How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School
The medical school personal statement is your best chance to sell
yourself to the medical school admissions committee. If they're reading
your personal statement it means you've probably cleared the initial
numbers screen. That means your MCAT scores and GPA are competitive - or
perhaps there is something about your application that made them ignore
Your job is different in the primary and secondary application
The AMCAS Application Essay
In the AMCAS personal statement you need to make a general sell -
explain why you will make a good physician. You must tell your
personal story in a compelling, unpretentious way.
Every application reader will be looking for something different.
My general rule is explain what why you love what you love. For
example, if you are serious athelete, talk about your dedication to
the sport. Explain how you have excelled. Make it clear that these are
the same qualities that will make you excel as a physician.
Explain why you want to be a physician in the first place. What's
your motivation, what are your goals.
This is also your chance to explain your unique situation. If you
are coming back to medical school from a career, explain why you're
making the transition. There are a lot of benefits to making this
transition - make sure you are emphasizing the positive.
There are common pitfalls when you're righting such an essay. You
must walk a fine line between selling yourself and overselling. While
you should show your positive attributes - don't pretend you're the
best thing since sliced bread. Admissions committees reading hundreds
of applications a year, they can smell it when you're blowing smoke.
The Secondary Application Essay
Your job in the secondary application essay is very different. Here
you have to show that you are a good fit at the specific school. For
example, if the school requires a lot of medical student research,
make sure you show how that interests you.
Take the time to find out about the school to which you are
applying. Know the kind of student they accept, and the kind of
physician they make. If you match that profile, let them know in the
secondary medical school personal statement.
Write Well and Edit
Keep the writing crisp and clean. Edit thoroughly - typos hurt, bad
grammar hurts more, and tedious writing kills.