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what exactly should you write in your personal statement?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by akerstet2002, May 27, 2001.

  1. akerstet2002

    akerstet2002 Member
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    I am very confused on what should be included in the personal statement. Should a person write on why the chose osteopathic medicine...or why they chose medical school or what? Help!!!!!!!!!
     
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  3. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    First of all, I see you're new in the forum.... WELCOME!!! :D

    As for your question, you can surf through the forum about this topic as it has come up before. Here's what I did....

    In the AACOMAS personal statement I tackled the issue of how I came upon osteopathic medicine, why I choose the route, named a couple of D.O.'s that inspired me, and then showed my enthusiasm with attending conferences dealing with osteopathic medicine, manipulation, and the likes....

    I have mentioned this before, but I think I personally over did it in my personal statement.... The reason is, in your secondaries you will be given the opportunity to elaborate on your personal statement (i.e. why osteopathic medicine, etc) and answer a few more questions to for the adcoms to get to know you and your background.

    Okee dokee, hope that helps.... Later :cool:
     
  4. jimmybee

    jimmybee Internal Medicine Hospitalist, formerly med/peds
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    I strongly recommend writing about why you choose specifically osteopathic medicine. Osteopathic schools are looking for people who are truly committed to osteopathic medicine and not people who just want to be a physician. So, even if you aren't so sure about osteopathic medicine, you should read up on it and atleast make people believe that you are a osteopathic material.
     
  5. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made
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    I noticed that the maximum number of characters in the provided space on the online personal comments/personal space section is 2000. This doesn't allow much space to relate ones experiences to their purpose for choosing osteopathic medicine. I am non-traditional and have a semi-long background to discuss in order to establish my reason for choosing osteopathic medicine in a personal statement. I am also applying to MD programs and the AMCAS allows the essay to extend to 5300 characters, which seems more reasonable. Anyone out there feel the same way? Any suggestions about how to choose specific content to remove from a long draft, while still being able to synthesize a strong essay in >2000 characters? Any comments are appreciated. Thanx :p
     
  6. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    MedPuck,

    I felt the same way about the limited space in the aacomas app during my application year. Trust me when I tell you that you'll have space in your secondaries. Most schools would ask you to attach a page or two with you secondary apps to elaborate on issues such as why osteopathic medicine and medicine in general....

    It's hard to say what to include and what not to include in the personal statement for AACOMAS.... you just have to decide what conveys the strongest, in your experience, as to why you're choosing osteopathic medicine. I used the thesaurus and dictionary alot just to minimize the words and messages I wanted to include in the primary... tough, but I was able to do it.... I don't think that helped much, but just my two cents on things. Good luck in the process. :cool:
     
  7. PalCareGrl

    PalCareGrl Senior Member
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    Hi,
    I think Popoy has pretty much answered this question (good job, by the way), but I'm confused as to why so many people have been asking this question...
    The application instructions state that you should use this space to provide your motivations for applying to osteopathic schools and it says that you can also give a brief explanation of your goals (something like that).... I thought it was pretty clear-cut, and from what I've read for the past few months on this site, there is PLENTY of room on the secondaries to elaborate. Just my 2 cents... Thanks. :) Liz
     
  8. Wasabi

    Wasabi Senior Member
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    I agree with the above posters. Be brief about your interests in osteopathic medicine in your personal statement and save the novel for your secondaries.

    Also, here's a few extras to consider when writing your personal statement:

    1.Were you ever placed on academic probation or received any other action due to unacceptable academic performance or conduct violation?

    2. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?

    3. Do you have any family member who is D.O or an M.D.?


    If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you will have to do some explaining..
     
