Disaster scenario: You spend hours writing your medical school personal statement only to find out that it doesn’t meet the AMCAS guidelines. You spent all that time crafting a great intro (read how to start your personal statement) and a powerful conclusion (read how to end your personal statement) only to scrap hundreds of words to meet the guidelines.
Learn the AMCAS personal statement guidelines now so your first draft is up to the standard that medical schools expect.
The Basic Personal Statement Guidelines
AMCAS limits the length of your personal statement to 5300 characters. Spaces and returns count as characters and AMCAS will automatically chop off any character beyond 5300. They’re strict like that.
How Most Premeds Do It: The Wrong Way
“I’m just going to write down all of my ideas into one long essay and edit it down later.” Uh-oh. Days and days of editing later, your personal statement is still an overlong and disjointed group of unrelated ideas. It’s more of an inventory of your ideas that lacks inspiration and motivation — and it’s still too long for AMCAS.
The Right Way to Write a Great Personal Statement That Meets the AMCAS Requirements
Do it right the first time and you’ll avoid the pain of editing an overlong personal statement. Use my “Lean Writing Method” and you’ll end up with a great essay that fits the AMCAS guidelines on the first attempt.
The Lean Writing Method
Create an outline for your personal statement that includes a word budget. Here’s an example outline: Intro, Experience #1, Experience #2, What Those Experiences Mean, Conclusion. Allocate approximately 175 – 200 words (1766 characters, 5 characters per word) to each section.
Stay within your budget by being as word stingy as possible. Only say exactly what you need to say, and with each sentence you write, ask yourself: “Is this essential to my main point, and is there any way to say the same thing with fewer words?”
See Sample Personal Statements That Demonstrate The Lean Writing Method
See the lean writing method in action in my online course “How to Write Your Medical School Personal Statement.” It has eight videos that go into much more detail on The Lean Writing Method and more, and it has 27 sample personal statements that demonstrate the lean writing method in real essays written by real premeds who got in.