“Why do I want to be a doctor?”
Surely this is an important question to answer in your own mind and address in your personal statement. That assumption doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that you should begin the essay by answering the question or that your answer should be the focus of the piece.
Some applicants have compelling stories to tell about an illness or injury, an inspiring mentor or a memorable service experience that pointed them in the direction of medicine. If you have such a story, you’re set with your opening paragraph and your theme; your challenge is to draw readers in and make them want to know what happened next.
If you’re like most applicants – an intelligent person who has an aptitude for science, a strong inclination toward service and no life-altering experiences or “light bulb moments” that led you to choose medicine – your focus should be on what sets you apart from the rest. Is your college major a bit offbeat for a premed? Did you or your family face economic or other hardships and obstacles? Do you have any unusual jobs, interests or hobbies? (Consider the candidate who taught classical Indian dance at her college while she was an undergrad and studied the discipline in India for a year before applying to medical school.) If you devote the valuable and very limited space AMCAS provides for the essay to those qualities and accomplishments that make you unique, admissions committees will gain a better understanding of the kind of person you are.
And that’s exactly what they want to do when they read your AMCAS essay.
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