  9. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made
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    Thanks everyone. I agree that the directions are clear and I do know that I will have time to elaborate on the secondaries. I am resourceful enough to complete this essay, just wanted to get some good feedback as you all have kindly given. I will save the details for the secondaries and just answer the question as it is stated, relating, in fewer words, the main experiences which have driven me to this goal. Thanks again for keeping a constructive forum going. I am a past TPR Medical Discussion Forum visitor and always expected immature responses. :cool:
     
  10. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    Medpuck, your most welcome.... I'm glad you're enjoying the forum. There are a few of us out there that do try and help folks seriously so just post on!!! But I'm sure you'll encounter some immature ones here and there occasionally.... Que sera, sera.... :cool: Hope things are going well with your apps!!!
     
  11. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member
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    Well, I have posted elsewhere concerning the personal statement, and poboy was very good about sharing, as always. Thanks, Poboy!

    But I have more questions about the personal statement that seems appropriate here so here goes: Does academic probation for dropping too many hours count? The way I read the instructions it doesn't and the transcript clearly shows good grades, but I don't want to make a mistake about this.

    Also, about the misdemeanors, when it states that parking tickets don't count, does it mean speeding tickets do? (I didn't think either of those qualified myself, but don't know what AACOM thinks since parking tickets was mentioned - and speeding tickets weren't!)

    Also, on the AMCAS they want a cohesive "story" type of thing, but they want you to explain not only any probation but also excessive withdrawals, etc. (Which I have recently due to going through a divorce.) Any anomolies can be easily explained using a cohesive story type format in >5000 words or so, but not in ~2000! At least I don't think I can, so this question is in two parts: 1) Is the AACOMAS personal statement supposed to be in the cohesive story type format, and 2) Do I need to explain my recent "excessive" withdrawals, or would it be a good idea even though that is not specifically mentioned in the instructions?

    Thanks for all your help! (Especially Poboy!)
     
  12. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    HI there Catherine,

    Oh, by the way, it's Popoy not Poboy.... I say this because there's someone else in the forum with the screen name Po'boy and might think about mistaken identity.... A friend almost thought that was me.... Anyway, that's a different story....

    Personally, I think you should save your AACOMAS personal statement to answer one fundamental question: How did you come upon Osteopathic Medicine and Philosophies? (Just my opinion of course). Quite honestly, I think that the space only allows for this much....

    Speeding ticket.... geez, I got one and I never had to explain it. Never got another again.... or at least they can never catch me!!! :D (j/k of course)

    I think Wasabi posted those suggestions for someone to consider if they have nothing else to write about. Is that right Wasabi? I don't want to assume....

    As for academic probation, withdrawals.... Hey dodo, pupu happens!!! You'll have plenty of time to explain these in the secondary. Most osteo med schools ask for the applicants to explain any probations, withdrawals, misdeamenors (sp?), etc.... so you're definitely going to have a chance to explain, if need be....

    IT's most definitely hard to do a cohesive story type in less than 2000 characters.... but I think its a better way to go....

    My aacomas personal statement was somewhat in a story format but kept the theme of how I came upon osteo and got more enthusiastic about it.

    I went all out with the secondaries though!!! Going an entire one page with barely any margins.... :)

    To answer your "1" question: I suggest doing a cohesive story, it's a quick and better read for the adcoms. As for "2", don't mention any type of withdrawals in your primary personal statement.... I don't see why you have to.... There's hardly any space. IF YOU HAVE ROOM, then you might want to consider addressing the withdrawal issues. Say something short about it.... You might pursue the elaboration of your experience in the secondaries. It's definitely something you cannot avoid and must explain. It'll be either through your secondaries, or through your interview.... somewhere down the line an explanation would be needed from you.... someone's bound to notice a trend....

    I'm sorry about your divorce.... Maybe its for the best. Funny how certain things happen for a reason and they all usually turn out okay in the end.... At least that's what I think.... More power to you!!!

    If my comments did not directly answer your question, please let me know and I'll try and clarify....

    You might want to call AACOMAS to get suggestions directly from the source. I'm sure by now you've notice how good AACOMAS is with responding and actually talking to a live person....

    Lots O'Luck as always,
    Popoy
    :cool:
     
  13. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member
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    Oh, sorry Popoy. Very sloppy on my part. I'll try to go back and change any references to your name I may have mentioned for clarity's sake.

