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Personal statements: how much did u talk about research, volunteering, acheivement

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Yogi Bear, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member

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    Hi,

    I'm planning to begin writing my personal statement. For those who have good personal statements according to critique by friends/family/etc. what was the content or your essay? How much did you talk about your research/volunteering/achievements in your ps?

    So far, i think my essay is gonna be something like:
    "I have participated in organization blah. I did research at blah blah blah and received support from blah fellowships. I also volunteer at blah hospital, blahblah hospital, and blahblahblah hospital. My research and volunteering experience have encouraged me to pursue medicine". Pretty generic-sounding, eh?
     
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  3. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Research: ~5%
    Volunteering: ~5%
    Achievements: ~10%

    I didn't want to bore the snot out of the adcoms by preparing a cookie cutter statement. I used the unique structure of my family and personal experiences to explain why I have the qualities to be a good physician.

    Don't just dump your achievements and experiences on paper. Explain what you have gained and how this makes you a better person!!!

    I don't think I mentioned medicine until the last paragraph!

    Good luck!
     
  4. El Jefe

    El Jefe The Jefe

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    I didn't mention research or volunteering at all in my personal statement. I made one brief comment about doing well in school but that was about it for achievements. The schools already have a list with descriptions of all the activities you've done, so there is no need to repeat yourself in the personal statement. You should use it as a forum to describe your intangible characteristics that haven't been covered in other parts of the application.
     
  5. Street Philosopher

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    I only wrote about the activities that fit in with the theme I was writing about. I figure the other activities could be read on the amcas activities part.

    So like let's say my theme was I want to be working in a remote underserved country, i would write about the experiences that led me to that decision, and what experiences I've had that are similar to that. I wouldn't randomly insert something like "oh by the way I was published on some really specific thing that has nothing to do with my theme"

    BOOYAH
     
  6. MorningLight2100

    MorningLight2100 Senior Member

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    Med Dude,

    I very strongly concur with what Jefe recommended. The personal statement is your one opportunity to show the committees the special aspects of your personality that don't shine through lists of grades, classes, and extracurriculars. If you avoid restating your resume in the personal statement, it will probably complement your application rather than just repeat it.

    Mentioning organizations and activities is fine. . . but it might be better, if you're going to talk about them, to do so only in the context of what they meant to you and what you learned from them. Just listing them again doesn't tell anyone much more about yourself than what's already in the application.

    Maybe the following questions can help you out, to get you off to a start?
    * The obvious one: why medicine?
    * Who has influenced you most in your life?
    * What have you learned as a premed?
    * What do you hope to accomplish as a doctor?
    * What inspires you?
    * What have you learned in areas of your life that extend beyond the classroom?
    * What qualities do you have that will make you a good doctor? How did you develop these qualities?
    * What do you value most highly?
    * What are your goals for the future?
    * What was a defining moment in your life? How did it influence you, and why?
    * What is your favorite book? What does this say about you, and how does it relate to your decision to be a doctor? (Okay, so maybe that's a little cheesy, but it *could* work and be interesting, if you're really creative! :) )

    I hope that this helps a little. Just think long and hard about why you want to go into this field, and about what you'd like the committee to know about you. The personal statement is your chance to let your voice and your potential shine through. So go get em! :)
     
  7. BME02

    BME02 Member

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    The most important thing in my opinion it so write about why you decided to persue medicine as a career. Whatever avenue you chose to do this by is up to you. But it is important to explain why you want to be a doctor. Don't tell them some cool $hit about you and then not explain why you want to do medicine. The way I wrote my PS was to descibe some very meaningful experiences and how they shaped my goals in terms of entering the field of medicine. I have done extensive research and am a MD/PhD applicant so this may have influenced my application. But remember that you are trying to make sure they see you as an individual that is dedicated to medicine. Anyone can be an EMT and work in a hospital. Make yourself unique and express yourself. But as I always say, I could be wrong....

    BME02
     
  8. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper

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    Why do you have to write about your reason for wanting medicine?!? EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER DOES THIS! You'll bore the hell out of them. The time to explain your motivation is at your interview...and many invitations will come, trust me. The purpose of the PS and secondary essay is to GET THE INTERVIEW. You get the interview by making yourself sound interesting, which you are...right?

    Exhibit an interest through EC activities (which are listed on your app...hence, there's little reason to repeat them in the PS), make yourself sound like a cool ass person in your essay, and tie the two together during your interview. You'll get in! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> I should write a freakin' book! <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />

    $0.02
     
  9. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    I agree with swampman. I wanted to show something about me that was unique and that would stand out. My personal statement reflected this. I think it helped that I did not have a cookie-cutter statement. There are only so many ways to say some of that same old premed stuff that everyone else is saying. So really think about you and what is unique and what might pique the adcom's interest.
     
