By Hannah Istre, MS-2.
Hannah Istre is a second-year medical student at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (TUSPM). She is currently a mentor for PrePodiatryLife/Hallux Magazine.
Let’s talk about personal statements and letters of recommendation. You may have many questions like, “What exactly is a personal statement?” And “Are these two things even important?” Well sit tight, because we’re about to answer some of your questions with additional insight from an actual interviewer at one of the podiatry schools. Let’s get started with the basics.
So, you may be wondering, what exactly is a personal statement? A personal statement isn’t an essay or a book report on your life, rather, it’s the story or a work of art meant to paint a picture of your life to show the reader exactly who you are. When writing your personal statement, try to stray away from past failures and struggles and just keep the tone up-beat and lively. Try gearing your personal statement so that it piques the interest of someone reading your application while describing your goals, drive, and desire to pursue a career in podiatric medicine. You should not be convincing the reader that you deserve to get into school because of your past, but rather that that you’re passionate about furthering your education in order to serve your community as a podiatrist.
A personal statement isn’t an essay or a book report on your life, rather, it’s the story or a work of art meant to paint a picture of your life to show the reader exactly who you are.
Are personal statements important? The answer to this is both yes and no. Do interviewers like to see that you’re passionate about a future in podiatry? Of course, but anyone can whip up a convincing personal statement about how passionate they are about becoming a podiatrist. According to the interviewer I spoke with, grades and MCAT scores are usually weighted more heavily. That is because these can be a better indication of if you will actually be able to succeed in podiatry school, which is ultimately more important, regardless of drive and ambition. So, make your personal statement the best it can be, but don’t rely solely on this to get you an interview or accepted.
According to the interviewer I spoke with, grades and MCAT scores are usually weighted more heavily.
What about letters of recommendation? Like personal statements, the importance of letters of recommendation varies. According to the interviewer I consulted, he doesn’t weigh letters of recommendations very heavily either. Anyone can get one from a teacher or guidance counselor as they run a generic letter of recommendation mill when it comes time for the application cycles to begin. These letters often don’t speak personally as to the type of student and person the applicant is, so again, grades along with self-presentation at the interview are typically weighted heavier. However, he did mention that if you want to get a leg up on the competition with a letter of recommendation, make sure to get one from someone personal, like a mentor, that can speak personally about you.
If you want to get a leg up on the competition with a letter of recommendation, make sure to get one from someone personal, like a mentor, that can speak personally about you.
In conclusion, both personal statements and letters of recommendation are important parts of an application. However, you should not rely solely on these two aspects to ensure an interview or acceptance. Remember to use your personal statement as a way of showing your goals, drive, and desire to pursue a career in podiatry while also showing the reader who you are as a person. Also remember to try to get letters of recommendation from someone who knows you personally versus from someone who would write a generic letter that will not set you apart. These tips paired with a good MCAT and undergraduate grades will make for a strong application!
By: Hannah Istre, MS-2
School: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
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