I look forward to continuously learning, innovating, educating, and -- perhaps most important-- touching other peoples’ lives, just as my grandfather did. While the potential of discovery is appealing, I am fascinated by the application of these discoveries to deliver medical treatments to patients. Tremendous despair loomed over us for months, until we made our way to Richmond, Virginia. These exemplary medical school personal statement examples come from our students. Let’s see how an effective essay might begin with her volunteer work as an English tutor: I could feel the sweat rolling down my back as twenty first graders stared at me. Does your narrative sound unique? That summer, my view of doctors changed: I realized they are not only providers of medical knowledge but also of assurance and relief. Some statements take months. Although Hillary was not able to control her father’s alcoholism and I had no immediate solution to her problems, I felt truly fortunate to be able to comfort her with my presence. It has become clear to me that the doctor-patient relationship is not some miracle black box that performs some magic and outputs a healthy patient but rather an opportunity to ease a patient’s suffering in real-time. His wife held back tears as he grimaced and repeatedly referred to “passing on” in muffled tones. In the body of your essay, you essentially want to elaborate on the ideas that you have introduced in your opening paragraph by drawing on your personal experiences to provide evidence. Teaching is a catalyst through which strong relationships can be forged and beneficial outcomes can be achieved. If you see yourself as someone who is committed to community service, and you have a track record of such service, your story should feature this and provide insight into why you care about your community and what you learned from your experiences. That said, your personal statement should include at least one experience directly related to medicine. What was the tone of the essay? The most troubling aspect of her story was the way she was treated by her doctors. Let’s look at some examples to clarify: I endeavored to give her the best care… (giving), This powerlessness I felt inspired me to pursue medicine to help future patients… (inspired), I had volunteered as one-on-one tutor for the past six years, but this was my first time teaching a large group. A warm meal is the way we say, “I love you.” Whenever I get sick, my mother prepares a pot of spicy kimchi (fermented cabbage) soup and barley tea. As you begin drafting your essay, you might find yourself perusing countless personal statement examples online, at your college’s pre-med counseling office, or from friends who applied to med school a year or two ago. A good personal statement should focus on your medical career objectives, your specialty choice and aspirations. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful. The introduction draws you in, making the essay almost impossible to put down, while the conclusion paints a picture of someone who is both passionate and dedicated to the profession. Instead, you've researched what the school desires from its students and what the medical profession prioritizes in terms of personal characteristics, you've sketched out some key moments from your life that exemplify those traits, and you have a detailed outline that just needs filling in. I crave more knowledge to help patients and become more useful in the healthcare sector. No worries. If I’d had an answer at that time, maybe he wouldn’t have been in despair from not knowing. The broader introductory paragraph itself should serve several functions. Being exposed to such unfortunate, yet common problems in healthcare, I found myself rededicated to the field. I am aware that medicine is a constantly changing landscape; however, one thing that has remained steadfast over the years is putting the patient first, and I plan on doing this as a physician. Although pictures and stories of the aftermath compelled me to understand its effects on the community and volunteer, actually building homes and interacting with the locals, like 9 year-old Jermaine, who cried as I held his hand while we unveiled his rebuilt home, taught me that caring for people was as much about lifting spirits as making physical improvements. How? This taught me the importance of a strong doctor-patient relationship in order to have effective treatment. The medical school personal statement can prevent you from getting into a program, but it can also be the biggest reason that you get accepted. I believe this chance is now in front of me. A compelling personal statement demonstrates your written communication skills and highlights your accomplishments, passions, and aspirations. Professionalism is about respect for the experience of others on your team or in your workplace. I began to understand that it was better for people to make changes regarding their health slowly. This author is unique in his excellent command of humor. I should explicitly mention that this event or setting doesn't need to come from a clinical (e.g., shadowing a physician, interacting with a young adult patient at a cancer center, working with children in an international clinic) or research experience (e.g., making a major finding in cancer research during your gap year), although it’s OK if it involves an extracurricular