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Anyone have any advice on how to explain your position in the military in your personal statement without fully explaining it and wasting space?

I was on a fleet surgical team (FST) in the Navy. For those who don’t know, the entire command is made up of 16 people: CO (mine was an ortho surgeon) General surgeon, anesthesia, OR nurse, ICU nurse, FP doc, admin officer, SEL, X-ray tech, 2 lab techs, 2 General HMs, 2 surg techs, respiratory tech...we hop aboard a big deck ship when it’s ready to deploy (for we are not stationed directly with the ship) and occupy their surgical space and preform cases when need be...it’s similar to the more well-known Army land-based version: forward surgical team.

Anyways, my primary story for my PS was with my FST while deployed...I obviously don’t write the above paragraph in my PS. 

Any tips on how to effectively describe this while keeping it short and sweet?


thank you so much,




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Instead of explaining your title or position in the Navy, you should more talk about your experience and what your role in patient care was. Perfect for "show don't tell". No one cares what FST is and how many staff it comprised of. Unless that's the main point of your personal statement (imo, it shouldn't). Talk more what your responsibilities were and how it strengthens your goal of becoming a PA. 

I have always tried to find one or two stories that are powerful enough for you to recall it vividly. Those are the ones I find it easy to write about, because the passion usually shows through. So, find those moments, and you should be able to write an outstanding PS that you can weave your Navy, military, and kind of structure of FST all in one. 

Also, I think the days of dramatic writing or opening statements are history. Many PS writing seminars/classes I attended all said, don't start essays with "And the ER door swung wide open, with me doing chest compression, and time slowed down" cliches. 

In my PS I only put relevant information/experiences regarding me being corpsman and cardio tech. I didn't have space for explaining my title or the military structure. 

Good luck. 

Edited by moleashish
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