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In the autobiographical essay...do you want to include an explaination on why you want to go into med ? I mean if you get into it....that can take a good chunk of your essay.
07-23-2001, 02:31 AM
In my essay I did include an explanation as to why I wanted to go to med school, however this was definitely a small portion of my essay. I spent the majority explaining employment, hobbies, academic experiences, and events that I thought made my application unique. I felt that the strength of my application was in my "unique life experiences" rather than in my reasons for wanting to pursue medicine.
Having said that, however, I do think the essay provides a valuable opportunity to explain a bit about your motivation for entering medicine (after all I'm sure that the admission's committee wants to know that you've put a bit of thought into your decision to commit the next 4 years of your life to becoming a MD!). In my case, I opened with a brief blurb about my motivation to study medicine (my exposure to it, how I reached the decision, challenges and rewards of medicine, etc) and used this as a jumping off point. From there I described specific experiences that I thought demonstrated and reinforced my reasons for wanting to become a MD. I suppose, my reasons for wanting to pursue medicine actually served as the theme for my entire essay - although rather subtlety.
Of course, I'm sure every applicant's essay is probably very different.
Hope that helps.
I'm sure everyone's essay
demonstrated qualities would
What about if you are already in health care (ie physio) ...should you get into why your current career is not want you want to do for the rest of your life!?
07-23-2001, 07:16 PM
Maybe rather than explaining why you "don't" want to continue doing physio, use your physio background in a more positive way. For example, you gained significant exposure to the health care field and health care issues, lots of "real world" experience, etc. All these things would allow you to make a more mature decision as to why you want to be a doctor.
Both during and following university I did a lot of rather diverse things - the most significant being starting my own business. In my essay I never explained why I didn't want to continue operating the business, but rather explained what I thought I had learned from it and how I felt this experience would help to make me a good doctor. In my interview they did ask me why I didn't want to spend the rest of my life operating a business (though they certainly didn't dwell on it), so having a clear explanation ready is probably very valuable at that point.
07-26-2001, 03:10 PM
The essay is there for you to introduce yourself to the adcom, so I think that you have some leeway with respect to how you go about structuring the essay. In general, I would suggest that you make everything as personal as possible (e.g. if you make a comment about a good quality, try to use examples of how you have this quality), so structure your essay so that you can bring out the best in yourself.
I began my essay with an intro and with a brief explanation about the reasons that I was interested in meds (i.e. what a career in med would give me personally, not why I would be good). For the middle part of the essay I described aspects that I thought would be important for a meds candidate and gave examples of how I met those characteristics/aspects. I had also made a list (in priority order) of the interesting/good things in my life I had done, and that I wanted to talk about.
I talked about some of the following (not everything that I wanted to talk about would fit):
ability to cope with life/stress,
potential problems you will face in meds/as a doc (including ethics),
problem solving ability,
interpersonal skills (i.e. how you will deal with patients)
my personal academic experience and how that is unique and could help as a med student,
my knowledge/interest in health care in Canada
Then, for each characteristic/ aspect I talked about, I gave detailed examples of personal experiences ( for instance, teamwork is important in meds, and I had played varsity basketball, etc.). I personally think it is important that most of the writing space/explanations in the essay are personal and not general. If you're writing a paragraph on teamwork, for instance, briefly say that it is important and then spend most of your time describing your experiences, your opinions, and what makes you a great team player.
With respect to someone who is already in health care (eg physio), you should definitely use that in a positive way. Say that you have a great understading of the health care system and that you have learned how to communicate effectively and interact with patients, etc. I would just completely use it as a great experience and say that it will help you emensly in meds (i would not say what that last career lacked).
Overall, use your essay as a means of talking about yourself, your thoughts, values, interests, opinions, etc. Using a framework (like the one described above) is just a means to get these points across in a way that is related to medical school. I'm sure there are many other (and likely better) ways to structure the essay but the personal aspect is key.
I would HIGHLY recommend talking to a med student and having a med student read your essay. This was very valuable to me (alternatively a resident or young doctor).
Other recommendations: start early and get as many people as possible to read it (2 min: one for content and one for grammer, structure, spelling, etc).
Hope this helps.
07-27-2001, 01:21 AM
What the other guys have said sounds good to me. You want a little bit about why you want medicine, but you need to describe it in terms of the actual experiences and background that you feel makes you qualified to become a doctor.
After all, this is the admissions committee's first look at your non-academic side, and they need to know that in your past history, you've had experiences that make you uniquely qualified as a medical school applicant. Use as many examples as you can. These need not be medical volunteering experiences, for example. Previous research, travelling, teaching/tutoring, sports, employment, etc all contribute skills that will make you a good doctor. Expound on those.
UBC, Med 3
09-19-2001, 12:38 AM
A part of my UBC essay is about the experience gained from my field of study, which is Pharmacology. I know the essay is about the non-academic side of me but I believe that Pharmacology has given me an insight into the what medical school will be like and also great exposure to health care professionals and researchers. I highlighted things like Problem based learning, self-directed learning, taking part in debates, and research presentations and what I learned from the experiences. I did not mention about how I did in the courses or anything though. Do you think that this is too academic to put in my essay?
09-19-2001, 07:55 PM
The autobiography is your chance to expound beyond the numerical part of your application (eg. GPA, MCAT's) and to give the admissions committee a chance to see why you would be a good fit within the medical program.
If you've highlighted these characteristics, then that sounds pretty positive to me. On the other hand, if that information could be gleaned from elsewhere in your application (read: your transcript), then putting the duplicate information in your autobiography is redundant, and wastes space that could be used to expand on other areas of your background.
UBC, Med 3
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