professional school application letter topics

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Professional school application letter topics

Be sure to incorporate these steps when proofreading:. Skip to main content. Write Your Personal Statement. Ways to Prepare Read the prompt s you are required to answer. Research the program. Consider 2 - 3 meaningful experiences that will support your goal. The Writing Process Develop a plan for what you want to say, including the topics you want to cover.

Write a draft. Read your draft and ask yourself if you covered all of the desired topics. Revise and obtain feedback. Revise again. What you would like to study and why. What type of contribution or impact you would like to make and why. Why the program you are applying to will help you reach your goal.

Use the prompts below to begin brainstorming what you might want to include in your statement. Graduate admissions essays, 4th edition by Donald Asher. Personal Statement Reviews Submit your personal statement online and receive feedback via email. Due to high volume, please allow up to 5 business days for your review.

Writing Your Personal Statement Admission officers will want to see clear evidence that you are committed to a particular path. Provide evidence that you are committed to this choice, i. What individuals or incidents have shaped your life, and convey what you value? Expand on why you would be a strong addition to this program and avoid discussing what the program could do for you.

Preparation What have you done to prepare for this career choice? Describe your experiences so the reader can make conclusions about your competencies, such as your resilience, maturity, focus, drive, etc. Avoid just using specific words to show your competencies. The applicant does a fine job of solidifying their longstanding interest in medicine without adding significant new details, knowing they can cover additional stories throughout their secondary applications and during interviews.

There are two critical elements for convincing admissions committees that you want to pursue medicine specifically: 1 A long-term commitment to medically-relevant experiences 2 A clear understanding of what medicine entails that other fields don't Without the first element, your application likely won't be very strong because you won't meet schools' expectations for extracurricular activities. Assuming you will meet school's extracurricular expectations, the second element comes down to your ability to describe what physicians can and do accomplish in the medical setting that other professionals can't.

If you "show" an understanding of some of physicians' unique responsibilities, abilities, and impacts, you don't have to mention other professionals. Rather, we want you to have a framework for evaluating your work to ensure that it conveys your outstanding qualities, engages the reader, and describes your authentic journey to medicine. You fear that your application may be thrown into the rejection pile if you fail to present yourself in a unique way.

Most applicants begin writing their essays by choosing the experience s that they think will help them stand out to admissions committees. By focusing on specific experiences that applicants think will impress the admissions committee e. In your AMCAS Work and Activities section, you may have included your experience conducting chemistry research for three years, shadowing in a clinic for two years, volunteering as an English tutor for underserved youth in Chicago for six years, volunteering with a medical mission trip to Haiti for two summers, and serving as president of a premed organization for one year.

Given these choices, most students would choose to write about clinical volunteering in Chicago or their medical mission trip to Haiti because they think these experiences were most impressive. If you take one of these approaches, you would probably start the essay by describing an interaction with a very ill patient or one with whom you experienced a language barrier. An essay about clinical shadowing could start something like this:.

I used to eat lunch with Felipa on Wednesdays. She was always very nervous when she came in to get her blood drawn, and she liked to speak with me beforehand. Although she was suffering from breast cancer, she had a positive attitude that made the doctors and the nurses feel like one big family. Her positive attitude helped lift the spirits of other patients in the room.

Throughout my lunches with Felipa, she would tell me how she still cooked dinner every day for her husband and two young kids. She brought that same compassion to the hospital, always with a contagious smile. I endeavored to give her the best care by offering her water and chatting with her on her chemo days.

This powerlessness I felt inspired me to pursue medicine to help future patients battle this horrible illness by discovering new treatments. After all, the topic is only one aspect of your personal statement. There are no good or bad topics. Rather, there are strong ways—and poor ways—to write about these topics.

Surprise them when they rarely expect to be surprised. The best personal statement writers decide which qualities they want to emphasize to admissions committees before choosing a certain experience. By deciding on your qualities beforehand, you will choose a story that authentically delivers your intended message. After all, med schools want to accept applicants because of their wonderful qualities and unique attributes, not because of a specific experience or extracurricular activity.

From her list of extracurricular activities, she could choose to write about volunteering as an English tutor or being the lead saxophone player in a campus jazz ensemble. By picking one of these options, this student could write an entirely unique personal statement introduction. I could feel the sweat rolling down my back as twenty first graders stared at me. It was July in Chicago, and the building where I volunteered as an English teacher twice a week did not have air conditioning.

I had volunteered as a one-on-one tutor for the past six years, but this was my first time teaching a large group. The students, largely from working-class, Spanish-speaking households, reminded me of myself, as I grew up as the daughter of two Mexican emigrants. I personally understood the challenges the students faced, and I wanted to use my own experience and knowledge to help set them on the path to academic success.

