The Personal Statement is easily the most important document in the medical admissions process, it is your opportunity to ‘sell yourself’ to the universities. It can be very tricky, it takes many, many drafts to get perfect and even then you may think, it could be better.
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- Don’t leave it to the last minute, ensure you still have minimum 2 weeks after you have your final draft.
Trust me, the final draft has the most tweaks.
- Link in your own experiences rather than generalising, it will definitely make you stand out.
e.g. If you mention that you’re a caring person, link it with an experience such as your work in a care home.
- Use effective words, so the reader can feel your passion and enthusiasm for medicine.
For example, “Dementia is one of the most intricate neurological conditions, as a result, I researched it in my EPQ” and, “Dementia has proved to be a key factor towards my fascination for medicine and has inspired my EPQ, entitled….” There is a key difference between the way the two sentences are phrased.
- Whilst trying to be thorough, also try to keep it clear and concise, you don’t want to waffle as the admissions tutors will just skim read the jargon, which means you have wasted precious characters.
- Although using synonyms may make you sound like Shakespeare himself, I’d refrain from it because you don’t want to use the wrong word…awkward.
- Ensure that you do not come across snobby and full of yourself because you will get turned away straight up, even still show yourself off.
Don’t act like you have the skill of integrity and you are caring, like say rather you’re developing these skills. Remember a career in medicine is all about learning and constantly improving yourself.
- A beautiful way is to make your personal statement have a smooth transition from one topic to another.
For example, if you talk about medical roles in your introduction. You can then mention that you shadowed a multitude of roles within medicine. After all it’s better if it read well rather than jumping from place to place with no order.
- Get some healthcare professionals, such as your GP to read over it. Although they may not have much experience in the medical admissions process, they are very intelligent and can correct any incorrect scientific terminology.
- Although this is not essential, it will be very unique. If you can keep a sort of theme in your personal statement it will look very appealing.
For example, my own personal statement was based around Dementia, from work experience, charity work to further reading and studying. This is good as when admissions tutors discuss personal statements, they’ll be like ‘the dementia one’ and there you go, you already stand out from the rest.
Introduction: Remember that the first line the admissions tutors will read will determine the ‘first impression’. This is easily the hardest part, so stick with one and get writing the rest of you PS as a perfect opening statement can easily take a few days (seriously).
You could include things like, why you want to be a doctor, why does medicine appeal to you, why medicine etc, sound motivated!
Don’t be too cliché.
Try to avoid things such as: “My father suffered from such and such disease” or “Medicine has fascinated me since I was young.”
Sound motivated and very enthusiastic to study medicine. Or even start it truthfully about how applying to medicine has been difficult.
Work Experience and Volunteering: This is a very important section to get right. It is your time to show that you have explored medicine and are inspired by the roles of those professionals you have shadowed. It is important to reflect on what you have learned in these experiences and how this has influenced your decision.
Good things to mention about your work experience include:
Strong Communication – A GP being able to deliver sad news to a patient, reassuring a patient etc.
Teamwork – The Multi-disciplinary approach in a hospital
Empathy – The doctors taking the time to listen to and understand patients, especially in a care home
The key skills of the doctor, nurses and healthcare professionals - Such as integrity, professionalism, respectfulness, and confidence.
It is better to reflect on 2 or 3 points rather than list the plethora of experiences you’ve had. Try not to use too much scientific terminology, as remember medical professionals will be reading it so make sure you are using the correct words otherwise you’ll make a fool of yourself. Follow this all with a reflection on how these experiences have shaped you and how they have improved you.
Further work and Extracurricular: This is your time to shine and show the university how YOU are perfect for the course. How suitable of a medical student you are.
You can include your work on the EPQ (if applicable). Keep it short and talk about what you learned, how your subject choice has further fascinated you. Additionally, how the independent study has developed your skills, skills which are perfect for university life, such as organisation and time management.
Talk about any achievements, awards. Don’t just list them, express how humbled you are and how grateful you are. What does the achievement show about you? Another chance to display what qualities you have. Hard worker? Team player? Leader?
Lastly is your sporting and leisure activities, ENSURE you mention how it helps you de-stress and yet again another opportunity to talk about team skills and how you can remain calm in difficult situations, that you are social and proactive.
Conclusion: Summarise your entire personal statement, how your experiences have shaped and built on you as a person. Express your motivation and love to study medicine.
Again, it is easy to be cliché, if you end on a powerful and effective note, you will easily stand out from the crowd as the reader will be thinking of you.