If you don’t put effort into standing out in your medical school personal statement, then you likely won’t. Most applicants will have rather similar profiles; and without going the extra mile to highlight your unique strengths, talents, experiences, and interests, you run the risk of blending into the pool of applicants. These 5 pointers will help you evaluate your candidacy and highlight those unique features that will make the adcom readers stop, take notice, and put your application in the “admit” pile.
1. Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
In order for your personal statement to work for you, you need to think about what qualities you want to highlight. Do you need to emphasize your clinical work? Do you have outstanding research experience? Before you start writing, step back and catalog what the admissions committee will see when they look at your application, and what you want to make sure they know that may not be immediately apparent.
2. Be specific.
Most people applying to med school have the same basic profile. In order to stand out, you need to show how you are interesting or different. Give specific instances of how you have displayed the qualities like empathy and teamwork.
3. Give the admissions committee reasons to admit you.
Emphasize the positive in your personal statement and try not to over-explain things like bad grades – it generally ends up sounding like an excuse. Instead show that you were able to turn things around.
4. Get outside advice.
It’s helpful to have someone else read your draft and give you honest feedback. Remember: personal statements require a lot of revising.
5. Be picky.
Don’t submit a personal statement with grammatical errors or sloppy writing. It makes the reader think that you don’t care about medical school.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to write a med school personal statement that shines.
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!
• Stand Out! A Critical Goal for Your Application [Episode 181]
• What Should I Write About? Making a Difference
• Application Essay Tip: The Devil is in the Details