Welcome to this presentation by Admissions Helpers on writing a
successful personal statement. This is the first of a several part series that will cover
strategies and tips for successfully putting together a personal statement in your application
for medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, or other health professional programs.
First, the purpose of a personal statement. Why do admissions committees require individuals
to write personal statements? Well, it turns out that schools receive many many many applications,
and each applicant is in some way like the next.
They have a GPA, they have a standardized test score (either the MCAT,
the DAT, the PCAT, the GRE). They all have a list of activities that they've
participated in. The personal statement is where you can add some color and flavor to
all that, to those numbers, and that list of activities, and help the admissions committee
know who you are as a person better. It's an opportunity for you to demonstrate
your motivations, show them what is it that drives you and motivates you,
it's also a chance for you to reflect on your experiences. The things that
you've done throughout college, or throughout your pre-med, pre-dental,
or pre-pharmacy career. And it's an important place for you to show
that you understand the profession that you want to embark on. If
you're going to medicine, this is your chance to show that you know what a medical
career involves. Some general points to keep in mind when writing
your personal statement:
Focus on writing a simple, concise, and clear essay. Sometimes, students
try to write poetic, philosophical literary essays that are harder to follow
and lack the necessary content. We encourage you to avoid doing that sort
of thing, and to keep it simple. Keep the language basic, avoid using words
that are difficult to understand or sentence structures that are difficult to
follow. If you're part of a minority and you just
happen to be one of those people who's gifted in writing, then you're welcome
to experiment with different writing styles, but for most of us, it's better
to stick to a more simple and to the point personal statement. You're not receiving
points here for your literary skills, you're receiving points for
your ability to convey your ideas in a concise manner.
Admissions committees as I've mentioned, receive tons and tons of
applications, and they don't have too much time to spend on each person
so it's good to write an essay that's simple, and can be read in just a few
minutes. And again, the audience, the people who are
reading these essays are physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and scientists,
and so the style of reading that they're used to, the style of
writing that they're used to, is one that's simple and to the point. That's another
reason why you should stick to a simple and concise essay.
Moving on, it's important to write your essay yourself. Make sure it's your
own language, and that this language is consistent with the language that
you're going to present yourself with in the interview. And when you write
this essay yourself, when it comes from the heart, it's more personal, it's
more touching, and it tends to have a stronger effect on the reader.
So we encourage you to write your essay yourself, it's OK to get help, in
terms of developing ideas, perhaps even have someone look at it for
grammatical edits, but make sure it's you, and it reflects who you are.
And that concludes the first part of this several part presentation. We will
pick up where we left off in part 2 of this presentation. Thank you