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Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

Featured Admissions Expert: Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

These 30 exemplary medical school personal statement examples come from our students who enrolled in one of our application review programs. Most of these examples led to multiple acceptance for our students. For instance, the first example got our student accepted into SIX medical schools. Here's what you'll find in this article: We'll first go over 30 medical school personal statement samples, then we'll provide you a step-by-step guide for composing your own outstanding statement from scratch. If you follow this strategy, you're going to have a stellar statement whether you apply to the most competitive or the easiest medical schools to get into .

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Article Contents 36 min read

Stellar medical school personal statement examples that got multiple acceptances, medical school personal statement example #1.

I made my way to Hillary’s house after hearing about her alcoholic father’s incarceration. Seeing her tearfulness and at a loss for words, I took her hand and held it, hoping to make things more bearable. She squeezed back gently in reply, “thank you.” My silent gesture seemed to confer a soundless message of comfort, encouragement and support.

Through mentoring, I have developed meaningful relationships with individuals of all ages, including seven-year-old Hillary. Many of my mentees come from disadvantaged backgrounds; working with them has challenged me to become more understanding and compassionate. Although Hillary was not able to control her father’s alcoholism and I had no immediate solution to her problems, I felt truly fortunate to be able to comfort her with my presence. Though not always tangible, my small victories, such as the support I offered Hillary, hold great personal meaning. Similarly, medicine encompasses more than an understanding of tangible entities such as the science of disease and treatment—to be an excellent physician requires empathy, dedication, curiosity and love of problem solving. These are skills I have developed through my experiences both teaching and shadowing inspiring physicians.

Medicine encompasses more than hard science. My experience as a teaching assistant nurtured my passion for medicine; I found that helping students required more than knowledge of organic chemistry. Rather, I was only able to address their difficulties when I sought out their underlying fears and feelings. One student, Azra, struggled despite regularly attending office hours. She approached me, asking for help. As we worked together, I noticed that her frustration stemmed from how intimidated she was by problems. I helped her by listening to her as a fellow student and normalizing her struggles. “I remember doing badly on my first organic chem test, despite studying really hard,” I said to Azra while working on a problem. “Really? You’re a TA, shouldn’t you be perfect?” I looked up and explained that I had improved my grades through hard work. I could tell she instantly felt more hopeful, she said, “If you could do it, then I can too!” When she passed, receiving a B+;I felt as if I had passed too. That B+ meant so much: it was a tangible result of Azra’s hard work, but it was also symbol of our dedication to one another and the bond we forged working together.

My passion for teaching others and sharing knowledge emanates from my curiosity and love for learning. My shadowing experiences in particular have stimulated my curiosity and desire to learn more about the world around me. How does platelet rich plasma stimulate tissue growth? How does diabetes affect the proximal convoluted tubule? My questions never stopped. I wanted to know everything and it felt very satisfying to apply my knowledge to clinical problems.

Shadowing physicians further taught me that medicine not only fuels my curiosity; it also challenges my problem solving skills. I enjoy the connections found in medicine, how things learned in one area can aid in coming up with a solution in another. For instance, while shadowing Dr. Steel I was asked, “What causes varicose veins and what are the complications?” I thought to myself, what could it be? I knew that veins have valves and thought back to my shadowing experience with Dr. Smith in the operating room. She had amputated a patient’s foot due to ulcers obstructing the venous circulation. I replied, “veins have valves and valve problems could lead to ulcers.” Dr. Steel smiled, “you’re right, but it doesn’t end there!” Medicine is not disconnected; it is not about interventional cardiology or orthopedic surgery. In fact, medicine is intertwined and collaborative. The ability to gather knowledge from many specialties and put seemingly distinct concepts together to form a coherent picture truly attracts me to medicine.

It is hard to separate science from medicine; in fact, medicine is science. However, medicine is also about people—their feelings, struggles and concerns. Humans are not pre-programmed robots that all face the same problems. Humans deserve sensitive and understanding physicians. Humans deserve doctors who are infinitely curious, constantly questioning new advents in medicine. They deserve someone who loves the challenge of problem solving and coming up with innovative individualized solutions. I want to be that physician. I want to be able to approach each case as a unique entity and incorporate my strengths into providing personalized care for my patients. Until that time, I may be found Friday mornings in the operating room, peering over shoulders, dreaming about the day I get to hold the drill.

Let's take a step back to consider what this medical school personal statement example does, not just what it says. It begins with an engaging hook in the first paragraph and ends with a compelling conclusion. The introduction draws you in, making the essay almost impossible to put down, while the conclusion paints a picture of someone who is both passionate and dedicated to the profession. In between the introduction and conclusion, this student makes excellent use of personal narrative. The anecdotes chosen demonstrate this individual's response to the common question, " Why do you want to be a doctor ?" while simultaneously making them come across as compassionate, curious, and reflective. The essay articulates a number of key qualities and competencies, which go far beyond the common trope, I want to be a doctor because I want to help people.

This person is clearly a talented writer, but this was the result of several rounds of edits with one of our medical school admissions consulting team members and a lot of hard work on the student's part. If your essay is not quite there yet, or if you're just getting started, don't sweat it. Do take note that writing a good personal essay takes advanced planning and significant effort.

I was one of those kids who always wanted to be doctor. I didn’t understand the responsibilities and heartbreaks, the difficult decisions, and the years of study and training that go with the title, but I did understand that the person in the white coat stood for knowledge, professionalism, and compassion. As a child, visits to the pediatrician were important events. I’d attend to my hair and clothes, and travel to the appointment in anticipation. I loved the interaction with my doctor. I loved that whoever I was in the larger world, I could enter the safe space of the doctor’s office, and for a moment my concerns were heard and evaluated. I listened as my mother communicated with the doctor. I’d be asked questions, respectfully examined, treatments and options would be weighed, and we would be on our way. My mother had been supported in her efforts to raise a well child, and I’d had a meaningful interaction with an adult who cared for my body and development. I understood medicine as an act of service, which aligned with my values, and became a dream.

I was hospitalized for several months as a teenager and was inspired by the experience, despite the illness. In the time of diagnosis, treatment and recovery, I met truly sick children. Children who were much more ill than me. Children who wouldn’t recover. We shared a four-bed room, and we shared our medical stories. Because of the old hospital building, there was little privacy in our room, and we couldn’t help but listen-in during rounds, learning the medical details, becoming “experts” in our four distinct cases. I had more mobility than some of the patients, and when the medical team and family members were unavailable, I’d run simple errands for my roommates, liaise informally with staff, and attend to needs. To bring physical relief, a cold compress, a warmed blanket, a message to a nurse, filled me with such an intense joy and sense of purpose that I applied for a volunteer position at the hospital even before my release.

I have since been volunteering in emergency departments, out-patient clinics, and long term care facilities. While the depth of human suffering is at times shocking and the iterations of illness astounding, it is in the long-term care facility that I had the most meaningful experiences by virtue of my responsibilities and the nature of the patients’ illnesses. Charles was 55 when he died. He had early onset Parkinson’s Disease with dementia that revealed itself with a small tremor when he was in his late twenties. Charles had a wife and three daughters who visited regularly, but whom he didn’t often remember. Over four years as a volunteer, my role with the family was to fill in the spaces left by Charles’ periodic inability to project his voice as well as his growing cognitive lapses. I would tell the family of his activities between their visits, and I would remind him of their visits and their news. This was a hard experience for me. I watched as 3 daughters, around my own age, incrementally lost their father. I became angry, and then I grew even more determined.

In the summer of third year of my Health Sciences degree, I was chosen to participate in an undergraduate research fellowship in biomedical research at my university. As part of this experience, I worked alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical students, physicians, and faculty in Alzheimer’s research into biomarkers that might predict future disease. We collaborated in teams, and by way of the principal investigator’s careful leadership, I learned wherever one falls in terms of rank, each contribution is vital to the outcome. None of the work is in isolation. For instance, I was closely mentored by Will, a graduate student who had been in my role the previous summer. He, in turn, collaborated with post docs and medical students, turning to faculty when roadblocks were met. While one person’s knowledge and skill may be deeper than another’s, individual efforts make up the whole. Working in this team, aside from developing research skills, I realized that practicing medicine is not an individual pursuit, but a collaborative commitment to excellence in scholarship and leadership, which all begins with mentorship.

Building on this experience with teamwork in the lab, I participated in a global health initiative in Nepal for four months, where I worked alongside nurses, doctors, and translators. I worked in mobile rural health camps that offered tuberculosis care, monitored the health and development of babies and children under 5, and tended to minor injuries. We worked 11-hour days helping hundreds of people in the 3 days we spent in each location. Patients would already be in line before we woke each morning. I spent each day recording basic demographic information, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight, height, as well as random blood sugar levels, for each patient, before they lined up to see a doctor. Each day was exhausting and satisfying. We helped so many people. But this satisfaction was quickly displaced by a developing understanding of issues in health equity.

My desire to be doctor as a young person was not misguided, but simply naïve. I’ve since learned the role of empathy and compassion through my experiences as a patient and volunteer. I’ve broadened my contextual understanding of medicine in the lab and in Nepal. My purpose hasn’t changed, but what has developed is my understanding that to be a physician is to help people live healthy, dignified lives by practicing both medicine and social justice.

28 More Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted

What my sister went through pushed me to strengthen my knowledge in medical education, patient care, and research. These events have influenced who I am today and helped me determine my own passions. I aspire to be a doctor because I want to make miracles, like my sister, happen. Life is something to cherish; it would not be the same if I did not have one of my four sisters to spend it with. As all stories have endings, I hope that mine ends with me fulfilling my dream of being a doctor, which has been the sole focus of my life to this point. I would love nothing more than to dedicate myself to such a rewarding career, where I achieve what those doctors did for my family. Their expertise allowed my sister to get all the care she needed for her heart, eyes, lungs, and overall growth. Those physicians gave me more than just my little sister, they gave me the determination and focus needed to succeed in the medical field, and for that, I am forever grateful. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #3","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #3"}]" code="tab4" template="BlogArticle">

I came to America, leaving my parents and friends behind, to grasp my chance at a better future. I believe this chance is now in front of me. Medicine is the only path I truly desire because it satisfies my curiosity about the human body and it allows me to directly interact with patients. I do not want to miss this chance to further hone my skills and knowledge, in order to provide better care for my patients. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement #4","title":"Medical School Personal Statement #4"}]" code="tab5" template="BlogArticle">

The time I have spent in various medical settings has confirmed my love for the field. Regardless of the environment, I am drawn to patients and their stories, like that scared young boy at AMC. I am aware that medicine is a constantly changing landscape; however, one thing that has remained steadfast over the years is putting the patient first, and I plan on doing this as a physician. All of my experiences have taught me a great deal about patient interaction and global health, however, I am left wanting more. I crave more knowledge to help patients and become more useful in the healthcare sector. I am certain medical school is the path that will help me reach my goal. One day, I hope to use my experiences to become an amazing doctor like the doctors that treated my sister, so I can help other children like her. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #5","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #5"}]" code="tab6" template="BlogArticle">

My interest in the field of medicine has developed overtime, with a common theme surrounding the importance of personal health and wellness. Through my journey in sports, travelling, and meeting some incredible individuals such as Michael, I have shifted my focus from thinking solely about the physical well-being, to understanding the importance of mental, spiritual, and social health as well. Being part of a profession that emphasizes continuous education, and application of knowledge to help people is very rewarding, and I will bring compassion, a hard work ethic and an attitude that is always focused on bettering patient outcomes. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example # 7","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example # 7"}]" code="tab8" template="BlogArticle">

Medicine embodies a hard science, but it is ultimately a profession that treats people. I have seen firsthand that medicine is not a \u201cone-treatment-fits-all\u201d practice, as an effective physician takes a holistic approach. This is the type of physician I aspire to be: one who refuses to shy away from the humanity of patients and their social context, and one who uses research and innovation to improve the human condition. So, when I rethink \u201cwhy medicine?\u201d, I know it\u2019s for me \u2013 because it is a holistic discipline, because it demands all of me, because I am ready to absorb the fascinating knowledge and science that dictates human life, and engage with humanity in a way no other profession allows for. Until the day that I dawn the coveted white coat, you can find me in inpatient units, comforting the many John\u2019s to come, or perhaps at the back of an operating room observing a mitral valve repair \u2013 dreaming of the day the puck is in my zone. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #8","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #8"}]" code="tab9" template="BlogArticle">

When I signed up to be a live DJ, I didn't know that the oral skills I practiced on-air would influence all aspects of my life, let alone lead me to consider a career in the art of healing. I see now, though, the importance of these key events in my life that have allowed me to develop excellent communication skills--whether that be empathic listening, reading and giving non-verbal cues, or verbal communication. I realize I have always been on a path towards medicine. Ultimately, I aim to continue to strengthen my skills as I establish my role as a medical student and leader: trusting my choices, effectively communicating, and taking action for people in need. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #9","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #9"}]" code="tab10" template="BlogArticle">

\u201cWhy didn\u2019t I pursue medicine sooner?\u201d Is the question that now occupies my mind. Leila made me aware of the unprofessional treatment delivered by some doctors. My subsequent activities confirmed my desire to become a doctor who cares deeply for his patients and provides the highest quality care. My passion for research fuels my scientific curiosity. I will continue to advocate for patient equality and fairness. Combining these qualities will allow me to succeed as a physician. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #10","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #10"}]" code="tab11" template="BlogArticle">

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Please note that all personal statements are the property of the students who wrote them, re-printed with permission. Names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Plagiarism detection software is used when evaluating personal statements. Plagiarism is grounds for disqualification from the application. ","label":"NOTE","title":"NOTE"}]" code="tab2" template="BlogArticle">

As one of the most important  medical school requirements , the personal statement tells your story of why you decided to pursue the medical profession. Keep in mind that personal statements are one of the key factors that affect medical school acceptance rates . This is why it's important to write a stellar essay!

“Personal statements are often emphasized in your application to medical school as this singular crucial factor that distinguishes you from every other applicant. Demonstrating the uniqueness of my qualities is precisely how I found myself getting multiple interviews and offers into medical school.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD, Emory University school of Medicine

But this is easier said than done. In fact, medical school personal statements remain one of the most challenging parts of students' journeys to medical school. Here's our student Melissa sharing her experience of working on her personal statement:

"I struggled making my personal statement personal... I couldn't incorporate my feelings, motives and life stories that inspired me to pursue medicine into my personal statement" -Melissa, BeMo Student

Our student Rishi, who is now a student at the Carver College of Medicine , learned about the importance of the medical school personal statement the hard way:

"If you're a reapplicant like me, you know we all dread it but you have to get ready to answer what has changed about your application that we should accept you this time. I had an existing personal statement that did not get me in the first time so there was definitely work to be done." - Rishi, BeMo Student, current student at the Carver College of Medicine

The importance of the medical school personal statement can actually increase if you are applying to medical school with any red flags or setbacks, as our student Kannan did:

"I got 511 on my second MCAT try... My goal was anything over median of 510 so anything over that was honestly good with me because it's just about [creating] a good personal statement at that point... I read online about how important the personal statement [is]... making sure [it's] really polished and so that's when I decided to get some professional help." - Kannan, BeMo Student, current student at the Schulich School of Medicine  

As you can see from these testimonials, your medical school personal statement can really make a difference. So we are here to help you get started writing your own personal statement. Let's approach this step-by-step. Below you will see how we will outline the steps to creating your very best personal statement. And don't forget that if you need to see more examples, you can also check out our AMCAS personal statement examples, AACOMAS personal statement examples and TMDSAS personal statement examples to further inspire you!

Here's a quick run-down of what we'll cover in the article:

Now let's dive in deeper!

#1 Understanding the Qualities of a Strong Med School Personal Statement

Before discussing how to write a strong medical school personal statement, we first need to understand the qualities of a strong essay. Similar to crafting strong medical school secondary essays , writing a strong personal statement is a challenging, yet extremely important, part of your MD or MD-PhD programs applications. Your AMCAS Work and Activities section may show the reader what you have done, but the personal statement explains why. This is how Dr. Neel Mistry, MD and our admissions expert, prepared for his medical school personal statement writing:

"The personal statement is an opportunity for you to shine and really impress the committee to invite you for an interview. The personal statement is your chance to be reflective and go beyond what is stated on your CV and [activities]. In order to stand out, it is important to answer the main questions [of medical school personal statements] well: a bit about yourself and what led you to medicine, why you would make an ideal medical student and future physician, what attracts you to [medicine], and what sets you apart from the other candidates. The key here is answering the last two questions well. Most candidates simply highlight what they have done, but do not reflect on it or mention how what they have done has prepared them for a future medical career." - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

“my essay also focused on volunteering in the local health clinic during the many summer breaks. volunteering was more than just another activity to tick off my bucket list for my medical school … i volunteered because i wanted to view medical practice through the lenses of already qualified doctors, not because i needed a reason to be a doctor. i understood that the admissions committee would be more interested in how i was motivated.” – dr. vincent adeyemi..

A personal statement should be deeply personal, giving the admissions committee insight into your passions and your ultimate decision to pursue a career in medicine. A compelling and introspective personal statement can make the difference between getting an interview and facing medical school rejection . Review our blogs to find out how to prepare for med school interviews and learn the most common medical school interview questions .

As you contemplate the task in front of you, you may be wondering what composing an essay has to do with entering the field of medicine. Many of our students were surprised to learn that medical school personal statements are so valued by med schools. The two things are more closely related than you think. A compelling personal statement demonstrates your written communication skills and highlights your accomplishments, passions, and aspirations. The ability to communicate a complex idea in a short space is an important skill as a physician. You should demonstrate your communication skills by writing a concise and meaningful statement that illustrates your best attributes. Leaving a lasting impression on your reader is what will lead to interview invitations.

A quick note: if you are applying to schools that do not require the formal medical school personal statement, such as medical schools in Canada , you should still learn how to write such essays. Many medical schools in Ontario , for example, ask for short essays for supplementary questionnaires. These are very similar to the personal statement. Knowing how to brainstorm, write, and format your answers is key to your success!!!

You want to give yourself as much time as possible to write your statement. Do not think you can do this in an evening or even in a week. Some statements take months. My best statement took almost a year to get right. Allow yourself time and start early to avoid added stress. Think of the ideas you want to include and brainstorm possible ways to highlight these ideas. Ask your friends for ideas or even brainstorm your ideas with people you trust. Get some feedback early to make sure you are headed in the right direction.

“I wrote scores of essays at my desk in those few weeks leading up to application submission. I needed it to be perfect. Do not let anyone tell you to settle. There was no moment when I had this shining light from the sky filtering into my room to motivate me. The ultimate trick is to keep writing. It is impossible to get that perfect essay on the first try, and you may not even get it on your fifteenth attempt, but the goal is to keep at it, keep making those edits, and never back down.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi

All personal statements for medical school, often start by explaining why medicine is awesome; the admission committee already knows that. You should explain why you want a career in medicine. What is it about the practice of medicine that resonates with who you are? Naturally, this takes a lot of reflection around who you are. Here are some additional questions you can consider as you go about brainstorming for your essay:

  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What is something you want them to know about you that isn't in your application?
  • Where were you born, how did you grow up, and what type of childhood did you have growing up (perhaps including interesting stories about your siblings, parents, grandparents)?
  • What kinds of early exposure to the medical field left an impression on you as a child?
  • Did you become familiar with and interested in the field of medicine at an early stage of your life? If so, why?
  • What are your key strengths, and how have you developed these?
  • What steps did you take to familiarize yourself with the medical profession?
  • Did you shadow a physician? Did you volunteer or work in a clinical setting? Did you get involved in medical research?
  • What challenges have you faced? Have these made an impact on what you chose to study?
  • What are your favorite activities?
  • What kinds of extracurriculars for medical school or volunteer work have you done, and how have these shaped who you are, your priorities, and or your perspectives on a career in medicine?
  • What was your "Aha!" moment?
  • When did your desire to become a doctor solidify?
  • How did you make the decision to apply to medical school?

You shouldn't try to answer all of these in your essay. Try only a few main points that will carry over into the final draft. Use these to brainstorm and gather ideas. Start developing your narrative by prioritizing the most impactful responses to these prompts and the ideas that are most relevant to your own experiences and goals. The perfect personal statement not only shows the admissions committee that you have refined communication skills, but also conveys maturity and professionalism. It should also display your motivation and suitability for medical practice. Here's how our student Alison, who was a non-traditional applicant with a serious red flag in her application, used her brainstorming sessions with our admissions experts to get a theme going in her medical school personal statement and her overall application package:

"I think it was during my brainstorming session that we really started talking about... what the theme [was] going to be for my application. And I think that was really helpful in and of itself. Just [reflecting] 'Hey, what's your focus going to be like? How are we going to write this? What's the style going to be?' Just to create an element of consistency throughout..." Alison, BeMo Student, current student at Dell Medical School 

After brainstorming, you should be able to clearly see a few key ideas, skills, qualities, and intersections that you want to write about. Once you've isolated the elements you want to explore in your essay (usually 2-4 key ideas), you can begin building your outline. In terms of structure, this should follow the standard academic format, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

As you begin thinking about what to include in your personal essay, remember that you are writing for a specific audience with specific expectations. Your evaluator will be familiar with the key qualities desired by medical schools, as informed by the standards of the profession. But keep in mind that they too are human, and they respond well to well-crafted, engaging essays that tell a story. Here's what our student Alison had to share about keeping your audience in mind when writing your personal statement:

"Make it easy for the reader to be able to work [their] way through [your personal statement]. Because, at the end of the day, I think one thing that helped me a lot was being able to think about who was going to be reading this application and it's going to be these people that are sitting around a desk or sitting at a table and [go] through massive numbers of applications every single day. And the easier and more digestible that you can make it for them, gives you a little bit of a win." - Alison, BeMo student, current student at Dell Medical School

The admissions committee will be examining your essay through the lens of their particular school's mission, values, and priorities. You should think about your experiences with reference to the AAMC Core Competencies and to each school's mission statement so that you're working toward your narrative with the institution and broader discipline in mind.

Review AAMC Core Competencies : The AAMC Core Competencies are the key characteristics and skills sought by U.S. medical schools. These are separated into three general categories:

You are not expected to have mastered all of these competencies at this stage of your education. Display those that are relevant to your experiences will help demonstrate your commitment to the medical profession.

Review the school's mission statement: Educational institutions put a lot of time and care into drafting their school's vision. The mission statement will articulate the overall values and priorities of each university, giving you insight into what they might seek in candidates, and thus what you should try to display in your personal statement. Echoing the values of the university helps illustrate that you are a good fit for their intellectual culture. The mission statement may help you identify other priorities of the university, for example, whether they prioritize research-based or experiential-based education. All this research into your chosen medical schools will help you tremendously not only when you write you personal statement, but also the rest of your medical school application components, including your medical school letter of intent if you ever need to write one later.

Just like the personal statement is, in essence, a prompt without a prompt. They give you free rein to write your own prompt to tell your story. This is often difficult for students as they find it hard to get started without having a true direction. Below is a list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Use these prompts as a starting point for your essay. Also, they are a great way of addressing why you want to be a doctor without saying something generic.

  • The moment your passion for medicine crystallized
  • The events that led you toward this path
  • Specific instances in which you experienced opportunities
  • Challenges that helped shape your worldview
  • Your compassion, resilience, or enthusiastic collaboration
  • Demonstrate your commitment to others
  • Your dependability
  • Your leadership skills
  • Your ability to problem-solve or to resolve a conflict

These are personal, impactful experiences that only you have had. Focus on the personal, and connect that to the values of your future profession. Do that and you will avoid writing the same essay as everyone else. Dr. Monica Taneja, MD and our admissions expert, shares her tip that got her accepted to the University of Maryland School of Medicine :

"I focused on my journey to medicine and opportunities that I sought out along the way. Everyone’s path and validation is unique, so walking the reader through your growth to the point of application will naturally be different, but that's what I wanted to share in my personal statement." - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

“the essay is not about what you have been through; it's about who it made you into.” – dr. vincent adeyemi.

Admissions committees don't want your resumé in narrative form. The most boring essays are those of applicants listing their accomplishments. Remember, all that stuff is already in the activities section of the application. This is where you should discuss interesting or important life events that shaped you and your interest in medicine (a service trip to rural Guatemala, a death in the family, a personal experience as a patient). One suggestion is to have an overarching theme to your essay to tie everything together, starting with an anecdote. Alternatively, you can use one big metaphor or analogy through the essay. Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD and experienced admissions committee member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, encourages you to be creative when it comes to the theme of your personal statement:

"It is very easy to make the “cookie cutter” personal statement. To a reviewer who is reading tens of these at a time it can become quite boring. What I did was [tell] a story. Like any good novel, the stories' first lines are meant to hook the reader. This can be about anything if you can bring it back and relate it to your application. It could be about the time your friend was smashed up against the boards in hockey and you, with your limited first aid experience helped to treat him. It is important that the story be REAL." - Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD

Your personal statement must be well-organized, showing a clear, logical progression, as well as connections between ideas. It is generally best to use a chronological progression since this mirrors your progression into a mature adult and gives you the opportunity to illustrate how you learned from early mistakes later on. Carry the theme throughout the statement to achieve continuity and cohesion. Use the theme to links ideas from each paragraph to the next and to unite your piece.

Medical School Personal Statement Structure

When working toward the initial draft of your essay, it is important to keep the following in mind: The essay should read like a chronological narrative and have good structure and flow. Just like any academic essay, it will need an introduction, body content, and a conclusion. If you're wondering whether a medical school advisor can help you with your medical school application, check out our blog for the answer.

Check out our video to learn how to create a killer introduction to your medical school personal statement:


The introductory paragraph and, even more importantly, the introductory sentence of your essay, will most certainly make or break your overall statement. Ensure that you have a creative and captivating opening sentence that draws the reader in. This is your first and only chance to make a first impression and really capture the attention of the committee. Starting with an event or an Aha! moment that inspired your decision to pursue a medical profession is one way to grab their attention. The kinds of things that inspire or motivate you can say a lot about who you are as a person.

The broader introductory paragraph itself should serve several functions. First, it must draw your reader in with an eye-catching first line and an engaging hook or anecdote. It should point toward the qualities that most effectively demonstrate your desire and suitability for becoming a physician (you will discuss these qualities further in the body paragraphs). The thesis of the introduction is that you have certain skills, experiences, and characteristics and that these skills, experiences, and characteristics will lead you to thrive in the field of medicine. Finally, it must also serve as a roadmap to the reader, allowing them to understand where the remainder of the story is headed.