    Thanks for the info, BTW, I am trying to get this all done this w/e because I have to move on 6/1 and I want to "boom, send this puppy" post-haste! (But somehow I've got to pack all my stuff by then, too....sigh!) :eek:
     
  14. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    :eek: You are most definitely a busy person!!! :eek:

    No prob on the name thing.... REALLY!

    Take care and hope you you get things done on time.... Post up if I can be of any other help..... :cool:
     
  15. nathan

    nathan Member
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    I have posted much on this topic, so if you search, you'll probably run into some good advice. However, I will leave you with one essential peice of advice- DO NOT state that you are drawn to osteopathic medicine due to its wholistic approach to medicine!!! The committees hear this all the time. State the things that draw YOU to osteopathic medicine. The wholistic approach is most likely one of those reasons, but you need to back up those reasons with personal experiences. Think about how the wholistic approach is somewhat different than the "allopathic" approach- what is going on in the certain pt.'s life that may be an underlying cause of a disease (such as family or socio-economic problems), such as CHF, instead of just "this enzyme is absent and/or malfunctioning which is leading to this specific manifestation of disease, etc, etc, etc..." Osteopathic physicians do recognize these things, of course, but they also look beyond the scope of just this drug or this surgery should cure this disease. Please note that I am not saying this goes for all allopathic physicians, and nor does it apply to all osteopathic physicians. Make your statement from your heart- don't say things that the committees have heard thousands upon thousands of times before. Make your personal statement YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT. Hope this helps!!!

    -Nathan (UHS-COM '05)
     
  16. Dagny

    Dagny PGY-1
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    All good advice.

    Let me just confirm and add to Nathan's comment: And somehow make it connect with YOUR experiences. Distinguish yourself from other applicants by saying something about you, not just about osteopathic medicine.

    Yet at the same time (Medpuck, are you reading this?), do not restate what you have already put down in other parts of your application. For example, they will know you are nontraditional from the experiences/education, etc. you have listed elsewhere in the application.
     
  17. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member
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    How about this (and it's the truth): one of my pet peeves is that that doctors don't LISTEN to their patients - I even have a piece published to that effect, at the request/desire of the MD who taught the course I originally wrote it for. What has drawn me to osteopathy is that over the years, the DOs I have worked with and seen personally for medical care, trully do seem to listen, i.e., really HEAR - and ask to hear - what their patients are saying. Because of that, I researched the philosophy of osteopathic medicine and discovered that the major tenets really fit my philosophy of medicine much better than the allopathic. That includes the wholistic focus, but the major tenet of DO philosophy that "grabbed me" is that doctors don't heal the patient: the patient heals the patient. The doctor is just supposed to assist in the healing process. That is really the thing that got me so excited about OM.

    I'm thinking that fits what you're recommending, what do YOU think? :)
     
    halac002 likes this.
  18. akerstet2002

    akerstet2002 Member
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    Thanks to all of you. I will consider all of your ideas into the small paragraph. Wish me luck!!!
     
  19. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member
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    For others that might need to know (and I know this came up elsewhere as well) - I just talked to someone from AACOMAS and he said that if we have an academic probation due to dropping below too few hours (but not because of grades) that also has to be mentioned in the personal statement. There is appallingly little space to get all this in, whether or not the secondaries give the opportunity, IMHO....sigh. And my "career" is healthcare/other so I have to explain that too.

    If we don't get it all right, how will we know that we'll even GET a secondary, is my question?
     
  20. nathan

    nathan Member
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    Catherine-

    As far as not getting secondary applications due to not enough space for your personal statement on the AACOMAS application, don't sweat it! If you have the grades and MCAT scores, than you will undoubtedly receive them. The secondary application is where you really get a chance to explain your reasons for wanting to go into medicine. Here's a hint- if you already know the school(s) that you may plan on attending, then go ahead and send them your own personal statement, that way they can go ahead and start a file for you before they even get your AACOMAS application. Good luck!

