View Full Version : Autobio Sketch
08-06-2001, 11:45 PM
It seems like there's enough room on the OMSAS autobiographical sketch for almost 50 activities. I don't think I even have close to that! For those of you that got in somewhere, did you do enough between age 16 and third year/fourth year to nearly fill up the whole thing?
08-07-2001, 08:08 AM
Yes. There actually wasn't enough space for me for the activities section so I had to drop some less significant activities.
P.S. That's also the same place that you write what awards you got, so that will fill up lots of space too.
Good Luck! :)
08-07-2001, 09:08 AM
OK, thanks. Hopefully it won't be so bad once I organize everything I've done and write it all down! I have another question: it lists "formal education" as a category in the sketch section of the OMSAS application. Does that include high school as well? If so, do I put the "start date" as the year I actually started, even though I had not turned 16 yet?
08-07-2001, 11:52 AM
08-07-2001, 11:56 AM
One thing you should keep in mind is that Ottawa U. and I think UofT (someone will correct me if I'm wrong) use the autobio. sketch as an interviewing tool, so it is good to list activities in your life which could make for interesting interview questions (since it is about you, they're the best type of questions to get).
The way I did it, and it worked out for me, is that I clumped all my academic awards (they all were pretty common, typical awards) into one line - wrote something like "Dean's Honour List, Merit Scholarship, and other academic awards" with a range of years from High School to University. I used the lines I saved for Extra Curric. activities, research, work and volunteer experiences. The reason I did it this way is that I knew Ottawa U. (my first choice) used the sketch heavily during the interview and I thought listing activities that "could" make me unique would be better than rhyming off a bunch of academic awards.
Also, don't worry about not having enough expierences. If you include part-time jobs, any unique summer expierences (travel, projects, camp counsellor, etc), volunteer work, research (if you have it), hobbies, sports, you can fill those 50 lines pretty quick. Also, you may need more than one of those lines to describe an activity.
Best of luck. Good choice preparing your application early.
08-07-2001, 01:44 PM
I know at Mac, once you have made it to the interview, those who interview you only receive a copy of your autobio sketch five minutes prior to you going in for your personal interview. Bibs provided some good information... Don't worry if you don't have enough activities to fill up the whole page. It's more about quality than quantity. However, it does look good if you have a variety of different activities that span across a number of different interests and aspects of life. List past employment experiences, volunteer opportunities, research ( a good one), accomplishments (competitive sporting events... marathons...etc), and yes... high school would classify as formal education as they are asking you to list all activities since high school.
I believe I still had 4 lines or so short of filling out the whole page. The other suggestion I would give is to make sure the activity is clear in the limited space that is provided. I know from personal experience that I had to short form Antisocial Personality Disorder to ASPD when listing a research project I had conducted. Fortunately, it gave rise to discussion in the interview as they didn't know what ASPD meant. However, it is clear to see how this could have worked against me. Had they not asked what it meant, it may have been a significant loss in my overall application. When completing the autobio sketch, just be honest and list everything that you've done. Most of the time they just want a good idea as to what activities you have engaged in and to see if it has been a consistent part of your history. Someone who demonstrates involvement since high school and continued to stay involved in a variety of activities during undergrad, looks much more appealing than someone who has tried to "cram" in a bunch of extracurriculars within the two years prior to applying. Just be honest and sincere and it will all work out!
08-07-2001, 02:53 PM
Hey bibs, I checked out the OMSAS application again and it appears that this year, using the web based system, we only have one line (and that's actually overestimating it a bit) to describe the activity. However, I did start organizing a list of what I could put down, and it looks like I'll actually get reasonably close to the 48, so I feel better now =)
There's also a box for each activity (maybe 2 or 3 words) where I have to indicate the location where these activities took place. Would "high school," "U of T (my undergrad school)," "Toronto," etc. be OK?
08-09-2001, 07:16 AM
Go ahead and use abbreviations when describing the location of an activity. I never used the web-based application, but the diskette version didn't give you a lot of room to describe the location.
I remember that last year it also looked like you only had 1 line per activity. To fix this you would enter your activity as usual and if you needed more space to describe it, you would start a new entry but enter the same info as before (date etc) and then finish your sentence from the previous entry (make sense?). This would look like 1 continuous entry. Of course, this might be different on the web version.
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