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Old 07-11-2011, 04:21 PM
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Default UofT Personal Essay

For all those you were INTERVIEWED- could you help the prospective applicants and how you approached it. It is so open ended but some sort of direction or formatting advice would be very helpful! thanks
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:31 PM
ellorie ellorie is online now
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Well, I started with a humorous "hook" which was a story about volunteering in a hospital where I did something laughable and silly.
Then I basically started at the beginning and did a little paragraph about each major bullet point in the story of why I want to go into medicine. I tried to tell it like a narrative, and I tried to do "showing not telling" and use imagery and interesting words. It's all about keeping their attention.
Then I finished by linking the points together and referring again to my "hook" to give it a cyclic feel and a sense of closure.

At first, don't worry about the length. Just say everything you want to say and then pare it down and streamline your wording.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:52 PM
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I started off my essay about my first time landing a plane on my own - flying solo. I devoted an entire paragraph to this experience and how it has shaped me as a person.

Always good to start with something unique, interesting and compelling. Remember, the 3 file reviewers who will read your essay read dozens of these in a single sitting so you want to keep them engaged. They score each essay right after reading it - so I am told. Don't pull a plain vanilla.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:51 PM
funnyboy6 funnyboy6 is offline
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I got this directly from UofT website:

6) Will an interesting narrative style make my application stand out?

No. The essay is assessed on content rather than style. A thoughtful, clear and concise essay with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation is the best way to get your ideas across. OMSAS renders essays in a standardized format.


According to them, style/narrative doesn't get you any more points--what are your thoughts on this?
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funnyboy6 View Post
I got this directly from UofT website:

6) Will an interesting narrative style make my application stand out?

No. The essay is assessed on content rather than style. A thoughtful, clear and concise essay with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation is the best way to get your ideas across. OMSAS renders essays in a standardized format.


According to them, style/narrative doesn't get you any more points--what are your thoughts on this?
fb6 - You're right in that you don't want to make the point of your essay about style and swagger rather than substance. But being interesting and compelling in your writing isn't necessarily about upping the style. It's about content. A clear and professional to the point essay with minimal flowery language will work best.

What I meant by don't pull a vanilla is to not talk about the same old boring thing. You know: I volunteered at this hospital. I was president of that club. Instead, talk about unique and exciting things you've done and how those experiences have shaped you as a person - and ultimately for a career in medicine. Don't use the essay as a venue to thread your 48 autobiographical sketch items into sentences. Instead use it as an outlet to sell yourself in a unique and exciting manner - content-wise that is.

Good luck with it. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my essay for U of T last year. It's the only part of the entire OMSAS application process that I actually enjoyed.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:43 PM
ellorie ellorie is online now
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Technically, they won't give you points for it, but it's a subjective process and IMO anything you can do to make your essay catchy and appealing will work for you, as long as it's not super gimmicky and obvious. You want the person reading it to like/be interested in/want to meet you.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:36 PM
funnyboy6 funnyboy6 is offline
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Thanks for the quick responses! I totally agree with anxious and ellorie. The essay is about being honest, personal, and talking about how your experiences have shaped your path. I totally agree that simply saying the same old stuff about helping people, and regurgitating the 48-item sketch won't get you too far.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:57 PM
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I agree- it needs to be personal... so from what I hear an anecdote at the starting would be most ideal.. also in terms of courses how did people address that stem of the question?

Finally.. what qualities does UofT generally look for iin their class...
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokaroo View Post
I agree- it needs to be personal... so from what I hear an anecdote at the starting would be most ideal.. also in terms of courses how did people address that stem of the question?
.
Finally.. what qualities does UofT generally look for iin their class...
They are looking for the same qualities as all med schools are seeking and these qualities should fly off the pages in your Essay (without listing them).

Your essay needs to be compelling such that the readers will want to meet you. There is no standard beginning but it must be well written so that it flows, well structured and organized. Having a theme helps to keep you focused.
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:39 AM
iicii iicii is offline
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keep it real
don't use "flowery" language
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