    -Nathan (UHS-COM '05)
     
  21. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member
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    Nathan,

    I didn't know you could do that! I have already met with a vice-dean and the director of admissions for advice, PR work, etc., But is it really ok to send in the personal statement ahead of time?

    My stats are ok for a non-trad with old D's on the transcripts and my MCAT is about at the average for UHS, but it's still nerve-wracking. I went through the AMCAS last year - although I didn't want to go to an MD school, I thought it made wise financial sense to at least try for a state school with $10k tuition as opposed to the $30k at UHS! But my stats weren't good enough for them, and the whole interview process was so demoralizing, intimidating, etc, that I ended up being glad I wasn't accepted. Not to mention that clinicly and scientifically the school is much inferior to UHS anyway! Now I will gladly pay any amount of money not to have to mess with the arrogant MD mentality - at least until residency.....sigh.

    Anyway, the whole process made me "gun-shy" and I'm having trouble accepting that the DO admissions process doesn't require blood-letting like the MD admissions process does! ;)

    Anyway, thanks to all for the help and advice!
     
  22. Gator

    Gator Member
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    I didn't know you could do that! I have already met with a vice-dean and the director of admissions for advice, PR work, etc., But is it really ok to send in the personal statement ahead of time?

    Mompremed,

    What do you mean when you say that you have spoken with the director of admissions..PR work? Did you go to the schools that you are going to apply and talk with them or did you email them (or call)? Where they accommodating? Thanks.
     
  23. nathan

    nathan Member
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    Catherine-

    I take it that you tried getting in as an Advanced Standing student at UMKC (due to their 6-year right out of highschool MD/BA degree program). I was accepted this year as an Advanced Standing student, but turned them down to go to UHS-COM (for reasons that I would discuss with you if you e-mailed me- I think my address would be shown if you click on my name or something?). Right after the April MCAT scores were mailed about a year ago, I went up to KC to visit both UHS and UMKC. My scores were not that stellar, so I wanted to find out what kind of chance I had talking directly with admissions counselors one-on-one, instead of listening to other pre-meds who thought they knew what they were talking about (but it turns out now that they didn't; this was before I found out about SDN). Before I made the trip, I sent both schools a typed personal statement. They had no problem with this, and yes, they did start a file on me before they had my AMCAS/AACOMAS applications. I felt that it was really important that I made my face somewhat "known" that early, since I had been calling them all the time before I made the trip. And for those of you out there that don't know- call the admissions offices all the time and bug them to death because at least they'll remember who you are, and, it's their job to talk to you and answer your questions! Another word of advice (and I know I may step on some toes, but, don't let anyone ever tell you different, or their fibbing)- it is WHO you KNOW in medicine and the application process. I can't stress this enough! If you haven't shadowed doctors that are alumni at the particular school you are applying to, try as hard as possible to do so, that way they can write you a great LOR. Hope this info. helps, and if you have further questions or comments, e-mail me. Good luck!

    -Nathan (UHS-COM '05)
    The one that wished he'd known all the info that is provided on SDN before he applied to med school.

    "I've got my hush puppies on, I guess I never was meant for glitter rock 'n' roll."- Jimmy Buffett
     
  24. colorado_1

    colorado_1 Member
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    my advice . . . we're a story telling society, so tell a story. i'm not playing the "oh i walk on water applicant," because i'm far from it, but i did get into 2 osteo and 2 allopathic programs out of 5 interviews and a waitlist on the 5th. what was the common denominator? the personal statement. it sends a message of who you are going into the interview. either you're gonna be viewed as a, "i did this x hours and then i did that for y hours" type or a "this person is someone i want to meet."

    make the personal statement a story. mine was a story of not being extraordinary at all. it had things in there that others can do that i cannot, like world class atheletes or rhodes sholars etc. but i used the "story" to show how i can do most things well. every interview i went to i had an interviewer comment on how he/she liked my essay.

    please don't bash the colorado_1! i'm just trying to drop some ideas on the op. and in the sake of fairness, it took me 5 years of applying to finally "get" how important that personal statement is. i got 1 interview per year from one school for 4 years and no acceptance, then i worked at my personal statement to let it show the kind of guy i am out here in the middle of colorado, and low and behold, i got multiple acceptances.

    tell a story. it's a story the interviewers will ask about. don't get stuck on "formal grammer" as i did for four years -- just old baggage as an english lit minor -- come off as your every day joe who may not be extraordinary, but has an extraordinary story to tell . . .
     
