How To Approach Your Personal Statement Essay: A Guide
An essay is like the beginning of an end. And you know how they say that “well begun is half done!” A meaningful compilation of your story reflecting the various ways in which you are best suited for a career in medicine.
You are stronger and deeper than you realize. Your essay brings out this subtlety about your character.
You must have some idea about the hardships of a doctor’s life and explain how you see it. Write a story of how you fought for something and won because it was important for you.
Draw from the experiences you had during your mandatory coursework, how the exposure shaped you and cemented your ambition for becoming a doctor even more.
What is that one thing that deeply touched you? Maybe a patient interaction? The essay should essentially reflect how you used your undergrad years to develop your medicine quotient and knowledge. This reflects your determination for pursuing a career in medicine. How well do you response under pressure?
If you are going to say ‘I want to find a cure to cancer’, then you better explain why and how, or don’t even mention it.
Your essay should speak of an undergrad pre-med, yet reflect the underlying qualities of a good doctor in the making.
Your essay must also reflect some fundamental qualities. These qualities in fact will help you gain an edge on every threshold of your admission process: communication skills, listening attentively, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion, and lastly and foremost – resilience. Your diverse background is our strength – highlight it.
You essay determines the value of the rest of your application and essay based questions can be asked in the interview.
Also, stating your activity is never enough. Application assessors are essentially looking for what you gained out of that experience. Be smart but not over-smart. You will get caught. Your essay is a statement of your potential as a future physician. Argue a good case.
Physicians are wise and focused. So don’t come across as irresponsible or impulsive. Write your story but don’t write the story of loose behaviors or actions in the past. Too much compassion can make you an emotional wreck/convert into irresponsible behavior as well. Beware of what your essay reflects. Talk about your most difficult decisions in a way that they demonstrate why you are an ideal medical student.
Your essay determines if you are worth of consideration. Admission committees take a balanced approach towards selection, which means that every aspect of the admission process is equally important. Your essay helps them determine how wholesome and holistic you are as a person.
Essay should reveal your single-minded focus to follow on the path of becoming a doctor. A strong emotional foundation for putting yourself through the arduous and demanding life of a med student and later a doctor or physician.
It’s good that you want to help people or make a difference. But these attributes are not enough to write a winning personal statement essay. You must demonstrate through your words the story of your growth as a learner and pre-med.
There are no set-rules when it comes to choosing your topic of essay. Sky is the limit, but be realistic. Believe it or not, simplicity pays off.
The shortcomings of your application can be explained in the statement. [If you have something on your record you think may raise questions when admissions committees review your files— a difficult semester, low science grades, or a gap in your educational history—it’s important to use the personal statement as an avenue to address these issues.]
Elements that make a good personal statement essay:
- having a personal voice;
- telling a unique story;
- revealing your best qualities;
- grabbing the reader’s attention;
- showing you are a hardworking and dedicated learner;
- show your enthusiasm for the field;
- start writing in advance, concise and clear;
- read a lot to learn more about medicine,
- get feedback and recommendations from trusted people;
- Show your desire to study and work in the chosen field;
Don’t Just List Your Achievements. Show How You Got There And What Difference It Brought In Your Attitude.
Why—of all the careers you could possibly choose as a smart, young, talented student—do you want to become a physician? And what have you done to prove that commitment?
Here is something that is impossible to understand until you start medical school: Medicine is a commitment. YOUR TALENT AND AMBITION MEAN NOTHING IF YOU CANNOT COMMIT. Commitment means readiness for sacrifice.
Your work/activity section may show the reader what you have done, but the personal statement essay explains why. A personal statement should be deeply personal, giving the admissions committee insight into your passions and ultimate decision to pursue a career in medicine
[What does this experience mean in the larger picture of why you want to become a doctor? You need to drill down to a significant clinical experience, vividly describe it, and then reach up towards a description of who you are and what you will bring to medicine.]
If you have decided to mention your hardships, then make sure you don’t sound like a victim. Use the story/narrative of your adversities to demonstrate attributes of learning, growth, resilience, grit, determination and above all, compassion. All great words like passion and commitment mean nothing if you can’t back it up with experience
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