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Before You Write Your Personal Statement, Read This

How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School

❶From a young age, I wanted to know how everything works.

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A great medical school personal statement is key in the application process
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Are there any significant lessons learned, achievements reached, painful moments endured, or obstacles overcome? Write down anything you are proud of doing, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem. Perform an honest self-assessment of your skills, and try to draw connections between your unique skills and how they will make you a good doctor.

Write about your qualities and characteristics and think of different situations in which you have exhibited these characteristics. Relationships are another good source of essay material, particularly relationships that have challenged you to look at people in a different way.

Why I Want to Be a Doctor Many people look back in time to find the moment of their initial inspiration. Some people have wanted to be a doctor so long they do not even know what originally inspired them. How old were you when you first wanted to become a doctor? Was there a defining moment? Was there ever any ambivalence? Were you inspired by a specific person? What kind of doctor do you want to be and how does that tie into your motivation?

If your personal experience with the medical profession is your motivation for attending medical school, then write about it.

What makes you different? Do you have any special talents or abilities that might make you more interesting? How will your skills and personality traits add diversity to the class? What makes you stand out from the crowd?

How will this help you to be a better physician and student? If you are one of the lucky few who have an outstanding talent or ability, mention it and try to tie the experience of that ability into your motivation for becoming a doctor. If you are an older applicant, a minority, a foreign applicant or disabled, explain what your unique background will bring to the school and to the practice of medicine.

Just be sure you tie it in with either your motivation or your argument for why your diversity makes you a better candidate. Turn your potential weaknesses into strengths by pointing out that communication is an integral part of being a doctor, discussing the advantages of your well-rounded background, and demonstrating your motivation and qualifications in detail and with solid evidence.

If you have international experience, it may not set you apart in a completely unique way, but it is worthwhile to demonstrate your cross-cultural experience and sensitivity. Go beyond simply writing about your experiences to relating them either to your motivation or qualifications. Why I Am a Qualified Person The last major theme deals with your experience and qualifications, both for attending medical school and for becoming a good doctor.

Having direct hospital or research experience is always the best evidence you can give. If you have none, then consider what other experience you have that is related. If you have done it, use it. The important thing to remember here is that any type or amount of experience you have had should be mentioned, no matter how insignificant you feel it is. Your experience does not even have to be medically related to be relevant.

Many successful applicants cite non-medical volunteer experience as evidence of their willingness to help and heal the human race. The Introduction The most important leading sentence of all, of course, is the first sentence of your essay. The words and images you use must do more than simply announce the theme or topic of your essay-they must engage the reader. If, after the first sentence, the admissions counselor does not like what she sees, she may not continue reading.

You do not have to begin by writing the lead. Often, you will spot the lead floating around in the middle of your first draft. Standard leads are the most commonly used. A standard lead answers one or more of the six basic questions: It gives the reader an idea of what to expect.

A summary lead is a kind of standard lead that attempts to answer most of these questions in one sentence. Creative leads attempt to add interest by being obtuse or funny, and can leave you wondering what the essay will be about, or make you smile. Action leads take the reader into the middle of a piece of action, and are perfect for short essays where space needs to be conserved or for narrative essays that begin with a story.

Personal or revealing leads reveal something about the writer, are always in the first person and usually take an informal, conversational tone. Quotation leads can be a direct quotation or a paraphrase.

It is most effective when the quote you choose is unusual, funny, or obscure, and not too long. Dialogue leads take the reader into a conversation and can take the form of actual dialogue between two people or can simply be a snippet of personal thought. Informative leads give the reader a fact or a statistic that is connected to the topic of your essay or simply provide a piece of information about yourself or a situation.

Last But Not Least, the Editing Checklist Be sure you have answered the question asked and backed up each point that you made with concrete and personal examples, and be specific—no generalities allowed. Be sure the essay accurately represents you and sounds like you. To check the overall structure of your essay, conduct a first-sentence check.

