MSHQ 127 : The Medical School Application Personal Statement

Session 127

Today's episode is actually a recording of a webinar we did for the Academy, which is our private site for group coaching for medical school admissions. We basically help you figure out what you need to study, curricula you need to do, how you're writing your personal statement, how to get ready for interviews, and things like those.

If you have access to a great premed advisor at your university, utilize them because they know you a lot better than we do. But if you're in a situation, where being a non-traditional student, find it difficult to have access to a premed advisor or perhaps if you're at a larger university and you're not in touch with your premed advisor, go check out jointheacademy.net where we may have available slots soon.

In this webinar, we talk about the A-Z of personal statements. There are a lot of misunderstandings about what the personal statement should be so listen to this webinar to help shed light on your questions.

Here are the highlights of the webinar:

Why do we need to write a personal statement?

  • Your opportunity to expand so much more than what you're application is telling the admissions committee
  • It gives you the ability to turn those numbers into a story and tell a better story than pure numbers and statistics.
  • A large majority of personal statements do more to hurt an application than to help an application.
  • This is your golden opportunity to find your voice to speak directly to the admissions committee members
  • Numbers don't change but this is a chance for you to be creative and demonstrate your passions and interests.
  • The importance of knowing your “why”

Who is the personal statement for:

  • The admissions committees of the medical schools
  • They rank all applications by GPA, MCAT score, go over all applications and glance at personal statements and pick out interesting key points that may give you a ticket to the interview.
  • Understanding who your audience is will help you in writing down your personal statements
  • You challenge is to articulate your “why” to the admissions committee
  • Start practicing. Cut out a picture and imagine you're talking to the admissions person or say it out loud to other people and get feedback from them.

How long should your personal statement be?

  • Telling your story in 4,500 – 5,300 characters is VERY hard.
  • You need to plan how to do this and start early because you have a very limited space.

When should you start?

Have it done around May. Start writing it two or three months ahead of time.

How to start:

    • Most schools don't filter secondaries
    • You may have a journal that you can translate to your personal statement
    • Check out Student Doctor Network and go to the University of Florida's page on the secondary section and see what questions and essays they want
    • Secondaries are school-specific and be careful not to copy and paste them or change the name of the school from one essay to another.
    • Use technology to your advantage. You don't have to just write. Dictate your personal statement and record it.
  • “Write drunk and edit sober.”
  • Don't think. There is no starting point. Just start writing. Get everything out of your head. Get all your feelings out. It's not supposed to be perfect.
  • All the organizing and editing come later.

How many drafts?

A lot.

How many editors do you need to look at your personal statement?

  • As many as you can get, those who know you and don't. Give it to a practicing physician.
  • Get a professional editor. Have somebody that does this for a living, not for the content but for spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.
  • Be clear as to how you want them to edit it: for the content or for the organization or the typos?

What's your story?

The beginning – how did you get here?

The end – Getting to medical school

What is your filler?

  • Show them what you're doing
  • Let the words come into life
  • Show them the qualities that you have through what you've had in the past
  • Share with them your powerful experiences
  • Keeping a journal will definitely help you write your personal statement.

Common mistakes with personal statements:

Grammatical errors

  • Do the editing 3 or 4 times.
  • Be very careful or also have someone read it through.
  • Use commas and semicolons properly.

Being very long-winded

  • Editing can fix this.
  • Personal statements should not be a blow-by-blow account of your life. It's not about telling your entire life story.
  • Pick out transformative, crucial experiences you can highlight that allows the admissions committee to experience those with you

Failure to talk about why you're going through this dramatic experience

  • Mention why you want to be a doctor.
  • What are you hoping to do in the future?
  • Have a “WHY” in your personal statement for it to matter

Should you write the same personal statement when applying for both allopathic and osteopathic medicine?

Email deans at osteopathic schools and get a better answer. Each school is going to be different.

At the end of the day, it's about sharing your story and talking about why you want to be a physician and not why you want to be a DO or MD. So it doesn't really matter. Yes, you can use the same personal statement.

Where do you start?

Ryan says, there is no start point. Just get everything out of your head. Just start writing it all down. Then you can mold and move things around from there. Get it out there. Start and it will trigger other meaningful memories you have.

Allison says step back and pick a couple meaningful experiences and start with that.

 

Links and Other Resources:

  • Free MCAT Gift: Free 30+ page guide with tips to help you maximize your MCAT score and which includes discount codes for MCAT prep as well.
  • If you're in high school, go to www.higherscorestestprep.com where Lauren teaches you the tips and tricks on how to ace your ACT and SAT.
  • Check out jointheacademy.net because we may be opening up soon!
  • Get us free on your device. Subscribe and listen to new episodes each week. Visit www.medicalschoolhq.net/listen
  • Check out our partner magazine, www.premedlife.com to learn more about awesome premed information.
  • Listen to our podcast for free at iTunes: medicalschoolhq.net/itunes and leave us a review there!
  • Email me at ryan@medicalschoolhq.net or connect with me on Twitter @medicalschoolhq

Transcript

Dr. Ryan Gray: The Premed Years, session number 127.

Hello and welcome to the Medical School Headquarters Podcast; where we believe that collaboration, not competition, is key to your premed success. I am your host, Dr. Ryan Gray, and in this podcast we share with you stories, encouragement and information that you need to know to help guide you on your path to becoming a physician.

If you're struggling with the MCAT go to www.FreeMCATGift.com and download our thirty plus page report, all about tips and tricks on how to maximize your MCAT score. Hey if you're in high school still, I know there are some high school students out there, go check out www.HigherScoresTestPrep.com where Lauren there teaches you the tips and tricks on how to ace your ACT and SAT. So everything that we do for MCAT and premed and medical school, Lauren is doing for the high school student for getting into college. So www.HighScoresTestPrep.com.

Today we have a little bit of a twist of an episode for you. This is actually a recording of a webinar that we did for the Academy. So if you don't know yet, the Academy- which you can check out at www.JoinTheAcademy.net, the Academy is a private site for group coaching for medical school admissions. So you as the premed, as you're sitting there trying to- you're scratching your head figuring out what you need to study, what extracurriculars you need to do, how you're writing your personal statement, what you're supposed to do for your AMCAS applications, how you're getting ready for your interviews; that's what the Academy is there to help you with. And don't get me wrong, if you have access to a great premed advisor at your university, utilize those people. Utilize that advisor, because they will know you, hopefully, a lot better than we will to begin with. But if you are in a situation, and a lot of you are, where you're a nontraditional student, you don't really have access to a premed advisor or you're at a large university and the premed advisor that you have just isn't in touch with you or you're not in touch with them. Then I urge you to go check out www.JoinTheAcademy.net. Now right this minute we're still closed for new members, but that is changing possibly in the next week or so. And that's why I wanted to play this webinar. This is one that we did about a year ago, and we've kind of slacked off with webinars, but there's good reason and we've been putting out the podcast every week, and we do a monthly office hours in the Academy, and life gets busy. We had a baby if you didn't know. But that is changing as well, and we haven't announced a lot of changes that are coming up, but that is yet to be announced. A lot of changes that are happening in and around the Gray family life. So more to come with that.

