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Update letter advice needed: Does this sound desperate or cheesy?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by AZFutureDoc, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. AZFutureDoc

    5+ Year Member

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    Hey guys, so I was writing it up, and first I gave grades in classes for fall '08. Then I went on to talk about my plans for next semester, which include my honors thesis, schedule, and extracurriculars. One of my ECs is being an assistant teachers assistant in a physiology lab (which is pretty funny if you watch "the office"). I got the position because of A) my grade in the class which was an A, and B) something cool that happened when I was a student in the lab:

    So one of the specific labs was to measure action potentials buy getting an electrode into a neuron, and having the other one in he petri dish. However, we were advised that this lab was an experiment on its own, because it was new to the class this semester. We were the last section to try it out of several others, and since nobody (not even professor or TA) was able to get it, our TA just said to try it, but don't worry about results.

    So I start messing around with it (impaling the neuron) and I'm getting nothing. I realize that the reason its not working is because of the protocol and how it says to enter the cell. After a few hours have passed and lab is almost over, I figure we have nothing to lose, so I come up with a different technique that I reasoned would avoid the problems with the protocol technique. The protocol said to get the electrode in like stabbing it with a knife: just use the little mechanical arm it was hooked up to and stick it in. I tried rotating the electrode while inserting it, so it was more like a drill.

    Sure enough, it works, and we get action potentials. Apparently, this is a BIG deal, and our TA calls her TA friends from the same section, and the professor actually gets words of this, and also comes down to the lab. This guy does research on neurons, and does very similar stuff for a living, and he could not get it! He actually shakes my hand and congratulates me, asks me if I want to work in his lab, and makes my data the background of the class website.

    My question is, would including this anecdote (obviously worded a little better, with a more professional tone) in an update letter just sound stupid? Cheesy? Desperate? It was big deal, but I don't want it to come across like I'm desperate for an acceptance and I'm out of things to say! The way I have included it now is in a paragraph about describing the ATA position, so its not like I try to make it look like an EC on its own. I just stuck it in the middle.

    My second question is, at one of the schools I've interviewed at, I seriously fell in love with it. Also, of all the schools I applied to, I think I have the best shot there. The reason I'm worried is that I got a fairly low verbal score on my MCAT, and I just wanna do everything in my power to get in here. So my question is, would including a letter of intent, or just adding that to my update letter for this school also sound desperate? I just feel like since my MCAT is slightly below average on VR, I will come across as desperate when they see this. Its one thing for someone who is competitive to say this, but I don't know about me saying it. I just see them laughing in their heads "Of course he's sending a letter of intent, he knows he's not competitive anywhere else!"

    Sorry for the long post, but I just want to do anything possible to make sure I at least get an acceptance there! Thanks.
     
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  3. jazzyjigsaw

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    Letting the college know that you have a teaching position, especially if you did not have one before, is a major update on your activities. I would certainly send that letter in. As far as the incident is concerned I would advise you to keep it quite brief. Maybe three or four sentences. From what my adviser tells me, I think brevity is appreciated more than story telling, no matter how interesting.
     
  4. Food

    10+ Year Member

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    I think this is great advice. Definitely update them on that teaching position and the grades. These letters are supposed to be reasonably brief and to the point though...and remember that with these things, less is usually more.
     
  5. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Hell yeah I'd tell them about it. And also see if you can get a letter of rec from this professor (after you work in his lab for a little while). Definitely mention how he came to ask you.
     
  6. rkaz

    10+ Year Member

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    Heh... I also sent a letter of intent at my top school (confirming with them that I WILL matriculate there if accepted), which is a LOOOONG shot for me. Yes, they might laugh at me just the same thinking that I don't have a chance at any other allopathic school... but whatever. Let them laugh.... laughter is good for the heart. :) If anything, I know it won't hurt. At best, maybe it would help me move up a few ranks on the waitlist, who knows. But I did what I could to let them know how much I want to be a student there, and I'm at peace with it now.

    I recommend sending the letter of intent... just make sure to only send it to your top school, as sending it to multiple schools is unethical.
     

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