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The Medical School Personal Statement: How To Stand Out

personal statement medicine guide

Posted in: Applying to Medical School

personal statement medicine guide

Impressive GPAs and MCAT scores, research experience, physician shadowing, and meaningful volunteer work are only one part of a successful medical school application . You may meet all other medical school requirements , yet face rejection.

One thing can help you stand above the rest: A compelling personal statement.

The medical school personal statement is important because it highlights your hard work, your pre-medical school accomplishments, and why you’re a better candidate than everyone else. 

In other words: Who are you, what makes you unique, and why do you deserve a spot in our school?

We’ve helped thousands of prospective medical students increase their odds at acceptance with better personal statements. Now, we’ll show you exactly how to do it. 

Working on your personal statement? Speak with a member of our enrollment team who can walk you through the step-by-step med school application process from start to finish.

Table of Contents

What’s in a great med school personal statement.

An excellent medical school personal statement should contain:

  • Passion for an area of the healthcare field.
  • Storytelling that captures the reader’s attention from the first sentence.
  • Emotion and personality to show (not tell) admissions committee members who you are.
  • A unique answer to the question, “Why do you want to be a doctor?”

A powerful personal statement shows that you are the kind of candidate who will make an exceptional physician and be a valuable asset to the school during your medical education. Additionally, it helps to distinguish your application from the many other students with similar MCAT scores and GPAs.

A weak personal statement would, in turn, have the opposite effect.

Not only does the personal statement weed out unqualified candidates, but it also serves as a foundation for many interview discussions and questions . 

Admission committee members often only have a few minutes to review an application. Personal statements provide them with the right amount of information. Since it’s possible this is the only part of your application they’ll read, it needs to be perfect .

When writing your personal statement, you’ll also want to note the AAMC core competencies that are expected of all medical professionals. Some, if not all, of these competencies should shine through in your application essay.

The AAMC core competencies include : 

  • Interpersonal competencies: service orientation, social skills, cultural competence, teamwork, and oral communication.
  • Intrapersonal competencies: ethical responsibility to self and others, reliability and dependability, resilience and adaptability, and a capacity for improvement.
  • Thinking and reasoning competencies: critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, scientific inquiry, and written communication.
  • Science competencies: living systems and human behavior.

A MedSchoolCoach review for personal statements, secondary essays, and interview preparation.

It’s important to show passion for something specific — a group of underserved people, a type of patient, the benefit of a particular area of medicine, etc. Your passion should be evident, non-generic, and authentic. Ask yourself, “What makes a good doctor?”

It’s crucial to avoid cliches in your personal statement, like claiming you want to become a doctor “to help people.”

Dr. Renee Marinelli, Director of Advising at MedSchoolCoach, warns that certain cliches may not truly represent meaningful experiences that influenced your decision to pursue medicine.

You may have decided to become a doctor from experiencing a kind physician as a child, but that personal experience doesn’t convey genuine passion. Your enthusiasm for medicine doesn’t need to originate from a grand experience or sudden revelation.

Your interest in medicine probably developed gradually, perhaps when you fell in love with psychology during college and volunteered at nursing homes. You don’t need a lifelong dream to demonstrate passion and become an outstanding doctor.

2. Storytelling

A memorable personal statement captures the reader’s attention from the first sentence, which you can do with an interesting personal story or anecdote. Including some creativity, ingenuity, humor, and character.

Immersing the admissions committee in your personal statement allows you to show , not just tell , how your experiences have impacted your journey to medicine.

Don’t repeat the data your admissions committee can read on the rest of your application — SHOW the passions and experiences that have led you to this field using a narrative approach.

Consider the following examples of statements about a student’s volunteer experience at a food pantry:

"“Through my work at the local food pantry, I came to understand the daily battles many individuals face, and it allowed me to develop deeper empathy and compassion.” “When I saw Mr. Jones, a regular at the kitchen, struggling to maneuver his grocery cart through the door, I hustled over to assist him. My heart sunk when I saw he was wearing a new cast after having been assaulted the night prior.”

Which do you think performed better in terms of conveying personal characteristics? Your personal statement is a deep dive into one central theme, not about rehashing all of your experiences. 

3. Emotion & Personality

An engaging personal statement allows your unique personality and real emotions to shine through. 

As Dr. Davietta Butty, a Northwestern School of Medicine graduate, avid writer, pediatrician, and MedSchoolCoach advisor, puts it, “I think the best personal statements are the ones that showcase the applicant’s personality. Remember that this is your story and not anyone else’s, and you get to say it how it makes sense to you.” 

This is why storytelling is such an important part of personal statement writing. Your writing process should involve quite a bit of writing and editing to express emotion in a relatable, appropriate way.

A Note On Writing About Tragedy

One way you can show who you are is by expressing an appropriate level of emotion, particularly about challenging or tragic experiences. (But don’t worry — not everyone has a tragic backstory, and that’s perfectly fine!)

If you are discussing a tragedy, don’t go into an extended explanation of how you feel — show emotion and your personality while sticking to the plot.

Personal tragedies, such as the death of a loved one, can powerfully motivate a personal statement. In a field where life and death constantly clash, experiences with death might appear impressive qualifications; however, approach them cautiously.

Focus on the reasons behind your motivation, rather than the details of the tragedy. Explain how the experience impacted your medical career aspirations, including skill development or perspective changes. 

How have you applied these new skills or perspectives? How would they contribute to your success as a medical student?

4. Why You Want To Be a Doctor

Becoming a doctor is no small feat. What journey brought you here? 

Writing things like “I want to help people” or “I want to make a difference” won’t set you apart from all the other students applying for medical school . 

Knowing who you want to serve, why you want to help them (in story form), and where you’d like to end up will show admissions officers that you are serious about your medical career.

After all, this career doesn’t just involve many years of post-graduate education — you need a significant motivation to see this career through. That’s what admissions committees are looking for!

Read Next: Medical School Interviews: What To Do Before, During & After  

How long is a personal statement for medical school? 

Your statement is limited to:

  • 5,300 characters (including spaces) on the AMCAS application ( MD programs )
  • 5,000 characters on the TMDSAS (Texas MD programs)
  • 5,300 characters for AACOMAS ( DO programs )

That’s roughly 500-700 words, or 3 double-spaced pages of text.

We typically suggest our students divide their personal statement into about 5 full paragraphs — an intro, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Pro tip: Do not type directly into the text box — if something goes wrong, you’ll lose all of your work. Write in another program first, then copy and paste the edited copy into the application text box.

Use a text-only word processing tool (TextEdit on Mac devices or Basic Text Editor on Windows), or type the essay into Microsoft Word or a Google Doc. Just remember to save the file as a *.rtf. This will eliminate formatting issues when you copy and paste the essay into the AMCAS box.

How To Write a Personal Statement For Medical School

Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your passion for medicine and your unique experiences. Be genuine, focused, and concise; your personal statement will leave a lasting impression on medical school admissions committees.

Some questions you may want to consider while writing your personal statement are:

  • Why have you selected the field of medicine?
  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What do you want medical schools to know about you that has yet to be disclosed in another application section?

In addition, you may wish to include information such as unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits. Comment on significant academic record fluctuations not explained elsewhere in your application.

With thousands of students, we’ve developed a nine-step process for how to write a personal statement that’s sure to get noticed. Follow these steps in order to uplevel your personal statement writing.

1. Choose a central theme.

Sticking to one central theme for your personal statement may sound tricky, but sticking with a central theme can give your statement more of a rhythm. 

Here are a few examples to use when thinking of a central theme: 

  • What is an experience that challenged or changed your perspective on medicine?
  • Is there a relationship with a mentor or another inspiring individual that has significantly influenced you?
  • What was a challenging personal experience that you encountered?
  • List unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits.
  • What is your motivation to seek a career in medicine?

2. Choose 2-4 personal qualities to highlight.

Keep this part brief and highlight the strengths that will make you an exceptional doctor. 

What sets you apart from others? What makes you unique? What are you particularly proud of about yourself that may not be explained by a good GPA or MCAT score?

Here are a few examples of quality traits great doctors possess: 

  • Persistence
  • Reliability
  • Accountability
  • Good judgment under pressure
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Leadership skills

3. Identify 1-2 significant experiences that demonstrate these qualities.

In this section, you should include that these experiences exemplify the qualities above and outline your path to medicine. 

The top experiences college admissions seek are research projects , volunteer activities, and mentorship.

Here are a few ways to narrow down what makes an experience significant: 

  • Which experiences left you feeling transformed (either immediately, or in retrospect)?
  • Which experiences genuinely made you feel like you were making a difference or contributing in a meaningful way?
  • Which experiences radically shifted your perspectives or priorities?
  • Which experiences have truly made you who you are today?

Pro tip: If you’re still in your third year of pre-med and want to participate in more experiential projects that will support your future medical career, check out Global Medical Brigades . We partner with this student-led movement for better global health, and brigades are a transformative way to begin your medical career. 

4. Write a compelling introduction.

Your personal statement introduction is the first thing the admissions committee will read. The first paragraph should be a catchy, attention-grabbing hook or story that grabs the reader’s attention and sets up the main point of your essay.

Check out this webinar for more examples of what makes a great introduction.

5. Use storytelling to write the body paragraphs.

Since the goal is to achieve depth rather than breadth (5,000 characters isn’t a lot!), focus on key experiences instead of discussing everything you’ve accomplished. Remember, you’ll have the Work & Activities section to share other relevant experiences.

Use the following five-step formula to elaborate on important experiences in the body paragraphs of your personal statement: 

  • Discuss why you pursued the experience.
  • Mention how you felt during the experience.
  • Describe what you accomplished and learned.
  • Discuss how your experience affected you and the world around you.
  • Describe how the experience influenced your decision to pursue medicine.

The best personal statements tell a story about who you are. “Show, don’t tell,” what you’ve experienced — immerse the reader in your narrative, and you’ll have a higher chance of being accepted to medical school.

6. Create an engaging conclusion.

Your goal is to make the person reading want to meet you and invite you to their school! Your conclusion should: 

  • Talk about your future plans.
  • Define what medicine means to you. 
  • Reflect on your growth.
  • Reiterate how you’d contribute to your school’s community and vision.

7. Use a spellchecker to proofread for basic errors.

Misusing “your” instead of “you’re” or misspelling a few important words can negatively impact how your personal statement is received. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation should be perfect on your personal statement. 

Use Grammarly or a similar spellchecker to check for errors before completing your personal statement. You can also use an AI tool like ChatGPT for proofreading, although it’s more likely to make sweeping changes.

8. Edit your draft.

Editing your personal statement a few times over will benefit you in the long run. Give yourself time to write, edit, reread, and re-edit your personal statement before submitting it with your application.

You can use AI technology like ChatGPT for small edits or to help you add in information where you might feel stuck, but don’t rely too much on it.

9. Ask a few trusted people to read your draft.

Have at least one friend, family member, and at least one person who’s a medical professional review your draft. A  professor in your pre-med program would be a great person to review your draft.

Be willing to receive as much feedback as your trusted people are willing to give. Don’t get caught up in obsessing over one statement you really like if all three of your readers suggest cutting it.

If you’d like a professional eye on your personal statement, consider a personal statement editing service. Our editors are medical professionals, often who have reviewed personal statements and applications submitted to admissions committees.

We’d love to help you craft a personal statement that’s sure to stand out.

30 Prompts To Inspire Your Personal Statement

Here are 30 prompts to inspire your personal statement: 

  • Describe a defining moment in your life that solidified your desire to pursue a career in medicine.
  • Discuss a challenging situation you faced and how it shaped your perspective on healthcare.
  • Reflect on a time when you made a meaningful impact on someone’s life through your actions or support.
  • Explain your motivation for wanting to become a physician and how it has evolved over time.
  • Describe a personal quality or skill that will contribute to your success as a medical professional.
  • Discuss the importance of empathy and compassion in the medical profession and share a personal experience demonstrating these qualities.
  • Reflect on a specific medical case or patient that inspired you and how it influenced your future goals.
  • Share a story about an interaction with a mentor or role model who has inspired your path in medicine.
  • Describe a time when you overcame adversity or faced a significant challenge in your journey to medical school.
  • Explain how your background, culture, or upbringing has influenced your perspective on healthcare.
  • Discuss a medical issue or topic you’re passionate about and why it’s important to you.
  • Describe your experience working or volunteering in a healthcare setting and the lessons you’ve learned.
  • Reflect on a time when you had to adapt or be resilient in a challenging situation.
  • Discuss how your interest in research or innovation will contribute to your career as a physician.
  • Share a personal experience that has shaped your understanding of the importance of teamwork in healthcare.
  • Describe a leadership role you’ve held and how it has prepared you for a career in medicine.
  • Discuss the impact of a specific medical discovery or advancement on your decision to pursue medicine.
  • Reflect on your experience with a particular patient population or community and how it has influenced your perspective on healthcare.
  • Share your thoughts on the role of social responsibility in the medical profession.
  • Explain how your experiences with interdisciplinary collaboration have prepared you for a career in medicine.
  • Describe a time when you advocated for a patient or their needs.
  • Share your experience with a global health issue or project and how it has impacted your perspective on healthcare.
  • Discuss your interest in a specific medical specialty and why it appeals to you.
  • Reflect on a time when you encountered an ethical dilemma and how you resolved it.
  • Describe an experience that demonstrates your commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth.
  • Share a story about a time when you had to think critically and problem-solve in a healthcare setting.
  • Discuss how your experiences with diverse populations have informed your approach to patient care.
  • Describe an experience that highlights your ability to communicate effectively with others in a medical setting.
  • Reflect on a time when you demonstrated your commitment to patient-centered care.
  • Share your thoughts on the importance of balance and self-care in the medical profession and how you plan to maintain these practices throughout your career.

Avoid These Common Personal Statement Mistakes

A review of MedSchoolCoach's personal statement and secondary essay services.

Avoid these 5 common mistakes students make when writing their personal statements: 

  • Clichés : “I just want to help people,” “from a young age,” “I’ve always wanted to,” and “for as long as I can remember,” are just some of the overused phrases in personal statements. Other clichés we’ve seen often include saying that you’ve wanted to be a doctor for your whole life, using overly dramatic patient anecdotes, or prideful-sounding stories about how you saved a life as a pre-med student. Eliminate clichés from your writing.
  • Typos/grammatical errors: We covered this already, but the grammar in your statement should be flawless . It’s hard to catch your own typos, so use grammar checking tools like Grammarly and ask your readers to look for typographical errors or grammar problems, too.
  • Name-dropping: At best, naming a prominent member of the medical community in your statement sounds braggadocious and will probably be brushed off. At worst, an adcom reader may think poorly of the person you mention and dismiss you based on the connection. If you do know a well-known and well-respected person in the medical field and worked closely with them, request a letter of recommendation instead.
  • Restating your MCAT score or GPA : Every character in your personal statement counts (literally). Don’t restate information already found on your application. If your application essay is being read, an algorithm has already identified your prerequisite scores as being worthy of reviewing the rest of your application.
  • Using extensive quotes from other people: This is your chance to show who you are. Quoting a philosopher or trusted advisor in these few precious characters takes away from the impact you can have. A single short quote might be okay if it’s highly relevant to the story you’re telling, but don’t go beyond that.

Should you use ChatGPT to help you write?

ChatGPT is a great AI tool to help you get your personal statement off the ground. However, since this is your personal statement, ChatGPT won’t be able to effectively write transitions or tie your personal statement together.

Only you can effectively convey what being a doctor means to you. Only you carry the experiences in your mind and heart that have compelled you to pursue this competitive profession. Don’t rely on artificial intelligence to fake those experiences — it will show, and not in a good way.

We’ve found that ChatGPT can help speed the processes of ideation, editing, and grammar-checking. If you’re not using it to emulate human experiences but just treating it as a helpful assistant, go for it! 

When should you start writing your personal statement?

Begin writing your personal statement early enough to have months of reflection and editing time before your application cycle begins. We recommend writing your personal statement as the first step when applying to medical school , starting in December or January before applications open.

As you progress, anticipate revising multiple versions of your draft. Spend time reflecting on your life experiences and aspirations.

Dr. Katzen, MedSchoolCoach Master Advisor and previous admissions committee member at GWU, recommends starting your personal statement in December/January if you plan to apply in May/June (you should!). 

This gives you plenty of time to have others review it or to get professional personal statement editing services. It also gives you time to write multiple drafts and be 100% satisfied with your final essay.

9 Personal Statement Examples That Led To Med School Acceptance

We’ve included some of our favorite medical school personal statement examples below. Each of these was written by a student who was accepted at one or more programs of their choice.

1. Embracing Diversity: Healing Through Cultural Connections

Student Accepted to Case Western SOM, Washington University SOM, University of Utah SOM, Northwestern University Feinberg SOM

With a flick and a flourish, the tongue depressor vanished, and from behind my ear suddenly appeared a coin. Growing up, my pediatrician often performed magic tricks, making going to the doctors’ feel like literal magic. I believed all healthcare facilities were equally mystifying, especially after experiencing a different type of magic in the organized chaos of the Emergency Department. Although it was no place for a six-year-old, childcare was often a challenge, and while my dad worked extra shifts in nursing school to provide for our family, I would find myself awed by the diligence and warmth of the healthcare providers.

Though I associated the hospital with feelings of comfort and care, it sometimes became a place of fear and uncertainty. One night, my two-year-old brother, Sean, began vomiting and coughing non-stop. My dad was deployed overseas, so my mother and I had no choice but to spend the night at the hospital, watching my brother slowly recover with the help of the healthcare providers. Little did I know, it would not be long before I was in the same place. Months later, I was hospitalized with pneumonia with pleural effusions, and as I struggled to breathe, I was terrified of having fluid sucked out of my chest. But each day physicians comforted me, asking how I was, taking time to reassure me that I was being taken care of, and explaining any questions related to my illness and treatment. Soon, I became excited to speak with the infectious disease doctor and residents, absorbing as much as I could to learn more about different illnesses.

In addition to conventional medical settings, I also came to view the magic of healing through other lenses. Growing up, Native American traditions were an important aspect of my life as my father had been actively involved with native spirituality, connecting back to his Algonquin heritage. We often attended Wi-wanyang-wa-c’i-pi ceremonies or Sun Dances, for healing through prayer and individuals making personal sacrifices for their community. Although I never sun danced myself, I spent hours in inipis, chewing on osha root, finding my own healing through songs. In addition to my father’s heritage, healing came from the curanderismo traditions of Peru, the home of my mother, who came from a long line of healers, which involved herbal remedies and ceremonies in the healing of the mind, body, energy and soul. I can still see my mother preparing mixtures of oils, herbs, and incense while performing healing rituals. The compassion and care she put into healing paralleled the Emergency Department healthcare providers.