That is a lot of work for a single paragraph to do. To better help you envision what this looks like in practice, here is a sample introduction that hits these main points.

I was convinced I was going to grow up to be a professional chef. This was not just another far-fetched idealistic childhood dream that many of us had growing up. There was a sense of certainty about this dream that motivated me to devote countless hours to its practice. It was mostly the wonder that it brought to others and the way they were left in awe after they tried a dish that I recall enjoying the most creating as a young chef. But, when I was 13, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and I realized that sometimes cooking is not enough, as I quickly learned about the vital role physicians play in the life of everyday people like my family and myself. Although my grandfather ended up passing away from his illness, the impact that the healthcare team had on him, my family, and I will always serve as the initial starting point of my fascination with the medical profession. Since that time, I have spent years learning more about the human sciences through my undergraduate studies and research, have developed a deeper understanding of the demands and challenges of the medical profession through my various volunteer and extra-curricular experiences, and although it has been difficult along the way, I have continued to forge a more intimate fascination with the medical field that has motivated me to apply to medical school at this juncture of my life. ","label":"Sample Introduction","title":"Sample Introduction"}]" code="tab3" template="BlogArticle">

In the body of your essay, you essentially want to elaborate on the ideas that you have introduced in your opening paragraph by drawing on your personal experiences to provide evidence. Major points from the above sample introduction could be: dedication and resilience (practicing cooking for hours, and devoting years to undergraduate studies in human sciences), passion and emotional connection (being able to create something that inspired awe in others, and personally connecting with the work of the grandfather's healthcare team), motivation and drive (being inspired by the role physicians play in their patients' lives, participating in volunteer work and extracurriculars, and an enduring fascination with the field of medicine). Depending on the details, a selection of volunteer and extra-curricular experiences might also be discussed in more detail, in order to emphasize other traits like collaboration, teamwork, perseverance, or a sense of social responsibility – all key characteristics sought by medical schools. Just like an academic essay, you will devote one paragraph to each major point, explaining this in detail, supporting your claims with experiences from your life, and reflecting on the meaning of each plot point in your personal narrative, with reference to why you want to pursue a medical career.

Your final statement should not be a simple summary of the things you have discussed. It should be insightful, captivating, and leave the reader with a lasting impression. Although you want to re-emphasize the major ideas of your essay, you should try to be creative and captivating, much like your opening paragraph. Sometimes if you can link your opening idea to your last paragraph it will really tie the whole essay together. The conclusion is just as important as the introduction. It is your last chance to express your medical aspirations. You want to impress the reader while also leaving them wanting more. In this case, more would mean getting an interview so they can learn more about who you are! Leave them thinking I have got to meet this person.

The narrative you construct should display some of your most tightly held values, principles, or ethical positions, along with key accomplishments and activities. If you see yourself as someone who is committed to community service, and you have a track record of such service, your story should feature this and provide insight into why you care about your community and what you learned from your experiences. Saying that you value community service when you've never volunteered a day in your life is pointless. Stating that your family is one where we support each other through challenge and loss (if this is indeed true), is excellent because it lays the groundwork for telling a story while showing that you are orientated towards close relationships. You would then go on to offer a brief anecdote that supports this. You are showing how you live such principles, rather than just telling your reader that you have such principles:

"Remember to use specific personal examples throughout your statement to make it more impactful and memorable for the readers. Often, painting a picture in the reader’s mind in the form of a story helps with this." - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

A lot of students make the mistake of verbalizing their personal attributes with a bunch of adjectives, such as, "This experience taught me to be a self-reliant leader, with excellent communication skills, and empathy for others..." In reality, this does nothing to convey these qualities. It's a mistake to simply list your skills or characteristics without showing the reader an example of a time you used them to solve a problem. If you simply list your skills or characteristics (telling), without demonstrating the ways you have applied them (showing), you risk coming across as arrogant. The person reading the essay may not believe you, as you've not really given them a way to see such values in your actions. It is better to construct a narrative to show the reader that you possess the traits that medical schools are looking for, rather than explicitly stating that you are an empathetic individual or capable of deep self-reflection. Instead of listing adjectives, tell your personal story and allow the admissions committee to paint the picture for themselves. This step is very challenging for many students, but it's one of the most important strategies used in successful essays. Writing this way will absolutely make your statement stand out from the rest.

While it may be tempting to write in a high academic tone, using terminology or jargon that is often complex or discipline-specific, requiring a specialized vocabulary for comprehension. You should actually aim to write for a non-specialist audience. Remember, in the world of medicine, describing a complex, clinical condition to a patient requires using specific but clear words. This is why your personal statement should show that you can do the same thing. Using large words in unwieldy ways makes you sound like you are compensating for poor communication skills. Use words that you believe most people understand. Read your personal statement back to a 14-year-old, and then again to someone for whom English is not their first language, to see if you're on the right path.

Ultimately, fancy words do not make you a good communicator; listening and ensuring reader comprehension makes you a good communicator. Instead of using complex terminology to tell the admissions committee that you have strong communication skills, show them your communication skills through clear, accessible prose, written with non-specialists in mind. A common refrain among writing instructors is, never use a $10 word where a $2 word will suffice. If you can say it in plain, accessible language, then this is what you should do.

Display Professionalism

Professionalism may seem like a difficult quality to display when only composing a personal statement. After all, the reader can't see your mannerisms, your personal style, or any of those little qualities that allow someone to appear professional. Professionalism is about respect for the experience of others on your team or in your workplace. It is displayed when you are able to step back from your own individual position and think about what is best for your colleagues and peers, considering their needs alongside your own. If a story is relevant to why you want to be a physician and demonstrates an example of how you were professional in a workplace setting, then it is appropriate to include in your essay.

One easy way to destroy a sense of professionalism is to act in a judgmental way towards others, particularly if you perceived and ultimately resolved an error on someone else's part. Sometimes students blame another medical professional for something that went wrong with a patient.

They might say something to the effect of, "The nurse kept brushing off the patient's concerns, refusing to ask the attending to increase her pain medications. Luckily, being the empathetic individual that I am, I took the time to listen to sit with the patient, eventually bringing her concerns to the attending physician, who thanked me for letting him know."

There are a couple of things wrong with this example. It seems like this person is putting down someone else in an attempt to make themselves look better. They come across as un-empathetic and judgmental of the nurse. Maybe she was having a busy day, or maybe the attending had just seen the patient for this issue and the patient didn't really need re-assessment. Reading this kind of account in a personal statement makes the reader question the maturity of the applicant and their ability to move past blaming others and resolve problems in a meaningful way. Instead of allocating blame, identify what the problem was for the patient and then focus on what you did to resolve it and reflect on what you learned from the whole experience.

One last note on professionalism: Being professional does not mean being overly stoic, hiding your emotions, or cultivating a bland personality. A lot of students are afraid to talk about how a situation made them feel in their personal statement. They worry that discussing feelings is inappropriate and will appear unprofessional. Unfortunately for these students, emotional intelligence is hugely important to the practice of medicine. In order to be a good doctor, one must be aware of their own emotions as well as those of their patients. Good doctors are able to quickly identify their own emotions and understand how their emotional reactions may inform their actions, and the ability to deliver appropriate care, in a given situation. Someone who is incapable of identifying their emotions is also incapable of managing them effectively and will likely struggle to identify the emotions of others. So, when writing your personal statement, think about how each experience made you feel, and what you learned from those feelings and that experience.

How to Write About Discrepancies and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Part of your essay's body can include a discussion of any discrepancies or gaps in your education, or disruptions in your academic performance. If you had to take time off, or if you had a term or course with low grades, or if you had any other extenuating circumstances that impacted your education, you can take time to address these here. It is very important to address these strategically. Do not approach this section as space to plead your case. Offer a brief summary of the situation, and then emphasize what you learned from such hardships. Always focus on the positive, illustrating how such difficulties made you stronger, more resilient, or more compassionate. Connect your experiences to the qualities desired by medical schools. Here's how I student Alison address an academic discrepancy in her application:

I had an academic dishonesty during undergrad, which, at the time, ended up being this big misunderstanding. But I was going to appeal this and get it off my record. I was supposed to start nursing school two weeks after this whole ordeal had gone down and, at our university, if you try to appeal your academic dishonesty then you'd have to take an incomplete in that class and I needed this class in order to start nursing school. So I wasn't able to [appeal]. So when I talked with the people at the nursing school they were like ‘it's no big deal, it's fine’. [But] it came back and it haunted me very much. When I was applying [to medical school] I started looking online [to see] how big of a deal is it to have this ‘red flag’ on my application. I started reading all of these horror stories on Student Doctor Network and all of these other forums about how if you have an academic dishonesty you shouldn't even bother applying, that you'll never get in. Schools will blacklist you and I was [wondering] what am I going do. [My advisor suggested I use the essay to talk about my discrepancy]. 

First off, if anyone out there has an academic violation don't read student doctor network. don't listen to anybody. you absolutely are still a potential medical student and schools are not going to blacklist you just because of one mistake that you made. that's all lies. don't listen to them. i don't even think it came up a single time during any of my interviews. i think a lot of that came back to how i wrote that essay and the biggest advice that i can give that i got from the [bemo] team is explain what happened… just give the facts. be very objective about it. in the last two thirds [of the essay] you want to focus on what you learned from it and how it made you a better person and how it's going to make you a better physician.” – alison, bemo student, current student at dell medical school.

We hope many of you find a peace of mind when you read Alison's story. Because it shows that with the right approach to your medical school personal statement, you can overcome even red flags or setbacks that made you dread the application process. Use your personal statement to emphasize your ability to persevere through it all but do so in a positive way. Most of all, if you feel like you have to explain yourself, take accountability for the situation. State that it is unfortunate and then redirect it to what you learned and how it will make you a better doctor. Always focus on being positive and do not lament on the negative situation too much.

Additional Mistakes to Avoid in Personal Statements:

Check out this video on the top 5 errors to avoid in your personal statement!

Step 3: Writing Your First Draft

As you can see, there is a LOT of planning and consideration to be done before actually starting your first draft. Properly brainstorming, outlining, and considering the content and style of your essay prior to beginning the essay will make the writing process much smoother than it would be you to try to jump right to the draft-writing stage. Now, you're not just staring at a blank page wondering what you could possibly write to impress the admissions committee. Instead, you've researched what the school desires from its students and what the medical profession prioritizes in terms of personal characteristics, you've sketched out some key moments from your life that exemplify those traits, and you have a detailed outline that just needs filling in.

As you're getting started, focus on getting content on the page, filling in your outline and getting your ideas arranged on the page. Your essay will go through multiple drafts and re-writes, so the first step is to free write and start articulating connections between your experiences and the characteristics you're highlighting. You can worry about flow, transitions, and perfect grammar in later drafts. The first draft is always a working draft, written with the understanding that its purpose is to act as a starting point, not an ending point. Once you've completed a draft, you can begin the revising process. The next section will break down what to do once you have your first draft completed.

You can also begin looking at things like style, voice, transitions, and overall theme. The best way to do this is to read your essay aloud. This may sound strange, but it is one of the single most impactful bits of writing advice a student can receive. When we're reading in our heads (and particularly when we're reading our own words), it is easy to skip over parts that may be awkwardly worded, or where the grammar is off. As our brains process information differently, depending on whether we're taking in visual or auditory information, this can also help you understand where the connections between ideas aren't as evident as you would like. Reading the essay aloud will help you begin internalizing the narrative you've crafted, so that you can come to more easily express this both formally in writing and informally in conversation (for example, in an interview).

#1 Did You Distinguish Yourself From Others?

Does your narrative sound unique? Is it different than your peers or did you write in a generic manner? Our admissions expert Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, shares how she got the attention of the admissions committee with her personal statement:

"I also found it helpful to give schools a 'punch-line'. As in I wanted them to remember 1-2 things about me that are my differentiators and I reiterated those throughout [the personal statement]." - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

Use your narrative to provide a compelling picture of who you are as a person, as a learner, as an advocate, and as a future medical professional. What can you offer? Remember, you will be getting a lot out of your med school experience, but the school will be getting a lot out of you, as well. You will be contributing your research efforts to your department, you will be participating in the academic community, and as you go on to become a successful medical professional you will impact the perception of your school's prestige. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, so use this opportunity to highlight what you bring to the table, and what you will contribute as a student at their institution. Let them know what it is about you that is an attribute to their program. Make them see you as a stand out from the crowd.

#2 Does My Essay Flow and is it Comprehensible?

Personal statements are a blessing and a curse for admission committees. They give them a better glimpse of who the applicant is than simple scores. Also, they are long and time-consuming to read. And often, they sound exactly alike. On occasion, a personal statement really makes an applicant shine. After reading page after page of redundant, cookie-cutter essays, an essay comes along with fluid prose and a compelling narrative, the reader snaps out of that feeling of monotony and gladly extends their enthusiastic attention.

Frankly, if the statement is pleasant to read, it will get read with more attention and appreciation. Flow is easier to craft through narrative, which is why you should root the statement in a story that demonstrates characteristics desirable to medical schools. Fluidity takes time to build, though, so your statement should be etched out through many drafts and should also be based on an outline. You need to brainstorm, then outline, then draft and re-draft, and then bring in editors and listeners for feedback (Note: You need someone to proofread your work. Bestselling authors have editors. Top scholars have editors. I need an editor. You need an editor. Everyone needs an editor). Then, check and double-check and fix anything that needs fixing. Then check again. Then submit. You want this to be a statement that captures the reader's interest by creating a fluid, comprehensible piece that leads the reader to not only read each paragraph but want to continue to the next sentence.

#3 Did You Check Your Grammar?

If you give yourself more than one night to write your statement, the chances of grammatical errors will decrease considerably. If you are pressed for time, upload your file into an online grammar website. Use the grammar checker on your word processor, but know that this, in itself, isn't enough. Use the eyes and ears of other people to check and double-check your grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Read your statement out loud to yourself and you will almost certainly find an error (and likely several errors). Use fresh eyes to review the statement several times before you actually submit it, by walking away from it for a day or so and then re-reading it. Start your essay early, so that you actually have time to do this. This step can make or break your essay. Do not waste all the effort you have put into writing, to only be discarded by the committee for using incorrect grammar and syntax.

#4 Did You Gather Feedback From Other People?

The most important tip in writing a strong application essay is this getting someone else to read your work. While the tips above are all very useful for writing a strong draft, nothing will benefit you more than getting an outside appraisal of your work. For example, it's very easy to overlook your own spelling or grammatical errors. You know your own story and you may think that your narrative and it's meaning make sense to your reader. You won't know that for sure without having someone else actually read it. This may sound obvious, but it's still an absolute necessity.

“It was very helpful for two of my mentors to review my statements before submitting my application. Ensure you trust the judgement and skills of the person to whom you would be giving your personal statement for review.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi

Have someone you trust to read the essay and ask them what they thought of it. What was their impression of you after reading it? Did it make sense? Was it confusing? Do they have any questions? What was the tone of the essay? Do they see the connections you're trying to make? What were their takeaways from your essay, and do these align with your intended takeaways for your reader? Ideally, this person should have some knowledge of the application process or the medical profession, so that they can say whether you were successful in demonstrating that you are a suitable candidate for medical school. However, any external reader is better than no external reader at all.

Avoid having people too close to you read your work. They may refrain from being too critical in an effort to spare your feelings. This is the time to get brutal, honest feedback. If you know someone who is an editor but do not feel that they can be objective, try and find someone else.

Want more examples? Check out our video below:

FAQs and Final Notes

Your personal statement should tell your story and highlight specific experiences or aspects of your journey that have led you to medicine. If your first exposure or interest in the medical field was sparked from your own medical struggles, then you can certainly include this in your statement. What is most important is that you write about what factors or experiences attributed to you deciding that medicine is the right career path for you.

Sometimes students shy away from including their own personal struggles and describing how they felt during difficult times but this is a great way for admissions committees to gain perspective into who you are as a person and where your motivations lie. Remember, this is your story, not someone else's, so your statement should revolve around you. If you choose to discuss a personal hardship, what's most important is that you don't cast yourself as the victim and that you discuss what the experience taught you. Also, medical schools are not allowed to discriminate against students for discussing medical issues, so it is not looked at as a red flag unless you are talking about an issue inappropriately. For example, making yourself appear as the victim or not taking responsibility.

All US medical schools require the completion of a personal statement with your AMCAS, TMDSAS or AACOMAS applications.

Medical schools in Canada on the other hand, do not require or accept personal statements. In lieu of the personal statement, a few of these schools may require you to address a prompt in the form of an essay, or allow you to submit an explanation essay to describe any extenuating circumstances, but this is not the same as the US personal statement. For example, when applying through  OMSAS , the  University of Toronto medical school  requires applicants to complete four short, 250 words or less, personal essays.

Many students struggle with whether or not they should address an unfavorable grade in their personal statement. What one student does isn't necessarily the right decision for you.

To help you decide, think about whether or not that bad grade might reflect on your poorly. If you think it will, then it's best to address the academic misstep head-on instead of having admissions committees dwell on possible areas of concern. If you're addressing a poor evaluation, ensure that you take responsibility for your grade, discuss what you learned and how your performance will be improved in the future - then move on. It's important that you don't play the victim and you must always reflect on what lessons you've learned moving forward.

Of course not, just because you didn't wake up one morning and notice a lightbulb flashing the words medicine, doesn't mean that your experiences and journey to medicine are inferior to those who did. Students arrive to medicine in all sorts of ways, some change career paths later in life, some always knew they wanted to pursue medicine, and others slowly became interested in medicine through their life interactions and experiences. Your personal statement should address your own unique story to how you first became interested in medicine and when and how that interest turned to a concrete desire.

While your entire statement is important, the opening sentence can often make or break your statement. This is because admission committee members are reviewing hundreds, if not thousands of personal statements. If your opening sentence is not eye-catching, interesting, and memorable, you risk your statement blending in with the large pile of other statements. Have a look at our video above for tips and strategies for creating a fantastic opening sentence.

Having your statement reviewed by family and friends can be a good place to start, but unfortunately, it's near-impossible for them to provide you with unbiased feedback. Often, friends and family members are going to support us and rave about our achievements. Even if they may truly think your statement needs work, they may feel uncomfortable giving you their honest feedback at the risk of hurting your feelings.

In addition, family and friends don't know exactly what admission committee members are looking for in a personal statement, nor do they have years of experience reviewing personal statements and helping students put the best version of themselves forward. For these reasons, many students choose to seek the help of a professional medical school advisor to make sure they have the absolute best chances of acceptance to medical school the first time around.

If you have enough time set aside to write your statement without juggling multiple other commitments, it normally takes at least four weeks to write your statement. If you are working, in school, or volunteering and have other commitments, be prepared to spend 6-8 weeks.

Your conclusion should have a summary of the main points you have made in your essay, but it should not just be a summary. You should also end with something that makes the reader want to learn more about you (i.e. call you for an interview). A good way to do this is to include a call-back to your opening anecdote: how have you grown or matured since then? How are you more prepared now to begin medical school?

The goal is to show as many of them as you can in the WHOLE application: this includes your personal statement, sketch, reference letters, secondary essays, and even your GPA and MCAT (which show critical thinking and reasoning already). So, it’s not an issue to focus on only a few select experiences and competencies in the personal statement.

Yes, you can. However, if you used an experience as a most meaningful entry, pick something else to talk about in your essay. Remember, you want to highlight as many core competencies across your whole application). Or, if you do pick the same experience: pick a different specific encounter or project with a different lesson learned.

Once your essay is in good shape, it's best to submit to ensure your application is reviewed as soon as possible. Remember, with rolling admissions, as more time passes before you submit your application, your chances of acceptance decreases. Nerves are normal and wanting to tinker is also normal, but over-analyzing and constant adjustments can actually weaken your essay.

So, if you're thinking about making more changes, it's important to really reflect and think about WHY you want to change something and if it will actually make the essay stronger. If not your changes won't actually make the essay stronger or if it's a very minor change you're thinking of making, then you should likely leave it as is.

The reality is, medical school admission is an extremely competitive process. In order to have the best chance of success, every part of your application must be stellar. Also, every year some students get in whose GPAs or  MCAT scores  are below the median. How? Simply because they must have stood out in other parts of the application, such as the personal statement.

The ones that honestly made the most impact on you. You'll need to reflect on your whole life and think about which experiences helped you grow and pushed you to pursue medicine. Ideally, experiences that show commitment and progression are better than one-off or short-term activities, as they usually contribute more to growth.

Final Notes

This Ultimate Guide has demonstrated all the work that needs to be done to compose a successful, engaging personal statement for your medical school application. While it would be wonderful if there was an easy way to write your personal statement in a day, the reality is that this kind of composition takes a lot of work. As daunting as this may seem, this guide lays out a clear path. In summary, the following 5 steps are the basis of what you should take away from this guide. These 5 steps are your guide and sort of cheat sheet to writing your best personal statement.

5 Main Takeaways For Personal Statement Writing:

  • Brainstorming
  • Content and Theme
  • Multiple Drafts
  • Revision With Attention to Grammar

While a strong personal statement alone will not guarantee admission to medical school, it could absolutely squeeze you onto a  medical school waitlist , off the waitlist, and onto the offer list, or give someone on the admissions committee a reason to go to battle for your candidacy. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the incredible skills you've worked and studied to refine, the remarkable life experiences you've had, and the key qualities you possess in your own unique way. Show the admissions committee that you are someone they want to meet. Remember, in this context, wanting to meet you means wanting to bring you in for an interview!

Dr. Lauren Prufer is an admissions expert at BeMo. Dr. Prufer is also a medical resident at McMaster University. Her medical degree is from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. During her time in medical school, she developed a passion for sharing her knowledge with others through medical writing, research, and peer mentoring.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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I have been reading posts regarding this topic and this post is one of the most interesting and informative one I have read. Thank you for this!

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Great Medical School Personal Statement Examples (2024-2025) Insider’s Guide

Medical School Personal Statement Tips

A physician and former medical school admissions officer teaches you how to write your medical school personal statement, step by step. Read several full-length medical school personal statement examples for inspiration.

In this article, a former medical school admissions officer explains exactly how to write a stand-out medical school personal statement!

Our goal is to empower you to write a medical school personal statement that reflects your individuality, truest aspirations and genuine motivations.

This guide also includes:

  • Real life medical school personal statement examples
  • Medical school personal statement inventory template and outline exercise
  • AMCAS, TMDSAS, and AACOMAS personal statement prompts
  • Advanced strategies to ensure you address everything admissions committees want to know
  • The secret to writing a great medical school personal statement

So, if you want your medical school personal statement to earn more more medical school interviews, you will love this informative guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Table of Contents

Medical School Personal Statement Fundamentals

If you are getting ready to write your medical school personal statement for the 2024-2025 application year, you may already know that almost 60% of medical school applicants are not accepted every year . You have most likely also completed all of your medical school requirements and have scoured the internet for worthy medical school personal statement examples and guidance.

You know the medical school personal statement offers a crucial opportunity to show medical schools who you are beyond your GPA and MCAT score .

It provides an opportunity to express who you are as an individual, the major influences and background that have shaped your interests and values, what inspired you to pursue medicine, and what kind of a physician you envision yourself becoming.

However, with so much information online, you are not sure who to trust. We are happy you have found us!

Because the vast majority of people offering guidance are not former admissions officers or doctors , you must be careful when searching online.

We are real medical school admissions insiders and know what goes on behind closed doors and how to ensure your medical school personal statement has broad appeal while highlighting your most crucial accomplishments, perspectives, and insights.

With tight limits on space, it can be tough trying to decide what to include in your medical school personal statement to make sure you stand out. You must think strategically about how you want to present your personal “big picture” while showing you possess the preprofessional competencies med schools are seeking.

When a medical school admissions reviewer finishes reading your medical school personal statement, ask yourself:

  • What are the most important things you want that person to remember about you?
  • Does your medical school personal statement sum up your personality, interests, and talents?
  • Does your medical school personal statement sound as if it’s written from the heart?

It’s pretty obvious to most admissions reviewers when applicants are trying too hard to impress them. Being authentic and upfront about who you are is the best way to be a memorable applicant.

The Biggest Medical School Personal Statement Mistakes

The most common medical school personal statement mistake we see students make is that they write about:

  • What they have accomplished
  • How they have accomplished it

By including details on what you have accomplished and how, you will make yourself sound like every other medical school applicant. 

Most medical school applicants are involved in similar activities: research, clinical work, service, and social justice work. 

To stand out, you must write from the heart making it clear you haven’t marched through your premedical years and checking boxes.

We also strongly discourage applicants from using ChatGPT or any AI bot to write their medical school personal statement. Writing in your own voice is essential and using anything automated will undermine success.

The Medical School Personal Statement Secret

MedEdits students stand out in the medical school personal statement because in their personal statements they address:

WHY they have accomplished what they have.

In other words, they write in more detail about their passions, interests, and what is genuinely important to them. 

It sounds simple, we know, but by writing in a natural way, really zeroing in on WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO, you will appeal to a wide variety of people in a humanistic way. 

MedEdits students have done extremely well in the most recent medical school admissions cycle. Many of these applicants have below average “stats” for the medical schools from which they are receiving interviews and acceptances.

Why? How is that possible? They all have a few things in common:

  • They write a narrative that is authentic and distinctive to them.
  • They write a medical school personal statement with broad appeal (many different types of people will be evaluating your application; most are not physicians).
  • They don’t try too hard to impress; instead they write about the most impactful experiences they have had on their path to medical school.
  • They demonstrate they are humble, intellectual, compassionate, and committed to a career in medicine all at the same time.

Keep reading for a step by step approach to write your medical school personal statement.

“After sitting on a medical school admissions committee for many years, I can tell you, think strategically about how you want to present your personal “big picture.” We want to know who you are as a human being.”

As physicians, former medical school faculty, and medical school admissions committee members, this article will offer a step by step guide to simplify the medical school personal statement brainstorming and writing process.

By following the proven strategies outlined in this article, you will be and to write a personal statement that will earn you more medical school interviews . This proven approach has helped hundreds of medical school applicants get in to medical school the first time they apply!


Learn the 2024-2025 Medical School Personal Statement Prompts ( AMCAS , TMDSAS , AACOMAS )

The personal statement is the major essay portion of your primary application process. In it, you should describe yourself and your background, as well as any important early exposures to medicine, how and why medicine first piqued your interest, what you have done as a pre med, your personal experiences, and how you became increasingly fascinated with it. It’s also key to explain why medicine is the right career for you, in terms of both personal and intellectual fulfillment, and to show your commitment has continued to deepen as you learned more about the field.

