Worried I'm not compelling enough

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ecsqueezme

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I realize I'm jumping the gun here and am definitely being neurotic, but sometimes I really worry that my story won't be compelling enough for adcoms. I know GPA, MCAT, and ECs are the major things but as far as my story goes- neither of my parents are physicians, I don't have any personal experience with extreme illnesses, and as for hardship, the hardest thing I've had to deal with has been my parents messy divorce and paying my own way through school, which I know isn't all that bad considering.

Has anyone else had similar worries? And if so, how did you get over it?
 

NotASerialKiller

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tldr? I got bored reading about your life, sorry
 
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ChrisMack390

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Med schools like students that overcame crazy stuff, but that doesn't mean that all, or even a majority, did that. In fact, med schools like those students because most med students are just "normal" upper middle class types.
 
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ecsqueezme

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Seriously? People ask way more ridiculous questions on this form and get a better response than this. I'm not asking you to tell me I'm not boring. I was genuinely curious if people had similar concerns and if so how they dealt with them. But nevermind.
 

ecsqueezme

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Med schools like students that overcame crazy stuff, but that doesn't mean that all, or even a majority, did that. In fact, med schools like those students because most med students are just "normal" upper middle class types.


Thanks. My family was definitely not upper middle class, but yeah I guess we were more or less "normal."
 

NotASerialKiller

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Seriously? People ask way more ridiculous questions on this form and get a better response than this. I'm not asking you to tell me I'm not boring. I was genuinely curious if people had similar concerns and if so how they dealt with them. But nevermind.

Just teasing, couldn't resist. You don't need a dramatic life story, as I'm sure others will tell you.
 
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DrHart

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Generic middle class white male here... Apply to mid/lower tier schools that take your stats - assuming you aren't URM, try applying to low/mid tier schools that aren't too URM heavy.
Maybe pick a couple things that you're really passionate about and really elaborate about it on your app. Gotta have something that makes you stick out a little. At the end of the day it really seems like a crapshoot to me. What a school is looking for, what that year's applicant pool looks like, who reads your app, what they think about your app... I don't think it's as black and white as people make it seem (just because you did this this and this and scored this doesn't necessarily translate to an acceptance)
 
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kiwifriend

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I definitely have the same worry! I also don't have any one defining Interesting Thing about my application. Haha I wish I could tell you how I got over it, but it definitely still worries me sometimes :) I mostly am just trying to focus on the little details that make me an interesting person!
 
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Moko

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sometimes I really worry that my story won't be compelling enough for adcoms. ... neither of my parents are physicians, I don't have any personal experience with extreme illnesses, and as for hardship, the hardest thing I've had to deal with has been my parents messy divorce and paying my own way through school, which I know isn't all that bad considering. Has anyone else had similar worries? And if so, how did you get over it?
Personal statements aren't a pissing contest to see who has the sh*ttiest upbringing. Since you weren't exposed to medicine through family or illness, why did you pursue premed or shadow that first physician? Focus on telling your story, and your motivations and reasoning for pursuing this path -- the overwhelming majority of personal statements aren't that unique.
 
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Dr. Death

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Here's the story that will get you in.
515+ MCAT
3.8 +GPA
Lots of volunteering
Moderate shadowing
Good LoR
Research publications.

Thats the best story for you
 
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OldstockJr

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if ur MCAT is balanced 30+, GPA is balanced 3.5+ science and cumulative, and uve checked off ur volunteering/shadowing hours ... there is no need to endure extra hardships lol. just pick an experiernce during ur shadowing or volunteering and expand on it in the personal statement. ur seriously set for a med school in the states as long as u apply broadly and convey urself to be professional during the interview. these things are already fairly tough.

now if ur academics like MCAT or GPA is below average, then some students will have a compelling story (working extra jobs to help finances, overcoming family death etc). but of course these students will have reinvented themselves with upward trend in grades and a higher retake MCAT score. a majority of matriculated med students don't fall into this category simply bc it is a lot tougher to balance all these things.
 
