In this on-demand webinar, Moon Prep counselors Lindsey and Michaela will highlight everything you need to know about writing the personal statement, including:
- Why the essay matters
- Brainstorming a topic
- What topics to avoid
- Using your medical-focused experiences to your advantage
- Showing, not telling
- Strengthening your word choice
- Examples of essays that worked and why
INSIDER TIPS FOR CRAFTING A COMPELLING PERSONAL STATEMENT
What can you offer medical schools, besides the numbers? Is a high GPA and solid MCAT score enough? This is where your personal statement comes in. It turns you into a three-dimensional person and helps you stand out from a crowded field of applicants. Writing the personal statement—and even just brainstorming a topic—can be a struggle for many.
WRITING THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
Since the entire medical school application process takes longer than you would think, it’s not a bad idea to begin working it by your third year of undergrad. But how do you write a compelling personal statement? This is your opportunity to let the admissions teams get to know you as more than just stats on the page. This is not the time to restate your resume, or go in-depth on the particulars of your work history. It’s not the time to casually introduce yourself, either.
That might seem a bit contradictory. The goal of the personal statement is to showcase the aspects of your personality that make you an attractive candidate. It might take a few drafts before you get something you love, but it’s worth it in the long run.
TOPICS TO CONSIDER WHILE WRITING THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
If you are having difficulties coming up with topic, here are some questions that could help you:
- Why did you select the field of medicine?
- What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
- What do you want medical school to know about that you have not disclosed in other sections of the application?
- What is a time that pushed you out of your comfort zone?
- What is a time you were empathetic towards others?
Take some time to dwell on these topics, then journal about what comes up. While you're doing this, take a look at your resume. Remember, you’re not restating the items on there, but taking a look at it while you journal is a great way of unlocking hidden stories that will help you gain admission to medical school. You’re looking for why you did things, not necessarily the how.
From there, create an extended outline using the themes and topics you discovered while journaling and looking at your past introspectively. Use short sentences, but be thorough. You will be shocked by how much is done already at this point.
Another good idea is to look up personal statements online. This will help you get a feel for how personal statements are written -- the flow, what other topics successful applicants discussed, etc.
As far as the tone of the personal statement, there is a fine line between being arrogant and downplaying your accomplishments. It’s a difficult balancing act, but if you can accomplish it, it will put you into a great place. Think about what you mom would say to her friends when she’s bragging about you to her friends. That’s a great place to start. If this is too difficult for you, try to look at it from the angle of what you learned from these experiences.
THE PERSONAL STATEMENT FORMULA
- Start with a captivating opening statement - Strive for something that makes admission counselors immediately take notice
- Use a lot of descriptive language in the body of your personal statement - The body of the essay is the meat of the personal statement, so don’t squander the goodwill that comes with a well-written opening statement by following it up with a dull body.
- Tie the ending back to your intro - This is a difficult trick to pull off, but when you do it it makes the reader feel like they left the essay with a sense of completion and finality. All stories need an ending, including yours.
Using this formula won’t guarantee you admission into medical school, but it will help you craft a compelling personal statement. And since by the time admission officers are reading your personal statement it will be the only information about you personally, it’s pretty important to the medical school application process.