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Best Personal Statement Examples Amcas

Kate Fukawa-Connelly, Director of Health Professions Advising, Princeton University

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:

Image © 2016 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved

  • 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.

In this article, Medical School Personal Statements that can beat 52,323 Applications, you will learn to create a sincere, interesting, and thoughtful essay that highlights your strengths and qualities.

Remember:

With more than 50,000 applicants to medical school this year, only those with a compelling story will be selected to interview.

What else:

While metrics, such as the MCAT and GPA, are crucial, admissions committee members view applications holistically meaning who you are and what is important to you matters just as much as your “numbers.” 

We’ve got you covered:

Below are some strategies you can employ that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Getting Started

Let’s get started:

Whether you’re applying to AMCAS, TMDSAS, or AACOMAS essay prompts are generally not topic-driven like a traditional essay you might write for an academic class. So let us guide you to understand Medical School Personal Statements that can beat 52,323 Applications.

Keep in mind:

We encourage applicants to try and write a topic-driven essay that has a distinct theme.

“I have a great theme, why I want to be a doctor.”

Of course, from time to time, a student might write a beautiful essay with a theme, but, most of the time these essays do not succeed in telling an applicant’s story comprehensively and convincingly.

 

Related:Too Early to Start Working on Your 2018 Medical School Application? – When to Start Your First Draft

 

I don’t have anything to write about.

Of course you have a story.Everyone does. 

Here is a list of questions that can help a student find key elements of his or her story.

How should you start your medical school personal statement?

You hear conflicting advice. Some tell you not to open with a story. Others tell you to always begin with a story. Regardless of the advice you receive, be sure to do three things:

1) Be true to yourself. Everyone will have an opinion regarding what you should and should not write. Follow your own instincts. Your personal statement should be a reflection of you, and only you.

2) Start your personal statement with something catchy.Think about the list of potential topics above. 

3) Don’t rush your work. Don’t panic. Composing great documents takes time and you don’t want your writing and ideas to be sloppy and underdeveloped.

Medical school personal statements that can beat 52,323 applications.

SHOW, DON’T TELL

Know this mantra:

Something my clients hear me say throughout the application process, and a common mantra for anyone who works in admissions, is to “show” rather than “tell.”

What does this mean, exactly?

It means that whether you are writing a personal statement or interviewing, you should show evidence for what you are trying to communicate.

Here’s an example.

In a personal statement, never say that you are compassionate and empathetic; instead, demonstrate that you possess these qualities by offering concrete examples.

Medical School Personal Statements that can beat 52,323 Applications via GIPHY

Also keep in mind:

Like your personal statement, your interview responses, too, should evoke all the qualities and characteristics that your interviewer is seeking.  Again, show don’t tell. 

And consider this:

The following is a medical school interview question, “Tell me about your most valuable shadowing experience and why it was important to you.”

Hit them with this kind of answer:

“My most valuable experience was shadowing Dr. Brit. I really learned so much about oncology, which I found fascinating. I would go home every night and read about what I had heard and learned. But I also enjoyed watching him talk to patients. I noticed that he held each patient’s hand, listened to them attentively and made clear to each person that he really cared.”

And there’s more:

By talking about his mentor, this applicant shows his understanding of the importance of compassionate care, and in expressing this, further suggests that these ideals are important to him, too.

The mantra “show, don’t tell” cannot be said enough. Remember this throughout every stage, written documents and interviews, of the medical admissions process.

Where can I find further inspiration? Need help with your personal statement med school?

1) Click hereto visit the Student Doctor Network website to find out how other students are preparing to write their personal statements.

2) Click hereto see what students on the Reddit medical school personal statement premed forum are saying about their personal statements. 

3) Your application materials must be authentic, but sometimes a little inspiration helps. Read The MedEdits Guide to Medical School Admissions. There you will find examples of ‘successful’ personal statements and application entries.

I would like more resources about medical school personal statements and how to apply.

RELATED: What to Watch out for in Medical School Interviews

Where should I look?

For those of you who love to drink coffee and stay up until the roosters come out.Here’s a great “go to” list where you can read about more personal statement and application topics.

1) Click here to visit www.AAMC.org to learn about AMCAS, the allopathic (M.D) application service.

2) Click here to visit the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website to review important requirements for your AACOMAS application. 

3) If you want to apply to most medical schools in Texas, you will need to complete the TMDSAS application. Click here for more information.

Personal Statement for Medical School Myths

Personal Statement Myths:The list below is based on an article I wrote all the way back in 2010 for The Student Doctor Network.I guess some solid advice never gets old.

#1: Never write about anything that took place in the past or before college.

#2: Never write about topics unrelated to medicine.

#3: Never write about a patient encounter or your own experience with health care.

#4: Always have a theme or a thesis.

#5: Dont write about anything negative.

Click here to read the article on SDN.

Example Personal Statement 

Synopsis: A first generation college student learns from family illness. This personal statement is an excerpt from The MedEdits Guide to Medical School Admissions, P. 162.

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