Top Personal Statement Mistakes (and how to avoid them)
The personal statement is a vital part of the medical school application. It gives admissions committees vital information about your character, personal qualities, and values that are not found in any other part of the application. If you write a strong personal statement, you have a very good chance of earning an interview. Unfortunately, many applicants make mistakes on their personal statement that hurt their application. If you are aware of some of the most common medical school personal statement mistakes, you will have a better chance of avoiding them.
Mistake #1: Unnaturally Flowery Language
Some applicants think that they can seem more intelligent and impress the admissions committee by using large and obscure words. Do not do this. Using big words make your personal statement seem unnatural and forced. The admissions officers will be irritated as they try to decipher the meaning of your essay that is packed with big words. Instead of attempting to impress with large words, create a simply worded essay with strong content.
Mistake #2: Casual Tone
One of the most common medical school personal statement mistakes is using a casual tone. Many applicants submit essays that are riddled with conjunctions, slang, and colloquialisms. Although your personal statement is meant to showcase your personality, you want to highlight your professional personality. As you write your personal statement, pretend that you are speaking directly to an admissions officer. The well-mannered professional demeanor that you would show them in an in person encounter should be evident in your writing.
Mistake #3: Lack of Evidence
Although it may seem obvious that you should discuss your strengths and positive attributes in your essay, a common error that applicants make is not providing evidence. For example, you might say that you are an excellent listener. However, that statement will not be very persuasive unless you supply an example in which you used your listening skills. Ideally, the examples you provide in your personal statement should be from a clinical experience.
Mistake #4: No Introductory Story
Medical school personal statements should adhere to a basic outline. The essay should start with an introductory paragraph followed by 2-4 body paragraphs and end with a concluding paragraph. Some applicants make personal statement mistakes by straying from this structure and not starting with an introductory story. Your personal statement should start with a brief anecdote for several reasons: it gains the readers’ attention, it introduces your theme for the essay, and it provides a vehicle for sharing something about yourself that schools otherwise would not know.
Mistake #5: Not Getting a Second Opinion
Your medical school personal statement is an essential part of your application. For this reason, it deserves your care and attention. However, no matter how skilled of a writer you are, you will be unable to provide yourself unbiased feedback. Therefore, it is essential to have someone else review your personal statement. Ideally, your reviewer should be knowledgeable about the medical school application process and understand what is required for a strong personal statement. It is for this reason that hiring a professional editor is invaluable. They will be able to provide you with accurate feedback and help you craft an admissions essay that gets results.