5 Tips for Writing About Coronavirus in Your Personal Statement
Do's and Don'ts for Writing About Coronavirus in Your Personal Statement
If you wanted to apply to 151 medical schools, what would you need to accomplish that?
Running in charity 5Ks. Traveling around the globe. Playing the piano. These might sound like great hobbies to include in your medical school application, but the truth is that every pre-med does them.
I decided to pursue medicine because of the enlightenment attained on my five-month backpacking yoga meditation in the Himalayas. While the idea of patient care is nice, the enlightenment of medicine is far more intriguing
One of our core philosophies is based on a question that most pre-meds aren’t asking before they apply to medical school.“Why should medical schools accept you? What makes you stand out?”
The race begins! The AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) opens tomorrow, and if you’re not one of the first few to fill it out in the hours that it opens, you will never fulfill your dreams of becoming a physician.
My friend begins every trip to Vegas at the roulette table, throwing down a chunk of chips on black or red. “Let’s just see what happens,” he says.
The personal statement is a cruel beast - but what kind of beast?
In Ulysses, James Joyce uses 18 chapters to traverse the novel’s 24-hour timeframe. The story flashes back and forth, alludes to myths, includes cheeky puns, and fluctuates between prose and Leopold Bloom’s stream-of-consciousness. In the end, you’re left with a deep impression that resonates - a book that’s even more comprehensive than it seems.
Our first Facebook Live event answered questions about applying to medical school, with a special emphasis on writing your personal statement. Do you have questions you want answered live? Email your medical school admissions questions to our Head Advisor, Rob Humbracht, for our next Facebook Live event. All questions welcome.
“Voila! Magnifique! It’s perfect - my masterpiece, my opus - it’s finally complete!”I’ve never once heard these words come out of a pre-med’s mouth. Since the personal statement is challenging and the stakes are high, pre-meds usually struggle to know when their essays are finished.
Few things are as intimidating as a blank screen. What should I say? Where do I begin?That’s the reason I'm doing this 21-day writing challenge in the first place: to thwart the perfectionism, excuses, and other BS that prevent me from writing on a regular basis.
Sleeping in a coffin. Keeping rotten apples in the cupboards. Walking aimlessly through a garden of snails. Playing with your genitals.These are just a few of the odd habits documented in Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work.
“There was a kindliness about intoxication--that indescribable gloss and glamour, like the memories of ephemeral and faded evenings.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
You've heard us stress the importance of good writing in your medical school application, and being a good writer, just like staying in shape, takes training and practice.
“Cool story, bro.”Hang out with young people long enough, and you might just hear this phrase. As Urban Dictionary notes, it’s a sarcastic expression “used to indicate one's disgust or indifference towards a tl;dr story.” In case you’re wondering, “tl;dr” stands for “too long; didn’t read.”
Join the club. If you’ve been rejected from medical school, that makes you normal. 60% of applicants DON’T get in. The people who get in are the unusual ones.
Sometimes it’s more about what you don’t say than what you do.Google “Personal Statement Don’ts” and you’ll get a host of obvious advice: “Don’t have any typos” or “Don’t discuss political topics like abortion.”This article aims to go deeper. We’ll focus on specific mistakes that plague average personal statements. Steer clear of these pitfalls:
Do any of the following sound like you?You’re volunteering every week in the hospital to get enough hours to put on your medical school application.You’re pushing through your research internship even though you don’t like it much - because you know medical schools want students with research experience.You’re volunteering your time at a homeless shelter or attending blood drives to get your hours above the threshold most medical schools seek in their applicants (roughly 200 hours if you’re curious).
The competition for medical school is fierce. With so many qualified candidates, it’s easy to fear being overlooked by admissions committees. Stellar grades and a laundry list of experiences aren’t enough on their own.
Most people know the writing adage, “show, don’t tell.” Whether you’re writing a novel or a medical school personal statement, this approach is a tried-and-true way of getting your message across.
Last week, we revealed the five most overused sentences in medical school personal statements. This week we’re going a little deeper, down to the level of individual words.In our experience, these 10 words and phrases are often beaten to death in pre-med essays. Use them sparingly, if at all.
If you want to stand out from the pack, then you should avoid the common cliches of pre-med writers.They’re not necessarily bad ideas; in fact, most cliches make perfect sense. Of course you want to help people. Of course your time in the hospital inspired you. It’s precisely because they make perfect sense that they’re cliche: most pre-meds express the same exact thing. Over time, these sentiments have lost their power through overuse.
Like grammar, punctuation helps to ensure clarity in your writing. It’s also a bit like dressing up for an interview--it’s part of your presentation and professionalism, a way to show the reader that you care about how your message is conveyed.
