Rules of thumb for writing a winning personal essay for medical school

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Medical schools want to enrol students who are bright, communicative and empathetic. This means they care about more than just your academic scores. They want to know who you are and what is your motivation for pursuing a career in medicine. Your personal statement is the first opportunity you have to tell a medical school about yourself in your own words.

These few guidelines will help you write a personal statement that is compelling, persuasive and impressive.

Stay focused

The most convincing essay is one that has a common theme running through it. Choose a theme, stick to it and support it with specific examples.

Keep it relevant

The main aim of a personal statement is to emphasise why you are choosing a life in medicine. If you decide to include an experience that is not directly related to this aim, explain in a few words how the experience contributed to your desire to go to medical school.

Keep it simple

Don’t complicate your essay by using complicated words and expressions. Make clear pints using simple, direct language. Remove unnecessary words that clutter up your paragraphs. The reader should not have to struggle to understand your message.

Keep it professional

You may love to overuse emoticons or experiment with fancy fonts but this is not the place to display your creativity. Your personal statement should look professional and be easy to read.

Highlight your unique angle

Before you start writing your essay, list all of your attributes and shortlist a few that you should highlight to demonstrate your unique qualities. What makes you different from all other med school applicants? What do you have that will make you an asset to the medical school and to the medical profession? Be careful not to overdo it by being too self–congratulatory.

Start early

Don’t make the mistake of thinking of your personal statement as a weekend project. It is way too important to be completed in a weekend. Writing a personal statement that shares some genuine insight into who you are takes time and focus. Work on it over an extended period of time. After the first draft is complete, keep it aside for a few days. Then take it out, review it and make the necessary edits and keep it aside again for another few days. Repeat this till you are fully satisfied with the way it has turned out and only then get it reviewed by a professor or friend whose judgment and writing skills you trust

Get objective feedback of your essay

The more time you have spent writing your essay, the more likely you are to overlook those little grammar or punctuation errors. Once you are satisfied with the overall tone and content of your essay, ask a professor or friend to review it and give you objective feedback.

Your personal statement is now ready to go.

 

 

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