activity directly related to medicine. Despite my small stature, I excelled in hockey and baseball because I was determined to prove that size does not define athletic prowess or leadership ability. You can apply the framework we use in our analysis to evaluate each draft of your personal statement. Working with a student outside of class, I witnessed his excitement after he grasped the role of pH on the conformation of hemoglobin, and how ideal this mechanism was. You want to give yourself as much time as possible to write your statement. Through sports, had I proved that I deserved respect despite my small stature; the reality of having to quit hit me harder than the four head shots combined. I was shocked and elated that someone had actually remembered my lesson from the previous year. Therefore, by demonstrating your qualities, you will come across as more impressive and authenitc to admissions committees. I hope to focus on treating inequalities in my career as a physician. I don't have an “Aha” moment that brought me to medicine, will this hurt my statement? While research is essential and will surely always trigger my curiosity, I want my work to transcend the lab bench. Above all, this experience allowed me to recognize that interactions between a patient plus family and their doctor are more than intermediary vehicles to treatment; they are critical and beneficial in their own right. Again, yes, though the TMDSAS personal statement offers a 5000-character limit vs. 5300 characters for AMCAS and AACOMAS. For more help with your personal statement, grab a copy of my book The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement. This was evident when I led a seminar and week-long immersion trip to New Orleansn to experience and work to improve the environmental and economic climate of the area. While your entire statement is important, the opening sentence can often make or break your statement. Because of this, applicants sometimes begin their essays with a dramatic moment that fails to offer insight into the applicant’s motivations for studying medicine. While I understood diabetes to be a manageable disease in the U.S., I soon came to appreciate the social factors underlying such a prognosis in this part of the world. Due to infants’ inability to express themselves through words, I was intensely curious to dig deeper into their often underestimated knowledge of language. I could sense his relief as he walked out of the clinic, visibly transformed, with the newfound self-confidence that he could care for his health and forge a new life. We collaborated in teams, and by way of the principal investigator’s careful leadership, I learned wherever one falls in terms of rank, each contribution is vital to the outcome. Specifically, I want to continue engaging with patients and helping them through life’s difficult moments—with physical treatment and genuine support. Combining these qualities will allow me to succeed as a physician. Because you should be aiming for depth over breadth (remember, you’re working with a 5,300-character limit; 4,500 characters for D.O. I understood that to confront the health disparities I witnessed in New York in the most tangible way possible, I would need to focus my efforts such that the clinic functions as a classroom. Patient, assumes responsibility, flexible (e.g., “I realized the students weren’t wholly responsible for the disconnect. Perhaps as a physician I could minimize the feeling of suffering, despair, and helplessness that was present in that room. It is very important to address these strategically. If you’re an applicant on the borderline, you may not get in at all. Although I did not enjoy memorization without understanding, these practices taught me to be self-disciplined, which benefitted me when I decided to grasp my chance to come to America alone in the ninth grade. Returning to the introductory paragraph with Felipa from example 1, we can see that the typical introduction “tells” about the applicant’s qualities, whereas the standout paragraph “shows” the applicant’s qualities. Nevertheless, the goals for this paragraph—transition to medicine, describe at a high level what draws them to medicine, set up later stories about problem solving—are clearly achieved. Unfortunately, common language does not necessitate perfect communication. 3. The first time we met, he told me “You are powerless!” Although I knew he was probably under the influence of medication, I still could not imagine how helpless he must have felt to say this. My initial attraction to medicine during high school came from my inquisitive nature, a desire to solve puzzles. I learned from him the importance of scientific knowledge as well as emotional intelligence in delivering outstanding care. I didn’t consider pursuing medicine until my senior year of high school. Medicine is the only path I truly desire because it satisfies my curiosity about the human body and it allows me to directly interact with patients. If you're wondering whether a medical school advisor can help you with your medical school application, check out our blog for the answer. We cover similarities and differences between AMCAS and AACOMAS personal statements in detail in our MD vs. DO guide. On my last day, her parents gave me a heart-felt thank you. Note that this is a riskier approach and most applicants should avoid humor. Try only a few