Personal Statement Tips
- Make every word count - communicate an impression and take an innovative approach.
- Brainstorm for ideas.
- Revise and rework your initial essay and all secondary essays.
- Type (rather than handwrite) your personal statements.
Always consider the tone of the essay - you want to highlight your positive attributes.
- Mention your clinical exposure and personal experiences and how they have directly influenced your decision to be a physician - most importantly, share your feelings.
- Use active language, complex sentences, simple sentences, and correct terminology.
- Know your audience and have an understanding of the institution to which you are applying.
- Be proud of your accomplishments.
- Convey your research, leadership, service, and life experiences.
- Demonstrate your integrity, common sense, and your ability to inspire confidence in your colleagues.
- Demonstrate compassion for human beings, overall commitment, and enthusiasm for your future medical pursuits.
- Contextualize your accomplishments.
- Relate your professional goals and your personal goals.
- Talk from your heart.
- Don’t speak in generalities - always answer the “how” and the “why” and use evidence to support your statements.
- Don’t cut and paste your first statement for use in your secondary application.
- Don’t use bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, or make spelling errors - proofread instead!
- Don’t ramble on.
- Don’t make excuses or beg for an interview.
- Don’t harp on the less than stellar qualities of your application - explain any apparent contradictions and move on.
- Don’t forget to do the essay - incompleteness is undesirable.
- Don’t list qualities - illustrate and elucidate specific aspects.
- Don’t swear.
- Don’t employ gimmicks, try to create a great literary piece, or be overly flamboyant - be yourself.
- Don’t restate the scores already listed elsewhere in your application, such as GPA or MCAT results.
- Don’t speak of actions only - speak of feelings too as they are unique to you.
- Don’t overlook the power of the introduction and conclusion.
- Don’t take a non-stop approach to the statement - step away once in a while and come back.
- Don’t forget to have others read your statement and provide you with feedback.
- Don’t blame others or put down other professions.