written by amy wang (peace advisor)
- Brainstorming: There are probably a multitude of experiences you’ve had that have been important in shaping your passions and aspirations. It’s hard to decide which one(s) are best to write about… until you actually translate these thoughts into words. The best thing you can do to get the personal statement ball rolling is just write. Write a lot. Write everything that’s on your mind, even if you think it might be a dumb idea. Even if you feel uninspired, just write something. It will not only help you get into the groove of expressing yourself through words, but you’ll also become a better, more refined writer the more you practice.
- Deciding on an idea: After fleshing out your ideas, it’s time to make a decision on which draft you want to revise and finalize. You could also keep working on all or some of them before making a decision, but in the end, you can only submit one essay! Which one represents yourself most fully and accurately? Which one tells a story in which the reader can clearly understand your motivation to pursue medicine? Which one shows why you would be a good medical student (and eventually, a good doctor)? A question you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about is how to make yourself sound “unique”, because everything has already been said before. You don’t need to be “unique” to get into medical school. Use the passions that you have (even if they are common) to show your genuine desire to pursue medicine. Also, don’t be shy about asking trusted friends, mentors, and professors for a second opinion!
- Revising and finalizing: For me, this step of the process took the most time. It’s helpful to receive feedback from different types of people (i.e. students, professors, health professionals, etc.) since admissions committees are made up of a spectrum of people from different backgrounds. However, it was also important to me that I stay true to myself and not let the differing opinions of many people morph my personal statement into a mutant essay that no longer carried my voice. It’s good to consider other people’s feedback, but don’t take anything too seriously. Do what feels right, whether that means editing something or choosing to keep it the way it is. You want your personal statement to be you.