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Please evaluate my SOP for genetics counselor

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"I am going to become an archaeologist.” That is what I always said when I was a kid, as a result of watching too many Indiana Jones and Egyptian mystery movies. Being a kid gives you the privilege to dream about anything. As I grew up, the experiences and the people that I have encountered turned and twisted my dream to be an archaeologist into many different things. At one point, I wanted a job that made a lot of money such as a dentist, computer engineer or a businessman. In another instance, I just wanted to become a normal shipyard worker. This was the reason why I stumbled through different majors in college from computer science, to medical, to business without any real interest in anything. I had never heard about genetics counseling until my junior year in college when, during a genetics lecture, my biology professor told us about a new rising field in medicine , genetics counseling. I thought that is one really interesting profession. Its like a hybrid of biology and psychology. I'm not in the lab doing research I am interacting with people to explain inheritance and risk figure.

Since then I began to research this profession through the internet and the more I looked into it the more I liked it. In order to have a firsthand look at this career and a better understanding, I decided to shadow two genetics counselors in my area. That was a very valuable experience for me. Not only did I see what exactly what genetics counseling was, I also received valuable advices from them, ranging from how to choose a school to various things that I could do to improve my chance of getting accepted into a program. These encounters also helped me to formulated a clearer sense about genetics counseling as well as what I think are important characteristics of a genetics counselor and how well I fit in to this career.

I believe the most important part of being a genetics counselor is client care, an essential part of which is interpersonal and crisis intervention skills. Majoring in psychology gave me a basic understanding about the human mind. Nevertheless, all that knowledge is nothing without real life experience. Fortunately during my time with the crisis hotline I had the opportunity to learn and sharpen my listening skills as well as crisis intervention skills. I also learned a lot from the staffs at the Denbigh House as dealing with brain injury survivors could sometimes be a hard and frustration process for both the staff and the members. No matter how hard the case maybe they are able to communicate in a clear, suave and efficient manner that makes members always feel involved and in control. Their examples inspired me to set goals to listen and communicate more clearly with not just the members at the clubhouse but with everyone I met.

As a genetics counselor, organizing and gathering information skill is also important. In my senior year, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at a psychology lab. In this positions, I was able to help with setting up the laboratory, reviewing literature, organizing laboratory materials, as well as editing and cleaning data. Outside of the lab, I also completed the internship with Park Place group, which is a non profit organization dedicated to helping better the community. My primary duty was to organize a soup kitchen and set up a resources database for homeless individuals in the area. During this time I had a chance to meet many people and listen to many of their life stories. I believe these experiences would serve me well, not only in graduate school but also in my counseling career later on.

Whenever I think about how “fit” I am for this career in term of personality, I know I will be a good fit. My character is calm, my personality is professional, I am non judgmental, my hidden trait is humor, and my passion is counseling. Moreover, as an immigrant who came to United States when I was 16 I believe I can add some unique perspectives and diversity to the field.

It took me quite a long time to find out what I really want to do with my life. I feel strongly that genetics counseling is the professional track that best matches my skills and passion. My ideal program would offer a balance between curriculum and clinical rotation. A curriculum that would provided me with enough knowledge and confidence. As well as a clinical rotation that offer diversity in client population. I am extremely excited to be involved in such an exciting and constantly evolving profession, and I look forward to beginning a career in genetics counseling. I know I can make a difference given a chance. All I need is for someone to believe in me and make this dream a reality.





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  • 2 weeks later...



Here's some suggestions for how you can improve your SOP:


1.  I would cut the beginning considerably -- don't talk about all the things you thought you might be: it makes you look like a flake and raises the question of whether you'll want to be something other than a genetics counselor in a year or two. You could just start by saying something like:  Like most children, I didn't grow up with the dream of becoming a genetics counselor. In fact, I never heard of genetics counseling until my junior year in college, when....  Then explain why you immediately realized this was a perfect field for you, how it caters to your interest in science and your desire to work in counseling as opposed to in a lab.


2. You need to work on more precise phrasing/word choice, and varying your sentence structure to convey that you are an educated, articulate person who is likely to succeed at graduate school. Your word choice/phrasing is often too casual and simplistic and there are far too many short, choppy sentences. E.G. "I thought that is one really interesting profession. Its like a hybrid of biology and psychology."


3. I had a difficult time following the chronology of your different experiences -- it seems like you are talking about experiences after you finished school before you talk about internships/work you did while pursuing your BA. You refer to the crisis hotline as if you mentioned it previously and the reader knows what you're talking about. If you were committed to a career in counseling before you narrowed down the field to genetics counseling, I would discuss some of the experiences that helped you develop your skills as a counselor first and then talk about shadowing genetics counselors to learn more about this aspect of counseling specifically. You can cut out the part about looking for more info about the field on the internet.


4.  You should have a paragraph that explains why the specific school you are applying to is a good fit for you -- what makes the school appealing (mention specific program features); what makes you a good fit for this program. This paragraph should be rewritten for each school.


5.  There are numerous grammatical errors that need to be fixed. You might consider having your final draft professionally edited.


Good luck.

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