For those of you getting butterflies in your stomach just thinking about the medical school personal statement that you’re going to have to write soon, here is a recent article I wrote on the Varsity Tutors blog.
Last month I was an invited exhibitor at Student Doctor Network’s Test Prep Week 2013. As an exhibitor, I received several good questions. Because I am always impressed with someone who thinks ahead, one of my favorites was
The below was my response:
Good question. The simple answer is to start working on a personal statement and ERAS activities draft around March of the year you are planning to apply. Assume it will take multiple drafts to get your written materials into good shape. Once you’ve done your best, find someone with residency admissions experience (like me) to help you get your documents into outstanding shape.
In terms of your comprehensive residency candidacy, you should start planning a strategy toward the beginning of your first year of medical school. If you are applying in a very competitive field (derm, plastic surgery), you should get started on your first day of med school. (No joke.) Consider hiring me for a Strategy Session early.
I hope this helps current first-, second-, and third-year medical students who are thinking ahead!
- A writer must not shift your point of view.
- Always pick on the correct idiom.
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
- Always be sure to finish what
- Avoid alliteration. Always.
- Avoid archaeic spellings.
- Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
- Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
- Be more or less specific.
- Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
- Contractions aren’t necessary.
- Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
- Don’t indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
- Don’t never use no double negatives.
- Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
- Don’t repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
- Don’t use commas, that, are not, necessary.
- Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
- Employ the vernacular.
- Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
- Eschew obfuscation.
- Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
- Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
- Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
- Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
- Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
- If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
- If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
- It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
- Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
- No sentence fragments.
- One should never generalize.
- One-word sentences? Eliminate.
- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
- Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
- Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
- Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Profanity sucks.
- Subject and verb always has to agree.
- Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
- The adverb always follows the verb.
- The passive voice is to be avoided.
- Understatement is always best.
- Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
- Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
- Who needs rhetorical questions?
- Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
This NYT article regarding college students’ recruitment to Wall Street is compelling. The author highlights the financial incentives that direct students to financial careers – and away from graduate degrees like medicine.
Here’s a reminder that the 2013 AMCAS application is scheduled to open tomorrow, Tuesday, May 1; you will be able to submit your application as early as June 5.
The first day that AMCAS will begin transmitting application data to medical schools is June 29, which means an applicant who is really on top of things could receive secondary applications as early as the 29th!
I recommend watching the AAMC’s video for details about dates and changes to this year’s AMCAS.
Please contact me early for assistance. Last year some of my most organized clients were admitted to medical school as early as October.