In most cases, no. With limited characters, your primary goal for your personal statement should be to tell medical school admissions committees why you will be an excellent doctor. Admissions committees will already see your grades. If you use too much space discussing your poor grades during freshman year or some other time, you'll draw even more attention to the red flags on your application and lose a golden opportunity to demonstrate your impressive qualities.

One exception is if you received poor grades due to some extraordinary circumstance, such as recovering from a significant accident or illness. Even then, you might want to discuss your poor grades in another section of your application, such as a secondary essay. Ever since I was a kid, I have received excellent grades and have excelled at all things related to science. My success in conducting chemistry research and my numerous presentations at biochemistry conferences is testament to my ability to succeed as a doctor.

In fact, my family and friends have encouraged me to pursue this route because of my academic success. While we learn that the applicant thinks that he is a great student who is excellent at science, and we learn that his family believes that he should pursue medicine because of his academic success, we do not actually see any evidence of these qualities.

Sure, he tells us that his family thinks that he is brilliant, but we do not know why they think he is brilliant. When you demonstrate your best qualities through examples, you provide a more authentic glimpse about the type of person you really are. For instance, if you read the following sentences from two different applicants, who would you think was more caring?

Applicant 2: Volunteering with elderly Japanese women has taught me how aging immigrants face cultural barriers while also navigating health problems, from diabetes to cancer. As the reader, you were able to extrapolate how empathic that applicant is by seeing what they do.

This powerlessness I felt inspired me to pursue medicine to help future patients… inspired. I had volunteered as one-on-one tutor for the past six years, but this was my first time teaching a large group. I personally understood the challenges the students faced, and I wanted to use my own experience and knowledge to help set them on the path to academic success giving, empowering, empathetic. You might have heard that, given the stigma surrounding many mental health conditions, that you should avoid discussing them in your personal statement, no matter what.

However, as with many things related to med school essays, the answer depends on the specific condition, severity, and reason behind sharing it. Certain conditions have more stigma associated with them than others and are therefore more difficult to sensitively incorporate in your personal statement. For instance, if the primary reason for sharing your mental health condition is to show adcoms how much adversity you have overcome, then you should probably leave out your condition or reconsider why you would share it.

However, if your reason is to describe the insights you developed about people and about medicine, or how your condition served as a springboard for you to pursue certain activities, then it might be worthwhile to share. Writing about mental health conditions in your personal statement should be approached delicately, so make sure to work with someone who has experience doing so. When you ask medical school applicants why they want to be a doctor, they usually say that they want to help people.

Most applicants will probably write some version of the following in their personal statement:. I want to be a physician because I want to help people who are sick. It would be an honor to serve people in need. The problem with these statements is that any applicant could have written them.

Every doctor wants to help patients who are sick or in need. Failing to offer a specific reason for your motivation to become a doctor or a specific way in which you plan to help your patients will make it hard for the admissions committee to see what unique approaches and insights you will bring to medicine. To make your statement more convincing, you could add a specific method that you will use to help patients.

Consider the following example:. I want to become a physician to provide reassurance to a patient awaiting their lab results, and laughter to a patient who needs an uplift after a week of chemotherapy. By explaining that certain patients might need reassurance while others might want laughter, the applicant shows us that they are empathic and sensitive to the needs of individual patients. To make your statement more authentic, you can also explain why you are drawn to a specific aspect of medicine or a certain demographic of patients.

As a woman with PCOS, I want to become a gynecologist so that I can provide other young women comfort and reassurance as they come to terms with their bodies. This statement suggests that she will use her own experience to empathize with young female patients when she becomes a gynecologist. Probably not. Admissions committees want to recruit students who are incredibly curious and open to different training opportunities.

Highlighting a desire to enter a specific specialty might make you seem closed off. The previous two approaches focus on how your personal statement introduction should tell a story. And what do we need for a great story? A character! Applicants often make another character e. When you give or share the limelight with another character, you make it easy for the admissions committee to forget the most important person in the story: YOU.

You should be the star of your own personal statement. We are not saying that you should avoid including another character in your personal statement. In fact, including other characters in your statement reminds the admission committee that you have had a positive impact on other people. However, these other characters must be used to demonstrate your qualities.

These qualities can come from an insight you had while interacting or observing them. Felipa and the applicant are both main characters. Who knows? Admissions committees might even offer Felipa an interview instead of you.

Even though she writes about tutoring first-grade students in Chicago, their role in the story is to highlight how she is dedicated to helping her community and empowering students from backgrounds like hers. The students themselves never get in the way of us learning about the applicant. Now, you may be worried that focusing on you and your qualities will make you come off as arrogant or cocky to the admissions committee.

