Please comment on my TMDSAS application essay idea

To make a long story short, I am 30 years old, married 5 years, in the process of adopting a child from China, was a funeral director/embalmer for 9 years, and have been a police officer for 6 years. I am 5’6" 120 pounds, so I’m not what most people picture when they think "cop, " but I’ve done it - even trained with the SWAT guys.

My idea for my essay topic is something like this:

“Normal” has never gotten me anywhere.

I’m not sure how to expand on the topic, or even if it is a wise approach, but I know that I want to use my experiences as a funeral director and a police officer to segue into my interest in medicine and why I would make a good doctor. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions!

Also, I will graduate with a BA in Philosophy. Didn’t know if that would be considered unusual or not.


I don’t think I’d go that exact route. I would want the admission committee to see how I have used my uncommon traits and odd experiences to my own benefit and how I desire to combine them with a medical education to benefit others as well. That’s just me, though. I certainly don’t want to sound like an authority because I have yet to write one of these myself. From what I have read & heard, an admission essay is one factor in a string of many that can potentially hurt you, or help you. A weak one may be just one more nail in your application’s coffin. A strong one may move your application from the “just okay” pile to the “have potential” stack.

My guess is that medical schools get quite a few interesting character sketches that don’t tell them much more about the potential of the applicant to become a quality physician than the rest of the AMCAS application already does. My stategy will be to demonstrate my history of being interested in the welfare of others, and how my talents and attitudes make me a readily teachable student. It sounds to me like you have plenty of applicable experience. The trick, for everyone doing this, is to package that information in a way that will convince committee members that you should be going to their school instead of someone else’s.

Good luck with that!


You really want to focus on the positive in your PS. If you mention an obstacle, it’s only to write about how you overcame that obstacle, became better for it, and learned from it.

Saying that ‘normal doesn’t work for you’ begs the questions ‘Why would medicine be a better fit for you than these other careers?’ and ‘Do you see being a doc as abnormal?’

I’ve been told that sometimes the daring essay pays off. But more often than not, it just polarizes the audience. This audience (ADCOMs) doesn’t need to mess with that because they can more than fill their classes with kids that have 4.0s and 30s. If you have a good enough GPA and MCAT, there’s no need to do anything daring. Your numbers get you an interview, and your interesting experiences will give you plenty of ammunition for your interviews.

That is pretty much what I have been thinking, and I feel better that I’m not the only one. I have no problems with being daring when it is necessary. My concern was that the standard approach was not unique enough. I think I will stick with what has carried me this far - regular old me