About the Webinar

But this webinar, we talk about personal statements. And the A to Z of personal statements. And I wanted to do this one because we've had a couple new submissions in the Academy- you can submit your personal statement for review. And everybody can comment on it and you get a ton of great perspectives. And it made me want to release this webinar because there are a lot of misunderstandings about what the personal statement should be, a lot of people think that a personal statement maybe is bigger than it is or not as big as it should be. So take a listen to this webinar, after the webinar, after Allison and I talk and give advice and discuss the personal statement, we do open it up for question and answer and so you'll hear some Academy members asking questions and us answering those. So this is going to be a little bit longer than normal, hopefully it's useful. If you like this, go to www.JoinTheAcademy.net, get on the wait list, we will be opening up, maybe, soon. Go leave a comment on the show notes page as well, www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/127. Alright, let's get into it.

So today we're going to talk about personal statements, and partly because personal statements are one of those things that I think a lot of students go, “Oh, I'm just writing a quick essay about myself, that's easy, I can hold off until the end to do that.” And what ends up happening is a kind of hodge-podge of a personal statement that does nothing but hurts your chances of getting into medical school. And I think the biggest question is why do we need to write a personal statement? We're doing this whole application, we're filling in basically everything about our whole lives, all of the extracurriculars that we've done, all of our grades, our MCAT scores, what more can we add by writing about ourselves that isn't told in the application itself? And I think this is where a lot of students go wrong, is the personal statement is your opportunity to expand so much more than what your application is telling the admissions committee members. It's the ability to kind of turn those numbers into a story. And the personal statement- and this is just me making up random numbers, but I would venture to guess that probably a large majority of personal statements do more to hurt an application than to help an application. So the statement is there to help you tell a better story than pure numbers and statistics, and that's what it's there for. And we'll go into depth a lot more about it. Allison, what do you have to say about why we need to write a personal statement?

Dr. Allison Gray: Well I think I would just add that I think a lot of us look at personal statements with a sort of dread. There are the people like you mentioned who just sort of say, “Well that's just an essay, I'll just write it” and think of it in a wrong way that it's just this easy thing. But there are other people, a lot of people who think, “Oh God, another personal statement.” Because as you move through in your career, you have to write a personal statement for college, I think there's a personal essay you have to do for med school, you have to do it for residency, you have to do it for fellowship; it's sort of unending. So rather than look at it as something horrible and something that's so time consuming, look at- try to look at it as an opportunity, like Ryan said, to really find your voice and to add to your application. Try to look at it as a really a positive thing that can really enhance your chances of getting in. Because it really does make a big difference what you say. It's a great opportunity to enhance it but it can also really ruin your application in some ways if you make some mistakes which we'll talk about later.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yes.

Dr. Allison Gray: Why, oh why?

Dr. Ryan Gray: Why, oh why? Allison, talk about speak up.

Find Your Voice

Dr. Allison Gray: So this is what I was just starting to allude to, that personal statement is really your golden opportunity to find your voice, to speak directly to the admissions committee members, and to let them know- not let them know but really demonstrate your passion, your interest. Your numbers are your numbers and they're not going to change, they're on a piece of paper, they're in the computer, they're sitting somewhere in the pile of the applications. But what is so different, what is so colorful are what- the words that you write in these statements that can be the difference between somebody getting really excited about you and what you have to say, and somebody who, “Okay they just kind of said this is why I want to be a doctor, and this is just like the other fifty I just read and I'm super bored.” So it's your opportunity to find your voice and to really think about it as speaking directly to these people. You want to tell them exactly why you want to become a doctor and why you have the experience to tell you that, that you're clear about it from A to Z. So look at it as finding your voice.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah, and that's exactly it, I don't know how much I can add because I kind of alluded to it as well. It's taking your numbers and putting a story behind them. If you started off premed poorly, if you ended premed poorly, if you're a nontraditional student and you have a big break in your academics; it's your opportunity to tell that story in the personal statement. And admissions committees are reading these, and when I say ‘read,' I kind of put air quotes around them because with the sheer number of applications that each admissions committee member is looking at, they're not reading word for word for word. They're glancing over all of these, and so you need to be able to tell your story succinctly and in a way that kind of stands out, and we'll kind of talk about some of those ways coming up.

Dr. Allison Gray: And one other comment I would make, if you look at that picture of the microphone, think about these shows like American Idol and The Voice. Within like three seconds of somebody starting, people know that this is either a really good singer or someone who is really not meant to be up there. And you can look at it in a similar way that you want to hook them right away, because like Ryan said, they are looking through hundreds, even thousands of these applications, so you want your first message out of the gate to be something really powerful that says, “Hey, this is me, keep reading on.” So that microphone actually- you can think about it a little bit in the same way as like you're starting a song and you want- you want all those four chairs to turn around if you watch The Voice.

Show Your Passion

Dr. Ryan Gray: Got to love The Voice. Alright. Show your passion. So we'll talk a little bit about it later, about describing why you want to be a doctor. But your personal statement- and I think that we're going to keep harping on how the personal statement is there to tell your story and to show your passion, and tell the ‘why.' I talk about the ‘why,' I talked about it recently in a podcast episode, about knowing your ‘why.' And I think the personal statement is one of those places where you have to know why you're doing it, to be able to put it out on paper and to describe it to somebody else in 5,300 characters, or 4,500 characters, whatever the character restrictions are for the application. So very hard to do, but one of those things where you need to be able to do it well, and that's where we'll talk about it in a little bit kind of repetition comes into play and starting early and getting some drafts under your belt. Allison?

Dr. Allison Gray: I think I would- really nothing to add to that. I think just showing your passion is so crucial because so many people way want to be physicians, but it's really demonstrating that separates good personal statements from those that are not.

Dr. Ryan Gray: And we'll talk a little bit about how to show your passion in an upcoming slide.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yes.

