Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Personal Statement

4/11/2014 - My full personal statement has now been posted. CLICK HERE to read, or go to the "Applying to Medical School" tab to access it and other helpful posts related to the application process. I hope it helps!

I was in full mommy-mode yesterday and didn’t have a chance to post, so here is a second post for today J

When it comes to writing personal statements, I think the advice I hear the most is to answer why medicine and not highlight flaws or any other negative information. It took me a few years to really perfect my personal statement, and I chose to mostly follow my heart when writing it.

The first thing I would say is if you have a low GPA or MCAT score, then absolutely discuss it! While I did not specifically mention any of my low scores, I did bring up the fact that I encountered many obstacles that at times prevented me from doing my best. I went on to mention how these obstacles in retrospect were blessings in disguise, and I highlighted how I benefited from them and grew as an individual. I did not dwell on the negatives, but I did address the fact that I was aware of the issues that may concern admissions committees. It’s also important to make sure that your personal statement reflects you, and that you are not simply trying to please the individuals writing them. Write about what makes you different from other applicants, and about what you can bring to the school and the field of medicine in general.

Answering the “Why Medicine?” question was probably the hardest for me. I have literally wanted to be a physician since childhood, and I didn’t really have that defining moment that so many other people claim to have. I also did not have a compelling story outside of being a single mother. If you do a quick search for personal statements on the internet, you will quickly find stories of people dealing with family illnesses, going on extraordinary medical mission trips, or having other experiences that really put them on the path to wanting to become a physician. I can’t say that this was the case for me. I have always had a desire to serve my fellow man, a fascination with the human body, and a pressing need to be apart of something greater than myself. I also have the obvious reasons that I’m sure everyone else applying to medical school has, so I tried to avoid mentioning those in my personal statement.

Another thing that I should add is that I did mention being a single mother in my personal statement. It was something that I wrestled with, but one of my mentors made a good point. He said that if a school does not like the fact that you are a parent, then you should not want to go there anyway. My child is a major part of my life, and to hide that fact would be doing a disservice to the both of us. If you are a parent, I think it is important to attend a school that will be able to help you achieve a good balance between the two. I’m not saying to only apply to family-friendly schools, but it is good to keep this in mind. There may be times when you will have to miss class due to a sick child or other circumstance, and it would be nice to be attending an institution that is willing to work with you.

I think that is all I have to say about the personal statement aspect of the application cycle. Make sure to make yourself sound awesome, be honest, don’t put up a front, and you should be fine. Also, make sure you get multiple people to read your personal statement for you, because they can offer some very valuable advice. My application is still open so I will not be posting mine just yet, but I plan on doing so sometime after May. Feel free to let me know if I missed anything or if you have any additional questions about writing a personal statement. Until next time!


5 comments:

  1. How long was your personal statement? (# of words)

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    Replies
    1. For AMCAS my PS was 869 words and came out to be 4693 characters with spaces. The max character limit for AMCAS is 5300.

      For AACOMAS, my PS was 790 words and 4485 characters with spaces according to Microsoft Word. On my application, it says that I have 4500 characters which is the max limit for the AACOMAS aaplication.

      As soon as this application cycle closes, I will post my personal statement so that everyone can have some type of example.

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    2. Thank you so much for this. I was just praying and I know that this is my calling. Like you, I am also a single mom and an aspiring D.O. I will keep checking in. God Bless!!!!!

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    3. You're welcome and best of luck to you!

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  2. explore more In this site every step engaged in your previous applications throughout the pre-medical and medical field have been extremely tedious, requiring precise detailing.

    ReplyDelete

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