This article contains information on the steps on how to write a personal statement for medical school.
Even if it is glaring that you are going to the medical profession because you are interested in contributing your quota to the health care system of your country, you still need a personal statement to gain admission to medical school. Every med school wants to enrol smart, proactive, communicative students and those who would be worthy ambassadors of the school as alumni. To achieve this worthy aim, the selection committee would need to vet your capability to meet their standard. To checkmate this, your medical school personal statement is a part of your application document and since there are countless letters the committee read yearly, there are some factors you must consider to submit a compelling essay that would grab the attention of your readers.
STEPS ON HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL STATEMENT
1. Read instructions.
This is very important even when you want to take an examination. Before taking a pen and paper to write or desktop to type, it is important you go through the application guides provided by the school. That can be the hook your readers are looking for to disqualify students. Some applications provide guidance, frequently asked questions, content, format, word count and submission method. It’s imperative that applicants read and understand thoroughly every item that is expected of their personal statements. If you write a compelling statement and ignore the prompts such as number counts, you can imagine the first impression?
2. Reflect and Write
It is advised that you allow yourself at least six months of writing and revision to get your essay ready. You have the luxury of time to write, re-write, review and write again. You should spend a good amount of your time reflecting on what makes you you – your unique abilities. You might not achieve that in just two days. What qualities do you possess that the faculty doesn’t know they need and is not reflected in your other documents? When you are able to articulate these qualities, it would be seamless convincing the selection committee of the value you are about to offer them.
3. Stay focused.
It cannot be overemphasized that your personal statement should focus on you. Many make the mistake of writing just about experiences and forget to strike the balance. You should highlight interesting aspects of your journey and why you decided to go through the rigour of medicine. You can use specific anecdotes and other interesting stories of your experiences that shaped your decisions. Note that it is not a script about your entire life story- be as straightforward as you can. For instance, if you are using a scenario of your sick grandmother and the wrong drug prescription which led to her demise. You should focus on how that affected your decision and not lamenting on the problem.
4. Be personal
All your fellow applicants love science and are interested in helping people health-wise and they would all be writing about that. So you have to write yours differently. To do that express your passion with personal stories. The stories can be at the introduction where you tell the readers for instance how the ignorance of your parents and inadequate health care system in your hometown led to the early death of your loved one. When you are that specific, it would grip the attention of your readers who would ultimately be interested in helping you reach that goal, which is the goal anyway.
5. Be clear
Doctors are very clear when speaking to their patients and you should start that even from your personal statement. Watch your sentence structure, avoid ambiguous words, use transition words thoughtfully and pay attention to how each paragraph connects with each other. Avoid statements like “ I have longed to be a Medical doctor”. That is very boring.
6. Med Experiences
You should have considerable experiences in the field. Your personal statement should involve your service in clinical care as a volunteer, scribe, shadow or medical assistant and how they helped the applicant realize that medicine is his or her calling. After you have briefly described the nature of your clinical experiences, reflect on what insight you gained from them about the medical profession which has helped you choose the career you are embarking on. You give the impression that your desire to pursue medicine is valid. For example, your essay will sound convincing if you state that you have learned to address a patient’s need through your involvement as a volunteer in a medical outreach. But if you state this quality without concrete examples, it would be a hard time convincing the readers. Remember, they do not know you personally.
7. Be Exact
Your personal statement must give the selection committee a sense of what sort of medicine you want to practice. You should articulate here the values and standards your life so far reflects and how they reflect the kind of medical career you dream of. There are various aspects of medicine. You must be exact with that area. Medical schools want to know what strengths you believe you can bring to the profession and be very precise when using experiences to explain how you acquired this skill and make sure you tailor it to the particular area of medicine you are interested in. Do not leave the readers to think or guess your abilities with just vague explanations.
8. Be sincere.
While trying to give a good notion of yourself and providing every noteworthy accomplishment, remember to be as sincere as possible. Do not be too self-congratulatory or too pitiful. Admissions personnel can tell when you’re exaggerating what an experience meant to you because they read thousands of personal statements per year. Briefly mention any noteworthy and appealing features that attracted you to the program or institution, but do not go overboard. Selection committee members know very much about their schools and the prestigious awards they have won. So do not be overbearing by giving excessive praise.
9. Proofread your essay.
In your first two drafts, errors are inevitable. Read over again as often as you can to check for correct use of transition words, sentence structure, commas, first-person and active voice, elimination of weak words like “in order to, I believe” for more professional alternatives. That is why it should be given adequate time. Take careful note at your introduction, they serve as leads for your readers. Get another set of eyes such as a consultant, professional or other outside sources to aid you critique the essay.