Dr. Ryan Gray: So I think I had mentioned, there's- in the email about tonight, is that there's not a lot here to go over with you guys, because it is kind of- I don't want to say it's basic, but there's an overriding theme here and showing your passion, and how to show your passion, and telling your story; it's all that theme that kind of clouds everything. So the kind of nuts and bolts here. Who is the personal statement for? It's not for you, it's not for your mom, it's not for your premed office; it's for the admissions committees of the medical schools. And they're the ones- I just mentioned, they're the ones that are reading these personal statements, determining whether or not they want to offer you an interview. And this is how a lot of them do it. They'll rank all of their applications by GPA, by MCAT score, and they'll start going over all of the applications and glancing, literally, at these personal statements and seeing if they can pick out a couple key points that may look interesting and go, “Yeah, this person looks interesting, I'll give them- let's interview them.” Or they'll see a typo, or they'll see some other issue, or they'll be like, “Oh this person is kind of boring, they haven't done anything. Or they're telling their story appropriately so I'm going to skip over them and not offer them an interview.” So understanding who your audience is, will help when you sit down to write these personal statements. It almost- I almost joke about this but it's a technique for recording yourself on video or just audio, is actually like cutting out a picture of somebody and taping it underneath the camera recorder so that you know who you're talking to. You're talking to that little cut out picture and that's your person. So if you can picture somebody sitting in a suit in the admissions office at the medical school looking at your application, picture that person in your head as you're writing these drafts, and understand that they are the ones that you're writing it for.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, and it can be a hard thing, and I think we recognize that, we felt that way when we wrote them. Because you may know very clearly in your heart and in your head why you want to be a physician, and the challenge is articulating that in a way that really quickly draws people in, and that makes sense, and has no typos, and is really polished, and that can be hard. For something that's so visceral for a lot of you guys, you've been slaving away, you know in the depths of your soul how strongly and how much you want to be a physician, the challenge again is just how do you articulate that? So one thing you can do- like Ryan said, put a picture up. Practice just saying that out loud to other people and we'll talk more about just how to kind of write what mindset to be in when you want to write. But start practicing by just talking to other people you know, and ask them, “Does this make sense to you? When I tell you this is why I want to be a physician, these are the things that I've done that show me that, am I making sense? Do you get what I'm saying? Do you get my passion?” Just start talking about it before you even sit down to write.

Personal Statement Basics

Dr. Ryan Gray: I like it. Alright. So a little bit more nuts and bolts, how long should it be? AMCAS is 5,300 characters, AACOMAS 4,500 characters, and the Texas application is 5,000 characters. So a little bit between 4,500 and 5,300. Telling your life's story in 5,300 characters is hard. Let me repeat that. Telling your life's story- especially for some of you nontraditional students, in 5,300 characters is very hard. And I think a lot of the delay and- I keep saying we'll get to it, we'll get to it, but we'll get this technique in a little bit. But a lot of this delay I think, and procrastination in writing your personal statement and actually getting pen to paper, or keys to keyboard- or fingers to keyboard, is the fact that you sit there and you think in your head what am I going to write about? Should I tell this story? Should I tell that story? Should I talk about this experience, or that experience? And you sit there and stew, and stew, and stew and then as soon as you know it a month has passed and your application is due and you're still on your first draft. So we'll get into it in a little bit, but just understand this is something- because you have such limited space, you have to strategically plan how you're going to do this, and start early. There's a- it's a public speaking kind of joke out there that if you go to a public speaker and say, “Can you give a talk on X, Y, Z,” and the public speaker says, “Well how long do I have to give the talk?” And the person goes, “Well you have an hour.” The public speaker is like, “No problem, I can do that right now.” Or the person goes and says, “Hey, you need to give a talk but you only have five minutes for your talk, giving the same presentation.” The public speaker goes, “Whoa, I need a week to prepare for that.” It's very different, the amount of space that you have, the amount of time that a speaker may have, how you approach it and how you attack it. So be prepared for that. Allison, do you remember trying to fit your whole life's story in 5,300 characters?

Dr. Allison Gray: I was just going to say. So ten years ago when I wrote mine, I just remember how- I was just so surprised at how quickly those characters add up. It seems like a lot, but I mean- and if it was 5,300 words it would be a whole different story. But each semicolon, each period, each comma- and if you're someone who uses commas incorrectly they can add up pretty quickly. It's a hard thing. So that's why like Ryan said, being organized, planning out what you're going to say. Because nobody could fit their entire life's story into 5,300 or 4,500 characters. But it's taking the gold basically out of your life that you want the admissions committee to know about in an organized way. So- and it's probably better if you have more to say, because it's easier to cut things out than to try to- you know if you find yourself sitting there and you're having a really hard time getting to 5,300 characters, you probably are thinking about it wrong. Because again, all of you out there can sit down and just probably say in your own words how much it means to you, why you want to be a physician, or why you want to be in this calling- not this line of that, it's more than that. So if you're having trouble getting to 5,300 characters, there's got to be a disconnect between what you're thinking and getting those words out. So that's why try to talk about it first, and hopefully then you'll just be cutting down as opposed to trying to add up.

Personal Statement Timing

Dr. Ryan Gray: So, I had just talked about kind of how to strategically go through this. When should you start? So applications open up in May, you can submit in June, the Texas one I think you can submit in May so it's a little bit earlier than the other ones. You need to have a- if you're planning on applying early, which if you've listened to us long enough you understand the importance of applying early, then you're going to need your personal statement done at that time. Which means you probably should be starting this two or three months ahead of time. Because you're going to have to go through a couple, if not many, if not a dozen or so drafts of your personal statement. You may start from scratch, you may just do total rewrites left and right. But it's something two or three months ahead of time, you need to start getting your words and your thoughts out on paper.

Dr. Allison Gray: And if you are sitting there thinking, “Oh gosh, I don't have a lot of time left to write it,” if you have taken the opportunity while you've been doing all of these clinical experiences over the years or over the months, you can look at it in a way that you sort of already have started. If you've been documenting any of your experiences, you really can draw from those directly into your personal statement. So yes, sort of starting- putting that first key down on the typewriter, the computer, can feel really daunting. But if you think about it as, “Okay I have all these experiences that I can directly draw from,” maybe you kept a journal, maybe you've done something kind of- not really, what's the word I'm thinking of? I can't think of the word. But my point is that you actually have a lot that you can probably directly draw from, so that it doesn't feel so daunting to actually start.

