Medical school personal statement tips
The personal statement is
tailored to tell a professional program about yourself in your own words. It can be thought of as a cover letter for the application. There is no one correct way to write a personal statement, but in
general those who will read your essay (the Admissions Committee) are looking
for two important things. They want to evidence of achievements that isn't
reflected in other parts of the application and why the events described have shaped your attitude, focus, and intellectual vitality. Why do you want to be a health professional? Why will you be a good health professional? This cannot be because you "say so".
All premed students are encouraged to use the AAMC core competencies to self-reflect. It is important to identify what competencies are gained from specific experiences. To get started, print out the Am I Ready exercise developed by NAU premed advisors.
Offer the evidence
Provide specific examples when describing strengths and what you bring to the program. This can
include a brief story that shows you have experience in the field or community
is important to reflect on experiences gained and what was learned from those
experiences. How will competencies gained be applied to the future?
Don't repeat information
Take this unique opportunity to
provide insight into who you are; don't regurgitate the application.
Keep it simple
committees are not looking for flowery language. It is important to be concise
(get to the point). They want to know that an applicant can communicate clearly
Maintain proper tone
There is no need to be overly formal,
but remember that this is a professional document, not a blog.
Skip the outrageous stories and casual slang.
Edit and get feedback
One of the best possible pieces of
advice is to read the essay aloud. This is a good way to catch mistakes that may have been missed before. Have someone ready the essay. A professor,
premed advisor, or friend whose judgment and writing skills are trusted and valued. All premed students are welcome to send personal statement drafts to firstname.lastname@example.org for edits and suggestions.
Approaches to avoid
Avoid generalities. Admissions officers read an enormous
number of essays. Use specific incidents and
examples from your life.
Don’t revisit grades or test scores. They speak for
themselves. Trying to explain away bad credentials just draws unnecessary
attention to them.
Be aware of plagiarism.