main points that will carry over into the final draft. Even the detail about cradling the boy highlights their earlier efforts in building trust with the family. Whereas Applicant 1 makes a general claim about running, Applicant 2 draws on a specific, personal example by connecting his sister’s running habit to her holistic health. Therefore, I wanted to support her as much as my ESL teachers and classmates had supported me. I’m not a doctor yet, but I know that I’ve just barely scraped the tip of the “preventative medicine” iceberg. Make them see you as a stand out from the crowd. Yes, for the most part. That night, as I waited for her to recover, I reflected on my own instinct, which allowed me to stay calm during an emergency and prioritize someone else’s life. Upon reviewing this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to go from having no topic ideas to producing a personal, meaningful, and polished essay. So, when I rethink “why medicine?”, I know it’s for me – because it is a holistic discipline, because it demands all of me, because I am ready to absorb the fascinating knowledge and science that dictates human life, and engage with humanity in a way no other profession allows for. It’s essential that you stand out from the crowd! I replied, “veins have valves and valve problems could lead to ulcers.” Dr. Steel smiled, “you’re right, but it doesn’t end there!” Medicine is not disconnected; it is not about interventional cardiology or orthopedic surgery. My family and friends have reviewed my statement and think it's great, why should I consider having a professional review my statement? His battle with depression and his struggle to control his diabetes steered me toward a career that allowed a more direct involvement in treatment: medicine. The paragraph also ends with a strong “hook.” The admissions reader is left wondering how the meeting with the boy and his mother went, so they will continue to read attentively. I tried to help by steering the conversation towards his family, but it didn’t work. I still go to the center every weekend and I’m enjoying it more than ever. In other words, this paragraph isn’t really about the boy and his mother, but rather how the applicant prepped for their meeting with them. Beyond describing their early interest in medicine (i.e., “Ever since my middle school robotics days when a surgeon invited us to LAC+USC Medical Center…” there is little demonstration of qualities here. This has shown me the importance of remaining calm and projecting calmness in order to provide a necessary support system for those struggling medically. Mr. Step 2: When or where have you demonstrated these qualities? Admissions committees will be interested by your unique traits, not the look of your clothes. Because of the old hospital building, there was little privacy in our room, and we couldn’t help but listen-in during rounds, learning the medical details, becoming “experts” in our four distinct cases. It is advised that you allow yourself at least six months of writing and revision to … Before I became a teaching assistant, it was hard for me to actively engage in conversations. Nonetheless, I looked for opportunities to get research experience and patient interaction. My desire to be doctor as a young person was not misguided, but simply naïve. To gain a better understanding of the disease, I spent time at my supervisor’s clinic interacting with infants who suffer from Infantile Spasms. If you can say it in plain, accessible language, then this is what you should do. As our brains process information differently, depending on whether we're taking in visual or auditory information, this can also help you understand where the connections between ideas aren't as evident as you would like. Those physicians gave me more than just my little sister, they gave me the determination and focus needed to succeed in the medical field, and for that, I am forever grateful. In fact, including other characters in your statement reminds the admission committee that you have had a positive impact on other people. Evidently, the mothers did not trust the doctors to admit something so private. I had always known that healthy eating was important but I had never thought it was that important. the medical school personal statement the specifics. As you identify your areas of focus, always keep the prompt in mind—your personal statement needs to … It was not until my mother and I started adding brown rice and green, leafy vegetables to his diet, that he was able to improve his glucose levels. Click here to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation to ensure you leave nothing to chance. To answer the personal statement prompt more easily, focus again on the question of what you want admissions committees to know about you beyond your numbers and achievements. The thesis of the introduction is that you have certain skills, experiences, and characteristics and that these skills, experiences, and characteristics will lead you to thrive in the field of medicine. For this presentation, I had to condense two years of research into a ten-minute talk for a large audience. “Gunshot wound,” he said. Life is something to cherish; it would not be the same if I did not have one of my four sisters to spend it with. They may refrain from being too critical in an effort to spare your feelings. I did this math as soon as I