Words to avoid in your PS

datboi_58

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“Underprivileged”
“Underserved”
“Disadvantaged”
“Vulnerable”

***this especially applies if you’re talking about something you want to do in the future rather than something you’ve already done in the past***

I was guilty of doing this when I wrote my PS so I understand but after reading only ~5 PSs from people on here, I have no idea how AdComs read so many statements. Every time I see these words, I either want to roll my eyes or throw up.

You would think healthcare disparities would’ve vanished with so many medical students interested in helping the underprivileged !!!
 
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M&L

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“Underprivileged”
“Underserved”
“Disadvantaged”
“Vulnerable”

***this especially applies if you’re talking about something you want to do in the future rather than something you’ve already done in the past***

I was guilty of doing this when I wrote my PS so I understand but after reading only ~5 PSs from people on here, I have no idea how AdComs read so many statements. Every time I see these words, I either want to roll my eyes or throw up.

You would think healthcare disparities would’ve vanished with so many medical students interested in helping the underprivileged !!!
I am not a writing expert, and i am just a rising M2, but i agree with you. This kind of vocabulary just makes me feel like the writer is dishonest or is trying to show off... I dont know. Maybe i am wrong, but it just doesnt sit right with me.
 
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srstudent

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I can't lie...I'm guilty of using these words in my essays as well. However, I genuinely do believe I worked with an underserved community. I also see some of these words in some medical school's mission statements. How do you suggest I communicate that I worked with the underserved community? Because I definitely want to communicate that.
 
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datboi_58

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I can't lie...I'm guilty of using these words in my essays as well. However, I genuinely do believe I worked with an underserved community. I also see some of these words in some medical school's mission statements. How do you suggest I communicate that I worked with the underserved community? Because I definitely want to communicate that.
Just talk about your experience. Broad statements such as “in the future, I want to work with underserved communities” are meaningless imo.

If you worked with the community, talk about what you did. Did you provide transportation? Meals? Tutoring? Healthcare? Housing?

Something like, “I would help Johnny with his homework after school” is much better than “i served kids from an underprivileged neighborhood“

Also, pro-tip: don’t regurgitate mission statements. Mention specific stories of how you match their mission.
 
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Lifeblood_20

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I feel like this is like asking people to not use the word "science" in the personal statement. Yes, good to avoid cliches so Adcoms don't think you are making empty promises. But if it comes from a genuine place I don't see a reason to avoid using these words just to avoid them.
 
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OfMiceAndWomen

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I can't lie...I'm guilty of using these words in my essays as well. However, I genuinely do believe I worked with an underserved community. I also see some of these words in some medical school's mission statements. How do you suggest I communicate that I worked with the underserved community? Because I definitely want to communicate that.

I think instead of using “underserved” as a descriptor (which honestly is fine if you actually do have this experience and it is substantial), you can use more objective language. Did you work with people who were un/under-insured? Food or housing insecure? Non-English speakers/immigrants/refugees? Other minority groups?
Not an exhaustive list, but we/ppl editing your writing can help re-word things so they are descriptive but not cliche-y
 
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Rachapkis

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Avoid stringing together 50-cent words that sound like you're trying to impress. Ultimately, such strings serve only to distance the reader.
 
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Med Ed

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“Underprivileged”
“Underserved”
“Disadvantaged”
“Vulnerable”

***this especially applies if you’re talking about something you want to do in the future rather than something you’ve already done in the past***

I was guilty of doing this when I wrote my PS so I understand but after reading only ~5 PSs from people on here, I have no idea how AdComs read so many statements. Every time I see these words, I either want to roll my eyes or throw up.

You would think healthcare disparities would’ve vanished with so many medical students interested in helping the underprivileged !!!

"I volunteered at a community health center in an underserved neighborhood."
"I volunteered at a Boys & Girls Club that serves a high proportion of disadvantaged/underprivileged youth."
"I volunteered at a nonprofit that advocates increase healthcare access for vulnerable populations."

These words are all fine. If anyone is looking for words to avoid start with "passion," "passionate," "fascinated," and "vexed."
 
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Kumorebi

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I feel like this is like asking people to not use the word "science" in the personal statement. Yes, good to avoid cliches so Adcoms don't think you are making empty promises. But if it comes from a genuine place I don't see a reason to avoid using these words just to avoid them.
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Kumorebi

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I think while these words are very common, it is most important to not use them without any substance

I believe that's the idea behind avoiding some of the listed words above.

"I'm passionate about X, Y, Z" - Sentence is absolute fluff and says nothing. I can't think of a good sentence with passionate that's not fluff.

For me, I see a lot of people throwing jargon associated with their research or using acronyms that they haven't established. This usually happens when they're telling a story about their amazing research breakthoughs.

How about: "House" "Scrubs" "Chicago MD" "Grey's Anatomy"
 

longhaul3

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I think this is bad advice. These days, med schools want to see acknowledgment of sociopolitical issues relevant to medicine, commitment to service, compassion, etc. Interest in serving the middle class is fine, admirable, but probably not worth expressing in a med school essay.

Applicants should use words purposefully in their relevant contexts. Use them to mean what you say. Avoid using "underserved" as a catch-all euphemism for "poor" if you're not talking about services that are lacking. Poor communities are usually medically underserved, but these are all different descriptors of an actual community. We don't use unnecessary descriptors in our everyday language—tart, shiny, green, round, crisp apple—because it sounds stilted and artificial. We use the descriptors that are contextually relevant.

It's difficult to wrap this into an essay because cultural norms limit our word choices and make it difficult to avoid redundancy. There are only so many ways to describe medically underserved communities in the current lexicon without being offensive, pejorative, or overly reductive. But as a college graduate, a med school applicant should be a competent enough writer to handle it.
 
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“Underprivileged”
“Underserved”
“Disadvantaged”
“Vulnerable”

***this especially applies if you’re talking about something you want to do in the future rather than something you’ve already done in the past***

I was guilty of doing this when I wrote my PS so I understand but after reading only ~5 PSs from people on here, I have no idea how AdComs read so many statements. Every time I see these words, I either want to roll my eyes or throw up.

You would think healthcare disparities would’ve vanished with so many medical students interested in helping the underprivileged !!!
Add "rural"

Always a tipoff from suburban kids
 
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I can't lie...I'm guilty of using these words in my essays as well. However, I genuinely do believe I worked with an underserved community. I also see some of these words in some medical school's mission statements. How do you suggest I communicate that I worked with the underserved community? Because I definitely want to communicate that.
You actually go and do it first. Walk the walk and not merely talk the talk.
 
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boo234

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“Underprivileged”
“Underserved”
“Disadvantaged”
“Vulnerable”

***this especially applies if you’re talking about something you want to do in the future rather than something you’ve already done in the past***

I was guilty of doing this when I wrote my PS so I understand but after reading only ~5 PSs from people on here, I have no idea how AdComs read so many statements. Every time I see these words, I either want to roll my eyes or throw up.

You would think healthcare disparities would’ve vanished with so many medical students interested in helping the underprivileged !!!

lmao but this is why I took my name off the reader list. as someone from one of these inner-city "underserved/underprivileged/disadvantaged" communities, the way most people wrote about their experiences in neighborhoods like mine came off as privileged, condescending, tone deaf, and very offensive. maybe 1 or 2 out of the 30ish I've read were actually done well and gave me hope. don't include these experiences if you don't see yourself continuing this work throughout medical school/your professional career and only did it bc it's what you think adcoms want to see.

also, I never want to see neVErthELesS again
 
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