Through the influence of these early life experiences, I decided to pursue a career in the health sciences. Shortly after starting college, I entered a difficult time in my life as I struggled with health and personal challenges. I suddenly felt weak and tired most days with aches all over my body. Soon, depression set in. I eventually visited a doctor, and through a series of tests, we discovered I had hypothyroidism. During this time, I also began dealing with an unprocessed childhood trauma. I decided to take time off school, and with thyroid replacement hormones and therapy, I slowly began to recover. But I still had ways to go, and due to financial challenges, I made the difficult decision to continue delaying my education and found work managing a donut shop. Unbeknownst to me, this experience would lead to significant personal growth by working with people from all walks of life and allowing me time for self-reflection. I found myself continuously reflecting on the experiences in the hospital that defined my childhood and the unmatched admiration I had for healthcare workers. With my renewed interest in medicine, I enrolled in classes to get my AEMT license to get more experience in the medical field.

As my health improved, I excelled in my classes, and after craving the connections of working with others, I became a medical assistant. In this position, I met “Marco,” a patient who came from Mexico for treatment. Though I spoke Spanish while growing up, I had little experience as a medical interpreter. However, I took the opportunity to speak with him to learn his story. Afterwards, he became more comfortable, and I helped walk him through the consultation process, interpreting the physician’s words and Marco’s questions. This moment showed me the power of connecting with others in their native language. As a result, I began volunteering at a homeless clinic to continue bridging the language barrier for patients and to help advocate for the Latinx community and those who struggle to find their voice.

My journey to become a doctor has been less direct than planned; however, my personal trials and tribulations have afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with incredible people who have been invaluable to my recovery and personal development. Most importantly, I have seen the value of compassionate and empathetic care. Though I have not recently witnessed any sleight of hand or vanishing acts, what healthcare providers do for patients can only be described as magic. I look forward to bringing my diverse background as a physician and expanding my abilities to help patients in their path to healing.

2. The Calling to Heal From the Battlefield

Student Accepted to Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Medical School, Yale SOM

I’ll never forget his screams of pain.

It was the first time I had heard a man cry for help, and it shook me to my core. It had been a long night of training in South Korea for me and my fellow Army Rangers. We were reaching the end, heavy with exhaustion, when my friend took the direct impact of an explosive to his leg. The shockwave momentarily rattled my sense of balance. Struggling to see in the dark, I switched on my headlamp. In that instant, all I could focus on was his face. His eyes darted back and forth, sweeping the surroundings for any semblance of help, but all I could do was stand there and watch as our medics treated him.

No amount of training prepared me to see a friend in pain. As I watched the helicopter fly him away, I couldn’t help but think— even though I’d gone through some of the best military training in the world, in that moment, I could do nothing for him. Fortunately, he is okay, but had there been no medic available, the situation could have ended with tragedy. That night, I realized that through a career in medicine, I could be more than just a bystander to suffering— I could be in the position to not only reduce unnecessary pain but to also help those affected by conflict and trauma be restored to the fullness of life.

Upon returning home from this deployment, I shifted my focus to developing my skills in trauma care. I completed various trainings on caring for casualties in a combat environment and preparing non-medic Rangers to provide self-aid or buddy-aid in the absence of a medical provider. In a final scenario-based training lane, I helped lead my team in the treatment and packaging of a trauma patient for evacuation, setting a record time in our company and earning a military medal. This achievement, however, was only the beginning. These trainings and my successes served as a foundation that I built upon to ensure I could provide life-saving care in combat situations.  I continued to hone this skillset over my next two combat deployments as a machine gunner to Afghanistan, where, I was prepared to use these critical abilities to decrease mortality on the battlefield. In medicine, like in the army, the actual practice of one’s craft may be life or death. Therefore, evolving both dependability and proficiency during training is imperative in preparation for that final test, both in war and in medicine.

After leaving the military, confronting injury and trauma continued to be a reality. A year after exiting the service, two Army Ranger leaders whom I knew were critically injured on a mission overseas. One was my former team leader, who was shot in the neck, and the other was caught in an explosion that later resulted in a triple amputation. The relentless efforts of doctors and nurses is the reason why both of these brave men are alive today. Recognizing that without the diligent care of these medical professionals, these men would not have survived, I became ever more dedicated to serving others.

While in college, this dedication pushed me to routinely visit the West Haven VA Hospital to provide a community of support for the older, disabled veterans there. I first began visiting this hospital for my own medical care but witnessing the suffering of the other veterans at the hospital spurred me to return repeatedly not as a patient, but as a friend to my fellow veterans.  As a veteran and student, seeing and hearing about the pain and loss of function experienced by many other veterans reminded me of the importance of advocacy in healthcare: to understand, to care for, and to fight for those who are unable to do so themselves.

I continued to see these effects of conflict while volunteering as a tutor to individuals from the Middle East who were affected by the very war I served in. Alaa lives in Syria and dreams of becoming a surgeon. Together, Alaa and I discussed chemistry, biology, and math. Despite his love of learning and dedication, the instability of his community, which was plagued by violence, often barred him from focusing on his studies and committing to a routine tutoring schedule. Although I’ll never intimately know the reality of growing up in a war-torn country, working with Alaa taught me to keep the bigger picture of healthcare in mind. It reminded me that a career as a physician would provide me with the capability to help those like Alaa who are affected by conflict.

When I reflect on medicine, I draw many parallels to my life in army special operations. The training is intense, the hours are long, and the structure is hierarchical. The mission, above all else, is to provide the best outcome for those around you. On my journey to a career in medicine, I plan to continue to add to what I’ve learned from my experiences so far: humility, empathy, dependability, communication, teamwork, and leading from the front. For over four years I lived by the Ranger Creed, and I plan to imbue the same ethos in serving as a physician— to keep myself mentally alert and morally straight, to shoulder more than my share of whatever task presents itself.  In crossing from the path of a warrior to that of a healer, I hope to continue a life of service to improve the human condition and reduce unnecessary suffering in the world one person at a time.

3. Community-based Health and Empathy: Serving Underserved Communities in Crisis

Student Accepted to Weill Cornell

My path to medicine was first influenced by early adolescent experiences trying to understand my place in society. Though I was not conscious of it at the time, I held a delicate balance between my identity as an Indian-American and an “American-American.”

In a single day, I could be shooting hoops and eating hotdogs at school while spending the evening playing Carrom and enjoying tandoori chicken at a family get-together. When our family moved from New York to California, I had the opportunity to attend a middle school with greater diversity, so I learned Spanish to salve the loss of moving away and assimilate into my new surroundings.

As I partook in related events and cuisine, I built an intermixed friend group and began to understand how culture influences our perception of those around us. While volunteering at senior centers in high school, I noticed a similar pattern to what I sometimes saw at school: seniors socializing in groups of shared ethnicity and culture. Moving from table to table, and therefore language to language, I also observed how each group shared different life experiences and perspectives on what constitutes health and wellness. Many seniors talked about barriers to receiving care or how their care differed from what they had envisioned. Listening to their stories on cultural experiences, healthcare disparities, and care expectations sparked my interest in becoming a physician and providing care for the whole community.

Intrigued by the science behind perception and health, I took electives during my undergraduate years to build a foundation in these domains. In particular, I was amazed by how computational approaches could help model the complexity of the human mind, so I pursued research at Cornell’s Laboratory of Rational Decision-Making. Our team used fMRI analysis to show how the framing of information affects its cognitive processing and perception. Thinking back to my discussions with seniors, I often wondered if more personalized health-related messaging could positively influence their opinions. Through shadowing, I had witnessed physicians engaging in honest and empathetic conversations to deliver medical information and manage patients’ expectations, but how did they navigate delicate conflicts where the patients’ perspectives diverged from their own?

My question was answered when I became a community representative for the Ethics Committee for On Lok PACE, an elderly care program. One memorable case was that of Mr. A.G, a blind 86-year-old man with radiation-induced frontal lobe injury who wanted to return home and cook despite his doctor’s expressed safety concerns. Estranged from family, Mr. A.G. relied on cooking to find fulfillment in his life. Recognizing the conflict between autonomy and beneficence, I joined the physicians in brainstorming and recommending ways he could cook while being supervised. I realized that the role of a physician was to mediate between the medical care plan and the patient’s wishes in order to make a decision that preserves their dignity. As we considered possibilities, the physicians’ genuine concern for the patient’s emotional well-being exemplified the compassion that I want to emulate as a future doctor. Our discussions emphasized the rigor of medicine—the challenge of ambiguity and the importance of working with an individual to serve their needs.

With COVID-19 ravaging our underserved communities, my desire to help others drove me towards community-based health as a contact tracer for my county’s Department of Public Health. My conversations uncovered dozens of heartbreaking stories that revealed how inequities in socioeconomic status and job security left poorer families facing significantly harsher quarantines than their wealthier counterparts. Moreover, many residents expressed fear or mistrust, such as a 7-person family who could not safely isolate in their 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment. I offered to arrange free hotel accommodations but was met with a guarded response from the father: “We’ll be fine. We can maintain the 6 feet.” While initially surprised, I recognized how my government affiliation could lead to a power dynamic that made the family feel uneasy. Thinking how to make myself more approachable, I employed motivational interviewing skills and even simple small talk to build rapport. When we returned to discussing the hotel, he trusted my intentions and accepted the offer. Our bond of mutual trust grew over two weeks of follow-ups, leaving me humbled yet gratified to see his family transition to a safer living situation. As a future physician, I realize I may encounter many first-time or wary patients; and I feel prepared to create a responsive environment that helps them feel comfortable about integrating into our health system.

Through my clinical and non-clinical experiences, I have witnessed the far-reaching impact of physicians, from building lasting connections with patients to being a rock of support during uncertain times. I cannot imagine a career without these dynamics—of improving the health and wellness of patients, families, and society and reducing healthcare disparities. While I know the path ahead is challenging, I am confident that I want to dedicate my life to this profession.

4. Creating a Judgment-Free Zone with The Power of Acceptance in Healthcare

Student Accepted to George Washington SOM and Health Sciences, Drexel University COM

Immigrating into a foreign country without speaking a word of the language is a terrifying task for anyone. My mentee at Computers4kids, Sahil, came to the United States at seventeen and had been struggling to integrate with society due to the language barrier. Although I was born in the United States, I can empathize with the struggle he encounters daily, since both my parents and many members of my family have dealt with the same issues. Often, these barriers exacerbate mundane issues the immigrant population faces as they have difficulty finding people who can understand and care for them. Since I am bilingual in Farsi, when Sahil approached me with his driving instructions manual written in Dari, I thought I could teach him the rules of the road with no issues. I asked him to read the first sentence, but he diverted his gaze and mumbled that he did not know how to read. As I realized he seemed embarrassed by his illiteracy, I placed my hand on his shoulder and assured him that he could learn. I increased my weekly hours at the site to spend an equal amount of time on the rules of the road and on phonetics and reading. Within a few months, he was more comfortable greeting others around the Computers4Kids site and participating in interactive projects. Upon reflection, I appreciate the importance of creating a judgment-free zone that encourages learning and reciprocal care. Once Sahil noticed that I saw him no differently after learning of his illiteracy, he was ready and willing to work on the basics of language and reading, instead of solely memorizing words.

I did not realize how pivotal a judgment-free zone in a medical environment is until I worked at the University of Virginia Emergency Department as a medical scribe. Although I had scribed at a smaller hospital before, I had always strived for a position at a high-volume healthcare center and level one trauma center. Close to the end of a long shift, I walked into the room of a patient with the chief complain of ‘Psychiatric Evaluation’.  A male patient with schizophrenia was hyperventilating and speaking through tears as he described seeing his deceased wife and daughter everywhere he looked. Between short breaths, he mentioned he was going to Florida to attack the person who “murdered his family”. The resident diffused the situation by acknowledging the patient’s feelings and suggesting that he stayed for psychiatric help instead of flying to Florida. Eventually, the patient agreed and was admitted. Seeing the resident create this judgment-free environment was eye opening, as the previously distressed patient was now accepting counseling. The powerful influence of acceptance can lead to valuable insights about patients’ lives, potentially increasing the range of care one can administer.

I decided to transition to primary care in the most recent fall season because I would be able to build a more personal relationship with families in my community. I began working at Union Mill Pediatrics and was finally able to serve the community I grew I up in. I was given the responsibility of acting as the primary contact for a few families with children who have autism. Dr. Maura and I perused the plan of care for one of these children, Ayaan, determined by the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), to ensure that set therapeutic goals were reasonable and generalizable. When I asked Salwa, Ayaan’s mother, about some of the goals set by her BCBA and the school, she mentioned they would repeat exercises he already knew how to complete. I informed Salwa of her right as a patient to bring up her concerns with Ayaan’s teachers. I was overjoyed when she updated me that she instructed Ayaan’s teacher to continue putting his hearing aid in despite Ayaan’s constant cries. Salwa explained that the tantrums would curb after two days, which proved to be true. Similarly to how I encourages Salwa to advocate for her son, I will advocate for my patients and help them develop confidence to speak about their needs. After finding her voice as the patient’s guardian, Salwa gained the confidence to ask about a support group as she faces difficulties raising Ayaan alone. After some research, I found a few active groups to send her. By proving to Salwa I had her best interests in heart, she opened up to me about her mental health issues, which enabled me to extend the appropriate resources her way.

I have witnessed the potential that physicians have at work to forever change a family’s quality of life by being open-minded and remaining judgment-free. As a physician, I will aim to provide for my community through attentive healthcare and community service. I will advocate for my patients with cultural, language or socioeconomic barriers to healthcare. Building a trusting relationship with my future patients can result in a more productive office visit and enhance my ability to administer holistic care. My goal is for patients to leave their visit with not only a reasonable plan of care, but also a greater appreciation of their health and their rights as patients.

5. The Intersection of Medicine and Creativity

Student Accepted to Hackensack Meridian SOM, Nova Southeastern CoOM/KPCOM

Growing up, I inherited a deep admiration for medicine. From my grandfather’s chilling stories as a forensic psychiatrist assessing mental fitness, to my father’s heroic accounts as a pediatric dentist operating on toddlers with severe tooth decay, I was enamored with the honor of healing. These exposures nurtured my natural curiosity and innate aptitude for the sciences. Yet my mother, who had studied dance and theatre, instilled in me a fervent love of the arts and creative practice. Following in her footsteps, I took up multiple musical instruments, attended a high school for the arts, and earned a degree in art history coupled with a dance minor. Still, my dream was to pursue medicine, and though it seems counterintuitive, my love of art has only facilitated my enduring love of science, reinforcing why pursuing a career as a holistic, health-centered physician is my deepest aspiration.

My affinity for the health sciences began in the dance studio, where I devoted many hours of my adolescence. Dance, insidious in its promotion of grotesque health practices, demanded that I limit my calories to 1,200 a day counting everything from ibuprofen to a stick of gum, and to dance through a severe hamstring tear. My conceptions of health were severely warped until college dance came to my rescue. These new progressive teachers uplifted dancers of all physical and cognitive abilities, distributed scientific journals on effective warm-up techniques, and abandoned conventional dance norms. I was disturbed by all the unlearning I had to do, but eager to reacquaint myself with my body and disseminate new knowledge. Thus, I was honored when dance again presented an opportunity in health, as I was hired to teach dance at my childhood summer camp. Here, I could separate my curriculum from unreasonable physical expectations and interpersonal competition. I found a fierce sense of joy and fulfillment from being an advocate for physical and emotional health, and I knew I wanted to continue helping others heal while also deconstructing my own negative health experiences.

These formative experiences in the arts profoundly supported my intellectual development, allowing me to thrive in science-based settings and ultimately prompting me to seek out colleges with robust research programs. At the University of Michigan, I had the privilege of participating in a campus research lab, undoubtedly resulting in my most valuable college experience. The world of scientific inquiry can be intimidating, but after a year of reading dozens of papers and learning novice lab protocols, I began my own independent investigation of zebrafish retinas. My goal was to uncover the mechanisms of retinal regeneration in fish, thus addressing vision loss. The excitement I felt in utilizing challenging lab techniques, working with animals, witnessing the culmination of my efforts through image analysis, and being a part of such life-altering research was unmatched. What once seemed like magic was now tangible; I was an artist helping craft the solutions to science’s unanswered questions. In the context of my multidisciplinary interests, my research reinforced the creative, humanitarian side of science, and that science was where I felt compelled to take action and build a career.

Art continued to deepen my passion for and understanding of medicine. The revolutionary approaches of my dance teachers modeled the importance of critique as it pertains to health. This was not a new concept to me; my high school art teachers had urged us to challenge institutional weaknesses. It was not until college, however, that I realized how this line of thinking intersects with medicine. Studying art history, I repeatedly encountered artists whose work tackled issues in health. Keith Haring confronted the AIDS crisis when society had turned on the gay population, and Marc Quinn confronted the disease of addiction in his self-portrait sculptures, made entirely of his own frozen blood. Art, I learned, is so often a response to disease, be it physical, mental, or sociological. These artists had been champions of health in light of its stigmas and politics; art thus fostered new intentions, instilling within me an ardent goal of social activism through medicine.

Art has contributed to my journey, and while it is not my ultimate goal, I hope to incorporate my artistically based insights into my work in science and medicine as a health and social justice advocate. I am driven to continue exploring these intersections, having compiled an entire portfolio on the connection between dance and science, researched disability in the arts, and pursued my personal interest in LGBTQ+ health advocacy by connecting with and shadowing a variety of gender care physicians. My intention to pursue medicine is personal, fulfilling, and pressing, and I take seriously the responsibility I will have as a physician to be a mogul for change in areas of healthcare that compromise the human experience. Further, my natural inclination towards science and involvement in academic research has instilled in me the confidence and skills necessary to be an effective medical practitioner. With this balanced mindset, I know I will contribute to a more ethical and well-rounded approach to healthcare.

6. Innovation in Medicine and a Quest for Discovery

Student Accepted to Johns Hopkins SOM, Washington University SOM, Hofstra Zucker SOM

As a notoriously picky nine-year-old with a penchant for grilled cheese, I was perplexed when I learned that my younger sister, Rachel, had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I felt a sting of betrayal knowing my comfort food was the culprit for Rachel’s terrible stomach aches. Yearning to understand how my favorite food was poisoning my favorite person, I developed an insatiable desire to discover the “why” behind Celiac. As Rachel’s doctor explained her disease, I was both fascinated that a simple protein could cause so much damage and inspired by the doctor’s compassion. He described every detail in a way Rachel would understand, addressed her every concern, and held her hand when she was scared. I wanted to be just like Rachel’s doctor so that I too could use science to decipher medical mysteries while also reassuring my patients that I would be their advocate and help them heal.

