August 12, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Don’t sabotage your otherwise well written personal essay by making a few mistakes. Knowing what to include and what to refrain from including is the key to creating a successful personal essay.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind when you write a personal statement for medical school.
You may sound very noble when you talk about how you want to become a doctor and save children in Africa. But, when the reader goes through your essay and sees that all you’ve ever done is travel around the world after graduating from a posh private school, your statement will sound pretty unbelievable. These professionals know what to believe and what not to believe in a statement. Don’t make yourself out to be something you are not. If you want to show your dedication to saving the children of Africa, sign up as a volunteer with an organization that actually does work for the children of Africa or spend time at a medical placement in Africa and then talk about your experiences there. That will sound true and will show that you are genuinely committed to medicine and helping people.
Far too many students use a few days’ hospital stay as the experience that triggered their passion for medicine or they just ramble on about how impressed they were with the efficiency of the doctors and nurses who attended to sick or injured patients in the emergency room. These scenarios have been used so often, they do not ring true anymore. What is important is to highlight what it was about these experiences that motivated you. The reader will be looking for something noteworthy but believable so don’t for a second think that rambling on about a minor hospital visit will make it sound impressive. It won’t. Talk about something concrete that touched you and changed you.
Think of your personal statement as your first impression to a group of people. How would you want to come across? As a focused individual who is ready to make a long term commitment to medicine and put in a lot of hard work? Then structure your statement like that. Do not ramble on about things that are not connected to your future as a medical student. You have one shot to convince the authorities to accept you into a school so use it well.
Remember to keep your statement short. Do not go on for more than a page. Try to include all your achievements that are relevant to your future medical career but keep it short, focused and convincing.