Medicine Personal Statement Tips
A great personal statement is a crucial element in your application to study medicine. Unlike many other degrees, grades and entrance exams alone are simply not enough. Medicine involves more than academic knowledge and utilises many skills and qualities that you will need to demonstrate, as discussed in more detail below. Medicine is a long degree and often involves even longer training programmes for those interested in specialities. This means motivation, dedication and an awareness of the challenges you will face is critical. Your personal statement will need to strike the balance between ticking the boxes and telling the reader why you possess these skills and abilities, and making it unique and memorable to allow you stand out from the crowd. In a sea of academically successful applicants, this is your chance to prove that you have more to offer than your exam grades and academic intelligence.
Start by considering all the key qualities that lend themselves to a career in medicine. This may include: communication skills, capacity for intense and challenging work, problem solving, empathy, honesty, ethical awareness, teamwork and leadership abilities.
Write down all your individual examples for how you’ve developed and/or demonstrated these skills and qualities. Things may fall under multiple categories eg. Your involvement in the regional water polo team can show your commitment, communication skills and team working abilities.
Show, don’t tell. Always demonstrate the quality through an experience. Never simply state that you are ‘a good leader’ if you can’t back it up with evidence!
The best examples are ones where you don’t need to explicitly use the word of the quality you are demonstrating - because you have shown it so well in your story! Eg instead of stating that a difficult situation taught you compassion, tell the story of how you felt, how the experience impacted you, what you learnt about yourself etc. Draw the reader in!
Examples don’t need to be clinical. These are often less likely to stand out and may be less personal and unique. Your reader will remember your enthusiasm for beekeeping much more than they will remember endless repetitive stories about your work experience at the local GP surgery.
Make your motivation individual and personal, whilst keeping it authentic. The age old question of ‘why medicine?’ underpins your statement but don’t feel the pressure to have had an ‘aha’ moment. This is unrealistic for many! Whether you’ve always known you wanted to be a doctor, you’ve slowly developed this interest through your experiences or you did have a lightbulb moment - tell your story.
Honesty. This goes along with my previous point about authenticity. Don’t fall into the trap of making things up in an attempt to impress. The truth will often be obvious at interview stage, and honesty and integrity are key traits in those entering into the medical profession that interviewers will be looking for.
A career in medicine isn’t sunshine and rainbows. Show that you appreciate the realities of being a doctor and the challenges you will face. Think about the skills you have developed to cope and manage with the difficult parts.
Start writing your personal statement early. Do little bits at a time, coming back to it regularly. This will allow you to read it with a fresh pair of eyes and gradually chip away at it. Once you’re happy with your first draft - send it to friends, family members or sign up for my personal statement review service! Get as much feedback as you can.
Make it readable. Have a clear structure, good grammar and accurate spelling.
Closing the piece. In your conclusion you should reiterate your best qualities (that you have already shown in your statement), summarise your perspectives gained from your experiences and reinforce your passion for medicine. The best essays will also tie in with their introductory paragraphs story and “close the loop”.
What tutoring and support can I offer?
With experience in writing Medicine Personal Statements and with assessing them from an admission perspective, I can help you impress the reader and get you to interview stage.
Remember, all strong candidates have great grades. All have done work experience and most likely been involved in extra-curricular activities. I can help you shine through your statement and ensure you stick out from the crowd, for all the right reasons!
What is essential and what can be cut, in such a short piece of writing, every word counts.
Structure, spelling and grammar to make the reading experience enjoyable and easy for the admissions tutors.
Showcase your best achievements and utilise them in conveying your suitability to this vocation.
Ensuring it represents a realistic understanding of a career in medicine and the challenges you will face.
Questions you may be asked in interview in relation to your content and experiences included