Writing a Personal Statement: Tips and GuidelinesApril 25, 2014
Personal Statement: Tips and Guidelines
Many students make the mistake of not taking their personal statement seriously enough. When applying to universities, a lot of effort is put into submitting certificates of achievements and other documents but when it comes to writing the personal statement, they simply write down a few points about themselves and hope it captures the gist of who they are. However, it is important to know that your personal statement is a crucial component of the admissions process and it can often mean the difference between being called for an interview and an outright rejection.
A personal statement is read by experienced individuals who often know exactly what they are looking for in the statement. What you write will say a lot about who you are and whether you will fit into their school or not.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when crafting your personal statement for medical school.
Sure you want to portray yourself in the best light possible but saying you did things you actually haven’t done or even just embellishing the truth, can damage your credibility if you get found out and chances are, you will. Everyone isn’t perfect. Don’t stray too far from the truth when writing about your achievements.
Copying the ‘ideal statement’ from a website or changing a few words around in your friend’s statement is not a good idea. Remember, this is the one place where you can show people the best side of you. Don’t waste the opportunity. And if that’s not a good enough reason, don’t forget that universities use anti-plagiarism software so they will know if you copied your statement from an online site. Besides, after reading through hundreds of statements, they know what sounds familiar and what sounds unique.
Focus on the course and not on the university
Your personal statement will be sent to all the universities that you have applied to so don’t put in any specific names of schools. Instead, focus on the subjects that you are looking at and the specific field that you want to gain admission into.
Don’t rush with your statement. Give yourself enough time to write it and go over it a few times. Ideally, start putting down thoughts over a few months so towards the end you can sit down and put them all together. This way, you are less likely to forget something important and you will also find it easier to put your statement together. Start with a draft. When you’ve finished your draft, put it away for a couple of days and then revisit it. You will find several areas that you may want to change or improve. Do that and put it away again and repeat the process a couple of times.
First of all, if you are not fluent in English, make sure that you get your spelling and grammar checked. In fact, even if your English is good, it’s helpful to get somebody else to look over the grammar. Next, ask someone who knows you well to read the statement to see if it brings out the best in you. This can be a family member, a mentor or a teacher. Who knows, they may remember something about you which you may have forgotten!
Taking the extra time and effort to create your personal statement will do much to increase your odds of gaining admission into the medical school of your choice.