How to avoid the most common flaws in medical school essays

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Lots of different factors go into deciding whether or not you are accepted into medical school. Your grades matter, along with your letters of recommendation, MCAT scores, and extracurricular activities. One aspect of your application that can set you apart from the rest is your essay.

There are two instances where you may write an essay or a personal statement. First, you complete your primary application to med schools. At that point, certain schools you apply to may say thanks, but no thanks. Other schools may request you complete a secondary application, which involves answering essay questions.

Your essay will play a key part in both your primary and secondary application. Take the time you need to make it strong, well-written and engaging. Above all, when you are penning your essay, avoid the following flaws:

Boring the reader

Medical school admission committees have a lot of documents to go through. Don’t make your essay a snooze fest. Use active verbs and refrain from adding in words that don’t contribute anything. If possible, use stories from your life that explain why you want to be a doctor or are drawn to the medical field. Ask someone you trust to read your essay and give you honest feedback about whether it is boring.

Not being yourself

It is important to put your best foot forward, but not if it means being insincere. Don’t say what you think a panel wants to hear. While you do not want to be controversial, being fake or using clinches will not score you many points. It is possible to write a professional yet down to earth statement. Your writing should reveal your voice and personality.

Being superficial

Being too superficial will not show the admissions panel who you are. If you don’t reveal a little bit about yourself in your statement and essay answers, how will a school get to know you? Your personal statement should contain enough content that the panel gets a feel for why you want to be a doctor.

Not answering the question

If your essays are for your secondary application, make sure you answer the questions present to you. Secondary essay application questions may vary from discussing your favorite book to a current event. Review your answers to make sure they address the questions.

Being too wordy

You have a certain number of characters you can use when writing your essay. Use them wisely. Keep in mind, there is a difference between being too brief and being concise. If you are too brief with your statement or essay answers, you run the risk of not conveying why you are a good candidate. Instead, be concise by narrowing down the message you want to get across and choosing your words wisely.


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