By letting the stories do the talking for you, your personal statement will avoid making you appear egoistical. With only 5, characters, you should aim to keep the emphasis almost entirely on you. Many applicants will write about clinical shadowing, volunteering, or research at some point in their personal statements. Sometimes, however, applicants are so excited by the activity that they forget to include themselves in the experience. For instance, an applicant looking to highlight their work in a prestigious lab might write:.

Working in Dr. The main research project was an experiment that explored how rats responded to various stimulant medications. We learn about the research project in Dr. While you may think that highlighting a research experience with a famous doctor or in a prestigious lab will bolster your application, writing about it in your personal statement may actually harm you if you do not highlight your own accomplishments and traits.

Focus on activities where you had an impact, even if the activity itself does not seem impressive. Consider the following examples:. Applicant 1: While working in Dr. To make the lab a more congenial environment, I started a weekly lunch hour where we could all discuss our different research projects. This opportunity gave the interns more confidence to talk about their individual lab work, which made it easier for the entire research staff to collaborate on different experiments.

Applicant 2: Working in Dr. When one of our experiments failed, I made sure that the group met to discuss the results. I offered advice to my lab mates on how they could obtain better results on the next trial.

This experience taught me the importance of learning new research methods from my peers to achieve the best results possible. We do not know whether Applicant 1 or Applicant 2 are working in prestigious labs or with prestigious PIs. However, we do learn that Applicant 1 has shown leadership skills and initiative by working to make the lab a more collaborative space.

She sounds like someone you might want to have in your medical school study group. You shouldn't try to fit everything into your personal statement. In fact, if you try to cover everything within the 5,character limit, you'll end up covering nothing well. Remember that your complete application includes multiple written sections: your personal statement, Work and Activities section, and secondary application essays.

You should aim to provide admissions committees with a holistic view of who you are across your entire application, not solely through your personal statement. Your personal statement should be used to offer a bird's eye view of who you are and your path to medicine, whereas your AMCAS Work and Activities section and secondary essays should cover the finer details. Even when some applicants pick unusual topics, they forget to relate those experiences to why they want to be a doctor.

Consider the following applicant who has a passion for running. That is why I have spent years running marathons and coaching cross country in my free time. Most people believe that exercise is good for your health already, so this applicant would need to explain why he believes running is important, and how his passion for running relates to medicine. When you make an obvious claim e.

By drawing on specific evidence and observations, you can show the admissions committee what unique and specific insights you have about a so-called obvious idea. Applicant 2: After my sister started to run, she began to lose weight. I also noticed that her depression waned and that she regained energy, which manifested in her eagerness to socialize with family and friends. While I always knew that exercise was important, I never believed that it could entirely change a person.

This experience led me to believe that exercising can serve as a form of medicine. He mentions her weight loss, improvements in mental health, and increase in energy. In other words, we see why the applicant believes that running provides a health benefit.

It felt as if the world was going to end on that faithful day in the ER when I first witnessed someone die. This introduction is typical of students writing about clinical shadowing. Rather than showing how he is unique, this statement simply demonstrates that the applicant has had a challenging experience during clinical shadowing. Instead of dramatizing or hyperbolizing an experience, you can make your introduction truly unique by making a claim about an idea, insight, or observation that tells the admissions committee why you are excited by medicine.

For my sister and me, running is a form of medicine. The reader will see that the applicant is thinking critically and creatively about what medicine means to him. We recommend having a final version of your personal statement completed by May 15 of your application year so you can take full advantage of the rolling admissions process. Admissions committees are eager to learn about what makes you distinct from your peers, why you want to pursue a career as a physician, and what you will contribute to their school and the larger medical community.

If your personal statement reads like a completely different applicant could have written it, admissions committees will struggle to differentiate you from your competition. My earlier example of the applicant who describes her shadowing experience with Felipa does not offer any information specific to her. We do not learn about her physical appearance, town of origin, culture, country of origin, hometown, etc. There simply are not enough details or unique insights that paint a portrait of the applicant.

At any point while writing the draft of your personal statement, asks yourself whether another applicant could have written it. You can return to the first few paragraphs of your essay and add distinct details about yourself, such as your town of origin, physical appearance, etc. Start over. If you find that it is too difficult to add details about your life story and standout qualities in your original essay, then you may need to start over by including different stories and experiences that show how you are unique.

Applicant 1: I developed a passion for helping people by volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Applicant 2: Growing up in rural Idaho, I had no idea how many people in my community lived in poverty until I started to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Whereas any applicant who has volunteered at a soup kitchen could have written the first sentence, only someone who grew up in rural Idaho could have written the second sentence.

As a bonus, the second statement also shows us a realization that the applicant has about her hometown, which suggests that she is thinking critically about her environment. Admissions committees look for candidates that can bring unique insights and different perspectives to their programs. While certain details can help paint a meaningful portrait of you, it is important to remember that the personal statement is not a work of creative writing. For example, including details about the color of your shirt and the type of shoe you were wearing may help make the story in your personal statement more vivid, but these details fail to offer insights about your unique qualities or your life experiences.

