07 October 2009
I am stuck on one of my last medical school applications because I am not sure what to write about. Here is the prompt: "What makes you special, someone who will add to the Mount Sinai community?" This prompt has given me a lot of trouble, more so than any other. This is because I need to write an essay that isn't full of cockiness and arrogance, yet at the same time I have to show that I am a unique person that will bring something to Mount Sinai Medical School. I turn this over to all of you because I am not sure what to write about and all of my friends and family say generic things to write about.

What do you think makes me special?


playasinmar said...

Gay leprous fin rot! Or have I been watching too much American Dad?

Hidden said...


I think this is a perfect opportunity to talk about quirky, crazy you. Talk about swimming, your love of dancing, Madonna, as well as everything that sets you apart: your family, Crohn's, being gay, etc. Talk about your love for weird food combinations, but don't forget to include your drive for success, your motivation to do it all, and your refusal to be held back by the challenges that arise to confront you. You are a multi-faceted jewel my friend, and they are asking to see that. Show them.

Jensen's said...

I love the previous comment!!! I think you should definately talk about all the things you juggle trying to be a well rounded person, and all the things the person before me said!!!

playasinmar said...

Yes, Gimple. Talk about Madonna on your med school application.

I've been officially out-crazied by Hidden.

Ned said...

Are you sure they aren't expecting and even want you to be somewhat cocky (in a self-assured, good-natured way)?

Read what they say about themselves on the Web. Isn't that a little cocky? Can you legitimately match their tone in an authentic way so their reaction is, "hmm, this sharp kid in Utah gets us. He thinks like we do in some ways but diverges in others. What an asset he'll be to our mission and our diversity. We have got to have this guy."

They want to see that you've toughed something out, that you're a man of substance, that you've learned not only in school, but from the personal challenges and victories you've won. The want to see that you'll be the kind of doctor they want associated with their unique role as they see it.

As a fellow swimmer, I believe you have much you can talk about in this realm if you want to. How do medicine and swimming go together? They're both about saving lives. About balance, art, science and respecting the laws of the physical world. They are about humans in an environment that can nurture them or kill them. What about the similarities of a coach and a physician, a swimmer and a professor, a lifeguard and scientist? Well, you get the idea.

My suggestion: Write like a wild man. Write your fondest hopes and your deepest dreads. Consider using this tool to just keep your fingers moving on the keyboard:

Then after you've captured a thousand words or so, take a look at what you've got. You'll instinctively know what's great and what's less so. Then just go with the gems, do your re-write thing and you're good to go.

I know, I know it's not quite that simple, but I promise this method will get you off to a great start. The trick is to separate the writing process from the editing process. Write like there's no tomorrow first. Then when you've got some clay to play with, you can go about sculpting it.

Have fun with it and let us know how you're doing.