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Moko

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OchemOficionado

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Generic middle class white male here... Apply to mid/lower tier schools that take your stats - assuming you aren't URM, try applying to low/mid tier schools that aren't too URM heavy.
Maybe pick a couple things that you're really passionate about and really elaborate about it on your app. Gotta have something that makes you stick out a little. At the end of the day it really seems like a crapshoot to me. What a school is looking for, what that year's applicant pool looks like, who reads your app, what they think about your app... I don't think it's as black and white as people make it seem (just because you did this this and this and scored this doesn't necessarily translate to an acceptance)

What are these schools that you speak of that are URM HEAVY? HBUs?
 

The Knife & Gun Club

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What are these schools that you speak of that are URM HEAVY? HBUs?

HBUs, Puerto Ricans, or other mission driven schools (like FIU, a school thats ~50% URM mostly from hispanic/afro-carribean population of south florida)
 
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Let'sGoO's

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I realize I'm jumping the gun here and am definitely being neurotic, but sometimes I really worry that my story won't be compelling enough for adcoms. I know GPA, MCAT, and ECs are the major things but as far as my story goes- neither of my parents are physicians, I don't have any personal experience with extreme illnesses, and as for hardship, the hardest thing I've had to deal with has been my parents messy divorce and paying my own way through school, which I know isn't all that bad considering.

Has anyone else had similar worries? And if so, how did you get over it?

If you're stressed now just wait until the "diversity" secondary essays start coming...

But really, as a middle class white male I had the same issue, just takes some time but you'll think of something. Once you start interviewing you'll probably see that almost everyone is in the same boat as you when it comes to "boring".
 
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OchemOficionado

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HBUs, Puerto Ricans, or other mission driven schools (like FIU, a school thats ~50% URM mostly from hispanic/afro-carribean population of south florida)

Thank you. That's what I was thinking. I read it in a way that there may be more that I had no idea about. Puerto Rico isn't an option for most applicants anyway, was also my thought.
 
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ChrisMack390

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If you're stressed now just wait until the "diversity" secondary essays start coming...

But really, as a middle class white male I had the same issue, just takes some time but you'll think of something. Once you start interviewing you'll probably see that almost everyone is in the same boat as you when it comes to "boring".

If everyone wasn't boring, then "boring" wouldn't be boring.
 
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MaxPlancker

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Most ppl that get into a school probably aren't as "compelling" as you're imagining…

To be honest though, if your personal statement doesn't read like this then better start planning to attend the Harvard of the Carribbean!

“Mbuto.”

My African driver springs to his feet.

“Yes, Sahib.”

“Pass me another baby, I think this one has died.” I lay the dead infant in the pile by my feet. What I’d really like him to do is pass me an ice-cold bottle of the local beer. Compassion is hot, thirsty work. There is no ice in this wretched refugee camp, mores the pity, but as I’m here to help I will suffer in silence. I stare into the eyes of the African baby who is suffering from HIV or dengue fever or something gross and look out into the hot, dusty savannah and ask, “Why? Why gender-neutral and non-judgmental Deity (or Deities) does this have to happen?”

“And Why, Mbuto, is the air-conditioning on my Land Rover broken again?”

“One thousand pardons, Sahib, but the parts have not arrived.”

I will suffer. I have lived a life of privilege and my suffering serves to link me to the suffering of mankind. I roll the window down. God it’s hot. How can people live here? Why don’t they move where it’s cool? Still, I see by the vacant stare from the walking skeletons who insist on blocking the road that they appreciate my compassion and I know that in a small way, I am making a difference in their lives.

Africa. Oh wretched continent! How long must you suffer? How long will you provide the venue to compensate for a low MCAT score? How many must die before I am accepted to a top-tier medical school?

