A personal statement is your chance to share your story and sell yourself whether for a job, residency position, admission into medical school, etc. This is my favorite part of the application process—after all, I do love writing. So let’s get into my tips for writing a personal statement!
- Reflect. Reflect on your experiences academically, clinically, and personally. How have they shaped you in your career path? Create a list of these experiences (brainstorming). What traits do you have that you are proud to possess, and how can you incorporate that into your writing? Think about the message you want to convey.
- Share your story. Once you’ve reflected and chosen what you’d like to write about, really understand that this is your time to share your story and who you are. This is what people will read about you and what they will remember about you. So make your message count!
- Find an angle—the hook. You want to have a strong beginning, something that will capture the reader. You don’t want it to be generic. That being said, you don’t want it to be overly flamboyant or flowery.
- End strongly. There’s something so satisfying about a strong ending. Think about it—whether a movie or a book, a strong ending always makes you feel like it was a well thought out story.
- Be truthful and be you. Being personable is the most important tip I can share with you. Share who you are, and don’t make yourself up to be something or someone you are not. Take pride in who you are, and write with the intention of communication something original, something that’s you.
- Don’t wait until the last minute. I don’t believe in time limits or saying that you need to spend “x” amount of time to make sure you have a great statement because it’s going to be different for different people. For example, if I’m in the writing mood, it doesn’t take long for me to write up something I’m passionate about or proud of—maybe 30 minutes or an hour. That being said, it may take someone else days or weeks. However, all of that to say, no one should wait until the last minute. Chances are, it won’t be your highest quality work and quality matters.
- Some things to avoid: Controversial topics, profanity, discussing who or why you don’t like something, grammar/spelling mistakes, commentary like you’re speaking in the third person.
Good luck with writing your personal statement!