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This isn't plagiarism, right?

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junkct

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So I was reading the Princeton Review's personal statement book and I saw a quote in one of the PS that I really liked... it was from Hippocrates and it really fits in with the theme of my PS. Do you think I'd be able to use it? Everyone says that adcoms have memorized those PS back and front, but would this actually be considered plagiarism?
 

SirGecko

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So I was reading the Princeton Review's personal statement book and I saw a quote in one of the PS that I really liked... it was from Hippocrates and it really fits in with the theme of my PS. Do you think I'd be able to use it? Everyone says that adcoms have memorized those PS back and front, but would this actually be considered plagiarism?

A quote from Hippocrates is a little cliche but I don't think it's plagiarism. (I'd just make sure you aren't using it in the exact same context as the essay you read and find the primary source for the quote)
 

GoSpursGo

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An adcom might recognize it as also being used in the Princeton sample PSs... so no, it's not plagiarism, but they might roll their eyes a little to see that you're using a quote that was in one of those books.
 

student1799

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In the strictest sense, this WOULD be plagiarism, because you wouldn't be acknowledging your true source for the Hippocrates quote (the Princeton Review book). Now, if you were to actually go and take out a book of Hippocrates' writings from the library and read it, you could use the quote with a clear conscience--but in that case, why not find a different quote and use that instead? It would be more interesting as well as avoiding the issue of plagiarism.

Besides, quoting Hippocrates in your PS is a pretty big cliche. (The same holds true for other well-known authors, philosophers, etc.) I own a book called "101 Tips on Getting into Medical School" by Jennifer C. Welch, who is the director of admissions at SUNY Upstate. Tip #39 says, "Do not quote Robert Frost in your personal statement. Be original. Quotes from Robert Frost are very popular on medical school applications. You should probably leave him out of the process [...] just be creative, original, and yourself." Instead of Frost, you could substitute Hippocrates, Albert Schweitzer or anyone else equally famous. The bottom line is that adcoms are interested in reading YOUR words, not those of a well-known author.
 

surftheiop

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this could be a dump question (im only a sophmore) but what do the prompts for personal statements look like?

Is it ultra-open ended like "Give us a personal statement"

Or is it more specific like

"what are your motivations for going to medical school, why are you a good candidate to be a doctor, why are you choosing this school, why should we accept you, etc."
 

GoSpursGo

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this could be a dump question (im only a sophmore) but what do the prompts for personal statements look like?

Is it ultra-open ended like "Give us a personal statement"

Or is it more specific like

"what are your motivations for going to medical school, why are you a good candidate to be a doctor, why are you choosing this school, why should we accept you, etc."

THE personal statement is a question on the AMCAS primary application (the national application that almost every school uses before they grant secondary applications) that is very open-ended and pretty much doesn't change; it's always super open-ended along the lines of "describe your motivations for becoming a physician."
 

nick_carraway

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For what it's worth, a couple cycles ago, LizzyM wrote that essays that begin with quotations aren't as common as we all think they are. I guess it's ironic that we're so worried about standing out, that at least one cliche has turned into a rarity.
 

junkct

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Oh wow, I didn't realize we shouldn't use quotes... I don't think I'll use it then; I'm not THAT attached to it.

On a side note, how long should the PS be? I'm just looking at an old printout of an AMCAS app from a friend and it says it should be 5300 characters. Where could I get the most updated AMCAS app? I know that it won't come out till May, so what should I use until then?

Also, did most of you who have finished writing your PS find that the first draft you wrote was REALLY long? Mine is, but I guess I'll just have to figure out a way to cut it down lol.

Ok and my last side note, do y'all think PSs should explicitly state something like, "I did activity X, which shows personal quality A, which would make me a good doctor"? Or do you think talking about an activity we did and kind of implying (but not explicitly saying) what we learned from it would be alright?
 
