Writing an excellent personal statement for your medical school application has less to do with what you say and more to do with how you say it. With so many changes in health care (see Affordable Care Act), you want your personal statement to both stand out and reflect that you are up-to-date with what’s going on.
You will need to write about…
• Your experiences, influences, and passions
• Your commitment to medicine, in a structured way
• Sincere memories and insights
Since the application process is so standardized, the essay component is one of the few opportunities for you to breathe life into your overall presentation.
• Remember, being personable and honest is the key to being recognized.
Your essay should be some of your best writing; it especially has to be memorable so that the application committee can put a relatable face to all your hard work. Think of your essay as a “written interview” – show the med school admissions committee members that you are both unique and competent enough to handle all of the pressing issues surrounding the medical profession. (AMCAS personal statement guidelines)
Your Personal Statement Can Prove That You Are a Unique Candidate
There are a few ways to prove to your dream medical school that you are an exceptional candidate — someone far above the average, run of the mill premed applicant. Admission officials have said repeatedly that being genuine and telling a personable story about yourself is one of the most important aspects of the personal statement. Firstly, they are looking for your own individual motivation. Why are you pursuing a career in medicine and are you truly passionate? Prove to them that you are passionate.
Secondly, don’t be cliche and don’t recycle the tired topics that every premed writes about. Rather, you should talk genuinely about yourself and create a memorable “winning” story. Your essay should be upfront about your experiences and show them that you are a committed and multidimensional individual. And lastly, focus on skills that will give you unique character and demonstrate your maturity.
Your essay should demonstrate these skills:
• Sincerity to ensure your personal story is believable and meaningful to the reader.
• Empathy to prove that you are emotionally invested in the medical field.
• Creativity to show the committee that you are inventive and ambitious.
Craft these feelings honestly into your personal story (especially in the details!) and the admission committee will see you as an independent, strong, and relatable applicant.
Writing Your Personal Statement: First Steps
It is difficult to show yourself as a unique candidate if you have trouble expressing yourself. Therefore, being a coherent candidate is equally important to demonstrate to the admission committee that you are knowledgeable enough to be in the medical profession.
Before deciding which information you should present in your personal statement, you should first be aware of your audience.
Quick facts about medical school admissions committees:
• Admission committees are made up of anywhere from twelve to a few dozen individuals involved in the medical community.
• Only one individual will likely look at your personal statement for about three to ten minutes
• The individual reading your essay focuses on topics dependent on the rest of your application. (i.e. If you are an applicant from another country, the examiner will focus on grammar and English construction more critically; if your grades themselves are poor, they will look for a justification within your essay.)
Once you understand your audience, it is time to begin brainstorming. Be sure to focus on specific life events that will include most of your skills (see above) in the short amount of time the committee is reading your statement. In other words, be concise! If you’re getting writer’s block, here’s extra help.
The personal statement gives you an opportunity to show your communication skills which will help you coherently display your ideas. A nicely-worded essay will not necessarily put you ahead of the other applicants, but a poor essay structure will hurt your chances. Grammatically correct writing is always expected.
Keep these three things in mind as you write
• Make sure to focus on flow and transitions while writing.
• If you can say something without that word(s), cut it out!
• Don’t use excessive vocabulary without genuine purpose
If you combine these tips for being a unique and coherent candidate, the admission committee will take notice. Your personal statement should genuinely represent who you are as a person. Therefore, the story you are telling should fully capture your personality by communicating your knowledge and being a honest and memorable storyteller.
Putting It All Together: Editing Your Essay
The final step involves editing your drafts. There are four main areas that you should look through while editing to ensure the admission committee enjoys your essay:
• Content: One of the most important aspects of your essay, make sure your content is logical and related to your opening sentence.
• Structure and grammar: Both of these are less important in assessing your ability, but a deficiency in any of these two categories will cause you to lose serious points.
• Personality: You want the reader to be persistently engaged. Focus on crafting a piece that shows rather than tells in its presentation.
Edits may take multiple attempts and constant tinkering, but that’s part of the writing process. Focus on these areas and you will have all of the bases covered to ensure your personal statement demonstrates the best of your abilities as a unique and coherent applicant.
Take my online course. It has videos and personal statement samples that will show you exactly what to do.
Write a personal statement that gives you the edge!
A strong personal statement is the finishing touch that will transform your medical school application ordinary to extraordinary. Learn how to write an essay that works.Read More