My interest in medicine drove me to learn more about what it meant to be a doctor. As a freshman in high school, I arranged a shadow day with Dr. M, a cardiologist. He taught me about echoes, showed me a pacemaker implantation, and in the midst of a cardioversion, even beckoned me over to press the button that discharged the defibrillator. I could not contain my excitement recounting how much I had learned during my first day in a clinical setting. From there, my curiosity skyrocketed and I embarked on a relentless pursuit to explore the spectrum of the medical field. I was moved by the supportive atmosphere of the NICU, struck by the precision involved in ophthalmology, absorbed by the puzzle-like reconstruction of Mohs surgery, and awed by the agility of cardiothoracic surgery. Between high school and college, I shadowed over a dozen physicians, cementing my interest and furthering my passion for a future medical career.

My college classes allowed me to immerse myself further in the study of the human body. Following my fascination with cancer, I secured an internship working on a melanoma immunotherapy clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health. I savored the stimulation, grasping new experimental techniques and developing assays; but my work took on even greater meaning when I learned that my grandfather had been enrolled in an early-stage immunotherapy trial himself while battling mucosal melanoma. Although immunotherapy did not heal my grandfather, I was immensely proud to be advancing the science years later. Through long nights and evolving experiments, I gave the trial its final push through an FDA approval checkpoint; ultimately, my contributions will help more grandparents go into remission. The most fulfilling moments came every Monday when I accompanied the leading physician scientists on their rounds. As I met patients, listened to their stories, and celebrated their improvements, the pulsating blister on my thumbpad from endless pipetting became akin to a medal of honor. Reflecting on these encounters, I wanted to continue driving scientific innovation, but I also wanted a more active and personal impact in the patient’s experience.

My desire to connect with patients brought me to Alliance Medical Ministry, a clinic serving uninsured, disadvantaged communities in North Carolina. I stepped up to lead efforts to organize a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic, communicating personally with every eligible patient and arranging vaccine appointments for over a thousand people across the hardest hit areas of Raleigh. The experience became even more rewarding when I trained to administer vaccines, becoming a stable, anchoring presence from the beginning to the end of the process. One memorable patient, “Amy,” had not seen a doctor in years because of the associated financial burden. When she came to the clinic suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, she was not even aware of her diabetes diagnosis. While I waited with her for transportation to the ER, she expressed her fears about contracting COVID at the hospital. However, she emphatically dismissed my suggestion about receiving a vaccine. I listened intently to all her concerns. Not only was she worried about the vaccine infecting her with the virus, but also her history of being denied healthcare due to her socioeconomic status had instilled fears that she would not be taken care of should she have an adverse reaction. I took her hand in mine and reassured her of the clinic’s mission to provide care regardless of ability to pay. I further explained everything I knew about how the vaccine worked, its safety and efficacy, and how my body reacted when I received my own injection. I could not help but beam behind my N95 when days later, Amy returned, sat in my chair and confidently rolled up her sleeve for me to give her the protective shot.

I have grown by exploring the multifaceted world of medicine through shadowing, pioneering research to advance patient care at the NIH, and cultivating trusting relationships with patients from the vaccine clinic. As a doctor, my desire to be an innovative thinker and problem solver will fuel my unrelenting quest for discovery throughout a lifetime of learning. Most importantly, I aspire to use my medical knowledge to improve lives and establish meaningful patient partnerships, just as Rachel’s doctor did with her.

7. Transforming Pain into Purpose: Inspiring Change in the Field of Medicine

Student Accepted to UCSF SOM, Harvard Medical School

Countless visits to specialists in hope of relief left me with a slew of inconclusive test results and uncertain diagnoses. “We cannot do anything else for you.” After twelve months of waging a war against my burning back, aching neck and tingling limbs, hearing these words at first felt like a death sentence, but I continued to advocate for myself with medical professionals. A year of combatting pain and dismissal led me to a group of compassionate and innovative physicians at the Stanford Pain Management Center (SPMC). Working alongside a diverse team including pain management specialists and my PCP, I began the long, non-linear process of uncovering the girl that had been buried in the devastating rubble of her body’s pain. From struggling with day-to-day activities like washing my hair and sitting in class to thriving as an avid weightlifter and zealous student over the span of a year, I realized I am passionate about preventing, managing and eliminating chronic illnesses through patient-centered incremental care and medical innovation.

A few days after my pain started, I was relieved to hear that I had most likely just strained some muscles, but after an empty bottle of muscle relaxers, the stings and aches had only intensified. I went on to see 15 specialists throughout California, including neurologists, physiatrists, and rheumatologists. Neurological exams. MRIs. Blood tests. All inconclusive. Time and time again, specialists dismissed my experience due to ambiguous test results and limited time. I spent months trying to convince doctors that I was losing my body; they thought I was losing my mind. Despite these letdowns, I did not stop fighting to regain control of my life. Armed with my medical records and a detailed journal of my symptoms, I continued scheduling appointments with the intention of finding a doctor who would dig deeper in the face of the unknown. Between visits, I researched my symptoms and searched for others with similar experiences. One story on Stanford Medicine’s blog, “Young Woman Overcomes Multiple Misdiagnoses and Gets Her Life Back”, particularly stood out to me and was the catalyst that led me to the SPMC. After bouncing from doctor to doctor, I had finally found a team of physicians who would take the profound toll of my pain on my physical and mental well-being seriously.

Throughout my year-long journey with my care team at the SPMC, I showed up for myself even when it felt like I would lose the war against my body. I confronted daily challenges with fortitude. When lifting my arms to tie my hair into a ponytail felt agonizing, YouTube tutorials trained me to become a braiding expert. Instead of lying in bed all day when my medication to relieve nerve pain left me struggling to stay awake, I explored innovative alternative therapies with my physicians; after I was fed up with the frustration of not knowing the source of my symptoms, I became a research subject in a clinical trial aimed at identifying and characterizing pain generators in patients suffering from “mysterious” chronic pain. At times, it felt like my efforts were only resulting in lost time. However, seeing how patient my care team was with me, offering long-term coordinated support and continually steering me towards a pain-free future, motivated me to grow stronger with every step of the process. Success was not  an immediate victory, but rather a long journey of incremental steps that produced steady, life-saving progress over time. My journey brought me relief as well as clarity with regard to  how I will care for my future patients. I will advocate for them even when complex conditions, inconclusive results and stereotypes discourage them from seeking continued care; work with them to continually adapt and improve an individualized plan tailored to their needs and goals, and engage in pioneering research and medical innovations that can directly benefit them.

Reflecting on the support system that enabled me to overcome the challenges of rehabilitation, I was inspired to help others navigate life with chronic pain in a more equitable and accessible way. Not everyone has the means to work indefinitely with a comprehensive care team, but most do have a smartphone. As a result, I partnered with a team of physicians and physical therapists at the University of California San Francisco to develop a free mobile application that guides individuals dealing with chronic pain through recovery. Based on my own journey, I was able to design the app with an understanding of the mental and physical toll that pain, fear, and loss of motivation take on patients struggling with chronic pain. Having features like an exercise bank with a real-time form checker and an AI-based chatbot to motivate users, address their concerns and connect them to specific health care resources, our application helped 65 of the 100 pilot users experience a significant reduction in pain and improvement in mental health in three months.

My journey has fostered my passion for patient-centered incremental medicine and medical innovation. From barely living to thriving, I have become a trailblazing warrior with the perseverance and resilience needed to pursue these passions and help both the patients I engage with and those around the world.

8. Overcoming Bias, Stigma, and Disparities in Medicine

Student Accepted to University of Florida COM

Growing up as a Black woman, my family’s experiences with racial bias in medicine were central to my perception of doctors. From my grandmother’s forced electric shock therapy in the Jim Crow South that resulted in severe brain damage, to my father’s ignored appendicitis that led to a near-death infection after rupturing, every trip to the doctor came with apprehension. Will these strange men with sharp tools heal me or hurt me? This question repeated in my head as I prepared to undergo my first surgery to remove suspiciously inflamed lymph nodes at age 11. I woke up groggy from anesthesia with a negative cancer diagnosis but a blistering third degree burn. The surgeon had successfully removed the malignant masses but had left the cauterizing iron resting on my neck in the process. Today when I look in the mirror and see the scar, I am reminded of the troubling reality that myths such as black people having thicker skin and less sensitive nerve endings are still pervasive in the medical field. By challenging the systemic disparities in medicine that disadvantage minority populations, I vow to my inner child that I will be a different kind of doctor, a doctor who values the patient as much as the procedure.

My experiences with a variety of communities, minority and majority, stem from growing up in a military household that came with frequent relocations. I was exposed to a wide range of communities from an early age—rural Oregon to tropical Hawaii, industrious Japan to politicized D.C, sunny San Diego and finally to radical Berkeley where I  began my pre-medical education. I chose to view medicine from an anthropological lens while at Cal and supplemented my coursework with community service.  As co-coordinator of UC Berkeley’s chapter of Peer Health Exchange, my 9th grade students were, at first,  mistrusting –even with my Angela Davis-esque afro, I was clearly not from Oakland and not quite old enough to be lecturing them. But it was the Good Samaritan Law lecture, during which students learned they would not face police penalty for calling 911 if a friend was in trouble, that I finally gained their trust. One student shared, “I always worried that I wouldn’t be able to call for help because I’m undocumented.”  Later as a health advocate at UCSF, I encountered the same sentiment from families in the pediatric clinic who worried that accessing healthcare for a sick child might put their immigration or legal status at risk. I learned that to get to the root of barriers to access, trust is invaluable. Navigating marginalized spaces with cultural competency is an asset that I pride myself in.

I carried this foundation into my research and clinical work on HIV, a disease that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities and is often left untreated by the stigmas surrounding medicine for these communities. As an HIV PreP Navigator at the Oasis clinic, I was on rotation when a thirteen-year-old girl was referred to the clinic after testing positive for HIV. We analyzed her T cell count and viral load, and discovered she fit the AIDs criteria.   In the following weeks, we worked on medication adherence, and as the girl’s CD4 count rose, so did her spirits and mine. Medicine is more than just a diagnosis and prescription—it is active compassionate treatment. It is holding steady when the entire ground seems to shake with the magnitude of an illness. It is being able to look a patient in the eye and truly see them despite the myriad of differences.

The disparities and differences in patient circumstances has been emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing this disproportionate effect of the virus on minority communities, I worked at a COVID-19 testing facility in one of the most underserved and impoverished communities in the Los Angeles’ area. Assuring patients of the safety of Covid testing measures was a big part of the job. “Have you done it?” They would ask. “What about Tuskegee?”  Being Black, I felt the burden of responsibility that came with these questions. How could I have such faith in medicine knowing the traumatic past? My response was simple, “I believe in the science. I can explain PCR testing to you if you like.” By eradicating some of the mystery surrounding these lab techniques, people felt more comfortable.  The opportunity to serve as a trusted community leader by directly interacting with patients and working on a team with doctors, EMTs, and nurses amid an international crisis reaffirmed my journey into medicine.

Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” As an aspiring physician, these words have served as a motivating mantra. To “get off the ground” for me means to become the first medical doctor in a lineage of sharecroppers and farmers. Medicine has been my “sun” for as long as I can remember; its promise to bring light has kept me jumping at every opportunity. Like my grandmother, my father, and so many others, I have experienced disparity in medicine. The scars that mar our bodies are my constant reminder that there is much work to be done. I see medicine as the ability to directly enact that change, one patient at a time.

9. Navigating Personal Struggles to Become a Compassionate Physician

Student Accepted to Touro CoOM, Nova Southeastern CoOM/KPCOM

I fight the heavy sleepiness that comes over me, but before I know it, I am out like a light. Forty-five minutes later, I wake up with a sore throat, watery eyes, and an intensely cold, painful feeling plaguing my entire right leg. Earlier, my parents and I arrived at the Beckman Laser Institute for another treatment of my port-wine stain birthmark. Despite my pleas to not undergo these procedures, my parents still took me twice a year. As I was rolled into the cold, sterile operating room on a gurney, I felt like I was experiencing everything from outside of myself. Despite my doctor’s and nurses’ best efforts to comfort me, I felt my heart racing. Feelings of apprehension and fear of the unknown flooded my senses at the sight of beeping machines and tubes that seemed to go everywhere. As the anesthesiologist began to administer the “sleepy juice,” I felt sad, realizing that my birthmark was a permanent resident on my leg and that I would have to receive this treatment for the rest of my life.

As an adult, I am grateful my parents continued to take me to the laser institute. Starting treatment so early aided in the lightening of my birthmark, which did wonders to improve my self-confidence. However, I suffered daily, feeling like I constantly had to hide something about myself. I kept my secret from everyone except my parents. Despite there being several medical doctors in my family, I knew that any sign of illness or disease would be held against me socially amongst other Egyptians. My secrecy was made even more difficult by the advice of my doctor to avoid certain physical activities, as they could worsen the underlying pathology of the veins in my legs. On his advice, I only wore long pants and would not run with other children during recess and gym class. This all added to the isolation I felt growing up, not knowing anyone with a similar condition to mine. Even as a child, no amount of explaining or encouragement could make me understand the benefit of those painful laser treatments.

What eventually changed my perspective was the team of compassionate doctors and nurses who have been caring for me since I began this journey. I was particularly touched when one of my doctors shared with me that she had also undergone a procedure that she would be performing on me. In that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. Not only was she a specialist in the field, but her empathy for what I would soon go through became a source of instant comfort and ease for me. I knew that what she said was heartfelt, and not simply an attempt to convince me to undergo a procedure. I realized then that one of the reasons I had felt so afraid was because I had been alone in what I was going through.

A few years later, I attended a conference held by the Vascular Birthmark Foundation, where a variety of specialists convened to discuss port-wine stain birthmarks and other related conditions. Once we arrived at the hotel where the conference would take place, I met a woman who had a facial port-wine stain birthmark. As we began sharing stories about our experiences with our condition, we connected over how difficult it had been to receive treatment. We both knew what it felt like to be told that the birthmark was simply a cosmetic issue, and that any form of treatment we received would have no corrective purpose, if it was even considered treatment in the first place. There was a certain sense of freedom that I felt in finally being able to talk about my illness with someone I could trust to understand. Thinking back to the doctor who connected with me over a procedure she had also experienced as a patient, I felt truly called in that moment to pursue my goal of becoming a vascular physician. My goal would be to become a source of comfort and familiarity for patients who struggle as I have, to give them the same relief that I experienced from finally being understood.

Despite the pains I went through, I now realize that the experiences I have had as a patient can help me better understand what it means to be a physician. By being an excellent listener and openly sharing my experiences with receiving treatment, I can foster an honest and safe physician-patient relationship. I believe this approach will not only comfort my patients, but also help them make informed decisions about their treatment. My commitment to this approach has also led me to choose a DO path for my medical career. Having researched the holistic treatment approach that a DO delivers, I realized that being treated by a DO would have done wonders for my self-confidence and overall health as a young patient. The aspects of my port wine stain that were always left untreated were the emotional and social side effects of my condition. As a DO in the dermatology or interventional radiology specialty, I hope to gain the tools to provide empathetic and comprehensive care to my patients that reassures them that they are not alone in their journey to better health.

Want to read a few more great samples? We also broke down the things that make these 3 personal statements excellent and compelling.

Other Resources For Personal Statement Writing

Do you want to learn even more about personal statements? Dive into these great resources!


Preparing Your Personal Statement For Medical Programs Hosted by MedSchoolCoach Director of Writing & College Advising, Jennifer Speegle.

Creating the First Draft of Your Medical School Personal Statement Hosted by MedSchoolCoach advising and writing advisors, Ziggy Yoediono MD and James Fleming.

Where to Begin When Writing Your Personal Statement Hosted by MedSchoolCoach Associate Director of Writing and College Advising, Jennifer Speegle, Associate Director of Advising, Ziggy Yoediono MD, and Writing Advisor, Carrie Coaplen Ph. D.

The Medical School Personal Statement – What Makes a Great Intro and Why It’s Important Hosted by Director of Advising, Dr. Renee Marinelli, MD, Master Advisor, Dr. Ziggy Yoediono, MD, and Founder of MedSchoolCoach, Dr. Sahil Mehta, MD.


Episode 2 – The Personal Statement

Episode 42 – Writing Your Personal Statement

Episode 76 – How to Tackle the Medical School Personal Statement

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Don't underestimate the power of the medical school personal statement to make a strong, positive impression on an admissions committee. Combined with your interview performance, your personal statement can account for 60% (or more) of your total admissions score!

Medical schools want to enroll bright, empathetic, communicative people. Here's how to write a compelling med school personal statement that shows schools who you are and what you're capable of.

Medical school personal statement

Personal Statement Topics

Your medical school personal statement is a component of your primary application submitted via, TMDSAS (for Texas applications), or AACOMAS (NB: If you are applying to medical school in Canada, confirm the application process with your school, as not all application components may be submitted through AMCAS).

These applications offer broad topics to consider, and many essay approaches are acceptable. For example, you could write about:

  • an experience that challenged or changed your perspective about medicine
  • a relationship with a mentor or another inspiring individual
  • a challenging personal experience
  • unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits
  • your motivation to seek a career in medicine

You'll write an additional essay (or two) when you submit secondary applications to individual schools. These essays require you to respond to a specific question. Admissions committees will review your entire application, so choose subject matter that complements your original essay .

Read More: Strategies for Secondary Applications

How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School

Follow these personal statement tips to help the admissions committee better understand you as a candidate.

1. Write, re-write, let it sit, and write again!

Allow yourself 6 months of writing and revision to get your essay in submission-ready shape. This gives you the time to take your first pass, set your draft aside (for a minimum of 24 hours), review what you’ve written, and re-work your draft.

2. Stay focused.

Your personal statement should highlight interesting aspects of your journey—not tell your entire life story. Choose a theme, stick to it, and support it with specific examples.

3. Back off the cliches.

Loving science and wanting to help people might be your sincere passions, but they are also what everyone else is writing about. Instead, be personal and specific.

4. Find your unique angle.

What can you say about yourself that no one else can? Remember, everyone has trials, successes and failures. What's important and unique is how you reacted to those incidents. Bring your own voice and perspective to your personal statement to give it a truly memorable flavor. 

5. Be interesting.

Start with a “catch” that will create intrigue before launching into the story of who you are. Make the admissions committee want to read on!

6. Show don't tell.

Instead of telling the admissions committee about your unique qualities (like compassion, empathy, and organization), show them through the stories you tell about yourself. Don’t just say it—actually prove it.

7. Embrace the 5-point essay format.

Here's a trusty format that you can make your own:

  • 1st paragraph: These four or five sentences should "catch" the reader's attention.
  • 3-4 body paragraphs: Use these paragraphs to reveal who you are. Ideally, one of these paragraphs will reflect clinical understanding and one will reflect service.
  • Concluding paragraph: The strongest conclusion reflects the beginning of your essay, gives a brief summary of you are, and ends with a challenge for the future.

