In this seventh (and final) installment of our special week-long personal statement workshop, we continue to pull essays submitted from the comments section through our free essay submission process and provide you, and our users, with a more detailed analysis of their essays.
This seventh submission is by Jordan and is a real cliffhanger. Jordan, a rock climber, finds himself on the edge of a cliff both in the Canadian Rockies and while facing the diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism in his wife who is 6 months pregnant. At the edge of his rope, he finds solace in the medical team that saves her life. In a matter of time, his purpose becomes clear: "I want to treat and care for patients. I want to change lives. I want to take people from dying to living. I want to get them down from the cliff."
We will present you with his original essay and our suggestions.
As always, use this as a guide to see where you can improve your own writing, and respect the work of others. It should go without saying this is not your essay, so don’t plagiarize.
Suggestions and Revisions
By: Sue Edmondson (personal statement collaborative)
You’re a good writer, a huge plus, and have an excellent, easy to read yet sophisticated style. All those are sure to grab the attention of admissions folks. You’ve improved the essay, but it still needs work.
You open with a literal cliffhanger, and I see that you’re tied to the mountain climbing experience. The problem is that it doesn’t work with the essay — it just doesn’t fit in with the points you’re making about wanting to be a PA. I think it’s most apparent at the beginning and ends of the essay which are general philosophical statements. You’re straining to tie the climbing experience with your work/life experiences because you like it so much. (I understand — what a dramatic, scary, thrilling adventure). But if you are determined to open with the climbing experience, you need to rethink how you’ll make it work thematically. Right now, it’s like reading about an apple in one sentence, about broccoli in the next. It’s that disconnected.
Have a couple of friends or relatives read this part: “While in the uncomfortable embrace of disappointment and a climbing harness, I had no idea that this moment would set the foundation on which I would decide to become a Physician Assistant (PA). I thought to myself, If I can change a life, even just one, how many others will benefit as a result? Each decision we make has a ripple effect that changes not only our lives but also the lives of people around us,” and ask if they see how you get from the disappointment of leaving the mountain to wanting to change lives by becoming a PA.
The other issue is that you talk in depth about your wife’s experience but then say it wasn’t a light bulb moment, that you’d already decided to be a PA. That undermines the whole episode (which by the way, is too long, although I was relieved to learn she survived).
Skip generalities. They don’t help admissions folks know you, and that’s what they’re looking for. It’s tempting to philosophize, but this essay is not the place.
You are on track when you start to talk about your work experiences, and when you talk about how the PAs and doctors impacted your wife’s treatment. In those places you touch on why you want to be a PA. If you’re going to use your wife’s experience, focus more on the PA interactions and delete the beginning of the next paragraph. Otherwise, pick a patient that you treated and worked on with a PA.
Keep going. Writing is rewriting!
Is your mom or dad really giving you honest feedback on your personal statement?
Parents are full of great advice, but when it comes to your personal statement family and friends don't make the best editorial team.
We offer a bit of free guidance to anyone who takes the time to submit their essay in the comments section of the blog. But your essay needs more than the sympathetic feedback provided by a friendly relative.
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- We will help with a "final touch up" before the big day just in case your essay needs a bit of polish.
Here is what one of our recent clients had to say:
We are currently accepting essays in all iterations. We have flexible pricing and can do everything from a single one-time edit to a full-service review that will take you from beginning to a finished product. Hurry, as we can only accept a few essays each month.
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