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'in different capacities' - AMCAS Essay


reader2011 4 / 9  
Sep 15, 2009   #1
Looking for honest feedback on essay. First time applying to med school.

My curiosity for medicine materialized by growing up going to Cook County Hospital (currently known as John Stroger Medical Center) and observing how doctors went the extra mile to help patients. When I was younger, my family did not have the luxury of being able to afford medical insurance. John Stroger Medical Center provided my family with all of our medical care. Through this experience I saw first hand how patients in an urban community were treated. The quality of health care is adequate, but the vast number of patients compared to the number of doctors is astounding. Patients either wait long hours or give up and leave without seeing the doctor at all. The realization of this dilemma inspired my current decision to volunteer at a free clinic and my future aspirations of practicing medicine at an urban hospital such as John Stroger Medical Center. John Stroger Medical Center showed me that a true medical professional cares for the patient regardless of race, creed, living arrangements, or employment status. That is what I want to do; I want to be a doctor that gives privileged services to the underprivileged, especially underprivileged children.

Growing up on the West side of Chicago, because of my mom's profession, I spent a considerable amount of time in day care centers and after school programs. During this time I saw first hand how children suffered and died from preventable aliments because of inadequate health care or medical facilities. This observation provoked a concern in me for the well being of children and for underprivileged children especially. While working with my mother in her home daycare, I saw children with all types of medical problems, ranging from . This experience delineated my interest in the medical specialty of pediatric. This concern also prompted me to accept a position at Children's Memorial Hospital in the neurobiology laboratory as a research assistant. To help children with different medical problems and to alleviate many of the medical issues that is plaguing our youth is truly a cause that is dear to my heart.

However, with great dreams comes an even greater sacrifice. In the course of my educational voyage, I made the decision to be employed while in school due to financial hardship. That was neither an easy decision nor road to travel down. For many years prior to this decision, my focus was on my studies and making good grades. For the past couple of years I had to've had to divide my time between work and school. Eventually through trail and error, I developed a schedule that allowed me to complete every task.

Working in different capacities has made me a well-rounded person. I have worked as a private math tutor, library assistant, secretary, waiter, cashier, custodial worker and assistant to professors, all in an effort to ensure that I stay in school and reach my goal of becoming a physician. In the latter part of my undergraduate studies, I had the privilege of being trained and working as an undergraduate research assistant at Chicago State University Department of Biological Science Research Laboratory. This experience propelled me into my current position as a research assistant at Children's Memorial Hospital. For me this is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, because I never thought I would be doing research that could help cure children of febrile seizures.

I am grateful to God for the opportunities He has placed in my life. Some of the experiences that I have encountered I would have thought impossible when I was younger, but now I truly see that anything is possible if you first believe and then act on that belief. Through the ten years it has taken me to get to this point, I believe I have matured and will develop (with proper medical training) into the physician parents can entrust their child's life into the hands of.
Notoman 20 / 419  
Sep 15, 2009   #2
Not bad, not bad at all, but I know you want it to be perfect. It could use a little cleaning (of errors) and a little tightening (there are a lot of auxiliary and passive verbs that don't add to your narrative). It could also use a little more sentence variety. I hope that you don't mind my nitpicking here.

My curiosity for medicine materialized by growing up going to Cook County Hospital (currently known as John Stroger Medical Center) and observing how doctors went the extra mile to help patients.

Curiosity isn't the best word here. You haven't used it incorrectly, but one of the connotations of curiosity is that the person is interested in things that do not concern them. It also has a quality about it that isn't very serious--a person might have a curiosity in a passing whim. I am not crazy about "by growing up going to," but I am having a hard time rephrasing that right now.

When I was younger, my family did not have the luxury of being able to afford medical insurance.

This is a little verbose. There are an awful lot of verbs that are just hanging out not doing much. Try something like: As a child, my family was unable to afford medical insurance.

Through this experience I saw first hand how patients in an urban community were treated.

