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Stanford Secondary essay

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by geno2568, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    "The Committee on Admissions strongly encourages you to share unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background, such as the quality of your early educational environment, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, or life or work experiences. Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for a career in medicine."

    I'm a middle class white guy from New York, that went straight to college from high school, and will be going straight to med school from college. Is this like an optional essay, (like the one for BU), or does this encompass non-disadvantaged stuff as well? I wanna go to med school cuz i want to be a doctor, it really has nothing to do with my past experiences or whatever.
     
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  3. CaramelDlite

    CaramelDlite Academic Gangsta
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    Strongly encourage = required in my book. This was hard for me too because I come from a middle class background as well, but I think the best thing you can do is literally discuss how you experiences made you want to be a doctor (i.e. the life and work experience part). Spin your personal statement story to make it seem unique and how fortunate you were to experience it and how it 'changed' your outlook on medicine. It won't be easy, but at least it wont be blank.
     
  4. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    Does anybody think that they are trying to fish for a correct answer on the career goal question? Obviously, I would think that they would like someone interested in Public Health or Academic Med over a Health Administrator or Private Practice physician.
     
  5. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    i was thinking the same thing. No way a top-10 school (except for maybe U Wash) wants their alums to be private physicians.
     
  6. SeventhSon

    SeventhSon SIMMER DOWN
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    I told my faculty interviewer at stanford that i was interested in coupling being an internal medicine physician, and treating the underserved, with as much research as I could manage (i'm md/phd). The guy (who by the way was a complete ***hole) told me, "primary care isn't really what we're looking for". I was then rejected.

    **** stanford.
     
  7. SeventhSon

    SeventhSon SIMMER DOWN
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    oh, i guess i kind of misread your statement, but the verdict still holds :)
     
  8. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member
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    Wow, that's crazy, what a**holes
     
  9. photo_girl07

    photo_girl07 Western Blot Queen
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    Definitely respond- highlight life experiences that made you want to go to medicine. Find a unique element of your life that sets you apart from the others. gluck
     
  10. Severus

    Severus FTSM!
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    Right or wrong, I guess a lot of the top schools just feel that you don't need _____ name to do "just primary care" stuff.
     
  11. coralfangs

    coralfangs Senior Member
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    do u think this is a good place to talk about the sh!t u've seen in current health care?
     
  12. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    Wow. That is complete and utter Bullsh!t. There are some people whos lives have been more difficult than others. Clearly, creating an essay that benefits them directly, is a disadvantage to any white guy in the middle class. Thats unfortunate. Apparently, some schools think that the only way that you can be a good doctor is if you overcame tremendous odds to get where you are now. BULLSH!T

    Race and socioeconomic status should not be a factor in any way, rich or poor.
     
  13. coralfangs

    coralfangs Senior Member
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    ya
    who knows if a student coming from a lower class weren't also in it for the money?
    a rich kid might be in it for the fame too, u can never tell....
     
  14. dopaminesurge

    dopaminesurge My friends calls me Steve
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    Well, I know last year I wrote about the experience of being Israeli in Berkeley (largely anti-Israel campus) and I wasn't granted an interview. This year we'll focus on "work and life experiences" and talk about volunteering I've done. Last year was a mistake. No politics. Not even if you're discussing other people's, not your own.

    Yech.
     
  15. iceman77_7

    iceman77_7 Senior Member
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    There's even a part in the application instructions that highly encourages certain groups to apply and calls them out by name. I think that's a little messed up.
     
  16. Severus

    Severus FTSM!
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    Yeah, those ****ers with chitty lives have it ALL man. Well, I say screw them and all their advantages.

    #(*)%#(%*)#($U&@)($*)[email protected]
     
  17. Sekiray

    Sekiray Member
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    It doesnt mean that it was a mistake. If you look at the berkeley career website they show that the few ppl who got into stanford from CAL had 3.9 GPAs with awesome awesome MCAT scores. (yours are pretty close) So it could just be that too. Stanford barely takes ppl from CAL period. Esp when they take like 85 ppl a year, mostly out of state. boo
     
  18. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    i have nothing against disadvantaged people getting a little "boost" (well i do, but i guess it is only fair)

    my problem is when well-off people get this same boost because other people of the same race/gender/whatever are disadvantaged, or when someone that is disdvantaged doesn't get a boost because they are white/asian/whatever
     
  19. HailMary

    HailMary My mom thinks I'm cool...
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    It's frustrating that the groups getting a boost now are the same groups who got full-ride scholarships to undergrad so they never had to work, and who had access to special tutoring sessions and free books for four years. Don't get me wrong, I've met a lot of amazing people who are completely deserving of the help that universities give out, but there should be some qualifier other than race/family income. As for adversity, I'm going to mention the fact that I worked nights/weekends through my four years of undergrad to offset student loans and pay for the not-so-cheap med school admissions process.
     