  10. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member

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    I sorta disagree with those who said you shouldn't explain why medicine. ADCOMs want to know that you have sincere motivations for going into medicine, and it might hurt your chances of getting an interview if you don't get this across in the PS. You don't have to have a cookie cutter essay. I expressed why I decided on medicine through what is more like a story, beginning with the pivotal event that influenced me. I didn't repeat research, ECs, etc that were listed elsewhere on my app. But I did state how my various experiences have served to reconfirm my desire to enter medicine. You don't want it to sound like an autobiography...just think of what is most important to you in relation to a medical career, and make yourself stand out!Good luck :)
     
  11. Doctora Foxy

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    I don't think personal statements should be a reiteration of your ECS nor an extended resume! I chose to talk about one experience volunteering that enforced my desire to become a doctor. You should say something that makes you stand out (like others have suggested here). I'm a Spanish/Latin American Studies major, so I talked about that while connecting it to volunteering in a clinic. I think it came out good (my school uses it as a sample for other premeds :) ) You will have sufficient room on your app to discuss EC's, so you don't need to write about them in your PS.

    mis dos centavos :p
     
  12. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Very little. My advice is to show them what a cool person you are (a la SwampMan) while talking about how you got to the decision to pursue medicine (a la BME02). Mine was a combination of personal family history and how that got me from knowing for sure I wasn't pre-med when I started college to deciding that I was. I mentioned a couple of volunteer experiences that had impacted my decision. Jefe is right -- your personal statement should intrigue them with your unique intangible personal characteristics. That's why it's called a personal statement. I'm sorry to say this, but I would definitely recommend scrapping the format you described and coming up with something more original.
     
  13. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member

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    My personal statement consisted of two of my most rewarding ECs (summer camp counselor for physically and emotionally impaired children, some from underserved areas and RA) and how they impacted my character and understanding for working with various individuals. I opened my statement with a short paragraph of how I lost one of my autistic campers and then moved into that summer experience. I then talked about how the summer empacted my abilities of being an RA. I tied everything together by summarizing how I had developed better interpersonal skills that I could combine with my interest in science to enter medical school.

    I didn't exactly say that I wanted to enter medical school, but as many say "show, don't tell" and painted a picture of myself. It's obvious from your transcript and MCAT scores that you wanted to do medicine if you've been taking science courses through college or did a post-bac. Unless you have a horrible red flag on your application, you don't really need to bring it up in your personal statement. Most secondaries are given to 100% of those that submit AMCAS and give a section to devote to explaining academic inconsistencies.

    The personal statement is your time to show them you're a compassionate and caring individual prepared for the social aspects of medicine. Don't reiterate your science research and volunteering experience if it's already on your application. You're not doing anything except for giving a better explanation than the space they gave you. Focus on writing something that won't bore the ADCOM out of their minds. You have to remember that they read close to 5000 of these things!
     
  14. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member

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    you need to do a little of what everyone suggests here. no, don't restate your resume in your PS--that's boring as hell and your PS *must* make you stand out in some way. that also means you don't want a cookie-cutter essay. if any part of your essay could have been written by anyone else, then it needs to be revised--this essay is about you and what makes you as an individual acceptance-worthy.

    but you can write a unique essay that emphasizes why you want to go into medicine, which you really need to talk about. i don't see how you could write your PS and *not* go into your motivations for entering medicine--that's what the PS is for!!! the PS is your way to 'speak' to the adcoms, to explain to them why you want to go into medicine. yes, of course you expand on these themes in an interview...but why is an adcom going to want to grant you one of a limited number of interview spots if your desire to enter medicine and attend their school is not crystal-clear? you can explain your motivations while still writing a unique essay. for example, the underlying 'theme' of my essay was running and how i am an avid runner...i used this theme to 'frame' my essay and transitioned from that into an explanation of the landmark occurrences in my life that led me to medicine. i really think it made it stand out--one of my interviewers even referred to me as 'the runner' and wanted to hear more about it. i didn't reiterate every single thing i've done that is remotely medically-related--just the most unique and significant experiences. you don't need to explicitly state 'i want to be a doctor because of A and B and C...', but you should definitely make it obvious why you're even applying in the first place. a crappy PS can definitely break you in this process--don't underestimate the importance of having an interesting essay.

    good luck.
     

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