When did/should you start writing your personal statement?

TimmyTheWonderD

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minah86 said:
I graduated May 2004, started it then....took April 2005 MCAT, waited for scores...submitted final AMCAS early July. It is well worth taking the time.
 
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75969

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I was wondering the same thing-Applying this summer, should I be starting a statement?!?!?!
 

Indryd

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Law2Doc said:
You didn't start until yesterday? Boy are you late!
Yeah, Hopkins just accepted me based on a picture of Tom Wopat I sent in with my name on the back.

My interview at Harvard came about as a result of the fact that I have the same name as the guy who wrote the song for Mentos. Yeah, they believed it was really me.

Cornell...well...I promised myself never to repeat what I had to do to get interviewed at Cornell without a personal statement.
 

Law2Doc

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Indryd said:
Yeah, Hopkins just accepted me based on a picture of Tom Wopat I sent in with my name on the back.

My interview at Harvard came about as a result of the fact that I have the same name as the guy who wrote the song for Mentos. Yeah, they believed it was really me.

Cornell...well...I promised myself never to repeat what I had to do to get interviewed at Cornell without a personal statment.
Sounds about right -- I've heard those top ten schools have very stringent admissions policies. And those harvard dudes love their mentos. :)
 

-Goose-

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start writing when you feel like you have something to write about... don't write it too early when there's nothing to write about.

does that make sense?
 

DrKitty

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I say you need about 3 months of actual writing, thinking, editing, thinking, cutting, thinking, writing some more. You should have an idea of what you want to write about 3 months in advance of your planned submission date. :)
Strong personal statements take time, thinking, re-writing several times.
 

chandelantern

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I think writing a draft of your personal statement 6 months before applying. Write down your thoughts, save them on the computer, and chill for a bit. Use the personal statement for your letter writers when they ask. Then maybe 3-4 months before applying look at your draft, add some new things, try to get a foundation going. These drafts can be significantly longer than the 5300 character limit...one of my friends wrote 10 pages on her first drafts! Have a few people read it and tell you what they think are important things to cover, what really stands out and what can be left. 2 months before applying, you better be serious - get it to something you can work with...2-3 pages of quality stuff. Have your advisor edit it. If you have access to a doctor or even better an ad com member, have them read it over. Work on it religiously at this time, make sure it says what you want it to say. Have an english professor read it. Make appropriate edits and have your advisor read it again. Before you submit, make sure that there is absolutely NO typos!!!
 

C.P. Jones

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5 years ago already? edited last year?

i basically used my college app essay and added more/edited it to make it sound more scholarly after having picked up so much in college.....pppppfffffffftttttttttt...

anyway, i had a great college essay, so it made the personal essay really easy for me

moral of the story: write one all-purpose essay
 

SeventhSon

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you really need to write a draft, take a break for a week, and then once all your pre-conceived thoughts are out of your system after that week take a look it again.

Due to April MCAT/quarter from hell, i didn't start it until right after school year over (mid-june for the poor suckers who are on the quarter system like me). I pressed submit July 31st. A lot of finding out of what you want to say involves just writing down stuff and finding out what doesn't work. I completely bulldozed 3 different main drafts before coming up with the one that I started to fine-tune.
 

Avenue Q

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You really don't need that much time if you have experience writing these kinds of things. I had been thinking about some of the issues I wanted to address since around Feb, thought of an opening sentence over spring break, and then didn't sit down to do it until after finals and when I was back home. Cranked out something 2-3 times too long in two afternoons and then sent it around to everyone I knew. I took a break for a few days and waited for comments. Did a lot of editing over the next few days and got it to the essay I wanted - then it took about another day or two to bring it down to the character limit with some creative editing. I kept playing with it doing some very nit-picky editing with my father (it almost became a sick game with the character count). I submitted it a day or two after the first day AMCAS was open. I was very pleased with it, and was getting great feedback. There is nothing you can do in 6 months that you cannot do in one week - its about yourself, the content is already there. If you are the kind of person who can craft an essay easily, then it shouldn't be a problem to quickly get it done.
 

minah86

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Embily123 said:
You really don't need that much time if you have experience writing these kinds of things. I had been thinking about some of the issues I wanted to address since around Feb, thought of an opening sentence over spring break, and then didn't sit down to do it until after finals and when I was back home. Cranked out something 2-3 times too long in two afternoons and then sent it around to everyone I knew. I took a break for a few days and waited for comments. Did a lot of editing over the next few days and got it to the essay I wanted - then it took about another day or two to bring it down to the character limit with some creative editing. I kept playing with it doing some very nit-picky editing with my father (it almost became a sick game with the character count). I submitted it a day or two after the first day AMCAS was open. I was very pleased with it, and was getting great feedback. There is nothing you can do in 6 months that you cannot do in one week - its about yourself, the content is already there. If you are the kind of person who can craft an essay easily, then it shouldn't be a problem to quickly get it done.

Cool, thanks for the replies. I usually can write an essay in a couple days, so maybe the quote above suits me better. Nevertheless, I will try to take extra time for the PS.
 

Ashanti Rock

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Had an idea of what I wanted to write, but taking the April MCAT, working, and enrolled in some hard core science classes in my last semester before graduation, left little time to write. I actually began writing after graduation, would take a day at a time (literally 8 hrs at a time when off from work) to edit and rewrite, and had tons of people read over it for me. English composition profs, friends at my top choice medical schools, medical schools ad com members, and even my non-science friends. I think in all I probably spent a total of 10 days working on my p.s. I think all that feedback was really helpful, everyone served a different purpose. Finally submitted AMCAS on July 31st, and secondaries from sep-oct. So far done with 3 interviews, 4 more coming up, and 1 acceptance with a scholarship! All of my interviewers have commented on how much they liked my p.s. and I don't think that it would have been that great had it not been for all the amazing people that helped me! Good luck- remember a great essay a little late will do you much more good than a crappy one early! Just my opinion :)
 

silas2642

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Wait, we were supposed to write a personal statement before applying to medical school? When the heck was this?
 

jon0013

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first draft: a week after April 2005 mcat...
really started editing end of may till mid june...
submitted it last wk of june...
 

Moto

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I worked on it every day, all day for two weeks before submission. When I have a tight deadline I work best. Most interviewers commented positively on my essay. So, whatever works for you, don't assume that 1year in advance is the best advice. As with anything, figure out when you perform best and go with it.
 
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