8 Tips for Writing A Personal Statement for Medical School

So, you want to apply to medical school. We’re impressed already – this requires a tremendous amount of intelligence, dedication, and optimism, and will set you off on a journey which will doubtlessly lead to a long and highly rewarding career. However, to get to that place at the college of your choice, you’ll have a few hurdles to get over first.

You’ve already passed your exams with flying colors, and have proven your level of intelligence and ambition. You’ve thought carefully about which colleges, schools, or universities best suit your needs and aspirations. Now all that’s left is to score that interview and get that place; and for that to happen, you’re going to need a killer personal statement.

This aspect of the applications process is not to be overlooked, and in many ways, is one of the most important things you’ll have to produce to achieve your goals. Medical schools are looking for bright, intelligent, empathetic and communicative individuals for enrolment on their courses… and a correctly written medical personal statement is your key to showing you fit that bill perfectly. Check out our 8 top tips for personal statement success below!

 

 1) Write, re-write, then write it again!

 

Your statement for medical school is not -, and we mean not – something you should be leaving to the last minute. It’s going to take some real time and concentration, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to nail it on your first go.

 

Produce a draft, and take some time to go through it with a fine-toothed comb. Imagine you’re the one receiving the statement: what impression does it make? Is there anything missing? Make sure you get at least one of your tutors to take a look through your statement and listen to their advice on what should be changed, added, or removed.

 

2) Be focused

 

It’s common for students to ramble a bit during their statements, and try to cram in as much about their life as possible. Remember – you aren’t writing your memoirs; this is a document with a specific purpose and needs to be sharp, focused, and relevant. Try to choose a particular theme or thread from your educational journey and onward ambitions. Stick with that theme, support it with examples, and you’ll be on to a winner.

 

3) Avoid the cliches

 

Your future tutors and directors of study will be bored stiff from reading countless application letters from students claiming they love science and want to help people. Apparently, you shouldn’t be saying the opposite of these things, but just try and avoid the predictable and cliched. Find something new to say, and your statement will stand head and shoulders above the rest.

 

4) Find a unique angle

 

You are an individual. You are unique. You have experiences, hopes, dreams, memories, and skills which are entirely your own. In your statement, you need to be putting this across in the most reliable ways possible – it’ll help your document catch the eye of the people receiving it.

 

Write in your voice, and include personalized examples of times you’ve succeeded, or failed and learned from your mistakes. It could make all the difference.

 

5) Don’t be flowery

 

It’s sometimes tempting to write a personal statement in a highly elaborate or impressive way. Our advice? Steer well clear of this. You aren’t going to be accepted on the strength of your poetic skills, but rather on your ability to be clear, concise, and appropriately communicative. Write in direct, simple language, and avoid anything which might confuse.

 

6) Stick to the word count

 

Your medical school personal statement will come with its word count. Make sure you keep an eye on this and stick to it as closely as possible (within 10%, at a minimum). Your recipient doesn’t want to have to wade through page after page of information, and following precise instructions is a crucial skill for future medics, so demonstrate you’re capable of doing this from the beginning!

 

Remember the 5-point essay format.

 

The 5 point essay format exists for a good reason: it works.

 

  • Your first paragraph should be snappy, concise, and catch the attention of the reader.

 

  • Paragraphs 2-4 should introduce who you are personally, with one reflecting your clinical experience or understanding, and one dedicated to medical service and aspirations.

 

  • Your final paragraph should be a neat conclusion; one which reflects your introduction, summarises you as an applicant, and ends with your thoughts on future challenges.

 

 

I hope you found this advice helpful! Tell us what you think by leaving a comment down below! For more pre-med tips and advice, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, twitter, and pinterest!

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Jilian Woods

Jilian Woods is a medical student of Pediatric Faculty at Chicago Medical School. She is a freelance journalist, writer, and copywriter. Her work appears in various online publications, including The Daily Touch, Times Higher Education, Elephant Journal, and society19.