The personal statement also offers you the opportunity to express who you are outside of medicine. What are your other interests? Where did you grow up? What did you enjoy about college? Figuring out what aspects of your background to highlight is important since this is one of your only chances to express to the med school admissions committee before your interview what is important to you and why.

However, it is important to consider the actual personal statement prompt for each system through which you will apply, AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS, since each is slightly different.

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2024 AMCAS Personal Statement Prompt

AMCAS Personal Statement

The AMCAS personal statement instructions are as follows:

Use the Personal Comments Essay as an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Consider and write your Personal Comments Essay carefully; many admissions committees place significant weight on the essay. Here are some questions that you may want to consider while writing the essay:

  • Why have you selected the field of medicine?
  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What do you want medical schools to know about you that hasn’t been disclosed in other sections of the application?

In addition, you may wish to include information such as:

  • Unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits
  • Comments on significant fluctuations in your academic record that are not explained elsewhere in your application

As you can see, these prompts are not vague; there are fundamental questions that admissions committees want you to answer when writing your personal statement. While the content of your statement should be focused on medicine, answering the open ended third question is a bit trickier.

The AMCAS personal statement length is 5,300 characters with spaces maximum.

2024 TMDSAS Personal Statement Prompt

TMDSAS Personal Statement

The TMDSAS personal statement is one of the most important pieces of your medical school application.

The TMDSAS personal statement prompt is as follows:

Explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. Be sure to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician.

This TMDSAS prompt is very similar to the AMCAS personal statement prompt. The TMDSAS personal statement length is 5,000 characters with spaces whereas the AMCAS personal statement length is 5,300 characters with spaces. Most students use the same essay (with very minor modifications, if necessary) for both application systems.

You’ve been working hard on your med school application, reading medical school personal statement examples, editing, revising, editing and revising.  Make sure you know where you’re sending your personal statement and application.  Watch this important medical school admissions statistics video.

2024 AACOMAS Personal Statement Prompt

AACOMAS Personal Statement

The AACOMAS personal statement is for osteopathic medical schools specifically. As with the AMCAS statement, you need to lay out your journey to medicine as chronologically as possible in 5,300 characters with spaces or less. So you essentially have the same story map as for an AMCAS statement. Most important, you must show you are interested in osteopathy specifically. Therefore, when trying to decide what to include or leave out, prioritize any osteopathy experiences you have had, or those that are in line with the osteopathic philosophy of the mind-body connection, the body as self-healing, and other tenets.

Medical School Application Timeline and When to Write your Personal Statement

If you’re applying to both allopathic and osteopathic schools, you can most likely use the same medical school personal statement for both AMCAS and AACOMAS. In fact, this is why AACOMAS changed the personal statement length to match the AMCAS length several years ago.

Most medical school personal statements can be used for AMCAS and AACOMAS.

Know the Required Medical School Personal Statement Length

Below are the medical schools personal statement length limits for each application system. As you can see, they are all very similar. When you start brainstorming and writing your personal statement, keep these limits in mind.

AMCAS Personal Statement Length : 5,300 characters with spaces.

As per the AAMC website :   “The available space for this essay is 5,300 characters (spaces are counted as characters), or approximately one page. You will receive an error message if you exceed the available space.”

AACOMAS Personal Statement Length : 5,300 characters with spaces

TMDSAS Personal Statement Length : 5,000 characters with spaces

As per the TMDSAS Website (Page 36): “The personal essay asks you to explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. You are asked to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician. The essay is limited to 5000 characters, including spaces.”

Demonstrate Required Preprofessional Competencies

Next, your want to be aware of the nine preprofessional core competencies as outlined by the Association of American Medical Colleges . Medical school admissions committees want to see, as evidenced by your medical school personal statement and application, that you possess these qualities and characteristics. Now, don’t worry, medical school admissions committees don’t expect you to demonstrate all of them, but, you should demonstrate some.

  • Service Orientation
  • Social Skills
  • Cultural Competence
  • Oral Communication
  • Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others
  • Reliability and Dependability
  • Resilience and Adaptability
  • Capacity for Improvement

In your personal statement, you might be able to also demonstrate the four thinking and reasoning competencies:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Written Communication
  • Scientific Inquiry

So, let’s think about how to address the personal statement prompts in a slightly different way while ensuring you demonstrate the preprofessional competencies. When writing your personal statement, be sure it answers the four questions that follow and you will “hit” most of the core competencies listed above.

1. What have you done that supports your interest in becoming a doctor?

I always advise applicants to practice “evidence based admissions.” The reader of your essay wants to see the “evidence” that you have done what is necessary to understand the practice of medicine. This includes clinical exposure, research, and community service, among other activities.

2. Why do you want to be a doctor?

This may seem pretty basic – and it is – but admissions officers need to know WHY you want to practice medicine. Many applicants make the mistake of simply listing what they have done without offering insights about those experiences that answer the question, “Why medicine?” Your reasons for wanting to be a doctor may overlap with those of other applicants. This is okay because the experiences in which you participated, the stories you can tell about those experiences, and the wisdom you gained are completely distinct—because they are only yours. 

“In admissions committee meetings we were always interested in WHY you wanted to earn a medical degree and how you would contribute to the medical school community.”

Medical school admissions committees want to know that you have explored your interest deeply and that you can reflect on the significance of these clinical experiences and volunteer work. But writing only that you “want to help people” does not support a sincere desire to become a physician; you must indicate why the medical profession in particular—rather than social work, teaching, or another “helping” profession—is your goal. 

3. How have your experiences influenced you?

It is important to show how your experiences are linked and how they have influenced you. How did your experiences motivate you? How did they affect what else you did in your life? How did your experiences shape your future goals? Medical school admissions committees like to see a sensible progression of involvements. While not every activity needs to be logically “connected” with another, the evolution of your interests and how your experiences have nurtured your future goals and ambitions show that you are motivated and committed.

4. Who are you as a person? What are your values and ideals?

Medical school admissions committees want to know about you as an individual beyond your interests in medicine, too. This is where answering that third open ended question in the prompt becomes so important. What was interesting about your background, youth, and home life? What did you enjoy most about college? Do you have any distinctive passions or interests? They want to be convinced that you are a good person beyond your experiences. Write about those topics that are unlikely to appear elsewhere in your statement that will offer depth and interest to your work and illustrate the qualities and characteristics you possess.

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Complete Your Personal Inventory and Outline (Example Below)

The bulk of your essay should be about your most valuable experiences, personal, academic, scholarly, clinical, academic and extracurricular activities that have impacted your path to medical school and through which you have learned about the practice of medicine. The best personal statements cover several topics and are not narrow in scope. Why is this important? Many different people with a variety of backgrounds, interests, and ideas of what makes a great medical student will be reading your essay. You want to make sure you essay has broad appeal.

The following exercise will help you to determine what experiences you should highlight in your personal statement. 

When composing your personal statement, keep in mind that you are writing, in effect, a “story” of how you arrived at this point in your life. But, unlike a “story” in the creative sense, yours must also offer convincing evidence for your decision to apply to medical school. Before starting your personal statement, create an experience- based personal inventory:

  • Write down a list of the most important experiences in your life and your development. The list should be all inclusive and comprise those experiences that had the most impact on you. Put the list, which should consist of personal, extracurricular, and academic events, in chronological order.
  • From this list, determine which experiences you consider the most important in helping you decide to pursue a career in medicine. This “experience oriented” approach will allow you to determine which experiences best illustrate the personal competencies admissions committees look for in your written documents. Remember that you must provide evidence for your interest in medicine and for most of the personal qualities and characteristics that medical school admissions committees want to see.
  • After making your list, think about why each “most important” experience was influential and write that down. What did you observe? What did you learn? What insights did you gain? How  did the experience influence your path and choices?
  • Then think of a story or illustration for why each experience was important.
  • After doing this exercise, evaluate each experience for its significance and influence and for its “story” value. Choose to write about those experiences that not only were influential but that also will provide interesting reading, keeping in mind that  your goal is to weave the pertinent experiences together into a compelling story. In making your choices, think about how you will link each experience and transition from one topic to the next.
  • Decide which of your listed experiences you will use for your introduction first (see below for more about your introduction). Then decide which experiences you will include in the body of your personal statement, create a general outline, and get writing!

Remember, you will also have your work and activities entries and your secondary applications to write in more detail about your experiences. Therefore, don’t feel you must pack everything in to your statement!

Craft a Compelling Personal Statement Introduction and Body

You hear conflicting advice about application essays. Some tell you not to open with a story. Others tell you to always begin with a story. Regardless of the advice you receive, be sure to do three things:

  • Be true to yourself. Everyone will have an opinion regarding what you should and should not write. Follow your own instincts. Your personal statement should be a reflection of you, and only you.
  • Start your personal statement with something catchy.  Think about the list of potential topics above.
  • Don’t rush your work. Composing thoughtful documents takes time and you don’t want your writing and ideas to be sloppy and underdeveloped.

Most important is to begin with something that engages your reader. A narrative, a “story,” an anecdote written in the first or third person, is ideal. Whatever your approach, your first paragraph must grab your reader’s attention and motivate him to want to continue reading. I encourage applicants to start their personal statement by describing an experience that was especially influential in setting them on their path to medical school. This can be a personal or scholarly experience or an extracurricular one. Remember to avoid clichés and quotes and to be honest and authentic in your writing. Don’t try to be someone who you are not by trying to imitate personal statement examples you have read online or “tell them what you think they want to hear”; consistency is key and your interviewer is going to make sure that you are who you say you are!

When deciding what experiences to include in the body of your personal statement, go back to your personal inventory and identify those experiences that have been the most influential in your personal path and your path to medical school. Keep in mind that the reader wants to have an idea of who you are as a human being so don’t write your personal statement as a glorified resume. Include some information about your background and personal experiences that can give a picture of who you are as a person outside of the classroom or laboratory.

Ideally, you should choose two or three experiences to highlight in the body of your personal statement. You don’t want to write about all of your accomplishments; that is what your application entries are for!

Write Your Personal Statement Conclusion

In your conclusion, it is customary to “go full circle” by coming back to the topic—or anecdote—you introduced in the introduction, but this is not a must. Summarize why you want to be a doctor and address what you hope to achieve and your goals for medical school. Write a conclusion that is compelling and will leave the reader wanting to meet you.

Complete Personal Statement Checklist

When reading your medical school personal statement be sure it:

Shows insight and introspection

The best medical school personal statements tell a great deal about what you have learned through your experiences and the insights you have gained.

You want to tell your story by highlighting those experiences that have been the most influential on your path to medical school and to give a clear sense of chronology. You want your statement always to be logical and never to confuse your reader.

Is interesting and engaging

The best personal statements engage the reader. This doesn’t mean you must use big words or be a literary prize winner. Write in your own language and voice, but really think about your journey to medical school and the most intriguing experiences you have had.

Gives the reader a mental image of who you are

You want the reader to be able to envision you as a caregiver and a medical professional. You want to convey that you would be a compassionate provider at the bedside – someone who could cope well with crisis and adversity.

Illustrates your passion for, and commitment to, medicine

Your reader must be convinced that you are excited about and committed to a career in medicine!

Above all, your personal statement should be about you. Explain to your reader what you have done and why you want to be a doctor with insight, compassion, and understanding.

Medical School Personal Statement Myths

Also keep in mind some common myths about personal statements that I hear quite often:

My personal statement must have a theme.

Not true. The vast majority of personal statements do not have themes. In fact, most are somewhat autobiographical and are just as interesting as those statements that are woven around a “theme.” It is only the very talented writer who can creatively write a personal statement around a theme, and this approach often backfires since the applicant fails to answer the three questions above.

My personal statement must be no longer than one page.

Not true. This advice is antiquated and dates back to the days of the written application when admissions committees flipped through pages. If your personal statement is interesting and compelling, it is fine to use the entire allotted space. The application systems have incorporated limits for exactly this reason! Many students, depending on their unique circumstances, can actually undermine their success by limiting their personal statement to a page. That said, never max out a space just for the sake of doing so. Quality writing and perspectives are preferable to quantity.

My personal statement should not describe patient encounters or my personal medical experiences.

Not true. Again, the actual topics on which you focus in your personal statement are less important than the understanding you gained from those experiences. I have successful clients who have written extremely powerful and compelling personal statements that included information about clinical encounters – both personal and professional. Write about whichever experiences were the most important on your path to medicine. It’s always best, however, to avoid spending too much space on childhood and high school activities. Focus instead on those that are more current.

In my personal statement I need to sell myself.

Not exactly true. You never want to boast in your personal statement. Let your experiences, insights, and observations speak for themselves. You want your reader to draw the conclusion – on his or her own – that you have the qualities and characteristics the medical school seeks. Never tell what qualities and characteristics you possess; let readers draw these conclusions on their own based on what you write.

Medical School Personal Statement Examples and Analysis for Inspiration

Below are examples of actual medical school personal statements. You can also likely find medical school personal statements on Reddit.

example of medical school personal statement, medical school personal statement examples

AMCAS Medical School Personal Statement Example and Analysis #1 with Personal Inventory  

We will use Amy to illustrate the general process of writing an application to medical school, along with providing the resulting documents. Amy will first list those experiences, personal, extracurricular, and scholarly, that have been most influential in two areas: her life in general and her path to medical school. She will put this personal inventory in chronologic order for use in composing her personal statement.

She will then select those experiences that were the most significant to her and will reflect and think about why they were important. For her application entries, Amy will write about each experience, including those that she considers influential in her life but not in her choice of medicine, in her application entries. Experiences that Amy will not write about in her activity entries or her personal statement are those that she does not consider most influential in either her life or in her choice of medicine.

Amy’s personal inventory (from oldest to most recent)

  • Going with my mom to work. She is a surgeon — I was very curious about what she did. I was intrigued by the relationships she had with patients and how much they valued her efforts. I also loved seeing her as “a doctor” since, to me, she was just “mom.”
  • I loved biology in high school. I started to think seriously about medicine then. It was during high school that I became fascinated with biology and how the human body worked. I would say that was when I thought, “Hmm, maybe I should be a doctor.”
  • Grandmother’s death, senior year of high school. My grandmother’s death was tragic. It was the first time I had ever seen someone close to me suffer. It was one of the most devastating experiences in my life.
  • Global Health Trip to Guatemala my freshman year of college. I realized after going to Guatemala that I had always taken my access to health care for granted. Here I saw children who didn’t have basic health care. This made me want to become a physician so I could give more to people like those I met in Guatemala.
  • Sorority involvement. Even though sorority life might seem trivial, I loved it. I learned to work with different types of people and gained some really valuable leadership experience.
  • Poor grades in college science classes. I still regret that I did badly in my science classes. I think I was immature and was also too involved in other activities and didn’t have the focus I needed to do well. I had a 3.4 undergraduate GPA.
  • Teaching and tutoring Jose, a child from Honduras. In a way, meeting Jose in a college tutoring program brought my Guatemala experience to my home. Jose struggled academically, and his parents were immigrants and spoke only Spanish, so they had their own challenges. I tried to help Jose as much as I could. I saw that because he lacked resources, he was at a tremendous disadvantage.
  • Volunteering at Excellent Medical Center. Shadowing physicians at the medical center gave me a really broad view of medicine. I learned about different specialties, met many different patients, and saw both great and not-so-great physician role models. Counselor at Ronald McDonald House. Working with sick kids made me appreciate my health. I tried to make them happy and was so impressed with their resilience. It made me realize that good health is everything.
  • Oncology research. Understanding what happens behind the scenes in research was fascinating. Not only did I gain some valuable research experience, but I learned how research is done.
  • Peer health counselor. Communicating with my peers about really important medical tests gave me an idea of the tremendous responsibility that doctors have. I also learned that it is important to be sensitive, to listen, and to be open-minded when working with others.
  • Clinical Summer Program. This gave me an entirely new view of medicine. I worked with the forensics department, and visiting scenes of deaths was entirely new to me. This experience added a completely new dimension to my understanding of medicine and how illness and death affect loved ones.
  • Emergency department internship. Here I learned so much about how things worked in the hospital. I realized how important it was that people who worked in the clinical department were involved in creating hospital policies. This made me understand, in practical terms, how an MPH would give me the foundation to make even more change in the future.
  • Master’s in public health. I decided to get an MPH for two reasons. First of all, I knew my undergraduate science GPA was an issue so I figured that graduate level courses in which I performed well would boost my record. I don’t think I will write this on my application, but I also thought the degree would give me other skills if I didn’t get into medical school, and I knew it would also give me something on which I could build during medical school and in my career since I was interested in policy work.

As you can see from Amy’s personal inventory list, she has many accomplishments that are important to her and influenced her path. The most influential personal experience that motivated her to practice medicine was her mother’s career as a practicing physician, but Amy was also motivated by watching her mother’s career evolve. Even though the death of her grandmother was devastating for Amy, she did not consider this experience especially influential in her choice to attend medical school so she didn’t write about it in her personal statement.

Amy wrote an experience-based personal statement, rich with anecdotes and detailed descriptions, to illustrate the evolution of her interest in medicine and how this motivated her to also earn a master’s in public health.

Amy’s Medical School Personal Statement Example:

She was sprawled across the floor of her apartment. Scattered trash, decaying food, alcohol bottles, medication vials, and cigarette butts covered the floor. I had just graduated from college, and this was my first day on rotation with the forensic pathology department as a Summer Scholar, one of my most valuable activities on the path to medical school. As the coroner deputy scanned the scene for clues to what caused this woman’s death, I saw her distraught husband. I did not know what to say other than “I am so sorry.” I listened intently as he repeated the same stories about his wife and his dismay that he never got to say goodbye. The next day, alongside the coroner as he performed the autopsy, I could not stop thinking about the grieving man.

Discerning a cause of death was not something I had previously associated with the practice of medicine. As a child, I often spent Saturday mornings with my mother, a surgeon, as she rounded on patients. I witnessed the results of her actions, as she provided her patients a renewed chance at life. I grew to honor and respect my mother’s profession. Witnessing the immense gratitude of her patients and their families, I quickly came to admire the impact she was able to make in the lives of her patients and their loved ones.

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine as my mother had, and throughout high school and college I sought out clinical, research, and volunteer opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of medicine. After volunteering with cancer survivors at Camp Ronald McDonald, I was inspired to further understand this disease. Through my oncology research, I learned about therapeutic processes for treatment development. Further, following my experience administering HIV tests, I completed research on point-of-care HIV testing, to be instituted throughout 26 hospitals and clinics. I realized that research often served as a basis for change in policy and medical practice and sought out opportunities to learn more about both.

All of my medically related experiences demonstrated that people who were ‘behind the scenes’ and had limited or no clinical background made many of the decisions in health care. Witnessing the evolution of my mother’s career further underscored the impact of policy change on the practice of medicine. In particular, the limits legislation imposed on the care she could provide influenced my perspective and future goals. Patients whom my mother had successfully treated for more than a decade, and with whom she had long-standing, trusting relationships, were no longer able to see her, because of policy coverage changes. Some patients, frustrated by these limitations, simply stopped seeking the care they needed. As a senior in college, I wanted to understand how policy transformations came about and gain the tools I would need to help effect administrative and policy changes in the future as a physician. It was with this goal in mind that I decided to complete a master’s in public health program before applying to medical school.

As an MPH candidate, I am gaining insight into the theories and practices behind the complex interconnections of the healthcare system; I am learning about economics, operations, management, ethics, policy, finance, and technology and how these entities converge to impact delivery of care. A holistic understanding of this diverse, highly competitive, market-driven system will allow me, as a clinician, to find solutions to policy, public health, and administration issues. I believe that change can be more effective if those who actually practice medicine also decide where improvements need to be made.

For example, as the sole intern for the emergency department at County Medical Center, I worked to increase efficiency in the ED by evaluating and mapping patient flow. I tracked patients from point of entry to point of discharge and found that the discharge process took up nearly 35% of patients’ time. By analyzing the reasons for this situation, in collaboration with nurses and physicians who worked in the ED and had an intimate understanding of what took place in the clinical area, I was able to make practical recommendations to decrease throughput time. The medical center has already implemented these suggestions, resulting in decreased length of stays. This example illustrates the benefit of having clinicians who work ‘behind the scenes’ establish policies and procedures, impacting operational change and improving patient care. I will also apply what I have learned through this project as the business development intern at Another Local Medical Center this summer, where I will assist in strategic planning, financial analysis, and program reviews for various clinical departments.

Through my mother’s career and my own medical experiences, I have become aware of the need for clinician administrators and policymakers. My primary goal as a physician will be to care for patients, but with the knowledge and experience I have gained through my MPH, I also hope to effect positive public policy and administrative changes.

What’s Good About Amy’s Medical School Personal Statement:  

Paragraphs 1 and 2: Amy started her personal statement by illustrating a powerful experience she had when she realized that medical caregivers often feel impotent, and how this contrasted with her understanding of medicine as a little girl going with her mother to work. Recognition of this intense contrast also highlights Amy’s maturity.

Paragraph 3: Amy then “lists” a few experiences that were important to her.

Paragraph 4: Amy describes the commonality in some of her experiences and how her observations were substantiated by watching the evolution of her mother’s practice. She then explains how this motivated her to earn an MPH so she could create change more effectively as a physician than as a layman.

Paragraph 5: Amy then explains how her graduate degree is helping her to better understand the “issues in medicine” that she observed.

Paragraph 6: Amy then describes one exceptional accomplishment she had that highlights what she has learned and how she has applied it.

Paragraph 7: Finally, Amy effectively concludes her personal statement and summarizes the major topics addressed in her essay.

As you can see, Amy’s statement has excellent flow, is captivating and unusual, and illustrates her understanding of, and commitment to, medicine. She also exhibits, throughout her application entries and statement, the personal competencies, characteristics, and qualities that medical school admissions officers are seeking. Her application also has broad appeal; reviewers who are focused on research, cultural awareness, working with the underserved, health administration and policy, teaching, or clinical medicine would all find it of interest.

Personal Statement Examples

med school personal statement examples

Osteopathic Medical School Personal Statement Example and Analysis #2

Medical School Personal Statement Example Background: This is a nontraditional applicant who applied to osteopathic medical schools. With a 500 and a 504 on the MCAT , he needed to showcase how his former career and what he learned through his work made him an asset. He also needed to convey why osteopathic medicine was an ideal fit for him. The student does an excellent job illustrating his commitment to medicine and explaining why and how he made the well-informed decision to leave his former career to pursue a career in osteopathic medicine.

What’s Good About It: A nontraditional student with a former career, this applicant does a great job outlining how and why he decided to pursue a career in medicine. Clearly dedicated to service, he also does a great job making it clear he is a good fit for osteopathic medical school and understands this distinctions of osteopathic practice.. 

Working as a police officer, one comes to expect the unexpected, but sometimes, when the unexpected happens, one can’t help but be surprised. In November 20XX, I had been a police officer for two years when my partner and I happened to be nearby when a man had a cardiac emergency in Einstein Bagels. Entering the restaurant, I was caught off guard by the lifeless figure on the floor, surrounded by spilled food. Time paused as my partner and I began performing CPR, and my heart raced as I watched color return to the man’s pale face.

Luckily, paramedics arrived within minutes to transport him to a local hospital. Later, I watched as the family thanked the doctors who gave their loved one a renewed chance at life. That day, in the “unexpected,” I confirmed that I wanted to become a physician, something that had attracted me since childhood.

I have always been enthralled by the science of medicine and eager to help those in need but, due to life events, my path to achieving this dream has been long. My journey began following high school when I joined the U.S. Army. I was immature and needed structure, and I knew the military was an opportunity to pursue my medical ambitions. I trained as a combat medic and requested work in an emergency room of an army hospital. At the hospital, I started IVs, ran EKGs, collected vital signs, and assisted with codes. I loved every minute as I was directly involved in patient care and observed physicians methodically investigating their patients’ signs and symptoms until they reached a diagnosis. Even when dealing with difficult patients, the physicians I worked with maintained composure, showing patience and understanding while educating patients about their diseases. I observed physicians not only as clinicians but also as teachers. As a medic, I learned that I loved working with patients and being part of the healthcare team, and I gained an understanding of acute care and hospital operations.

Following my discharge in 20XX, I transferred to an army reserve hospital and continued as a combat medic until 20XX. Working as a medic at several hospitals and clinics in the area, I was exposed to osteopathic medicine and the whole body approach to patient care. I was influenced by the D.O.s’ hands-on treatment and their use of manipulative medicine as a form of therapy. I learned that the body cannot function properly if there is dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system.

In 20XX, I became a police officer to support myself as I finished my undergraduate degree and premed courses. While working the streets, I continued my patient care experiences by being the first to care for victims of gunshot wounds, stab wounds, car accidents, and other medical emergencies. In addition, I investigated many unknown causes of death with the medical examiner’s office. I often found signs of drug and alcohol abuse and learned the dangers and power of addiction. In 20XX, I finished my undergraduate degree in education and in 20XX, I completed my premed courses.

Wanting to learn more about primary care medicine, in 20XX I volunteered at a community health clinic that treats underserved populations. Shadowing a family physician, I learned about the physical exam as I looked into ears and listened to the hearts and lungs of patients with her guidance. I paid close attention as she expressed the need for more PCPs and the important roles they play in preventing disease and reducing ER visits by treating and educating patients early in the disease process. This was evident as numerous patients were treated for high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes, all conditions that can be resolved or improved by lifestyle changes. I learned that these changes are not always easy for many in underserved populations as healthier food is often more expensive and sometimes money for prescriptions is not available. This experience opened my eyes to the challenges of being a physician in an underserved area.

The idea of disease prevention stayed with me as I thought about the man who needed CPR. Could early detection and education about heart disease have prevented his “unexpected” cardiac event? My experiences in health care and law enforcement have confirmed my desire to be an osteopathic physician and to treat the patients of the local area. I want to eliminate as many medical surprises as I can.

Personal Statement Examples

Texas Medical School Personal Statement Example and Analysis #3

Medical School Personal Statement Example Background: This applicant, who grew up with modest means, should be an inspiration to us all. Rather than allowing limited resources to stand in his way, he took advantage of everything that was available to him. He commuted to college from home and had a part-time job so he was stretched thin, and his initial college performance suffered. However, he worked hard and his grades improved. Most medical school admissions committees seek out applicants like this because, by overcoming adversity and succeeding with limited resources, they demonstrate exceptional perseverance, maturity, and dedication. His accomplishments are, by themselves, impressive and he does an outstanding job of detailing his path, challenges, and commitment to medicine. He received multiple acceptances to top medical schools and was offered scholarships.

