A medical school personal statement is an opportunity to let your personality shine. It’s a chance for the selection committee to get to know you. It gives a voice to the reasons why you would be a great candidate for medical school and how you will make a contribution after graduation. This statement is one component of your application submitted to AMCAS or AACOMAS. You’ll most likely write an additional essay when you submit secondary applications to an individual school. These essays usually ask you to respond to a specific question. The selection committee often uses your personal statement as a springboard for questions during the face-to-face interviewer. Craft an essay that compels them to continue the conversation.
Selecting a theme for your essay can be challenging. You want to write in your own voice, conveying your personality, but keep it professional. Engage your readers and make your writing resonate with them. Once you’ve chosen your theme, stick to it. Often applicants drift into tangents when writing. Keep the essay about yourself – your experiences, opinions, attributes, and characteristics – not someone else.
When you start the writing process, start early. It’s best to write multiple drafts. Try to put it aside for a few days or a week and revisit it with fresh eyes. Get feedback from others. Advice from those in the profession is helpful, but also ask those outside the profession to get their perspective on your narrative.
Remember: Show, don’t tell. Find your unique angle and demonstrate to the committee concrete reasons why you will be a valuable addition to their program. Don’t simply list qualities; show the readers through your experiences and seasons of growth.
Be sincere. There’s no one size fits all for medical school students. Speak your truth and be honest. Do not write what you think the committee wants to read. They’ll be able to see through it. If you do reach the interview process, you’ll be held accountable for your claims.
A few more tips…
- Avoid controversial topics.
- Keep standard formatting. No small fonts, crazy margins, or doodles.
- Always read instructions.
- Avoid technical jargon. Remember most selection committees are comprised of non-specialists.
- Medical schools list qualities they want to see in their candidates on their websites. Try to find ways to demonstrate these qualities and/or experiences.
- Medical Experience
- Research Experience
- Diverse Interest
To start your brainstorming process, consider these topics:
- Experience that challenged or changed your perspective about medicine
- Relationship with a mentor or inspiring individuals
- Challenging or defining personal experience
- Overview of academic or life story to explain why medical school is right for you
- Insight into the nature of medical practice
- Problems or issues that you’re passionate about and how medical school will help you in the battle against these