Clichés to Avoid in the Personal Statement

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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. Marinelli, MedSchoolCoach Director of Advising, about the personal statement if she thought there were any clichés applicants tend to use and ultimately, hinder their chances of being accepted. Read more below and avoid these mistakes!

Dr. Mehta:  Here’s a question, Dr. Marinelli. Are there any clichés to avoid in the personal statement?

Dr. Marinelli:  I think there are; I think a few of them are going to be extrinsic experiences that now looking back as you apply to medical school, you think would convince an admissions committee that you want to go into medicine but in actuality, they didn’t have as big of an impact on you than you may have thought. So, the best example I can think of is somebody saying, “I wanted to be a doctor since I was 5. When I was 5, I broke my ankle and I went to the doctor and he treated me so nicely that ever since then I thought that I want to go into medicine.” And maybe that is your real reason, but we do see that quite often as a cliché in personal statements, and you don’t need to find this reason or this epiphany in your life that really transformed you and made you decide to go into medicine. You can tell your own story even if it’s something along the lines of “I went to college. I explored several options, and then I decided science was great and I started volunteering, getting into community service and then ultimately clinical service, and I found I really liked it and that’s what my path is.” Just be honest. You don’t have to have some, again, defining moment in your life where you decided to be a doctor. Not everybody is going to have that and I think that’s probably the most common cliché that I see.

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