Write down the first sentence of every paragraph in order. Read through them one after another and ask the following: Would someone who was reading only these sentences still understand exactly what you are trying to say? Do the first sentences express all of your main points?

Do the thoughts flow naturally? About your essay as a whole, does each paragraph stick to the thought that was introduced in the first sentence? Does a piece of evidence support each point? Is each paragraph roughly the same length? If not, you may be trying to squeeze too many thoughts into some of them.

Does your conclusion draw naturally from the previous paragraphs? Have you varied the length and structure of your sentences?

Look at your essay with the interest equation in mind: Is the opening paragraph personal? Do you start with action or an image? Does the essay show rather than tell? Did you use any words that are not usually a part of your vocabulary? They want to know why you want to enter the medical profession and this is your chance to tell them as clearly and compellingly as you can. If you plan on submitting your application through AMCAS, the length of your personal statement should be characters, which should be ample space to succinctly set yourself apart from other applicants.

You can explain why you really want to pursue medical graduate work and the career path it will enable you to follow. Your essay also enables you to explain things like weaknesses or gaps in an otherwise commendable record. Essays are the best way for admissions officers to determine who you are. Feel free to discuss past events that, in part, define who you are.

If you have overcome significant obstacles, say so. If you were honored with an award, describe the award and what you did to achieve recognition. Give some thought to how your past and current experiences have contributed to your intellectual, personal and professional development. Rather than make pronouncements about goals and future activities, which are easily made-up and often exaggerated, select a few stories from your life experiences that showcase the qualities and characteristics that you already possess and that will help you be an empathic, committed doctor.

Always remember the adage: Start early, write several drafts, and edit, edit, edit. The personal statement is not the time to recount all your activities and honors in list-like fashion. This is your opportunity to put a little panache into the application.

Show the admissions committee why you decided to go into medicine. Was it an experience you had in school? Was there a particular extracurricular activity that changed your way of thinking? Did you find a summer lab job so exhilarating that it reconfirmed your love for science? Use vignettes and anecdotes to weave a story and make the essay a pleasure to read. Now is not the time to write a haiku. Remember, the medical establishment is largely a scientific community although individual physicians may be passionate artists, poets, writers, musicians, historians, etc.

For instance, if you received a C in physics, you may feel compelled to justify it somehow. If you had a bad year or semester because of illness, family problems, etc. Have your pre-med advisor and perhaps an English teaching assistant read and edit it. Proofread, proofread, and proofread some more. Also, try reading it out loud. This is always a good test of clarity and flow. Interviewers often use your personal statement as fodder for questions.

Nothing is more appealing to admissions folks than a vibrant, intelligent, and articulate candidate. You risk running up against an interviewer who will see through your exaggerations. How to Get Great Recommendations. Supplemental Letters of Recommendation. Make Your Recommendation Letters Personal. How to Write an Effective Personal Statement. Purposes of a Personal Statement. How would you score if you took the MCAT today?

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Sample Medical School Personal Statements. Get accepted to your top choice medical school with your compelling essay. Read 10 Sample Essays. Top 10 Medical Schools. HAVE AN ACCEPTANCE RATE OF % OR LOWER. A great medical school personal statement is key in the application process.

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Personal statements are an admission requirement for all graduate schools. When writing a personal statement for medical school - one must consider the subtle nuances that admission officers dig for.

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With limited characters, your primary goal for your personal statement should be to tell medical school admissions committees why you will be an excellent doctor. Admissions committees will already see your brokerstopaarmy.cfon: Los Angeles, CA USA. 2 Med School Essays That Admissions Officers Loved These essays made a positive impression on medical school admissions officers.

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Writing a Personal Statement for Medical School However, the medical school personal statement is unique in several ways. Please see the “Writing Your Graduate School Application Essay” handout for more general information about writing your application essay. 5 Medical School Personal Statement Writing Pitfalls idea of what they are going to say or how they are going to structure their essay. It's .