pretty open. It allows applicants to say whatever they want to say about themselves, what they would like to bring to the attention of the admissions committee. Most of the time people discuss their reasons for being interested in medicine. Others may discuss particular interests or hobbies or accomplishments. People also use it to explain deficiencies in their application. We view the personal profile as a supplement that the student perhaps can use to enhance his or her application.
People sometimes write an unusual type of essay, and they do it intentionally, I'm sure, to draw attention to themselves. For example, they'll tell a story or they'll write a poem. I have mixed feelings about this. Occasionally, some of these verge on the bizarre and make you wonder about the stability of the applicant. A few of them, though, are quite good and creative. You've got thousands of applications, and 90 percent of the essays sound the same, so some people will try to be different.
Be forthright, and honest, and explain sincerely why you want to become a physician. If you can convey some of that desire and motivation through the essay, that might help a little bit.
Two people see the statement initially and then—if the person is to be interviewed—two more people who will do the interview. In our system, the interviewers will summarize the application to the committee, and occasionally they will call attention to something in the essay if it's particularly good or bad.
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