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The Medical School Personal Statement and AMCAS Essay

Today’s guest post is courtesy of MedSchoolCoach. MedSchoolCoach is the US’s leading medical school admissions consulting firm with advisors who are physicians with admissions committee experience utilizing their expertise to help you get into medical school.

Getting started on the med school personal statement

As you make your way through your pre-med education, you should be taking a bit of time to develop your medical school personal statement. While you won’t actually need this until you begin the medical school admission process, you will really benefit from a long period of thought and revision.

Although you get into med school on a long list of factors, including your AMCAS application, GPA, MCAT scores, recommendations, and more, it is the personal statement that gives you the chance to really stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Understand that standing out is more important than ever because medical school admission rates show that less than half of the applicants in the roughly 130 medical schools in the United States are accepted. In fact, in 2008 the rate was 42%! That means that more than half of the pre-med students hoping to get into medical school did not succeed.

Many of these students would have easily met the requirements for medical school admission, submitted their AMCAS app, and even had their medical school interview, but something about their credentials or presentation failed to make the appropriate impression on the admissions boards.

If you ask these groups how to get into medical school, most would hand you their list of medical school admission requirements and then say that the personal statement or AMCAS essay is a major factor.

This is the one medical school admission requirement that lets the student show how often and consistently they succeed in reaching goals, lets them demonstrate their potential as a good doctor and not just a good student, and offers a chance to show the they have developed intellectual ability and critical thinking skills.

The essays can take a wide range of forms, but most are actually structured around two or three of the most common medical school interview sample questions. For instance, the “why” questions such as “why do you want to be a doctor”, “why do you think you are an exceptional candidate for this school?”, or “why do you feel qualified to be a doctor?”

A student who finds themselves struggling to answer any of these questions – whether in person or on paper may want to seek out some help long before that essay is ever due. There are medical school consulting and coaching services that can work with a student to assess their choices and develop action plans that give them better chances for getting into the schools they want to attend.

Here are some basic tips for writing a great medical school personal statement:

Sell Yourself

Your main goal is to sell yourself to the medical school, but do so in a way that is not arrogant. You must strike a balance between selling them on yourself as an applicant and not sounding cocky or pompous. The mistake people often make is that they think selling themselves involves listing grades and honors. It doesn’t (see Chapter 3). Rather, it involves telling the reader about you as a person. Remember, the admissions committee already knows how you look on paper, they now want to know who you are. This is the place in your application where you have freedom.  You can be humorous, you can be serious or you can be philosophical. The key is to just be yourself. Let your personality shine through.

Tell Them Why You Want To Go Into Medicine

The second goal for the personal statement is to tell the committee why you want to go into medicine. The committee needs to see your passion for medicine. While wheeling around patients while volunteering shows them something, this is your chance to really tell them why you want to go into medicine.

Keep It Readable

You will also want to keep your personal statement to a readable length and writing style. Trying to use large words and convoluted sentences to make the personal sound more impressive will only lead the reader to put the paper down.

Make It Interesting

Perhaps the most important goal of all though is to keep the personal statement interesting. Your personal statement needs to be one that keeps the readers interest throughout. Remember, medical schools admissions committees are reading hundreds of these essays. You want yours to stand out in a good way. Writing a generic personal statement may not get your rejected, but it certainly will not get you into medical school.

SUMMARY: The medical school personal statement is one of the most important factors in getting into medical school after your GPA and MCAT.


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