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The Personal Statement

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by JohnDO, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. JohnDO

    JohnDO MS III
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    How many of you have completed your personal statements? I havn't even started mine! I'm just now getting the chance to sit down and start thinking about it.

    I've got two questions:

    1) My freshman year wasn't exactly stellar. However, I've pulled my GPA up to about average for where I want to apply (~3.4). Unlike many others, my shortcomings were not 10 years ago, they were two years ago, my freshman year. Should I address them at all in my personal statement? Or just wait till interviews to see if anyone asks about them..

    2) Should I address specifically why I want to become an osteopath in my application?

    Thanks guys!
     
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  2. Doctor Peloncito

    Doctor Peloncito Family Physician
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    Did you take the April MCAT, or are you teasing us without telling us your scores? A 3.4 is decent, and a 3.4 with an upward trend is good. I would definately talk about why you want to go into osteopathic medicine in your statement.
     
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  3. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    The personal statement is your chance to sell yourself to the adcom. Try to include why you are interested in osteopathy as well as why you would make a good physician and what you bring, "to the table". The statement is your advertisement.

    If you want to briefly mention your grades, I have heard it's ok. However, if your GPA is good enough I would save it for interviews.

    By the way, rumor has it adcoms don't even read the thing. When I spoke with the director of admissions for a DO school about my chances, the personal statement was never mentioned. Instead, the focus was placed upon grades, MCAT, and letters of recommendation.
     
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  4. JohnDO

    JohnDO MS III
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    Thanks guys :)

    I took the April MCAT. :) Scores are released in June I believe.

    In any case, I don't plan on mentioning my first year grades. I don't necessarily have an excuse, other than being careless and academically unmotivated and immature. If I were to mention it, it would simply be to distance myself from the person I was two years ago. Quite a good deal has changed, but I think a lot of that would come out during the interviewing process.

    As always, thanks for your advice. Much appreciated. :thumbup:
     
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  5. AUdacious

    AUdacious ASA Member
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    A lot of people have issues their first year and I think the adcom tends to overlook it as long as your cumulative and science gpa are good. I wouldnt mention it unless it is awful or you have a good reason for it. About your PS, a lot of people say that it isnt important but I tend to disagree. I think it is very important and that you should put a lot of time and effort into it. I know my interviews were smooth sailing b/c I had a really good ps that the committee enjoyed reading. The majority of the interviews focused around things I had mentioned in my ps and them wanting to hear more about it. Point = dont blow off your ps. Good luck.
     
  6. TXsongdoc08

    TXsongdoc08 Junior Member
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    A little advice about the personal statement...take it for what its worth, or not worth. ;) Don't put off doing the personal statement. Its easy to get in to that groove of filling in numbers on the apps and answering easy questions and trying to fit things into the proper number of characters. Have a plan early on for your pers statement. What do you want to stand out about your beliefs and ideas about medicine? Be specific, and instead of saying things like "DO philosophy", say that you're interested in continuity of care and examining primary causes of disease, etc. The adcom might not look at them too much, but your interviewers will, and several of your questions from interviewers will come from your personal statement. Just be aware that you will have to tweak this thing to get it to the right length, and you want to proof it a lot and have others proof it. Best of luck with the apps!

    _________________
    Cole
    TCOM Class of 2008
     
  7. Doctor Peloncito

    Doctor Peloncito Family Physician
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    Definately get the statement written now. You will want to have it reviewed by at least three people that you know well and trust. If possible, have it read by someone who doesn't know you well, but well enough to ask (ie prof of a class that you did well in). Get honest feedback. I would explain your first year if you can make it sound good. If not, be prepared to explain it in your interview, because if you don't, you will be asked about your grades. I had some very bad grades early in my career, I retook the classes and improved my GPA. I talked about this in my statement and was never asked in an interview. My motto is to lay it all out on the table, skeletens in your closet are hard to hide in the long run. If you don't talk about it, it will appear as though you are hiding something. Don't make excuses. Don't say I could have done better if ... Say why you did poorly an explain it without making excuses or feeling sorry for yourself. If you do this, they will look at your upward trend in a positively.

    good luck, wbdo
     
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  8. raptor5

    raptor5 Fooled by Randomness
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    What I would not do is say "In my freshman year my grades were low do to so and so" That immediately puts you on the defensive. Instead talk about maybe your adjustment for the rigors of college. Make a positive statement about it. Do not make excuses. When I wrote my personal statment, I wrote about working fulltime during undergrad and that I was aware and excepted the impact it had on my grades.
    Whatever you do, show the adcom that you have an interest in osteopathy and what you have been doing to further that interest. I wrote about belief in preventative medicine (Not the specialty PM&R but living a healthier lifestyle to prevent disease) and my interest in OMT and how I looked forward to learning more in the future. (This allows for them know your interest but does not give them enough to ask questions about it. I know of someone who wrote about the literature they have read on OMT. Well during interview season they were asked by multiple schools to tell them what they have learned. The applicant was rejected at all D.O. schools and was ONLY able to secure a spot at reasonably good allopathic school.)

    Good Luck
     
  9. JohnDO

    JohnDO MS III
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    Interesting, thanks for the advice all of you! Hopefully I can have a draft by the end of the week.
     