8. Good writing is simple writing.

Good medical students—and good doctors—use clear, direct language. Your essays should not be a struggle to comprehend.

9. Be thoughtful about transitions.

Be sure to vary your sentence structure. You don’t want your essay to be boring! Pay attention to how your paragraphs connect to each other.

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10. Stick to the rules.

Watch your word count. That’s 5,300 characters (including spaces) for AMCAS applications, 5,000 characters for TMDSAS, and 4,500 characters for AACOMAS.

11. Stay on topic.

Rambling not only uses up your precious character limit, but it also causes confusion! Think about the three to five “sound bytes” you want admissions committee to know and remember you by.

12. Don't overdo it.

Beware of being too self-congratulatory or too self-deprecating.

13. Seek multiple opinions.

Before you hit “submit,” ask several people you trust for feedback on your personal statement. The more time you have spent writing your statement, the less likely you are to spot any errors. A professor or friend whose judgment and writing skills you trust is invaluable.

Read More: 12 Smart Tips for Your AMCAS Application

14. Double-check the details.

Always check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. This goes for the rest of your application (like your activities list), too. A common oversight is referencing the wrong school in your statement! Give yourself (and your proofreaders) the time this task truly requires.

15. Consult the experts about your personal statement strategy.

Our med school admissions counselors can diagnose the “health” of your overall application, including your personal statement. Get expert help and guidance to write an effective personal statement that showcases not only your accomplishments, but your passion and your journey.

Want to get an edge over the crowd?

Our admissions experts know what it takes it get into med school. Get the customized strategy and guidance you need to help achieve your goals.

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Med School Insiders

How to Approach Your Personal Statement: Dos and Don’ts

  • By Sammi Scarola
  • May 6, 2021
  • Medical Student , Pre-med
  • Medical School Application , Personal Statement

Like many premed students, you are diligently working hard on applications, getting transcripts, asking for letters of recommendation , and choosing how to approach your personal statement. Writing your personal statement is a daunting and, in some cases, painful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be motivating to recall the events and influences that have led you to this point in your life—applying to medical school.

Learn from the many, many premeds who have been down this road before. Our list of personal statement Dos and Don’ts will help you make the most of the experience and ensure you don’t make any of the usual mistakes.

Read our free Step-by-Step Guide: How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement for tips on getting started, what to include, and common mistakes to avoid.

The Purpose of a Personal Statement

Medical school admissions committees want to see what inspired you and prepared you to go to medical school. They want to know if you truly have a passion for medicine and are ready for the rigor of medical education.

Medical school is challenging, stressful, expensive, and only the beginning of a much longer journey. Medical schools want to ensure they are accepting students that are equipped for the journey and have a genuine desire to practice medicine. This saves both the school and the student time and money.

|| 6 Common Medical School Application Mistakes – Pre-Meds Be Warned ||

The Personal Statement is an Opportunity

Instead of looking at the personal statement as yet another hurdle to jump through when applying to medical school, view it as an opportunity. All of the other aspects of your application are pretty standard. They see your MCAT score , your college GPA and course performance, your volunteer hours, and your listed clinical experiences. What they don’t see is who you are underneath your accomplishments.

This is what the personal statement allows you to demonstrate. Admissions committees already have your CV and transcripts, so the personal statement should show a more multifaceted view of who you are.

This is your chance to convey your personality, character traits, and personal narrative. Your personal statement is what helps you to stand out among thousands of similar applicants. Be sure to share meaningful information and help the readers feel a personal connection with you. Tell your story.

Getting Started

Many students find getting started is the hardest part of writing a personal statement. Writing your personal statement requires ample time for reflection. To get started, brainstorm some of your best qualities and character traits and list them on paper. Ask yourself: “ What character traits do I want admissions committees to focus on? ”

Then, brainstorm some of the events and experiences in your past that best portray these qualities. For example, avoid telling the admissions committee that you are “ motivated, empathetic, and compassionate .” Instead, SHOW them that you’re motivated, empathetic, and compassionate by telling a story that exemplifies these characteristics. It is important that your personal statement is a narrative rather than a list of your accolades and qualifications.

For more on how to begin your process, read: How to Start the Medical School Personal Statement .

Writing your Personal Statement

Once you’ve identified the personal traits and experiences you want to convey to the admissions committee, writing your personal statement will come much more easily. Remember to share moments of your life that mattered. The experiences you choose to share must have played an active role in shaping who you are as a person and influenced your desire to pursue medicine.

When writing about your experiences, ensure they showcase your passion for medicine and be sure to include your own reflections and lessons learned. These experiences are not required to be medical in nature but should portray why your journey through medical school will be successful.

With so many career paths relating to science and the medical field, it is imperative that you portray why being a physician is the only path for you and why it’s a good fit for who you are as a person. Show them why you would be a good physician and what unique gifts you will bring to the field to help your patients. Remember to share information that makes you memorable and unique so that you stand out among many similar applicants.

Don’t forget that during your interviews , the admissions committee will certainly ask you about the experiences or traits expressed in your personal statement, so share information you want to be asked about and can elaborate on in person.

Learn more in The Anatomy of a Medical School Personal Statement .

How to Approach Your Personal Statement: Dos and Don’ts

  • DO organize your personal statement . It should have a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion that flow into each other.
  • DO start writing as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the perfect idea magically pops into your head. Do some brainstorming and get writing as soon as possible. Your first draft won’t be anywhere near perfect so the sooner you begin, the more time you will have to edit, refine, or start over again with a better idea.
  • DO have a theme. Ensure that the theme is present throughout the entire personal statement.
  • DO use transition sentences. Transition sentences highlight the logical relationship between paragraphs and sections of a text. They provide greater cohesion and make explicitly clear how ideas are related to one another. Think of a transition sentence as a bridge between one idea and the next.
  • DO follow the requirements: 5300 character limit for MD applications. Remember that if you are applying to DO schools your personal statement must address why you want to become an osteopath specifically, and if you are applying through TMDSAS, there’s a 5000 character limit. ( AMCAS vs. AACOMAS vs. TMDSAS Application Differences )
  • DO put significant effort into editing your essay. Read your essay over and over again for proper grammar and sneaky typos. Use editing apps such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor , but don’t rely on bots alone.
  • DO consult experts : You don’t have to go it alone. Seek out help and personal statement editing from professionals who have years of experience reviewing personal statements and serving on admissions committees. Ask mentors, or anyone else you know, with intimate experience in the medical school admissions process. If you don’t have anyone in your own network, Med School Insiders has top advisors who have admissions committee experience as well as extensive experience editing thousands of successful Personal Statements.
  • DON’T use clichés. It’s great that you like science, but I can assure you that all applicants like science. It is important that you want to help people, but so do all of the other applicants. Avoid stating the obvious. Instead, try to be unique.
  • DON’T make careless grammatical errors. This can be the difference between an interview offer and a rejection . Grammatical errors suggest that you are either careless or don’t really care about entering medical school. Attention to detail is important in medicine, so exhibit that skill while writing your personal statement.
  • DON’T lie or fabricate stories or information . Just don’t do it. You do not want to get caught in a lie in the middle of an interview, and it is simply unprofessional. Remember that your personal statement is your only chance to demonstrate who you are , so tell your story truthfully.
  • DON’T make excuses for poor grades or MCAT scores. This is definitely not the place for that. Focus on sharing your story and expressing the personal qualities you’re most proud of. If there was an event that played a large role in your journey, feel free to write about it, but do not simply make excuses for weak parts of your application.
  • DON’T speak negatively about a physician or healthcare professional. You may have had negative interactions with a physician and feel compelled to discuss how those negative encounters shaped your desire to become a physician, but leave this out of your statement. These experiences may have strongly impacted you, but admissions committees may be deterred by your cynicism towards the healthcare profession.
  • DON’T overuse the word I. Doing so makes you more likely to state your accomplishments instead of telling a story.
  • DON’T use flowery language or words you found in a thesaurus. Be respectful and thoughtful with your language, but focus on using words that come naturally to you.
  • DON’T list your accomplishments or rehash your CV and extracurriculars. They already have access to those aspects of your application. Use the personal statement as an opportunity to provide a deeper insight into who you are as a person and prospective physician.
  • DON’T beg for an interview or acceptance. This is unprofessional and not at all the purpose of your personal statement.
  • DON’T explain to a physician what medicine is all about. Talk about yourself and your experiences; the admissions committee already understands medicine.
  • DON’T procrastinate. Get started on your personal statement as soon as you can. Set time aside every day to reflect on the moments in your life that have shaped your desire to become a physician.
  • DON’T edit your personal statement by yourself. You should get outside opinions and have others edit your essay to ensure there’s nothing you missed. Having strong writers edit your essay is helpful, but it’s best to have physicians and those who have served on admissions committees as editors. They can edit beyond spelling or grammar to provide an insider’s perspective on what will impress medical schools. Med School Insiders offers a range of personal statement editing packages , from general editing to unlimited, in-depth editing with a physician.

Learn more about our Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages and follow our blog for the latest premed advice, study strategies, and more.

|| Guide to Understanding the Medical School Application Process ||

Sammi Scarola

Sammi Scarola

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How to Write a Perfect Medical School Personal Statement: A Complete Guide

Writing a personal statement for medical school can be a daunting task, but it’s an important part of your application that can set you apart from other candidates. A medical school personal statement requires you to reflect on your experiences and communicate your passion for medicine in a compelling way. But there is a word limit, and being concise can be challenging. However, with careful planning and preparation, it is possible to write a strong and effective personal statement. Here are some tips to help you.


7 Important Tips for Writing a Perfect Personal Statement for Medical School

A strong personal statement can significantly affect your medical school application. Here are seven tips that you need to remember when writing your personal statement. 

Start with an engaging opening:

 Your opening sentence should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. Consider starting with a personal story, a thought-provoking question, or a bold statement.

Showcase your motivation: 

Medical school admissions committees want to know why you want to become a doctor. Share your personal motivation for pursuing medicine, whether it’s a desire to help others, a personal experience that inspired you, or a specific aspect of the field that interests you.

Highlight your experiences:

 Use specific examples to illustrate your interest in medicine and your suitability for the profession. This could include volunteer work, research experience, clinical exposure , or any other activities related to medicine .

Discuss your strengths:

Highlight the strengths and qualities that make you a strong candidate for medical school. This could include your leadership skills, teamwork abilities, or resilience in the face of challenges.

Be authentic: 

Write in your own voice and be honest about your experiences and motivations. Avoid clichés and generic statements.

Keep it concise: 

Your personal statement should be no longer than two pages, so be sure to prioritize the most important information and avoid unnecessary details.

Edit and proofread:

 Take the time to revise and proofread your personal statement. Ask others for feedback and make sure your writing is clear, concise, and error-free.

Remember, your personal statement is your chance to showcase your unique qualities and experiences. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your passion for medicine and your suitability for the profession.

How long should a medical school personal statement be?

The length of a medical school personal statement can vary, but most medical schools have specific guidelines on the length. Typically, a personal statement should be no longer than 1-2 pages or about 500-800 words. However, some schools may have different requirements, so it’s important to check each school’s guidelines before writing your personal statement.

While it may be tempting to include as much information as possible, it’s important to remember that the admissions committee will be reading many personal statements , so it’s important to keep yours concise and to the point. Focus on the most important information, such as your motivation for pursuing medicine, your relevant experiences, and your unique qualities and strengths. Be sure to follow the guidelines provided by the schools you are applying to and proofread carefully to ensure that your personal statement is clear, concise, and error-free.

Medical School Personal Statement Format

There is no set format for a personal statement for medical school, but there are some general guidelines you should follow. Here is a basic outline that you can use:

  • Introduction: Begin with an attention-grabbing opening that introduces yourself and your interest in medicine.
  • Body Paragraphs: Write two or three paragraphs to elaborate on your qualities and experiences. This section gives you the opportunity to convince the admissions committee that you are the perfect fit for this profession.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and reiterate your motivation for pursuing medicine.

Remember, this is just a general outline, and you should customize your personal statement to fit your own experiences and strengths. Be sure to focus on your unique qualities and experiences and show the admissions committee why you are a great fit for their program. Also, keep in mind any specific requirements or prompts that the medical school may have provided.

Introduction Paragraph

The introduction of your personal statement is the first impression the admissions committee will have of you, so it’s important to make it great. Here are some tips for writing a strong personal statement introduction:

Start with a hook:

 Begin with a sentence or two that will grab the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading. This could be a personal story, a surprising fact, or a bold statement.

Introduce yourself: 

In the first few sentences, introduce yourself and briefly mention your background or experiences that have led you to pursue medicine.

Share your motivation:

 The admissions committee wants to know why you want to become a doctor, so be sure to share your personal motivation for pursuing medicine. This could be a personal experience, a desire to help others, or a specific aspect of the field that interests you.

Show your enthusiasm:

 Demonstrate your enthusiasm for medicine and your eagerness to learn and contribute to the field. Avoid sounding cliché or insincere.

Be concise: 

Keep your introduction brief and to the point. Remember, you only have a limited amount of space for your personal statement, so use it wisely.

Remember, your introduction sets the tone for the rest of your personal statement, so make sure it’s engaging, authentic and reflective of your passion for medicine.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your medical school personal statement are where you will showcase your experiences, qualities, and skills that make you a strong candidate for medical school. Here are some tips for writing great body paragraphs:

Use specific examples: 

Instead of making general statements, use specific examples to illustrate your experiences and qualities. This will make your personal statement more engaging and memorable.

Be authentic:

 Write in your own voice and be honest about your experiences and motivations. Avoid using clichés or sounding insincere.

Show, don’t tell:

 Rather than simply stating your qualities, show how you’ve demonstrated them in your experiences. This will make your personal statement more compelling.

Stay focused:

 Keep your personal statement focused on your experiences and qualities that are relevant to medicine. Avoid including irrelevant or unnecessary information.

Use transitions:

 Use transition words or phrases to smoothly connect your ideas and make your personal statement flow well.

Convey your growth:

 Use your experiences to show how you’ve grown and learned and how they’ve prepared you for medical school.

Be concise:

 Keep your body paragraphs concise and to the point. Avoid going off on tangents or including too much information.

Remember, your body paragraphs are where you will show the admissions committee why you are a strong candidate for medical school. Use specific examples to showcase your experiences, qualities, and skills, and make sure they are relevant to medicine.

Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion paragraph of your medical school personal statement is your last opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee. Here are some tips for writing a great conclusion paragraph:

Summarize your main points:

 Briefly summarize the key points you’ve made in your personal statement. This will remind the reader of your main message and help tie your personal statement together.

Reiterate your motivation:

 Remind the reader why you are passionate about medicine and why you want to become a doctor.

Connect to the future:

 Make a connection between your experiences and your future goals as a physician. Show the admissions committee that you have a clear understanding of what it means to be a doctor and how you plan to contribute to the field.

End with a strong statement:

 End your personal statement with a powerful statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a personal anecdote, a memorable quote, or a final reflection on your experiences.

Avoid Repetition:

Keep your conclusion paragraph concise and to the point. Avoid repeating information from earlier in your personal statement or introducing new information.

Remember, your conclusion paragraph is your last chance to make a strong impression on the admissions committee. Make sure it leaves a lasting impression by summarizing your main points, reiterating your motivation, and connecting to your future goals as a physician. End with a strong statement that shows your passion and commitment to the field of medicine.


6 Cliché Phrases that You Should Avoid in Your Medical School Personal Statement

When writing your medical school personal statement, it’s important to avoid using clichés. These are overused phrases or ideas that have lost their impact and can make your personal statement appear generic and unoriginal. Here are some medical school personal statement clichés to avoid:

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to be a doctor.” 

While it’s important to show your motivation for medicine, this cliché is overused and doesn’t provide any unique insight into your experiences or qualities.

“I want to help people.”

 While helping others is a noble goal, this statement is too broad and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve helped others in the past.

“I’ve always been interested in science.”

 While it’s important to show your interest in science and medicine, this statement is too general and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve pursued your interests.

“I’ve faced many challenges, but I’ve overcome them all.”

 While it’s important to show your resilience and ability to overcome obstacles, this cliché is overused and doesn’t provide any unique insight into your experiences or qualities.

“I’ve always been a hard worker.”

 While it’s important to show your work ethic, this statement is too general and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve worked hard in the past.

“I have a passion for helping underserved communities.”

 While it’s important to show your commitment to serving others, this cliché is overused and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve worked to serve underserved communities in the past.

To make your personal statement stand out, try to provide specific examples and insights into your experiences and qualities rather than relying on overused clichés. Show the admissions committee what makes you unique and why you would make a great candidate for medical school.

Should Applicants Address Bad Grades in their Medical School Personal Statement?

It is generally not recommended to mention bad grades in your medical school personal statement, as it may draw unnecessary attention to a negative aspect of your application. The personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your strengths, experiences, and qualifications that make you a strong candidate for medical school.

Instead of focusing on any negative aspects of your medical school application, you should focus on highlighting your positive attributes and accomplishments. You can use your personal statement to describe your experiences in healthcare or other related fields, explain why you are passionate about medicine, and demonstrate your dedication to the field.

If you have any extenuating circumstances that led to your lower grades, such as a personal or medical issue, you may want to address them in your application elsewhere, such as in an optional essay or during an interview. However, if your grades are simply the result of not performing well in certain courses, it is best to focus on your strengths and achievements in your personal statement.

Remember that the personal statement is just one component of your medical school application , and the admissions committee will consider your entire application when making their decision. If you have concerns about your grades or other aspects of your application, you can reach out to Jack Westin experts for guidance.

► To learn more about different aspects of a medical school application. You can watch This VIDEO .

In this post, we elaborated on different aspects of writing a medical school personal statement. Remember that there is no one “perfect” medical school personal statement, as each applicant’s personal statement will be unique to their experiences and qualifications. However, a strong medical school personal statement should provide insight into who you are as a person and as a potential doctor. It should demonstrate your passion for medicine, your unique qualities and experiences, and your potential to make a meaningful contribution to the field of healthcare.

If you need help with your personal statement or any other aspect of your medical school application, CONTACT US ! Jack Westin experts are by your side on your path to medical school . 

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Advisor Corner: Crafting Your Personal Statement

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Being able to articulate an answer to the question “why medicine?” is critical for an applicant as they apply to medical school. One of the first opportunities for an applicant to convey this message to admissions officers is through their personal comments essay in the AMCAS application. We asked three pre-health advisors how they advise their students to put their best self forward when crafting their personal statements.

