Working On Your Personal Statement? A Few Things To Think AboutDecember 6, 2013
Applying to medical schools can be a long and challenging process. With the huge competition to get a seat in a good medical school, there is always a scramble to fill in applications forms and send them in as early as possible to the medical schools of your choice. Filling in the data entry sections of application forms is pretty straightforward. You have the information on hand and all you need to do is enter it on the form. As long as you are not trying to fudge the facts, and you shouldn’t, there is no creativity involved. However, where you are most likely to get stuck at and which is admittedly the most difficult part of the application, is writing the personal statement.
So what is it that makes a personal statement so hard? Everything, really. This is the statement that has to convince the authorities that you have the skills, expertise, interest and dedication to be a good physician. This is what will set you apart from the thousands of other hopeful students that will also be submitting their application for admission. With so much riding on it, it is crucial that you get it absolutely right, with the perfect balance of content, tone and presentation.
Here are a few guidelines that you should keep in mind when working on this all-important personal statement.
Aim to stand out from the crowd
Don’t resort to the standard clichés just because you think that’s what the authorities want to hear. Many students make the mistake of trying to portray that they are perfect. Statements such as ‘I want to heal the world’ and ‘I want to make a difference to the underprivileged’ are just too lame and commonplace. Too many students end up using these very same words in their statement, with the result that you are just going to be one of the crowd. You do not want to do this.
Your aim should be to stand out from the crowd. Your personal statement should make the authorities sit up and take notice. It should convince them that you are not just looking at medicine as just a career but that you are passionate about it. While writing about yourself, don’t be vague. Be specific about why you chose medicine. Be specific about the incident or incidents that triggered off your interest. Talk about your inspirations, dreams and goals. Think differently and give them something unique which will make them remember you. Let your passion show through in everything you say in the statement.
Don’t repeat your resume
Another mistake many applicants make is repeating all their achievements that they mentioned in the application forms and simply elaborating on them. The admissions committee will have gone through your achievements earlier and they sure do not want to see that whole list all over again. In your essay, it’s okay to highlight a few significant achievements but more importantly, you need to use the statement to tell the reader something new that they wouldn’t know from your application.
Start early and take your time
Do not rush to submit your personal statement. Start well in advance and check, re-check and re-re-check it and after you think it is perfect, get it checked by somebody else so you get an objective assessment and valuable feedback in case there are areas that could be improved upon.