What’s Good About It: This student does a great job opening his personal statement with a beautifully written introduction that immediately takes the reader to Central America. He then explains his path, why he did poorly early in college, and goes on to discuss his academic interests and pursuits. He is also clearly invested in research and articulates that he is intellectually curious, motivated, hard working, compassionate and committed to a career in medicine by explaining his experiences using interesting language and details. This is an intriguing statement that makes clear the applicant is worthy of an interview invitation. Finally, the student expresses his interest in attending medical school in Texas.

They were learning the basics of carpentry and agriculture. The air was muggy and hot, but these young boys seemed unaffected, though I and my fellow college students sweated and often complained. As time passed, I started to have a greater appreciation for the challenges these boys faced. These orphans, whom I met and trained in rural Central America as a member of The Project, had little. They dreamed of using these basic skills to earn a living wage. Abandoned by their families, they knew this was their only opportunity to re-enter society as self- sufficient individuals. I stood by them in the fields and tutored them after class. And while I tried my best to instill in them a strong work ethic, it was the boys who instilled in me a desire to help those in need. They gave me a new perspective on my decision to become a doctor.

I don’t know exactly when I decided to become a physician; I have had this goal for a long time. I grew up in the inner city of A City, in Texas and attended magnet schools. My family knew little about higher education, and I learned to seek out my own opportunities and advice. I attended The University with the goal of gaining admission to medical school. When I started college, I lacked the maturity to focus on academics and performed poorly. Then I traveled to Central America. Since I was one of the few students who spoke Spanish, many of the boys felt comfortable talking with me. They saw me as a role model.

The boys worked hard so that they could learn trades that would help them to be productive members of society. It was then I realized that my grandparents, who immigrated to the US so I would have access to greater opportunities, had done the same. I felt like I was wasting what they had sacrificed for me. When I returned to University in the fall, I made academics my priority and committed myself to learn more about medicine .

personal statement medicine intro

Through my major in neuroscience, I strengthened my understanding of how we perceive and experience life. In systems neurobiology, I learned the physiology of the nervous system. Teaching everything from basic neural circuits to complex sensory pathways, Professor X provided me with the knowledge necessary to conduct research in Parkinson’s disease. My research focused on the ability of antioxidants to prevent the onset of Parkinson’s, and while my project was only a pilot study at the time, Professor X encouraged me to present it at the National Research Conference. During my senior year, I developed the study into a formal research project, recruiting the help of professors of statistics and biochemistry.

Working at the School of Medicine reinforced my analytical skills. I spent my summer in the department of emergency medicine, working with the department chair, Dr. Excellent. Through Dr. Excellent’s mentorship, I participated in a retrospective study analyzing patient charts to determine the efficacy of D-dimer assays in predicting blood clots. The direct clinical relevance of my research strengthened my commitment and motivated my decision to seek out more clinical research opportunities.

A growing awareness of the role of human compassion in healing has also influenced my choice to pursue a career in medicine. It is something no animal model or cell culture can ever duplicate or rival. Working in clinical research has allowed me to see the selflessness of many physicians and patients and their mutual desire to help others. As a research study assistant in the department of surgery, I educate and enroll patients in clinical trials. One such study examines the role of pre-operative substance administration in tumor progression. Patients enrolled in this study underwent six weeks of therapy before having the affected organ surgically excised. Observing how patients were willing to participate in this research to benefit others helped me understand the resiliency of the human spirit.

Working in clinical trials has enabled me to further explore my passion for science, while helping others. Through my undergraduate coursework and participation in volunteer groups I have had many opportunities to solidify my goal to become a physician. As I am working, I sometimes think about my second summer in Central America. I recall how one day, after I had turned countless rows of soil in scorching heat, one of the boys told me that I was a trabajador verdadero—a true worker. I paused as I realized the significance of this comment. While the boy may not have been able to articulate it, he knew I could identify with him. What the boy didn’t know, however, was that had my grandparents not decided to immigrate to the US, I would not have the great privilege of seizing opportunities in this country and writing this essay today. I look forward to the next step of my education and hope to return home to Texas where I look forward to serving the communities I call home.

Final Thoughts

Above all, and as stated in this article numerous times, your personal statement should be authentic and genuine. Write about your path and and journey to this point in your life using anecdotes and observations to intrigue the reader and illustrate what is and was important to you. Good luck!

Medical School Personal Statement Help & Consulting

If all this information has you staring at your screen like a deer in the headlights, you’re not alone. Writing a superb medical school personal statement can be a daunting task, and many applicants find it difficult to get started writing, or to express everything they want to say succinctly. That’s where MedEdits can help. You don’t have to have the best writing skills to compose a stand-out statement. From personal-statement editing alone to comprehensive packages for all your medical school application needs, we offer extensive support and expertise developed from working with thousands of successful medical school applicants. We can’t promise applying to medical school will be stress-free, but most clients tell us it’s a huge relief not to have to go it alone.

MedEdits offers personal statement consulting and editing. Our goal when working with students is to draw out what makes each student distinctive. How do we do this? We will explore your background and upbringing, interests and ideals as well as your accomplishments and activities. By helping you identify the most distinguishing aspects of who you are, you will then be able to compose an authentic and genuine personal statement in your own voice to capture the admissions committee’s attention so you are invited for a medical school interview. Our unique brainstorming methodology has helped hundreds of aspiring premeds gain acceptance to medical school.

MedEdits: Sample Medical School Personal Statement, Page 1

Sample Medical School Personal Statement

MedEdits: Sample Medical School Personal Statement, Page 2

Example Medical School Personal Statement

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The Medical School Personal Statement: How To Stand Out

personal statement medicine intro

Posted in: Applying to Medical School

personal statement medicine intro

Impressive GPAs and MCAT scores, research experience, physician shadowing, and meaningful volunteer work are only one part of a successful medical school application . You may meet all other medical school requirements , yet face rejection.

One thing can help you stand above the rest : A compelling personal statement.

The medical school personal statement is important because it highlights your hard work, your pre-medical school accomplishments, and why you’re a better candidate than everyone else. 

In other words: Who are you, what makes you unique, and why do you deserve a spot in our school?

We’ve helped thousands of prospective medical students increase their odds at acceptance with better personal statements. Now, we’ll show you exactly how to do it. 

Working on your personal statement? Speak with a member of our enrollment team who can walk you through the step-by-step med school application process from start to finish.

Table of contents, what’s in a great med school personal statement.

An excellent medical school personal statement should contain:

  • Passion for an area of the healthcare field.
  • Storytelling that captures the reader’s attention from the first sentence.
  • Emotion and personality to show (not tell) admissions committee members who you are.
  • A unique answer to the question, “Why do you want to be a doctor?”

A powerful personal statement shows that you are the kind of candidate who will make an exceptional physician and be a valuable asset to the school during your medical education. Additionally, it helps to distinguish your application from the many other students with similar MCAT scores and GPAs.

A weak personal statement would, in turn, have the opposite effect.

Not only does the personal statement weed out unqualified candidates, but it also serves as a foundation for many interview discussions and questions . 

Admission committee members often only have a few minutes to review an application. Personal statements provide them with the right amount of information. Since it’s possible this is the only part of your application they’ll read, it needs to be perfect .

When writing your personal statement, you’ll also want to note the AAMC core competencies that are expected of all medical professionals. Some, if not all, of these competencies should shine through in your application essay.

The AAMC premed competencies include: 

  • Professional competencies:  Factors like communication skills, interpersonal skills, commitment to learning and growth, compassion, dependability, and cultural awareness and humility
  • Science competencies:  Understanding of human behaviors and living systems, both of which are best demonstrated in data-driven measures like research, MCAT scores, and science GPA (in other words, not things that necessarily need to be displayed in your personal statement)
  • Thinking & Reasoning competencies:  Critical thinking, reasoning, scientific inquiry, and written communication

A MedSchoolCoach review for personal statements, secondary essays, and interview preparation.

It’s important to show passion for something specific — a group of underserved people, a type of patient, the benefit of a particular area of medicine, etc. Your passion should be evident, non-generic, and authentic. Ask yourself, “What makes a good doctor?”

It’s crucial to avoid cliches in your personal statement, like claiming you want to become a doctor “to help people.”

Dr. Renee Marinelli, Director of Advising at MedSchoolCoach, warns that certain cliches may not truly represent meaningful experiences that influenced your decision to pursue medicine.

You may have decided to become a doctor from experiencing a kind physician as a child, but that personal experience doesn’t convey genuine passion. Your enthusiasm for medicine doesn’t need to originate from a grand experience or sudden revelation.

Your interest in medicine probably developed gradually, perhaps when you fell in love with psychology during college and volunteered at nursing homes. You don’t need a lifelong dream to demonstrate passion and become an outstanding doctor.

2. Storytelling

A memorable personal statement captures the reader’s attention from the first sentence, which you can do with an interesting personal story or anecdote. Including some creativity, ingenuity, humor, and character.

Immersing the admissions committee in your personal statement allows you to show , not just tell , how your experiences have impacted your journey to medicine.

Don’t repeat the data your admissions committee can read on the rest of your application — SHOW the passions and experiences that have led you to this field using a narrative approach.

Consider the following examples of statements about a student’s volunteer experience at a food pantry:

"“Through my work at the local food pantry, I came to understand the daily battles many individuals face, and it allowed me to develop deeper empathy and compassion.” “When I saw Mr. Jones, a regular at the kitchen, struggling to maneuver his grocery cart through the door, I hustled over to assist him. My heart sunk when I saw he was wearing a new cast after having been assaulted the night prior.”

Which do you think performed better in terms of conveying personal characteristics? Your personal statement is a deep dive into one central theme, not about rehashing all of your experiences. 

3. Emotion & Personality

An engaging personal statement allows your unique personality and real emotions to shine through.

As Dr. Davietta Butty, a Northwestern School of Medicine graduate, avid writer, pediatrician, and MedSchoolCoach advisor, puts it,

“I think the best personal statements are the ones that showcase the applicant’s personality. Remember that this is your story and not anyone else’s, and you get to say it how it makes sense to you.” 

This is why storytelling is such an important part of personal statement writing. Your writing process should involve quite a bit of writing and editing to express emotion in a relatable, appropriate way.

A Note On Writing About Tragedy

One way you can show who you are is by expressing an appropriate level of emotion, particularly about challenging or tragic experiences. (But don’t worry — not everyone has a tragic backstory, and that’s perfectly fine!)

If you are discussing a tragedy, don’t go into an extended explanation of how you feel — show emotion and your personality while sticking to the plot.

Personal tragedies, such as the death of a loved one, can powerfully motivate a personal statement. In a field where life and death constantly clash, experiences with death might appear impressive qualifications; however, approach them cautiously.

Focus on the reasons behind your motivation, rather than the details of the tragedy. Explain how the experience impacted your medical career aspirations, including skill development or perspective changes.

How have you applied these new skills or perspectives? How would they contribute to your success as a medical student?

4. Why You Want To Be a Doctor

Becoming a doctor is no small feat. What journey brought you here?

Writing things like “I want to help people” or “I want to make a difference” won’t set you apart from all the other students applying for medical school .

Knowing who you want to serve, why you want to help them (in story form), and where you’d like to end up will show admissions officers that you are serious about your medical career.

After all, this career doesn’t just involve many years of post-graduate education — you need a significant motivation to see this career through. That’s what admissions committees are looking for!

Read Next: Medical School Interviews: What To Do Before, During & After  

How long is a personal statement for medical school?

Your statement is limited to:

  • 5,300 characters (including spaces) on the AMCAS application ( MD programs )
  • 5,000 characters on the TMDSAS (Texas MD programs)
  • 5,300 characters for AACOMAS ( DO programs )

That’s roughly 500-700 words, or 3 double-spaced pages of text.

We typically suggest our students divide their personal statement into about 5 full paragraphs — an intro, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Pro tip: Do not type directly into the text box — if something goes wrong, you’ll lose all of your work. Write in another program first, then copy and paste the edited copy into the application text box.

Use a text-only word processing tool (TextEdit on Mac devices or Basic Text Editor on Windows), or type the essay into Microsoft Word or a Google Doc. Just remember to save the file as a *.rtf. This will eliminate formatting issues when you copy and paste the essay into the AMCAS box.

How To Write a Personal Statement For Medical School

Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your passion for medicine and your unique experiences. Be genuine, focused, and concise; your personal statement will leave a lasting impression on medical school admissions committees.

Some questions you may want to consider while writing your personal statement are:

  • Why have you selected the field of medicine?
  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What do you want medical schools to know about you that has yet to be disclosed in another application section?

In addition, you may wish to include information such as unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits. Comment on significant academic record fluctuations not explained elsewhere in your application.

With thousands of students, we’ve developed a nine-step process for how to write a personal statement that’s sure to get noticed. Follow these steps in order to uplevel your personal statement writing.

1. Choose a central theme.

Sticking to one central theme for your personal statement may sound tricky, but sticking with a central theme can give your statement more of a rhythm.

Here are a few examples to use when thinking of a central theme:

  • What is an experience that challenged or changed your perspective on medicine?
  • Is there a relationship with a mentor or another inspiring individual that has significantly influenced you?
  • What was a challenging personal experience that you encountered?
  • List unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits.
  • What is your motivation to seek a career in medicine?

2. Choose 2-4 personal qualities to highlight.

Keep this part brief and highlight the strengths that will make you an exceptional doctor.

What sets you apart from others? What makes you unique? What are you particularly proud of about yourself that may not be explained by a good GPA or MCAT score?

Here are a few examples of quality traits great doctors possess:

  • Persistence
  • Reliability
  • Accountability
  • Good judgment under pressure
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Leadership skills

3. Identify 1-2 significant experiences that demonstrate these qualities.

In this section, you should include that these experiences exemplify the qualities above and outline your path to medicine.

The top experiences college admissions seek are research projects , volunteer activities, and mentorship.

Here are a few ways to narrow down what makes an experience significant:

  • Which experiences left you feeling transformed (either immediately, or in retrospect)?
  • Which experiences genuinely made you feel like you were making a difference or contributing in a meaningful way?
  • Which experiences radically shifted your perspectives or priorities?
  • Which experiences have truly made you who you are today?

Pro tip: If you’re still in your third year of pre-med and want to participate in more experiential projects that will support your future medical career, check out Global Medical Brigades . We partner with this student-led movement for better global health, and brigades are a transformative way to begin your medical career.

4. Write a compelling introduction.

Your personal statement introduction is the first thing the admissions committee will read. The first paragraph should be a catchy, attention-grabbing hook or story that grabs the reader’s attention and sets up the main point of your essay.

Check out this webinar for more examples of what makes a great introduction.

5. Use storytelling to write the body paragraphs.

Since the goal is to achieve depth rather than breadth (5,000 characters isn’t a lot!), focus on key experiences instead of discussing everything you’ve accomplished. Remember, you’ll have the Work & Activities section to share other relevant experiences.

Use the following five-step formula to elaborate on important experiences in the body paragraphs of your personal statement:

  • Discuss why you pursued the experience.
  • Mention how you felt during the experience.
  • Describe what you accomplished and learned.
  • Discuss how your experience affected you and the world around you.
  • Describe how the experience influenced your decision to pursue medicine.

The best personal statements tell a story about who you are. “Show, don’t tell,” what you’ve experienced — immerse the reader in your narrative, and you’ll have a higher chance of being accepted to medical school.

6. Create an engaging conclusion.

Your goal is to make the person reading want to meet you and invite you to their school! Your conclusion should:

  • Talk about your future plans.
  • Define what medicine means to you.
  • Reflect on your growth.
  • Reiterate how you’d contribute to your school’s community and vision.

7. Use a spellchecker to proofread for basic errors.

Misusing “your” instead of “you’re” or misspelling a few important words can negatively impact how your personal statement is received. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation should be perfect on your personal statement.

Use Grammarly or a similar spellchecker to check for errors before completing your personal statement. You can also use an AI tool like ChatGPT for proofreading, although it’s more likely to make sweeping changes.

8. Edit your draft.

Editing your personal statement a few times over will benefit you in the long run. Give yourself time to write, edit, reread, and re-edit your personal statement before submitting it with your application.

You can use AI technology like ChatGPT for small edits or to help you add in information where you might feel stuck, but don’t rely too much on it.

9. Ask a few trusted people to read your draft.

Have at least one friend, family member, and at least one person who’s a medical professional review your draft. A  professor in your pre-med program would be a great person to review your draft.

Be willing to receive as much feedback as your trusted people are willing to give. Don’t get caught up in obsessing over one statement you really like if all three of your readers suggest cutting it.

If you’d like a professional eye on your personal statement, consider a personal statement editing service. Our editors are medical professionals, often who have reviewed personal statements and applications submitted to admissions committees.

We’d love to help you craft a personal statement that’s sure to stand out.

30 prompts to inspire your personal statement.

Here are 30 prompts to inspire your personal statement: 

  • Describe a defining moment in your life that solidified your desire to pursue a career in medicine.
  • Discuss a challenging situation you faced and how it shaped your perspective on healthcare.
  • Reflect on a time when you made a meaningful impact on someone’s life through your actions or support.
  • Explain your motivation for wanting to become a physician and how it has evolved over time.
  • Describe a personal quality or skill that will contribute to your success as a medical professional.
  • Discuss the importance of empathy and compassion in the medical profession and share a personal experience demonstrating these qualities.
  • Reflect on a specific medical case or patient that inspired you and how it influenced your future goals.
  • Share a story about an interaction with a mentor or role model who has inspired your path in medicine.
  • Describe a time when you overcame adversity or faced a significant challenge in your journey to medical school.
  • Explain how your background, culture, or upbringing has influenced your perspective on healthcare.
  • Discuss a medical issue or topic you’re passionate about and why it’s important to you.
  • Describe your experience working or volunteering in a healthcare setting and the lessons you’ve learned.
  • Reflect on a time when you had to adapt or be resilient in a challenging situation.
  • Discuss how your interest in research or innovation will contribute to your career as a physician.
  • Share a personal experience that has shaped your understanding of the importance of teamwork in healthcare.
  • Describe a leadership role you’ve held and how it has prepared you for a career in medicine.
  • Discuss the impact of a specific medical discovery or advancement on your decision to pursue medicine.
  • Reflect on your experience with a particular patient population or community and how it has influenced your perspective on healthcare.
  • Share your thoughts on the role of social responsibility in the medical profession.
  • Explain how your experiences with interdisciplinary collaboration have prepared you for a career in medicine.
  • Describe a time when you advocated for a patient or their needs.
  • Share your experience with a global health issue or project and how it has impacted your perspective on healthcare.
  • Discuss your interest in a specific medical specialty and why it appeals to you.
  • Reflect on a time when you encountered an ethical dilemma and how you resolved it.
  • Describe an experience that demonstrates your commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth.
  • Share a story about a time when you had to think critically and problem-solve in a healthcare setting.
  • Discuss how your experiences with diverse populations have informed your approach to patient care.
  • Describe an experience that highlights your ability to communicate effectively with others in a medical setting.
  • Reflect on a time when you demonstrated your commitment to patient-centered care.
  • Share your thoughts on the importance of balance and self-care in the medical profession and how you plan to maintain these practices throughout your career.

Avoid These Common Personal Statement Mistakes

A review of MedSchoolCoach's personal statement and secondary essay services.

Avoid these 5 common mistakes students make when writing their personal statements: 

  • Clichés : “I just want to help people,” “from a young age,” “I’ve always wanted to,” and “for as long as I can remember,” are just some of the overused phrases in personal statements. Other clichés we’ve seen often include saying that you’ve wanted to be a doctor for your whole life, using overly dramatic patient anecdotes, or prideful-sounding stories about how you saved a life as a pre-med student. Eliminate clichés from your writing.
  • Typos/grammatical errors: We covered this already, but the grammar in your statement should be flawless . It’s hard to catch your own typos, so use grammar checking tools like Grammarly and ask your readers to look for typographical errors or grammar problems, too.
  • Name-dropping: At best, naming a prominent member of the medical community in your statement sounds braggadocious and will probably be brushed off. At worst, an adcom reader may think poorly of the person you mention and dismiss you based on the connection. If you do know a well-known and well-respected person in the medical field and worked closely with them, request a letter of recommendation instead.
  • Restating your MCAT score or GPA : Every character in your personal statement counts (literally). Don’t restate information already found on your application. If your application essay is being read, an algorithm has already identified your prerequisite scores as being worthy of reviewing the rest of your application.
  • Using extensive quotes from other people: This is your chance to show who you are. Quoting a philosopher or trusted advisor in these few precious characters takes away from the impact you can have. A single short quote might be okay if it’s highly relevant to the story you’re telling, but don’t go beyond that.

Should you use ChatGPT to help you write?

ChatGPT is a great AI tool to help you get your personal statement off the ground. However, since this is your personal statement, ChatGPT won’t be able to effectively write transitions or tie your personal statement together.

Only you can effectively convey what being a doctor means to you. Only you carry the experiences in your mind and heart that have compelled you to pursue this competitive profession. Don’t rely on artificial intelligence to fake those experiences — it will show, and not in a good way.

We’ve found that ChatGPT can help speed the processes of ideation , editing, and grammar-checking. If you’re not using it to emulate human experiences but just treating it as a helpful assistant, go for it! 

When should you start writing your personal statement?

Begin writing your personal statement early enough to have months of reflection and editing time before your application cycle begins. We recommend writing your personal statement as the first step when applying to medical school , starting in December or January before applications open.

As you progress, anticipate revising multiple versions of your draft. Spend time reflecting on your life experiences and aspirations.

Dr. Katzen, MedSchoolCoach Master Advisor and previous admissions committee member at GWU, recommends starting your personal statement in December/January if you plan to apply in May/June (you should!). 

This gives you plenty of time to have others review it or to get professional personal statement editing services. It also gives you time to write multiple drafts and be 100% satisfied with your final essay.

9 Personal Statement Examples That Led To Med School Acceptance

We’ve included some of our favorite medical school personal statement examples below. Each of these was written by a student who was accepted at one or more programs of their choice.

1. Embracing Diversity: Healing Through Cultural Connections

Student Accepted to Case Western SOM, Washington University SOM, University of Utah SOM, Northwestern University Feinberg SOM

With a flick and a flourish, the tongue depressor vanished, and from behind my ear suddenly appeared a coin. Growing up, my pediatrician often performed magic tricks, making going to the doctors’ feel like literal magic. I believed all healthcare facilities were equally mystifying, especially after experiencing a different type of magic in the organized chaos of the Emergency Department. Although it was no place for a six-year-old, childcare was often a challenge, and while my dad worked extra shifts in nursing school to provide for our family, I would find myself awed by the diligence and warmth of the healthcare providers.

Though I associated the hospital with feelings of comfort and care, it sometimes became a place of fear and uncertainty. One night, my two-year-old brother, Sean, began vomiting and coughing non-stop. My dad was deployed overseas, so my mother and I had no choice but to spend the night at the hospital, watching my brother slowly recover with the help of the healthcare providers. Little did I know, it would not be long before I was in the same place. Months later, I was hospitalized with pneumonia with pleural effusions, and as I struggled to breathe, I was terrified of having fluid sucked out of my chest. But each day physicians comforted me, asking how I was, taking time to reassure me that I was being taken care of, and explaining any questions related to my illness and treatment. Soon, I became excited to speak with the infectious disease doctor and residents, absorbing as much as I could to learn more about different illnesses.

In addition to conventional medical settings, I also came to view the magic of healing through other lenses. Growing up, Native American traditions were an important aspect of my life as my father had been actively involved with native spirituality, connecting back to his Algonquin heritage. We often attended Wi-wanyang-wa-c’i-pi ceremonies or Sun Dances, for healing through prayer and individuals making personal sacrifices for their community. Although I never sun danced myself, I spent hours in inipis, chewing on osha root, finding my own healing through songs. In addition to my father’s heritage, healing came from the curanderismo traditions of Peru, the home of my mother, who came from a long line of healers, which involved herbal remedies and ceremonies in the healing of the mind, body, energy and soul. I can still see my mother preparing mixtures of oils, herbs, and incense while performing healing rituals. The compassion and care she put into healing paralleled the Emergency Department healthcare providers.

Through the influence of these early life experiences, I decided to pursue a career in the health sciences. Shortly after starting college, I entered a difficult time in my life as I struggled with health and personal challenges. I suddenly felt weak and tired most days with aches all over my body. Soon, depression set in. I eventually visited a doctor, and through a series of tests, we discovered I had hypothyroidism. During this time, I also began dealing with an unprocessed childhood trauma. I decided to take time off school, and with thyroid replacement hormones and therapy, I slowly began to recover. But I still had ways to go, and due to financial challenges, I made the difficult decision to continue delaying my education and found work managing a donut shop. Unbeknownst to me, this experience would lead to significant personal growth by working with people from all walks of life and allowing me time for self-reflection. I found myself continuously reflecting on the experiences in the hospital that defined my childhood and the unmatched admiration I had for healthcare workers. With my renewed interest in medicine, I enrolled in classes to get my AEMT license to get more experience in the medical field.

As my health improved, I excelled in my classes, and after craving the connections of working with others, I became a medical assistant. In this position, I met “Marco,” a patient who came from Mexico for treatment. Though I spoke Spanish while growing up, I had little experience as a medical interpreter. However, I took the opportunity to speak with him to learn his story. Afterwards, he became more comfortable, and I helped walk him through the consultation process, interpreting the physician’s words and Marco’s questions. This moment showed me the power of connecting with others in their native language. As a result, I began volunteering at a homeless clinic to continue bridging the language barrier for patients and to help advocate for the Latinx community and those who struggle to find their voice.

My journey to become a doctor has been less direct than planned; however, my personal trials and tribulations have afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with incredible people who have been invaluable to my recovery and personal development. Most importantly, I have seen the value of compassionate and empathetic care. Though I have not recently witnessed any sleight of hand or vanishing acts, what healthcare providers do for patients can only be described as magic. I look forward to bringing my diverse background as a physician and expanding my abilities to help patients in their path to healing.

2. The Calling to Heal From the Battlefield

Student Accepted to Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Medical School, Yale SOM

I’ll never forget his screams of pain.

