Shadowing a DoctorOctober 16, 2013
Your personal statement is one of the first opportunities you will have to tell the admissions committee a little bit about yourself and why you would be an asset to their school and to the medical profession. What you say and how you say it can make the difference between your application getting rejected or earning you an invite for the interview.
So what are the things you need to think about when writing your medical school personal statement? The truth is, while there are no hard and fast rules on how to write your personal statement or what you should write about, it is important to keep in mind at all times that the main aim is to convince the admissions personnel about your passion for the profession. Whatever you say in this personal statement should subtly but definitely answer these two questions:
- Why do you want to become a doctor?
- What have you actively done to cultivate your interest in medicine?
Sounds simple but it’s surprising how many applicants actually manage to get it wrong. Think carefully before answering both questions.
In answer to the first question, saying that you want to become a doctor because your parents want you to, is sure to get your application rejected.
Do you like science and want to help people? Well, guess what- all premedical students do. Saying that is just not enough to impress the interviewers and will not earn you an interview. Dig deep. Think of reasons that are compelling and powerful enough to pique the interviewers’ interest and make them want to meet you and know more about you. Convince them about your passion and your capabilities. Interviewers are looking for students who are not just interested in helping others but who are also up to the many challenges that a career in medicine offers.
In reply to the second question, mention any volunteer work that you may have done with a medical organization. If you have had any physician shadowing experience or you have participated in an overseas medical placement, this is the time to mention it. Be specific about your experiences. Give details about what you did and more importantly, talk about what you gained from these opportunities.
Use your personal statement to draw attention to your strengths. Elaborate on specific traits that make you unique and which show your potential as a physician.
Let your passion show through in your personal statement. If you are 100% convinced that this is the profession for you, take time to let this conviction and passion show through in your personal statement. If there is any one aspect of medicine that you are especially passionate about, mention it clearly and talk briefly about why you like it so much. If there is something you do not like, it is far better not to mention it rather than pretend to be passionate about it. Passion cannot be faked and you can be sure anybody reading your personal statement will be experienced enough to spot a fake immediately.