“Who Should Write Your AMCAS Essays?” is excerpted from the Accepted.com special report, Ace the AMCAS Essay. To download the entire free special report, click here.
The obvious answer here is that YOU should (and if anyone else does for you, then you can expect to be found out and rejected). But there’s a bigger question here – Which YOU will be writing your essay?
I’d like to present two important principles here:
Principle #1: To Thine Own Self Be True
One of the purposes of the AMCAS essay is to provide a snapshot – a quick and accurate introduction – of yourself to the med school admissions board. If the application were to ask you to attach a photo, you wouldn’t include a picture of someone else, and I hope that you wouldn’t Photoshop or alter your photo to create an image of who you WISH you were, rather than of who you actually ARE.
Your essays should serve that same purpose. The stories that you tell in your AMCAS essay should be authentic and honest so that the YOU in your essay would be recognizable to anyone who actually knows you.
Principle #2: Put Your Best Foot Forward
While you want to be as authentic as possible, you also want to be sure that you’re not a) offering too much personal or private information and b) dwelling on your weaknesses. Yes, you want to portray your true self (Principle #1), but you don’t want to needlessly air your dirty laundry. Nobody wants to read about your most recent breakup or how devastated you were when you woke up with a huge zit on the day of your high school prom. Furthermore, if you have difficulty juggling tasks or following directions, don’t be “too honest” and rant and complain about how you have so much trouble getting things done. Of course you should never ever EVER lie, but you also don’t need to volunteer irrelevant or inappropriate information or details that will make you look unqualified.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.