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Friday, July 10, 2009

AMCAS Personal Statement: Delve Deeper

Volumes and volumes have been written on the art of crafting an excellent personal statement. I will not attempt to recreate such works here. However, I will provide you with the tips I give my students and clients.

Start by making a list of the reasons you want to attend medical school. Likely, some of your top reasons will include “I like science” and “I like helping people.” Hopefully, everyone going to medical school has these two motivations. The trick is holding onto these two reasons while delving deeper into why they are true. When writing your list, ask what life experiences prove the reasons you are giving. After writing the list, determine which reason and experience pairs make the strongest argument for why you want to be a physician. This will serve as the basis of your essay. Remember, the list doesn’t have to be fancy or use perfect grammar. You are just sketching out some ideas before starting to write

Here’s an example:

I want to be a physician because:

1. I want to use a team approach to solve problems
- Captain of basketball team that won three league championships
- Showed how efforts of many can achieve great goals

2. I want to use cutting-edge technology to improve lives
- Research assistant with Dr. Buck at Maryland State University
- Saw value of PET scanning as it guided diagnosis and treatment of various cancers

3. I want to work in international health and public policy
- Realized a great passion for international health after a mission trip with church to San Juan Sacatapequez, Guatemala
- Built clinic and trained local nurses in basic sanitary measures
- Volunteered to raise money for Doctors without Borders
- Joined university’s public policy club

Get the point? Every reason for going to medical school has to be backed up with personal experience. The admissions officer who reads the essay (along with hundreds of other essays) may not remember that you want to be a doctor so that you can work in international health. But he will likely remember that you pursued this interest by organizing an aid trip to Indonesia after the tsunami.

Need help delving deeper and creating a unique medical school personal statement?

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