Admissions committees will be interested by your unique traits, not the look of your clothes. So long as your essay meets these five criteria, your essay will be ready to submit. Meeting all five is easier said than done, of course, but we hope this serves as a valuable framework.

Shirag Shemmassian is the Founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting and one of the world's foremost experts on medical school admissions. Over the past 15 years, he and his team have helped thousands of students get into medical school using his exclusive approach. Medical School Personal Statement Example 1.

Medical School Personal Statement Example 2. Medical School Personal Statement Example 3. Medical School Personal Statement Example 4. Medical School Personal Statement Example 5. Medical School Personal Statement Example 6. Medical School Personal Statement Example 7. Medical School Personal Statement Example 8. Medical School Personal Statement Example 9. Medical School Personal Statement Example In my family, food is the language of love.

When my brother throws a game-winning strike for his baseball team, we prepare braised cod. Food is also used to honor our loved ones. The familiar aromas of garlic and sesame oil bring us together for a night of reminiscing. While I had always associated food with happiness, when I was in high school I learned that it could also make you sick.

My Dad, once a healthy eater, began indulging in daily bagels and late night sweets, eventually causing him to feel fatigued and to urinate frequently. The end result was a diagnosis of Type II diabetes. It was not until my mother and I started adding brown rice and green, leafy vegetables to his diet that he was able to improve his glucose levels. Within a few years, I witnessed my father go from being sluggish and tired to being energetic and active. I had always known that healthy eating was important but I had never thought it was that important.

I always believed medicine referred to pills or drugs created in a pharmaceutical lab. My Health and Society class taught me that early Type II diabetes can be reversed through changes in diet. My biochemistry class showed me that low glycemic index foods, such as beans or oatmeal, decrease the amount of glucose released to the blood. In my physiology class, I learned that lowering levels of circulating glucose in diabetics can improve kidney function and reduce swelling.

Despite everything I learned in my classes, I always found myself wanting to learn more. I would spend time between lectures—during late night study sessions, on long flights—reading about the various ways food could prevent illness. I was surprised to learn that certain plants contained powerful phytochemicals that could do things like reduce inflammation, reduce cell damage, and increase immune function. Ramirez is located in a food desert, a characteristic of some urban Chicago neighborhoods.

We talk about everything from the unpredictable Illinois winters to the Chicago Cubs and sunflowers. As I listen to the stories of each family, I can hear the struggle and pain of having to raise children in a neighborhood that lacks affordable healthcare centers and grocery stores. These changes, like the ones my dad made, can be overwhelming and require patience. Even though I was passionate about sharing the benefits of healthy eating, I realized that my enthusiasm may have been overwhelming as many of the families did not feel the same.

Learning too much information too quickly can be difficult for individuals who are just beginning to make a change. I began to understand that it was better for people to make changes regarding their health slowly. By making small steps, such as replacing soda for water, families could see real, tangible impacts without being overwhelmed. In the beginning, I was focused on sharing the benefits of healthy eating with others through a fun, engaging conversation. Over time, I learned that the most important thing was that families were more likely to follow through on their goals after leaving Ramirez.

This journey in learning about food has been useful in sparking my interest in preventing disease before it can start. I look forward to finding out just how deep the iceberg is and learning how it can help heal current patients and prevent making new ones. As a freshman, I saw the practice of medicine as a kind of black box. In my mind, the steps in between illness and recovery were opaque and unimportant relative to the final patient outcome.

I aspired to be a physician in so far as I aspired to be a magician, using my miracle box of medicine to flip the switch between sick patients and lives saved. I started volunteering at the West Philadelphia Homeless Shelter with this outcome-obsessed outlook, motivated by a grandiose desire to lift people in terrible circumstances out of destitution and into permanent housing.

Over the course of four years as a volunteer and on staff, however, the opportunity to peer into the black box reshaped how I thought about service and medicine. I can say now with utmost certainty that I am committed to becoming a practicing clinician not only because of the opportunity to treat illness but because of the tremendous privilege of building relationships with patients along the road to recovery.

When I started volunteering at the shelter, I was unsure about the impact I would be able to have. As a volunteer and then a staff supervisor, I felt some gratification from the realization that the simple tasks that I was performing like washing dishes and serving breakfast were essential to the operation of the shelter, but it was hard not to feel frustrated at times that I was not actually doing anything to reduce homelessness.

The same guests cycled in and out of the emergency beds at the shelter, week after week. When the opportunity to run the transitional program at the shelter opened up, I took the position, thrilled to finally have the chance to help guests move into permanent housing. I felt like I finally had a real chance to make a difference.