Add a comma after the word experience. Or reword this sentence altogether to omit some of the verbs: I experienced first hand how patients in urban communities are treated. I used the present tense because things have not changed all that much since you were a patient and you are hoping to change the way urban patients are treated. I also changed communities to the plural because you are able to extrapolate. Let me add another thought here ... you start off by saying how wonderful the doctors are and then you deride the system before stating again that the doctors treat everyone. As a reader, I feel like I am on a roller coaster. It is okay for you to say that there is room for improvement, but the ride needs a little more transition.

The quality of health care is adequate, but the vast number of patients compared to the number of doctors is astounding.

This is a place where you could make that transition. While the medical staff is high quality, the exorbitant patient to provider ratio is daunting. If you are going to use the word healthcare, it should be one word. My spellchecker highlights it, but it is the more common usage and is easier on the eyes.

Patients either wait long hours or give up and leave without seeing the doctor at all.

Take out give up and. It doesn't add anything and it makes it sound like the patients are not terribly sick, but make the choice not to wait to be seen by a doctor.

The realization of this dilemma inspired my current decision to volunteer at a free clinic and my future aspirations of practicing medicine at an urban hospital such as John Stroger Medical Center.

Realization isn't the best word here because it can confuse the reader. It can mean that you are becoming aware of something, but it also means bringing a plan to fruition. The way it reads, the sentence could be saying that the current dilemma is the result of someone's evil machinations that are just now being realized. Future and aspirations are redundant when used together. Aspirations, by their very nature, are in the future (unless you are using past-tense verbs, but I am not going to get bogged down in possible scenarios here). I'd drop "such as John Stroger Medical Center" here. It isn't needed and adds unnecessarily to the word count. Especially when you start your next sentence with John ...

showed me that a true medical professional cares for the patient

I think this would have more impact if you pluralized it. ... showed me that true medical professionals care for patients ... there is more continuity there and the mental picture that you saw more than one doctor caring for more than one patient on more than one occasion.

That is what I want to do; I want to be a doctor that gives privileged services to the underprivileged, especially underprivileged children.

I'd change up the words here a little instead of hitting the reader with the right, left, right combo of privileged, underprivileged, underprivileged. It is my own bias, but I am not crazy about the words privileged and underprivileged. What does privileged mean really? A special right given to a few. And underprivileged? A privilege is often something that is not tangible. I guess you could say that medical care is a privilege, but it isn't flowing for me. The second underprivileged is unnecessary regardless. If it were my essay (and it is not so feel free to ignore this), I'd say: That is what I want to do; I want to be a doctor that provides high-quality services to the underprivileged, especially children.

Whew! It takes a long time when I nitpick. I'll let other comment more or come back later if you don't mind my (figurative) red ink.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Sep 15, 2009   #3
Go through your essay and make sure you are saying throughout what you really mean to say. At the moment, your phrasing often means that you are saying things you don't really mean, which is annoying. For instance:

My curiosity for medicine materialized by growing up going to Cook County Hospital

I'm curious, why did your curiosity grow up going to Cook County Hospital? How does curiosity grow up? How did it move around to get to the hospital? Why would it go there at all? These seem like odd things for curiosity to do. They seem more like people things . . .

Through this experience I saw first hand how patients in an urban community were treated.

So no one who lives in an urban area can afford insurance? They all must use clinics? Or did you see first hand how only some people in urban centers are treated?

That is what I want to do; I want to be a doctor that gives privileged services to the underprivileged, especially underprivileged children.

I know what you mean, but no. You are equivocating here, using "privileged" in two different senses. At least, that's what I assume. Otherwise you are making no sense at all. The overall sentiment is the sort of thing that you want, you just need to alter the phrasing a bit.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 15, 2009   #4
Your story is so strong, but your essay is so dull. For heaven's sake: You grew up poor, suffered long waits at the notorious Cooks County hospital, and then went on to volunteer at a free clinic. You've done a variety of jobs. You must have stories to tell! Choose one that illustrates what you most want the admissions committee to know and lead with that.
OP reader2011 4 / 9  
Sep 17, 2009   #5
Thanks for the feedback. I will make the correction and repost. This really is a very useful and helpful website.


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