A few details have been altered to keep my anonymity :)
// Applications //
Application Cycle One: 2013
Total MCAT SCORE: 522
MCAT Section Scores:
Overall GPA: 3.80
Science GPA: 3.80
Summary of Application Experience
Below I've posted my real personal statement (with any identifiers removed). I've benefited from other detailed profiles in the past and would like to pay it forward for future applicants.
***Do not under any circumstances plagiarize any part of my personal statement This is only one applicant's way to approach the personal statement, and it was through critically thinking about my own personal experiences that I was able to write this. Your personal statement should be your own, written based on an honest assessment of your experiences.
I had just turned ** when I began to feel soreness in my **. For months I would come home from school and lie down for hours just to ease the pain. But as it worsened, I could no longer deny that something was wrong. Sure enough, ** months later via two ** depicting **, I was diagnosed with ** and told I needed surgery. Operation and recovery would make the next few months pain and anxiety filled. Yet without this experience, I may not have embarked on a long-term journey that led to discoveries of my strengths and aspirations, ultimately leaving me with an unyielding desire for a future as a physician.
Hearing my diagnosis incited a burning need to research the condition. The unknown was fearful, so acquiring knowledge was initially a comfort mechanism to help me conceptualize the prognosis that lay ahead. Yet, the more I learned, the more I yearned to know further. For months up to and after the surgery, I scoured the web for literature, participated in ** discussion groups, familiarized myself with related medical techniques and terminologies, and observed ** surgeries online. Although my initial drive to learn was to comfort my fears, I soon felt a larger motivation to research beyond the patient experience and truly understand the broader biomedical mystery at hand. This enthusiasm for the biomedical sciences continues to stimulate me today, being the key motivator for my research endeavors and the reason I study the sciences.
During the process of my treatment, I also began to grasp what it meant for health problems to be emotionally taxing. In particular, what I remember most profoundly was never my own anxiety, but that of my family. I had not appreciated before the extent to which those closest to a patient suffer from feelings of helplessness, worry, or guilt. Hearing my mother blame herself for not executing the millions of "If I had done that, maybe I could have prevented this" scenarios was the moment that stressed my realization of just how strongly the impact of health extends to affect the people around us. So when my doctors reassured my family at every step, I could sense the gratitude both they and I felt inside.
Despite their fears, my family was my strongest support and undeniably a key factor in my recovery. Yet, growing up and throwing away the rose-colored glasses, it became more apparent to me that not everyone had the privilege of a strong support system, whether familial or social. Take one patient I met during clinical shadowing: for whatever reason, 'Joe', a 14-year old complex patient, never seemed to have any guardians around. Simply empathizing with the idea that enduring any health issue without support is much more difficult inspires me to change the circumstances for those less fortunate. This is why non-profit work is integral to my life today and why so much of it is centered on improving the macro social determinants of health in areas such as education and policy.
The more I engaged in working for the betterment of health, the more I saw myself in this field in the future. Although there are many paths that lead to a career in healthcare, the only one I entertained taking was that to become a physician. How could I unite the drive to make a difference in peoples’ health with the other experiences and interests that also played pivotal roles in my life? I became more confident in the answer to that question after my clinical shadowing and volunteering confirmed what I had thought about medicine throughout my personal medical experiences and non-profit work: there is a fit between my values and the role of a doctor.
Although promoting health at a macro level drove me to the field, it is the visible impact a physician can have on a patient and their family that I value the most. It is in that kind of micro-level setting where a direct impact was made on my life during my ** treatments; it is there where my doctors provided emotional reassurance such that my mother's feelings of guilt later turned into thank you cards at my postoperative follow ups; and it is there where I saw evidence for the visible impact medicine could make when a man told me, "This hospital saved my son's life. I'd do anything to help," after I approached him for a clinical study during a volunteer experience. Yet, at the same time, I still saw a role at the micro-level for integrating the macro-level health lessons of social sensitivity that I am adamant about, so as to help better appreciate the contexts that underlie people's health-related decisions. Finally, beneath everything, I saw a career that was fundamentally rooted in life-long learning and application of the biomedical sciences, an area that incites my curiosity and is a large part of my activities today.
As if in a graceful collision, my pursuits in science and health have come together such that I can confidently say my experiences have reinforced my choice. Having both experienced and seen the positive impact medicine can have, nothing would be as rewarding as helping the afraid, the vulnerable, the worried and the hopeful in alleviating pain and disease.