Personal statement essays vary widely depending on the program and specific institution that you’re applying to. The program relates to the type of school. For example, personal statement for college and universities are quite different from personal statements or statements of purpose for MBA programs and graduate schools, which are also different from personal statements you use for law school and medical school. However, they all share certain commonalities and that’s where our discussion on the basics of medical school personal statement essays begins.
All these application essays for academic studies seek to answer the same fundamental question, “Why should we admit you instead of another person that is competing for the spot you are applying for?” It’s really that basic. All the application packages’ questions lead to that fundamental question. So, the sooner you get your mind around the central concept, the better it is going to be for you. Every word that you put on your application essay must lead to answering that fundamental question. Of course, you still have to answer the specific question that the application package asks for, but the underlying question never changes. So, it’s important to establish this point first – that when you are writing your medical personal statement, you are zeroing in on personal qualifications, personal qualities, and personal information that would set you apart from the competition. If you don’t do this, you are at a severe disadvantage. If you treat your admission essay as an extended resume, you are just basically shooting yourself in the foot. If you look at your medical school statement of purpose as written out or extended version of your curriculum vitae, you are truly missing the point. If the admissions committee wanted to see your numbers, your grades, and test scores, they can do that easily. Remember, part of the package that you send in the admissions process is your transcript. They’re not interested in the numbers. The reason they ask for an essay portion of the application package is to get a clear idea of who you are as a person. What do you bring to the table? What viewpoints, temperament, personality, hopes, aspirations, and future potential do you present as a medical student in their academic institution? You have to keep in mind that they can give the admission slot to anybody. The question is why should they give it to you? This is the overarching question that should inform your essay writing. Everything else pales in comparison. It’s all about hitting that point over and over again with different information, only you hammer home your key personal advantages and distinctions.
Now that we have that out of the way, the basics of medical personal statement essay are as follows:
- Answer the question.
Each and every essay package asks a question. Don’t stray away from the boundary set by the question. This is a fatal mistake that many applicants commit time and time again. Some institutions allow you to be as wide-ranging as you can. Others ask a tightly-focused question. This question tests your ability to follow instructions, as well as your reading and comprehension ability. So, it’s very important that you stick to the question.
- Each essay must have an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion.
The introduction lays out what you will be talking about. It basically frames the attention of the reader so that they can easily get what the essay is going to be about. The body, of course, lays out your arguments as to why they should admit you instead of another person. Sure, this is going to be couched in such a way that it addresses the peculiarities and the particular requirements of the question asked by the essay package but at the end of the process, it’s all about why should they pick you instead of another person. Finally, the conclusion should be not just a restatement of the stuff that you said before. That would be a weak conclusion. Summarizes what your argumentation is but makes it very pungent and pointed. This is another key point that many medical school applicants fail to achieve because they write extremely weak conclusions. Hence, it’s very important that your conclusion finishes strongly so you can get in the head of the person reading your medical school personal statement essay.
This guest post was written by academic blogger Chris Walker, he specializes in writing personal statement examples