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How do I Write a Medical School Personal Statement?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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A medical school personal statement is an important component of a medical school application, providing information about the candidate designed to illustrate why the candidate would be a good fit for a given program. The goal of the statement should be to make the candidate stand out from a pool of other applicants, and to intrigue the admissions committee enough for them to request an interview. Strategies for medical school personal statements should revolve around keeping the statement clear, concise, engaging, and interesting.

Other parts of a medical school application provide information about academic history, test scores, participation in research, and other matters of relevance to the admissions committee. The medical school personal statement offers the applicant an opportunity to provide personal information, humanizing the application and creating a image to go along with the numbers and grades. It can be a good place to bring up interesting elements of the applicant's personal history, and the reasons why the candidate wants to go to medical school.

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It can help to start a medical school personal statement by jotting down some ideas. Applicants may want to think about why they are applying to medical schools and what they want to do with their degrees, as this could furnish some material for the personal statement. Someone who wants to work in developing countries, for example, should definitely mention this on the application. If an important personal experience made the applicant want to pursue medicine, this would also be important information to add.

Applicants should also think about what sets them apart from other people when they prepare a medical school personal statement. They may have unique life experiences, like growing up on a commune, having attended school in a foreign country, and so forth that might be interesting to an admissions committee, and would increase the diversity of the entering class. Students should also think about the programs they are applying into, and consider whether they have personal experiences that fit in with a school's mission. A school interested in technological innovation in medicine, for example, will be interested in an applicant who has participated in research involving medical technology.

A medical school personal statement should avoid slangy language and an overly informal tone, but allowing some regional expressions and personality to show through is advised. Candidates should also avoid commonly used lines like “I have always wanted to be a doctor because...” and “I knew I wanted to become a doctor when...” to make their applications stand out. Unless the application specifically indicates that people should write their personal statements completely independently, it is also advisable to ask a friend to look the statement over for obvious spelling and grammar errors, as well as readability.

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