oaklandguy

Dismembered
Jul 22, 2009
3,619
4
41
On the shores of my conscious
Status
Pre-Medical
It's your personal statement. Should stats affect it? IMO no. But do they affect it? Probably.

Why medicine should be blatantly answered. Also, you should seem interesting and like you would be a good doctor. Every school looks for different things so you are better off just being yourself.
 

bobsmith

10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2008
3,499
19
251
Status
Lots of questions!
If you have lower stats, should your PS focus more on the qualities which would prove you can handle med school; do you need to put forward mroe of an arguement over why you'd make a better physician?

If you have higher stats, should you focus more on seeming interesting and well rounded?

Even if you disagree with both, do you think that your stats affect how you write your PS in any way, or would you write basically the same thing if you were, say, 3.5/29 or 3.9/39?

I.e., do you think adcoms are looking for different things in the PS of people with different stats?
For a person with "low stats," I don't think you necessarily need to prove in your personal statement that you can handle medical school. If you had a streak of really bad grades or an extenuating circumstance that you feel needs to be explained, then you can include it in there.

For the most part, though, your personal statement should talk about your motivations for going into medicine, not proving you can handle it.

And I don't think that this changes depending on what your stats are. Regardless of your stats, you're still going to need to prove to adcoms that you've tested your desire to go into medicine and have good motivations for going into it.

Finally:
Do you think that it is more important to be interesting ("I'd like to meet this person" "this is well written") or more standard, but thorough ("It seems like he would be a good doctor")? I understand that they are not mutually exclusive responses, but you get what I'm saying.
I would lean towards the former. The standard essay is just that -- standard -- and won't really separate you from the pack. You need to answer the question "why medicine?" but the more personal you can make your essay, the better.

From personal experience, I had a lot of interviewers briefly look over my app at the start of the interview and say things to me like "oh yeah! you're the [major theme in my personal statement] guy! Tell me more about that"

Do you think "why medicine" needs to be answered blatantly in your essay?
Well seeing as how that is the prompt of the essay, yes. You have to answer the prompt. I don't think you necessarily need to explicitly state "I want to go into medicine because of ___, ___, and ___" but a person reading your essay shouldn't be left with any questions about your reasons for going into medicine.
 

naijaboi

MS0
Nov 20, 2009
287
4
41
Boston, MA
Status
Medical Student
Yes, your stats should affect how you write your statement. If you have a 3.9, 39, then you can write about birds, trees, music, etc - something fluffy as long as you tie it into medicine and you will probably get those acceptances. You could choose a somewhat safe topic, a traditional format that allows you to briefly show you motivation to medicine. As a low stat candidate, it is your passion and uniqueness that ensures you a spot. Your personal statement would have to be a lot more serious and less fluffy. You also have a lot to explain, so a traditional essay format will not work for you.

Look at the Barron's book of essays. The one girl with the C's wrote one of the best and most memorable essays out of the whole compilation. Also take a look at my mdapps. I could not have done so well if I wrote the same essay written by a high stat candidate.
 

bobsmith

10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2008
3,499
19
251
Status
Yes, your stats should affect how you write your statement. If you have a 3.9, 39, then you can write about birds, trees, music, etc - something fluffy as long as you tie it into medicine and you will probably get those acceptances. You could choose a somewhat safe topic, a traditional format that allows you to briefly show you motivation to medicine. As a low stat candidate, it is your passion and uniqueness that ensures you a spot. Your personal statement would have to be a lot more serious and less fluffy. You also have a lot to explain, so a traditional essay format will not work for you.

Look at the Barron's book of essays. The one girl with the C's wrote one of the best and most memorable essays out of the whole compilation. Also take a look at my mdapps. I could not have done so well if I wrote the same essay written by a high stat candidate.
Presumably, though, if a high stat candidate had an interesting story like yours, that person wouldn't have been penalized for sharing it in the personal statement.

Anyway, I'm sticking by what I said earlier. If you've got some very specific circumstances that warrant explanation (and I consider what naijaboi posted in his mdapps, "I completed my undergrad degree requirements in 8 years. I attended a community college for six years. The first two years, I struggled with english language and academics while juggling three jobs and family responsibilities. I ended up with five F's and a sub 2.0 GPA." to fall into this category), then yes, by all means include them in your essay.

However, If you're an otherwise regular applicant who happens to have a bunch of Bs on your transcript, though, I'm not really sure what you would include in an essay that could "explain" your ability to handle medical school (which is part of what the OP was asking).
 

dw2158

10+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2008
5,268
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Yes, your stats should affect how you write your statement. If you have a 3.9, 39, then you can write about birds, trees, music, etc - something fluffy as long as you tie it into medicine and you will probably get those acceptances. You could choose a somewhat safe topic, a traditional format that allows you to briefly show you motivation to medicine. As a low stat candidate, it is your passion and uniqueness that ensures you a spot. Your personal statement would have to be a lot more serious and less fluffy. You also have a lot to explain, so a traditional essay format will not work for you.

