorry to be long-winded, but I just want you all to not short-change yourselves and cut out something you think to be too revealing to the extent that you think it's uneccessary. The point of the personal statement is to convey what isn't in your GPA,MCAT, and anywhere else in your application. I thought of it as a paper 'me' sitting in front of the adcomms. And, truthfully, it was and still is what I feel today. I think that as long as you can be true to yourself in the essay that you should have no problem! Good luck...oh, and Essay Edge is great! GOOD LUCK!!! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     
  17. trouta

    trouta Senior Member
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    I agree. Your personal statement should be about you and how you have come to the decision to be a doctor (You need to write more than "I want to help people" though). Make they essay up so that it sums up your whole experience and all of the factors that influenced your decision to go into medicine.

    Most importantly, it should be well written. I disagree with one of the other posters who said that your essay wont make you. I didnt have the greatest MCAT scores but the rest of my app was good. But no one talked about any of this. They all asked me about my essay and more often than not said that it was well written. However their point that if the rest of your app isnt good, you wont go far is a valid one.

    It seems that most med schools use scores and GPA (nuimbers that are easy to crunch) to make the first round of cuts. Once you get beyond that though a good essay will help you a great deal. I worked for a while in our college admissions office and I can say that if your essay is a pleasure to read, it will carry you on in the process. So many apps are submitted that all the essays begin to sound the same and if yours stands out as well written and thoughtful/unique, you will be remembered.
     

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