It was the first time I had heard a man cry for help, and it shook me to my core. It had been a long night of training in South Korea for me and my fellow Army Rangers. We were reaching the end, heavy with exhaustion, when my friend took the direct impact of an explosive to his leg. The shockwave momentarily rattled my sense of balance. Struggling to see in the dark, I switched on my headlamp. In that instant, all I could focus on was his face. His eyes darted back and forth, sweeping the surroundings for any semblance of help, but all I could do was stand there and watch as our medics treated him.

No amount of training prepared me to see a friend in pain. As I watched the helicopter fly him away, I couldn’t help but think— even though I’d gone through some of the best military training in the world, in that moment, I could do nothing for him. Fortunately, he is okay, but had there been no medic available, the situation could have ended with tragedy. That night, I realized that through a career in medicine, I could be more than just a bystander to suffering— I could be in the position to not only reduce unnecessary pain but to also help those affected by conflict and trauma be restored to the fullness of life.

Upon returning home from this deployment, I shifted my focus to developing my skills in trauma care. I completed various trainings on caring for casualties in a combat environment and preparing non-medic Rangers to provide self-aid or buddy-aid in the absence of a medical provider. In a final scenario-based training lane, I helped lead my team in the treatment and packaging of a trauma patient for evacuation, setting a record time in our company and earning a military medal. This achievement, however, was only the beginning. These trainings and my successes served as a foundation that I built upon to ensure I could provide life-saving care in combat situations.  I continued to hone this skillset over my next two combat deployments as a machine gunner to Afghanistan, where, I was prepared to use these critical abilities to decrease mortality on the battlefield. In medicine, like in the army, the actual practice of one’s craft may be life or death. Therefore, evolving both dependability and proficiency during training is imperative in preparation for that final test, both in war and in medicine.

After leaving the military, confronting injury and trauma continued to be a reality. A year after exiting the service, two Army Ranger leaders whom I knew were critically injured on a mission overseas. One was my former team leader, who was shot in the neck, and the other was caught in an explosion that later resulted in a triple amputation. The relentless efforts of doctors and nurses is the reason why both of these brave men are alive today. Recognizing that without the diligent care of these medical professionals, these men would not have survived, I became ever more dedicated to serving others.

While in college, this dedication pushed me to routinely visit the West Haven VA Hospital to provide a community of support for the older, disabled veterans there. I first began visiting this hospital for my own medical care but witnessing the suffering of the other veterans at the hospital spurred me to return repeatedly not as a patient, but as a friend to my fellow veterans.  As a veteran and student, seeing and hearing about the pain and loss of function experienced by many other veterans reminded me of the importance of advocacy in healthcare: to understand, to care for, and to fight for those who are unable to do so themselves.

I continued to see these effects of conflict while volunteering as a tutor to individuals from the Middle East who were affected by the very war I served in. Alaa lives in Syria and dreams of becoming a surgeon. Together, Alaa and I discussed chemistry, biology, and math. Despite his love of learning and dedication, the instability of his community, which was plagued by violence, often barred him from focusing on his studies and committing to a routine tutoring schedule. Although I’ll never intimately know the reality of growing up in a war-torn country, working with Alaa taught me to keep the bigger picture of healthcare in mind. It reminded me that a career as a physician would provide me with the capability to help those like Alaa who are affected by conflict.

When I reflect on medicine, I draw many parallels to my life in army special operations. The training is intense, the hours are long, and the structure is hierarchical. The mission, above all else, is to provide the best outcome for those around you. On my journey to a career in medicine, I plan to continue to add to what I’ve learned from my experiences so far: humility, empathy, dependability, communication, teamwork, and leading from the front. For over four years I lived by the Ranger Creed, and I plan to imbue the same ethos in serving as a physician— to keep myself mentally alert and morally straight, to shoulder more than my share of whatever task presents itself.  In crossing from the path of a warrior to that of a healer, I hope to continue a life of service to improve the human condition and reduce unnecessary suffering in the world one person at a time.

3. Community-based Health and Empathy: Serving Underserved Communities in Crisis

Student Accepted to Weill Cornell

My path to medicine was first influenced by early adolescent experiences trying to understand my place in society. Though I was not conscious of it at the time, I held a delicate balance between my identity as an Indian-American and an “American-American.”

In a single day, I could be shooting hoops and eating hotdogs at school while spending the evening playing Carrom and enjoying tandoori chicken at a family get-together. When our family moved from New York to California, I had the opportunity to attend a middle school with greater diversity, so I learned Spanish to salve the loss of moving away and assimilate into my new surroundings.

As I partook in related events and cuisine, I built an intermixed friend group and began to understand how culture influences our perception of those around us. While volunteering at senior centers in high school, I noticed a similar pattern to what I sometimes saw at school: seniors socializing in groups of shared ethnicity and culture. Moving from table to table, and therefore language to language, I also observed how each group shared different life experiences and perspectives on what constitutes health and wellness. Many seniors talked about barriers to receiving care or how their care differed from what they had envisioned. Listening to their stories on cultural experiences, healthcare disparities, and care expectations sparked my interest in becoming a physician and providing care for the whole community.

Intrigued by the science behind perception and health, I took electives during my undergraduate years to build a foundation in these domains. In particular, I was amazed by how computational approaches could help model the complexity of the human mind, so I pursued research at Cornell’s Laboratory of Rational Decision-Making. Our team used fMRI analysis to show how the framing of information affects its cognitive processing and perception. Thinking back to my discussions with seniors, I often wondered if more personalized health-related messaging could positively influence their opinions. Through shadowing, I had witnessed physicians engaging in honest and empathetic conversations to deliver medical information and manage patients’ expectations, but how did they navigate delicate conflicts where the patients’ perspectives diverged from their own?

My question was answered when I became a community representative for the Ethics Committee for On Lok PACE, an elderly care program. One memorable case was that of Mr. A.G, a blind 86-year-old man with radiation-induced frontal lobe injury who wanted to return home and cook despite his doctor’s expressed safety concerns. Estranged from family, Mr. A.G. relied on cooking to find fulfillment in his life. Recognizing the conflict between autonomy and beneficence, I joined the physicians in brainstorming and recommending ways he could cook while being supervised. I realized that the role of a physician was to mediate between the medical care plan and the patient’s wishes in order to make a decision that preserves their dignity. As we considered possibilities, the physicians’ genuine concern for the patient’s emotional well-being exemplified the compassion that I want to emulate as a future doctor. Our discussions emphasized the rigor of medicine—the challenge of ambiguity and the importance of working with an individual to serve their needs.

With COVID-19 ravaging our underserved communities, my desire to help others drove me towards community-based health as a contact tracer for my county’s Department of Public Health. My conversations uncovered dozens of heartbreaking stories that revealed how inequities in socioeconomic status and job security left poorer families facing significantly harsher quarantines than their wealthier counterparts. Moreover, many residents expressed fear or mistrust, such as a 7-person family who could not safely isolate in their 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment. I offered to arrange free hotel accommodations but was met with a guarded response from the father: “We’ll be fine. We can maintain the 6 feet.” While initially surprised, I recognized how my government affiliation could lead to a power dynamic that made the family feel uneasy. Thinking how to make myself more approachable, I employed motivational interviewing skills and even simple small talk to build rapport. When we returned to discussing the hotel, he trusted my intentions and accepted the offer. Our bond of mutual trust grew over two weeks of follow-ups, leaving me humbled yet gratified to see his family transition to a safer living situation. As a future physician, I realize I may encounter many first-time or wary patients; and I feel prepared to create a responsive environment that helps them feel comfortable about integrating into our health system.

Through my clinical and non-clinical experiences, I have witnessed the far-reaching impact of physicians, from building lasting connections with patients to being a rock of support during uncertain times. I cannot imagine a career without these dynamics—of improving the health and wellness of patients, families, and society and reducing healthcare disparities. While I know the path ahead is challenging, I am confident that I want to dedicate my life to this profession.

4. Creating a Judgment-Free Zone with The Power of Acceptance in Healthcare

Student Accepted to George Washington SOM and Health Sciences, Drexel University COM

Immigrating into a foreign country without speaking a word of the language is a terrifying task for anyone. My mentee at Computers4kids, Sahil, came to the United States at seventeen and had been struggling to integrate with society due to the language barrier. Although I was born in the United States, I can empathize with the struggle he encounters daily, since both my parents and many members of my family have dealt with the same issues. Often, these barriers exacerbate mundane issues the immigrant population faces as they have difficulty finding people who can understand and care for them. Since I am bilingual in Farsi, when Sahil approached me with his driving instructions manual written in Dari, I thought I could teach him the rules of the road with no issues. I asked him to read the first sentence, but he diverted his gaze and mumbled that he did not know how to read. As I realized he seemed embarrassed by his illiteracy, I placed my hand on his shoulder and assured him that he could learn. I increased my weekly hours at the site to spend an equal amount of time on the rules of the road and on phonetics and reading. Within a few months, he was more comfortable greeting others around the Computers4Kids site and participating in interactive projects. Upon reflection, I appreciate the importance of creating a judgment-free zone that encourages learning and reciprocal care. Once Sahil noticed that I saw him no differently after learning of his illiteracy, he was ready and willing to work on the basics of language and reading, instead of solely memorizing words.

I did not realize how pivotal a judgment-free zone in a medical environment is until I worked at the University of Virginia Emergency Department as a medical scribe. Although I had scribed at a smaller hospital before, I had always strived for a position at a high-volume healthcare center and level one trauma center. Close to the end of a long shift, I walked into the room of a patient with the chief complain of ‘Psychiatric Evaluation’.  A male patient with schizophrenia was hyperventilating and speaking through tears as he described seeing his deceased wife and daughter everywhere he looked. Between short breaths, he mentioned he was going to Florida to attack the person who “murdered his family”. The resident diffused the situation by acknowledging the patient’s feelings and suggesting that he stayed for psychiatric help instead of flying to Florida. Eventually, the patient agreed and was admitted. Seeing the resident create this judgment-free environment was eye opening, as the previously distressed patient was now accepting counseling. The powerful influence of acceptance can lead to valuable insights about patients’ lives, potentially increasing the range of care one can administer.

I decided to transition to primary care in the most recent fall season because I would be able to build a more personal relationship with families in my community. I began working at Union Mill Pediatrics and was finally able to serve the community I grew I up in. I was given the responsibility of acting as the primary contact for a few families with children who have autism. Dr. Maura and I perused the plan of care for one of these children, Ayaan, determined by the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), to ensure that set therapeutic goals were reasonable and generalizable. When I asked Salwa, Ayaan’s mother, about some of the goals set by her BCBA and the school, she mentioned they would repeat exercises he already knew how to complete. I informed Salwa of her right as a patient to bring up her concerns with Ayaan’s teachers. I was overjoyed when she updated me that she instructed Ayaan’s teacher to continue putting his hearing aid in despite Ayaan’s constant cries. Salwa explained that the tantrums would curb after two days, which proved to be true. Similarly to how I encourages Salwa to advocate for her son, I will advocate for my patients and help them develop confidence to speak about their needs. After finding her voice as the patient’s guardian, Salwa gained the confidence to ask about a support group as she faces difficulties raising Ayaan alone. After some research, I found a few active groups to send her. By proving to Salwa I had her best interests in heart, she opened up to me about her mental health issues, which enabled me to extend the appropriate resources her way.

I have witnessed the potential that physicians have at work to forever change a family’s quality of life by being open-minded and remaining judgment-free. As a physician, I will aim to provide for my community through attentive healthcare and community service. I will advocate for my patients with cultural, language or socioeconomic barriers to healthcare. Building a trusting relationship with my future patients can result in a more productive office visit and enhance my ability to administer holistic care. My goal is for patients to leave their visit with not only a reasonable plan of care, but also a greater appreciation of their health and their rights as patients.

5. The Intersection of Medicine and Creativity

Student Accepted to Hackensack Meridian SOM, Nova Southeastern CoOM/KPCOM

Growing up, I inherited a deep admiration for medicine. From my grandfather’s chilling stories as a forensic psychiatrist assessing mental fitness, to my father’s heroic accounts as a pediatric dentist operating on toddlers with severe tooth decay, I was enamored with the honor of healing. These exposures nurtured my natural curiosity and innate aptitude for the sciences. Yet my mother, who had studied dance and theatre, instilled in me a fervent love of the arts and creative practice. Following in her footsteps, I took up multiple musical instruments, attended a high school for the arts, and earned a degree in art history coupled with a dance minor. Still, my dream was to pursue medicine, and though it seems counterintuitive, my love of art has only facilitated my enduring love of science, reinforcing why pursuing a career as a holistic, health-centered physician is my deepest aspiration.

My affinity for the health sciences began in the dance studio, where I devoted many hours of my adolescence. Dance, insidious in its promotion of grotesque health practices, demanded that I limit my calories to 1,200 a day counting everything from ibuprofen to a stick of gum, and to dance through a severe hamstring tear. My conceptions of health were severely warped until college dance came to my rescue. These new progressive teachers uplifted dancers of all physical and cognitive abilities, distributed scientific journals on effective warm-up techniques, and abandoned conventional dance norms. I was disturbed by all the unlearning I had to do, but eager to reacquaint myself with my body and disseminate new knowledge. Thus, I was honored when dance again presented an opportunity in health, as I was hired to teach dance at my childhood summer camp. Here, I could separate my curriculum from unreasonable physical expectations and interpersonal competition. I found a fierce sense of joy and fulfillment from being an advocate for physical and emotional health, and I knew I wanted to continue helping others heal while also deconstructing my own negative health experiences.

These formative experiences in the arts profoundly supported my intellectual development, allowing me to thrive in science-based settings and ultimately prompting me to seek out colleges with robust research programs. At the University of Michigan, I had the privilege of participating in a campus research lab, undoubtedly resulting in my most valuable college experience. The world of scientific inquiry can be intimidating, but after a year of reading dozens of papers and learning novice lab protocols, I began my own independent investigation of zebrafish retinas. My goal was to uncover the mechanisms of retinal regeneration in fish, thus addressing vision loss. The excitement I felt in utilizing challenging lab techniques, working with animals, witnessing the culmination of my efforts through image analysis, and being a part of such life-altering research was unmatched. What once seemed like magic was now tangible; I was an artist helping craft the solutions to science’s unanswered questions. In the context of my multidisciplinary interests, my research reinforced the creative, humanitarian side of science, and that science was where I felt compelled to take action and build a career.

Art continued to deepen my passion for and understanding of medicine. The revolutionary approaches of my dance teachers modeled the importance of critique as it pertains to health. This was not a new concept to me; my high school art teachers had urged us to challenge institutional weaknesses. It was not until college, however, that I realized how this line of thinking intersects with medicine. Studying art history, I repeatedly encountered artists whose work tackled issues in health. Keith Haring confronted the AIDS crisis when society had turned on the gay population, and Marc Quinn confronted the disease of addiction in his self-portrait sculptures, made entirely of his own frozen blood. Art, I learned, is so often a response to disease, be it physical, mental, or sociological. These artists had been champions of health in light of its stigmas and politics; art thus fostered new intentions, instilling within me an ardent goal of social activism through medicine.

Art has contributed to my journey, and while it is not my ultimate goal, I hope to incorporate my artistically based insights into my work in science and medicine as a health and social justice advocate. I am driven to continue exploring these intersections, having compiled an entire portfolio on the connection between dance and science, researched disability in the arts, and pursued my personal interest in LGBTQ+ health advocacy by connecting with and shadowing a variety of gender care physicians. My intention to pursue medicine is personal, fulfilling, and pressing, and I take seriously the responsibility I will have as a physician to be a mogul for change in areas of healthcare that compromise the human experience. Further, my natural inclination towards science and involvement in academic research has instilled in me the confidence and skills necessary to be an effective medical practitioner. With this balanced mindset, I know I will contribute to a more ethical and well-rounded approach to healthcare.

6. Innovation in Medicine and a Quest for Discovery

Student Accepted to Johns Hopkins SOM, Washington University SOM, Hofstra Zucker SOM

As a notoriously picky nine-year-old with a penchant for grilled cheese, I was perplexed when I learned that my younger sister, Rachel, had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I felt a sting of betrayal knowing my comfort food was the culprit for Rachel’s terrible stomach aches. Yearning to understand how my favorite food was poisoning my favorite person, I developed an insatiable desire to discover the “why” behind Celiac. As Rachel’s doctor explained her disease, I was both fascinated that a simple protein could cause so much damage and inspired by the doctor’s compassion. He described every detail in a way Rachel would understand, addressed her every concern, and held her hand when she was scared. I wanted to be just like Rachel’s doctor so that I too could use science to decipher medical mysteries while also reassuring my patients that I would be their advocate and help them heal.

My interest in medicine drove me to learn more about what it meant to be a doctor. As a freshman in high school, I arranged a shadow day with Dr. M, a cardiologist. He taught me about echoes, showed me a pacemaker implantation, and in the midst of a cardioversion, even beckoned me over to press the button that discharged the defibrillator. I could not contain my excitement recounting how much I had learned during my first day in a clinical setting. From there, my curiosity skyrocketed and I embarked on a relentless pursuit to explore the spectrum of the medical field. I was moved by the supportive atmosphere of the NICU, struck by the precision involved in ophthalmology, absorbed by the puzzle-like reconstruction of Mohs surgery, and awed by the agility of cardiothoracic surgery. Between high school and college, I shadowed over a dozen physicians, cementing my interest and furthering my passion for a future medical career.

My college classes allowed me to immerse myself further in the study of the human body. Following my fascination with cancer, I secured an internship working on a melanoma immunotherapy clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health. I savored the stimulation, grasping new experimental techniques and developing assays; but my work took on even greater meaning when I learned that my grandfather had been enrolled in an early-stage immunotherapy trial himself while battling mucosal melanoma. Although immunotherapy did not heal my grandfather, I was immensely proud to be advancing the science years later. Through long nights and evolving experiments, I gave the trial its final push through an FDA approval checkpoint; ultimately, my contributions will help more grandparents go into remission. The most fulfilling moments came every Monday when I accompanied the leading physician scientists on their rounds. As I met patients, listened to their stories, and celebrated their improvements, the pulsating blister on my thumbpad from endless pipetting became akin to a medal of honor. Reflecting on these encounters, I wanted to continue driving scientific innovation, but I also wanted a more active and personal impact in the patient’s experience.

My desire to connect with patients brought me to Alliance Medical Ministry, a clinic serving uninsured, disadvantaged communities in North Carolina. I stepped up to lead efforts to organize a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic, communicating personally with every eligible patient and arranging vaccine appointments for over a thousand people across the hardest hit areas of Raleigh. The experience became even more rewarding when I trained to administer vaccines, becoming a stable, anchoring presence from the beginning to the end of the process. One memorable patient, “Amy,” had not seen a doctor in years because of the associated financial burden. When she came to the clinic suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, she was not even aware of her diabetes diagnosis. While I waited with her for transportation to the ER, she expressed her fears about contracting COVID at the hospital. However, she emphatically dismissed my suggestion about receiving a vaccine. I listened intently to all her concerns. Not only was she worried about the vaccine infecting her with the virus, but also her history of being denied healthcare due to her socioeconomic status had instilled fears that she would not be taken care of should she have an adverse reaction. I took her hand in mine and reassured her of the clinic’s mission to provide care regardless of ability to pay. I further explained everything I knew about how the vaccine worked, its safety and efficacy, and how my body reacted when I received my own injection. I could not help but beam behind my N95 when days later, Amy returned, sat in my chair and confidently rolled up her sleeve for me to give her the protective shot.

I have grown by exploring the multifaceted world of medicine through shadowing, pioneering research to advance patient care at the NIH, and cultivating trusting relationships with patients from the vaccine clinic. As a doctor, my desire to be an innovative thinker and problem solver will fuel my unrelenting quest for discovery throughout a lifetime of learning. Most importantly, I aspire to use my medical knowledge to improve lives and establish meaningful patient partnerships, just as Rachel’s doctor did with her.

7. Transforming Pain into Purpose: Inspiring Change in the Field of Medicine

Student Accepted to UCSF SOM, Harvard Medical School

Countless visits to specialists in hope of relief left me with a slew of inconclusive test results and uncertain diagnoses. “We cannot do anything else for you.” After twelve months of waging a war against my burning back, aching neck and tingling limbs, hearing these words at first felt like a death sentence, but I continued to advocate for myself with medical professionals. A year of combatting pain and dismissal led me to a group of compassionate and innovative physicians at the Stanford Pain Management Center (SPMC). Working alongside a diverse team including pain management specialists and my PCP, I began the long, non-linear process of uncovering the girl that had been buried in the devastating rubble of her body’s pain. From struggling with day-to-day activities like washing my hair and sitting in class to thriving as an avid weightlifter and zealous student over the span of a year, I realized I am passionate about preventing, managing and eliminating chronic illnesses through patient-centered incremental care and medical innovation.

A few days after my pain started, I was relieved to hear that I had most likely just strained some muscles, but after an empty bottle of muscle relaxers, the stings and aches had only intensified. I went on to see 15 specialists throughout California, including neurologists, physiatrists, and rheumatologists. Neurological exams. MRIs. Blood tests. All inconclusive. Time and time again, specialists dismissed my experience due to ambiguous test results and limited time. I spent months trying to convince doctors that I was losing my body; they thought I was losing my mind. Despite these letdowns, I did not stop fighting to regain control of my life. Armed with my medical records and a detailed journal of my symptoms, I continued scheduling appointments with the intention of finding a doctor who would dig deeper in the face of the unknown. Between visits, I researched my symptoms and searched for others with similar experiences. One story on Stanford Medicine’s blog, “Young Woman Overcomes Multiple Misdiagnoses and Gets Her Life Back”, particularly stood out to me and was the catalyst that led me to the SPMC. After bouncing from doctor to doctor, I had finally found a team of physicians who would take the profound toll of my pain on my physical and mental well-being seriously.

Throughout my year-long journey with my care team at the SPMC, I showed up for myself even when it felt like I would lose the war against my body. I confronted daily challenges with fortitude. When lifting my arms to tie my hair into a ponytail felt agonizing, YouTube tutorials trained me to become a braiding expert. Instead of lying in bed all day when my medication to relieve nerve pain left me struggling to stay awake, I explored innovative alternative therapies with my physicians; after I was fed up with the frustration of not knowing the source of my symptoms, I became a research subject in a clinical trial aimed at identifying and characterizing pain generators in patients suffering from “mysterious” chronic pain. At times, it felt like my efforts were only resulting in lost time. However, seeing how patient my care team was with me, offering long-term coordinated support and continually steering me towards a pain-free future, motivated me to grow stronger with every step of the process. Success was not  an immediate victory, but rather a long journey of incremental steps that produced steady, life-saving progress over time. My journey brought me relief as well as clarity with regard to  how I will care for my future patients. I will advocate for them even when complex conditions, inconclusive results and stereotypes discourage them from seeking continued care; work with them to continually adapt and improve an individualized plan tailored to their needs and goals, and engage in pioneering research and medical innovations that can directly benefit them.

Reflecting on the support system that enabled me to overcome the challenges of rehabilitation, I was inspired to help others navigate life with chronic pain in a more equitable and accessible way. Not everyone has the means to work indefinitely with a comprehensive care team, but most do have a smartphone. As a result, I partnered with a team of physicians and physical therapists at the University of California San Francisco to develop a free mobile application that guides individuals dealing with chronic pain through recovery. Based on my own journey, I was able to design the app with an understanding of the mental and physical toll that pain, fear, and loss of motivation take on patients struggling with chronic pain. Having features like an exercise bank with a real-time form checker and an AI-based chatbot to motivate users, address their concerns and connect them to specific health care resources, our application helped 65 of the 100 pilot users experience a significant reduction in pain and improvement in mental health in three months.

My journey has fostered my passion for patient-centered incremental medicine and medical innovation. From barely living to thriving, I have become a trailblazing warrior with the perseverance and resilience needed to pursue these passions and help both the patients I engage with and those around the world.

8. Overcoming Bias, Stigma, and Disparities in Medicine

Student Accepted to University of Florida COM

Growing up as a Black woman, my family’s experiences with racial bias in medicine were central to my perception of doctors. From my grandmother’s forced electric shock therapy in the Jim Crow South that resulted in severe brain damage, to my father’s ignored appendicitis that led to a near-death infection after rupturing, every trip to the doctor came with apprehension. Will these strange men with sharp tools heal me or hurt me? This question repeated in my head as I prepared to undergo my first surgery to remove suspiciously inflamed lymph nodes at age 11. I woke up groggy from anesthesia with a negative cancer diagnosis but a blistering third degree burn. The surgeon had successfully removed the malignant masses but had left the cauterizing iron resting on my neck in the process. Today when I look in the mirror and see the scar, I am reminded of the troubling reality that myths such as black people having thicker skin and less sensitive nerve endings are still pervasive in the medical field. By challenging the systemic disparities in medicine that disadvantage minority populations, I vow to my inner child that I will be a different kind of doctor, a doctor who values the patient as much as the procedure.

My experiences with a variety of communities, minority and majority, stem from growing up in a military household that came with frequent relocations. I was exposed to a wide range of communities from an early age—rural Oregon to tropical Hawaii, industrious Japan to politicized D.C, sunny San Diego and finally to radical Berkeley where I  began my pre-medical education. I chose to view medicine from an anthropological lens while at Cal and supplemented my coursework with community service.  As co-coordinator of UC Berkeley’s chapter of Peer Health Exchange, my 9th grade students were, at first,  mistrusting –even with my Angela Davis-esque afro, I was clearly not from Oakland and not quite old enough to be lecturing them. But it was the Good Samaritan Law lecture, during which students learned they would not face police penalty for calling 911 if a friend was in trouble, that I finally gained their trust. One student shared, “I always worried that I wouldn’t be able to call for help because I’m undocumented.”  Later as a health advocate at UCSF, I encountered the same sentiment from families in the pediatric clinic who worried that accessing healthcare for a sick child might put their immigration or legal status at risk. I learned that to get to the root of barriers to access, trust is invaluable. Navigating marginalized spaces with cultural competency is an asset that I pride myself in.

I carried this foundation into my research and clinical work on HIV, a disease that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities and is often left untreated by the stigmas surrounding medicine for these communities. As an HIV PreP Navigator at the Oasis clinic, I was on rotation when a thirteen-year-old girl was referred to the clinic after testing positive for HIV. We analyzed her T cell count and viral load, and discovered she fit the AIDs criteria.   In the following weeks, we worked on medication adherence, and as the girl’s CD4 count rose, so did her spirits and mine. Medicine is more than just a diagnosis and prescription—it is active compassionate treatment. It is holding steady when the entire ground seems to shake with the magnitude of an illness. It is being able to look a patient in the eye and truly see them despite the myriad of differences.

