Personal Statements

The application process for virtually all healthcare careers requires that you write a personal statement as part of your application.  This is your opportunity to describe your strengths, your passion for the career and your experiences. Writing the personal statement can be challenging, but it is your primary opportunity to "speak" to the admissions committees before the interview process. You need to advocate for yourself and explain who you are beyond a GPA and standardized test results.  This is your chance to convince the admissions committees that you deserve an interview!  The information below is a provided to get you started and we have also created a more detailed tutorial to help, which can be found here (insert link)

  • Getting Started

    Choose a FOCUS/THEME:

    When deciding what to write, you want to choose a focus that will flow throughout the essay and unite the ideas that you are presenting.  This will help you organize your thoughts and will make you memorable.  It also helps to stop you from simply listing all of your activities in chronological order  (which will be done on other parts of your application.  To choose a focus, you need to think about the events in your life that had meaning to you, aspects of your personality that are important to who you are, connections between different aspects or your life, pivotal steps on your path to medicine, etc.  For example, one student's life and personality may have been defined by his ability to overcome obstacles in life, another student's life may have been shaped by a sport and all of the things that can be learned through athletics, yet another student may feel that the theme of determination/persistence best describes her life.  Starting with this theme, each student can then describe how this theme was shaped by life experiences and how this theme drives a passion for medicine.  More information on this is provided in the tutorial (insert link).

    Themes to avoid:
    • "I am a victim": although you may have had difficult experiences in life, admissions committees are much more interested in candidates who have overcome these difficulties than those who have let those difficulties define them.
    • Negativity: No one wants to spend time with those who constantly complain or blame others.  Never state that you want to be a doctor/PA/dentist/etc. because you have experienced bad ones.  Using negativity as the basis for your career is never a good idea
    • "I have always wanted to be a ......": Admissions committees are a bit wary of those who have only ever considered one career and have not given a great deal of thought about this decision.  Although you may have been interested in this career for a long time, hopefully, you have also pursued other potential careers along the way!

     

  • Tips for Writing
    • Start early
    • Edit often. No one ever writes a great essay on their first try. Have multiple people read your essay and provide feedback.
    • Have confidence in your abilities and make the committees aware of your strengths.
    • Be careful of typos and formatting errors that can occur when you import your statement into        the application service software.
    • Be interesting. Include specific events and stories with details to engage the reader.  A reader         who is interested and engaged is far more likely to remember you.
    • Don't use names to try to show the important people you know.  This essay is all about YOU, not who you know.
    • Don't repeat information that is found elsewhere in your application
    • Create smooth transition from one idea to the next.
    • Don't focus on your minor weaknesses.
    • Avoid telling the reader what the healthcare field is like.  They already know that, they want to know about YOU

     

  • Sample Personal Essays
  • Help with Writing Personal Statements

    To get help with writing personal statements, first view the tutorial (insert link) and then set up an appointment with either Frank Skufca or Dr. Ginger Fisher.