Writing a Personal Statement for Medical School
Three Questions Medical School Admissions Officers Ask
Often the hardest part of writing a personal statement for medical school is figuring out what to talk about. Your essay needs to be interesting, engaging, informative, and persuasive. It also needs to give the reader a clear picture of your goals, strengths, and give a convincing argument as to why you should be admitted to medical school. Your personal statement for medical school not only needs to accomplish all these things but it must be brief and concise. Given these parameters, many medical school applicants find themselves feeling frustrated when attempting to write their personal statement. You will find that writing your personal statement for medical school is a much less daunting task if you remember the following questions that admissions officers ask when evaluating whether to offer a candidate a place in their medical school:
Can they do it?
Will they do it?
Should they do it?
If your personal statement provides adequate answers to these three questions, you can be sure you have written an essay that will be helpful to your application.
Can You Do It?
The first question admissions officers want to determine about a candidate is if they will be able to succeed as a medical student. Medical schools want their students to do well in their program. It looks bad for them if they have a significant percentage of students who fail to complete medical training at their school. For this reason, medical schools take great care to ensure that the people they admit will have the intellectual ability to handle their curriculum. Your grades and MCAT score will be the main testament to your ability to handle the academic rigors of medical school. However, you may wish to include evidence of your academic prowess in your personal statement. If you had a course where you initially struggled but ultimately mastered the material, it would be excellent to mention this experience. In addition, you should discuss the methods you used to transform yourself into a high-achieving student.
Will You Do It?
Many people possess the intellectual ability necessary to learn the material taught in medical school. However, there are significantly fewer people who also have the tenacity, motivation, and maturity to complete medical school. The challenges of medical school are not purely academic. Medical students often find themselves in physically and psychologically uncomfortable situations. They are required to work long hours with little designated study time and still ensure that they are prepared for exams. Medical students will be exposed to patients with disturbing health conditions and unpleasant personalities, but they must maintain their professionalism. In addition, many physicians unfortunately subscribe to adversarial education techniques and think it appropriate to mistreat students in the name of education. When medical students encounter these sort of individuals, they must ignore the insults and continue to learn from the experience. As mentioned previously, medical schools want students who are likely to complete their program. Therefore, you will need to demonstrate that you have the strength and determination to withstand less than ideal circumstances. The personal statement for medical school is an ideal medium to discuss these skills. It may be helpful to discuss a situation in which you faced difficulty but persevered and ultimately succeeded.
Should You Do It?
Some people say that medicine is not a career but a calling. Whether this is true is debatable, however, it is absolutely true that it is extremely important that physicians enter the profession for appropriate reasons. You should be certain that being a physician is what you want to do most out of any other possible career in the world. Medicine can be a difficult and frustrating endeavor. If you do not truly want to be a physician you will find yourself in a career that makes you miserable and unfulfilled. Therefore, take some time to assess why you are seeking medical school admission. You need to reassess your career goals if you are seeking a career as a physician solely for financial gain, familial obligation, or for prestige. Instead, discontinue your medical school application immediately and begin look for a career that you will find fulfilling. If you do truly want to be a physician, make sure to take the time to discuss your reasons in your personal statement. Although there is no correct reason to want to be a physician, it should be evident that this career choice is fulfilling to you and not made for purely selfish reasons.
Medical school admissions are competitive. You can give yourself a definite advantage by tailoring your personal statement for medical school to the questions admissions officers ask. By answering the three questions discussed above, your admissions essay will be a powerful tool to earn your admission to medical school. Once you have completed your personal statement for medical school, it is a wise idea to have it reviewed by a professional editor to ensure you are submitting your best possible work.