  20. Severus

    Severus FTSM!
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    Maybe it's just me, but I find that essays like this are there to help disadvantaged white/asian/whatever people just as much as it's there to help disadvantaged black/latino/whatever people. If you're white and you've got a sob story, tell it. I'm sure it will catch an adcom's eye, well, at least I'd like to think that it will.
     
  21. CaramelDlite

    CaramelDlite Academic Gangsta
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    For heaven's sake Stanford is still 70% white and 15% asian. Instead of griping about how for once in your life being advantaged now makes you 'disdavantaged' just keep it moving and have sympathy for those who have it worse than you. Could we please stop beating the dead horse???
     
  22. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    The problem is that the horse is alive and kicking.
     
  23. hateroftheyear

    hateroftheyear professional player hater
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    I am a white kid from Kentucky who has never been outside the country, has no religious or ethnic influences bearing upon motivation for med school, and has had no weepy life experiences. I just love research. This is crap.
     
  24. iceman77_7

    iceman77_7 Senior Member
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    Where are you getting those numbers? According to their med school website, http://med.stanford.edu/md/admissions/class_profiles.html, nearly 1/4 of last year's incoming class was an underrepresented minority, which does not include white or asian. Although less diverse than their undergraduate class, http://www.stanford.edu/home/stanford/facts/undergraduate.html, I would say that minorities get more than a fair shake at Stanford med.
     
  25. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper Duffman in Disguise
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    These kind of questions are tricky. I'll give the only advice I can think of:

    a. Don't be political. You don't know the perspective of the person reading your essay.

    b. Try not to be too sobby: These kind of essays almost require "triumph" stories. Come on geno, somebody out there has fl*cked you off or something. Just think of someone that pisses you off and paint yourself as a martyr. (not to that extent, but you get the point).

    c. Don't be afraid to just tell the truth: If you feel that these stories are stupid (I sure as hell do), you might just want to take a holistic view of your undergrad and talk about the long study nights, being in Ithaca (no offense, I love Cornell) etc., and just candidly explain how you have had struggles, but none so that have been particularly distinguishing.

    Hope that helps. I'm pretty clueless on these things.
    -Dr. P.
     
  26. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Not true. Stanford takes about 60% of their class from in-state. And a few of those 40% from OOS are actually Californians who went to private colleges back east.

    Mind you, Stanford's one of the few schools I'm not applying to. I was told flat out that they just do not have much interest in training for primary care.
     
  27. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Dr. Pepper's advice is sound (though use c: with a grain of salt).

    I do hope that everyone's rage about the injustices of medical school admissions are matched or exceeded by their rage about injustices of medicine's application. Lots of threads about how shafted upper middle class whites and asians from the suburbs get it when applying to medical school. Relatively few threads about how shafted much of the country is when it comes to receiving medical treatment.
     
  28. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    Which makes it all the funnier that none of the top schools (with the exception of U Wash) want to have anything to do with primary care.
     
  29. Ari Gold

    Ari Gold .....
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    STOP WHINNING. It's unbecoming of you.
     
  30. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    You will get no argument from me on that score. I was pleasantly surprised with UCSF and heard that Michigan isn't bad. The rest I was pretty unimpressed with on that score.

    For this reason, I am now boycotting applying to the top 10 schools. Unless I do really well on the MCAT. Then I'll revisit that plan.
     
  31. Lanced

    Lanced Senior Member
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    I can't speak about the med school admission per say but I've worked at Stanford for the past year and will continue working for the SOM. Virtually everyone I've met has been simply incredible, both professionally/academically and personally. A number of "big gun" researchers who had never met me before sat down with me to just discuss my career interests.

