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Personal Statements

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by SFMDBound, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. SFMDBound

    SFMDBound Member
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    Hello everyone - I am applying for the entering class of '05 and am trying to get my personal statement together - I currently have four rambling pages that I'm trying to cut down and am having a hard time getting the gist of the shorter P.S. I know that some of you offerred to read personal statements, but at this point, I feel that I could definitely benifit from reading some completed, polished personal statements. Would any of you be willing to allow me to read yours? I'd definitely appreciate it! I know that there are books/websites that address this, but all these essays are written by students accepted at Harvard who have saved starving children in Africa, have mapped the human genome, and have 40+ on their MCATs. I think reading a more realistic personal statement could help me out - thanks so much!!
     
  2. kaikai128

    kaikai128 Yes SIR. ;-)
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    I am also in a very similar situation as the person who posted above...if you would not mind pm-ing my yours I would greatly appreciate it. :love:
     
  3. SFMDBound

    SFMDBound Member
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    sure - pm away (although i don't really know what pm is because i just signed up on sdn :)) i'd appreciate any feedback i can get - thanks!!

     
  4. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    #4 Cerberus, Apr 27, 2004
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  5. ImmunoANT

    ImmunoANT Senior Member
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    Sorry, NO MORE PM'ing my P.S. :eek: :eek:
     
  6. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    :( :( :( :(
     
  7. LaurieB

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    I would caution you against reading someone else's P.S. for help. A P.S. is really an expression of yourself and you will sound more genuine if your P.S. comes straight from you. Don't worry about how rambling you are just yet - you have plenty of time to work on your statement. Instead, show it to people on here who have volunteered to read statements and show it to folks who you can rely on for candid advice. Their reactions and thoughts can be very helpful in finding focus and addressing weak areas.

    My 2 cents.

    Laurie
     
  8. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    Letter to a Friend regarding the Personal Statement; response to the question of, "What to I write about, ever since I could remember, I've wanted to help people as a physician?":

    I actually started synthesizing my personal statement about 6 months ago [This was written approximately 1year prior to my expected matriculation]. Prior to that, I made sure that I kept a journal of any events, thoughts, or people I thought to be influential (and how they influenced me) on my decision to become a physician, or that made me a unique person. In the end, I condensed my journal writing (approximately 50pages of type 10 font, single space) into a list of bulleted thoughts (about a page long). From there, I proceeded to brainstorm some catchy themes that I saw to be common amongst my most influential topics on my bulleted list. Once I picked my theme and 3-4 topics of interest (it's as hard as hell to try to not use all of the topics bulleted, but I forced myself to limit it for reasons listed below), I used my journal entries to write my statement (it's pretty amazing how much feeling you can put into a journal entry when it is fresh in your mind). From there, it was mostly playing with revisions for six months and rewriting the intro and conclusion over and over again. Finally I came to the end product. If your anything like me, totally science oriented with skills lacking in written communication, you need to start this project super early. In all I spent a year and a half on maintaining a journal, and half a year putting it all together, for a total of two years worth of work. But in the end it was totally worth it, and I believe my personal statement truly represents what I found to be pivotal to why I want to go into the field of medicine.

    If you end up having a bulleted list a mile long, try doing what I did. Pick the 3-4 most compatible topics that make a cohesive theme. The other topics on your list can be inputted into the 15 post-secondary experiences in the form of mini-essays on the AMCAS application. So, in this way I was able to put down all that I deemed made me suitable for the field of medicine. When my personal statement and post-secondary experience field were lacking in a particular area that I believe is important to me, I requested that my recommenders focus a good portion of their letters on these topics. In addition, I requested that they comment positively on any inconsistencies that may show up in my application ( 1)my science focus has been counter balanced by my comparative religious studies (humanities) professor's letter, 2)my less than stellar background in written communication and somewhat low verbal reasoning score (VR 8) has been compensated by me asking my professors to positively comment on my written and oral communication skills. In this way, I believe my application has become well-rounded. Yes, the Personal Statement is important, and should state many good reasons for the question of "why medicine?" However, in my mind focusing on making the personal statement somewhat interesting (want it to catch their eye so that they will pay attention to the rest of the application), and utilizing the post-secondary experiences and letter writers, a well rounded application can be obtained by anyone.

    I think you have plenty of positive experiences that show that you have tested the waters of medicine. The secret to writing the personal statement is relating each experience back to the theme you have chosen and how it has influenced your view in medicine. For example:

    Blah Blah Blah... (insert an experience)... Blah Blah Blah... has made me realize that there is something more to just science in the field of medicine... Blah Blah Blah... (insert transition sentence).

    There are two things to notice: 1)stating an experience (one of the 3-4 topics picked) and then
    2)saying how it has influenced you. #2 is the trickiest, because you want to come across as a person who is humble (emphasize the whole "I have so much to learn[from professors, patients and experiences] idea"), proud to be a part of something big (in this way you could lend creedance to your professors/physicians that have been influential in your life), and constantly improving on specific traits (i.e. it has allowed me to hone my skills in the art of patient interaction). One major fault to avoid is to explain an observance (i.e. you observed a physician performing a procedure), but fail to relate it back to how you will apply that experience in your own life (i.e. it has driven me to be a more sensitive person... blah blah blah...).

    To this end, I can totally understand your concerning comment, "that you have always wanted to be a physician." However, I think the admissions committees are looking for examples of how you have tested this notion that you have held since your youth. In other words, it is already expected that you should want to help people. On a bizarre note, one sure way to not get into medical school is to say, "I don't like people, I have trouble interacting with them, and I faint at the sign of blood."

    In the end, you will probably find (as did I) that it was not any one particular/spectacular event in your life that has led you into the field of medicine, but a multitude of positive experiences all reaffirming your choice to be a physician. Your job is to say which ones are the most important, and creatively explain how they relate to your qualifying skill set as a future physician. In my opinion, I believe that a person who focuses on a good sampling of experiences (even if they were not extraordinary) is much better off than the person who takes his whole personal statement to say how he saved a child from an oncoming train. As spectacular as that may sound to that applicant, he will have missed the opportunity to show leadership, maturity, humbleness, communication and a multitude of other traits that can truly only come from an applicant that has really tested the waters, so to speak. So in that sense, I believe you're in the best position for explaining why you want to be a physician.

    In sum, the personal statement should answer the questions of:
    -->Why you?
    -->Why medicine?
    -->What unique experiences have you had?
    -->Direct to medicine; experiential learning/qualities.
    -->Indirect to medicine; experiential learning/qualities.
    -->Personal Strengths
    -->Personal Weaknesses (don't forget to explain how you have overcome them, and how it will make you a better physician for experiencing them).
    -->It is strongly recommended that part of your journal include an autobiography which tells everything about your family, educational, a vocational and work history that you believe is important to making you who you are today.
     

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