The AACOMAS requires one personal statement that is a maximum of 5,300 characters long. Below are five tips to help make your AACOMAS personal statement shine.
Perfecting your personal statement
- Show, don’t tell
The first axiom of the personal statement is to “show, don’t tell.” Honest, compassionate, caring, dedicated – you want to show all of these qualities. But, listing them isn’t effective. Instead, explain how you’ve shown these qualities using examples that illustrate them.
- Do not treat the personal statement as a narrative resume
Do not run through your undergraduate experiences chronologically. Instead, tell a story, about you or about someone else, a patient from a mission trip abroad related to health care, disaster relief or public health – as stories of insight and growth.
- Don’t just repeat the AMCAS statement.
Osteopathic schools want applicants who are interested in their schools and their approach to medicine. Some applicants are tempted to reuse their AMCAS personal statement for their AACOMAS application as well. Not only are the length requirements different, but allopathic schools have different points of focus than osteopathic schools. Also, osteopathic schools want to know why you’re applying to them, and your response should be an informed one about what you value about osteopathic medicine. Do not regard or infer osteopathic medicine as a default plan. Why Osteopathic Medicine? If you can bring this out through a story that demonstrates a holistic vision of the patient and a holistic approach to care, all the better. Highlight your knowledge of osteopathy; show that you understand osteopathic principles; provide a story or an experience that reflects the values of osteopathic medicine.
>> Still wondering what to write? Have a look at Accepted’s sample AACOMAS personal statements here.
- Make the personal statement active
Conclude positively and insightfully. Use experiences and anecdotes that reflect your path to medicine and accent your positive qualities and insight. Don’t apologize, make excuses, blame or complain. Instead, show your enthusiasm for medicine. If you write a story about a struggle, be sure to demonstrate overcoming, managing and learning from it in a way that elucidates maturity and insight.
Make sure that you have proofread your essay multiple times and have someone else read it for grammatical errors and confusing sentences. If your essay is sloppy, you will make a sloppy impression. This is not what you want to do.
The AACOMAS personal statement is the one place in the application where you speak in your own voice and give the admissions committee an idea of who you are: your character, your humanity and depth. Make sure that you use this space to your best advantage and make your personal statement an advantage in your application in order to stand out in a competitive field.
You need to work hard if you want to submit a winning AACOMAS (or AMCAS or AADSAS) application — and we can help! Check out Accepted’s Primary Application Package to receive complete application guidance from conceptualization to final review. Your experienced consultant will guide you through the entire primary application, ensuring that you make the best use of your time to create a compelling portrait of yourself as a future leader in the medical field.
Dr. Mary Mahoney, PhD, is the medical humanities director at Elmira College and has more than 20 years of experience as an advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. She is a tenured English professor with an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in literature and writing from the University of Houston. For the past 20 years, Mary has served as a grad school advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. Want Mary to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!