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Medical School-Personal Statement

As with most applications into any higher level of education, medical school requires the creation of a personal statement to be submitted along with the general application, transcripts and recommendation letters. The personal statement is the first chance any interested medical school students typically have to present themselves as more than just an application and test score.

About the Essay

Prior to writing your personal statement, you should take time to plan it out; take notes, sketch out ideas, brainstorm possible topics and relevant information.

When you begin writing, keep in mind some general rules for focus and style. Above all else, stay focused on your topic. Explain your idea and give relevant examples to what you are trying to say. Make sure the topic you have chosen focuses on why you have a passion for the medical field; even if the experiences you choose to describe are not directly related to medicine, be sure to describe how the skills and qualities shown reflect your ability in the medical field. Be unique and original with your ideas; don't simply choose a topic because you believe it is what the admissions office is looking to hear.

Be aware of specific guidelines that may be listed for the personal statement's style; if it asks for certain margins, font size, font style and word count, make sure you stick to what it asks. Keep your statement brief; even if the rules do not have a specific word limit, try to keep your language simple and easy to understand. Don't use excessively descriptive or confusing words.

What to Include

When filling out an application to medical school, the personal statement is unique in the sense of the freedom to create your own basis for the piece. Unlike most university application statements, the medical school personal statement does not provide specific prompts to which one should respond. Instead there may be several general topics to consider and assist in the writing process. One of the biggest suggestions when deciding on a focal point is to make sure the topic shows a desire toward the pursuit of medicine and reasoning to appeal as a future medical school candidate. Do not simply choose a topic based on whether you believe it will impress the admissions office. Your personal statement should reflect personal growth and learning experiences.

Once a focus has been decided upon, the information included in the personal statement should be creative and original. This means that you should not simply rewrite your resume and list of life experiences provided in the application history. Try to choose experiences and qualities that reflect the desire to pursue a career in medicine; the statement should show your ability to expand upon your life beyond listed education and experience. Show that you have gone above and beyond the requirements for entry into the field of study. One of the most important features that the personal statement provides any candidate is the opportunity to describe a questionable mark on your record: low grades, time off, change of focus in the field. While keeping it brief, this statement can allow you to explain a "rough patch" in your career or educational background before you may get dismissed based on an unfortunate circumstance.

There are many mistakes that can be made that may seem simple and common sense, but can affect the outcome of the final decision for medical school acceptance. Though the personal statement should be an area to describe experiences and provide supporting information, it should be kept brief. Try to exclude any unnecessary information or excessive, descriptive wording. Don't be too self-congratulatory or self-devaluing; make yourself seem down to earth while standing out with a unique skill or aspect.

A personal statement should provide the "personal touch" to an application; it should describe who you are, using relevant experiences and information to illuminate your passion for pursuing a career in the medical field. Your personal statement should reflect personal growth and learning experiences.

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