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WashU University Scholars Program in Medicine

bballcenter 1 / 2  
Jul 21, 2013   #1
Hello! This is my admission essay for WashU University Scholars Program in Medicine. I appreciate any and all feedback on this essay, and PLEASE do not hesitate in your criticism. Better to hear about the flaws early on than 2 days before the deadline :) Thank you all very much and good luck!

Prompt: Please answer the following question in one page* or less: Explain why you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Describe any life experiences that may have sparked this interest, as well as any personal attributes that make you especially suited for a medical career.

*Fits one page

Getting candy after a visit to the doctor's office? No. Reading an anatomy textbook? No. Watching House or Grey's Anatomy? No. No, my interest in medicine and passion for a career in this field did not originate from these surface-level, indirect exposures to the subject. It did not come from a fascination to cut up people or the attraction to the six-figure salaries. I was allured to this line of work from hands-on experiences and a genuine dedication towards the moral goal that fuels doctors' engines after years of exhausting schoolwork and clinical training. And it first hit me in seventh grade during my class's science fair unit. My project was investigating the effects of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere of growing mustard plants. This was more of developing an engrossed interest in biological sciences rather than medicine specifically. However, the experience played an enormous impact on me and has drawn me significantly towards doing a research internship in high school. And that's exactly what I did. But as a read the papers that professors wrote on their projects, I noticed that the medically-focused ones encompassed the other two biological sciences that I was interested in-biology and chemistry. So the medicine was looking more and more appealing as it encompassed many areas of science I was fascinated in. And the medical aspect they investigated was not just researching to get results for publishing a paper. No, they approached their project with a revolutionary intention. An intention to find a cure for that disease or an innovative understanding of that organ. To accomplish these goals, an intuitive, sharp way of thinking is required, and I experience first-hand what this thinking feels like in my internship at Dr. Jason Yuan's Lab at UIC. In the lab, I investigated calcium signaling and various ion, protein, and ligand-operated channels that led to an influx in calcium and a proliferation in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells, which causes pulmonary arterial hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy. Yeah. That's a lot of things on my plate, so that intuitive thinking I mentioned really got put to the test in the two months I spent in the lab. And the catch-up I had to play to keep up with the PhD fellows and M.D. fellows was one of the most difficult challenges in my life-all the more reason to tackle a challenge of similar caliber. A career in medicine.

But apart from the wonderful experience and knowledge I gained from my internship, I took away another important observation-the ultimate reason as to why these researchers do what they do. To help people. It all goes back to that revolutionary intention. They are not just performing all of these experiments because it is there job and what there degree entails them to do. No, they want to give back to the people who suffer from this disease and help them by finding a cure or a treatment. And these qualities of selflessness and altruism are what I try to base my character on and why I want to pursue a career in medicine where I can apply them. Ever since first grade where I would help my classmates with spelling up until now when I stay up until 1 a.m. to help my friend study for a calculus test, I have always strived to put the needs of others above mine. Not so that I could expect a reward in return. But so that I could see the satisfaction and relieved look on their face. So that I could hear the appreciation in their "thank you's" and "you're a lifesaver's. So that I could feel the world around them getting lighter as a huge, stressful burden has been lifted from their shoulders. And that is a greater reward than any material object in this world. When I volunteered and shadowed a doctor at an internists' clinic, I got to experience this sight, sound, and feeling. As I walked out of the patient's room, I felt...happier and more accomplished. Becoming a doctor for me is going to be a "journey-ception", for lack of a better term. All the different stages in accomplishing this feat, everything from undergraduate school all the way to retirement, will be different journeys each demanding new challenges. Challenges that I am eagerly looking forward to conquer.
allyferns2495 2 / 7  
Jul 21, 2013   #2
an extremely well written essay! :) i liked your style of showing your interest in medicine!

do you have any idea how to BEGIN this essay? i've been grasping at straws for weeks.

XXXXXXX University is a vibrant community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. How would you benefit from and contribute to such an environment?
jkjeremy - / 380 72  
Jul 21, 2013   #3
do you have any idea how to BEGIN this essay? i've been grasping at straws for weeks.

I'm sorry to hear that this problem has been troubling you for weeks.

Have you written anything else? If so, would you mind posting it?

Your introduction is probably already lurking in there somewhere.
Didgeridoo - / 306 191  
Jul 21, 2013   #4
Very engaging read, but a little too informal for a college essay. I tried to take out many of the sentence fragments and remove the conjunctions at the beginnings of your sentences. When you use too many, even if it's natural when you speak, you start to sound like a little kid in your writing.

You have good reasoning, and your connecting your medical internship to those reasons was good. But you spent much of the essay talking about how much you admired the medical researchers. The medical researchers were the ones studying your favorite subjects, the ones using their critical-thinking skills, the ones who help people by finding cures and treatments. So why do you end the essay so convicted about being doctor, after only a short reference to your tenure in an internist's office?
OP bballcenter 1 / 2  
Jul 21, 2013   #5
hey allyferns2495

Thank you very much for the feedback on my essay!

I think we both share a mutual struggle of finding that first word or sentence to our college essays. Writer's block is a reoccurring problem for me. My advice is to take a moment and reflect on your life. College essays are about you--no matter what the essay prompt is. Think about the high-points in your life, signs of strengths and weaknesses, interesting stories (yes, even the embarrasing ones). You really gotta sell yourself on these essays and show the college who you really are. They will make acceptance decisions on more than GPA, test scores, rec letters, etc. They wanna hear from you.

Now to help with the essay prompt, first thing is to learn everything about the university (which I'm sure you have). Then, find high points and flaws about the university so that you can show how you will benefit and how you can contribute to the university. But in your writing, I would personally start with talking about yourself and focusing on characteristics, attributes, and experience that show that you are a qualified member to fix the flaws in the university and that you need this university to benefit from for whatever career line you are aiming for. That's my advice. Good Luck!
OP bballcenter 1 / 2  
Jul 21, 2013   #6

Thank you very much for your feedback. Many of the comments you made I had gravely looked over and I am very glad that you were there to notice them.

Thanks again!

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