Dos and Don'ts
Here is a final checklist of things you should do and should avoid while writing your essay:
- Get personal.
- Be yourself.
- Tell a story.
- Use details, but not excessively so.
- Be honest and sincere.
- Write about what interests you.
- Plan before you write.
- Show instead of tell.
- Be specific.
- Start writing your first draft early.
- Be concise.
- Establish your identity and write in the first person.
- Elaborate on experiences that demonstrate your personality traits and motivation to pursue medicine.
- Turn weaknesses into strengths. Steer the essay toward your strong points.
- Be self-confident.
- Have Leslie North look at it as soon as possible so she can tell if you're going in the right direction.
- Schedule a Writing Center conference.
- Revise, proofread, and read aloud.
- Pay attention to the character limit.
- Mention high school accomplishments unless outstandingly relevant.
- Discuss controversial subjects like politics or religion or something from your past that could be embarrassing.
- Be overly creative or use gimmicks; you may come off as cutesy or immature. Err on the conservative side.
- Write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
- Be overly formal.
- Exaggerate or embellish.
- Use jargon or technical language.
- Write about what it takes to be a good doctor (your audience already knows this) or preach to the committee.
- Use a thesaurus if you can avoid it. If you do use a thesaurus, only use words that you know the exact meaning and connotations of (a dictionary can help you with this).
- Name drop.
- Begin every sentence with "I."
- Start with a joke unless you're naturally funny.
- Underestimate the importance of the essay.