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Was told my personal statement was "too journalistic"... is that a bad thing?


balster

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Hi everyone,

 

Since my gpa is sorta lackluster (3.5), I need to compensate with a kickass personal statement.

 

I want it to stand out a lot - but in a good way. Which is really hard to do because there is a thin line between "woah, this is neat!" and "wtf, what's this girl on?"

 

I'm applying to US and Canadian medical schools in order not to keep all my eggs in one basket.

 

So I wrote my personal statement and I think it's pretty well-crafted. Writing compelling pieces is really my strong suit.

 

Here's the deal though: I've spent a lot of time working for campus publications, so I drafted a personal statement that a mentor told me sounds "too journalistic". See, I'm quite good at the inverted pyramid approach, which makes my writing compelling. I'm an English minor too, so it still has a bit of an erudite, academic tone.

 

I started with telling a story - and yes, I used descriptive language - about an experience I had doing humanitarian work in South America, when this 15 year-old new mom in the maternity ward wanted me to hold her hand and how much of a difference such a small gesture made. Then I went on to say how this experience built a certain skill, and then I went on for two more paragraphs about two more important skills I've learned through shadowing and volunteering are necessary for being a good physician, and gave examples on why I exhibit these traits. They were elaborated examples, however.

 

Then I did a concluding paragraph that synthesizes everything.

 

So question:

 

Okay, yes, my piece does read quite like a feature article, but... is that a bad thing?

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I haven't read the essay, nor should I offer much advice since I'm not that great of a writer myself. But in my experience, academic and journalistic writing (which is typically more objective) tends to lose the personal, passionate voice that can make a personal statement powerful.

 

Perhaps others with similar backgrounds to you might understand your essay more fully, but it would be safe to assume that many admissions officers won't have that background.

 

Just a thought, I could be wrong. Good luck.

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talking of an experience in south america sounds so typical. perhaps you could include other things you think they should know about you

 

The South America bit is a very small part of my letter. Sure, South America is pretty ordinary, but is working in South America as a clown/med-volunteer with Patch Adams ordinary? That's what I thought.

I also talked about how I wrote a musical about premed and the leadership and teamwork that was involved in putting it together to be performed in front of an audience of 1000. I explained my crappy gpa for a bit and twisted it in a positive light "I took too many classes and got involved in too many extracurriculars, which hurt my gpa more than expected. This gave me the opportunity to learn my limits and through much introspection, I am pleased with how I rebounded." is the general gist of it.

 

@Futuredoc - thank you so much for going over my personal statement! You literally saved it. It's so much better now because of you! -virtual hugs-

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i write very similarly, everyone wants to hear a story… i'm surprised they said that, usually people eat it up… think you just into an exception… wouldn't worry to much… top american schools love to hear this stuff, ditto with scholarship committees.

 

Hi everyone,

 

Since my gpa is sorta lackluster (3.5), I need to compensate with a kickass personal statement.

 

I want it to stand out a lot - but in a good way. Which is really hard to do because there is a thin line between "woah, this is neat!" and "wtf, what's this girl on?"

 

I'm applying to US and Canadian medical schools in order not to keep all my eggs in one basket.

 

So I wrote my personal statement and I think it's pretty well-crafted. Writing compelling pieces is really my strong suit.

 

Here's the deal though: I've spent a lot of time working for campus publications, so I drafted a personal statement that a mentor told me sounds "too journalistic". See, I'm quite good at the inverted pyramid approach, which makes my writing compelling. I'm an English minor too, so it still has a bit of an erudite, academic tone.

 

I started with telling a story - and yes, I used descriptive language - about an experience I had doing humanitarian work in South America, when this 15 year-old new mom in the maternity ward wanted me to hold her hand and how much of a difference such a small gesture made. Then I went on to say how this experience built a certain skill, and then I went on for two more paragraphs about two more important skills I've learned through shadowing and volunteering are necessary for being a good physician, and gave examples on why I exhibit these traits. They were elaborated examples, however.

 

Then I did a concluding paragraph that synthesizes everything.

 

So question:

 

Okay, yes, my piece does read quite like a feature article, but... is that a bad thing?

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i guess im even more nauseating, a few people here can prob remember 6-8 page responses occassionally… i always write over word limits in school 2, but despite it's breadth, it's as concise as can be, while remaining honest… i think op would do well targeting to emo schools...

 

 

Send to me in 2 parts by PM for review. :P

 

I've edited hundreds.

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i pulled 40 staples out of someones arm, and that's like nothing… i always feel really restricted because if i even express a portion of my experiences ppl r like wtf… so i can resonate

 

The South America bit is a very small part of my letter. Sure, South America is pretty ordinary, but is working in South America as a clown/med-volunteer with Patch Adams ordinary? That's what I thought.

I also talked about how I wrote a musical about premed and the leadership and teamwork that was involved in putting it together to be performed in front of an audience of 1000. I explained my crappy gpa for a bit and twisted it in a positive light "I took too many classes and got involved in too many extracurriculars, which hurt my gpa more than expected. This gave me the opportunity to learn my limits and through much introspection, I am pleased with how I rebounded." is the general gist of it.

 

@Futuredoc - thank you so much for going over my personal statement! You literally saved it. It's so much better now because of you! -virtual hugs-

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