Regardless of your pre-med major discipline, you will need to go through the application process for medical school. It is generally agreed that the most critical part of that process will be to write the required medical school admission essay. In this article you will learn the basics of what the process entails and specifically, how to maximize the potential to be accepted into the medical school of your choice.
Understanding how to write a good personal statement for medical school is more than just knowing how to write an essay. The competition is keen, and constructing the essay has very specific limitations you need to pay close attention to. Here are some of the basic things you need to know before begin actual construction of the essay.
- There is a 5300 character maximum, which includes spaces, for the AMCAS application, 5,000 characters for the TMDSAS, and 4,500 characters for the AACOMAS. In the preceding two paragraphs there are 126 spaces and 128 words. It is clear that you need to choose your words carefully while being able to tell your story.
- The essay will be used for every medical school application you submit and sent to every school. A bad or mediocre essay will follow you everywhere.
- When you begin writing your essay it is recommended that you avoid using a word processing program but instead type directly into the window. You should prepare your essay in a word processor, but use it as the “reader” window, not the writing window.
- You will need to set your page layout to a single spaced format using a standard 12 point font and type. If you are using a word processor, the final result will be about one and a half pages in length.
- Once you submit your essay you will not be able to make any changes to your submission. So take your time and keep your hands away from the Enter key and the mouse until you are absolutely certain you are ready to submit it.
- A very solid piece of advice is for you to have three people with very different skill sets to proofread your essay:
Someone who really knows you Someone who really knows a lot about medicine Someone who really knows a lot about English grammar
Finally, it needs to be noted that if you are considering applying to an MD or Ph.D. program, there are two other essays that will be required:
the MD-Ph.D. Essay and the Significant Research Experience essay.
Main Features of the Medical School Personal Statement
When you first see the screen for the medical school application personal statement, it is somewhat disarming. The instruction is: “Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school.” This seems easy enough, until you understand that a generic writing style or impersonal approach will result in your essay being rejected.
The main feature of the essay is properly summed up as your interview in writing. If you have ever been through an actual interview process you already have a good idea of the amount of work that is ahead of you. Here is the summary of what you need to consider in constructing your personal statement for medical school.
- 1. Approach the essay with the mindset that it is generic in one sense, and personal in another. Because the personal statement will accompany every medical school application you cannot tailor it to a specific medical school. It must be general enough to be used everywhere yet personalized in a way that it distinguishes you from the other applicants.
- 2. The key theme for your essay needs to be based on your personal experience(s). This means you will have to write in the first person while keeping the focus on the relationship between yourself and the other person. This is one of the greatest challenges of the medical school essay.
- 3. Use the common writing format of the five point essay. The first paragraph will be the introduction, paragraphs 2 through 4 will be used to tell your story, and the last paragraph will summarize everything. It is essential you ensure that each paragraph is connected and the overall writing naturally flows throughout the essay.
This short list demonstrates the difficulty in writing a good personal statement for medical school because it is not about stringing together sentences, ideas, or paragraphs, or filling in the blanks. If your essay is to be truly unique you will spend a significant amount of time writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading. It is a process that can take weeks or even months.
How to Write a Good Personal Statement for Medical School
From what has already been discussed it should be clear that constructing the essay is more of a process than simply sitting down and writing. Thus, the first thing you need to do is to think before your write. Avoid thinking of the essay as a race to the end but a project that needs to be carefully thought out even before you sit down in front of a keyboard.
Since the medical personal statement essay will be about you as a person, a great starting point is to ask yourself “Who am I?” Answering this one question can take weeks if you have not seriously considered the answer to the question before.
A fact that is commonly known to professional writers is - the shorter the better. The issue of brevity was mentioned earlier in regard to the amount of space you have, but in the actual writing this brings it to another level. The challenge for writers of a personal statement medical school application is to include the critical details of your story while not losing sight of the story and people that are at the heart of your story.
One quality that separates the accepted from the rejected is the accepted find a way to include in their story insight as to how they will contribute to their classes in a unique and meaningful way. In other words, medical schools are not looking for people who will simply go through school with a degree in mind. They look favorable upon students who want to better the medical profession now and in the future.
Creative writing is generally accepted as an important part of the personal statement. Medical professionals are often seen as rather dull, technically focused people which is partially true, but you need to present yourself as an interesting person who can be personable as well as professional. Because this essay is perhaps the most important part of your medical school application, it is perhaps the only chance you will get to show let your personality shine.
If all this seems like a huge challenge you are grounded in reality. There are a number of critical points that require very careful attention. What this means is that you need to honestly evaluate your own writing skills and competencies and decide if you have what it takes to submit an outstanding personal statement. Few students, perhaps those with Professional Writing as a core competency, will be able to create and deliver the personal statement with great confidence. The best alternative is to order your medical school admissions personal statement by working with a reputable and proven business that has many years of experience in this area.