found out that my older sister had attempted suicide outside of a shopping mall. From my first visit, I could sense that Dr. Sandhofer was a remarkable physician, and a special person. Remember, you will be getting a lot out of your med school experience, but the school will be getting a lot out of you, as well. You can worry about flow, transitions, and perfect grammar in later drafts. They deserve someone who loves the challenge of problem solving and coming up with innovative individualized solutions. Being part of a profession that emphasizes continuous education, and application of knowledge to help people is very rewarding, and I will bring compassion, a hard work ethic and an attitude that is always focused on bettering patient outcomes. Through this placement I met John, a 28-year-old man admitted to the hospital for an exploratory surgery. I attempted to apply this approach while working as a medical scribe in Virginia, where I met a heavily tattooed, muscular patient who apologized for what might be a long visit, as he had not seen a doctor recently. Her friendship, along with those with teachers, classmates, and neighbors, constantly supported and guided me in school. 13. The more I learned about the social determinants of health, the clearer it became that healthcare was inherently social. Travelling around the world has also helped solidify my desire to become a physician. I helped her by listening to her as a fellow student and normalizing her struggles. Major points from the above sample introduction could be: dedication and resilience (practicing cooking for hours, and devoting years to undergraduate studies in human sciences), passion and emotional connection (being able to create something that inspired awe in others, and personally connecting with the work of the grandfather's healthcare team), motivation and drive (being inspired by the role physicians play in their patients' lives, participating in volunteer work and extracurriculars, and an enduring fascination with the field of medicine). These changes, like the ones my dad made, can be overwhelming and require patience. I loved that whoever I was in the larger world, I could enter the safe space of the doctor’s office, and for a moment my concerns were heard and evaluated. I found myself doing the same. Also, they are long and time-consuming to read. I still remember the detailed elements of the compassionate care I observed: doctors holding patients’ hands, listening attentively to their stories, and allowing them to engage in their own medical decisions. I am uncertain about whether I can convey this to my future children so that they may take a less circuitous route to understanding my choice of career, but I do know that my experiences have left me well-prepared for the challenges that await me. Similarly, medicine encompasses more than an understanding of tangible entities such as the science of disease and treatment—to be an excellent physician requires empathy, dedication, curiosity and love of problem solving. Ramirez is located in a food desert, a characteristic of some urban Chicago neighborhoods. In order to have the best chance of success, every part of your application must be stellar. Still, Dr. Sandhofer’s demonstrated concern for me that was just as heartfelt. In your essay, you can include several unique details, including state of origin, country of origin, religion, hobbies, studies and research outside of medicine, creative pursuits, family’s culture, physical appearance, health history, special talents, language abilities, etc. Rather than simply rewriting your résumé in paragraph form, construct your essay around a theme that you can keep returning to. After unsuccessfully pleading for the group’s attention a few times, I realized the students weren’t wholly responsible for the disconnect. Even if it was for only one minute, I hoped the comfort I brought my patients could help them forget about their physical pain and enjoy the last moments of their life; at least, that was what I wanted for my uncle. As I listen to the stories of each family, I can hear the struggle and pain of having to raise children in a neighborhood that lacks affordable healthcare centers and grocery stores. TOP 10 MEDICAL SCHOOL PERSONAL STATEMENT WRITING TIPS. During one of my volunteer experiences with PEDS International, a local charity organization, I met the Ramirez family. I was sitting in a chatter-filled cafeteria with my third-grade classmates, uncertain of how to open the “simple” chocolate milk carton in front of me. As a board member of my school’s Community Health Outreach for nearly two years, I have worked to educate children on a wide variety of relevant medical topics. This “transformation” reflects positively on the applicant because it demonstrates that they can get creative in addressing a difficult situation. The sound of goal horn blared as the opposing team swooped in with another goal. I was thrilled to be a small part of the complex team of specialists providing Rosa’s care. This blindness for mental wellbeing in my society confounded me, so I chose to study it further at UT Austin. Similarly, I commit to constantly learning and teaching others. Of course, this means that writing a great medical school personal statement comes with a lot of pressure. Failing to offer a specific reason for your motivation to become a doctor or a specific way