Writing a personal statement for medical school may feel like the most challenging part of your application, since there are not many specifics required. Yet, the Admissions Committee will pay close attention to your statement as the most comprehensive way to evaluate you as a candidate. What should you include in your medical school personal statement and how can you stand out as an outstanding applicant?
Often, applicants will focus on the experiences they think the Committee will want to hear. The best personal statements focus on the qualities that would make you a special candidate and a superb doctor. Similarly, a persuasive med school personal statement demonstrates how you are unique and why you are motivated to pursue a career in medicine.
How to write a personal statement for medical school—what to include
Beyond your desire to pursue a medical career, you’ll want to show that you are a well-rounded applicant with varied interests and life experiences. The most insightful personal statements will include:
The breadth of your interests: While the Admissions Committee will want to hear about your interest in the field of medicine, it’s important to include other interests beyond medicine to show you are a multidimensional candidate.
A narrative with a personal touch: Show who you truly are by including key points about your history, your strengths and how you acquired them, as well as the experiences that made an impact on you and what you learned.
Your patient care experiences: Discuss your involvement in clinical care as a volunteer or medical assistant. Go a step further to discuss what the experiences meant to you and how they enhanced your desire to pursue a career in medicine. Show examples of what you learned about the doctor-patient relationship as well as how you worked with a team to achieve patient care goals.
A well-written, thoughtful medical school personal statement will display the qualities and personality traits that align with a medical career, such as compassion, persistence, empathy and lifelong medical learning—and the unique insights gained from your experiences.
How to structure the medical school personal statement
Ultimately, the best personal statements are succinct and should focus on:
- Your personal story
- Personal reasons for wanting to pursue a medical career
- Experiences that support your interest in medicine
- Past hardships and any anomalies that you need to explain
“Highlight your excitement for medicine and allow yourself ample time to craft a well-written essay that will make you stand out among other qualified applicants,” says Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Associate Director of Admissions, Shari Goldstein. “Regardless of the style you choose, it is important to convey that you understand what a medical career involves and that it is something you are absolutely sure about pursuing.”
Shari advises beginning to write your personal statement well in advance, allowing you to take advantage of rolling admissions at RUSM. Your essay may focus in-depth on one experience or include a summary to illustrate varied relevant experiences and extracurricular activities.
Additional tips to keep in mind:
- Proofread, check grammar and spelling
- Don’t riddle your essay with complicated language – keep it simple
- Remember your audience (scientists and physicians)
- Be yourself
“A medical school personal statement should grab the attention of the reader,” says RUSM Assistant Director of Admissions Bianca Trindade. “Imagine a blockbuster movie with your favorite actor or actress. You’re the star of your unique story. Include experiences that have touched you on a personal level and helped you discover your calling as a physician. A personal statement is heartfelt and sincere and should allow the committee to get a glimpse into who you are.”
RUSM Admissions Consultant Dr. Jon Bolaski advises illustrating how your experience has prepared you to enter the field of medicine. “Personal statements frequently lose sight of the intent. The best personal statements will focus on how your experiences strengthened your ambition to practice medicine and will connect with themes such as cultural and socioeconomic diversity, a strong work ethic and your sense of mission.”
The admissions staff at RUSM are ready to assist you with information regarding your med school personal statement and your application. Contact an admissions associate at firstname.lastname@example.org to find answers to your questions about applying to RUSM.