Secondaries

Dr. Ryan Gray: One of the things I'd recommended to another Academy member recently was how to start. And I think- is it the next slide? No. It's not the next slide. But I'll finish that story in a second. Let's talk about secondaries. And I think one of the things that we don't think about as we're going through this whole process of filling out the primary applications and writing our personal statements and telling our whole stories and just kind of giving- putting all of our effort and energy into our primary application, is the fact that as soon as you click ‘Submit,' there's a good chance that almost all of those schools are going to turn around and send you secondaries. A lot of people think that secondaries are filtered. Some schools do filter their secondaries and are restrictive in who they send secondaries to. But most schools don't because that's where they get money. It costs anywhere from $25.00 to $100 plus for each secondary that you're filling out and submitting. And each of those secondaries will want more information from you; more essays, more of everything. And so you just felt like you just poured your guts out and gave this awesome personal statement, and now all of a sudden you have ten secondaries back in your mailbox, and they all want another statement, another essay telling a different story or a different challenge. And I know for me, I was just so emotionally wiped from the primary application that I just sat on my secondaries forever, and probably hurt my chances of getting into a lot of schools because of that. So be prepared and understand that as soon as you click ‘Submit,' your energy kind of has to be there to pick back up and continue writing. And this is the one area- and I hope nobody is recording this, but this is the one area where I'll recommend Student Doctor Network because they have a section in their forums for secondary applications where students will go out and say, “Hey, here are the questions that they're asking at the University of Florida. This is the essay they want.” So you can be proactive and go out and go to Student Doctor Network, and go to the University of Florida's page on the secondary section and see what questions and what essays they want, and be proactive and write those essays before you even get the secondary.

Dr. Allison Gray: And the secondaries are often much more school-specific. “So why do you think you would be a good addition to our class? Why do you think- why do you want to go to our school?” Be very careful, like Ryan said people- a lot of you may be very tired, very exhausted even after writing your first statement. Don't copy and paste, or try to just change all the names of the schools from one essay to another because you can accidentally send the wrong secondary that you copied and pasted in from one school to another, and that would be very bad. So try to approach each one the best that you can like a brand new essay, and even though a lot of the questions may be somewhat similar. And yeah, I reiterate what Ryan said use that website for this purpose; maybe this purpose only.

Recording Technique

Dr. Ryan Gray: Only, yes only. The only time I'll recommend Student Doctor Network. Alright, here's the slide I was trying to get at earlier about a technique for writing. And before I want to talk about this slide, what I was talking about with the other Academy member about starting her personal statement and kind of why she was procrastinating a little bit. She said she drove a lot, and would on the drives think about everything that she wanted to write about. And I said, “Why think about it? Why don't you speak it and record your thoughts?” And I think we don't use technology to our advantage, we think to write we have to be sitting with pen and paper, or in front of our computer. But with all of the devices that we have nowadays whether you have a dedicated digital recorder, or you have your smartphone that has recording apps in it, you can go on your hour long car ride and dictate basically your personal statement. And it works perfectly for this statement on the slide, “Write drunk and edit sober.” This is something- I forget who says it, a very famous writer. But when you're sitting down to write your personal statement, stop thinking. And that's where the write drunk comes from. Lower your inhibitions, stop thinking, and just start having a little verbal diarrhea so to speak. Just get everything out that's in your head, get it out on paper because that's the hard part. We try to edit everything in our head and the first product that we create we think should be perfect. But if the first product you're creating is perfect then you're doing it wrong. The first product that you create, your first draft should be the biggest piece of junk ever that we can tear apart and help you build up and start chipping away, and be able to tell a more concise story for you that does everything that we've talked about, about showing your passion and making sure that all of the punctuation is correct and spelling is correct, and some other stuff that again we'll talk about. But this is huge, just start writing. It doesn't- it's not going to be perfect, it's not supposed to be perfect. Don't worry about that, just start writing get it out there, let people look at it, let them tell you what is good, what's bad, what you need to cut down, what you need to expand on.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, Ernest Hemingway has a great quote as well that says, “There's nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Which in a sense if you're really passionate about something, you could go on forever about it; and obviously Ernest Hemingway was a great writer, so writing came easily to him. But I think-

Dr. Ryan Gray: Isn't this his quote as well?

Dr. Allison Gray: I think it's been attributed to him, I was just looking to see. But you just let all of that feeling- this is one situation in life where you want to go with your feelings first, like Ryan said, and just get the feeling out. All your feelings about why this matters so much to you, why have you been working two jobs and trying to fit in all your pre-req's? Why have you been putting yourself through all of this? And that should come out pretty easily because for any premed, this process is pretty painful in a lot of ways. So just take all that feeling and that emotion behind it and get that out. Some people can just do that by writing, other people need to kind of save it, other people- you know everybody has their own method. But just go with the feeling and then you can organize later. All that editing, all that red pen later, later, later.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Much later.

Dr. Allison Gray: And that's part of why you want to start early enough, too.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Exactly. Which is this next slide – how many drafts? There isn't a specific number, but understand that there should be a lot. This is not something that's going to come out perfect and smelling like roses right from the get-go. You're going to write it and fix it, and write it and fix it, and probably some advice that I've heard from some people is you put it in a drawer for a couple weeks and stop thinking about it, and then you come back to it and look at it again with a different perspective, and just keep tearing it apart and building it stronger each time. So that one's kind of self-explanatory.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yes, I don't have much to add to that.

Using Editors

Dr. Ryan Gray: Here's an interesting one. How many editors do you need to look at your personal statement? And this is where I think the- you can't go wrong with as many as you can get. People that know you, people that don't know you, and something that I think is very important and something that I've wanted to kind of get another person in the Academy or have a company out there that we can go to and trust, is having a professional. Having somebody out there that does this for a living and can look at your personal statement; not for the content, but for spelling, for punctuation, for grammar, all of that other stuff that matters. I am not good at that, Allison is great at it but she's not a professional, and so-

Dr. Allison Gray: Hey!

Dr. Ryan Gray: We can look at all of this stuff and give you advice and feedback about how the story- how your story feels to us, but from a punctuation, from a grammar and just sentence structure standpoint, I think at the end of the day that last person should be a professional editor.