I quickly found out, however, that helping someone transition out of homelessness was no easy task. The first guest that my co-director and I accepted into the program was one of the friendliest men one could imagine, thrust into a horrible situation due to a difficult divorce. I worked with him for a full year straight before we could finally find a stable housing situation for him. It was an arduous and exhausting process for both of us, filled with moments of hope when it seemed like we had found a suitable apartment and moments of despair when possibilities fell through.

At the end of that year, when this particular guest left the shelter for the final time, I found myself at the moment I had been waiting for. After all the anticipation, I had helped a guest reach that perfect outcome, the goal that in my mind was what service was all about. But I found myself reflecting on a moment that had occurred months earlier.

On that night, I had walked down the ramp at the entrance and saw this guest sitting at the computer, eyes glued to the screen. I went over to him ask how he was doing only to find him speechless in shock. After a few moments of silence, he told me that he had just found the obituary of his mother online. I had known that he was estranged from his family, but I could not imagine the devastation he must have felt to discover such tragic news in that manner.

It is hard to find privacy in a shelter, but I remember retreating to the laundry room with him so that he did not have to suffer in front of everyone. I sat with him for hours that night, listening to him reminisce about childhood memories riding horses with his family and listening to him lament losing touch with mother and siblings. Moments like this one, and so many others that I experienced during the process of building relationships with guests as a case manager, helped me realize that service is not path independent.

It is not some race to the finish where the only thing that matters is where one ends up. Each step along the way is an opportunity to make someone more comfortable. Medicine is no different. I want to become a physician because of the gratification of laughing with a patient when things are looking up but also to try to soften the blow when delivering bad news.

Ultimately, I am committed to becoming a clinical practitioner because I cannot imagine a career without that privilege. Karen saw the confusion brewing in my eyes, grabbed the carton from my lunch tray, and pried open the carton lips in one swift motion. I was overcome with awe on that first day of school in America, having never seen anything like it back in my hometown. In fact, there were many things I would encounter during the next 14 years of my life that would be foreign to me.

Nevertheless, as I look back on my childhood, my memory of this moment stands out most vividly. My friendship with Karen emerged from her act of kindness in that instance. Moreover, that moment represents a starting point from which I made my journey from the familiar bicycle-lined streets of Hangzhou, China to the long, windy stretches of highway in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The relationships I have formed with peers and community members along my transition shape the core of who I am today, and form the basis behind my desire to pursue medicine. Karen was my first friend in the U. Her friendship, along with those with teachers, classmates, and neighbors, constantly supported and guided me in school. When I initially entered school,, I did not know a single letter of the English alphabet, let alone how to verbally articulate my thoughts.

I felt completely dependent on others to use the restroom during class or buy lunch in the cafeteria. In response, I immersed myself in the English language to fully master it and regain independence. Reciting vocabulary pronunciations and practicing verb tenses with my ESL teacher paved the way for audiobooks of stories about magic tree houses and shows of Arthur on PBS.

Throughout this process, teacher and classmate encouragement pushed me when I doubted my abilities to succeed. More importantly, Jodi readily supported me, from showing me how to use the monkey bars during recess to helping me study for spelling quizzes. To this day, our friendship resonates with me. Though we lacked the means to converse freely, our friendship developed through compassion, a universal language that transcended cultural boundaries and social norms.

Each patient I met carried his or her own unique story. Strolling down the blue-and-white-tiled hallways of Liberty Hospice in suburban Delaware, I envisioned myself navigating through a storybook where each room presented a vignette.

For example, as a hospice volunteer, I visited L. Like many others receiving palliative care, she struggled to perform daily activities that were once second nature to her. By keeping L. Caring for L. Therefore, I wanted to support her as much as my ESL teachers and classmates had supported me. Despite L. My interactions with L. Whereas my attraction to the humanistic side of medicine crystallized through patient interactions, my love for its investigative nature developed through research.

Though I could offer comforting sentiments to patients, I yearned to understand why L. My curiosity led me to explore the formation of plaques and tangles in 3D human neuronal stem cell cultures, track the lifespan of C. However, though intellectually stimulating, I missed interacting with patients and learning about their journeys. I wanted to form personal connections beyond the lab bench.

The community of people who had helped me grow and succeed, starting from my first day in America, inspired me to do the same for others. Having fully explored the profession, medicine certainly encompasses my two passions: developing relationships and contributing to scientific discoveries.

While the journey ahead will present challenges, my experiences have helped me cultivate the skills necessary to overcome adversity and to help patients in their times of need, just like Karen had done for me. Like this quirky, loveable toy, I have always had a large head. When I was a child, my mother cut the openings of my t-shirts so that she could slip them over my head. Physicians confirmed my head was unusually large—99th percentile in circumference—but normal in function.