Pre-Med Navigator.jpg

The personal statement is an unfamiliar genre for most students—you’ve practiced writing lab reports, analytical essays, maybe even creative fiction or poetry, but the personal statement is something between a reflective, analytical narrative, and an argumentative essay. You want to reveal something about yourself and your thoughts around your future in medicine while also making an argument that provides evidence supporting your readiness for your career. Well ahead of when you’re writing your personal statement, consider taking classes that require you to create and support arguments through writing, or those that ask you to reflect on your personal experiences to help you sharpen these skills.

As you draft your essay, you may want to include anecdotes from your experiences. It’s easiest to recall these anecdotes as they happen so it can be helpful to keep a journal where you can jot down stories, conversations, and insights that come to you. This could be recounting a meaningful conversation that you had with someone, venting after an especially challenging experience, or even writing about what keeps you going at times when you feel in danger of giving up. If it’s more comfortable, take audio notes by talking into your phone.

While reading sample personal statements can sometimes make a student feel limited to emulating pieces that already exist, I do think that reading others’ reflective writing can be inspirational. The Aspiring Docs Diaries blog written by premeds is one great place to look, as are publications like the Bellevue Literary Review and Pulse , which will deliver a story to your inbox every week. Check with your pre-health advisor to see if they have other examples that they recommend.

Rachel Tolen, Assistant Director and Premedical Advisor, Indiana University

I encourage students to think of the personal statement not just as a product. Instead, I encourage them to think of the process of writing the statement as embedded in the larger process of preparing themselves for the experience of medical school. Here are a few key tips that I share with students:

  • Start writing early, even months before you begin your application cycle. Expect to revise many versions of your draft over time.
  • Take some time to reflect on your life and goals. By the end of reading your statement, the reader should understand why you want to be a physician. 
  • When you consider what to write, think about the series of events in your life that have led up to the point where you are applying to medical school. How did you get here? What set you on the path toward medical school? What kept you coming back, even at times when it was challenging? On the day that you retire, what do you hope you’ll be able to say you’ve achieved through your work as a physician? 
  • Don’t waste too much time trying to think of a catchy opening or a theme designed just to set your essay apart. Applicants sometimes end up with an opening that comes across as phony and artificial because they are trying too hard to distinguish themselves from other applicants. 
  • Just start writing. Writing is a means for thinking and reflecting. Let the theme grow out of the process of writing itself. Some of the best personal statements focus on ordinary events that many other people may have experienced, but what makes the essay stand out are the writer’s unique insights and ability to reflect on these experiences.

Dana Lovold, MPH, Career Counselor at the University of Minnesota

Your personal statement can and should include more than what you’ve done to prepare for medical school. The personal statement is an opportunity to share something new about yourself that isn’t conveyed elsewhere in your application.

Advisors at the University of Minnesota employ a storytelling model to support students in finding and writing their unique personal statement. One critical aspect of storytelling is the concept of change. When a story lacks change, it becomes a recitation of facts and events, rather than a reflection of how you’ve learned and grown through your experiences. Many students express concern that their experiences are not unique and wonder how they can stand out. Focusing on change can help with this. Some questions you may want to consider when exploring ideas are:

  • What did you learn from the experience?
  • How did you change as a result of the experience?
  • What insight did you gain?

By sharing your thoughts on these aspects of your preparation and motivation for medicine, the reader has a deeper understanding of who you are and what you value. Then, connect that insight to how it relates to your future in the profession. This will convey your unique insight and demonstrate how you will use that insight as a physician.  

In exploring additional aspects of what to write about, we also encourage students to cover these four components in the essay:


  • Motivation refers to a student’s ongoing preparation for the health profession and can include the initial inspiration.
  • Fit is determined through self-assessment of relevant values and personal qualities as they relate to the profession.
  • Capacity is demonstrated through holistically aligning with the competencies expected in the profession.
  • Vision relates to the impact you wish to make in the field.

After you finish a working draft, go back through and see how you’ve covered each of these components. Ask people who are reading your draft if they can identify how you’ve covered these elements in your essay so that you know it’s clear to others.

Guide to Writing a Medical School Personal Statement

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Don't underestimate the importance of your personal statement in your medical school application . Your GPA and MCAT scores show that you are academically capable, but they do not tell the admissions committee what type of person you are. Who you are matters, and the personal statement is the place to tell your story.

Tips for a Winning Med School Personal Statement

  • Make sure your personal statement is "personal." It needs to capture your personality and interests. What makes you uniquely you?
  • Clearly and convincingly present your reasons for wanting to attend medical school.
  • Don't summarize your activities, accomplishments, or coursework. Other parts of your application will convey that information.
  • Use logical organization, flawless grammar, and an engaging style.

The medical school admissions process is holistic , and the admissions folks want to enroll students who are articulate, empathetic, and passionate about medicine. Your personal statement provides you an opportunity to make the case that you have what it takes to succeed in medical school and that you will contribute to the campus community in positive ways.

You will want to put significant thought and time into your personal statement since it will play a role in all of your medical school applications. Nearly all medical schools in the United States use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) to manage their applications, much like hundreds of undergraduate institutions use the Common Application. With AMCAS, the prompt for the personal statement is pleasingly (and perhaps frustratingly) broad:

Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school.

This simple prompt allows you to write about almost anything, but some topics will be much more effective than others.

Choosing Personal Statement Topics

A medical school personal statement is relatively short (less than 1/3 the length of this article), so you'll need to be selective when deciding what to include. As you identify your areas of focus, always keep the prompt in mind—your personal statement needs to explain why you want to go to medical school. If you find yourself straying from that goal, you'll want to refocus and get back on track.

Successful medical applicants typically include several of these topics in their personal statements:

  • A meaningful academic experience. Did you take a specific class that truly fascinated you or convinced you that you want to pursue a career in medicine? Did you have a professor who you found inspiring? Explain how the academic experience affected you and how it relates to your current desire to go to medical school.
  • A research or internship experience. If you had the opportunity to conduct research in a science laboratory or intern at a medical facility, this type of hands-on experience is an excellent choice for inclusion in your personal statement. What did you learn from the experience? How did your attitude towards medicine change when you worked side-by-side with medical professionals? Did you gain a mentor from the experience? If so, explain how that relationship affected you.
  • A shadowing opportunity. A significant percentage of medical school applicants shadow a doctor during their undergraduate years. What did you learn about the real-world practice of being a doctor? If you were able to shadow more than one type of physician, compare those experiences? Does one type of medical practice appeal to you more than another? Why?
  • Community service. Medicine is a service profession—a doctor's primary job duty is helping others. The strongest medical school applications show that the applicant has an active history of service. Have you volunteered at your local hospital or free clinic? Have you helped raise money or awareness for a health-related issue? Even service that has nothing to do with the health professions can be worth mentioning, for it speaks to your generous character. Show that you aren't in this profession for you, but for others including those who are often underserved and underrepresented.
  • Your personal journey. Some students have a personal history that is integral to their desire to become a doctor. Did you grow up in a medical family? Did serious health concerns of family or friends raise your awareness of the work doctor's do or motivate you to want to solve a medical problem? Do you have an interesting background that would be an asset to the medical profession such as fluency in more than one language or an unusual range of cultural experiences?
  • Your career goals. Presumably, if you are applying to medical school, you have a career goal in mind for after you earn your M.D. What do you hope to accomplish with your medical degree. What do you hope to contribute to the field of medicine?

Topics to Avoid in Your Personal Statement

While you have many choices about the type of content you can include in your personal statement, there are several topics that you would be wise to avoid.

  • Avoid discussion of salary. Even if one factor that draws you to medicine is the potential to earn a lot of money, this information does not belong in your personal statement. You don't want to come across as materialistic, and the most successful medical students love medicine, not money.
  • Avoid early childhood stories. A brief anecdote about childhood can be fine in a personal statement, but you don't want to write entire paragraphs about your visit to a hospital in second grade or how you played doctor with your dolls as a young child. The medical school wants to get to know the person you are now, not the person you were over a decade ago.
  • Avoid presenting television as an inspiration. Sure, your interest in medicine may have begun with Grey's Anatomy , House , The Good Doctor or one of the dozens of other medical dramas on television, but these shows are fiction, and all fail to capture the realities of the medical profession. A personal statement that focuses on a television show can be a red flag, and the admissions committee may worry that you have some sanitized, exaggerated, or romanticized notion of what it means to be a doctor.
  • Avoid talk of school rankings and prestige. Your choice of a medical school should be based on the education and experience you will get, not the school's U.S. News & World Report ranking. If you state that you are applying exclusively to the top-ranked medical schools or that you want to attend a prestigious school, you may come across as someone who is more concerned with surfaces than substance.

How to Structure Your Personal Statement

There is no single best way to structure your personal statement, and the admissions committee would get quite bored if every statement followed the exact same outline. That said, you do want to make sure each point you make in your statement flows logically from what precedes it. This sample structure will give you a good starting point for conceptualizing and crafting your own personal statement:

  • Paragraph 1: Explain how you became interested in medicine. What are the roots of your interest, and what about the field appeals to you and why?
  • Paragraph 2: Identify an academic experience that affirmed your interest in medicine. Don't simply summarize your transcript. Talk about a specific class or classroom experience that inspired you or helped you develop the skills that will help you succeed in medical school. Realize that a public speaking, writing, or student leadership class can be just as important as that cellular biology lab. Many types of skills are important for physicians.
  • Paragraph 3: Discuss a non-academic experience that has affirmed your interest in medicine. Did you intern in a biology, chemistry or medical laboratory? Did you shadow a doctor? Did you volunteer at a local hospital or clinic? Explain the importance of this activity to you.
  • Paragraph 4: Articulate what you will bring to the medical school. Your essay shouldn't be entirely about what you will get out of med school, but what you will contribute to the campus community. Do you have a background or experiences that will enrich the diversity of campus? Do you have leadership or collaborative skills that are a good match for the medical profession? Do you have a history of giving back through community service?
  • Paragraph 5: Here you can look to the future. What are your career goals, and how will medical school help you achieve those goals.

Again, this is just a suggested outline. A personal statement may have four paragraphs, or it may have more than five. Some students have unique situations or experiences that aren't included in this outline, and you may find that a different method of organization works best for telling your story.

Finally, as you outline your personal statement, don't worry about being exhaustive and covering everything you have done. You'll have plenty of space elsewhere to list and describe all of your extracurricular and research experiences, and your transcript will give a good indication of your academic preparation. You don't have a lot of space, so identify a couple important experiences from your undergraduate years and a couple character traits you want to emphasize, and then weave that material into a focused narrative.

Tips for Personal Statement Success

Well-structured, carefully-selected content is certainly essential to a successful medical school personal statement, but you need to consider a few more factors as well.

  • Watch for commonplace and cliché statements. If you claim that your primary motivation for becoming a doctor is that you "love helping others," you need to be more specific. Nurses, auto mechanics, teachers, and waiters also help others. Ideally your statement does reveal your giving personality, but make sure you stay focused on the specific type of service doctors provide.
  • Pay careful attention to length guidelines. The AMCAS application allows 5,300 characters including spaces. This is roughly 1.5 pages or 500 words. Going under this length is fine, and a tight 400-word personal statement is far preferable to a 500-word statement filled with digressions, wordiness, and redundancy. If you aren't using the AMCAS form, your personal statement should never go over the stated length limit.
  • Attend to grammar and punctuation. Your personal statement should be error-free. "Good enough" isn't good enough. If you struggle with grammar or don't know where commas belong , get help from your college's writing center or career center. If necessary, hire a professional editor.
  • Use an engaging style. Good grammar and punctuation are necessary, but they won't bring your personal statement to life. You'll want to avoid common style problems such as wordiness, vague language, and passive voice. A strong statement pulls the reader in with its engaging narrative and impressive clarity.
  • Be yourself. Keep the purpose of the personal statement in mind as you write: you are helping the admissions officers get to know you. Don't be afraid to let your personality come through in your statement, and make sure your language is natural to you. If you try too hard to impress your reader with a sophisticated vocabulary or jargon-filled description of your research experiences, your efforts are likely to backfire.
  • Revise, revise, revise. The most successful medical applicants often spend weeks if not months writing and rewriting their personal statements. Be sure to get feedback from multiple knowledgeable people. Be meticulous, and revisit your statement many times. Almost no one writes a good statement in a single sitting.
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Writing the Personal Statement for Health Professions Applications

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The personal statement gives you the opportunity to present a compelling snapshot of who you are and perhaps why you want to be a doctor. Use your personal statement to say what others can’t. The personal statement can be a tricky genre to master. On the one hand, you want to give the admissions committee a sense of your personality and who you are. On the other hand, you must sound focused and professional, which sounds like it might impede your ability to capture your personality.

But this does not have to be the case. What you need to do is figure out how to say what drives you to want to become a healthcare professional in as specific a way as possible. The more specific you can be, the more the admissions committee will feel as if they have a sense of who you are.

You don’t need gimmicks, jokes, artificial drama, or hyperbole to express who you are or why you would make a good medical student or doctor. All you need are carefully selected details that you can craft into a unique and compelling story that conveys a sense of purpose and motivation.

What Makes a Good Personal Statement?

  • There is no exact template for an effective personal statement. Often, however, strong personal statements combine a concise description of a personal experience with reflection on how this experience either led the writer to pursue medicine or indicates the writer’s character or commitment.
  • Good personal statements often have a strong sense of narrative. This does not mean that they read like short stories, though they can relate a few scenes or anecdotes from your life. They have a strong sense of narrative, rather, in how they convey the writer’s sense of dedication to medicine. Strong personal statements often give readers an idea of how applicants see their experiences as leading to the decision to pursue medicine.

How to Get Started

The personal statement is an exercise in self-reflection. Questions to consider:

  • Who are you?  I am driven to… I have learned to… I believe…
  • What are your most passionate interests or concerns?  What problem(s) most occupy your thinking and your efforts?
  • How did you develop those interests?  (Not just the story, but what drives you.)
  • What errors or regrets have taught you something important about yourself?
  • When does time disappear for you?  What does this tell you about your passions, your values?
  • What ideas, books, courses, events have had a profound impact on you?  How so?
  • To what extent do your current commitments reflect your most strongly held values?
  • When have you changed?  Consider yourself before and after; what does this change mean?
  • How do your interests and who you are relate to your goals in medical school and as a doctor?

Start a “shoebox”; a place to keep random notes for your personal statement; be ready to write at any time. Review these items occasionally; let them tell you more about what you want your personal statement to say. Start writing drafts, experiments; you will know when a paragraph begins to gel.

A Suggested Writing Process

Everyone writes differently, so these are potential strategies rather than rules.

  • Make a list of some of your most defining experiences – extracurricular activities, specific classes, volunteer work, research, hobbies, etc. Try not to include overly personal experiences (breakups, trouble with parents, illnesses in the family, and so on). It’s difficult to write about such things without being sentimental or cliché. You want experiences in which you did something and had to make a choice.
  • From this list, try to select an experience that particularly demonstrates your intellectual curiosity, your dedication to service, your composure under pressure, your leadership ability, or any other personal trait that you think is particularly relevant to your case that you would make a good doctor or medical student.
  • Start writing a draft based on this experience. You want to be specific, but don’t get bogged down with an abundance of anecdotes or minutiae. Try to use your draft to craft a succinct story that demonstrates your character and your motivations.
  • Set the draft aside for some time (a number of days or weeks), and then revisit it with fresh eyes. Be as honest with yourself as you can be: What works in this draft? What doesn’t work? What sounds cliché or unspecific? Would a reader who doesn’t know me at all get a sense of my personal character and dedication?
  • Revise, revise, revise: tighten the structure, add new things to make your point clearer, take away sentences or sections that now seem unnecessary, use the active voice as much as possible, and anything else that needs to be done. If what you have just doesn’t seem to be coming together, do not be afraid to start over.
  • Solicit feedback from a couple of trusted readers and revise again based on the suggestions that you find most useful. Don’t solicit feedback from too many people though – too many responses can be overwhelming.
  • Edit your work for grammatical mistakes, typos, clumsy repetitions, and so on. Make your prose impeccable before you submit your statement. Asking help from other readers can be especially helpful with editing, as sometimes it gets difficult to read your work with fresh eyes.

Things to Do

  • Use the experience that you describe to tell a story of personal progress, particularly progress towards your commitment to medicine.
  • Write with active verbs as much as possible.
  • Strive for concision.
  • Sound humble but also confident.

Things Not to Do – Common Pitfalls

  • Don’t talk in hyperbolic terms about how passionate you are. Everyone applying to medical school can say they are passionate. Instead, show your readers something you have done that indicates your passion.
  • Don’t adopt an overly confessional or sentimental tone. You need to sound professional.
  • Don’t treat the personal statement like a piece of creative writing.
  • Don’t put your resume in narrative form.
  • Don’t use jargon, abbreviations, slang, etc.
  • Don’t use too many qualifiers: very, quite, rather, really, interesting…
  • Don’t write in overly flowery language that you would normally never use.
  • Don’t include famous quotations. If you must quote, use something that shows significant knowledge.
  • Don’t write about yourself in an overly glorifying or overly self-effacing manner.

What to Remember

  • They are read by non-specialists, so write for an intelligent non-medical audience.
  • Actions sometimes speaks louder than words so give examples of experiences rather than describing them.
  • All information must be accurate – don’t pad, but don’t be falsely modest either.
  • The personal statement, in part, serves as a test of your communication skills.  How well you write it is as important as the content.

Writing Resources

  • AAMC: 7 Tips for Writing your AMCAS Personal Statement
  • Graduate Admission Essays: What Works, What Doesn’t and Why , Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press
  • On Writing Well , William Zinsser
  • Elements of Style , Strunk and White, Macmillan
  • Article :  2 Med School Essays that Admissions Officers Loved

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Medicine Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide

Home » Application Guide » Medicine Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide

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Writing a Personal Statement can be intimidating; having to pitch the most important reasons why you would make a great addition to a medical school (within a mere 4000 characters) can feel like a Herculean task that can wait until tomorrow.

This guide will help you put pen-to-(metaphorical) paper, and break down what exactly makes a successful Personal Statement for Medicine, including how to structure each section of the statement, things to do, and things to avoid.

Why is a Personal Statement used?

A Personal Statement is a way for Universities to find out a bit more about you as there is only so much that a set of grades (that is going to be remarkably similar to many other applicants) on a UCAS form can say. It is a chance to showcase what makes you a strong applicant and convince them that you deserve an interview. Additionally, many Universities will also use it as a springboard for certain interview questions, so it can be a prompt to help you in this part of the process too.

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What should your Personal Statement include?

Medicine Personal Statements can be slightly different to other subjects as there are some key areas you need to include due to the vocational nature of the degree;

#1 Motivation

Motivation should be conveyed convincingly as the degree and profession can be gruelling.

