Your medical school application essay, known as the personal statement, is one of the most important sections of your medical school application. It’s the key factor that determines whether or not you will be invited to interview!
Some people may also argue that the personal statement is even more important than the interview. With thousands of applications that come into a medical school, only roughly 16% of students get offered an interview.
And one of the biggest obstacles a prospective student needs to stand out is with their personal statement. It’s a pivotal factor in the medical school admissions process, and can really make the admissions team want to look more deeply at your entire application. To understand who you are, where you came from, how you got here and where you want to go.
What makes a compelling personal statement
A compelling medical school admissions essay can be on nearly any topic you’re interested in, as long as it conveys your personality. Oftentimes it is the passion that the writer brings to the topic that tells more about the individual than the topic itself. It is a place for the admissions team to learn about you and what experiences you’ve had that have brought you to the point of applying to medical school.
Rachel Rundneen, a former admissions coordinator, says she looks for things like grit, evidence of humility and empathy.
Your personal statement should be impactful, memorable and show why you want to be a doctor. It is the gateway between you and an interview and if all numbers, grades, scores and extracurriculars were equal to another applicant(s), then your personal statement would be the very unique thing to get you an interview.
The goal of the personal statement is to make the admissions committee want to talk to you more! A great personal statement will have an emotional impact that will ‘do’ something, not just ‘say’ something.
A personal statement is generally made up of 5 parts:
- An intriguing introduction that gets the reader’s attention
- Anecdotes that illustrates the kind of person you are
- Reflections about the meaning and impact of various life experiences or trials
- Convincing narrative about why medical school is a good fit for you
- An optimistic and convincing conclusion
Within these five sections you need to show self-awareness by speaking honestly about yourself. You need to effectively communicate what motivates you and how your experiences have shaped you. You must sell yourself. Tooting your own horn can be something that challenges you, but it’s the first step in gaining the confidence necessary to become a physician.
Mistakes to avoid
The first thing you should never do in your personal statement is beg. Requests of any kind should not be in your personal statement. Carefully proofread your essay and be sure not to submit it with misspellings, grammar mistakes or careless errors that could have been easily fixed. Be sure you have several people proofread your statement to be sure you don’t have a sloppy essay.
And lastly, but most importantly, don’t be inauthentic or deceptive. Don’t lie or fabricate a story.
Check out two examples of personal statements that admissions officers loved here.
In summary, your personal statement should:
- Tell a unique story
- Be personal and reveal something meaningful
- Have emotional impact that will ‘do’ something
- Sound exciting and exude your passion for medicine
- Tie together you past, present and future by explaining how your life experiences have gotten you to this point
- Outline your long-term plans and goals as a doctor
Need help getting started?
Many students get overwhelmed just thinking about where to start! And usually, it’s the beginning stages of writing a personal statement that are the most difficult. Many times, the first step to writing your personal statement can be to create a list of significant memories. Think about which experiences in your life matter the most and identify one or two worth sharing. And remember, it should not be a regurgitated CV.
Get help with Superhero Training Academy
We know that writing the first few paragraphs of a personal statement feels tough. This is why we decided to create the Superhero Training Academy course at Code Blue Essays.
This includes five modules guiding you through brainstorming and eventually writing and perfecting your personal statement. There will be no agonizing over starting the writing process because the course gets the ball rolling for you.
We break writing your personal statement into manageable tasks. Best of all, you will get frequent feedback on your individual progress from our expert writing coaches!
Our process is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, it yields a personal statement that is distinctly you and showcases what makes you a unique and valuable medical school prospect. Hundreds of students have successfully utilized our Superhero Training Academy.