The disparities and differences in patient circumstances has been emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing this disproportionate effect of the virus on minority communities, I worked at a COVID-19 testing facility in one of the most underserved and impoverished communities in the Los Angeles’ area. Assuring patients of the safety of Covid testing measures was a big part of the job. “Have you done it?” They would ask. “What about Tuskegee?”  Being Black, I felt the burden of responsibility that came with these questions. How could I have such faith in medicine knowing the traumatic past? My response was simple, “I believe in the science. I can explain PCR testing to you if you like.” By eradicating some of the mystery surrounding these lab techniques, people felt more comfortable.  The opportunity to serve as a trusted community leader by directly interacting with patients and working on a team with doctors, EMTs, and nurses amid an international crisis reaffirmed my journey into medicine.

Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” As an aspiring physician, these words have served as a motivating mantra. To “get off the ground” for me means to become the first medical doctor in a lineage of sharecroppers and farmers. Medicine has been my “sun” for as long as I can remember; its promise to bring light has kept me jumping at every opportunity. Like my grandmother, my father, and so many others, I have experienced disparity in medicine. The scars that mar our bodies are my constant reminder that there is much work to be done. I see medicine as the ability to directly enact that change, one patient at a time.

9. Navigating Personal Struggles to Become a Compassionate Physician

Student Accepted to Touro CoOM, Nova Southeastern CoOM/KPCOM

I fight the heavy sleepiness that comes over me, but before I know it, I am out like a light. Forty-five minutes later, I wake up with a sore throat, watery eyes, and an intensely cold, painful feeling plaguing my entire right leg. Earlier, my parents and I arrived at the Beckman Laser Institute for another treatment of my port-wine stain birthmark. Despite my pleas to not undergo these procedures, my parents still took me twice a year. As I was rolled into the cold, sterile operating room on a gurney, I felt like I was experiencing everything from outside of myself. Despite my doctor’s and nurses’ best efforts to comfort me, I felt my heart racing. Feelings of apprehension and fear of the unknown flooded my senses at the sight of beeping machines and tubes that seemed to go everywhere. As the anesthesiologist began to administer the “sleepy juice,” I felt sad, realizing that my birthmark was a permanent resident on my leg and that I would have to receive this treatment for the rest of my life.

As an adult, I am grateful my parents continued to take me to the laser institute. Starting treatment so early aided in the lightening of my birthmark, which did wonders to improve my self-confidence. However, I suffered daily, feeling like I constantly had to hide something about myself. I kept my secret from everyone except my parents. Despite there being several medical doctors in my family, I knew that any sign of illness or disease would be held against me socially amongst other Egyptians. My secrecy was made even more difficult by the advice of my doctor to avoid certain physical activities, as they could worsen the underlying pathology of the veins in my legs. On his advice, I only wore long pants and would not run with other children during recess and gym class. This all added to the isolation I felt growing up, not knowing anyone with a similar condition to mine. Even as a child, no amount of explaining or encouragement could make me understand the benefit of those painful laser treatments.

What eventually changed my perspective was the team of compassionate doctors and nurses who have been caring for me since I began this journey. I was particularly touched when one of my doctors shared with me that she had also undergone a procedure that she would be performing on me. In that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. Not only was she a specialist in the field, but her empathy for what I would soon go through became a source of instant comfort and ease for me. I knew that what she said was heartfelt, and not simply an attempt to convince me to undergo a procedure. I realized then that one of the reasons I had felt so afraid was because I had been alone in what I was going through.

A few years later, I attended a conference held by the Vascular Birthmark Foundation, where a variety of specialists convened to discuss port-wine stain birthmarks and other related conditions. Once we arrived at the hotel where the conference would take place, I met a woman who had a facial port-wine stain birthmark. As we began sharing stories about our experiences with our condition, we connected over how difficult it had been to receive treatment. We both knew what it felt like to be told that the birthmark was simply a cosmetic issue, and that any form of treatment we received would have no corrective purpose, if it was even considered treatment in the first place. There was a certain sense of freedom that I felt in finally being able to talk about my illness with someone I could trust to understand. Thinking back to the doctor who connected with me over a procedure she had also experienced as a patient, I felt truly called in that moment to pursue my goal of becoming a vascular physician. My goal would be to become a source of comfort and familiarity for patients who struggle as I have, to give them the same relief that I experienced from finally being understood.

Despite the pains I went through, I now realize that the experiences I have had as a patient can help me better understand what it means to be a physician. By being an excellent listener and openly sharing my experiences with receiving treatment, I can foster an honest and safe physician-patient relationship. I believe this approach will not only comfort my patients, but also help them make informed decisions about their treatment. My commitment to this approach has also led me to choose a DO path for my medical career. Having researched the holistic treatment approach that a DO delivers, I realized that being treated by a DO would have done wonders for my self-confidence and overall health as a young patient. The aspects of my port wine stain that were always left untreated were the emotional and social side effects of my condition. As a DO in the dermatology or interventional radiology specialty, I hope to gain the tools to provide empathetic and comprehensive care to my patients that reassures them that they are not alone in their journey to better health.

Want to read a few more great samples? We also broke down the things that make these 3 personal statements excellent and compelling.

Other Resources For Personal Statement Writing

Do you want to learn even more about personal statements? Dive into these great resources!


Preparing Your Personal Statement For Medical Programs : Hosted by MedSchoolCoach Director of Writing & College Advising, Jennifer Speegle.

Creating the First Draft of Your Medical School Personal Statement : Hosted by MedSchoolCoach advising and writing advisors, Ziggy Yoediono MD and James Fleming.

Where to Begin When Writing Your Personal Statement : Hosted by MedSchoolCoach Associate Director of Writing and College Advising, Jennifer Speegle, Associate Director of Advising, Ziggy Yoediono MD, and Writing Advisor, Carrie Coaplen Ph. D.

The Medical School Personal Statement – What Makes a Great Intro and Why It’s Important : Hosted by Director of Advising, Dr. Renee Marinelli, MD, Master Advisor, Dr. Ziggy Yoediono, MD, and Founder of MedSchoolCoach, Dr. Sahil Mehta, MD.


Episode 2 – The Personal Statement

Episode 42 – Writing Your Personal Statement

Episode 76 – How to Tackle the Medical School Personal Statement

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Medicine Personal Statement Examples

Last updated: 29/6/2023

  • Is Medicine Right for Me?
  • What do Doctors do?
  • The Daily Life of a Doctor
  • How to apply to medical school
  • Different Routes into Medicine
  • Factors to Consider
  • Medicine at Oxford and Cambridge
  • Your Fifth UCAS Choice
  • Getting Your Grades
  • Extra-curricular Activities
  • What is the UCAT?
  • Preparing for Your UCAT Test Day
  • After Your UCAT
  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
  • Work Experience and Dental Schools
  • NHS Work Experience
  • Personal Statement
  • Medicine PS Examples
  • Dentistry PS Examples
  • UCAS References
  • Medical and Dental School Interviews
  • Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs)
  • Medical School Interview Questions
  • Dental School Interview Questions
  • Graduate Entry Courses
  • Foundation and Access Courses
  • International students
  • Taking a Gap Year
  • Medicine in Australia and NZ
  • Medicine in Ireland Medicine in Eastern Europe
  • Other Roles in Healthcare
  • What Our "Plan B" Looked Like

Your UCAS personal statement is a chance to showcase the skills, attributes, and experiences which make you suited to studying medicine. This can be quite a daunting prospect, especially when you have to boil all that down to just 4,000 characters, or 47 lines. 

In this article, we will:

  • Examine examples of strong and weak medicine personal statements (interested in dentistry? Check out dentistry personal statement examples )
  • Help you learn what you should and shouldn't include in your medicine personal statement
Want to explore more examples? Our Personal Statement Course has over 100 personal statement examples to help you find your voice.

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What you'll find in this article:

Personal statement example 1 – introduction

Personal statement example 2 – introduction, personal statement example 1 – main body, personal statement example 2 – main body, personal statement example 1 – conclusion, personal statement example 2 – conclusion, strong personal statement example, weak personal statement example, what should your personal statement include.

To get into medical school , your personal statement should:

  • Demonstrate meaningful insight into the profession, in the form of work experience or independent research. This could be partly based on medical books or podcasts when medical work experience is not possible
  • Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and experiences
  • Mention your extracurricular activities
  • Discuss your academic interests and achievements
'At the moment I am working towards A-Level Chemistry, Biology and Maths. I achieved my AS-Level in Spanish but decided to drop it to focus on my more medically relevant subjects. I’ve been dreaming of studying medicine since I was a young child, and this was only reinforced when I contracted measles during my primary school exams. This affected my performance, but I found that this motivated me rather than discouraged me. A particularly inspiring doctor was heavily involved in helping me deal with the pressure. I was inspired by her to become a doctor myself and help others in a similar way. I am particularly interested in science and as such the practical side of medicine interested me. I’ve always enjoyed chemistry and biology the most, and have best learned when trying to link the pure science I learn in school back to it's practical and useful real-world applications. This is what is particularly interesting about medicine to me - you can apply pure, evidence-based science in a clinical and practical setting to have an obvious positive effect. Inspired by this interest, I invested in a subscription to the New Scientist magazine. I’ve read about a huge number of fascinating discoveries and how they’ve been applied in medical settings.'

This introductory section has some promising features, but there are areas the author could improve:

  • The introductory sentence doesn’t catch the reader’s attention or hold much relevance for a medical personal statement. This sentence would be better suited to a subsequent section on the author’s academic achievements, and it would need to be supplemented with a suitable explanation as to why the chosen subjects are relevant for medicine. 
  • The author uses an anecdote to illustrate why they first developed an interest in medicine. This is a good idea, but the anecdote they've chosen is not the most suitable. It references ‘primary school exams’, which uses the cliché of wanting to do medicine from a young age. This is not only overused, but is also underdeveloped. 
  • The applicant mentions feeling under pressure for these primary school exams. This won’t fill the reader with confidence that the author will be able to cope with the demands of medical school and a career as a doctor. 
  • The introduction should open with the anecdote rather than academic achievements. A strong and memorable opening line will catch the admission tutor’s attention, and gives the student an opportunity to summarise why they want to study medicine.
  • It is far too long. A good introduction should be around 4-6 lines.

There are some parts of the introduction that are more effective:

  • The part discussing why they enjoy chemistry and biology is useful – it links their love for pure science back to the passion they mentioned earlier for helping people. This demonstrates the blend of empathy and interest in science that medical schools will be looking for. 
  • The same part also introduces the candidate’s reading of medical literature, which they could choose to discuss in more depth later in the statement, or which might be something that interviewers could choose to examine in more detail.

Key takeaways from Medicine personal statement introduction example 1

'From a young age, my real fascination in life has been science - in particular, the incredible intricacy of the human body. My passion to discover more about its inner workings fuelled my motivation to study medicine, and the challenging yet rewarding nature of the job leaves me certain that I want to pursue it as a career. I think that my chosen A-Levels have only made me more determined to become a doctor, while simultaneously allowing me to develop and improve my skills. I have become a better problem-solver by studying physics and maths, while also learning the importance of accuracy and attention to detail. I’ve particularly enjoyed chemistry, which has again helped me improve my problem solving skills and my ability to think rationally and logically. Throughout my chemistry and biology A-Levels, I’ve been required to engage in practical work which has taught me how to design and construct an experiment. I’ve also become better at communicating with other members of my team, something I witnessed the importance of during my work experience in A&E. During recent months, I’ve started reading more medical publications such as the Lancet and the British Medical Journal. I’ve been particularly interested in how this evidence-based science can be applied to clinical practice to really make an impact on patients.'

This introduction contains some useful reflection and demonstrates some insight, but is quite jumbled. The main areas of weakness are as follows:

  • The content is good but much of it would be better suited to a later section and should be explored in more detail while being linked back to medicine (for example, the whole second half could be included in a longer segment on academia). 
  • The applicant mentions that they improved their problem-solving skills. How did they do this? Why is this important in medicine? 
  • They say that medicine is demanding but that this attracts them to the job. What experiences have they had to show the demanding nature of it? Why does this attract them to it? 
  • The author also briefly mentions a stint of work experience in A&E, but the rushed nature of the introduction means that they can’t go into detail about the experience or reflect on what exactly they learned from it. 
  • Similar to example 1, this introduction includes some clichés which detract from the author’s overall message. For example, that they have wanted to do medicine from a young age or that they love science (with no further explanation as to why). 
  • It is far too long. Again, an introduction should be a succinct summary of why you're interested in medicine, and not a brief account of all of your experiences.

The stronger parts of this introduction include the following:

  • The author does demonstrate that they can reflect on the skills they’ve improved through experience. For example, the analytical and problem-solving skills they gained from chemistry.
  • The candidate shows an understanding of the link between evidence-based science and clinical application when discussing how they did further research around their physics course. This shows a good level of curiosity and insight.

Key takeaways from Medicine personal statement introduction example

'I first became interested in studying medicine when I carried out a work experience placement with my father an elderly care specialist. I really enjoyed the experience and it gave me a deeper insight into the challenges doctors face. I now believe that I better understand the resilience - both mental and physical - that doctors need to cope with the heavy workload and emotional challenges. A few months ago I was given the opportunity to attend work experience in St Mary’s hospital in Manchester where I visited and observed many different specialties and areas of the hospital like A&E and the labs and witnessed how doctors carried out their jobs. For the past year I’ve been doing some other volunteering work too, such as, taking meals around to patients on the ward, asking them about their experience in the hospital and just chatting with them about how they’re feeling. They’re often delighted to have someone to talk to especially during Covid when they weren’t allowed to receive visitors. I saw how my communication and empathy made a real impact on the mood of the lonelier patients. I spent a few days working in the same hospital, shadowing doctors and Allied Health professionals in the stroke ward. I became much more familiar with the process doctors used for treating stroke patients, and developed an understanding of the role that physiotherapists and occupational therapists have in their rehabilitation. On top of that I organised a placement with the emergency medicine doctors and spent time in the haemapheresis unit at St Mary’s.'

This example does contain some of the features we look for in a complete main body section but could definitely be improved: 

  • The main issue with this is the list-like presentation, which goes hand-in-hand with a general lack of reflection or insight. Although it is good to discuss your work experience in your personal statement, it would be far better if the candidate focused on just one or two of the experiences mentioned, but went into far more detail about what they learned and the insight they gained. For example, after mentioning the role of Allied Health Professionals in the rehabilitation of stroke patients, they could go on to discuss how they came to appreciate the importance of these healthcare workers, and how the contribution of all these individuals within the multidisciplinary team is so important to achieving good outcomes.
  • Statements like ‘I [...] witnessed how doctors carry out their jobs’ make it seem as if the candidate really wasn’t paying attention. They need to explain what they mean by this. Were they impressed by the doctors’ effective teamwork and communication skills, or perhaps by their positive attitude and morale? Did they seem well-trained and effective? What did they learn from this that might help them in the future?  ‍
  • Similarly, the student simply states that they saw the effect of empathy on patients: ‘I saw how my communication and empathy made a real impact on the mood of the lonelier patients.’ This adopts a ‘telling’ approach, when the student needs to adopt a ‘showing’ approach. Simply telling us that they saw something does not adequately demonstrate an understanding of why those qualities are important, or what they actually mean. What does it mean to have empathy? What does that look like in real terms? How did they use it? What was the effect? Showing the tutor that you are empathetic is important, but simply saying it is disingenuous and shows a lack of understanding.
  • The candidate spends a number of characters name-dropping the exact hospital they visited and its location, which isn’t the best use of valuable space, as it has no real impact on the message they’re trying to convey.
  • Generally, it isn’t a good idea to talk about work experience with family members. Of course, this might be the reality, but try to have some other placements that you’ve organised yourself so that it doesn’t appear as if your family are doing all the hard work for you. At the very least, you could simply leave this information out.
  • There are a few grammatical errors here, especially regarding the use of commas. It’s important to use a spell checker or to ask an English teacher to check your work for you before submitting your statement.

The better features of this example are:

  • The candidate does show some insight into the role of a doctor when they talk about the resilience required by doctors to cope with the hard hours and challenging conditions. They just need to reflect in this way in other parts of the section, too.
  • The author has clearly done a lot of work experience and is right to discuss this in their personal statement. Just remember that you don’t need to squeeze in every single little placement.

Key takeaways from Medicine personal statement main body example main body

'I was pleased to be appointed as head boy in my last year of school, and as part of this role I headed up the school safety office. I carried out inspections of the dormitories, roll calls and helped in the running of school festivals and activity days. The office I was in charge of needed to ensure the safety of every student in the school and I helped plan and lead drills to prepare the students for storms, floods and fires. This role has made me a far better leader, and I also believe that I am now far more calm and logical when working under pressure or in uncertain situations. I’ve been an editor on the online school blog for over 2 years now and the experience has taught me how to work effectively in a team when under time pressure. In order to meet my deadlines I needed to remain motivated even when working independently, and I think that the diligence and work ethic I’ve developed as a result will be incredibly useful to me as a medical student. I took on the role of financial director for both the table tennis club and Model United Nations at my school. At first I struggled with the weight of responsibility as I was in charge of all of the clubs’ money and expenditures. However, I am now a far more organised individual as I came to appreciate the value of concise paperwork and of keeping a record of my actions. I not only manage the funds of the table tennis club but am also a regular member of it. I often play independently, and the lack of a specific coach means that I have to identify my own strengths and weaknesses. I am now far better at being honest about my weaknesses and then devising strategies for working on them. The sport has also allowed me to demonstrate my ability to work well in a team, but also to get my head down and work independently when necessary.'

This example is generally well written and showcases some of the features of a good main body section. However, there are some areas that can be improved:

  • This section would benefit from the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach. Instead of explaining specific situations or events through which the candidate demonstrated certain attributes, they simply state them and then link them vaguely to a more general role or activity.
  • The bigger problem, however, is that the author mentions a wide range of skills but falls short in linking these back to medicine.  ‍ For example, after reflecting on their role in the school safety office and the leadership skills they developed as a result, the author could talk about the senior role that doctors have within the multidisciplinary team and the importance of good leadership in a medical setting.  Similarly, the author mentions their ability to work independently but should really round this off by describing how this would benefit them in medical school, as the ability to progress your learning independently is crucial to success there. The student mentions an understanding of and proficiency with paperwork and recording their actions. Doctors must constantly do this when writing notes for each patient, so the candidate should really try to mention this in their statement to explain why their skills would be useful. The mention of teamwork could be followed by an explanation of why it is important in a medical setting and how the applicant witnessed this during their medical work experience. Finally, when the student talks about being able to identify and work on their weaknesses, they could use this as an opportunity to demonstrate further insight into the medical profession by discussing the importance of revalidation and audit in the modern NHS, or talking about how important it is for doctors to be able to work on their areas of weakness. 

Better aspects of this example:

  • The applicant doesn’t simply list the activities they have been a part of, but also explains what they learned from these and the skills and attributes they developed as a result. This reflective ability is exactly what assessors will be looking for.
  • The tone of the section is appropriate. The applicant doesn’t appear arrogant or over-confident, but at the same time, they manage to paint themselves in a good light, highlighting their range of skills relevant to medicine.
  • This example uses the character count effectively. Unlike the earlier examples, almost all of the sentences serve a purpose and are succinct.
  • They demonstrate a wide range of skills, most of which are very relevant to medicine.

Key takeaways from Medicine personal statement main body example 2

' I am a resilient and empathetic individual and I think that I have the qualities to thrive despite the social and academic challenges of university. Through my work experience I’ve gained an insight into the difficulties doctors face but this has not dampened my enthusiasm. My placements and voluntary work have only strengthened my commitment and dedication to studying medicine.'

The effectiveness of a conclusion depends on the rest of the statement before it, so it is hard to judge how good a conclusion is without seeing what the candidate has mentioned in the rest of their statement. Assuming this follows on logically from the statement, however, we can say that this conclusion is generally good for the following reasons:

  • It is brief, to the point, and highlights that the student holds some of the skills doctors need (this would of course need to be backed up with examples in the rest of the statement). 
  • The author doesn’t introduce any new ideas here, as that would be inappropriate, but rather reiterates their determination, which is exactly what admissions tutors want to see. 
  • The author demonstrates a balanced understanding of the demands of a medical career, illustrating this is a decision they have made rationally while considering the implications of their choice. 

As is always the case, this conclusion could still be improved:

  • The mention of the social challenges of university is a bit too honest, even though these exist for everyone. Mentioning them could give the impression that the student struggles socially (which is not something they would want to highlight), or that they intend to dive into the social side of university at the expense of their studies. 
  • If the candidate really insists on mentioning the social side, they should at least do this after discussing academics, and they should do it in the body of the statement, where they have space to explain what exactly they mean.
  • The student describes themselves as empathetic. This should be avoided, as it should be evident from the statement itself.

Key takeaways from Medicine personal statement conclusion example 1

'Over the years I have built up a large and extensive set of medical work experiences and volunteering opportunities. These have allowed me to demonstrate my ability to communicate effectively and work in a team, and they will allow me to become a more diligent student and effective doctor. I think that this, alongside my ability and strength of character mean that I should be considered for this course. I am excited to get started and begin to put my skills to good use.'

This is a reasonably strong conclusion. It provides a to-the-point summary of why the author believes they should be selected to study medicine and shows their excitement for starting this journey. However, there are some parts of this example that could be improved: 

  • The author mentions 'ability' and 'strength of character.' These are nebulous terms and not specific to medicine or a medical degree in any way.
  • The mention of a 'large and extensive range of medical work experiences' indicates overconfidence. Medical applicants are not expected to have any medical ability or any 'large and extensive range' of medical experience, nor is it probable that this candidate actually does (otherwise they wouldn’t need to go to medical school in the first place). Rather, medical students need a suitable set of skills and attributes in order to make the most of their medical education and become an effective doctor.
  • On a similar note, the applicant says that their range of medical work experience will make them a better student and doctor, but this is only true if they can reflect on their experience and learn from it. Impassively watching an operation or clinic without properly engaging with it won’t make you a better doctor in the future.

Key takeaways from Medicine personal statement conclusion example

We’ll now go on to look at an example of a strong personal statement. No personal statement is perfect, but this example demonstrates a good level of reflection, engagement and suitability to study medicine (we know this because the writer of this statement went on to receive four offers). 

It goes without saying that plagiarism of any of these examples is a bad idea. They are known to medical schools and will be flagged up when run through plagiarism detection software. 

Use these as examples of ways you could structure your own statement, how to reflect on experiences, and how to link them back to medicine and demonstrate suitable insight and motivation. 

'It is the coupling of patient-centred care with evidence-based science that draws me to medicine. The depth of medical science enthrals me, but seeing complex pathology affecting a real person is what drives home my captivation. As a doctor, you are not only there for people during their most vulnerable moments but are empowered by science to offer them help, and this capacity for doing good alongside the prospect of lifelong learning intrigues me. In recent years I have stayed busy academically - despite my medical focus I have kept a range of interests, studying Spanish and German to grow my social and cultural awareness and playing the violin and drums in groups to improve my confidence when working in teams and performing. This is similar to the team-working environment that dominates in medical settings, and I have found that my awareness of other cultures is a great help when interacting with the hugely diverse range of patients I meet during my volunteering work. The independent projects I am undertaking for my A-levels teach me how to rigorously construct and perform experiments, process data and present findings, developing my written communication. My work experience showed me the importance of these skills when making patients’ notes, and of course, medical academia must be concisely written and well constructed and communicated. Maths teaches me to problem-solve and recognise patterns, vital skills in diagnosis. Over the past two years, I have actively sought out and planned work experience and volunteering opportunities. My time last year in Critical Care showed me the importance of communication in healthcare to ensure patients understand their diagnosis and feel comfortable making decisions. I saw the value of empathy and patience when a doctor talked to a patient refusing to take her insulin and suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis. They tried to understand her position and remain compassionate despite her refusal. My experience deepened my insight into the realities of a medical career, as we were at the hospital for more than ten hours a day with breaks and lunches cut short by bleeps or calls from the ward. This helped me understand the physical resilience required by staff as I also came to appreciate the immense emotional burden they often had to bear. Despite this, the brilliant staff remained motivated and compassionate which I found inspirational. The Brighton and Sussex Medical School work experience and Observe GP courses I completed put emphasis on the value of holistic, patient-centred care, introducing me to specialities I had not previously considered such as geriatrics and oncology. Inspired by my experience I explored a variety of specialisms, reading memoirs (Do no harm) and textbooks (Oxford handbook of clinical medicine) alike. I investigated medical politics with my English persuasive piece, discussing the ethics behind the junior doctor strikes of 2016. I have been volunteering in a hospital ward since January, which helps improve my confidence and communication skills when talking to patients and relatives. I showed my ability to deal with unexpected situations when I found a patient smoking whilst on oxygen, and acted quickly to tell nurses. Over lockdown I felt privileged offering lonely patients some tea and a chat and seeing their mood change - it taught me that medicine is about treating patients as individuals, not a diagnosis. My work on the hospital door taught me to stay calm and interact assuredly with visitors, vital skills in public-service jobs like medicine. I coach tennis at a local club, planning and running sessions for younger children. I am responsible for players' safety and must manage risk while showing leadership qualities by making the sessions fun and inclusive. As a player, I am part of the self-run performance team, which forces me to better my ability without coaching. This means developing self-reflection and insight into my weaknesses, which I know to be integral skills for medics. One of the doctors I shadowed during my work experience was just starting her revalidation process and I saw the importance of self-awareness and honest reflection in meeting her targets and becoming a better doctor. I achieved my Gold Duke of Edinburgh certificate of achievement (and the Bronze and Silver awards), exhibiting my commitment and ability to self-reflect and improve. On our Silver expedition, we experienced severe rain, showing resilience by continuing when our kit was wet from day one. My diligence and academic ability will allow me to thrive in medical school, and I have the prerequisite qualities to become a compassionate and effective doctor. Despite the obstacles, I am determined to earn the privilege of being able to improve peoples' health. This is something that excites me and a career I would happily dedicate my life to.'

Strong personal statement example analysis


This statement is a good example of how a personal statement should be constructed and presented. The introduction is short and to the point, only dealing with the candidate’s motivations to study medicine while also demonstrating an insight into what the career involves. 