Medical schools invest a lot in each participant, so naturally would like to ensure the majority want to see the degree through (see more later in the Introduction guide).

Passion is expressing why you would be enthusiastic to undertake this path and what areas truly interest you.

This can overlap with, and form part of, motivation. It can, inevitably, get a little cringey or cliché so there are tips discussed later about how to avoid this.

Make sure you can verbally expand on whatever areas of interest you mention at interview especially if you claim that you read around the topics.

#3 Suitability

Suitability comes under what skills and qualities you have that would make you a good doctor. These can include:

  • Good teamwork skills,
  • Effective communication,
  • Being trustworthy and acting with integrity,
  • Being organised,
  • Being emotionally resilient,
  • Punctuality and being dependable,
  • Being hardworking,
  • Being caring and empathetic,
  • Being confident but not arrogant etc.

The GMC has a good document explaining some of the traits they require from doctors. Medical schools also often specify which traits they want to see on admissions websites ( like this one from UCL ).

Make sure you show proof of these traits as opposed to just listing, which is less believable – known as “show don’t tell”.

#4 Evidence Of Interest

Evidence of interest (work experience, volunteering etc) – this is crucial to include as it shows you have proactively engaged with your interests.

A key trap many people fall into is listing and going for breadth over depth. It’s understandable as you may want to include everything you’ve done, but what you learn and how you reflect from each experience is far more important than whatever the experience happened to be (see later in the Main body guide).

How do medical schools use Personal Statements?

Medical schools have different marking criteria or ways of using the Personal Statement in the application process.

Medical School Personal Statement Marking Criteria

Some, such as Nottingham, use it alongside UCAT scores to settle tiebreaks between interview scores, whereas others, such as UCL, use it more holistically. To optimise your chances of getting offers, you should do thorough research and hit all the criteria that medical schools ask for.

A good way to approach this is to make a list of the key things each medical school you have applied for requires in the Personal Statement (this is often the motivation, passion, suitability and evidence of volunteering/work experience) and you will often find a lot of this overlaps. This will give you a good base with which to populate the main body of your Personal Statement with.

It can be hard to strike a balance as some medical schools prefer a Personal Statement to show that you are an all-rounded individual and like to hear about the extracurricular activities.

UCL Personal Statement

UCL, for example, like to see “other interests, for example music, travel, sports, or any activities that are considered to broaden the general education of the candidate”. If this is not clear in other parts of the UCAS application, it would definitely be wise to add in a paragraph in the Personal Statement to tick this box.

Cambridge Personal Statement

However, others such as Cambridge, do not place much weight on “specific extra-curricular activities that are not relevant to the course applied for” and like to see additional activities pursued that relate to Medicine or Science.

A way around this for Cambridge applicants could be the SAQ (supplementary application questionnaire), which has a box where you can include additional information that may be more academic and allows you to be slightly more balanced in the PS that goes off to other Universities.

Whichever way you attempt to strike a balance, make sure you do not completely alienate one of your choices in terms of their criteria.

Up-to-date information can often be found on websites for each University and below are some details about how certain Universities use Personal Statements. Remember that this can change year upon year (for example, Nottingham no longer use it as a weighted component) so it is important to get up-to-date information from the specific University websites.

Do not be afraid to drop the admissions team a quick email to signpost you to the correct information if you are ever uncertain!

How to structure a Personal Statement

1. introduction.

There is a reason why many agonise over the perfect way to start their Personal Statement. This is because it is undoubtedly impactful and creates the first impression that sets the tone for how an admission tutor reads the rest of your statement.

If you are finding the introduction hard to write, a good way to begin is by asking yourself why you decided to study Medicine (motivation) and write down the first thing you answer.

The key reason for doing this is once something is written down you can edit it, or change it altogether, but it is something solid to work with. You could even wait until after you have written the main body and then revisit this first attempt at an introduction and reshape it.

Personal Statement Opening Line

There has been research completed about how common certain opening lines were in Personal Statements. Here are the top five (to avoid!):

Things most people like to focus on in the introduction is a few lines about the “personal” nature of their choice to pursue Medicine as this is a good way to segue into writing. This could be some experience that shaped you, or simply what it is about Medicine that makes you want to spend the next 5-6 years studying it. You want to find the balance between conveying passion without being overly dramatic or cliché.

Make sure you are sensible – there is no expectation for your first word to have been “doctor” or to have been driven to study this since age 3. Instead, try to be honest and realistic, and make the reason something you would be comfortable saying out loud face-to-face if it came to it.

2. Main Body

The key things you want to ensure you cover in the main body are:

  • Experiences (placements, volunteering etc)
  • Some extra area of learning or reading you have done in a field that interests you (could follow on from an experience)
  • Traits you demonstrate that will make you a good doctor (could be linked to what you developed during experiences)
  • Brief mention of hobbies/outside interests that make you well-rounded (which could be linked to how you would cope with pressure and relax with a stressful job)

Some people like to approach the main body by dividing into paragraphs of certain traits/interests + examples and then work experience + reflections. Others like to integrate traits into paragraphs about their experiences. The key point to realise is that you have to prioritise what you want to mention as there is no way to crowbar everything in.

Another crucial thing people forget that they need to do is to reflect. For each major experience you mention (eg. a work experience placement) you MUST reflect on things like what it has taught you or how you have gone off to research further about the area etc.

It is a key skill in the profession itself and without reflecting, the main body becomes a list of things you have done which quickly becomes boring to read. By not reflecting, you do not demonstrate your capacity to improve and it does not add some of your personality and thoughts to experiences that others may have had.

For example, one candidate who simply states they did a flashy placement in a well-known hospital and lists all the things they did will have a far less effective and meaningful point than another who may not have managed to obtain clinical work experience, but reflects profoundly on lessons they learned and skills they acquired whilst making cups of tea for elderly people at a care home. By reflecting on major points, you will manage to strike the correct balance of breadth and depth in the main body.

3. Conclusion

Like the introduction, this can often be one of the hardest sections to write. At this point you have likely toiled away over the main body, and the job of the conclusion is to wrap up the statement and leave a positive impression on whoever is reading it. People like to approach this in different ways. Here is a list of some of the things you could use your conclusion to discuss:

  • Reiterate the points you have made. Tie back to key points you made previously and re-emphasise them in the conclusion to give them another chance to hit home.
  • Make it “personal”. Use the space to leave a final impression about why you personally would make a good addition to the university by maybe mentioning what you hope to give back to the community.
  • Talk about moving forward. Write broadly about long or mid-term goals or maybe something relevant that you hope to achieve in the short-term. This could be future career ambitions (although make sure you do not seem close-minded about the path you want to take), areas you are looking forward to studying in more detail, or parts of the course that you are excited to get involved in.
  • Mention an awareness of the challenges of the field. A typical way people show they are realistic whilst reiterating their key skills is a point about how they do know it is a demanding course/profession because of A, B and C but their traits of X, Y and Z would help them rise to the challenge.

This being said, there are plenty of things to avoid doing in a conclusion:

  • Don’t trail off – after using this guide to write a fantastic Personal Statement, don’t ruin it by waffling and not having a decisive end. This will not leave the desired bold impact, and will make your piece seem weak and unstructured.
  • Don’t make it very lengthy – the bulk of your information should be in your main body so use characters wisely in this set of closing remarks and be concise.
  • Avoid being vague and introducing lots of new information – if you have a new big point, the main body is the place to make it as quickly wrenching it into the conclusion can just confuse the reader (and also likely means there is no reflection on this point)

Check out these Personal Statement Inspiration and Examples Articles:


Dentistry Personal Statement Examples – KCL (Emmy)


Dentistry Personal Statement Examples – KCL (Saif)


Dentistry Personal Statement Examples – Cardiff (Eera)

Are you feeling stuck with your Personal Statement?

Writing Top Tips

Apart from the points made above, here are 5 key tips to use when writing your Personal Statement:

Put pen to paper as early as you can.

The process of editing and checking takes most people longer than the writing of a first draft so organise ahead and leave plenty of time. If you are getting other people to check your statement, remember that they may be busy and take a while to reply. Factor this in and do not cut it too close to the deadline.

Start and end with impact.

Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions tutor who is going to be reading Personal Statement after Personal Statement. They are only human and, even if this is your labour of love, it is natural that they may switch off slightly. To create a lasting impression, make sure you hook them in with a good introduction, and end with a strong resolute conclusion.

Flawless spelling and grammar.

Making a mistake with spelling or grammar is a cardinal sin with such a prepared piece of writing.

As far as spelling goes, make sure you use spellcheck and have a very thorough check for words like “or” that may be typed as “of” etc.

Try reading it aloud a few times to see if commas are in the right place and sentence structure makes sense. Often teachers offer to have a read of your Personal Statement so reach out to them for a fresh set of eyes.

For the content side of things, it may be wise to find someone who has experience with the application process to have a read over but pretty much anyone can help you out by checking for spelling and grammar so don’t be afraid to ask for help and feedback. 

Don’t use a thesaurus too much.

If you’re a fan of Friends think along the lines of Joey with a thesaurus . If you can say something simply in fewer words then that can often be better than using overcomplicated vocabulary that can be misused and make the piece challenging to read.

It’s mentioned in detail in the Main body guide, but make sure your statement is a reflective essay and not a list. This is the best way to ensure you make the Personal Statement about you and shows you can learn and improve.

Want even more writing tips? Check out 5 more ways to improve your writing! Signing up to the Personal Statement Crash Course will provide you with heaps of tips and tricks to write the best Personal Statement you can. 

Mistakes/Things To Avoid

Now that we’ve been through 5 tips for your Personal Statement, let’s go the other way and cover things you SHOULDN’T say:

“Saving lives.”

This point is very medic-specific but often people give their motivation for picking the profession as wanting to save lives.

This can seem harmless and certainly doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does not demonstrate you have a true awareness for the field you are entering as the job will not always mean you can, or will be able to, save lives.

Whilst sounding a little less heroic, a better alternative is talking about how you want to improve their quality of life (and learning that this was the job of a doctor could even work in to a reflective point about something you learned from work experience/exposure to the field!)

The “P-word”…

Although it is a point you want to convey, the word “passion” is very overused. Check how many times you repeat words like this and try to cut out unoriginal phrases like “I am fascinated by” or “I am passionate about”.

It might be tempting to fib and over-exaggerate, but remember that asking about anything you put in your Personal Statement is fair game in an interview.

They aren’t expecting you to be superhuman and have an amazing background, but if you get caught out in a lie during the stress of an interview you basically throw your integrity out the window, which is a key trait for future doctors.

Name-dropping universities.

Remember that all choices see this Personal Statement so do not alienate and show disinterest in other choices by name dropping one.

Similarly, for your 5th non-medical option, check with the admissions team if they mind having a Personal Statement geared towards medicine. It is often the case that many biomedical courses do not mind this, and means you can focus on the medical aspect without alienating them, and give your best shot at the 4 medicine options.

Be VERY aware of plagiarism.

A quick Google search can unleash hundreds of exemplar Personal Statements.

This is a good way to understand the sort of thing you could write about but that should be it. Medical schools are very concerned with ethics and it would be very hard for them to excuse a violation of this before you have even set your foot through the door by means of plagiarising.

A good way to avoid this is by resisting the temptation to write your Personal Statement with another one in the same window on your computer. Additionally, be wary about posting excerpts of your statement in public forums as other people could lift these phrases.

That’s not everything that can go wrong though! Learn more about the mistakes you need to avoid when writing your Personal Statement!

Final Words

Understanding the things to write is as important as learning what not to write when it comes to a Personal Statement. Hopefully reading this has helped break down what you need to do to write a successful personal statement section-by-section and has inspired you to start early.

All that’s left to say is good luck with writing your Personal Statement and the application process as a whole!

There’s plenty more ways to perfect your Personal Statement!

Learn how you can write an amazing personal statement for free on our Personal Statement Resources page. Our top guides include:  

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personal statement medicine guide

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 12/9/2022

Writing a med school personal statement can be nerve-wracking. Read on to learn how to select a topic, highlight your strongest qualities, outline your passion for medicine, and submit a stellar personal statement. 

You have spent hours preparing your medical school application. MCAT scores ? Passed with flying colors. Undergraduate record? You nailed it.

You thought you could compete with other school applicants and make it past the first round of the application process, that your application would stand above the rest, but after multiple rejections, you find yourself unsure of where you went wrong.

You had done everything right and submitted all of your medical school admission requirements on time, but you never made it to the next round of the application process. What is stopping you from getting accepted into medical school? 

The answer: your personal statement.

No matter how strong your application is, if your personal statement does not stand out, you will not make it past the first round of school application reviews. There is a lot of pressure to make your personal statement reflect why you feel you would be the best candidate. While it may not seem like much, high-quality personal statements carry a great deal of influence in applications.

Medical schools receive thousands of applicants but only have limited spots available, so you need your personal statement to stand out from those of the thousands of other candidates. 

Luckily, we're here to provide you with tips and tricks on how to write your med school personal statement to make yours the one to beat.

Get The Ultimate Guide on Writing an Unforgettable Personal Statement

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Selecting a Personal Statement Topic

Taking the time to figure out what to write in your personal statement for medical school is important. Your statement is an opportunity to shape how admissions committees view you as an applicant. Unfortunately, this step is a stumbling block for many medical school applicants. 

In reality, there is no perfect topic; your choice might not work for another applicant. 

The most important part of selecting a personal statement topic is choosing one that enables you to link it with your passion for medicine. Remember, it’s vital that your chosen subject tells medical school admissions committees more about you and why you want to be a doctor . 

You should aim to write about your qualities that aren’t represented by your GPA or MCAT score. This can include your determination, optimism, or leadership qualities. Revealing your personal qualities, strengths, and weaknesses are brilliant ways to connect with your reader on an emotional level. 

If you’re struggling to decide what to write in your personal statement for medical school, start by thinking about what qualities you want to share with the admissions committee. Then, work backward and figure out which of your experiences evidence them. 

Step 1: Highlight Your Qualities

The hardest part of writing a personal statement is figuring out where to start, mainly because you are already thinking of everything you want to say. Start your personal statement by telling the admissions committee a little about yourself by highlighting a few qualities.

This could be anything regarding your characteristics, traits, and behaviors. A helpful tip is to gear your qualities toward medical school. How do your qualities translate into the medical field? Will they benefit you? If so, explain.

For example, your audience will want to know if you can handle the pressure and take the lead in day-to-day activities associated with the medical field. Talk about an event that highlights your leadership experience. If you aren’t sure which qualities you should list in your personal statement, think about it from a patient perspective.

What qualities would you want to see in your doctor? For example, would you like a compassionate, empathic doctor or a stern, no-nonsense doctor? Write down these traits and see which ones fit you best. Some notable qualities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Analytical abilities
  • Persistence

With that being said, do not discuss more than three qualities in your personal statement. You will have to spend time explaining each characteristic, when or where you have demonstrated it, and how it relates to your desire to pursue a career in medicine.

Remember, your experiences that highlight the qualities you chose do not need to come from a clinical (i.e., shadowing a physician , working with dialysis patients) or research experience (discovering a breakthrough in perceptions of neurobiology). They can come from extracurricular activities that eventually led you down this career path. 

On a side note, make sure you list up to 15 activities in the AMCAS Work and Activities section of your med school application. 

Medical school applicants often write about volunteer work they have done over the years and how those events brought out the qualities they are highlighting, and how it led to their desire to go to medical school. You will want to include as much detail as possible, so discussing too many traits can hinder your personal statement's overall quality.

You may also be limited in how much you can write. Keeping yourself limited to two to three qualities allows you to go more into depth with each one. For each personal experience you use to highlight each quality, you will want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why? Explain why you decided to go through the experience you mentioned. Readers should know what drew you to it in the first place.
  • How did you feel? Describe how you felt during this experience. Try to emphasize those feelings and make them relatable to your audience. 
  • How has it affected you? Explain how the experience has changed you and your perception of the medical field.
  • Has it influenced you? If so, then how? Write about how this event influenced your decision to pursue a career in medicine. You can also include how this brought out new qualities or changed previous ones.

While this may seem like a lot of information to provide initially, your personal statement is your chance to shine. You will want to prove that you aren’t just statistics on a paper but a human being. The more you can convey who you are as a person, the better it will be in the long run.

Step 2: Centralize. Don’t Generalize.

With all the information you will be giving in your personal statement, a part of you may think that generalizing a few remarks here and there won’t be a big deal. Wrong! You will be highlighting your qualities through experiences, so you will not want to add any irrelevant information.

However, Dr. Demicha Rankin, Associate Dean for Admissions at Ohio State University College of Medicine , says you do not want your personal statement to be a “regurgitation” of your resume. Instead, it should offer a compelling self-portrait . Your essay should be as clear and concise as possible while capturing the depth of the event stated.

If you have many experiences that could prove the qualities named to the medical school, pick one experience that stands out above the rest, and focus on that. You will not want to regurgitate what the admissions committee already sees in your school application.

Instead, it would be best to concentrate on how your mentioned qualities are related to the experience you are discussing. Do not generalize your story. Centralize your focus on what is essential. You will want to describe in detail your background and how it contributed to your career in medicine. Get to the nitty-gritty of your point. 

Step 3: Effective Storytelling in Your Personal Statement for Medical School

Even though you are trying to be as concise as possible in your personal statement, you will want to write about your experiences as though you are telling a story. It should have a beginning, middle, and end; the end should reveal how your background led you to a career in medicine.

Be descriptive. Use imagery. Make the readers feel like they were there with you. 

Let’s say you are going to talk about the time you and your friend were caught in a crossfire on the way to the movies. Here’s an example from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine between informative and engaging writing styles:

Informative : “My best friend and I were on our way to the movies when we were caught in a crossfire.”

Engaging : “On April 10th, 2003, at approximately 11 pm, my best friend Kevin and I, intending to see a movie, headed out my front door. We never made it to see a horror movie, but our night was nothing close to mundane when we became innocent victims to gang crossfire.”

As you can see, the informative sentence provides a basic description of the event. The engaging statement captures your attention and makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. The admissions committee reads thousands of personal statements, so you need to keep your reader engaged from beginning to end.

Keep the following storytelling tricks in mind when writing your personal statement:

  • Keep the story in the first person . Talk about the experience from your perspective. Include your thoughts, interactions, and reactions to the events. For example, say you provided comfort for a dying patient who you have been working with alongside a doctor. It was going to be the first patient you lost. What was running through your mind at that moment? How did you feel?
  • Avoid cliches . Because the admissions committee reads thousands of personal statements, your writing should be original. Please do not play it safe by using cliches. Many people think that using cliches is witty and a breath of fresh air in a personal statement; however, it detaches your reader from your writing and makes it a bit dry. Your best bet is to avoid cliches in your personal statement.
  • Make it relatable . While you want to convey a serious tone, you want readers to relate to your story. Describe the emotions you felt, even if it was an experience that made you uncomfortable or traumatized you somehow. If readers can relate to your story, they will remember it more. ‍
  • Be genuine . Do not lie in your personal statement. As stated earlier, you will want to be as true to yourself as possible. Readers are getting a sense of who you are through this essay, and the last thing you want to do is write something in it that isn’t necessarily true.