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  10. Dr.ImCute

    Dr.ImCute Member
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    I wrote my personal statement more as a thematic paper, rather than an explaination of grades n' such (even though my freshman year grades weren't hot).

    I talked mostly about the osteopathic philosophy and how my major (psyc), research, TA position, and shadowing experiences helped me get to this point in my pre-med career and exactly what my mind set is in applying to D.O. schools.

    The first one I wrote was about my maturation as a student, and why my grades were crappy fresh yr, but it SUCKED and didn't stand out, so I wrote a new one. You'll go through A LOT of drafts, just keep at it, and have a bunch of people look it over. Just make sure it flows.

    But be careful about what you write, because they can ask you about it in the interview. Although I wasn't asked about my crappy fresh grades, during my interview at COMP, I was asked to explain a line in my personal statement. eek!

    Hope this helps, G.Luck!
     
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  11. zenblunder

    zenblunder lately it seems
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    I don't think that your personal statement is all that important. I was rushing to get my ACCOMAS app done and blew right through it. Two paragraphs tops! Certainly there was quality there, but I then spent months wondering if I should have put in a little more. But I got in and never heard anyone mention it. Maybe they were refreshed; not having to read the same old crap that everyone writes. Never say or write what you think they want to hear because you will sound just like everyone else. If you're worried about fitting a mold how good of a physician do think you'll be?
     
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  12. DORoe

    DORoe BWAAA HAAA HAAA
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    I don't agree with this. I feel that my PS was what helped me land my interviews. In both of the interviews that I had I was asked about things that I wrote in my PS. One interviewer even complimented me on my writing abilities. About addressing poor grades in the PS, I think Raptor said it best. You should talk about it but don't make excuses and don't dwell on it. I wrote something about how I am from a very small community and when I entered college it was a bit overwhelming. It kind of went along with the overall theme of my statement.
     
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  13. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    I think I will disagree with some of what was said here. I met with a dean of admissions and she said to me.... "The personal statement is one of the most important parts of your application. It is your chance to tell us why we should pick you over someone else. You all have good grades, you all have good MCATs, you have all done lots of ECs, but your personal statement is your oportunity to shine. Don't ever underestimate the power of a great personal statement. And on the other hand.. don't underestimate the negative power of a bad essay. We have had applicants that sound cold and who appear to be stuck on themselves and their essays made us turn them down for admission." This came directly out of the mouth of MCV's (MD school) dean of admissions.

    She also told me if there is something in your application that deviates from the rest of your performance, that you should briefly discuss it. She said when they are reading through applications and come to something that is in question, she said they immediately go to the personal statement. If they don't find an explaination, they question why it wasn't discussed. She said you shouldn't whine or complain or make excuses about something, but rather just briefly explain about it.

    Just passing on what I have been told.
     
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  14. DORoe

    DORoe BWAAA HAAA HAAA
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    Nice post. :thumbup: I was going to give you karma for it but you have it disabled. I think you should reconsider b/c you give out good info and newbies should know they can trust you
     
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  15. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    Hey thanks alot :thumbup:

    Actually I have gotten a number of request to turn my karma back on, so by request.... it is back on :)
     
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  16. WillowRose

    WillowRose hot mama-yama
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    I'm going to agree with Amy on this one. You can assume that everyone who applies to medical school is going to have good grades, good test scores, and EC activities. So what you need to do is show the adcom why they should pick you over all those other people. It's also a way for them to judge something about your communication skills.

    It's important, but it shouldn't be anything to stress yourself out about. If you aren't sincere, it *will* show through in your writing. I had interviewers comment on both my writing ability and the fact that I didn't spend all my time repeating the standard "I love the holistic philosophy..." You know, the stuff you read in all the guidebooks, websites, etc.

    Address your grades if you want to, but it's not a requirement. The only time my grades were mentioned in an interview was at the end of one when an interviewer said "Oh...I have to ask about this semester when your GPA was lower than all the other semesters." I said, "Yep....screwed around that semester instead of studying. Decided it wasn't a good idea to continue that way."

    Unless you cannot write a complete sentence, your PS can help more than it can hurt you. Oh, as for the "why I want to be a DO"....I also didn't mention that in my PS. I included it on the secondaries I had to submit, but I used basically the same PS for both the AMCAS and AACOMAS. Work on your PS a little now and then take some time away from and go back. At least get some ideas for things you might want to address and jot them down.

    Sorry if that is a little disjointed....I swear my PS was more coherent!! Oh...one more thing..is there something particularly interesting that you've done that may have shaped your desire to pursue medicine? Not necessarily a "Why I want to be a dr" essay, but anything that might make them remember you? I went into my interviews at OU known as the "Hoosier with the Vietnamese child in a headlock." (Looooong story!)

    Willow~
     
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  17. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    To summarize, a good rule of thumb for personal statements is:

    Good one = can help you stand out and make up for lower numbers, rare

    Bad one = can hurt you despite good numbers, rare

    Mediocre one = won't help or hurt you, most common

    You should choose what kind to write based on how strong/weak the rest of your application is.

    Although the mediocre ones will have little impact on your application, schools will use the personal statement mostly for interview questions. So make sure you know it well before interviewing.
     
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