They demonstrate their insight briefly by mentioning that medicine involves lifelong learning. This is often seen as one of the challenges associated with the career but here they present it as an advantage which makes them seem more suited to the career. It also show they're a curious and interested individual who enjoys learning. 

The introduction's final sentence offers an opportunity for interviewers to probe the candidate further, to explore their curiosity, and ask them to explain what exactly attracts them to lifelong learning. An astute candidate would recognise this and try to think of a suitable answer in advance.

Paragraph 2 

The second paragraph opens the body of the statement by exploring the author’s academic interests. As with some of the previous example body paragraphs, the writer shows their reflective ability by explaining what each of their subjects taught them, and the skills they developed and demonstrated as a result. They improve upon this further by linking these skills back to medicine and explaining why they are important for doctors. 

This paragraph demonstrates the author’s work-life balance by showing their varied interests in languages and music, all without wasting characters by saying this directly. They also mention the diverse range of patients they encountered during their volunteering, which again implies an empathetic and conscientious nature while showing an insight into a medical career (particularly regarding the vast diversity of the patient cohort treated by the NHS). 

Their explanation of the relevance of maths could be more detailed, but again this could be something the applicant is hoping to be questioned on at interview. The candidate comes across as thoughtful and multi-talented, with the ability to reflect on their decisions and experiences, and with a suitable insight into how their strengths would play well into a medical career. 

In this particular paragraph, there isn’t much explanation as to how they drew their inferences about what a medical career entails from their volunteering and work experience (and what exactly these entailed), but these are explored in more detail later in the statement.

P aragraphs 3 and 4 

The next two paragraphs discuss the candidate’s work experience, beginning with a single work experience placement in detail. This is a better approach than the large lists of placements seen in the previous example body paragraphs. The author talks about a specific scenario and shows that they paid attention during their shadowing while also illustrating their ability to reflect on these experiences and the precise skills involved. 

The skills they mention here – communication, empathy, resilience – are skills that they specifically talk about developing and demonstrating through their activities in other parts of the statement. This shows that they have taken their learning and used it to inform the focus of their personal development. They also not only state that these skills are important for medics, but also explain why this is. For example, they explain that communication is important in helping patients relax and engage with their healthcare, and that resilience is required to deal with the antisocial hours.

In this section, the applicant briefly mentions a specific medical condition. This shows that they were engaging with the science during their placement and also provides interviewers with an opportunity to test the applicant’s scientific knowledge. Knowing this, the candidate would likely research diabetic ketoacidosis in order to be able to impress the panel. 

The author mentions some other virtual work experience opportunities they’ve been involved with and sets themselves up to discuss what these placements taught them. They then go on to explain the actions they took as a result of this, showing that they really engaged with the virtual placements and could identify what they learned and their areas of weakness. This is linked well to further reading and research they carried out, which illustrates their curiosity and engagement with medical science and literature. 

The reference to the junior doctor strikes at the end shows that they have engaged with medical news as well as the ethical side of medicine, which is something that many medical schools place a lot of emphasis on at interviews. Ideally, this section would explain how exactly they explored these different specialties and illustrate what they learned and how they developed their learning from the books mentioned.

Paragraphs 5 and 6 

These paragraphs discuss the applicant’s hospital volunteering and other extracurricular activities. The applicant doesn’t just state that they’ve volunteered in a hospital but goes into depth about the precise skills they developed as a result. They include an anecdote to illustrate their ability to react quickly and calmly in emergency situations, which is a great way to show that they’ve been paying attention (though this should really be backed up with an explanation as to why this is important in medicine). 

The candidate also shows their patient-centred approach when discussing how they cared for demoralised patients (again illustrating empathy and compassion). This style of healthcare is something that the modern NHS is really trying to promote, so showing an awareness of this and an aptitude for applying it practically will really impress your assessors. 

The author demonstrates another core attribute for medical students when talking about how their work on the front door of the hospital improved their confidence in communication, and they once more link this back to medicine. This last section could benefit from further explanation regarding the nature of their work on the hospital door and exactly how they developed these skills. 

In the second of these sections, the candidate simultaneously reflects on the skills they learnt from their tennis and explains how these apply to medicine, showing insight into the profession by mentioning and showing awareness of the process of revalidation. This will show assessors that the candidate paid attention during their work experience, reflected on what they learned, and then identified a way they could work on these skills in their own life.

The author name-checks the Duke of Edinburgh Award but then goes on to explain how exactly this helped them grow as a person. They link back to resilience, a skill they mentioned in an earlier section as being important for medics.

The conclusion is succinct and direct. Although clichéd in parts, it does a good job of summarising the points the candidate has made throughout the statement. They demonstrate confidence and dedication, not by introducing any confusing new information, but rather by remaking and reinforcing some of the author’s original claims from the introduction.

The following example illustrates how not to approach your personal statement. Now that you’ve read through the analysis of previous example passages and a complete example statement, try going through this statement yourself to identify the main recurring weaknesses and points for improvement. We’ve pointed out a few of the main ones at the end. You can even redraft it as a practice exercise.

' ‍ The combination of science with empathy and compassion is what attracts me most to a career in medicine. However, I wanted to ensure that the career was right for me so I attended a Medic Insight course in my local hospital. I enjoyed the course and it gave me new insight - the lectures and accounts from medical students and doctors helped me realise that medicine was the career for me. I was also introduced to the concept of the diagnostic puzzle which now particularly interests me. This is the challenge doctors face when trying to make a diagnosis, as they have to avoid differential diagnoses and use their skills and past experiences to come to a decision and produce the right prognosis. In order to gain further insight into both the positives and downsides of being a doctor, I organised some work experience in my local GP’s surgery. I managed to see consultations for chest pain, headaches, contraception and some chronic conditions which was very interesting. I also sat in on and observed the asthma clinic, which proved to be a very educational experience. During my experience, I tried to chat to as many doctors as possible about their jobs and what they enjoyed. I recently took up some work volunteering in a local elderly care home. Many of the residents had quite complex needs making it arduous work, but I learned a lot about caring for different people and some appropriate techniques for making them feel comfortable and at home. I became a better communicator as a result of my experience Nevertheless I really enjoyed my time there and I found it fulfilling when the patients managed to have fun or see their family. I appreciated how doctors often have high job satisfaction, as when I managed to facilitate a resident to do something not otherwise available to them I felt like I was making a real difference. My academic interests have also been very useful in developing skills that will be crucial as a doctor. I chose to study Physics and business at a-level and these have helped me develop more of an interest in scientific research and understanding; I’ve also become a more logical thinker as a result of the challenging questions we receive in physics exams. I know how important communication is as a doctor so I chose to study Mandarin, a language I know to be spoken widely around the globe. I was the lead violin in my school orchestra and also took part in the wind band, showing that I was willing to throw myself into school life. I really enjoyed our school’s concert, in which I had to perform a solo and demonstrate that I could stay calm under pressure and cope with great responsibility and i think that I’m now a better leader. This skill has also been improved in roles within my school on the pupil council and as form captain, which have improved my self-confidence. I needed to work hard in order to achieve my bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh awards, and have dedicated much of my time outside school to this endeavour over the past few years. I endured weekly sessions of Taekwondo, worked voluntarily in the charity shop Barnardo’s and took part in violin lessons.  As I’ve demonstrated throughout this statement I have an affinity for music, and so at university I plan to get involved with orchestras and bands. I also want to widen my horizons and discover new interests and hobbies, while trying to make new friends and cultivate a good work-life balance. I’m also keen to hike in the university’s surrounding territories. If I were allowed to study medicine, it would not only allow me to achieve one of my life goals, but to prove to you that I can become an effective, and successful doctor. I am absolutely dedicated to the study of medicine and know that I have the prerequisite skils and qualities to thrive in medical school and become a credit to your institution.”

Weak personal statement example analysis

  • This personal statement does have some promising features, but overall it isn’t well structured and lacks appropriate reflection and insight. You can see this by comparing it to the strong example above. The author in this weak example very rarely describes what exactly they learned or gained from an experience and rarely links this back to medicine. 
  • It reads quite like a list, with the candidate reeling off the experiences they’ve had or activities they’ve taken part in, without going into any real depth. They also use some vocabulary that implies that they really weren’t enjoying these experiences, such as when they speak of ‘enduring’ their time doing taekwondo, or of caring for residents being ‘arduous’ work. You don’t have to enjoy every activity you take part in, but implying that caring for people (a huge part of the job you are applying for and claiming to enjoy) is something you consider a chore isn’t a great start. This statement also has some questionable grammar and punctuation errors, which raises a red flag. Don’t forget to proofread your statement carefully before you submit it.
  • The candidate often starts off their sections in a promising way. For example, by stating that they started volunteering in a local GP practice to gain more insight into the profession, but they rarely actually follow through on this. You never find out what insight the candidate actually gained or how they used this to inform their decision to apply for medicine. 
  • Such lack of explanation and specificity is a theme throughout the statement. In the introduction, they say that personal accounts and lectures confirmed their wish to become a doctor, but they don’t actually explain how or why. They mention that their school subjects have helped them think more logically or improved their communication skills (which is good), but then they never go on to explain why this is relevant to medicine. They talk about leadership and self-confidence but again don’t link this back to the importance of self-confidence and the prominence of leadership in a medical setting.

To create an effective medicine personal statement, you need to provide plenty of detail. This includes concrete experiences demonstrating qualities that make a good doctor. If you can do this authentically, humbly and without selling yourself short, your personal statement will be in very good shape.

‍ ‍ If you're looking for more inspiration to craft a compelling medicine personal statement, check out our Personal Statement Online Course . It has over 100 personal statement examples, in-depth tutorials, and guidance from admissions experts, to help you create a ready-to-submit personal statement in just three days.

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How To Write The Perfect Medical School Personal Statement

How to write the perfect medical personal statement

“In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods, than in giving health to men” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BCE)

You have already chosen to commit yourself to study medicine in Europe , and we want to help you every step of the way. Many future students don’t know how to write their medicine personal statement. Every day we get asked questions such as:

  • What is a personal statement for a medical university?
  • How to write one?
  • What should I include in it?
  • What is the purpose of the medical personal statement?

Based on years of experience and our expert advisor’s guidelines, this article will provide the best tips and examples for writing your personal statement.

This post will assist you whether you haven't even considered what to include in your personal statement or have written it and want to double-check that you're on the right track.

Table of Contents

  • 1 What is a medical personal statement?
  • 2 What is the difference between a personal statement and a motivation letter?
  • 3 What is the length of a personal statement?
  • 4 What role do personal statements play in medical schools?
  • 5 What do medical universities want to see in your personal statement?
  • 6 Which medical schools in Europe should you apply to with a personal statement?
  • 7 Why is a personal statement so important?
  • 8 What should I include in my personal statement?
  • 9 How to structure a medical personal statement?
  • 10.1.1 Step 1. Create a list of the qualities that you want to demonstrate
  • 10.1.2 Step 2. Think about a situation when you have shown these qualities
  • 10.1.3 Step 3. Present your experience as a captivating story
  • 10.1.4 Step 4. Show, don’t tell
  • 11 How to create great body paragraphs in a medicine personal statement?
  • 12 How to end a personal statement in a meaningful way?
  • 13.2 DON’TS:
  • 14 Checklist for your MD personal statement

What is a medical personal statement?

More than 100 medical schools in Europe teach medicine, dentistry, veterinary, and pharmacy in English. Each university has its entry requirements . Some may require you to sit an entrance exam in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or Mathematics. Others have no entrance exam but just an interview.

As part of the application process, some medical schools will ask for additional materials such as CVs ( application resume ), recommendations, and, more often, medicine personal statements or motivation letters.

A medical personal statement is a kind of essay. You get the chance to tell your personal story of why you have chosen medicine as a career. It is the first opportunity for admissions tutors to evaluate you as a person rather than a collection of grades and achievements. Therefore you must create a strong first impression. You have to think of it not as a burdensome part of the application process but as an excellent opportunity to shine among the other applicants.

What is the difference between a personal statement and a motivation letter?

As we mentioned, some schools require a personal statement and another motivation letter. It is essential to know the difference between them.

A personal statement is more about self-promotion . You should explain why you are the best candidate for a particular course and want to become a doctor. It is more about your personality traits and skills to help you achieve your dream career.

A motivation letter is more about your future study ambitions and how the programme you're applying to will assist you in achieving your objectives. In other words, why and how will studying medicine help you in the future .

What is the length of a personal statement?

Every medical university has its requirements regarding the length of the personal statement. Therefore, before you start writing it, you must check the specific guidelines of the university you are applying to.

However, often it will have to be around 500 words . Yes, it must be short, accurate, and straightforward.

What role do personal statements play in medical schools?

There are a few ways that medical schools will use your personal statement.

  • It may not play a role in the selection process at all.
  • It will be read but not evaluated . However, if you manage to prepare an excellent essay, it will demonstrate your passion for medicine and will certainly not harm you in the long run.
  • It is used to aid in decision-making between two candidates with identical academic results. An essay can be a turning point in your path to becoming a doctor.
  • Usually, medical universities use students' personal statements before interviews to prepare a few questions you will be asked during the interview. This is another reason many schools ask for this kind of essay. They use it as a starting point in discussions. As a result, it's a good idea to write about things you'd be willing to expand on if requested.

Medicine personal statement

What do medical universities want to see in your personal statement?

Medical universities know that to be a good doctor, you need skills such as:

  • Self-reflection
  • Prioritising
  • Good time management
  • Working under pressure
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Willingness to accept accountability for your actions
  • Soft skills

Keep these things in mind when you draft your essay. You shouldn’t just say, “I am empathetic”. Rather than that, you have to give an example and write about a situation when you demonstrated these skills.

Which medical schools in Europe should you apply to with a personal statement?

Some of the medical universities in Europe that require a medical student personal statement as part of the application process are:

  • European University In Tbilisi (Georgia)
  • Poznan University of Medical Science (Poland)
  • Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Kosice (Slovakia)

Why is a personal statement so important?

It's one thing to demonstrate academic success and another to present yourself positively as an individual. Striking a balance between the two is crucial. So take your time and carefully consider what you want to include and how you will present it.

The top 3 reasons why a medicine personal statement is so important are:

  • It allows you to show your best qualities
  • It can help you stand out from your competition
  • It is a great way to prepare for your medical school interview

What should I include in my personal statement?

Let’s make it clear one more time. A personal statement is about YOU, and your personal skills that make you an ideal applicant to study medicine in Europe. Hence, medical schools are looking to know more about:

  • What motivated you to study medicine? ( Motivation )
  • Why in this country? Why in this particular university? ( Motivation and exploration )
  • What steps have you taken to get knowledge about it? ( Exploration )
  • Why do you think you'd be a good fit for medicine? ( Suitability )

Describe your passion for medicine and the reason for making your statement unique. Learn more about the country's history, and find things that you can name as an advantage for studying there. Read about the university's history and the city where it is located. Find prominent people who have studied and contributed to science development at a given university. Show originality.

Make sure to include a line about your hobbies/interests outside of school and reflect on past experiences that taught you something valuable like commitment, the ability to work in a team, and the importance of helping those in need.

How to structure a medical personal statement?

In general, medicine personal statement structure can be divided into 3 parts:

  • Introduction - motivation

In this paragraph, your main goal is to make the reader want to read more and tell what made you choose medicine as a career.

  • Main body - exploration and suitability

This is where you have to tell your story and how your qualities make you a perfect applicant. It is the ideal place to write about the knowledge you gained while shadowing a doctor , for example.

  • Conclusion - motivation

Bring everything together.

How to write a strong medical personal statement introduction?

Ensure you have an original and intriguing starting phrase that will entice the reader to continue reading. This is your only chance to leave a lasting impression and grab the admissions tutors' attention.

One method to get their attention is to start with an incident or an “Aha!” moment that inspired your decision to pursue a career in medicine. What inspires or motivates you will reveal a lot about your personality. But from our experience, we know that very few students have such a moment.

Many applicants have known they wanted to be a doctor since childhood or have developed an interest in medicine.

If you are one of them, the simple truth is that you can’t start your essay with a fascinating experience or life-changing story. And that’s okay.

What to do, then?

Step-by-step guide on how to start writing a personal statement for medicine:

Step 1. create a list of the qualities that you want to demonstrate.

Take a piece of paper and write down the traits and abilities you want to reveal to the reader. There is no need to create a long list. Just think of 10 qualities that will help you become a great doctor. Some examples include:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Knowledge-seeking
  • Understanding
  • Team worker

We have all heard the phrase “Quality over Quantity”. This seeing relates to your writing too. If you try to include all 10 points on your list, you will end up with an inconsistent and uninfluential opening of your essay. Therefore you have to revise your list and pick up only 2 or 3 qualities . Please don’t waste time figuring out which ones are ideal because they don’t exist. Here the trick is to choose those that describe you best and that you can actually write about.

Step 2. Think about a situation when you have shown these qualities

This step is self-explanatory, but here are some guidelines that you can follow to pick the perfect event to write about.

Choose a story you can share in a few sentences (5 or 6). A good option is an event that comes from shadowing doctors, working in a clinic, volunteering, and extracurricular activity related to medicine.

Suppose you want to be original. Connect a travel story or work experience with the abilities you have chosen to highlight. This will guarantee a unique story that will impress the admissions committee.

Step 3. Present your experience as a captivating story

If you are worried about the story you picked, let us tell you a secret. It is not about choosing the perfect topic but presenting it engagingly. Remember that one event can be written in both dull and intriguing ways. Strive for the second!

Step 4. Show, don’t tell

Maybe this is the most crucial step of writing a medical personal statement. Don’t tell: “I have great communication skills.” Show it with your compelling story! The key is to demonstrate your qualities.

How to create great body paragraphs in a medicine personal statement?

In the body of your essay, you essentially want to expand the concepts stated in your introduction paragraph by using personal experiences as proof.

You have already written about why you want to study medicine. So it's time to dive in. Write in detail about the experiences that helped you grow and led to your decision to study medicine. Each key point should be given its own paragraph.

Here are a few steps that you can follow to write the best medicine personal statement ever:

  • Explain why you wanted to participate in the experience you are writing about.
  • Describe how you felt during the event.
  • Describe your accomplishments and lessons learned.
  • What impact did your experience have on you and the environment around you?
  • Explain how your experience influenced your desire to apply to medical school.

How to end a personal statement in a meaningful way?

Your medical personal statement conclusion should be like your introduction: showing your interest in studying medicine. You have to wrap everything together and leave the reader wanting to learn more about you.

You should re-emphasise your essay's main points and highlight these 3 things one more time:

  • Qualities that will make you one of the best doctors
  • Knowledge gained as a result of your formative experiences
  • Your sincere passion for being a medical student

Personal statement for medical school

Top tips for medicine personal statement from our expert advisors:

  • Connect your extracurricular activities to how they will help you become a better doctor
  • Tell a story
  • Always double-check for grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Show professionalism
  • Use clear, direct language
  • Ask your family for an opinion
  • Don’t lie, be true to yourself
  • Don’t try to cover everything
  • Don’t use cliches
  • Don't forget about the proper structure

Checklist for your MD personal statement

Before sending your medical personal statement, make sure you cover the following:

  • Is your first paragraph clear about why you want to be a doctor?
  • Have you thought about what you learned from each of the situations you've mentioned?
  • Is there a phrase or two regarding your hobbies or outside interests?
  • Is your grammar correct?
  • Do you show that you possess the qualities necessary for this profession?
  • Do you indicate that you understand the reality of a career in medicine?
  • Is your final paragraph a summary of why you believe you are well-suited for the medicine course and career?

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Medicine Personal Statement Example 1

This Medicine Personal Statement was successful for Imperial, UCL, QMUL and King's.

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Have a look at this successful Medicine Personal Statement example for inspiration to help you plan and structure your Personal Statement .

Medicine excites me; it is full of unanswered questions, unsolved problems and potential for growth. It is a limitless field, exploring everything from our biochemistry to our birth and death. Ultimately, however, the relationship between doctor, patient and community alongside the academic inquiry cements my passion for medicine.

My experience volunteering with St John Ambulance over the past 4 years means that I have had to build my own relationships with patients. Over time, I have become more confident and more relaxed about having – sometimes intimate – conversations with patients. For example, one long conversation allowed me to differentiate between heat exhaustion and an undiagnosed stomach ulcer, and another led to the discovery that a young woman’s unusual bruising was from her job as a beekeeper.

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Again, the importance of communication in medicine was echoed in a work experience placement with the Northern Medical Centre, a central London GP practice . The doctor I was shadowing had to talk to her patient in Mandarin while simultaneously typing patient notes in English. I observed the real barriers to successful medical practice in a multicultural community and learnt that the most effective solutions were aided by discussions with patients, who already knew what wasn’t working and what might help. I found it fascinating to see how simple changes, such as inviting multiple family members to consultations, could make a big difference. I was interested to see how this was formalised by medical behavioural economics, which investigates how ‘nudges’ can significantly improve clinical outcomes.

During a hospital placement in gastroenterology at UCLH, I was able to see medical decision-making for myself in an MDT. I was impressed by the efforts of consultants to utilise the diverse skills in the room, using the meeting as an opportunity to liaise with multiple specialists. I was surprised to see that many patients had multiple unrelated conditions that straddled many medical disciplines. There is, I realised, growing room for new specialities on the cutting edge of medicine – one doctor I spoke with had effectively created their job as a consultant neurogastroenterologist. The connections between such disparate fields of medicine and how they come together to help and treat patients intrigue me.

My curiosity piqued, I then went on to look into the gut-brain axis in more depth. I was particularly fascinated by the aetiology of depression, in which gut microflora seem to play a potentially significant role. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Second Brain’, which gave me a deeper understanding of the enteric nervous system, helping me to understand how the gut can have such devastating effects on mental and physical health, and vice versa. This interplay between biological and psychological factors in disease is, for me, one of the most fascinating relationships in medicine. It is one of medicine’s current frontiers, with incredible potential for new discoveries that will improve patients’ lives.

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I have also found that an understanding of my own psychology is valuable. Working long shifts with SJA has shown me how difficult it can be to recognise how tired or stressed you really are, especially when exhausted. Taking breaks and truly relaxing is important for me. Through my rowing and coxing I can unwind and forget everything but the river. I am very protective of my rowing and reading time. I also try to keep the words of the poet Horace in mind: ‘carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero’. 

Medicine is a dynamic, compelling and caring field that I cannot wait to be a part of. I can think of no other ancient practice that has been so changed by modern life, and which is yet rooted in the same principles of kindness, competence and respect. I sincerely and eagerly look forward to following in this tradition.

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How to Write a Perfect Medical School Personal Statement: A Complete Guide

Writing a personal statement for medical school can be a daunting task, but it’s an important part of your application that can set you apart from other candidates. A medical school personal statement requires you to reflect on your experiences and communicate your passion for medicine in a compelling way. But there is a word limit, and being concise can be challenging. However, with careful planning and preparation, it is possible to write a strong and effective personal statement. Here are some tips to help you.


7 Important Tips for Writing a Perfect Personal Statement for Medical School

A strong personal statement can significantly affect your medical school application. Here are seven tips that you need to remember when writing your personal statement. 

Start with an engaging opening:

 Your opening sentence should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. Consider starting with a personal story, a thought-provoking question, or a bold statement.

Showcase your motivation: 

Medical school admissions committees want to know why you want to become a doctor. Share your personal motivation for pursuing medicine, whether it’s a desire to help others, a personal experience that inspired you, or a specific aspect of the field that interests you.

Highlight your experiences:

 Use specific examples to illustrate your interest in medicine and your suitability for the profession. This could include volunteer work, research experience, clinical exposure , or any other activities related to medicine .

Discuss your strengths:

Highlight the strengths and qualities that make you a strong candidate for medical school. This could include your leadership skills, teamwork abilities, or resilience in the face of challenges.

Be authentic: 

Write in your own voice and be honest about your experiences and motivations. Avoid clichés and generic statements.

Keep it concise: 

Your personal statement should be no longer than two pages, so be sure to prioritize the most important information and avoid unnecessary details.

Edit and proofread:

 Take the time to revise and proofread your personal statement. Ask others for feedback and make sure your writing is clear, concise, and error-free.

Remember, your personal statement is your chance to showcase your unique qualities and experiences. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your passion for medicine and your suitability for the profession.

How long should a medical school personal statement be?

The length of a medical school personal statement can vary, but most medical schools have specific guidelines on the length. Typically, a personal statement should be no longer than 1-2 pages or about 500-800 words. However, some schools may have different requirements, so it’s important to check each school’s guidelines before writing your personal statement.

While it may be tempting to include as much information as possible, it’s important to remember that the admissions committee will be reading many personal statements , so it’s important to keep yours concise and to the point. Focus on the most important information, such as your motivation for pursuing medicine, your relevant experiences, and your unique qualities and strengths. Be sure to follow the guidelines provided by the schools you are applying to and proofread carefully to ensure that your personal statement is clear, concise, and error-free.

Medical School Personal Statement Format

There is no set format for a personal statement for medical school, but there are some general guidelines you should follow. Here is a basic outline that you can use:

  • Introduction: Begin with an attention-grabbing opening that introduces yourself and your interest in medicine.
  • Body Paragraphs: Write two or three paragraphs to elaborate on your qualities and experiences. This section gives you the opportunity to convince the admissions committee that you are the perfect fit for this profession.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and reiterate your motivation for pursuing medicine.

Remember, this is just a general outline, and you should customize your personal statement to fit your own experiences and strengths. Be sure to focus on your unique qualities and experiences and show the admissions committee why you are a great fit for their program. Also, keep in mind any specific requirements or prompts that the medical school may have provided.

Introduction Paragraph

The introduction of your personal statement is the first impression the admissions committee will have of you, so it’s important to make it great. Here are some tips for writing a strong personal statement introduction:

Start with a hook:

 Begin with a sentence or two that will grab the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading. This could be a personal story, a surprising fact, or a bold statement.

Introduce yourself: 

In the first few sentences, introduce yourself and briefly mention your background or experiences that have led you to pursue medicine.

Share your motivation:

 The admissions committee wants to know why you want to become a doctor, so be sure to share your personal motivation for pursuing medicine. This could be a personal experience, a desire to help others, or a specific aspect of the field that interests you.

Show your enthusiasm:

 Demonstrate your enthusiasm for medicine and your eagerness to learn and contribute to the field. Avoid sounding cliché or insincere.