Step 4: Explain Why You Want to Pursue Medicine

When talking about yourself and trying to keep your audience engaged, you sometimes forget the main point of a personal statement. While the admissions committee wants to know about you as a person, they are more interested in knowing why you want to pursue a career in medicine.

The prompt provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) — “Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school." — is purposely vague so that you can write on any topic of your choice.

This is something you will reiterate throughout your essay, but you will want to have a paragraph that ties into your conclusion, answering why you want to pursue medicine. This is where it all comes together.

You will want to highlight the qualities mentioned earlier, what you have learned from your experiences, and how everything you have done has contributed to your overall decision to go to medical school.

Step 5: Prepare Your Personal Statement for Medical School

Now that you know what to include in your personal statement, it is time to buckle down and write. One of the common problems admissions committees find is that the writer didn’t review their personal statement before submitting it.

‍ Rachel Tolen , Assistant Director and Premedical Advisor at Indiana University , suggests applicants should start writing their personal statement early and “expect to revise many versions of your draft over time.”

Remember, your first draft will not be perfect, so you want to give yourself plenty of time to revise and edit your medical school personal statement before submission — mainly because you can only submit once.

five steps on how to write a personal statement for medical school

Tips for Writing a Medical School Personal Statement

Writing a personal statement can be intimidating at first. But with these tips, you’ll breeze right through it.

Research Writing Styles for Your Personal Statement

You can look for a sample medical school personal statement to get a better idea of the writing style for which your target audience is looking. The best place to find sample essays would be from medical schools because those samples are direct examples from the audience you are trying to reach.

For example, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine offers a packet of sample personal statements on their website. Medical school websites are the best place to start your research. 

You can also access 27 sample personal statements for med school here:

Outline Your Personal Statement for Medical School

Many applicants find it challenging to know how to start a personal statement for medical school, even after they have spent time researching. Make sure you create an outline before writing a personal statement for medical school. 

Plan out how you would like to tell your story. By outlining, you are not only organizing your essay, but you are making sure you include everything your audience requires.

You won’t sit around looking for ideas or wondering what your main point was for your third paragraph; instead, you will be ready to write your statement from start to finish without hesitation. Here is one way to organize your personal statement:

  • Pick two to three qualities . Make a bullet for each quality you will be talking about in your essay.
  • Pick your experience . Under each quality listed, figure out which experience(s) convey(s) that quality. Note a few key moments that are memorable to you. Imagery will be your best friend here.
  • Reflection on career path . Tie your qualities and experiences back into how this made you want to pursue the field of medicine further. Here is where all the elements of your essay come together to prove that you are passionate about medicine, that you wish to further your career, and how you would use your education once admitted to medical school.

It seems like a simple outline, but you will find yourself writing more than you think. Outlining will help you figure out how you want your audience to perceive you.

You want your story to have a beginning, middle, and end that flow and are engaging. By preparing before actually writing your personal statement, you leave little room for error and irrelevant information.

Medical school admissions officers will likely read hundreds of personal statements. So, you have to make yours unique to stand out from the crowd. 

Lucky for you, no one else has had the same life as you. US News encourages you to “Give your essay a personal touch by sharing something outside of your passion for medicine to make sure your essay stands out.” 

Draw upon your unique background; write about your strengths, failures, and what you have learned from them. 

Show, Don’t Just Tell 

It is essential to show how you have acquired your strengths, rather than just telling an admissions committee about them. 

For example, you can write that your involvement in several sports teams has made you become a good team player. On the other hand, if you just write that you’re a good team player, you are not explaining how you acquired that skill. 

Remember to stay on topic; rambling will waste your few precious characters and confuse the reader! Narrowing your focus and reflecting on specific experiences is a brilliant way to write about your unique qualities. 

Be Aware of Word Count/Character Limit

Depending on the medical school to which you are applying, you will want to know the word count or character limit allowed for your medical school personal statement. You have no room to go over the set limit. For example, the space for your medical school personal statement in the AMCAS application only allows 5,300 characters .

MD-PhD programs will ask for another medical school personal statement with no more than 3,000 characters, along with a 10,000-character essay discussing significant research experience. If the medical schools you choose require additional essays, make sure you know how much you can write.

Give Yourself Time to Review Your Personal Statement

You will want to have a few days after completing your first draft to review it. Do not try to look over your medical school personal statement the day you finish it. 

Give yourself at least 24 hours before going back to check it; this way, you will walk in with a fresh mind and catch more mistakes. Another option would be to have an objective third party read your personal statement.

Get Someone to Look at Your Statement 

A new pair of eyes will often find errors you missed. You can ask a family member, friend, or whoever is willing to take a look at your work. 

Excellent proofreaders will assess your work in two stages . First, they should interrogate the content by highlighting areas that need more work. Then, they should check your grammar , punctuation, spelling, and style. 

While proofreaders will undoubtedly find errors that you missed, it is essential that your writing maintains your voice. After all, your chosen medical schools what to hear about you in your own words. 

If you’re still struggling with your statement, consult with a medical school admissions expert who can help you write a stellar personal statement. 

Med School Personal Statement FAQ

Hopefully, you now know how to write your personal statement for medical school. But just in case you’re still confused, we’ve put together some questions and answers to help you write the best statement possible. 

1. What should I avoid when writing a personal statement for medical school? 

Knowing what to include in a personal statement for medical school is difficult. But it’s important to avoid several red flags when you write your statement, as they can undermine your entire application. This is a crucial part of understanding how to write a great medical school personal statement. 

As we mentioned above, it’s important to write in the first person. After all, you are describing your experiences. However, using passive language can damage the impact of your writing. Instead, use the active voice. This will give your writing a more direct and clear tone. 

Cramming your statement with overly elaborate language is also a faux pas. It’s fine to use advanced terms that relate to medical topics or your particular discipline. But using simple and clear language throughout your statement makes your writing easier to read. 

2. How do I write an engaging med school personal statement? 

Writing your personal statement for medical school is difficult, especially if you want to make it engaging. But making it personal is a great way to engage your reader.

Bianca Trindade , the Assistant Director of Admissions at Ross University School of Medicine , recommends that you “Imagine a blockbuster movie with your favorite actor or actress. You’re the star of your unique story. Include experiences that have touched you on a personal level and helped you discover your calling as a physician.”

It’s important to reflect on your experiences, not just list them. Explain what you learned, how it shaped you, and why they deepened your passion for studying medicine. If you write a statement that is reflective, heartfelt, and sincere, Trindade notes that it allows “the committee to get a glimpse into who you are.”

All of these tips will come in handy when you have to write your medical school secondary essays like the medical school diversity essay . 

3. How do I write my med school personal statement conclusion? 

If you don’t know how to write a med school personal statement conclusion, don’t worry. You don’t have to write much. Keep it short and sweet. 

This isn’t the place to detail another aspect of your work experience. Instead, use it to recap what you have said in the body of your statement and highlight any key points again. Try to highlight your passion and commitment to studying medicine and end your statement on a positive note. 

4. What Topics Should I Avoid in My Statement?

Take a look at our video below to find out!

Wrapping Up: Writing the Perfect Medical School Personal Statement

Writing a medical school personal statement is stressful. You want to include as much information about you as possible while keeping in line with the restrictions. Your personal statement could make or break your medical school application.

It has to stand out above the other thousands of personal statements as well. That puts a lot of pressure on you.

Now is not the time to panic or rethink your career path. With the steps above, your statement will be the one to beat. Remember, keep it simple while capturing the depth and breadth of your experiences.

Never forget the main point of your essay: to convey your passion for medicine and why you wish to pursue it. Keep your audience engaged by showing them you are more than just a number.

With this step-by-step guide, your statement will have you bumped up to the top of the applicant pool in no time.

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personal statement medicine guide

A guide to writing a medical school personal statement

We’ve put together tips to help you write your personal statement for medical school.

If you are like most prospective medical students, you would have spent a significant part of your life preparing for submitting that important application to medical school. From scoring top grades in high school to passing the MCAT with flying colors – after coming so far in your journey, you do not want to leave the results of your application to chance.  

Getting into a good medical school is highly competitive , and you need to do everything you can to ensure that you stand out from your peers. This is where a personal statement comes in. It is one of the most essential requirements of medical school and is your perfect chance to make a firm, positive and unique impression on the admissions team. Don’t worry if writing is not your strongest skill. This guide will take you through what to include in a personal statement, how long it should be and why it is so important.  

What is a medical school personal statement, and why do you need one?

A medical school personal statement is a type of essay that outlines and details exactly why you want to pursue medicine further for studies as well as a career. As the name suggests, this essay  must be completely personal. No two candidates should or would have the same personal statement. A medical school personal statement can be used to tell the school about:  

  • A key moment in your life that inspired you to pursue medicine  
  • A personal challenge that you overcame    
  • What motivates you in the field of medicine  
  • Qualities that make you the right candidate for medical school  
  • Someone who influenced or inspired you to apply to medical school  

These are just some suggestions to help you think of a central theme for your medical school personal statement, and there are plenty more creative and inspiring ideas to explore.  As a prospective applicant, you should use this opportunity to tell your personal story, grab the attention of the admissions officer and assert firmly and confidently the kind of medical practitioner you hope to be.   

What a personal statement should look like

Before getting started on your medical school personal statement, make a list of things you want to talk about, research exactly what that school is looking for, consider who will be reading it and how you are go ing to structure it. Here are two questions to ask yourself.  

How long should a personal statement be?

Always check with the medical school of your choice first. Most medical schools ask for a personal statement that sits between 4,000 and 5,300 characters which amount s to approximately 500 words. Never exceed a character or word limit if it is specified and clarify with the admissions team if you have any concerns.  

The word limit might seem like a lot to some, but once you have a focus in place, it should flow easily. Stay true to your topic of choice. Make sure you use short sentences that capture the attention of your reader and that are not confusing. You want to get your message across quickly, concisely, and in an interesting manner.  

How should I structure my personal statement?

Look online for medical school personal statement examples and templates to get an idea but remember to keep your essay unique. The statement will  be analyzed and checked for plagiarism and authenticity, so it is important to structure it in your own way with your own ideas.   

Here are some important things to remember when structuring your personal statement for medical school:  

  • Set aside at least six to eight weeks before the application deadline for your personal statement . You don’t want to rush into it and submit something that you are not fully confident and proud of. You can even jot down as many thoughts as you like for half the time and then spend four weeks editing, revising, and fine-tuning your essay.  
  • Work on a strong introduction and an equally, if not more, robust conclusion . The introduction is what will grab the reader’s attention from the get-go. You need a strong ‘hold’ on what your selling point is to compel them to read further. End with  your goal of what you’re going to pursue with a medical degree. You should sound trustworthy, self-sufficient, and passionate.  
  • Once you have an introduction and ending to your essay, fill in the details of what you want to convey in the body of your statement. It does not have to follow a chronological path or even reflect your resume. It should tell a story and keep the reader engaged in what you have to say.  

The best way to do that is to follow this list of important things to include in your medical school personal statement.  

What to include in a personal statement?

  • Your achievements . Showcase examples of your accomplishments, how you have achieved them, and what you are going to accomplish in the future with your medical school degree. Don’t go overboard with the self-praise – do aim to sound humble, professional, and passionate.  
  • Make sure your personality shines through . The admissions team will be getting thousands of applications each day and will be looking for a unique spark or story before allowing you to proceed to the next step.  
  • Your passion for medicine and healthcare must be clear . However, avoid using cliches and offensive language. Emanate empathy, responsibility, integrity, and ambition. These are all useful traits for anyone working in the medical field to have.  
  • Research the medical school thoroughly to make sure that you know what they’re looking for and what i t can provide to you. Why do you want to apply to that school, and why should they choose you? It should be the right fit for both.  

Next steps in your medical school personal statement journey

Once you have your personal statement ready, we recommend that you have a fresh set of eyes read through it. Ask a trusted friend or family member for feedback, and set aside enough time to make changes, and double-check all the details you have provided.  

This is just the first step in your long and exciting journey as a medical professional. At MUA, we have terms in January, May and September every year and receive applications from ambitious prospective students from all over the world. Take a look at how you can apply , and read through the questions we have suggested for filling out your personal statement. We require a maximum of 500 words in your statement, and this guide will help our Admissions Committee evaluate your application. We also have a guide for all applicants to help you prepare for a medical school interview. If you need any more information about admission requirements , visit our website.  

If you have any more questions or concerns, reach out to our team by phone or by filling out the contact form, and we will get back to you shortly. Your journey as a medical professional starts now!  

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How to write a personal statement for medicine

Show you have the attributes to make a fine doctor – and go easy on the personal tragedy, tutors say Read more: applying for medicine? Get ready for the new-style interview

"S hock tactics don't work in personal statements," Dr Kevin Murphy, admissions tutor for medicine at Imperial College London, says. "Sometimes candidates describe a scene from their work experience where someone gets their leg sawn off in the jungle – or something similar. But that's not the most effective way to start."

Some medical schools take personal statements more seriously than others – while Cardiff, Leeds and Keele formally assess non-academic aspects of a student's application, other universities, including Oxford and Imperial, use them more informally to get an impression of a candidate's suitability.

They all agree, though, that a personal statement gives students a chance to relay what they've learned from work experience and demonstrate that they have the non-academic skills required for medicine.

"Becoming a doctor is hard work," says Helen Diffenthal, assistant principal of Farnborough sixth-form college in Hampshire. "So use a personal statement to demonstrate your commitment, and that you won't give up when the going gets tough."

One way to show tutors that you are committed is through your work experience. Use it to prove that you have a realistic view of the profession.

Admissions tutors warn against naming places where you have worked, without any reflection on your time there. "Too often we get applications that look like a shopping list," says Paul Teulon, director of admissions at Kings College London. "We'd like to hear about a patient a student has come into contact with, or an experience they've had. It's just as valuable to have spent time with a hospital porter, as it is to have followed around the lead clinician."

Think also about the things you've done outside of school and how they demonstrate your skills. Teulon says: "A student might be involved with scouting or guiding, in a church group, or have done the Duke of Edinburgh ."

Don't be afraid to include more unusual activities, as these can stand out. "If you were in a rock band, you could explain that you formed, led and developed it," Mike Jennings, senior lecturer at Sheffield Medical School, says. "Students might think a medical school won't be interested in that, but it shows staying power, teamwork and leadership."

Medical schools give varying advice on how to structure a personal statement, and about what skills they want applicants to demonstrate. This can make it difficult for students who want to impress a range of schools with one application.

"It can be a minefield for an applicant to work out whether they meet the criteria for different medical schools," admits Dr Austen Spruce, who is in charge of admissions for medicine at Birmingham University. "I advise students to write their personal statement to the highest threshold set by any of the universities, and then it will meet the criteria for all of them."

If you're applying to more than one school, check to see if they ask for different skills. "There's a certain amount of game-playing involved," Mike Jennings explains. "Applicants can phrase something in a certain way to meet more than one school's requirements."

When you've figured out what to include, it can be difficult to know how to begin your personal statement. Some teachers advise pupils to start with the second paragraph, get the statement written, and then pull out an interesting sentence or quote to use as an introduction.

"We tell them to write the first paragraph last," explains Diffenthal. "The first paragraph is often the weakest, so start with the second – a sentence about your experience might stand out and you can reorganise it afterwards."

What introductions should students avoid? "The weakest personal statements begin with 'I want to do medicine because my grandfather had a disease'," says Kim Piper, from the school of medicine at Queen Mary University. "I'd be nervous about someone who wanted to go into medicine for personal reasons, because they could be a nurse rather than a doctor."

While a well-written and coherent application is a must, students should be careful not to use overly complicated language. "Don't write your personal statement and then use a thesaurus to make it sound more grandiose," Paul Teulon says. "You're not using the language you would normally use, and that comes across."

The difficulty is in trying to tell everyone how fantastic you are, without being boastful, says Murphy. "It's a hard line to toe. I warn people against making grand pronouncements that they know they'll make a great doctor."

Ask for help if you need it, but avoid asking too many teachers or family members to go over your personal statement. "We want to hear the voice of a young person," says Teulon, "not a 55-year-old parent. I don't mind if they say they want to change the world because, frankly, if you can't say that at 18, I don't know when you can."

So be honest. Explain how you came to love medicine, and why you will be able to cope with a course that is tough, demanding and competitive. "The goal should be to receive one offer," says Paul Teulon. "Any more than that is a bonus."

And once you've sent it in, keep a copy of your personal statement and be prepared to back up everything you've written, because some medical schools will use it as a prop for an interview.

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Writing the Personal Statement

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This handout provides information about writing personal statements for academic and other positions.

The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:

This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.

2. The response to very specific questions:

Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.

Questions to ask yourself before you write:

  • What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
  • What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
  • When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?
  • How have you learned about this field—through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?
  • If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocre LSAT or GRE scores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?
  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?
  • What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
  • What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
  • Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school—and more successful and effective in the profession or field than other applicants?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?

General advice

Answer the questions that are asked

  • If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar.
  • Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.

Tell a story

  • Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.

Be specific

  • Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.

Find an angle

  • If you're like most people, your life story lacks drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or a "hook" is vital.

Concentrate on your opening paragraph

  • The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.

Tell what you know

  • The middle section of your essay might detail your interest and experience in your particular field, as well as some of your knowledge of the field. Too many people graduate with little or no knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the profession or field they hope to enter. Be as specific as you can in relating what you know about the field and use the language professionals use in conveying this information. Refer to experiences (work, research, etc.), classes, conversations with people in the field, books you've read, seminars you've attended, or any other source of specific information about the career you want and why you're suited to it. Since you will have to select what you include in your statement, the choices you make are often an indication of your judgment.

Don't include some subjects

  • There are certain things best left out of personal statements. For example, references to experiences or accomplishments in high school or earlier are generally not a good idea. Don't mention potentially controversial subjects (for example, controversial religious or political issues).

Do some research, if needed

  • If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.

Write well and correctly

  • Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.

Avoid clichés

  • A medical school applicant who writes that he is good at science and wants to help other people is not exactly expressing an original thought. Stay away from often-repeated or tired statements.

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Medicine Personal Statement Example 2

Check out this successful Medicine Personal Statement example. The applicant received offers from Bristol and Plymouth - and also got an interview at Cambridge.

