After reading thousands of applications over the years, I’ve noticed that there are common strategies that successful applicants use in their application essays. You, too, can use these strategies to earn an interview and acceptance.
The best application essays:
1. Avoid verbatim repetition
It may be impossible not to mention the same activity or experience twice in your application, for example in the activities description and personal statement, but you can cover it from an entirely different angle. Never use the exact same sentences or descriptions. You can reframe the information. There should be some consistency in your life experiences.
2. Maintain a balance between personal and professional information
The best personal statements often maintain a strong balance between sharing enough personal information to be interesting and unique and enough professional background to help you appear as an accomplished and well-qualified applicant. Sharing too much personal information can make your readers squirm! Or on the other side of the spectrum, being too professional can make you seem like a robot. Be sure to include only what you’re comfortable discussing in an interview.
3. Are authentic
Spend some time reflecting on your motivations for going into a career in medicine. The more honest you can be about your reasoning, the stronger your essays will be. Journaling and talking with friends and family can help you identify that information.
4. Are strategic
They address any concerns that the admissions committee may have about your application. By anticipating and responding to these questions, you will be demonstrating great maturity and intelligence.
5. Provide evidence of improvement
Whatever weakness you have identified, it’s important to show improvement. If you had a decreasing trend in your GPA for a quarter or year, explain what happened. End on a high note by focusing your reader’s attention on the improvement you made to your GPA or how you graduated with an increasing trend. Your audience is made up of doctors who love data and numbers.
These are some general goals that you can set for your application essays. By double checking that you have met each one, you can ensure that your application will be more closely reviewed. They may even help you earn an interview!
Do you need help strengthening your med school application? Check out our medical school admissions services.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs. Want Alicia to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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