When did I first discover that I, myself, desired to be a doctor? Some come to the decision late in life, often not until the age of five. The non-traditional applicants might not know until they are seven or even, as hard as it is to believe, until the end of ninth grade. I came, myself, to the realization that I, myself, wanted to be a doctor on the way through the birth canal when I realized that my large head was causing a partial third degree vaginal laceration. I quickly threw a couple of sutures into the fascia between contractions so strong was my desire to help people.

My dedication to service was just beginning. At five I was counseling the first-graders on their reproductive options. By twelve I was volunteering at a suicide crisis center/free needle exchange hot-line for troubled transgendered teens. I’ll never forget Jose, a young Hispanic male with HIV who had just been kicked out of his casa by his conservative Catholic parents. He had turned to black tar heroin as his only solace and he was literally at the end of his rope when he called.

“How about a condom, Hose,” I asked. The J, as you know, is pronounced like an H in Spanish.

Annoying silence on the line. Hesus, I was there to help him.

“Condoms will solve all of your problems,” I continued, “In fact, in a paper of which I was listed as the fourth author, we found that condoms prevent all kinds of diseases including HIV which I have a suspicion is the root of your depression.”

More silence. No one had ever had such a rapport with him. He was speechless and grateful and I took his sobs as evidence of my compassion.

“Hey, it was double-blinded and placebo controlled, vato.” Cultural competence is important and I value my diverse upbringing which has exposed me to peoples of many different ethnicities. I always say “What up, Homes?” to the nice young negroes who assemble my Big Mac and I think they accept me as a soul brother.

“We also have needles, amigo. Clean needles would prevent HIV too.”

My desire to be a physician has mirrored my desire to actualize my potential to serve humanity in many capacities. This may be something unheard of from medical school applicant but I have a strong desire to help people. I manifest this desire by my dedication to obtaining all kinds of exposure to all different kinds of people but mostly those from underserved and underprivileged populations. In fact, during a stint in a Doctors Without Borders spin-off chapter I learned the true meaning of underserved while staffing a mall health care pavilion in La Jolla, California.

Most of my friends are black or latino and I am a “Junior Cousin” of the Nation of Islam where I teach infidel abasement techniques to the Mohammed (PBUHN) Scouts. I also am active in the fight for women’s reproductive rights except of course for women in Afghanistan who were better off before our current racist war.

As Maya Angelou once said, “All men (and womyn) are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.” I feel this embodies my philosophy best because the prospect of grad school is too horrible to contemplate. --PandaBearMD
 
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DrHart

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What are these schools that you speak of that are URM HEAVY? HBUs?
You can find a breakdown on the MSAR of how many asian caucasian black latino etc. Some schools have more than others. Probably more of a regional thing if anything. But still worth considering I think
 
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Espressso

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Most ppl that get into a school probably aren't as "compelling" as you're imagining…

To be honest though, if your personal statement doesn't read like this then better start planning to attend the Harvard of the Carribbean!

“Mbuto.”

My African driver springs to his feet.

“Yes, Sahib.”

“Pass me another baby, I think this one has died.” I lay the dead infant in the pile by my feet. What I’d really like him to do is pass me an ice-cold bottle of the local beer. Compassion is hot, thirsty work. There is no ice in this wretched refugee camp, mores the pity, but as I’m here to help I will suffer in silence. I stare into the eyes of the African baby who is suffering from HIV or dengue fever or something gross and look out into the hot, dusty savannah and ask, “Why? Why gender-neutral and non-judgmental Deity (or Deities) does this have to happen?”

“And Why, Mbuto, is the air-conditioning on my Land Rover broken again?”

“One thousand pardons, Sahib, but the parts have not arrived.”

I will suffer. I have lived a life of privilege and my suffering serves to link me to the suffering of mankind. I roll the window down. God it’s hot. How can people live here? Why don’t they move where it’s cool? Still, I see by the vacant stare from the walking skeletons who insist on blocking the road that they appreciate my compassion and I know that in a small way, I am making a difference in their lives.

