It can be difficult to write effectively about ourselves, and the knowledge that others will read your medical personal statement can add tremendous pressure. Because of this, people can get distracted away from the true intent of the medical school personal statement and focus instead on trying to imagine the desires of the admissions committee. But admissions officers are genuinely not looking for you to entertain them. They are looking for meaningful information about your desire to become a physician and a demonstration of your ability to excel in their program.
In fact, unless you have exceptional native talent as a writer, the smartest approach to creating a winning medical personal statement is to follow this basic structure:
- Personal Anecdote
- Brief discussion of your undergraduate education in the sciences
- Research or Shadowing/Observing Experience
- Another aspect of yourself that demonstrates your character such as leadership in an organization, etc.
But with everyone writing the same way, then everybody’s medical school personal statement will be exactly the same, right? Fortunately, this is not the case. The path to medical school is a particular path, and admissions committees know this. They are expecting that your medical personal statement will be, in many ways, similar to others. While creativity is welcomed, your medical personal statement is not an artistic exercise. It has a job to do, and the best way to do that is by keeping your medical school personal statement, well, personal. Everybody says that, but how do you actually do it?
Demonstrating Insight in Your Medical School Personal Statement is the Key
The way to make your medical school personal statement unique is to show insight. Even if two people perform identical tasks, it is not going to mean exactly the same thing to both participants. Conveying the significance of your experiences not only gives the reader a better understanding of why you wish to become a physician, it is also a sign of other desirable character traits such as the ability to reflect, to incorporate new information in a meaningful way, and to apply those new skills in the real-world. It can be challenging to take the time to understand why certain events had more emotional charge and shaped your career path more than other events. However, this process will help you better articulate your reasons for choosing a career as a physician, and will therefore result in a more persuasive medical personal statement.