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What do you think of this advice from Dr. Gray re: W&A section descriptions

stayathomemom

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Basically, don't write it like a job description or resume, but similar to the PS using anecdotes/stories and using that to "show, not tell."
On one hand, that seems clever, but on the other, I figured the app reader would want to facts and not stories they have to draw their own conclusions from.

Edit: also, he says not to list shadowing as a most meaningful experience because it's too passive and the MME's have to be what impacted you as a person, not what was impactful in your journey to choose medicine. Not sure I'm inclined to agree with that either.
 
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Sry, didn’t get to whole video, but quickly chiming in to say that the best advice I got for my W&A section was to get across what you LEARNED from it and/or how it changed you in addition to what you did. Who cares what you did or what anecdotal stories you have if you didnt become a more mature, thoughtful, efficient, compassionate, resilient, indirectly more qualified future physician from it? Success in effectively relating self-awareness (your good, your bad, your evolution) will get you far. Dig DEEP. And not just the “This helped me know I wanted to be a physician even more”. How and why is what I want to know!!! Keep asking yourself those questions after you read your drafts until you’ve reached a real conclusion specific to each activity. It took me a few rounds of really thinking about, but worth it come interview time.

TL,DR: Yes, don’t write it just like a resume! Write it more like a professional journal (best I got?? Haha)
 
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gonnif

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Basically, don't write it like a job description or resume, but similar to the PS using anecdotes/stories and using that to "show, not tell."
On one hand, that seems clever, but on the other, I figured the app reader would want to facts and not stories they have to draw their own conclusions from.

Do you want to let the reader draw their own conclusion when it is the one place, the only place where you may get a chance to show yourself and get an interview? With, at best, only 1 in 5 get an interview at any individual school, do you really want to leave it up the reader?

A medical school application is a coherent, concise and compelling narrative showing a strong pattern of motivation, committment and achievement. The primary is the one place where you are able to present of yourself and why medicine, with the Work & Activities as the evidence supporting that image. In short, the PS is the picture on the puzzle box and the W&A are the pieces of the puzzle. There should be theme(s) in the PS are supported by and interlocked with the W&A (and continued into secondary)

In many ways the W&A are more important than the PS. Each one should be as engaging as the opening paragraph of a newspaper story (if any still knows what that is). It should show what you did, what learned from it, and what it says about you.

Edit: also, he says not to list shadowing as a most meaningful experience because it's too passive and the MME's have to be what impacted you as a person, not what was impactful in your journey to choose medicine. Not sure I'm inclined to agree with that either.
Shadowing is a passive experience you do for yourself (not volunteering with in an active experience you do for others) and is seen by adcoms as providing necessary exposure to the field you are considering. Rarely, do applicants have the depth and time in a shadowing relationship to be make for a useful LOR much less an MME. Indeed, shadowing letters have some of the least impact on an adcom. What impacted you person, what made you think, feel, understand about yourself (ie introspection) may or perhaps should be impactful in your journey to medicine. The opposite however, just because something was impactful on your path to medicine, doesnt necessary make deep impact to you as a person.
 
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LizzyM

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Maybe I'm the exception but when I have 20-30 minutes to review your application, I want the facts, plain and simple. Don't make me work for it. Your personal statement and the interview are the time for stories. Leave me having read the application with the feeling that I'd like to meet you (interview you) and not that I know everything that there is to know about you.
 
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hellanutella

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Depending on the complexity of the activity, I liked the 75:25 mix of objective (roles, responsibilities, outcomes) to subjective (what you learned, how it impacted you) in the base 700 charas. For something more self-explanatory and well-known to adcoms, like scribing, maybe a 50:50 mix can be more appropriate. Heck, some really singular experiences may need more space just to factually explain what it is you did. For most meaningful activities, there's also the opportunity to use all 700 of the base for the objective info and then the character supplement for a powerful anecdote + reflection.

Some statements I've reviewed have sacrificed really impressive objective info at the expense of a compressed story. 700 characters is not much real estate to shine. When you say things like "lead 5 junior researchers and was responsible for coordinating weekly lab meetings," that's resume-esque info, but it's stuff that was frequently brought up by the committee to support leadership and team-working ability.

Would agree that shadowing as a most meaningful is a sacrifice of the additional characters – I want to know about the interesting things you have accomplished, not the fascinating case/interaction you hovered in on. No particular shadowing experience has ever turned a candidate into a "must have."
 
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