Dr. Allison Gray: And I think it's important to actually sort of split apart- when you ask someone to read it, are you asking them to read it for the content or for the grammar? Because you want those two perspectives, and sometimes- if it's a professional person they can mesh those two easily. But if you give it to your mother and say, “I want you to read this,” and she comes back to you with just all typos or grammar stuff, that's not- that may not be really what you need at that time. Probably you know the typos come later, that's sort of the last set of drafts. The first set is all about the content, the structure of of how you're organizing, what you're trying to say, what you're trying to communicate. So I think splitting in your head who are you going to be giving this to, and be very clear with them. “I want you to edit this for content.” Or, “I want you to edit this for my organization.” And then later on, “I want you to edit this strictly for just typos.” Because think about it too, if you are at the end of the line, you've gone through- I don't want to put a number out there, but let's just say you've gone through ten drafts and you're very clear that you're happy with the content, you've talked with several editors, you're happy with the organization, and you give it to someone and you don't tell them, “Hey I just want you to look at this for typos,” and they come back to you and say, “Well I think you need to re-orchestrate how you did this. And these three paragraphs are in the wrong spot, and you really shouldn't be talking about this at all,” you're going to have a freak-out. Because at that point, you're going to submit your application in a couple weeks and you don't need all that- someone will always be able to give you their perspective on content. So at that point you want to close the door on that and say, “I'm ready for just grammar and spelling errors.” So I think just have a timeline in your head of when you're going to stop asking people for content editing, that's an important piece. And also don't make the mistake of just asking people to edit who are not going to give you the honest truth. Because that's not going to be helpful to you. I remember giving my personal statement- it might have even been for college to a writer, a professional writer who was a friend of the family, and I was really bummed out when she came back and had like a million things to tell me about how I needed to completely redesign my essay. But it was important, and it was stuff that I needed to hear. So be honest with yourself; if you're just giving it to your significant other, or your mom, or your cat-

Dr. Ryan Gray: Those are people that you really, in my mind, you don't want to give it to because those are the ones that are going to say stuff that make you feel good. And you don't want feel good at this point.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, and you can- I mean there's nothing wrong with it, but don't only give it to those people. Make sure that you're giving it- one thing that some people do, which you may or may not be able to do; give it to your personal physician and say, “Hey, I'm here for my annual,” you can even say you're here for an urgent visit. No, I don't think you should do that. But-

Dr. Ryan Gray: Applications are due next week.

Dr. Allison Gray: Right, exactly. I need an antibiotic. No, but if you have a great relationship with any physician, give your personal statement to that person and ask them if they'd be willing to give you some honest feedback on it, because again you're going to be getting the perspective of not just someone who hopefully is interested in you doing well, but someone who has been on the other side of it, and like Ryan and I have, who is a practicing physician and knows what you're getting yourself into, and can get from your essay hopefully, can understand why- either clearly or not clearly, why you also want to join this profession. So I really strongly recommend that if you have any physicians that you know other than obviously us and the Academy, anybody who knows you personally and can really get clear by your writing what you've said to them vocally all this time is communicating well in writing. Use that opportunity if you can.

What’s Your Story?

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah. Alright. So what's your story? And that's the ultimate goal of these personal statements, is to tell your story. So that's kind of your homework as you leave here tonight and the majority of you aren't applying this year that are watching this live. But as you leave and start to formulate some plans understanding kind of what your story is and how it all revolves around medicine eventually- hopefully that's why you're doing this, because you want to get into medicine. That's what you need to start thinking about.

Dr. Allison Gray: It's a good place to start, just think about how did you get here? What is the story? There's always a story to tell, and there's always a beginning and there's always an end, and the end is getting into medical school. So what's the filler-in?

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yes. So part of telling your story and trying to figure out what your story is, and letting the admission committee members see your story, is showing them what you're doing; and I don't know how well you guys can see this picture but it's a- I don't know what movie this is from. But it's the words on the book are ‘Coming to Life,' and that's what you want the words in your personal statement to do. There's a big difference between saying, “I am passionate, I am dedicated, I am empathic,” and just listing out qualities that you have and telling the admissions committee member the qualities you have versus showing them, by what you've done in your past. By saying, “Every Saturday morning I would wake up at 6:00 to be at the free clinic at 7:00, I would ride the train for an hour, and I would get there at 7:00 to open the doors because I knew that there were patients out there that had no other place to go and I enjoyed sitting there and listening to their stories of the week, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” There's a huge difference between those two statements. They tell exactly the same thing in the end, but to somebody reading it, it just comes to life and that's what you need to do.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, this is one of the biggest things that is so important to try to grasp when you write your personal statement. When you tell the story about these clinical experiences, we should immediately know- or just by reading it, just totally understand why you want to do what you want to do. And we also should feel like we're in the room, that's a big thing when I read a personal statement, and I know when admissions committee officers read personal statements, they want to feel like they're there. Like they can smell the wood, they can smell the patient with you while you're in that room. It's just so much more powerful than just reiterating what happened. And it really- I think personally, makes difference between a really good and an okay personal statement. Because it just- it makes that person want to keep reading, number one. And it just makes them get so much of a better sense of you and who you are, because it just translates that much more easily than just kind of telling them a bunch of things. This is why I want to be a doctor. Don't- we said what's your story. Don't tell your story, show them by using the language and by using these really often very powerful experiences that you guys have all had, by getting that into a story that people don't want to stop reading. And where the words literally like this picture is showing, just come off the page, like you feel like you're there. And this may be challenging, you know for some of you especially nontrads who may have had some of these experiences years ago, but that's why again ‘write drunk, edit sober,' take some time to just get it all out on paper. Remember as much as you can about what you've experienced and write it all out. And I think if you think back, again about starting with your feelings, about why you want to do this, you'll probably go back and think, “Well I remember that patient, and that was just such an incredible experience for me. That showed me so much why I want to do this. I want to help other people like her. Or that experience with that patient was devastating to me.” So you'll have these experiences which in your mind are there and very powerful, and we want to be there with you.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah. And that's one of those things where if you keep a journal, which we highly recommend of everything you do, when you start to write your personal statement you can easily open up your journal and read what you've done because we don't remember that kind of stuff. How we felt, the emotions behind it, we don't really remember a lot of those details. Alrighty. So some common mistakes that are made with personal statements. We mentioned one of them already when we were talking about hiring, or having a professional editor be the last pass; something that I recommend. And that's errors in spelling and grammar. An admissions committee member will kind of chuckle and probably skip right past your application if you have any kind of grammatical issues, spelling issues, with your personal statement because their immediate perception of you is that you obviously didn't care enough to double check your work. And when there are sixty plus thousand students applying to medical school, there is somebody else behind you with similar grades, similar MCAT scores, that might not have a better story than you, but they took the time to make sure that their personal statement was grammatically correct, had no typos, and so on and so forth; that they're going to get the interview and not you. And you don't- you obviously don't want that to happen.