Growing up as the youngest of four, I was often teased for my large head. In fact, my siblings dubbed me "Mr. Potato Head. As my body grew, my head became slightly more proportionate. Still, my height remained in the tenth percentile. Despite my small stature, I excelled in hockey and baseball because I was determined to prove that size does not define athletic prowess or leadership ability. In high school, however, my my tenacious style led me to suffer four concussions by the end of my junior year.

My head once again came under scrutiny, but this time for brain injury concerns. Concerned, I poured time and energy into researching the long-term effects of concussions on the brain. After my fourth concussion in February of my junior year, my pediatrician referred me to an internationally-renowned sports-related concussion specialist, Dr. George Sandhofer. After several visits, Dr. Sandhofer sympathetically advised me to stop playing contact sports.

I had suffered a double blow: one literally to my head and the other figuratively to my ego. Through sports, had I proved that I deserved respect despite my small stature; the reality of having to quit hit me harder than the four head shots combined. From my first visit, I could sense that Dr. Sandhofer was a remarkable physician, and a special person.

His razor-sharp aptitude was obvious, but his patience and compassion, traits that make a truly great doctor, were more heartening. I learned from him the importance of scientific knowledge as well as emotional intelligence in delivering outstanding care.

In comparison with some of his other patients, my situation was less severe. Still, Dr. He understood that to me the news was heartbreaking and having to give up sports would be distressing. His humble nature, clear rationale, and genuine care cemented my trust in his advice regarding my future. Over time, that future started to align with a desire to pursue a career in medicine. Sandhofer sparked my keen interest in becoming a highly skilled yet compassionate physician who readily serves others.

I plan to immerse myself in medicine—clinically and through research—and communicate with patients, no matter their age, sophistication, or background, in a way that individually demonstrates how much I care. Through the Walker Vascular Institute internship program last summer, I confirmed my motivation to apply to medical school. I had an incredible experience working on the potential digital analysis of pulse volume waveforms in the diagnosis of deep vein thromboses.

Through reviewing thousands of patient data points, I concluded that the digital readings from this new technology are analyzable. Researching vascular medicine, collaborating with highly skilled health professionals, and shadowing several surgeons taught me that medicine has a steep and constantly evolving learning curve that I am excited to take on.

I recognized that research and the larger medical field promotes open problem solving in a collaborative environment. This aspect perhaps most draws me to a career as a physician. Throughout the internship, our multi-disciplinary team was forced to troubleshoot aberrations in the data collection process. It was remarkable to me that although I was an intern, my superiors helped me troubleshoot possible explanations and mechanisms while valuing my contributions and ideas.

They knew of my intentions to become a physician, and spent valuable time with me teaching, discussing, and listening. Similarly, I commit to constantly learning and teaching others. The irony of my childhood nickname is that like Mr. Potato Head, medical professionals make adjustments and are regularly transformed by forces beyond their control. Potato Head has been able to entertain for generations because he has advanced with the changing entertainment environment through applications and online interfacing.

My concussions prompted me to embrace a change in hobbies, broadened my outlook, deepened my character, and provoked my interest in medicine, which I hope to pursue in medical school. Bard after I witnessed her teach a pre-diabetic patient effective dieting and exercise routines to manage his blood glucose levels. This simple statement reaffirmed my choice in medicine. As a lifelong learner and tutor, Dr. During my tenure in the lab, I have participated in several poster presentations and published a research paper on stress pathways in the brain.

Through my experience, I have come to value the wide reaching impact of research as the genesis of scientific understanding. While the potential of discovery is appealing, I am fascinated by the application of these discoveries to deliver medical treatments to patients. Similar to research, physicians analyze results and teach patients their findings in order to help them improve their health.

I find the human interaction and care involved with medicine as well as the ability to witness the improvement of health in patients to be incredibly fulfilling. By shadowing Dr. Bard, I discovered a passion for medicine and patient interaction. In order to further my knowledge, I began volunteering in emergency medicine at my local county hospital. One morning, I was asked to help with wound care of a patient who had fallen off a ladder.

He was shrieking in anguish as I tried to assuage him while simultaneously positioning the basin and his arm in place for the nurses to irrigate the wound. The intensity of this situation taught me how to establish a genuine relationship with a patient while still providing effective care. Despite the chaos of the ER environment, I noticed many doctors still strived to connect with their patients and develop a relationship during treatment.

To observe dedicated physicians serving all their patients with the utmost level of care reaffirmed my decision to pursue medicine. I knew that one day I wanted to apply my medical knowledge to make the same emotional impact on people.

Teaching is a catalyst through which strong relationships can be forged and beneficial outcomes can be achieved. Walking in, I noticed the Ramirez family was living with the bare minimum. As I brought in the guitar, I saw 5 year-old Edgar waiting eagerly at the front door, with his eyes wide open and a massive smile across his face. I offered to teach him how to play a few chords and he quickly agreed. The feeling of teaching Edgar was very similar to how I felt observing the doctors I shadowed help their patients.

