How to Write Your Personal Statement

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How to Write Your Personal Statement

Purpose

The personal statement is your chance to showcase why you want to become a doctor in 5300 characters or around one page (AMCAS). The purpose of the personal statement is not to echo other aspects of your application. Admissions committees will see the rest in their respective sections. Some stellar personal statements from students accepted at Stanford Medical School can be found here

Tone and Syntax

Conduct yourself as a professional. Although light humor can sometimes be appropriate, it can also be misunderstood. Your personal statement will give an impression to admissions committees, so make the most of your limited space. 

Consciously draft your essay using concise language. Readers will notice a well-crafted essay, however, they will also notice a poorly written one. 

Tips

Do not draft your essay in the application itself. It will not spellcheck for you, and you cannot edit the essay once you submit your application. 

Do's 

  • Do write it as a narrative about yourself. 
  • Do explain why you want to be a doctor.
  • Do give specifics on how you decided medicine was for you. 
  • Do focus on what you learned from each situation and how you will apply it.

Don'ts

  • Do not use common phrases such as: "My father/mother was a doctor, so I want to be like them" or "Ever since I was a little kid playing with a toy stethoscope..." These phrases do not sufficiently express why you want to pursue medicine. 
  • Do not emphasize others over yourself. It is your personal statement after all, so keep it brief when writing about others. 
  • Do not use fragmented thoughts throughout your essay. Write cohesively and stay strictly and to the point. Each paragraph should transition well into the next.

Stick the Landing

As you conclude your essay, recap the major points you want your readers to remember. Personal qualities, lessons from a particular struggle, or value gained from life experiences can all be included here. Do not forget to leave your audience with a strong closing statement. 

Before Submitting

Have anyone and everyone read your essay; and ask them for honest feedback. Friends, family, peers, and teachers are all great options to try!

Medical School Applicants: Do not procrastinate on the personal statement. It is a vital part of your application.