The Written Components: Essays & Recommendations

by Julie Tran

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Naturopathy.

Highlights

  • Your essay should showcase your personal strengths and desire to help others.
  • The 6 naturopathic principles should be implicitly present in your essay.
  • Pick recommenders who know you in both personal and professional settings.

Components Of A Great Essay

1. Show Who You Are As a Person

Be honest. Admissions officers really want to see who you are beyond grades and accomplishments. Because naturopathic medicine is so deeply rooted in patient-doctor interaction, they want to see that you truly care about forming relationships with patients and healing the whole person.

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Highlights

  • Your essay should showcase your personal strengths and desire to help others.
  • The 6 naturopathic principles should be implicitly present in your essay.
  • Pick recommenders who know you in both personal and professional settings.

Components Of A Great Essay

1. Show Who You Are As a Person

Be honest. Admissions officers really want to see who you are beyond grades and accomplishments. Because naturopathic medicine is so deeply rooted in patient-doctor interaction, they want to see that you truly care about forming relationships with patients and healing the whole person.

2. Show Familiarity With The 6 Naturopathic Principles

You have to prove that you not only know the principles, but that you practice them. There are some people who apply to naturopathic medicine because they couldn’t get into regular medical school. Admissions officers want to weed out those who are just trying to get a “Dr.” in front of their name.

The best way to show your familiarity with the 6 principles is to show examples of ways you demonstrated them in your life. For the UB application, I answered the question: “When did you have to deal with a difficult situation?”

I wrote about my experience at the Loma Linda Behavioral Medicine Center in the adolescent unit. There was a young girl who was being held for 72 hours. Everyone was so focused on caring for the girl that they forgot about her parents.

Her parents were in the waiting room, and they were very worried because no one was telling them what was happening. I knew that treating a patient means tending to their family as well. I reassured the girl’s parents and gave them constant updates on their daughter’s status.

In my essay, I showed how I learned to step back and look at the bigger picture. As a naturopathic doctor, you need that zoom-out function to consider all the factors in a patient’s health. “Treat The Whole Person.”

I never explicitly stated the principle, but I conveyed the essence of it through my essay. Anyone can list the 6 principles and claim to know them. But by integrating the principles into an ordinary experience, I showed admissions officers that I had already soaked in the naturopathic healing mentality.

Qualities Of A Good Recommendation Writer

1. Medical ExperienceMost schools require 1 to 3 letters of recommendation. My supervisor (a nurse) at Loma Linda wrote my letter of recommendation. Although anyone can write your recs, try to find a health care professional. A medical recommendation writer carries more weight than someone unfamiliar with the field.

2. Personal and Professional Relationship

Your recommenders should know you personally and professionally. Have they seen you in a work setting? They need to be able to vouch for your ability to interact with people, think on your feet, and demonstrate dependability.

Recommendation writers should also know you personally. Have you talked with them about your aspirations? Do they have your best interests at heart? This is another opportunity for the admissions officer to see that you display the naturopathic principles.

Prepare Your Recommendation Writers

When you ask for recommendations, sit down for a meeting with your rec writers. Tell them why you want to go into naturopathic medicine, so they can talk about this in the letter. If they aren’t familiar with naturopathic medicine, you may want to give them an overview of the principles so they know what aspects of your personality to emphasize.
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