As he started to pick up the different fingerings, his sense of joy became palpable, and I was elated knowing my efforts had benefitted him. It was deeply rewarding to contribute to a positive change in this child. During my tenure, I returned to a middle school where I gave a presentation on nutrition. As I entered the auditorium, I saw some familiar faces looking relieved to be missing class for my presentation.

I was shocked and elated that someone had actually remembered my lesson from the previous year. Throughout the presentation, I noticed several students remembered bits and pieces of information about the 5 food groups.

In that moment, I got a glimpse of how Dr. Bard felt with her pre-diabetic patient. Although all of my experiences vary from one another, each experience has similarly impacted me by further developing my ability to establish relationships and influence people to live a healthy lifestyle. I have learned that health care occurs through several different modalities, such as preventative care, secondary care, or health outreach and instruction.

All of these different components of health care have broadened my view of what it means to be a medical professional and how vital it is to have this holistic mindset. This newly developed mindset coupled with my fascination of learning and understanding biological phenomena has confirmed my decision to pursue a career as a medical doctor. I had just finished packing my suitcase for my first trip to see snow when the phone rang.

She cried out hysterically and looked over helplessly at my father, who nodded solemnly at her, as if he already knew. It was at this moment that my sunny, snow-tipped Utah mountains turned into the gloomy reality that my father had a brain tumor.

It was devastating to imagine losing my father, my idol, at the mere age of eleven. Tremendous despair loomed over us for months, until we made our way to Richmond, Virginia. The encounter that followed helped tame the tornado that my life had become over the past six months. Who knew that a savior could look so modest?

The surgeon, Dr. Roberts, assuaged our worries and assured us that the future was brighter than expected. He seemed unfazed by our endless barrage of questions, handling the situation with the compassion and empathy that was vital for our fragile states at the time.

This was probably just another day at the office for him, but it had a profound impact on me—my hero, my father, would continue to walk this earth. I longed to leave a similar everlasting impression on others and commenced my journey towards a career in medicine.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, a five-year-old presenting with a fever of and neck pain would evolve into a situation where I would be able to emulate Dr. She presented to the office of Dr. Mitchell Soo, where I have served as a medical assistant for nearly two years now. Her family was in shambles due to her abysmal condition. Soo, being the thorough, persistent physician that he is, provided me the opportunity to keep tabs on her progress.

This consisted of daily phone calls with her parents, followed by persistently checking in on the preliminary blood culture results and relaying updates to Dr. Soo for feedback. Fast-forward to about six months down the road, when this patient returned for her Well Child Check.

During the work-up, she was full of energy, going from toy to toy, grinning so big that an outsider would have thought it was Christmas morning. Seeing the stark improvement in the child made our previous encounter that much more rewarding. Most importantly, this job has offered me an avenue to see into Dr. Luckily, Dr. Furthermore, through my incessant prying, I have gained invaluable practical knowledge, from why he primarily starts with lisinopril to combat hypertension to what indicates possible ischemia on an EKG to why protein may be found in urine.

Working under him, I have noticed that, even after practicing for 20 years, he constantly reads up on medical literature to add to his arsenal of skills and to stay current with the new advancements in the field. On an otherwise relatively quiet Thursday afternoon, I found myself in a position where I needed to expand my own knowledge.

One of the patients called in a frenzy because his INR was down to 1. Due to an upcoming Orthopedic injection, he needed to bring his INR down to 1. That night, with questions still looming from this encounter, I decided to do some of my own research to better serve patients if this question came about in the future.

I read articles explaining how the INR value was calculated, the various target ranges for different types of patients, and when a Lovenox bridge is applicable. In hindsight, this extracurricular activity served me well, as the patient called again the next day because his INR was still too high and Dr.

This newly acquired knowledge allowed me to keep up with her and get this patient the answers he needed before the weekend. Despite my modest role in their care, the patients genuinely appreciate my approach and dedication to the job. Throughout college I juggled various cooking jobs on top of my rigorous premedical class schedule.

For centuries, Indian culture has placed a high value on holistic health. Despite growing up in rural Arkansas, far from my extended family in India, this emphasis on health defined much of my upbringing. A grocery store trip often turned into a social event, with my mother stopping to catch up with numerous patients or their family members.

I passed up Saturday morning cartoons to follow my mother through rounds at the hospital, amazed by the trust patients place in their doctor. From a young age, I was drawn to medicine because of my desire to form meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life within my community, and to work together to care for their health.

