- May 2, 2011
- Posted by: Sahil Mehta
- Category: Applying
The AMCAS personal statement is just one part of your entire medical school application, but a very crucial part. Your GPA, MCAT, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and interview make up the rest. However, the important thing to remember is that the medical school personal statement is one of the most important parts of your application.
The AMCAS personal statement is often the most difficult part of any application. You are likely nervous, and you may have already hit writer’s block before the first words are typed. Do not worry, you are not alone! Almost everyone who has applied to a college, a graduate school or a residency knows the feeling. You will claw at your brain figuring out a way to write something, anything, about the person you stare at in the mirror every morning. You will wonder how anyone could write a piece about themselves, yet come across as modest and likeable. You will struggle, and you will falter. But with a lot of hard work, and with the help of others, you will succeed in the end.
This short article will guide you through the steps needed to write a great personal statement/essay. There are many variations on the subjects and techniques covered here, but we hope you can use this as a starting point. Follow the points in this article and you will be on your way to writing a great medical school essay. You can also check out MedSchoolCoach’s Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement for more help and information.
How is the Medical School Personal Statement Used by Admissions Committees?
The medical school personal statement is just one part of your entire medical school application, but a crucial part. Your GPA, MCAT, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and interview make up the rest. However, the important thing to remember is that the personal statement is one of the most important parts of your application. This is not something that school’s toss to the side. This piece of work will be read over multiple times during the admissions process by a large variety of people involved in the admissions process.
Your personal statement can get you in, or leave your out, of medical school. A great medical school personal statement can set you apart from your peers. Many applicants are coming in with similar MCAT scores and GPAs, so the deciding factor is intangibles like the personal statement.
As an example, take a student with an MCAT score between 30-32 and a GPA between 3.40-3.59
The acceptance rate into a US MD school for this student is 57%
What separates the half that was accepted from the half that wasn’t? One of the factors is the medical school personal statement. A strong medical school personal statement can really make a huge difference in getting accepted and rejected.
Just as a strong personal statement can get you in, a poor personal statement/essay can quickly eliminate you from the mix. When a medical school committee has a few hundred applicants, seeing typos, spelling mistakes or bad content will quickly move you to the bottom of the pile. The personal statement is a quick way to “weed out” similar applicants. With two similar applications, the personal statement can decide who gets an interview and who does not.
As mentioned, this part of your application can be used to decide whether a school wants to invite you for an interview or not. Schools only accept students who have been invited for interviews, so getting to this step is a huge part of the process.
The Interview Starting Point
The personal statement is also the starting point for many interview discussions and questions. When committee members sit down to interview an applicant, they often have just a few minutes to skim the application. Your personal statement/essay provides the perfect amount of information for them. They can pick out a few key points and use it as the starting ground for your interview. If this is the only part of the application that they may read, you need to make it perfect.
Goals of the Medical School Personal Statement
With the information about how the personal statement is used by medical school admissions committees in mind, we will now look at what some of your goals for the personal statement should be.
Your main goal is to sell yourself to the medical school, but do so in a way that is not arrogant. You must strike a balance between selling them on yourself as an applicant and not sounding cocky or pompous. The mistake people often make is that they think selling themselves involves listing grades and honors. It does not. Rather, it involves telling the reader about you as a person. Remember, the admissions committee already knows how you look on paper, they now want to know who you are. This is the place in your application where you have freedom. You can be humorous, you can be serious, or you can be philosophical. The key is to just be yourself. Let your personality shine through.
Tell Them Why You Want To Go Into Medicine
The second goal for the personal statement is to tell the committee why you want to go into medicine. The committee needs to see your passion for medicine. While wheeling around patients while volunteering shows them something, this is your chance to really tell them why you want to go into medicine.
Keep It Readable
You will also want to keep your personal statement/essay to a readable length and writing style. Trying to use large words and convoluted sentences to make the personal sound more impressive will only lead the reader to put the paper down.
Make It Interesting
Perhaps the most important goal of all though is to keep your essay interesting. Your personal statement needs to be one that keeps the readers interest throughout. Remember, medical schools admissions committees are reading hundreds of these essays. You want yours to stand out in a good way. Writing a generic medical school personal statement or essay may not get your rejected, but it certainly will not get you into medical school.
Interested in learning more about how to make your AMCAS personal statement stand out? Visit http://www.medschoolcoach.com/our-services/personal-statement-editing-2/