Africa. Oh wretched continent! How long must you suffer? How long will you provide the venue to compensate for a low MCAT score? How many must die before I am accepted to a top-tier medical school?

When did I first discover that I, myself, desired to be a doctor? Some come to the decision late in life, often not until the age of five. The non-traditional applicants might not know until they are seven or even, as hard as it is to believe, until the end of ninth grade. I came, myself, to the realization that I, myself, wanted to be a doctor on the way through the birth canal when I realized that my large head was causing a partial third degree vaginal laceration. I quickly threw a couple of sutures into the fascia between contractions so strong was my desire to help people.

My dedication to service was just beginning. At five I was counseling the first-graders on their reproductive options. By twelve I was volunteering at a suicide crisis center/free needle exchange hot-line for troubled transgendered teens. I’ll never forget Jose, a young Hispanic male with HIV who had just been kicked out of his casa by his conservative Catholic parents. He had turned to black tar heroin as his only solace and he was literally at the end of his rope when he called.

“How about a condom, Hose,” I asked. The J, as you know, is pronounced like an H in Spanish.

Annoying silence on the line. Hesus, I was there to help him.

“Condoms will solve all of your problems,” I continued, “In fact, in a paper of which I was listed as the fourth author, we found that condoms prevent all kinds of diseases including HIV which I have a suspicion is the root of your depression.”

More silence. No one had ever had such a rapport with him. He was speechless and grateful and I took his sobs as evidence of my compassion.

“Hey, it was double-blinded and placebo controlled, vato.” Cultural competence is important and I value my diverse upbringing which has exposed me to peoples of many different ethnicities. I always say “What up, Homes?” to the nice young negroes who assemble my Big Mac and I think they accept me as a soul brother.

“We also have needles, amigo. Clean needles would prevent HIV too.”

My desire to be a physician has mirrored my desire to actualize my potential to serve humanity in many capacities. This may be something unheard of from medical school applicant but I have a strong desire to help people. I manifest this desire by my dedication to obtaining all kinds of exposure to all different kinds of people but mostly those from underserved and underprivileged populations. In fact, during a stint in a Doctors Without Borders spin-off chapter I learned the true meaning of underserved while staffing a mall health care pavilion in La Jolla, California.

Most of my friends are black or latino and I am a “Junior Cousin” of the Nation of Islam where I teach infidel abasement techniques to the Mohammed (PBUHN) Scouts. I also am active in the fight for women’s reproductive rights except of course for women in Afghanistan who were better off before our current racist war.

As Maya Angelou once said, “All men (and womyn) are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.” I feel this embodies my philosophy best because the prospect of grad school is too horrible to contemplate. --PandaBearMD

THIS. NEVER. GETS. OLD.
 
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OchemOficionado

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You can find a breakdown on the MSAR of how many asian caucasian black latino etc. Some schools have more than others. Probably more of a regional thing if anything. But still worth considering I think

Probably inconsequential unless applying to HBUs and PR schools without ties. There are many things that should be taken into consideration when forming a school list so why not, but I think very few schools have a high enough percentage to be considered "URM heavy" though.
 
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F

fogorvostan

Most ppl that get into a school probably aren't as "compelling" as you're imagining…

To be honest though, if your personal statement doesn't read like this then better start planning to attend the Harvard of the Carribbean!

“Mbuto.”

My African driver springs to his feet.

“Yes, Sahib.”

“Pass me another baby, I think this one has died.” I lay the dead infant in the pile by my feet. What I’d really like him to do is pass me an ice-cold bottle of the local beer. Compassion is hot, thirsty work. There is no ice in this wretched refugee camp, mores the pity, but as I’m here to help I will suffer in silence. I stare into the eyes of the African baby who is suffering from HIV or dengue fever or something gross and look out into the hot, dusty savannah and ask, “Why? Why gender-neutral and non-judgmental Deity (or Deities) does this have to happen?”