At Vanderbilt, I was excited to continue my journey to becoming a doctor. Yet, my premed courses did not emphasize the human aspect of medicine—the integral element to which I was attracted. I wanted to engage with patients and learn about healthcare from their perspective. So, I enrolled in a study abroad program in Mexico where I conducted community-based public health field research. I explored the attitudes surrounding chronic diseases in Guerrero, a state with the second highest poverty rate in the country.

While I understood diabetes to be a manageable disease in the U. Without basic knowledge of diabetes, the community members equated it with amputated limbs and blindness. But explaining that people with diabetes could live long lives with the proper medications and a healthy diet was not enough. Tierra Caliente, a rural region where I spent several weeks, was a food desert and residents lacked access to healthy foods. I helped the woman make more informed diet choices given the options, while recognizing that she was already at a disadvantage due to socioeconomic factors, such as her inability to afford insulin.

My group and I also helped form a support group where women with chronic diseases gather to share their health problems and also to discuss personal and social challenges facing their community. Addressing these sociocultural factors, by having the community pool their resources and share their enhanced knowledge of diabetes, was crucial in helping them manage the previously mysterious disease.

Through my work in Mexico, and later in North Carolina and Virginia, I have learned that exploring local understandings of health, to discover systemic factors that affect individual patients will be an important part of my work as a doctor, though not the only one. I must also employ this knowledge to provide patients with the social support they need to navigate the health system confidently, which, in turn, will increase favorable health outcomes.

I attempted to apply this approach while working as a medical scribe in Virginia, where I met a heavily tattooed, muscular patient who apologized for what might be a long visit, as he had not seen a doctor recently. His blood pressure was sky high and he was at an immediate risk for a stroke; he had run out of his medication months ago. When the doctor left the room to call his pharmacy, I stayed behind to review his medical history.

I inquired about his past surgery. He further disclosed that his life was devoid of fear, even after a year prison sentence and homelessness. In this vulnerable moment, my instinctive reaction was to reassure him that he would be okay, as he was in good hands. After the visit ended, I took a few extra minutes to explain where he could get his medications, an X-ray, and a follow-up appointment, as he was not familiar with navigating a healthcare environment.

This small amount of support went a long way for this man who was estranged from his family and struggling financially. I could sense his relief as he walked out of the clinic, visibly transformed, with the newfound self-confidence that he could care for his health and forge a new life.

As a doctor, I will diagnose symptoms and give my patients the necessary treatment they need. But more importantly, I will practice with compassion and work to uncover the hidden sociocultural factors that may be underlying their diagnoses. This concept of holistic health is rat the heart of my desire to become a doctor. As a doctor, I will immerse myself in my community, get to know my patients personally, and advocate for their health.

I partly grew up in Bangkok, a city in which there are more shopping malls than there are psychiatrists. I did this math as soon as I found out that my older sister had attempted suicide outside of a shopping mall. The stigmatization of mentally illness is still widespread in Thailand and as a result, the hospital and my family treated her case as anything but a suicide. At the time, I was reading The Yellow Wall Paper in school, a story about inadequately treated postpartum depression in the s.

I saw parallels, as my sister had begun to look gray after the birth of her daughter. I repeatedly voiced my concern, but no one listened to me. No one was addressing her health from a broader perspective, and as a result, she was left to fend for her own mental health. She was powerless, and I felt powerless too. This blindness for mental wellbeing in my society confounded me, so I chose to study it further at UT Austin. When I began working at the Dell Seton Medical Center, however, my idealism about patient-centered care was quickly put to the test when I was regarded with cynicism due to my own identity.

One afternoon, a diabetic patient approached me for assistance in applying for food stamps. Although he was visibly in discomfort, he refused the chair I pulled out for him. While we gathered information, he gruffly asked me where I was from.

Unsatisfied with my answer, he repeated his question eight more times until I caved and answered with my ethnicity. Following this, he grew impatient and kept insisting he could complete the process with another shift.

But I knew arranging transport would be difficult and costly. Determined to turn the interaction around, I soldiered on with the application process. I uncovered that he had a daughter, and I inquired after her interests. He grew animated as he talked lovingly about her, and I completed my work. Commuting home in the dark, I beamed; I was able to build rapport and assist someone who did not initially believe in me. I strove to supplement my education with parallel experiences in research and volunteer work.

In a course about stigma and prejudice, I discovered that minority status was a marker for increased IL-6 inflammation, and that individuals primed with stereotypes about race, sex, or disease suffer greatly, but often invisibly. Walking out of lecture, I planned out how I could implement these findings in my own work. During data collection for a community sleep study, I applied my renewed perspective on the phone with a participant. I sensed exasperation in her voice, so I sincerely thanked her for her time.

Suddenly, she began to wail into the phone. As her personal story unraveled, I found out that experiences of racial discrimination had breached every area of her life, including her healthcare—as a result, she felt alienated and left with inadequate treatment.

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