3 Top Tips For Creating Your Personal Statement
11 months ago by Stan
Writing your personal statement can be daunting. It is challenging to craft an original and personal document which effectively communicates your experiences and achievements.
Note that while it is normal to want to perfect every aspect of your application in order to maximise your chances of obtaining an offer, personal statement is just one piece of the broader medical entry puzzle.
Most universities will not read personal statements or make interview invitations based on its content. However, at some universities, personal statement is considered. You should therefore aim to write the best personal statement possible. Keeping the following tips in mind will save you from the stress of several drafts and rewrites.
Top Tip #1: Be intentional and reflect on everything
It’s not out of the ordinary for aspiring medics to have a long list of clinical/voluntary experiences, leadership positions, academic achievements, extracurricular ventures and external reading. Medicine is extremely competitive and accumulating such experiences is often regarded as a vessel for bettering your chances of securing that coveted place at medical school. After having put in all that time and effort, it’s tempting to want to include everything on that list. However, doing so might result in unintentionally presenting yourself as someone who views your experiences as just that: something to list.
Limited by 4000 characters, it is important to be intentional with every single word and point you convey. You need to demonstrate that you have a realistic view of the profession, good insight into what being a doctor entails and that you have the soft skills/aptitude for medicine and the duties that come with it. By appropriately reflecting on your experiences, you can fulfill all three: efficiently and concisely.
Some skills valued by the medical profession which you can discuss include:
- Good communication skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Organisational skills
- Ability to problem solve
If the experience was not fruitful, impactful or developmental of your person or your motivation to study medicine, it’s worth leaving out to expand on the experiences that were.
Top Tip #2: It needs to read well
After you’ve considered the contents of your personal statement and what you want to say, you need to make sure you’ve said it well. Selection committees receive thousands of applications and it will certainly help your case if your personal statement has a nice flow to it. It is important for your application to have accurate grammar and be free from spelling mistakes.
A suggestion here would be that when reading your personal statement in its entirety, if you have to read a sentence twice for clarity or to mentally grasp its intended message, consider rewriting it. Perhaps rewording or separating your points into two sentences will make it easier to read and understand. The last thing you want is to confuse your reader!
Top Tip #3: Get a second opinion
It’s wise to accept that sometimes, what makes sense to you might not make sense to someone else. It is easy for ideas to get lost in context and for messages to come across differently from their original intention. From the point of view of the writer of such ideas and messages, it’s not always easy to notice when this happens.
You don’t necessarily need to get someone with a medical background to read your personal statement (although this can be very helpful) as any fresh pair of eyes might be able to catch the odd spelling mistake. Teachers at your school will probably be more than willing to help if you ask, and family and friends are an option. If you know someone applying for the same course you are, it’s worth asking them to have a look as they’ll have the same kind of insight you do; you could even offer to help them with the same!
MedEntry UK also offers a Personal Statement Checking Service. You can submit your personal statement for review to gain feedback from expert application reviewers, who will check your statement and make detailed suggestions.