in which you plan to help your patients will make it hard for the admissions committee to see what unique approaches and insights you will bring to medicine. I sensed her anxiety and disinterest in hearing about my research conclusions. Furthermore, through my incessant prying, I have gained invaluable practical knowledge, from why he primarily starts with lisinopril to combat hypertension to what indicates possible ischemia on an EKG to why protein may be found in urine. Every applicant is extraordinary, and so are you. Our medical school professional personal statement writing and editing services are of the highest quality, and we can make your thoughts, ideas and dreams come to life for you. You will be contributing your research efforts to your department, you will be participating in the academic community, and as you go on to become a successful medical professional you will impact the perception of your school's prestige. There are a couple of things wrong with this example. First, in Dr. James' lab, I assisted graduate students in advancing the understanding of copper transportation in a cell. The goal of this article isn’t to allow you to compare your personal statement to the sample we’ve provided. I felt like I was back in my Freshman Spanish class, as he was throwing out phrases such as “Lovenox bridge” and I was having a hard time keeping up and understanding why someone would want their blood to clot slower than normal. 1. If not your changes won't actually make the essay stronger or if it's a very minor change you're thinking of making, then you should likely leave it as is. Even then, you should discuss your poor grades in the "Additional Information" section of your application. The applicant contrasts the chaotic, distracted classroom with the attention and enthusiasm students exhibit after their educational intervention. When the doctor left the room to call his pharmacy, I stayed behind to review his medical history. A common refrain among writing instructors is, never use a $10 word where a $2 word will suffice. I first took an interest in health and wellness through the highs and lows of competitive tennis and rugby. From her list of extracurricular activities, she could choose to write about volunteering as an English tutor or being the lead saxophone player in a campus jazz ensemble. Shows insight and introspection. Because the applicant proved their flexibility in the introduction (i.e., by showing it), they can claim to be flexible here (i.e., by telling it). In summary, the following 5 steps are the basis of what you should take away from this guide. What was their impression of you after reading it? Did it make sense? As an avid musician, I offered to bring the guitar to the family’s home. He had early onset Parkinson’s Disease with dementia that revealed itself with a small tremor when he was in his late twenties. Admissions committees might even offer Felipa an interview instead of you. Indeed, we don’t even read about the applicant or their insights until the seventh sentence. I soon met a Brazilian family who had come to the U.S. seeking a life-changing surgery for their daughter Rosa, a six-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. On the tenth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, my family and I celebrated by making his favorite dish: bulgogi (marinated grilled beef) with a side of rice and pickled vegetables. Did you get involved in medical research? Observing psychiatric patients over time not only shaped my views on doctor-patient interaction and the influence of treatment on a patient's wellbeing but also helped me realize how sociological factors influence the approach a physician will take with a patient. Having fully explored the profession, medicine certainly encompasses my two passions: developing relationships and contributing to scientific discoveries. Remember, you only have 5300 characters to tell you story (or 5000, if you are applying through TMDSAS). I felt completely dependent on others to use the restroom during class or buy lunch in the cafeteria. Remember, you want to highlight as many core competencies across your whole application). the specific question Use the personal comments essays as an opportunity to distinguish you from other applicants. Ultimately, I am committed to becoming a clinical practitioner because I cannot imagine a career without that privilege. Your final statement should not be a simple summary of the things you have discussed. It is my experiences in the hospital that have convinced me that I will find even greater contentment as a physician. This demonstrates a lack of self-awareness and a limited understanding of the social determinants of health. By shadowing Dr. Bard, I discovered a passion for medicine and patient interaction. We helped so many people. Your personal statement should address your own unique story to how you first became interested in medicine and when and how that interest turned to a concrete desire. As daunting as this may seem, this guide lays out a clear path. I began my journey towards a career in medicine with hopes of experiencing such a sense of fulfillment. Focus on activities where you had an impact, even if the activity itself does not seem impressive. Mirrored my sister had begun to look more deeply at the mere age of eleven what I reading. 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