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What to put in "personal highlights" section...

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Hello friends :) I have been perusing the secondary app and wanted to check with you guys about what types of information you are putting in the "personal highlights" section, which asks about your top 5 achievements/experiences. Is this meant to be completely separate from items we discuss in our ECs, or can we elaborate on those items? I know in the past, there has been an essay portion that was optional, but I can't seem to tell if this section is required or optional. Furthermore, does anyone know if this section is meant to be written in essay format?

I find it to be quite vague, which I suspect is intentional so that applicants can showcase their subjectively important experiences/achievements. I am just curious as to how others are approaching it! :)

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They said this section won't be scored (https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/programs/md/applying/non-academic-requirements) so I think it won't be factored into your pre-interview score? I think it's just there to give the file reviewer a better idea of you as a person, and maybe as a "Top 5" list that draws from your ECs similar to UofC's "Top 10"? 

I'm having trouble filling it out too, but I'll try to put at least something down. I don't think it looks good to leave it blank.

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1 hour ago, Frederick Sanger said:

Try to use activities that share a personal story about you. For example, if you have done an activity for a long period of time, say you used to compete in piano competitions, and you have won some awards, you can use that entire theme into that section. Overall, it is always helpful to think of community service, arts/sciences, academic awards, etc as clusters to include. Whatever you think would best convey to the adcom your passions and interests would be appropriate to select. 

So how would this be any different than the life experience's and achievements section? Just more minor "filler" things that one wouldn't consider worth a full spot perhaps?

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On 7/21/2019 at 12:07 AM, Frederick Sanger said:

Try to use activities that share a personal story about you. For example, if you have done an activity for a long period of time, say you used to compete in piano competitions, and you have won some awards, you can use that entire theme into that section. Overall, it is always helpful to think of community service, arts/sciences, academic awards, etc as clusters to include. Whatever you think would best convey to the adcom your passions and interests would be appropriate to select. 

I was thinking I might elaborate on one or two important ECs. I’m a mature student, so for me, it feels more beneficial to share some of my life experiences that have shaped me, but it’s interesting to phrase this section in a way that requires “5 things”, because much of my personal experiences are blended. I feel that may be what is throwing me off a bit with how to approach this! 

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On 7/21/2019 at 1:17 AM, Broken man said:

So how would this be any different than the life experience's and achievements section? Just more minor "filler" things that one wouldn't consider worth a full spot perhaps?

That’s sort of what I thought. I guess if you have one or two important ECs that you want to elaborate on, it gives you the opportunity to do so (considering the space they give you to describe your role is so minimal) 

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I'm also using this section as an opportunity to elaborate on other sections (ex. volunteering); I emailed Admissions, and they said that it is perfectly fine to reuse activities that you've already listed in prior sections for the top 5. 

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I find it interesting that this section is not scored. Was it also scored last year (the extenuating circumstances one)? I guess its good for those for procrastinate writing it lol. I'm just re-using/copy-pasting what I wrote for the U of C's top tens. Also, it seems like a lot of work for the admissions team to read so many essays that won't be scored.

I also find it interesting that they ask for your top 5 life experiences/awards NOT extenuating circumstances. The awards part is easy to understand, but top 5 life experiences is a bit tricky to get around when not talking about extenuating circumstances. Am I supposed to brag about something here or do I talk about a moment (no matter how big or small) that really changed my life the way Calgary likes you to do? Cause I don't have much to brag about haha while the things that changed my life are very often extenuating circumstances or things that I was not proud of but grew into a better person because of it.

Do you peeps find it good or bad that it's not scored? For procrastinators (and possible admissions) it's possibly a good thing because I can slap something together that's coherent and call it a day while admissions could use it to check for red-flags or just not read it at all. On the other hand, it could really help certain people expand on their ECs the way they can at Calgary instead of being stifled by the U of A's character limit.

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I find it interesting that this section is not scored. Was it also scored last year (the extenuating circumstances one)? I guess its good for those for procrastinate writing it lol. I'm just re-using/copy-pasting what I wrote for the U of C's top tens. Also, it seems like a lot of work for the admissions team to read so many essays that won't be scored.

I also find it interesting that they ask for your top 5 life experiences/awards NOT extenuating circumstances. The awards part is easy to understand, but top 5 life experiences is a bit tricky to get around when not talking about extenuating circumstances. Am I supposed to brag about something here or do I talk about a moment (no matter how big or small) that really changed my life the way Calgary likes you to do? Cause I don't have much to brag about haha while the things that changed my life are very often extenuating circumstances or things that I was not proud of but grew into a better person because of it.

Do you peeps find it good or bad that it's not scored? For procrastinators (and possible admissions) it's possibly a good thing because I can slap something together that's coherent and call it a day while admissions could use it to check for red-flags or just not read it at all. On the other hand, it could really help certain people expand on their ECs the way they can at Calgary instead of being stifled by the U of A's character limit.

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