Dr. Allison Gray: And I would say when it gets to be that point when you're editing for grammar, editing for spelling, literally do this three or four times. Don't just say, “Okay I'm going to edit once and then that's it for grammar and spelling.” You'd be surprised at the things that you'll miss because it's usually the kind of thing where again, you've been spending so many hours on this thing you just want to be done with it already, and this is just a last pass for spelling and grammar. Be very careful about that. I really recommend, like read it through or have somebody else read it through for spelling and grammar and edit it, and then go get a cup of coffee or go take a walk around the block and then do it again. Or even wait another day and come back to it, that's probably even better, and do it again for spelling and grammar. The other thing I would say, be very careful about knowing how to properly use semicolons and commas. They can- commas have a way because they're used as pauses when we write, they can really disrupt the flow of your personal statement if they're used incorrectly. So it seems like a silly thing but commas- know how to use them, and semicolons- so many people don't know how to use semicolons properly.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Including me.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, whenever I edit something Ryan has written, there usually is some incorrectly placed semicolons.

Dr. Ryan Gray: That's why I just don't use them.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, but that's a good point. So if you don't- don't put some punctuation in there that you think is right if you're not sure. Don't- you know that's when you ask somebody else who's very good at grammar, or an editor, or somebody who does this kind of thing professionally. Because you don't- you just don't want those- they're kind of like sore thumbs. You just don't want those things to stick out from your personal statement because all that they will do is detract from what could be a very well written piece with just something like this on the pavement. Like just an ‘oops' that you just can't take back unfortunately once you hit submit.

Don’t be Long Winded!

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah. And next one is being very long winded. Not getting to the point, not being concise. And this comes from not editing enough and not having enough drafts, and not having enough people read your personal statement. It's very easy to fix all of this stuff if you have people editing your personal statement that will be honest with you. And so I don't really think there's a lot to talk about with this one, it's just something that comes from editing.

Dr. Allison Gray: And the only thing I would add, I think the way that this happens too is that you look at your life and you say, “Okay well I knew when I was ten years old,” I'm just making this up, “that I wanted to be a physician.” Because maybe your friend broke his leg and something like that. And then you go through all of these experiences in your life that got you from ten years old to where you are now and try to jam it all into one personal statement. You don't want to do that because it's not- and we'll talk about the timeline in a moment. But it's not about really telling your life's story so much as it is picking out these crucial experiences you've had, these what we call transformative experiences which is a word that admissions committees like to use, and it's actually even on the AMCAS application. Transformative in that it really changed your life, and changed how you thought about your career, and what you wanted to do with your life. So you want to pick out these crucial experiences you had and try to highlight them in a way that allows us to experience those with you just as if they happened yesterday and we were there with you. Rather than sort of just tell the whole saga from the day that something happened and you decided that maybe you wanted to be a doctor up to now; because that's where you're going to be all over the place, it's not going to flow well, you get disorganized and you're going to be way long winded. And an admissions committee member is honestly going to get bored because you know think about it one way, if you sit in a room with somebody and they are going to tell you their entire life's story, that doesn't sound very appealing to anybody I don't think. Unless it's like somebody famous. And but the opposite is that you have these really incredible experiences that you're telling somebody about, and who wouldn't want to hear about those?

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yes. Alright, wrapping up. The personal statement should not be a blow-by-blow account of your life.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, this is just what I was just talking about actually, it segwayed perfectly.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah you don't want to say at ten I did this and that got me interested, at twelve I did this and I was more interested, at fifteen I did this and I thought I wasn't going to be a doctor, and then at twenty I wanted to be a doctor again and look at me now. Your personal statement is not a transcript of your life, it's not your Facebook timeline.

Dr. Allison Gray: And I think it's- oh I'm sorry Ryan, go ahead.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Go ahead.

Dr. Allison Gray: No I think if you've had a lot of different experiences, and also if you're a nontraditional, and let's say you went to nursing school and then you realized that you wanted to do a career change. Or maybe you were in business, maybe you were an engineer and you decided you wanted to do a career change. Just be careful about trying to write down and sort of explain all the reasons why you chose to do this opportunity, and then this opportunity, and then this one. If they have a question about that when they interview you they can ask you, “Hey why did you do this between 2009 and 2012?” Don't feel like you need- like the personal statement is the time when you have to explain away why you have ten or fifteen years between when you graduated school and when you want to enter medical school. Again it's really more about highlighting why; you know why you're here, where you're at today and applying to medical school. So yeah the Facebook timeline is- let the timeline be there, don't put a timeline in your personal statement.

Your ‘Why’ For Entering Medical School

Dr. Ryan Gray: And the last big mistake that we're going to talk about here tonight is failure to talk about why you're actually going through all of this traumatic experience. I've read several personal statements where I get to the end and I have to do a double take, because nowhere in the personal statement was there mention of really wanting to be a doctor. They just kind of talked about these fun experiences they've had, and it ended. And I'm like, “Well, why do you want to go to medical school? What's the point of everything you just did? What are you hoping to do in the future?” And I think that's something that a lot of people can think about when they're writing their personal statement and communicating why they want to be a physician is actually saying, “You know what, when I'm done with medical school, this is how I picture using my MD to give back and travel the world, and help underserved populations,” or whatever it may be. But there has to be that ‘why.' And we talked about it- I talked about it at the beginning, there has to be a ‘why' in your personal statement for it to actually matter.

Dr. Allison Gray: Yes, and this is where it can become very clear who the people are who are just applying because their parents want them to be doctors. Unfortunately there were actually a couple people in our medical school class who graduated who that's why they went to medical school, they really didn't want to be there. But that's the kind of thing that can come across in something like this. And the other thing is you don't want to run the risk of sort of communicating why you want to be a physician is because of that thing that happened when you were ten years old. It may be- it may be that that sort of was the spark for everything for you, but it's much more powerful to demonstrate why this experience with this patient was so powerful for you maybe a couple years ago, or last year, and why that just highlights so much for you why you want to be a physician and all of your future goals, like Ryan was saying. Rather than- I mean admissions committees get really tired of seeing, “Well my aunt developed cancer,” I mean this sounds- and I don't mean this to sound cruel by any means, but I just think it's a fact that admissions committees will see a statement like, “My aunt developed cancer when I was ten years old and that's why I want to be a physician.” If you think about that statement, that doesn't really tell me anything. I feel very sad for you that your aunt experienced that and that you went through that terrible experience, but that doesn't tell me why you want to be a physician. So what you want to do if something like that happened, use that as the spark, you may talk about it in your statement but it shouldn't be sort of the building block of the big center stone of why you want to be a physician. Because it will get passed over, and I think people won't take you seriously because they'll be more focused on that and sort of breeze over the fact that you've had these ten or fifteen amazing experiences with patients that are fueling all of this desire to go and be a physician yourself.

Dr. Ryan Gray: I like it. I think that's it. We were going to share a couple pieces from our personal statements, but that went a lot longer than I thought it was going to. So I think I would like to just open it up for questions at this point. And so if you have a question, you can't unmute yourself but if you just type in the little box that you want a question, I can unmute you and you can ask it. And if you don't know how to type in the little box then I don't know what to do for you. So who has a question? If you don't have a question, was this useful? You can tell us. Brian has a question, let me unmute Brian. Brian you are unmuted.