Many would call it a stretch to compare poor grammar to “envy,” “wrath,” “greed,” or any one of the seven deadly sins. It’s true that grammatical errors could result from a writer succumbing to “pride” or “sloth,” but more likely, it’s just ignorance.
When pre-meds start writing their application essays, they often lack these intangible qualities that will make them stand out. Sure, you’ve gotten good grades in your science classes, amassed hundreds of volunteer hours, and earned a good MCAT score. But the act of making yourself come to life on paper, to write a personal essay, will feel as foreign to pre-meds as binge drinking and slacking off.
You’re in competition with thousands of qualified medical school applicants for a limited number of spots, so you have to “sell yourself” to stand out. But you don’t want to come across as pompous, pretentious, or self-righteous. The dreaded “holier than thou” tone that will make admissions officers’ skin crawl.
Most pre-meds struggling to write their personal statements are worried about two things: They feel like they don’t stand out and they feel like their essays are cliche
Have you ever saved someone from drowning? What about rescuing a baby from a burning building? How about a cat stuck in a tree? Anything? Alright, so you didn’t save anyone. But surely you could, right? Especially with your tri-cultural background and fluency in six languages! No? Not even close? Not a problem. We’ll just fall back on your experience as a classically trained flautist? Or your brief stint as a circus acrobat? What’s that? I have the wrong file?
Since the dawn of time, there have been many different cultures and societies with various beliefs on medicine.
Many pre-meds have feelings of trepidation when they sit down at the keyboard. Some openly claim to be “bad writers,” while others simply struggle to meet their own high standards.
The dreaded “diversity question.”Each year, as students fill out their secondary applications, they’re bombarded with essay prompts about their “diverse qualities,” “unique insights,” or “unusual life experiences.” Schools will usually ask how these qualities, insights, or experiences will contribute to their campus or environment.
Ernest Hemingway once famously claimed, “the first draft of anything is sh*t.” And if you run your own first drafts through the Hemingway App, you’re bound to agree with him.According to its website, the Hemingway App is designed to “make your writing bold and clear.” But what does that mean?
In our first installment, we broke down myths #1-5 in an attempt to decode the cryptic and overwhelming medical school admissions process.Now we’re back to complete the top ten and put an end to the rumors once and for all.
In our work with pre-meds, we hear all kinds of crazy claims. About 95% of the time we hear one of the above phrases, what follows is false. No, you don’t need 400 hours of shadowing to get into medical school. No, it doesn’t help to finish college in three years. And when you get a rejection letter, you shouldn’t call the medical school and plead to be given a second chance.
Let’s be honest. For most students applying to medical school, DO schools are a backup. From data collected by AACOM, of the students surveyed who got into both MD and DO schools, 86% chose an MD school.
BONUS: Every Secondary Essay Prompt For Your Medical Schools. Overachievement is clearly the norm for pre-meds. So it’s no surprise that they’re expected to complete something ‘secondary’ months in advance.
We must first acknowledge just how hard it is to be a doctor these days. Why is it so hard? Most doctors are burned out. Pressure is increasing to see more patients in less time (undermining the patient-physician relationship). Many doctors (and many pre-meds) are perfectionists who refuse to admit mistakes but inevitably make them anyway. Add to that a huge debt load from medical school and precious little time with family and friends, and it’s easy to see why doctors want out of their profession.
our page isn’t blank any more, but you may not be very happy with what you’ve written. Basically, your room isn’t guest-ready just yet – it doesn’t look the way you really want it to and the way you may have imagined it in your head. Most likely, your essay is also too long (5300 characters goes by quickly). You’re going to have to move stuff around and probably get rid of some beloved knick knacks and potentially even an armchair or two.
The next step for your medical school personal statement is to decide what stories you want to tell and where. You may want to start by writing out some of your stories or at least make a quick sketch of your most memorable moments. What are the best stories for your Personal Statement? What would be good for your "Most Meaningfuls?" To me, this process is like purchasing furniture for an empty room. You know the types of chairs and lamps that you like and that represent your own style, but sometimes you don’t know exactly where you’re going to put them.
Since you’re a pre-med and are most likely dying for some tangible steps for getting started on your personal statement for medical school, let’s move on to some pre-writing tips.
The Resume Rehash. Admissions officers have read this type of essay all the time. It happens so often that it’s one of the biggest personal statement cliches. The way it goes is something like this: the applicant says why medicine but feels she needs to cram every single activity since she turned 18 into the 5300 characters. She touches upon so many experiences that she doesn’t take the time to elaborate well on any of them.
A fantastic - and honest - talk by a Mount Sinai Admissions Officer at the UC Davis Pre-Health Conference in October aimed squarely at the personal statement and how to write it. Using an in-depth approach of looking at a successful applicant over all of the phases of the application process, the Mount Sinai admissions officer analyzed what applicants must do to get in.