March 13, 2015
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Every pre-dental student knows the vital role that their personal statement plays in the dental school admissions process and it is this knowledge that can often paralyse them. What should they talk about at length and what should they just make brief mention of? What will impress the reader and what will fail to do so? What works and what doesn’t when writing a personal statement?
The truth is there is no one single answer. Everybody’s views are shaped by their own personal experiences. However, there are a few tips that can help you put together a compelling personal statement that is sure to impress the reader and get you invited for an interview.
Before you actually start drafting your essay, think of a theme to base the essay on. For example, you may use a dental placement abroad as the central theme to your essay or perhaps a distinctly memorable experience that made you want to pursue dentistry.
Why should a personal essay have a theme? Without one, most students tend to ramble on and go around in circles while trying to describe themselves and try to connect their past achievements to possible opportunities at dental school and the essay tends to lose focus. When you stick to a theme, you will find that the entire essay flows a lot better, making it easier for you to write it and more importantly, easier for the reader to read it.
Before you get down to writing out the essay, take some time to brainstorm. It is much easier to jot down points and then turn them into a story instead of starting with the story and then looking for points to put in. Now that you already have a theme for your essay, it will be easier to pick out points that will go along with the central theme and tie it all together.
Here are a few points to kick off your brainstorming session. Remember that you do not need to include every single point. Just focus on a few points that are relevant to your theme.
– The reason you decided to pursue this particular profession
– Skills and qualities that give you the edge over other applicants and why the dental school should choose you over them
– Hardships or hurdles that you have had to overcome in your life
– Your motivation for getting into dentistry
– Your experiences in the field of dentistry, including any dental placements or shadowing opportunities
Now that you have established your theme and brainstormed for ideas, it is time to write the first draft.
– Start your essay with a great introduction. It is important to get the attention of the reader with the first line and hold that attention throughout so they cannot put it down till the end.
– After the introduction, list out all the relevant points and write the body of the statement. This should include your achievements, your experiences, your qualification and your motivating factors. Do not give in to the temptation to stretch the truth here as getting caught out can be an unforgiveable mistake. Nobody wants a dishonest dentist.
– Also include a paragraph on why you think you are a good candidate and should be accepted into that dental school.
Remember to keep the statement short and precise. An ideal essay is not more than one page unless specified otherwise. Last but not least, check and recheck your statement to ensure it is 100% error-free before sending it off to any dental school.