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Check out this successful Medicine Personal Statement example for inspiration to help you plan and structure your Personal Statement .

Shadowing surgeons racing against the clock to save a kidney was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. With only twenty-five minutes to resect an extensive tumour before the entire kidney was lost, I was moved by the surgeons’ determination and synergy. However, the limitations of medicine were demonstrated when I was told the patient had an additional unresectable tumour. This experience illustrated the responsibility entrusted to medical professionals; not always to save a life but to treat patients with a biopsychosocial approach. Reflecting on this, I knew I wanted to learn more about medicine. However, it was after observing the communication skills and empathy of a physician allaying a pre-operative patient’s fears that my decision to become a doctor was confirmed.

In my local hospice I was inspired by a doctor comforting an anxious, elderly patient; adapting his terminology to ensure effective communication. In my eight months there I developed the clarity of my conversation with patients, in a way that benefitted their needs. I used this skill at a GP surgery with an elderly patient who was distressed about waiting times. Using a calm demeanour, I deescalated the situation and sought help from a receptionist, who had previously established a rapport with the patient. My leadership skills were enhanced through the realisation that being a good leader involves asking for guidance. My aim is to further these skills in my future medical career.

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Exposure to multiple GP surgeries highlighted how a large elderly population correlates with the need for more home visits; thereby illustrating the effect of demographic transition in healthcare. The importance of teamwork was demonstrated in the multidisciplinary team meetings I have observed on various placements. The healthcare professionals deliberated in order to ensure the best quality of life for the patient.

One of my responsibilities as head of boarding is to comfort younger students who are missing home and this helped me realise that collaboration within the boarding house helps to improve their well-being. Understanding and empathy comes from staff and students alike and my teamwork has improved. Responsibility and advocating for patients in a team is something I look forward to in my future career.

At the hospice it was moving to witness the composure of a doctor who was delivering news of a patient’s rapid deterioration. This exemplified how emotionally demanding medicine is. However, when facing academic challenges I have developed a positive work-life balance. Running and playing the violin provide stress outlets and I look forward to representing my university’s orchestra. There are many new challenges as a medical student and doctor, however, I know that I have the emotional maturity to thrive in a high-pressure environment.

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Research is a vital element of medicine as it advances patient care. At Nuffield Health an umbrella sticker on a patient’s door is the universal symbol for dementia. This inspired me as it is an innovative way to maintain confidentiality whilst adapting to patients’ needs and I wrote about this in an article I published in Mentor Magazine. After reading ‘Somebody I Used To Know’ by Wendy Mitchell, which details her experience with dementia, I researched dementia treatment. This topic was further explored within my EPQ where I investigated socially assistive robots that improve behavioural and psychological dementia symptoms, through social exchange. This experience helped me to appreciate the importance of research in evidence-based medicine. I look forward to improving my research skills at medical school.

The empathy and compassion I have seen in healthcare professionals has helped me confirm my commitment to holistic, patient-centred care. I appreciate the academic, emotional and practical challenges of a career in medicine and feel well prepared to meet these as I enter medical school next year.

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  • Personal Statement for Medicine

Top Tips for your University of Cambridge Medicine Personal Statement

Medicine Oxbridge Personal Statement

Last updated: 10 October 2023

Are you considering applying to study medicine at the prestigious University of Cambridge ? If so, you're undoubtedly aware of the stiff competition and the importance of a well-crafted personal statement. Medicine at Cambridge is highly sought after, attracting some of the brightest and most ambitious students worldwide. Your personal statement is a crucial component of your application, allowing you to stand out and demonstrate your passion for medicine and suitability for the course.

In this article, we'll provide you with the best tips for creating a personal statement for medicine at Cambridge that grabs the admissions team's attention, showcases your qualities, and maximises your chances of being invited for an interview.

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preparing a medicine personal statement cambridge

Understanding the Cambridge Medicine Programme

Before diving into the specifics of crafting your personal statement , it's essential to understand what the Cambridge medicine programme entails. Cambridge's medicine course is unique, with an integrated approach combining clinical and basic sciences from the beginning. The course is designed to produce highly skilled and adaptable medical professionals capable of dealing with the challenges of modern healthcare.

Key Features of the Cambridge Medicine Degree Include:

  • Preclinical and Clinical Phases : The course is divided into preclinical and clinical phases, with students gaining early exposure to clinical practice.
  • Problem-Based Learning : Cambridge emphasises problem-based learning, where you'll work in small groups to solve clinical cases, promoting critical thinking and teamwork.
  • Research Opportunities : The university encourages research and offers numerous opportunities for students to get involved in cutting-edge medical research.
  • Supervision System : You'll benefit from the renowned Cambridge supervision system, which provides personalised teaching and support.
  • Early Patient Contact : Students have early patient contact, allowing them to develop clinical skills and gain valuable experience.

Understanding these aspects will help you tailor your personal statement to align with the Cambridge medicine programme's philosophy and expectations.

Personal Statement for Cambridge Medicine

Crafting a standout personal statement for Cambridge medicine requires careful planning and ample time. You should start well before the application deadline to allow for multiple drafts and revisions. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step 1: Self-Reflection

Begin by reflecting on your motivations for studying medicine and why you want to study it at Cambridge specifically. What experiences have shaped your interest in the field? What qualities and skills do you possess that make you a suitable candidate for the course?

Step 2: Research the Course

Thoroughly research the Cambridge medicine course's structure, teaching methods, and core values. Familiarise yourself with the university's ethos and what they look for in prospective students.

Step 3: Create an Outline

Outline the key points you want to include in your personal statement. Consider how you can demonstrate your passion for medicine, commitment to learning, and suitability for the course.

Step 4: Draft and Revise

Start drafting your personal statement, keeping it concise and focused. Aim for a compelling introduction, a clear body that addresses the key points, and a strong conclusion. Review and revise your draft multiple times to ensure clarity and coherence.

Step 5: Seek Feedback

Share your draft with teachers, mentors, or peers who can provide constructive feedback. Consider their suggestions and make necessary revisions.

Step 6: Final Touch

Before submitting your personal statement, perform a final review for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Ensure that it adheres to Cambridge's guidelines and word limits.

Crafting a Compelling Introduction

Your personal statement's introduction is your chance to captivate the admissions team's attention. Here are some tips to create a compelling opening:

1. Start with an Anecdote

Begin with a brief, relevant anecdote or personal experience that illustrates your passion for medicine. This could be a moment that sparked your interest in the field or a meaningful encounter with a healthcare professional.

2. Use a Thought-Provoking Quote

Consider opening with a thought-provoking quote related to medicine or a broader issue in healthcare. Ensure that the quote is relevant to your narrative.

3. Showcase Your Enthusiasm

Clearly convey your enthusiasm for the subject and your eagerness to embark on the journey of becoming a medical professional. Show that you are genuinely passionate about the field.

Demonstrating Your Suitability

The body of your personal statement is where you should demonstrate your suitability for the Cambridge medicine programme. Here are essential points to cover:

1. Academic Achievements

Highlight your academic achievements and any relevant subjects or courses you've excelled in. Mention any academic awards or distinctions that showcase your commitment to learning.

2. Work Experience

Discuss any work experience or volunteering in healthcare settings. Describe what you learned from these experiences and how they influenced your decision to pursue medicine.

3. Extracurricular Activities

If you've been involved in extracurricular activities related to medicine or healthcare, such as medical societies, research projects, or first aid training, emphasise them. Show how these activities have enhanced your skills and knowledge.

4. Personal Attributes

Highlight your personal qualities that make you well-suited for a career in medicine. These may include empathy, resilience, problem-solving abilities, and effective communication skills. Provide specific examples that demonstrate these attributes.

5. Motivation

Explain why you are specifically interested in the Cambridge medicine programme. Discuss how the programme's unique features align with your aspirations and how you plan to make the most of these opportunities.

Reflecting on Your Experiences

In addition to listing your achievements and qualities, reflecting on your experiences and what you've learned from them is essential. Admissions officers want to see evidence of your self-awareness and your ability to learn and grow. Here's how to do it effectively:

1. Show, Don't Tell

Rather than simply stating your qualities or achievements, provide concrete examples and anecdotes that illustrate them. For instance, instead of saying, "I am empathetic," you could describe a specific patient encounter that showcased your empathy.

2. Discuss Challenges

Don't be afraid to discuss challenges or setbacks you've faced and how you've overcome them. Admissions teams appreciate resilience and the ability to learn from adversity.

3. Link Experiences to Medicine

Whenever possible, link your experiences to your motivation for studying medicine. Explain how each experience has shaped your understanding of and commitment to the field.

Addressing the Ethical Dimension

Medicine is not just a science; it's also an ethical and moral pursuit. Cambridge places significant emphasis on ethical considerations in medical practice. Therefore, it's crucial to address the ethical dimension in your personal statement, Cambridge:

1. Ethical Dilemmas

Discuss any ethical dilemmas you've encountered during your experiences in healthcare or medicine. Describe how you navigated these dilemmas and the ethical principles that guided your decisions.

2. Ethical Reflection

Demonstrate your capacity for ethical reflection. Share your thoughts on the importance of ethical considerations in medicine and how you plan to approach ethical challenges as a medical student and future practitioner.

The Importance of Genuine Passion

While it's essential to include all the necessary elements in your personal statement, being genuine is equally important. Admissions teams can spot insincerity from a mile away. Your passion for medicine should shine through every word and example you provide.

Avoid clichés and generic statements that could apply to any applicant. Instead, focus on your unique experiences, perspectives, and aspirations. Be authentic in sharing your journey and why you are truly committed to pursuing a career in medicine.

Tailoring Your Personal Statement for Cambridge

Cambridge has its unique ethos and expectations, and your personal statement should reflect these. Here are some specific points to consider when tailoring your statement for Cambridge:

1. Embrace the Challenge

Highlight your willingness and enthusiasm for tackling the challenges of the Cambridge medicine programme. Discuss how you thrive in a rigorous academic environment and your capacity for self-directed learning.

2. Supervision System

Mention your excitement about the Cambridge supervision system. Emphasise your belief in the value of personalised teaching and mentorship and how you plan to make the most of this opportunity.

3. Interdisciplinary Approach

Cambridge's medicine programme is known for its integrated approach to learning. Show that you appreciate the benefits of combining clinical and basic sciences and how this aligns with your educational goals.

4. Research Focus

If you have a keen interest in medical research, highlight it. Discuss any research experiences or projects you've been involved in and your enthusiasm for contributing to medical knowledge.

Proofread and Polish

Once you've written your personal statement, it's crucial to proofread and polish it to perfection. Here are some tips for the final stages:

1. Proofread for Errors

Thoroughly check your personal statement for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Typos and mistakes can detract from your overall presentation.

2. Ensure Clarity

Make sure your writing is clear and concise. Avoid overly complex language or jargon that might confuse the reader.

3. Stay within Word Limits

Adhere to the word limits set by Cambridge. Going significantly over or under the word limit can negatively affect your application.

4. Seek Feedback

Ask teachers, mentors, or trusted friends to review your final draft. Fresh eyes can catch issues you might have missed.

5. Format Properly

Ensure your personal statement is formatted correctly. Use a legible font, appropriate spacing, and a professional layout.

Final Thoughts

Crafting a compelling personal statement for the Cambridge medicine programme requires careful planning, self-reflection, and attention to detail. Remember that your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your passion for medicine, your suitability for the course, and your alignment with Cambridge's values.

Be genuine, provide concrete examples, and demonstrate your ethical awareness. Tailor your statement to Cambridge's unique features and emphasise your willingness to embrace the programme's challenges. With dedication and the right approach, you can create a personal statement for medicine admission that stands out and increases your chances of securing a place in the prestigious Cambridge medicine programme. Good luck with your application!

Which is better for medicine, Oxford or Cambridge?

Oxford and Cambridge are both excellent choices for studying medicine, and the quality of education at both universities is top-notch. It's essential to consider factors such as the specific program, faculty, and your personal preferences. You might want to research each university's curriculum, teaching methods, and available clinical opportunities to determine which aligns better with your goals.

Is it hard to study medicine at Cambridge?

Yes, studying medicine at Cambridge is challenging. Medicine is a rigorous and demanding field everywhere, and Cambridge is no exception. You'll have a busy schedule with lectures, practicals, and clinical placements. It requires dedication, time management, and a strong work ethic. However, the support and resources available at Cambridge can help you succeed if you're committed to your studies.

How do I get a full scholarship to Cambridge?

To secure a full scholarship to Cambridge, focus on academic excellence, early application, and a compelling personal statement medicine. Seek scholarships aligned with your field of study, gather strong letters of recommendation, and prepare well for interviews if required. Explore external scholarship options, and contact Cambridge's financial aid office for guidance. Be persistent and dedicated, as competition is high.

Can I get into Cambridge with AAA?

Getting into Cambridge with AAA can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Cambridge University is highly competitive, and they often require top grades. AAA is a good start, but it also depends on the specific course you're applying for and other factors like your personal statement, interview performance, and any additional tests or requirements. So, while AAA is a strong foundation, you should also focus on other aspects of your application to maximise your chances.

Is Oxbridge better than the Ivy League?

Comparing Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) with the Ivy League universities in the United States is tricky because they have different strengths and specialities. Both are prestigious and offer world-class education, but it depends on your field of interest and personal preferences. Oxbridge is known for its tutorial-style teaching and rich history, while the Ivy League has a broader range of universities with various strengths. Ultimately, it's a matter of which suits your academic and career goals best.

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  5. How to Approach Your Personal Statement: Dos and Don'ts

    Our list of personal statement Dos and Don'ts will help you make the most of the experience and ensure you don't make any of the usual mistakes. Read our free Step-by-Step Guide: How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement for tips on getting started, what to include, and common mistakes to avoid. The Purpose of a Personal Statement

  6. How to Write a Perfect Medical School Personal Statement: A Complete Guide

    How long should a medical school personal statement be? The length of a medical school personal statement can vary, but most medical schools have specific guidelines on the length. Typically, a personal statement should be no longer than 1-2 pages or about 500-800 words.

  7. Medicine Personal Statement

    Your Medicine Personal Statement needs to be 4,000 characters - which is around 500 words - over 47 lines. What Should My Personal Statement Include? Medicine Personal Statements should cover the following elements, so that Medical Schools can get to know you. Motivation — Why do you want to study Medicine and become a Doctor?

  8. Advisor Corner: Crafting Your Personal Statement

    The personal statement is an opportunity to share something new about yourself that isn't conveyed elsewhere in your application. Advisors at the University of Minnesota employ a storytelling model to support students in finding and writing their unique personal statement. One critical aspect of storytelling is the concept of change.

  9. How To Structure Your Medicine Personal Statement

    Your Medicine Personal Statement structure should cover three key elements: Motivation Exploration Suitability Start With Motivation The first part of your Personal Statement should cover your motivation to study Medicine. Think of this as your "I want to be a Doctor" paragraph - but keep it concise. Tips For Showing Your Motivation

  10. Guide to Writing a Medical School Personal Statement

    This is roughly 1.5 pages or 500 words. Going under this length is fine, and a tight 400-word personal statement is far preferable to a 500-word statement filled with digressions, wordiness, and redundancy. If you aren't using the AMCAS form, your personal statement should never go over the stated length limit. Attend to grammar and punctuation.

  11. The Comprehensive Guide to Your Medical Personal Statement for 2023-2024

    Understanding the Medical Personal Statement 🌟. A personal statement is your opportunity to narrate your commitment to medicine, showcasing unique experiences and perspectives that have shaped your journey. A Wealth of Example Personal Statements 📘. Discover an impressive collection of example personal statements. These serve as both a ...

  12. A Guide to Writing A Medical School Personal Statement

    When considering how to write a personal statement for medical school the first thing you should do is outline what content you want to include. Great personal statements for medical school are unique, informative, and interesting. Your personal statement should explain in detail who you are, why you've chosen medicine, and what makes you a ...

  13. 6 Real Examples Of Successful Medicine Personal Statements

    Personal Statement Example 1 Check out this Medicine Personal Statement which was successful for Imperial, UCL, QMUL and King's. Personal Statement Example 2 This Personal Statement comes from a student who received Medicine offers from Bristol and Plymouth - and also got an interview at Cambridge. Personal Statement Example 3

  14. Writing the Personal Statement for Health Professions Applications

    There is no exact template for an effective personal statement. Often, however, strong personal statements combine a concise description of a personal experience with reflection on how this experience either led the writer to pursue medicine or indicates the writer's character or commitment. Good personal statements often have a strong sense ...

  15. Medicine Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide

    LEARN MORE Writing a Personal Statement can be intimidating; having to pitch the most important reasons why you would make a great addition to a medical school (within a mere 4000 characters) can feel like a Herculean task that can wait until tomorrow.

  16. How to Write a Med School Personal Statement

    Selecting a Personal Statement Topic Step 1: Highlight Your Qualities Step 2: Centralize. Don't Generalize. Step 3: Effective Storytelling in Your Personal Statement for Medical School Step 4: Explain Why You Want to Pursue Medicine Step 5: Prepare Your Personal Statement for Medical School Tips for Writing a Medical School Personal Statement Med School Personal Statement FAQs Wrapping Up ...

  17. A guide to writing a medical school personal statement

    A medical school personal statement is a type of essay that outlines and details exactly why you want to pursue medicine further for studies as well as a career. As the name suggests, this essay must be completely personal. No two candidates should or would have the same personal statement. A medical school personal statement can be used to ...

  18. How to write a personal statement for medicine

    So be honest. Explain how you came to love medicine, and why you will be able to cope with a course that is tough, demanding and competitive. "The goal should be to receive one offer," says Paul ...

  19. Medicine Personal Statement Example 1

    Medicine Personal Statement Example 1 This Medicine Personal Statement was successful for Imperial, UCL, QMUL and King's. Personal Statement Review Have a look at this successful Medicine Personal Statement example for inspiration to help you plan and structure your Personal Statement.

  20. The Personal Statement

    1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2. The response to very specific questions:

  21. Medicine Personal Statement Example 2

    Medicine Personal Statement Example 2. Check out this successful Medicine Personal Statement example for inspiration to help you plan and structure your Personal Statement. Shadowing surgeons racing against the clock to save a kidney was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. With only twenty-five minutes to resect an extensive tumour ...

  22. Complete Guide To Medicine Personal Statements

    Welcome to our comprehensive guide on crafting outstanding medicine personal statements for UK medical school applications. In this increasingly competitive landscape, a well-crafted personal statement is your passport to standing out from the crowd and securing a place in your dream medical school.

  23. Personal Statement for Medicine at Cambridge Guide

    Last updated: 10 October 2023 Are you considering applying to study medicine at the prestigious University of Cambridge? If so, you're undoubtedly aware of the stiff competition and the importance of a well-crafted personal statement.