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Five Tips for the Med School Personal Statement

1) Show, don’t tell. Infuse the personal statement with your personality and perspective – it’s one of your best chances, aside from the interview, to show the admissions committee who you are as a person and how you can contribute to their medical school class.

2) Your personal statement is not your resume. Avoid parroting back your extracurricular activities, or listing all of your accomplishments. Remember that the admissions committee already has access to your application and resume – the personal statement is an opportunity to demonstrate your journey and passion for medicine, not repeating redundant information that can already be found elsewhere in your application.

3) Avoid cliches. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was four” sounds contrived and dramatic, unless you have something solid to back it up with (shadowing experience at the age of three?). “I want to save lives” has a similarly overused ring. It’s okay to mention these things, but try to reinforce them with your own unique experience and flavor.

4) Your personal statement should not read like a manual. Stay away from the thesaurus and obscure, pretentious vocabulary terms. Try to avoid sounding too formal – if your personal statement starts sounding like an instruction book, it’s time to make some changes.

5) Be yourself. Medical school admissions committees don’t expect every applicant to have lived a jet-setting life, winning Nobel Prizes and helping to save third-world countries in their free time. Your personal statement is about YOU, and no one else. Tell your own story without worrying about whether it’s “too ordinary” or “not special enough.” Be confident in yourself, your journey, and what you have to offer.