Your medical school personal statement is an essay that is a critical piece of your admissions profile. In addition to your GPA, MCAT score, experience, and the mandatory prerequisites, admissions committees want to hear your story and discover what makes you stand out from the crowded field of applicants.
In this article, we will answer frequently asked questions about the medical school personal statement in order to help you write the best personal statement possible.
What Is Included in the 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 compelling applicant for medical school.
While each medical school personal statement is unique, the American Medical College Application Service® does suggest you cover the following topics:
- Why did you select the field of medicine?
- What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
- What do you want medical schools to know about you that has not been disclosed in other sections of the application?
- Unique hardships, challenges, and obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits.
- Comments on significant fluctuations in your academic record not explained elsewhere in your application.
These suggestions are a baseline of information for your medical school personal statement. You’ll want to include this information but expound creatively. Your personal statement is a chance to tell a story, so be sure to make your story compelling and enjoyable to read.
How Long Should the Personal Statement Be?
If you are wondering how long a personal statement for medical school should be, the maximum length is 5,300 characters (with spaces) – that is approximately 750–1,300 words. You will not be permitted to exceed this character limit.
Why Do Medical Schools Care About Personal Statements?
Medical school admissions committees see thousands of applications each year. As you can imagine, the GPA, MCAT scores, and research experiences for many of these applicants are similar. Medical schools care about personal statements because it gives them an opportunity to learn more about the applicant and discover what differentiates you from other applicants. Great personal statements for medical school will highlight your uniqueness and demonstrate your passion for learning how to practice medicine.
How To Write a Personal Statement for Medical School
In order to write your best medical school personal statement possible, keep the following things in mind….
List your greatest qualities
Great personal statements for medical school display confidence and competency. This is not the time to be shy. Be sure to list your greatest strengths and what you feel will make you a great student and a great physician.
When or where have you demonstrated these qualities?
Listing your strengths is a start, but it’s crucial to also give examples of where and how you demonstrated these qualities. Your personal statement for medical school should come with examples of how you utilize your unique capabilities. For example: Talk about how a particular strength helped you lead a volunteer effort in your community; give an example of a time when you used noteworthy quality doing research; discuss how certain strengths benefited your shadowing experience or a research accomplishment. The more specific you can be, the more your medical school personal statement will stand out.
Describe your event as a story
Remember, members of the admissions committee are only human, and they have to read thousands of personal statements. For this reason, be sure to talk about your life in story form. Be interesting, relatable, and creative as you let the admissions committee get a peek into your life.
Discuss your most formative experiences that led you to medicine
What has transpired in your life that led you to the field of medicine? This is really what admissions committees want to know. As you talk about your life, be sure to inform the reader of the events that have transpired that led you to this career choice. Was there a local doctor that you admired growing up? Did you or a loved one go through an illness that pointed you to medicine? Are there medical professionals in your family who paved the way for this career choice? Whatever experiences you have encountered, be sure to include that in your medical school personal statement.
Conclusion: Reemphasize your qualities, perspectives, and passions
As you conclude your medical school personal statement, be sure to reemphasize your strengths and the things that make you a unique candidate for medical school. Confidently express why you would be a great addition to your medical school(s) of choice.
Mistakes To Avoid
As important as it is to know what to include in your medical school personal statement, it is equally important to know the mistakes to avoid. Here are a few common mistakes . . .
- Procrastinating because you are intimidated by the process
- Ignoring the most basic questions: “Why do you want to go to medical school?” and “Why should the admissions committee choose you?”
- Writing in a dry or boring manner
- Neglecting to edit and proofread your personal statement
- Failure to learn from other personal statements for medical school examples
2023 AMCAS Applicant Guide – AAMC for students, applicants, and residents. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://students-residents.aamc.org/media/11616/download?attachment