    I'm sure Stanford is an incredible place to study medicine, but being a top school they probably try to select those most qualified/best fit and doing so probably alienate a lot of other people. I think the same is true with a lot of the top 10-20.
    "Its lonely at the top".

    I doubt I'll even get an interview there, but good luck to everyone!
     
  32. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    I'm mainly a research guy, but I am also interested in primary care, especially since you can't do good research if you don't know the patients you are helping. Lots of straight PhD students working in the medical arena have little or no idea about what it is to practice. While this is not needed for basic research, it is needed when you are, for example, developing an application for use by clinicians. Primary care is important, and is not opposite to research. No good primary care, no good research. While shadowing, you can just look around and see the inefficiencies that could be solved, if only someone who knew how to solve them knew they existed..

    Anyway, that was my untrue generalization for the day.
     
  33. Andre04

    Andre04 Member
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    :thumbup:
     
  34. Doctor~Detroit

    Doctor~Detroit this poll sux!!!
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    well, i'm a white male with a solid working-class family background whose siblings and i were the first generation in college. most of my friends since college have had college-educated parents. after 10 years of being around them and their families, i'm comfortable saying that they've received many advantages in life that they often take for granted, whether they be cultural, economic, social, or educational. for example, things as simple as talking to your parents at the dinner table about current events or how to solve a math problem (rather than just personal stuff happening in the family or at work) makes a difference over time.

    i see this as being somewhat analogous to me understanding what it's like to be black in this country. intellectually, i "know" that blacks tend to be discriminated against, but like many other whites i've done little to develop empathy and think about how i would react to this sort of disadvantage myself. and how can i ever really attain a full understanding of racial discrimination anyway without experiencing it for many years? with my advantaged white skin i haven't done too much to gain this perspective, so my ideas can take for granted just how racially advantaged i really am.

    but even though i could answer stanford's question, i agree with the sentiment of others (not sure if it's been stated, but it's at least implicit) that it *would* suck if stanford were using this question to just fill quotas. that wouldn't be fair. i doubt this is happening, since they can get your race/parental/disadvantaged background information from the primary anyway. rather, i see this as a chance to explain (at least implicitly) why i went to an instate undergrad, why i worked crap jobs through college, why my application is lacking in travel experience or extracurriculars that required much money, etc.

    edit: threads like this obviously tend to get heated, so i'll save my sanity now and commit this as being my last word in the thread. flame on.
     
  35. Severus

    Severus FTSM!
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    :thumbup: I'm in the exact same position. You made my point... but only better.
     
  36. Sekiray

    Sekiray Member
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    Not true look at the AAMC
    37.6 in state matriculants

    62.4 OOS matriculants
     
  37. durfen

    durfen I see plans within plans
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    Not true look at DMSAR (Durfen's MSAR):
    Stanford:
    100% in-state.
    0% OOS.
     
  38. morganlefay

    morganlefay hanging in there
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    I dunno even what to write for this one. I'm not even sure what they would consider unique or personally important characteristics. And I also have a feeling it's not about "diversity" in the URM sense... I think it's more about what makes you a unique person and how that'll benefit the incoming class to have you as a part of it. But still, I dunno what to say. Better figure it out soon! :p
     
  39. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    I would probably just write about my life experiences. Talk about how you ended up wanting to be a doctor. There has to be a story there, what experiences have reinforced that view?

    You had to have had a moment in your clinical experiences, volunteering, shadowing etc that made you think, "this is why I want to be a doctor." So initially talk about why you became a doctor then follow it up with experiences you have had that make you feel this is the right profession. This doesn't have to be an essay about how disadvantaged you were and how you've overcome all odds.
     
  40. Sekiray

    Sekiray Member
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    probably safe, and will get u in if ur ECs and ur scores are SPECTACULAR
    otherwise, id try to be different. You can think you wanna be a doctor without shadowing, clinical exp, or volunteering. There are a few unique things and that probably makes u stand out by a margin, esp if ur numbers are around their ave or lower.
     
  41. keepdreaming

    keepdreaming Member
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    I think you've misunderedstood. CAL means U.C. Berkeley (aka California aka Cal) not the entire state of California.
     
  42. Looque

    Looque Bob Loblaw
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    I've pretty much already written this essay for Pittsburgh, so I don't mind its presence on the Stanford secondary at all. Finally, I get to copy and paste.
     

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