The other day someone posted a comment asking if I had any “words of wisdom” regarding these things called “personal statements.” So I thought I would add a post about this topic. Now I don’t know whether or not I do have any words of wisdom, but I will offer suggestions.
The first suggestion is to be congruent. When applying for medical school, or anything for that matter, it is often easy to “stretch the truth” to make the applicant look good. But being congruent is important. Writing that your desire to become a doctor stems from your burning passion to help orphaned children with cleft lips in third world countries is fine — that is, if that is the reason behind your wanting to become a doctor. But if it isn’t DO NOT write that. The key is to be honest and sincere. Every individual has a unique background. Bring that out. Show that. If you truly have a desire to help cleft lip patients around the world, then, by all means, do write it! It will shine through in your interview that this desire is genuine and not some fluff meant to tug on the emotional strings of the readers. Honesty and sincerity is key.
The second suggestion I have is to find someone with excellent English skills to read over your statement. And it would be preferable that the person have some knowledge of the application process. I was lucky that my Kaplan instructor had a Master’s degree in English and had already gone through the process of applying (had an acceptance to UCSD School of Medicine). He graciously offered to read my paper over and make comments about it. And this bioengineering major was sure glad to have an English major help. Another resource to use would be Premed advisors. They, in theory, should be knowledgeable about the whole process and would be a great resource to use. Just make sure that they don’t have terrible English!
That, my readers, are my two cents regarding personal statements. If you have any more advice for budding personal statement authors, feel free to post and add.
And a good luck to those writing the statements!