Writing your personal statement can be daunting, and the hardest part is getting started. Here are five ways to start writing.
1. Remember your audience. Admissions officers spend generally five minutes or less on your personal statement and read about 40 to 50 essays a day. Your essay needs to grab their attention and stand out immediately.
2. Show your ability to succeed. Admission officers are looking for people that will be successful med students and doctors. Show them right away that you are a good fit for the program and the profession.
3. Show your motivation. Most people applying to medical school want to go, but not all of them can articulate why. Explain to the admissions committee why you want to go to medical school, not just the fact that you want to go.
4. Focus on “soft skills.” Admissions officers are looking for empathy, compassion, sincerity, and people skills. These are not readily apparent from grades and scores, so emphasize those attributes in your essay.
5. Be truthful and personal. Admissions officers read so many essays that they can immediately detect when someone is being insincere or is writing from a template. You need the essay to reflect who you are. Really. Remember, everyone else is already taken.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to write a med school personal statement that shines. For more, be sure to check out my webinar The 5-Step Guide to Successful Medical School Personal Statements.
Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s Postbac Program and teaches writing at all levels. Want Jessica to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!