The Personal Statement: How Early Should You Start?

During our recent MedSchoolCoach webinar, “Establishing Your Brand: How to be Unique When Applying to Medical School”, Dr. Mehta, CEO of MedSchoolCoach, spoke with Dr. Katzen, MedSchoolCoach Master Advisor and previous admissions committee member at GWU, about the recommended timeline for personal statements. Read more below about when to get started with your personal statement!

Dr. Mehta:  How early do you usually recommend your applicants get started on the personal statement, Dr. Katzen?

Dr. Katzen:  You know, each individual writes differently. Some can write fairly spontaneously and some need to think about it for a while. The primary application is quite an endeavor to undertake and I certainly think that the personal statement is one of the more challenging parts. I’d like to see people who know they’re going to apply begin to work on it in December. By the end of January, or beginning of February, they should have a completed the essay and be at the point where they can give it to several people to read and give their opinions on. With this timeline, they can begin to think about revising it and prepare other parts of the application before it becomes live in the beginning of May.

I think some people do have the ability to sit down and write, but I think most people need to think about it, maybe need to create an outline, start with bullet points and just consider the points that Dr. Marinelli made a little while ago, which is what it is you’re going to get across about yourself in the application. You have to realize it has to have a flow and there has to be a connection from the beginning to the end.

So, it’s probably one of the more difficult essays that you will encounter. I’m one that likes to do things in advance, so I advise people to get started on it by December or January if they know they’re going to be applying in May or June.

Want some tips on writing a personal statement that will make you stand out? Check out “Applying to Med School: The Importance of a Personal Statement”.