You might not think it, but the personal statement portion of your medical school application is far more important than it seems. It is a way for you to show the admissions committee who you are without them ever seeing you.
If you are unsure about how to go about writing a personal statement, you might want to consider speaking to someone who has already written a successful essay. People like Rachel Tobin Yale graduate and admissions advisor for an independent company, can help you onto the right track.
Why Is It Important?
A personal statement essay is important because it helps admissions officers understand who you are and where you come from. It shows them that you, as a pre-med student, are emotionally, physically and mentally ready for the rigors of medical school.
Medical school is said to be one of the hardest programs colleges have to offer. It is no joke when people say they stayed up for days studying or working on research while in med-school. The personal statement indicates how you will overcome adversity along this difficult path.
This statement takes a cold, impersonal application and gives it both warmth and personality. It also shows the admissions committee how serious you are about the pursuit of medicine. They may have 50,000 applicants and only 20,000 spots open in medical schools across the country. They do not want to give a spot to anyone who will drop out or is not serious.
What Should You Cover?
When someone says to write a personal statement, you might be wondering what you should cover. They do not want an autobiography. You should cover the basics as well as lessons you learned on your journey through life. You might also want to include why you would make a good doctor and why medicine is the right career for you.
Think about moments in your life that changed you and made you who you are today. You want your essay to give them a picture of who you are and why you are there. It needs to define your identity for the selection committee.
What Are the Parts of a Personal Statement?
There are usually six parts of a personal essay that you should write. You should have an eye-catching introduction to get them interested. Then transition into what kind of person you are and past experiences that shaped you. Once you describe yourself, you should move into why you want to go to medical school and end with a positive conclusion. Your personal statement may have more parts, but it should not have fewer.
The essay should also be formatted in a way that is easy to read. You want to have short three to five sentence paragraphs with definition between them.
Some schools have a specific style guide they want you to follow, while others leave the formatting up to you. Remember to read it out loud to make sure that it sounds good, and your grammar is correct before submitting it.
You don’t have to be worried about your personal statement as long as you are truthful and recount meaningful experiences. It also helps to look at examples of successful med-school essays.