Look at the Barron's book of essays. The one girl with the C's wrote one of the best and most memorable essays out of the whole compilation. Also take a look at my mdapps. I could not have done so well if I wrote the same essay written by a high stat candidate.
i felt so silly after i read this, 'cause that's basically what i wrote about. (well, dance. but still.) thanks for giving me a chance to laugh at myself and get some perspective :thumbup:
 

dw2158

10+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2008
5,268
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Now, I haven;t read your statement, obviously, but this is what I'm getting at. With someone who writes about dance, "dance" as a theme does not have an obvious correlation to "why medicine" (in the way that, say, AIDS research does). But you talk about dance, what you've learned from it, and make a case ethat you are an interested and well rounded person. In this case, most of your essay, in terms of space, or at least half of it, I would think, would be about something that is decidedly not medicine. But you can then tie what you learned/did in with a few of your motivations for pursuing medicine, and you have a good PS draft. I would think that this would be better for someone with higher stats; if you have lower stats, it would seem your why medicine bruden of proof would be alot higher, making an essay of this type less favorable for you. Of course, I'm talking out my ass. What matters is what adcoms think, which a few posters might have insight to, such as med students:
i mean, i did that, and i was obviously successful enough. i just found it amusing the way it was phrased (birds, trees, music)... i'm glad to have the opportunity to laugh about something i took SO seriously while i was writing it. perspective is important.
 

RogueUnicorn

rawr.
7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
9,746
1,595
181
Status
Resident [Any Field]
of course stats affect your PS. i for one, will have to resort to begging.
 

dw2158

10+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2008
5,268
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Not to harp on you DW, but what I'm thinking is that your pretty killer, well rounded app (acccording to your mdapps) allowed you to go down the dancing path. If you say, lacked your stellar research indicating that you are "serious"(oversimplifying, obvi) and wrote the same sweet PS indicating you are "interesting", maybe it would not have been as well recieved or as an appropriate theme for you, even though the writing and story itself was no less awesome.
well... duh. i never said anything to the contrary. i'm still allowed to laugh at myself, though
 

naijaboi

MS0
Nov 20, 2009
287
4
41
Boston, MA
Status
Medical Student
Meaning that your Ps was different because you wrote it specfically to address your weaknesses? But your life experiences would have made for a good PS even if you had higher stats.

what about this week's article about "ps myths"? Looks like what everyone thought was the right thing, was actually the wrong thing, and now its the right thing again.
True my life story would have still made for a good PS. But if I had higher stats, I wouldn't have delved into it so much. While writing the essay was cathartic, it was a very unpleasant experience as I had to dredge up a world of hurt, pain, and things I would rather forget and also not share. It is not really something I want to do again. You can be sure that I am going to do my best to be able to write a somewhat traditional statement for residencies.

Presumably, though, if a high stat candidate had an interesting story like yours, that person wouldn't have been penalized for sharing it in the personal statement.

Anyway, I'm sticking by what I said earlier. If you've got some very specific circumstances that warrant explanation (and I consider what naijaboi posted in his mdapps, "I completed my undergrad degree requirements in 8 years. I attended a community college for six years. The first two years, I struggled with english language and academics while juggling three jobs and family responsibilities. I ended up with five F's and a sub 2.0 GPA." to fall into this category), then yes, by all means include them in your essay.

However, If you're an otherwise regular applicant who happens to have a bunch of Bs on your transcript, though, I'm not really sure what you would include in an essay that could "explain" your ability to handle medical school (which is part of what the OP was asking).
All you said is very true. If you were an otherwise regular applicant, then own up to your mistakes, and expand your vision of medicine. Of course a sustained strong upward trend (for at least a year) might be a prerequisite for showing that you can handle the rigors medical school. I did read an excellent essay about mistakes and redemption, and the candidate did a lot better than her stats will suggest.
 
Last edited:

naijaboi

MS0
Nov 20, 2009
287
4
41
Boston, MA
Status
Medical Student
i mean, i did that, and i was obviously successful enough. i just found it amusing the way it was phrased (birds, trees, music)... i'm glad to have the opportunity to laugh about something i took SO seriously while i was writing it. perspective is important.
DW, I do apologize for phrasing it that way. I was very frustrated when I began to draft my statement and I couldn't find any essays remotely similar to the story I needed to tell.

Yes, it is always more serious when you are in the process.
 

dw2158

10+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2008
5,268
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
DW, I do apologize for phrasing it that way. I was very frustrated when I began to draft my statement and I couldn't find any essays remotely similar to the story I needed to tell.

Yes, it is always more serious when you are in the process.
no, don't apologize! i genuinely found it funny.