“And Why, Mbuto, is the air-conditioning on my Land Rover broken again?”

“One thousand pardons, Sahib, but the parts have not arrived.”

I will suffer. I have lived a life of privilege and my suffering serves to link me to the suffering of mankind. I roll the window down. God it’s hot. How can people live here? Why don’t they move where it’s cool? Still, I see by the vacant stare from the walking skeletons who insist on blocking the road that they appreciate my compassion and I know that in a small way, I am making a difference in their lives.

Africa. Oh wretched continent! How long must you suffer? How long will you provide the venue to compensate for a low MCAT score? How many must die before I am accepted to a top-tier medical school?

When did I first discover that I, myself, desired to be a doctor? Some come to the decision late in life, often not until the age of five. The non-traditional applicants might not know until they are seven or even, as hard as it is to believe, until the end of ninth grade. I came, myself, to the realization that I, myself, wanted to be a doctor on the way through the birth canal when I realized that my large head was causing a partial third degree vaginal laceration. I quickly threw a couple of sutures into the fascia between contractions so strong was my desire to help people.

My dedication to service was just beginning. At five I was counseling the first-graders on their reproductive options. By twelve I was volunteering at a suicide crisis center/free needle exchange hot-line for troubled transgendered teens. I’ll never forget Jose, a young Hispanic male with HIV who had just been kicked out of his casa by his conservative Catholic parents. He had turned to black tar heroin as his only solace and he was literally at the end of his rope when he called.

“How about a condom, Hose,” I asked. The J, as you know, is pronounced like an H in Spanish.

Annoying silence on the line. Hesus, I was there to help him.

“Condoms will solve all of your problems,” I continued, “In fact, in a paper of which I was listed as the fourth author, we found that condoms prevent all kinds of diseases including HIV which I have a suspicion is the root of your depression.”

More silence. No one had ever had such a rapport with him. He was speechless and grateful and I took his sobs as evidence of my compassion.

“Hey, it was double-blinded and placebo controlled, vato.” Cultural competence is important and I value my diverse upbringing which has exposed me to peoples of many different ethnicities. I always say “What up, Homes?” to the nice young negroes who assemble my Big Mac and I think they accept me as a soul brother.

“We also have needles, amigo. Clean needles would prevent HIV too.”

My desire to be a physician has mirrored my desire to actualize my potential to serve humanity in many capacities. This may be something unheard of from medical school applicant but I have a strong desire to help people. I manifest this desire by my dedication to obtaining all kinds of exposure to all different kinds of people but mostly those from underserved and underprivileged populations. In fact, during a stint in a Doctors Without Borders spin-off chapter I learned the true meaning of underserved while staffing a mall health care pavilion in La Jolla, California.

Most of my friends are black or latino and I am a “Junior Cousin” of the Nation of Islam where I teach infidel abasement techniques to the Mohammed (PBUHN) Scouts. I also am active in the fight for women’s reproductive rights except of course for women in Afghanistan who were better off before our current racist war.

As Maya Angelou once said, “All men (and womyn) are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.” I feel this embodies my philosophy best because the prospect of grad school is too horrible to contemplate. --PandaBearMD
How have I never seen this before. This is beautiful.
 
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ecsqueezme

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Thanks for all the responses and apologies for getting snippy. I'm in the midst of studying for finals on top of being neurotic (promise I'm working on it). I'm URM but I don't want to sit back and coast, I want to prove to myself and adcoms that I'm capable. I get that a messy divorce isn't anything to sneeze at, esp since it happened pretty recently, but I worry that it'd be unprofessional to get that personal. I wouldn't want to come off like I'm seeking sympathy when people are dealing with more difficult circumstances.

Anyway, thanks everyone. I'm just gonna try my best to not over think things and drive myself crazy.
 
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