DO Versus MD Personal Statements

Brian: Hi Ryan and Allison, thank you for this workshop, I really enjoyed it. My first question is I'm interested in applying to osteopathic and allopathic schools, and so I'm wondering- I would like to use the same personal statement for both, other than the length is a little different. But I'm wondering if I really need to write quite a bit about specifically osteopathic medicine for the osteopathic personal statement? So that would require me to modify my personal statement. I didn't know if you had any idea?

Dr. Ryan Gray: So this is a very common question, and one where my personal suggestion is- and I can email a couple deans at some osteopathic schools and get a better answer. But I think each school is going to be different unfortunately, but I think at the end of the day you're going to be a physician and what you're doing with this personal statement is sharing your story and talking about why you want to be a physician, not why you want to be a DO or why you want to be an MD. So it doesn't matter, you can use the same one in my opinion.

Dr. Allison Gray: I would agree with that as well. And I think that's something that they can ask you later on in secondaries, they can ask you when they interview you, “Hey why do you want to go to DO school? Why not MD school?” And that's an opportunity to highlight it rather than feeling like you said, like you have to go ahead and write a whole other statement. Because at the end of the day we're all physicians so it really shouldn't matter to them. And if they make a stink about it, then you can always tell them later.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Exactly. Alright. I'm muting you again Brian unless you have another question, you can put back in the box that you have another question. But who else has a question? Who else here? We've got Colton on the call, Erin, Larone. Larone has a question. Unmuted, hi Larone.

Larone: Hi.

Dr. Ryan Gray: How are you?

Dr. Allison Gray: Hello.

Larone: Do you hear me?

Dr. Allison Gray: Yes, we can hear you fine.

Larone: Oh cool, okay for a second I- what's a good start? Like you have all this collection of experiences but where do you start from?

Dr. Ryan Gray: You don't start from anywhere, and I think that was our kind of ‘write drunk, edit sober,' what we were hoping to get across. Is that you just- just get everything out on paper. And then once you have it out on paper, then we can start molding it and we can move paragraph three up to paragraph one, and paragraph one down to paragraph five, and move sentences around, and words around, and stories around. So there really is no- at this point for draft number one there is no starting point. Just get it out of your head.

Larone: I got you, yeah that's a good advice.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Allison? Allison left. Oh well. She's been playing with the baby upstairs, I'm sure everybody heard the baby. Yeah, so Larone I think that's a great question and something that most students get hung up on is, “I don't know where to start, and so I'm just going to think about it some more, and I still don't know where to start so I'm going to think about it some more,” and they just- that frustration builds and then there's no time to write enough drafts to actually get a great statement out there. Just get it out there, write it all down, and then once it's all down then you can look at it objectively and move things around to best tell your story.

Dr. Allison Gray: I apologize, I missed some of that because I had to go kill a very large insect.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Cool.

Dr. Allison Gray: No not cool. And I hope I'm not repeating stuff that you've already said Ryan, but I think Larone if you've had a lot- and a lot of you guys have had ton of these experiences so it is hard to kind of pick apart which ones do I pick? But I can tell you, thinking back to when I was a premed, I still remember one of the patients that I wrote about actually in my statement, because it stuck with me so much and I was just blown away by it. And so I think if you even- again before you even write it down, even if you're just talking about it, just think in your head back to the experiences that really were meaningful to you and that were transformative. And try to just pick one or two, and then see if you can write down about them and just write- just write a whole bunch, whatever comes to mind and then later like Ryan said, you'll organize that better. But I think if you stand back and look at it all, it can be somewhat overwhelming because you have met a lot of patients, you have seen a lot probably hopefully by the time you're applying. So just step back and kind of just pick a couple of them that really were meaningful to you and start with that. That's I think what I would say as a starting point if you're going to pick one.

Dr. Ryan Gray: And what may happen is as you're writing about one, you'll remember another one that you had totally forgotten about. Our memories are not very good, and I'll give a personal example. We ran into friends up here one time and we were talking about Key West and I said, “Man I would really like to go to Key West.” And my friend was like, “Dude do you not remember we spent a week in Key West back in college.” And I had totally forgotten about it until he had mentioned it, and then all of the memories came back into my head. So just get it out there and you'd be surprised what your mind can do to start triggering some of those memories. Alright, any other questions? Questions, questions, no questions. Alright. Oh Brian has one last one. Let's see. Larone, you muted yourself. Brian is unmuted.

Brian: Hi, the other question I have is- it's sort of like my experiences, let's see. It's sort of the idea that like I'm trying- it's kind of like I'm in a loop. Like I have these experiences, and I did those things because I wanted to go to medical school. And then I used those experiences to explain why I should- why I can be a good doctor. I don't know, it just seems like I'm having a tough way of describing. I mean I did these things because I wanted to get into medical school, and then I should get into medical school because I did these experiences. So I don't know, it seems like I'm in a loop in there, so I'm trying to work through that.

Dr. Allison Gray: I hear what you're saying. I think- and we all were in that place, right? I think it's less common nowadays that somebody serendipitously has an experience and that shows them, “Oh my God I want to be a doctor,” and then they get into medical school. I mean usually you're now- we're trying to have people do clinical experiences and then those are hopefully what shows they want to be doctors. So yes, it can be kind that loops. I guess if you- just talking out loud, is there a patient that you can think of that meant something to you or that really was, like in any of the experiences that you have had that you set up, did you- were any of those kind of ones that stood out to you?

Brian: Okay.

Dr. Allison Gray: And you can tell me, like you could just- for any of us here listening, you know just- and that's why again I recommend just trying to talk it out sometimes, because part of this, it's the writing part that I think gets people hung up because it's probably easier if you and I were just on the phone talking. You know for you to tell me, “I was in the ER and this patient came in and he was in a train wreck, and three weeks later he was up and walking.” I mean I'm sure hopefully, and unless you've had clinical experiences that you haven't really enjoyed, but hopefully in there you've had some that you really- that you enjoyed, or maybe that were horrifying to you. You know whatever the emotion was, it could be really strong in either direction but either way at the end of it, it hopefully reinforced that you wanted to be a physician. Because if it didn't right, you wouldn't be sitting with us here right now. You would have said, “Yeah, that's not for me.” Then go be a businessman or whatever. You know so- and you're welcome if you want to any of you guys, set up a time with Ryan and I, or with any of the other experts in the academy, and just talk it out. “You know these are some of the experiences I had, you know I think this one would be a good one to write about, what do you think?” And tell us just verbally why it was a good experience. Does that help a little bit?

