If you’re applying to medical school and your father is a cardiologist, it’s no surprise. There’s a genetic predisposition for your scientific capabilities, and the Human Genome Project may unearth even more specific genetic connections than that. Imagine, even your mutual interest in cardiology may be rooted in your DNA! However, in the admissions context, you must offer more than your genetic code to market your candidacy.
What are some questions sons and daughters of physicians should ask themselves before composing their medical school personal statements? Try answering some of these:
-What was your understanding of your parent’s medical career like as you grew up? How did that understanding and interest evolve? (Be wary of “I’ve been interested in medicine for as long as I can remember…” and stories of your 5-year-old self riveted by Dad’s angioplasty monologue at dinner.)
-At any point did you question pursuing medicine? What were the alternatives? Did you ever consciously try to pursue (or NOT pursue) medicine because of your parents’ desire for you to do so? (Some of this inquiry is for emotional excavation purposes only – and will never turn up on the page.)
-What has most surprised you about your real-world medical experiences to date? How is the world of medicine different from the one you witnessed or envisioned growing up? (Again, this is all about the psychological data mining.)
-What bothered you most about your parent’s career? What excited you about their career? (Don’t resist, just answer.)
-What finally cemented your decision to apply to medical school? What are the personal qualities and intangibles (beyond the predilection for science) that fueled that choice?
-What are some of the new realities of practicing medicine and attending medical school (vs when Mom or Dad applied), and how are you equipped to handle them?
-What is your vision for your career, and why does it matter to you?
Now whether you include mention of your parents in your personal statement is another question altogether, and MUST be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, for many of you, the questions above may have never been asked before, but now is the perfect time to challenge yourself to explore them! The medical school application process is an intensive, rigorous one, and the more you know about yourself and your path to medicine, the better equipped you will be to succeed.
Looking for free initial feedback on your personal statement, activities descriptions or secondary essays? Email us at email@example.com.
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