By: Kim Mace DAT, ATC
MGH Institute of Health Professions | Director of the Online Prerequisites Program
The temptation is high to go straight to artificial intelligence for help with your personal essay for AT school. Should you? First, we asked ChatGPT for a roughly 500-word response to this year’s prompt: “Describe your professional goals including why you have chosen Athletic Training as a career.” Next, we asked Kim Mace, an experienced pre-health professions advisor at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Charlestown, Massachusetts for her reaction to the essay. Read on for ChatGPT’s response to the prompt and Dr. Mace’s reaction.
Personal Statement for Admission to Athletic Training Program Written by AI
As I reflect upon my life’s journey, it becomes evident that my passion for health and sports has been an integral part of my identity. It has shaped my aspirations, influenced my values, and guided me towards a career that I wholeheartedly believe I was destined for – Athletic Training. With unwavering determination and a profound sense of purpose, I aspire to pursue a career in Athletic Training to not only achieve my professional goals but also make a meaningful impact on the lives of athletes and individuals in need.
My fascination with Athletic Training began at a young age, sparked by my active involvement in various sports and an inherent curiosity about the human body’s capabilities and limitations. Growing up, I was drawn to the world of athletics, finding immense joy in playing sports and being part of a team. My experiences as an athlete and witnessing the dedication of coaches and athletic trainers deeply influenced my career choice.
One pivotal moment that solidified my decision to pursue Athletic Training occurred during high school. I suffered a sports-related injury that required months of rehabilitation and care. Throughout this challenging period, I had the privilege of working closely with an athletic trainer who not only helped me physically but also provided unwavering support and motivation. Their expertise, compassion, and dedication left an indelible mark on me. I realized that I wanted to be that guiding light for others, to help athletes overcome adversity and return to the sports they love.
Choosing Athletic Training as a career aligns perfectly with my personal values and professional aspirations. First and foremost, I am deeply committed to the well-being of others. I find immense satisfaction in assisting individuals in their journey to recovery and improved performance. Athletic trainers play a vital role in not only preventing injuries but also in the rehabilitation and care of athletes, ensuring they can perform at their peak. This holistic approach to healthcare resonates with me, as it emphasizes both physical and mental well-being. Moreover, Athletic Training embodies the values of teamwork, communication, and adaptability, which are qualities I hold dear. Athletic trainers collaborate closely with coaches, physicians, and athletes, creating a supportive network dedicated to achieving optimal outcomes. Effective communication and the ability to adapt to dynamic situations are essential skills in this field, and I am eager to develop and refine these attributes throughout my career.
Another compelling reason for choosing Athletic Training is the continuous learning and growth opportunities it offers. The field of sports medicine is ever-evolving, with new research and techniques constantly emerging. This dynamic environment excites me as I am dedicated to staying updated on the latest developments in the field. I am enthusiastic about pursuing advanced certifications and postgraduate education to enhance my knowledge and skills, ultimately benefiting the athletes under my care.
Furthermore, I am passionate about promoting injury prevention and education within the athletic community. I believe that prevention is the key to reducing the physical and emotional toll of sports-related injuries. I aspire to be an advocate for athletes’ health, actively engaging in educational programs and outreach initiatives to empower athletes and coaches with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions regarding their health and safety.
In conclusion, my journey towards a career in Athletic Training has been deeply rooted in my love for sports, compassion for others, and a desire to make a meaningful impact on the lives of athletes. Athletic Training represents not only my professional goals but also my personal values and aspirations. I am eager to embark on this path, equipped with a dedication to excellence, a commitment to continuous learning, and an unwavering passion for helping others achieve their athletic dreams. I am confident that the Athletic Training program will provide me with the knowledge and skills to excel in this field and make a lasting difference in the lives of athletes.
An Analysis by a Health Professions Advisor
It’s my opinion that personal essays serve 2 purposes within an application. First, they help an admissions committee get to know an applicant better. Second, they serve as a way to ensure that the applicant knows a little about the athletic training field and the program that they are applying to. This essay doesn’t really accomplish either well.
As an evaluator, I am left feeling like I don’t know the applicant any better by reading the essay. On the surface, personal details like what sports they play and the nature of the injury they sustained are lacking. While you should not share any protected health information (name, injury, treatment dates) about patients you may have seen during observation hours, it’s odd that nothing specific to the writer is included.
Perhaps more importantly, the essay lacks details. The lack of details makes me concerned that the applicant might not truly understand the field or the program. The truth is that most aspiring athletic trainers choose this field because of an interest in both health and sports. And (more truth) most aspiring athletic trainers sustained some sort of injury that gave them a chance to work with an amazing athletic trainer. (If you had traumatic experiences at the dentist growing up and the dentist you went to see was unkind, you probably wouldn’t want to be a dentist.) This essay is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from all the other applicants who also love anatomy and being active and got hurt.
You should also use it to highlight the program that you’re looking at – why do you want to go to that school. Make sure you’re being specific! Ideally, the personal essay should be tailored to the institution to which you’re applying. In the case that the standardized essay response is used for each application in ATCAS, look for other ways in the application to showcase your specific interest in a particular institution. If you’re applying straight to the institution, be sure to adopt the essay to reflect why you’re applying to that school. Here are some statements from the essay that need an example to hold any weight at all:
- I aspire to make a meaningful impact on the lives of athletes and individuals in need.
- What kind of meaningful impact do you envision making? Why is this an important impact?
- My experiences as an athlete and witnessing the dedication of coaches and athletic trainers deeply influenced my career choice.
- What kind of dedication did you witness from athletic trainers and coaches that influenced your career decision?
- Throughout this challenging period, I had the privilege of working closely with an athletic trainer who not only helped me physically but also provided unwavering support and motivation. Their expertise, compassion, and dedication left an indelible mark on me.
- How did this athletic trainer demonstrate expertise, compassion, and dedication?
- This dynamic environment excites me as I am dedicated to staying updated on the latest developments in the field.
- What can you describe to show you are dedicated to staying updated on the latest developments in the field?
- I am enthusiastic about pursuing advanced certifications and postgraduate education to enhance my knowledge and skills, ultimately benefiting the athletes under my care.
- What kind of advanced certification or postgraduate education are you considering?
The personal essay should be just that – a personal exploration into what makes you and what makes athletic training your desired career trajectory. While AI might possess more knowledge than we can ever understand, it will never be a viable substitute for your voice in this kind of writing.