  25. Nubtastic

    Nubtastic Member
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    I just submitted my app. By the time I was done explaining why I am on probation(I tend to speed and run red lights) ;) and how I heard about Osteopathic medicine I didn't have much room to explain what encouraged me to apply to Osteopathic schools, but when I started filling out my secondary to TCOM I discovered that I would have plenty of space to discuss my reasons, goals, etc.

    I think the AACOMAS app is just the tip of the iceberg. :)

    Have Fun

    Nub
     
  26. mompremed

    mompremed Senior Member
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    Gator,

    I go to UMKC and will be the first to graduate with the new Healing and Humanities Minor. This was started by a woman who was Dean of UMKC School of Medicine for a time and she also helped start the UMKC med school. I took 2 classes with her and in each, she submitted pieces I wrote for publication - I guess you could say we "connected." She wrote me a LOR for KU, and when I was not accepted, I made an effort to thank her in person for her support. She then gave even more support and paved the way for me to talk to a vice-dean at UHS - who just happened to run the docent program at UMKC in the past. When I talked to the vice-dean, she took me down to the director of admissions who then looked over all my "stuff" and they offered to try and circumvent the official app process to try and get me in this fall. I think if I had already gotten the extra 6hrs of Biology UHS requires, I would be starting this fall! As it turns out though, I think it would have been too soon, but it was gratifying to say the least!

    Oh, and it also turned out that the director of admissions remembered me from an official presentation she and a professor from UHS did at UMKC. Being naturally enthusiastic about medicine, I went up and talked to her at length afterword, never thinking that it would someday have a payoff - that was never my intent, I was just so excited about exploring everything I could about DO-dom.

    Anyway, for Nathan, I guess I have already submitted my personal statement and transcripts, since I took those with me. They looked everything over (I had my accomplishments in the form of a resume) and gave me pointers on how to make them "look" better on paper. Also, since I have worked in a hospital, I am fortunate to have known, shadowed and worked with UHS alumni, and I am also very fortunate that someone on the admissions committee is a professor at UHS - and the husband of one of the nurses I work with!

    Also, in response to your comment (Nathan's) that it is WHO you know....I'm thinking that may be true for DO's, but I'm not sure for MD's. I had stellar LOR's from two KU alumni, the one I mentioned above, and another who trained resident's at KU for 20 years! I didn't even get waitlisted! Although my stats aren't stellar - well they are considering all I've been through! - I have a lot of other things "going" for me; also I know of at least one person who doesn't have near the qualifications, stats or otherwise, and he got in. That's OK though, because I know in my heart I was always meant to be a DO. It just fits me better, to say the least!

    Nathan, I will try to email you about the UMKC-SOM, a little later today or tomorrow. As a preliminary, I have a posting over in "Everyone" under "BA/MD Schools" if you want to know how I REALLY feel! ;) (I would provide the link, but I don't know how to get it to reference that specific page.)

    Cheers,
     
  27. I am new to this board, and thank you all for your insightful suggestions. I am applying for next year's class and am curious - everyone says to emphasize what will set me apart... hmm, I don't know, I mean I know what I have done, and all of my fmaily and friends say that I have done so much post- college (VISTA volunteer, social work, assistvie technology outreach and fitting, and the like) but, of course, I am hard on myself the way a committee is going to be, How can I briefly set myself apart? What can I focus on instead of the usual "why I want to be a D.O.?"
     

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