Nine Tips to write a personal statement that captivates your reader
The personal statement is one of the most important aspects of your medical school application and one of your best opportunities to separate yourself from other applicants. Your personal statement is your chance to convince medical schools that you would be a great physician. Do not underestimate the value of having a good personal statement. There are many medical schools that accept students who don’t have the highest GPA or MCAT, but have excellent personal statements. And it is often the personal statement that plays a major role in encouraging the medical school to invite you to an interview. Please take your time to review the tips I wrote down below, these tips come from personal experience as well as advice from medical school admission officers. So what are some tips to help you write a spectacular medical school essay that no school can resist?
1.Treat the essay as if you are writing a novel. Tell a story.
One of the most important things you can do when writing a personal statement is to write it as if it were a novel. You want to start the essay strong with something that catches the readers attention, use suspense, build up to major events, and give the reader closure at the end. It is important that you are able to maintain the readers interest in your story.
2. Use powerful language.
An easy way to improve your essay is to use strong and emotionally powerful adjectives. When describing events use metaphors. You want all of the language that you use to really leave an impression. This ties in with the first tip about writing a novel, you really want to use strong and symbolic language that will captivate your reader.
3. Make a list of several key points and themes you want your personal statement to include
This also goes back to the idea of writing a story and is honestly one of the best ways you can guarantee you say everything you want to and give the right impression to your reader. By having themes and key points in your essay you are both implicitly and explicitly emphasizing why you would be a great addition to their medical school program. Make a list of all of the major points you want to emphasize and the main themes that will define your essay. This list will be a valuable asset as you write your essay.
Heres a list of some things you might want to focus on: Showing you really care about helping other people, illustrating your hands on experience with patients, showing that you love to volunteer, showing all the different struggles you have overcome and how you have grown from them, showing your growth and evolution as a person over time, showing that you understand the rigors and realities of medicine, showing strong and resilient character, and showing that you are humble.
4. Make sure to subtly repeat your key points and themes throughout your personal statement
It is important to be able to subtly remind your reader of your key points as you write your essay. You want to be able to tell them that you are awesome without having to say it directly. Having consistency in your key points and themes makes it more authentic. For example: If you want to get the key point across that you have learned a lot from patient interaction, mention in the beginning of the essay how one patient was memorable to you. And then later in the essay bring up how the lessons you learned from that patient played in an impact in a separate situation. Once your essay is able to show consistency in your key points they become themes of your essay. And having a theme is much more powerful than trying to tell your reader explicitly why you are awesome. Being consistent and subtly repeating your key points and themes makes your essay more genuine.
5. Give examples for your claims
Having examples for each of your key points will greatly increase how believable your essay is and also the impact it leaves on your reader. Make sure you have good examples for your key points. Also make sure to use strong and emotional language, see tip #2, when describing that example. For example: If you are trying to show your reader that you are compassionate for others, then have an example where it shows you are compassionate.
6. Stay humble.
This is one of the most common pitfalls that many pre-med students fall into. Many medical school admission officers emphasize the importance of being modest and humble when writing your personal statement. Often one of the biggest turn off’s to medical school is being too full of yourself. That is why it is best to imply rather than directly state that you are good at something. Remember, being subtle and consistent is key.
7. Make sure not to go over the character limit
This one is actually really important for saving you lots of time and annoyance. The character limit is only 5300 characters! That is only about one page long. When I wrote my essay I accidentally misread it as 5300 words! That was a big mistake. Because when I copied my essay into the AMCAS essay box, it was literally twice as long. Then I had to go back and try and cut certain things out to make it fit. It was a very painful and upsetting process. So make sure you are constantly checking that you don’t go over the character limit. If it helps, you should write the essay in the essay box instead of a word processor.
8. Don’t have any grammar mistakes
This is an obvious one but also one that is easy to avoid. Having grammar mistakes is one of the easiest ways to show a lack of professionalism. So just make sure to double-check that.
9. Have multiple people proofread your essay and give feedback
This tip is a must. It is critical that you get other people’s opinion on your essay. Other people will see things that you won’t and have advice that you wouldn’t have ever considered. You will most likely have to go through several drafts of your essay before it is truly ready. I went through 6 drafts before I submitted my essay.
Follow these tips and you will have an essay that truly stands out and makes medical schools interested in you. The main key points to take from this article is: Write a story that will captivate your reader and keeps their attention, develop major themes and key points that your essay is based around, and to have others check your essay. Remember, the personal statement is your biggest opportunity to let you stand out. Write a powerful essay that will blow the socks off your reader! I believe in you! You can do this!
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