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Ok and my last side note, do y'all think PSs should explicitly state something like, "I did activity X, which shows personal quality A, which would make me a good doctor"? Or do you think talking about an activity we did and kind of implying (but not explicitly saying) what we learned from it would be alright?

Oh PLEASE do not do this. Write the latter - what you did and what you learned from it, got out of it, etc. In the end, you're not an authority on what "would make [you] a good doctor" yet, so please stay away from explicitly stating as much. Admissions committees are comprised of some pretty smart people who do know (or have a better idea of) what makes a good doctor. Describe your activities and how they've influenced you personally/professionally, and leave the rest to the reader. :)
 

ngkats

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Oh PLEASE do not do this. Write the latter - what you did and what you learned from it, got out of it, etc. In the end, you're not an authority on what "would make [you] a good doctor" yet, so please stay away from explicitly stating as much. Admissions committees are comprised of some pretty smart people who do know (or have a better idea of) what makes a good doctor. Describe your activities and how they've influenced you personally/professionally, and leave the rest to the reader. :)

My thoughts exactly.

In my opinion, why someone would make a good physician should come through in a personal statement implicitly not explicitly.
 

spelledout

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i personally enjoyed the quote i used to start my personal statement: "When I was just a little boy, I threw away all my action toys while I became obsessed with Operation."

If you are thinking about using a quote to start your personal statement - it needs to be something worthwhile. If the Hippocratic quote is something that means a lot to you, then use it...but you have to be able to tie it in somehow with the rest of your PS. If you are just using a quote to use a quote, however, then don't do it... it will just seem to take up space in your PS and people reading it won't understand why it is there.
 

junkct

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Oh PLEASE do not do this. Write the latter - what you did and what you learned from it, got out of it, etc. In the end, you're not an authority on what "would make [you] a good doctor" yet, so please stay away from explicitly stating as much. Admissions committees are comprised of some pretty smart people who do know (or have a better idea of) what makes a good doctor. Describe your activities and how they've influenced you personally/professionally, and leave the rest to the reader. :)

My thoughts exactly.

In my opinion, why someone would make a good physician should come through in a personal statement implicitly not explicitly.

Yeah this is exactly what I was thinking. Imagine my surprise when I saw such PSs in the "40 Essays that got people into top schools" (or whatever it's called) book. I'm not going to name names, but does anyone know why these essays would be in that book? Did the applicants just have godly enough stats that they didn't need a great PS?
 

spelledout

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Did you credit Andrew Bird?

yes i did, my whole personal statement actually incorporated his music as an analogy to myself. i don't know if it was a little too out there for some committees, but i felt that the most important part of the personal statement was to showcase who you are as a person, and that helped to define me.

and i am very impressed that you knew who andrew bird is :). most people are like "who?"
 

LizzyM

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yes i did, my whole personal statement actually incorporated his music as an analogy to myself. i don't know if it was a little too out there for some committees, but i felt that the most important part of the personal statement was to showcase who you are as a person, and that helped to define me.

and i am very impressed that you knew who andrew bird is :). most people are like "who?"

Google, my friend. Otherwise, in the rush of a busy adcom season, I might not have identified the "Operation" quote as a quote and might have thought that it was just the opening paragraph of the PS. :oops:
 
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In the strictest sense, this WOULD be plagiarism, because you wouldn't be acknowledging your true source for the Hippocrates quote (the Princeton Review book). Now, if you were to actually go and take out a book of Hippocrates' writings from the library and read it, you could use the quote with a clear conscience--but in that case, why not find a different quote and use that instead? It would be more interesting as well as avoiding the issue of plagiarism.
:rolleyes: No, it's not plagiarism. I didn't hear Patrick Henry say "Give me liberty or give me death," but as long as I cite HIM as the original source, it doesn't matter where I actually read it.

Besides, quoting Hippocrates in your PS is a pretty big cliche....The bottom line is that adcoms are interested in reading YOUR words, not those of a well-known author.
Agreed.
 
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