Brian: Yeah, I guess. I'm just trying to you know incorporate my experiences in there and try to explain like why I did these activities, and yeah. I mean I guess I just need to work on it some more, but the advice is very helpful, and I'll just keep writing and working on it.

Show, Don’t Tell

Dr. Allison Gray: Yeah, and again don't feel like you have to be explaining why you did everything that you did, because you don't. It's really more kind of showing them through an experience that you had that, “See this is why. This is why I want to do this, this was why this meant a great deal, and this is-” and for every person it's going to be different. You know and that's- like you said it's very hard, nobody said this is easy. This is one of the hardest- I think honestly it's funny how Ryan started of saying that some people look at this as, “Oh it's just an essay.” Every time I see the words personal statement in any application I've ever had, I always look at this as one of the most challenging parts. Because it's not- your grades are done at this point. Your MCAT score is done, this is where you have a lot of the creativity, the freedom, and a lot of us who maybe are more kind of- maybe we're better at math, maybe we're not as good at kind of being creative writers. So like me, I'm a terrible creative writer, I always get very nervous about it but I'm really good at talking which you guys may have picked up on by now. I can talk very easily; so that's I think for me why I find that as a pathway to being able to then get things out onto the page. Is just talking about it.

Dr. Ryan Gray: So Colton had typed, ‘What would you have done differently in preparing for your own personal statement?'

Dr. Allison Gray: I probably- I can answer that pretty easily. I would have talked about something a little bit different. So when I- I'm pretty happy with my statement that I wrote for my residency applications because looking back on it, and there aren't a lot of things actually looking back on that I've written that I'm pleased with. But that was one, and the reason is that I actually was able to highlight through some experiences I had with neurology patients in medical school, explained through those why I wanted to be a neurologist and why neurology was it for me, why I loved it so much. But when I look back- and you guys are welcome to read it, it's up on the website. When I look back at my personal statement I at the time was trying to explain why my two loves when I was a real little kid were dance and school, I loved school, I was always a big nerd. And what I found was that while I initially wanted to be a ballerina, and that really was what I wanted to do with my life, I realized that it was missing kind of the intellectual punch that I needed. I wanted something that was going to be challenging on an intellectual level every day, and dance just wasn't that for me. So that's what I really talked about and I think that it's not a badly written thing, I think it's fine, but if I had to go back I think I would have tried to use more of those clinical experiences that I had to really show people why those were really powerful, and why they helped me decide that I wanted to pursue medicine. And the other thing is that I should have done more showing and not telling. So I think if I could go back I would have people read it and say, “Can you get by reading this- do you feel like you're there with me?” And if they said, “No,” because when I read it now I did do more telling than showing in parts of it and I'm happy to highlight that at some other time for you guys. But if you read through my statement you'll see that some of the things that I say are more telling and not showing. So those are probably the two things Colton that I would have tried to do differently.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah.

Dr. Allison Gray: Highlight the clinical experiences, and show don't tell more.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah, definitely show don't tell for me. And drafts I think was a big one. I think I tried to rush it at the last minute, and didn't go through proper editing and lots of drafts and other stuff. So things we talked about in the webinar. So hopefully you guys got some great information out of this, and obviously the goal is to get you guys prepared and ready for your applications so that you can submit the strongest application to get you into medical school. So that's the goal. Get you into medical school, get you to be a doctor, and get you on the other side to start taking care of patients.

Dr. Allison Gray: And for all of you, I really do love to edit, and I love to hear from you guys about why you want to do what you want to do. So if- you know really use that thing that we have up on the Academy, where you can put your personal statement up there. If you feel kind of shy and you don't really want to, you're welcome to email. I think it's best to put it up there even if it's a little scary and makes you feel like you're kind of putting yourself out there. People- a lot of other people will learn from you by doing that. I think it's some of the Academy members have responded to each other, I think it's a really great learning experience for everybody. But I'm happy at any point, and I'm sure Ryan is too, if you just want to have a one-on-one and kind of talk through, “This is what I think I want to write about, these are the experiences,” or if you just want to send us a little snippet and then see or as us, “Are we on the right track?” And again Ryan and I are not sitting here trying to say that we're professional editors, we're not certainly, but just to kind of get you going and help you out.

Dr. Ryan Gray: You got it. Alright. That concludes our personal statement webinar. Guys have a great night, we will see you in the forums and looking forward to see your drafts in the personal statement section of the library. Have a great night.

Dr. Allison Gray: Good night guys.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Ryan Gray: Alright, again that was a webinar from the Academy. For more information on the Academy go to www.JoinTheAcademy.net. We are about 95% success rate in applicants this year, we have one student who is waitlisted right now and we're trying to get him off the wait list, but I have high hopes for him. We have a student that got in, Brian, I think he has some questions on the personal statement, he got into medical school this year after his fourth time applying. We do the best that we can to help polish up your application, help show you how to ace your medical school interview, and so much more. Again, www.JoinTheAcademy.net.

If you haven't yet, go to www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/iTunes and we would be so grateful if you left us a rating and review. We had two new reviews come in this week. One from SamMCAZ, who says, “Algebraic. I am super excited to have found this podcast.” We are super excited that you found it as well. A nontraditional single parent, former enlisted marine, SamMCAZ, thank you for your service.

And we have MedDocX who says, “Excellent podcast, this podcast is very informative and covers a variety of topics. Starting medical in the fall at the University of Florida. Go Gators.” Congrats, obviously University State Florida, my alma mater for undergrad, amazing that you MedDocX got in, I am jealous and I take bribes in the form of college football, hint hint, tickets. Anyway.

www.MedicalSchoolHQ.net/iTunes, we would greatly appreciate a rating and review. Every rating and review that you leave helps show iTunes and Apple that we are worth showing to other premed students. So we are all about collaborating here, don't hold us a secret to yourself, go spread the love on iTunes. Do us a favor, go to your premed advisor and say, “Hey, I've heard this podcast now, I've listened to all 120 episodes,” or however many you've listened to, and let them know how useful we have been in supporting you along with them. We don't want to show up your premed advisor, we want to be there with them and help support them as well. And if you want some cards, we'll mail you some business cards that you can go to your premed and give your premed advisor, just email me Ryan@medicalschoolhq.net.

Alright, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed today's podcast, I hope you got a good sneak peak at what it's like to be in the Academy. Again, www.JoinTheAcademy.net. We're going to open up again pretty soon, maybe, and we hope to see you inside. And we hope to catch you next time here at the Medical School Headquarters.

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