Be concise: 

Keep your introduction brief and to the point. Remember, you only have a limited amount of space for your personal statement, so use it wisely.

Remember, your introduction sets the tone for the rest of your personal statement, so make sure it’s engaging, authentic and reflective of your passion for medicine.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your medical school personal statement are where you will showcase your experiences, qualities, and skills that make you a strong candidate for medical school. Here are some tips for writing great body paragraphs:

Use specific examples: 

Instead of making general statements, use specific examples to illustrate your experiences and qualities. This will make your personal statement more engaging and memorable.

Be authentic:

 Write in your own voice and be honest about your experiences and motivations. Avoid using clichés or sounding insincere.

Show, don’t tell:

 Rather than simply stating your qualities, show how you’ve demonstrated them in your experiences. This will make your personal statement more compelling.

Stay focused:

 Keep your personal statement focused on your experiences and qualities that are relevant to medicine. Avoid including irrelevant or unnecessary information.

Use transitions:

 Use transition words or phrases to smoothly connect your ideas and make your personal statement flow well.

Convey your growth:

 Use your experiences to show how you’ve grown and learned and how they’ve prepared you for medical school.

Be concise:

 Keep your body paragraphs concise and to the point. Avoid going off on tangents or including too much information.

Remember, your body paragraphs are where you will show the admissions committee why you are a strong candidate for medical school. Use specific examples to showcase your experiences, qualities, and skills, and make sure they are relevant to medicine.

Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion paragraph of your medical school personal statement is your last opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee. Here are some tips for writing a great conclusion paragraph:

Summarize your main points:

 Briefly summarize the key points you’ve made in your personal statement. This will remind the reader of your main message and help tie your personal statement together.

Reiterate your motivation:

 Remind the reader why you are passionate about medicine and why you want to become a doctor.

Connect to the future:

 Make a connection between your experiences and your future goals as a physician. Show the admissions committee that you have a clear understanding of what it means to be a doctor and how you plan to contribute to the field.

End with a strong statement:

 End your personal statement with a powerful statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a personal anecdote, a memorable quote, or a final reflection on your experiences.

Avoid Repetition:

Keep your conclusion paragraph concise and to the point. Avoid repeating information from earlier in your personal statement or introducing new information.

Remember, your conclusion paragraph is your last chance to make a strong impression on the admissions committee. Make sure it leaves a lasting impression by summarizing your main points, reiterating your motivation, and connecting to your future goals as a physician. End with a strong statement that shows your passion and commitment to the field of medicine.


6 Cliché Phrases that You Should Avoid in Your Medical School Personal Statement

When writing your medical school personal statement, it’s important to avoid using clichés. These are overused phrases or ideas that have lost their impact and can make your personal statement appear generic and unoriginal. Here are some medical school personal statement clichés to avoid:

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to be a doctor.” 

While it’s important to show your motivation for medicine, this cliché is overused and doesn’t provide any unique insight into your experiences or qualities.

“I want to help people.”

 While helping others is a noble goal, this statement is too broad and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve helped others in the past.

“I’ve always been interested in science.”

 While it’s important to show your interest in science and medicine, this statement is too general and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve pursued your interests.

“I’ve faced many challenges, but I’ve overcome them all.”

 While it’s important to show your resilience and ability to overcome obstacles, this cliché is overused and doesn’t provide any unique insight into your experiences or qualities.

“I’ve always been a hard worker.”

 While it’s important to show your work ethic, this statement is too general and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve worked hard in the past.

“I have a passion for helping underserved communities.”

 While it’s important to show your commitment to serving others, this cliché is overused and doesn’t provide any specific examples of how you’ve worked to serve underserved communities in the past.

To make your personal statement stand out, try to provide specific examples and insights into your experiences and qualities rather than relying on overused clichés. Show the admissions committee what makes you unique and why you would make a great candidate for medical school.

Should Applicants Address Bad Grades in their Medical School Personal Statement?

It is generally not recommended to mention bad grades in your medical school personal statement, as it may draw unnecessary attention to a negative aspect of your application. The personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your strengths, experiences, and qualifications that make you a strong candidate for medical school.

Instead of focusing on any negative aspects of your medical school application, you should focus on highlighting your positive attributes and accomplishments. You can use your personal statement to describe your experiences in healthcare or other related fields, explain why you are passionate about medicine, and demonstrate your dedication to the field.

If you have any extenuating circumstances that led to your lower grades, such as a personal or medical issue, you may want to address them in your application elsewhere, such as in an optional essay or during an interview. However, if your grades are simply the result of not performing well in certain courses, it is best to focus on your strengths and achievements in your personal statement.

Remember that the personal statement is just one component of your medical school application , and the admissions committee will consider your entire application when making their decision. If you have concerns about your grades or other aspects of your application, you can reach out to Jack Westin experts for guidance.

► To learn more about different aspects of a medical school application. You can watch This VIDEO .

In this post, we elaborated on different aspects of writing a medical school personal statement. Remember that there is no one “perfect” medical school personal statement, as each applicant’s personal statement will be unique to their experiences and qualifications. However, a strong medical school personal statement should provide insight into who you are as a person and as a potential doctor. It should demonstrate your passion for medicine, your unique qualities and experiences, and your potential to make a meaningful contribution to the field of healthcare.

If you need help with your personal statement or any other aspect of your medical school application, CONTACT US ! Jack Westin experts are by your side on your path to medical school . 

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  • 2024 Medical School Personal Statement Examples

Your Personal Statement for Medical School   will arguably be the most important essay you’ll ever write…So no pressure, right? 

Our team has the honor of helping applicants craft their story in an impactful way. Below are a few of those effective personal statement essays from recently accepted medical students.

Please note that these are final drafts. It took multiple rounds of revisions to reach the draft you are about to read. 

medical school personal statement examples

Read Courtney’s Personal Statement

Read Matt’s Personal Statement

Read Alex’s Personal Statement

Read Suzy’s Personal Statement

Medical school personal statement Sample #1

I stood shoulder to shoulder with choir members, hundreds of eyes in our direction, each seated in the great hall known as the Dallas Myerson Symphony Center. The countless rehearsals, rhythms, and lyrics danced through my mind as I watched the conductor raise his arms, and eagerly awaited his signal. His baton came crashing down and within seconds, the room was filled with the sound of musicians whose every note, melody, and harmony were married together to form an exquisite synchrony. We sang the words of the great poet William Ernest Henley who emphasized resilience in the face of suffering as well as bravery in the face of adversity. I could physically see the impact of our voices on those in the room, particularly evident when beginning an ascent to an emotionally salient crescendo. It was through this experience that I recognized the unifying and healing power of music as well as the importance of holistic healing. This was a theme that has been at the forefront of my growth and empowerment as I faced some of the hardest years of my life in search of my own emotional healing. In a manner similar to music’s impact, I am motivated to become a physician to heal those around me through a holistic approach, advocacy, and continual evolvement along a journey of lifelong learning and growth.

I still remember my mother frantically waking my brother and I to tell us that our, then, dad was in the hospital, which left us searching for holistic healing ourselves. It was not until later that I learned he had suffered an aortic dissection. I was seven years old and struck with worry though simultaneously grateful for the miracle performed by the cardiothoracic surgeons. This was the initial spark that led me to uncover my passion for science as well as interest in medicine. Three years later, he carefully told me that for most of his life he felt as if he has been living in the wrong body. I remember the confusion, lack of comprehension, and most importantly, the newly surfaced and seemingly infinite compassion I felt towards both my mom and my now transgender father. This was a situation far from simple and many times, I was left amongst familial dissension, shadows of lost friends, and fear. Regardless, I remained resilient and found solace in my faith and music. Each provided an outlet to transform sadness and fear into something beautiful and face my emotions head-on with the help of those who loyally surrounded me. In stumbling upon this emotional healing, I saw correlations between the emotional and spiritual healing that our bodies demand to be physically well and later recognized that this was a significant aspect of what drew me to medicine. In the future, I long to bring comfort and peace to patients who trust in me during their most vulnerable times and when they are most afraid, as so many have done for me. 

In the words of William Ernest Henley, having been through the trials of my circumstances, I continue to “find myself unafraid” and able to overcome challenges. I think I ultimately learned this perseverance and endurance from my mother, who never gave up even when she had to start over to provide for my brother and I. Simultaneously, I felt the pain my dad faced and saw my mother defy all odds to overcome our situation. My experiences are what pushes me to want to make a difference in a world that can be so cruel to so many. I remember the judgement and lack of compassion I faced when I was with my dad as well as the deliberate marginalization my dad faced as a transgender woman. This incited a sense of advocacy in me and prompted me to become part of a non-profit organization dedicated to serving a similarly marginalized community, the homeless. I have been able to work alongside college students to cultivate change and provide supplies to those in need. I see the ability to reiterate and continue this spirit through a career in medicine. For physicians are the listeners, the branches that extend across communities and through diverse populations, ultimately the advocates for their patients and deliverers of holistic care. I long to begin this journey, even if just as a budding twig among hundreds of branches, on the path to making a difference.  

Much as a choir performance is dependent upon each component, pursuing a standard of holistic healing is also far from an individual endeavor. It takes a comprehensive team to meet the needs of a patient and their family, a reoccurring theme that I have been exposed to countless times. For this is a career that requires traversing a path that is no easy feat, but one that will procure undoubtable fulfillment and beauty. This is a place in my life I might never have expected I would be, but one that I welcome with open arms. I have found myself ready to face my journey of endless growth and possibility as I am certain I want to become a physician and certain that I am capable because I have faced adversity and have only grown stronger as a result. 

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Medical school personal statement Sample #2

Reading through mission statements of various medical schools, I have discovered an enthralling question: Is medicine science or art? I find this discourse of disparate viewpoints interesting because of a similar battle that has played out in my own mind between the head and the heart. Medicine is where I belong as it provides an avenue between these two raging forces unique to any other field I have found. A career as a clinician is precisely the symphony of problem solving I crave and the opportunity to love humanity I long for, making it the perfect life for me.

My initial attraction to medicine during high school came from my inquisitive nature, a desire to solve puzzles. I enjoy the thrill of mastering a topic, and then either revealing how the pieces fit to others, or using my newfound expertise in the application of solving new problems. Thus, it’s no wonder that I found medicine invigorating. It provides an endless depth of knowledge to plunder, and the opportunity to utilize that material in new situations.

Previously, I saw the human machine as something I could solve and repair if I knew enough. This has driven me to seek out opportunities to understand the deep mechanistic nature of the body. I wanted, and still want, to understand medicine at its most basic level, and then apply that knowledge to fixing diseases. Because of this desire, I have continued to seek out medical knowledge in my own time, through reading and research at school.

Admittedly, this first attraction to medicine was misguided and born of selfishness. I saw my future self as a medical Sherlock Holmes-the smartest person in the room disseminating my own cleverness from on high to solve a medical problem. I had only a mild interest in the artful, human, side of medicine. This intense passion to solve problems I now see is not itself inherently wrong and will indeed serve me well in medical school, but such a desire must be tempered by the heart.

When I arrived at college, my concept of the world, and with it medicine, was completely rearranged. Living in close community, I soon realized a simple, but important Truth: Life is not about you. It isn’t even about each other on an individual level. It’s about how people connect and intersect on the whole and effect change for their fellow man. This perspective shift drastically changed how I lived at school. Now I had a desire to serve others and participate in my activities precisely to do so.

I also shifted how I understood medicine. Medicine, it seemed, was not the cold calculation of Holmesian deduction to fix diseases as I once believed, but the art of understanding, navigating, and mitigating human pain in whatever form-physical, emotional, psychological- via the conduit of scientific understanding. While the science of medicine first attracted me to the field, it is the desire to practice the art of medicine that has continued to propel me towards a career as a physician.

My understanding of medicine as an art and a science and my desire to pursue both have only grown stronger as I have become a patient myself. Last summer, I became very ill, and spent most of my summer asleep, in the bathroom, or at the clinic, only being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the end of July. In such a vulnerable position, I experienced first-hand that importance and impact of medicine as art and science. Dr. Hallak, my gastroenterologist, treated not just my illness, but the fear and pain I possessed, and for that I am forever grateful (and fortunately, also healthy).

Likewise, Dr. Hallak graciously taught me about my disease on a mechanistic level, demonstrating that he understood the science of medicine as deeply as I had hoped a clinician would. Thus, I was assured that a career as a clinician could sate my scientific hunger as well. In Dr. Hallak I clearly saw that I did not have to compromise between my desire to understand the human body as a machine, and my need to serve others and effect change in their lives. When I think of the type of physician I want to be, I know that I want to follow Dr. Hallak’s example and live a life using science to not simply fix disease, but to heal human pain.

Because of these experiences, I believe that medicine is precisely this: the application of knowledge of both humankind- our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies- and human disease towards the eradication of human pain. In this definition, I have found a means to navigate the tricky space between medicine as science and art, between my inquisitiveness and the earnest longing to benefit others, between the head and the heart. I am confident that in my future career as a physician I will be able to fulfill these two desires.

Furthermore, I believe that my perspective on medicine, one that unifies art and science, is necessary for the evolving landscape of medicine. With the advent of new technologies, future physicians will be called to new roles. It is only by understanding and synthesizing the disparate halves of medicine that we as future physicians can fulfill these new, unknown roles. It is my hope that I might bring a fresh perspective to the field of medicine, and bring a positive impact not simply for my own sake, but for all the patients I will have in the future.

Interested in viewing an in-depth personal statement review? 

Medical school personal statement Sample #3

I gripped the kitchen phone and listened to a voice utter words that even at six years old, I could never forget: “your father is cured.” A sigh of relief escaped my lips as I realized that the invisible monsters that plagued my father’s body, ones much scarier than the Boogeyman hidden under my bed, were finally gone. My resilient father was no longer infected with hepatitis B and C. During his fight against those invisible monsters, I was far too young to understand the etiology of his ailments, much less the pharmacodynamics of his medications. However, there was one thing that at six years old I undisputedly understood; these monsters were making my father weak despite costly treatments. Seeing the physical and emotional pain my father bore and the constant havoc it wreaked on my family, I desperately scrambled to educate myself, naively using the computer as leverage to find a remedy. Each search was met with medical jargon my juvenile mind could not decode. However, after years of searching, “Dr. S,” my father’s gastroenterologist, accomplished what I had been naively trying to do: find a cure. Dr. S’s holistic understanding of my father and his heroic ability to help planted a seed of motivation inside me to become a physician, like him. One that is dedicated to curing others of the monsters that plague their bodies.

Growing up, various questions flooded my mind regarding my father’s illness. Why did he have hepatitis? Why did it take so long to find a cure? Slowly, answers emerged as I educated myself on healthcare in underdeveloped countries. My father, who was from a village outside X, was unknowingly infected with hepatitis. His life back home was simple, but the unsanitary health practices, lack of infrastructure, smoke-polluted air, contaminated water, and minimal health education or preventative medicine produced a suboptimal environment for sustaining a healthy lifestyle. As a result of these conditions and the insufficiency of available physicians, many individuals were beset by disease and mortality. This predisposition is, unfortunately, a reality that my father and millions of others living in underdeveloped countries or marginalized communities in the United States unjustly face. Learning about these roadblocks to healthcare subsequently made my passion to become a physician even more deeply rooted. My mission has now evolved into becoming a physician dedicated to implementing preventative medicine for underserved individuals.

While immersing myself in clinical experiences as an emergency medical technician (EMT), I became aware of prevailing healthcare inequalities, similar to what my father endured. While sitting on the edge of a blue seat in the ambulance, I watched my patient, “Max,” clutch his abdomen as he sat on the stretcher. “Max, do you have stomach pain?” though was not met with a response. “Max, ¿tiene dolor?” As the words left my mouth, all eyes turned to me. Max sluggishly nodded. “¿Max, dónde le duele?” He slowly pointed to his stomach. I continued to speak to Max in Spanish, which allowed me to further my assessment and obtain vitals. The time I spent caring for Max during transport underscored the importance of being adaptable to linguistic and cultural differences, as equitable patient care is dependent on the ability to acknowledge and cater to these differences. Being an EMT has allowed me to mitigate barriers to healthcare within my community, though I am left with the urge to do more. As a physician, I will be able to provide longitudinal care and make seeking primary care more accessible for marginalized individuals, such as my father and Max.

While becoming a physician for marginalized communities is part of my goal, it was not until my health promotion class that I realized how these populations can benefit from both preventative and osteopathic medicine. For these individuals, imbalances in internal and external stressors, whether they be environmental, social, emotional, or biological, may result in illness, such as my father’s. Rather than advocating for costly or invasive symptomatic treatment, A.T. Still’s philosophy on the mind, body, and spirit has demonstrated that as an osteopathic physician, I can holistically treat or even prevent disease by restoring these imbalances. Moreover, the second tenant of osteopathic medicine surrounding self-regulation and self-healing would allow me to help marginalized individuals realize that they have the innate tools necessary to maintain optimal health and overcome disease. Altogether, this outlook would enable these individuals, who often cannot afford costly treatment, to feel empowered and capable of controlling their own health narratives. Although my introduction to osteopathic medicine was brief, the impact it has made on my journey to medicine is long-lasting.

Never would I have thought that four simple words would lead me down a path towards becoming an osteopathic physician. Yet, the story behind them inadvertently ignited a fire within me. Regardless of cultural differences or even language barriers, I now know that with an osteopathic outlook, I can be the hope in medicine for underserved communities and deliver the life-changing words that I once received.

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Medical school personal statement Sample #4

One 40-minute bus ride and three wrong turns later, I arrived at Dr. C’s cardiology clinic in X. After climbing the stairs to the clinic doors, a volunteer coordinator welcomed me and gestured to a waiting room brimming with restless patients. “We’re behind schedule today. Here’s the first patient’s chart. You’ll learn on the go.” He ushered me quickly into the nearest patient room, where I found myself standing in front of a confused elderly woman. I took a deep breath and introduced myself. Then, listening carefully, I began to update her medical chart as she described her sharp chest pain. As I reviewed her family and social history, she inhaled shallowly: her only daughter had passed away a few weeks earlier. She crumpled the medication list in her lap, her gaze downcast. I acknowledged her pain, handed her a box of tissues as well as a glass of water and listened to her as she shared fond memories of her daughter. Once we finished our session, I brought her over to Dr. C, who warmly squeezed her hand. I observed as he listened and patiently attended to each of her concerns while he simultaneously interpreted her electrocardiogram results and prescribed a regimen of beta-blockers. As I watched her leave the office with a renewed sense of calm, I immediately recognized the significance of a patient-physician relationship defined by curiosity, compassion, and communication.

My interest in medicine began as a child living with X, my exuberant autistic brother with a fierce sweet tooth. As I watched childhood friends take part in friendly sibling rivalries, I could not help but wonder if I would ever be able to do the same. With his speech limited to a handful of utterances and with his aversion to physical touch, I had to learn how to connect with X in other ways. Despite my short stature as a child, I remember tenaciously balancing myself upon a kitchen stool, foraging through the top cupboards, and sneaking away with a box of cookies so that my brother and I could eat together in contented silence. Yet this shared silence led me to so many questions: Would I ever know what X was thinking? How did this happen? My love for my brother grew alongside the puzzling nature of his diagnosis. This acted as the initial push into an education in the sciences and into a desire to uncover the intricacies of the human body.

Armed with a background in biochemistry, my pursuit of knowledge propelled me through an undergraduate senior thesis in Dr. K’s lab. Enlightened by the scientific method and curious about the molecular processes underlying complex illnesses, I decided to examine the regulation of transcription factors involved in renal fibrosis, a pathological marker of chronic kidney disease. This laborious but rewarding process allowed me to correlate the presence of the cav-1 gene to the lowered expression of the SP1 transcription factor and the decreased production of follistatin, a protein that neutralizes pro-inflammatory pathways and protects against renal fibrosis. Though I was thrilled by my findings, I was still left unsatisfied. I had originally set out to seek answers, but I realized that what I wanted even more was to be reassured in the face of the unknown. More than that, I wanted to offer assurance to those in similarly ambiguous situations through experiences in clinical and community settings.

For the better part of a decade, I offered assurance in the emergency department (ED) at X. There, I formed strong relationships and gained experience working alongside accomplished and dedicated physicians. However, the ED, for most patients, is often a place of distress. I remember one particular patient crying relentlessly while her mother spoke to me about a research study that we were conducting at the hospital. She mentioned that her daughter loved to draw, but in their haste to the hospital, she had forgotten to bring drawing supplies. As her mother read over the consent form that I presented to her, I excused myself to find paper and crayons. When I returned, I sat next to the child as she drew her favorite cartoons. I complimented her artistic skills. She laughed relentlessly, engrossing herself further in her evolving artwork. This scene continues to replay in my mind – the reprieve that art offered, the child’s pure joy, and her mother mouthing “Thank You” from her seat. While not a technical part of my role as a clinical research project assistant, this small act brought tranquility to a stressful environment. Being willing to exceed beyond expectations for others in a compassion-led approach is essential for connecting with and advocating for patients.

While the silence between my brother and me prompted questions, it equally taught me lessons that no one else could. From him, I learned about the individuality in human connection and the power of kindness. My experiences combined with a penchant for scientific inquiry have both established and continuously reaffirmed my desire to become a physician. Whether it is following up with a distressed cardiology patient or connecting with distraught families in the ED, I want to improve the lives of others and provide a place of solace for all that I meet.

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Med School Insiders

The Anatomy of a Stellar Medical School Personal Statement

  • By Meghana Pagadala
  • March 12, 2021
  • Medical School Application , Personal Statement

Every medical school application requires a personal statement, but some stand out from others. The composition of these excellent personal statements is not defined by the structure, the number of activities mentioned, or grammar.

What really makes a stellar personal statement is that it is memorable and captures who you are. Read below to see some example personal statements and what makes them excellent.

The Anatomy of a Personal Statement

There is a 5,300 character maximum for your personal statement. That’s about 1.5 pages of single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font to demonstrate why you want to go to medical school.

A personal statement is made up of three parts:

  • Introduction (Bread)
  • Body (Meat and Vegetables)
  • Conclusion (Bread)

Before you begin writing, we have an article on How to Start Your Personal Statement . It will guide you through research, reflection, and idea generation to get you started.

The Bread: Introduction & Conclusion

The introduction and conclusion are like the slices of bread of an amazing sandwich. No matter how many ingredients in a sandwich, the pieces of bread always bind the whole story together. In other words, the introduction and conclusion should not be throwaways.

The introduction and conclusion are vital components of a successful personal statement. You should take time to ensure that your introduction captures the reader’s attention and the conclusion is memorable.


The first sentence is key. It needs to capture an admissions committee’s attention and entice them to read more.

Here are some examples from the Med School Insiders Personal Statement Database :

The main reason why I want to go into medicine is because of a promise I made to my sister when I was eight years old.

It’s not every day you help a kid become Iron Man.

Both of these examples are the first sentences of introductions that immediately capture the reader’s attention.

The first example mentions a promise that the applicant made to his sister. Right away from the first sentence, the reader is curious to know what that promise is. It’s an example of an opening sentence that immediately addresses the applicant’s desire to go into medicine. The sentence is clear, intriguing, and it captures your attention.

The second example is more mysterious. You have several questions after reading it. What kid are they helping? How do you make a kid become Iron Man? However, it accomplishes the same goal of piquing the reader’s interest. Remember, admissions committee members are reading hundreds of applications. How will you stand out? Make sure you grab their attention from the very first sentence.

The introduction is also a chance to set the tone for the essay. In this example, you can get a sense of the applicant’s sense of humor:

At the beginning of the first Alternative Spring Break (ASB) meeting that I was leading in front of a group of nervous volunteers, I used an icebreaker, Two Truths and a Lie. Being a common face at my campus’s student activities, I have played this game perhaps one too many times. Unlike everyone else who had to take time to think about their interesting truths, I would say the same thing every time. “I want to be a pediatrician, I have alpacas, and I have llamas.”

I do not have llamas.

The applicant sets the scene at an Alternative Spring Break meeting, sprinkles in humor with the Two Truths and a Lie game, and mentions their desire to become a pediatrician. This example has everything in it, but most importantly, it’s memorable. Often, strong applicants stuff their personal statement with their long list of achievements.

Sometimes less is more. What makes a great personal statement is having a compelling story that illustrates your unique strengths.

For the example above, the applicant likely had several interesting memories, but they chose this experience because it’s interesting and uncommon. Being known as the “alpaca” medical school applicant is a good thing—it makes you memorable and helps you stand out to the admissions committee.

The conclusion is the last paragraph the admissions officer will read, so it requires careful thought, just like the introduction. Not only is the conclusion a summary of your statement, but also a time to emphasize why you want to be a physician and what your future goals are.

I want to become a physician so that I can use my liberal arts education with my personal and professional experiences to meet medicine’s unique requirement of understanding patients psychologically, culturally, and biologically.

It is my desire to be a bridge between the technical engineering world and the direct delivery of care that only physicians can give.

I look forward to travelling to new communities as a physician while keeping my community-driven morals close, so alpaca my bags now.

The excerpts above are great examples of concluding sentences. Ultimately, the admissions committee is looking for applicants who will become excellent future physicians. A stellar essay that does not convince an admissions committee why you want to go to medical school is useless.

Including a well-crafted sentence about your motivation to go to medical school is essential.

The first two excerpts help sum up the applicant’s mission and why they want to be a physician. Ideally, you should tie back to the introduction of your essay. The “alpaca my bags” example connects to the introduction, adds personality, and concludes on a memorable note.

The Meat and Veg: Body

The body is the meat of the essay. It is everything that goes in between those slices of bread. You have more wiggle room to delve into an experience or showcase your personality here. You can use more descriptions and examples in the body. However, it is important that the body of your essay is still clear.****

Do not include anything that does not directly or indirectly support your ultimate case of wanting to become a physician.

We would do fulfilling tornado recovery work in the morning, but I most looked forward to afternoons where we got to sit down and chat with kids about their days while helping them with their homework.

Shadowing allowed me to learn the characteristics of a good physician.

This inspired me to help patients in underprivileged communities because some are not educated enough to know when something is wrong with their bodies.

There is no perfect number of paragraphs or set structure for the body of a personal statement. More importantly, the body should convey to the committee your personality, experience, and vision.


Physicians are caring, compassionate, and selfless humans. They have patients’ lives in their hands. They need to make important decisions that can affect the wellbeing of several people.

The medical school admissions committee wants to know that they are admitting someone who upholds the qualities of an excellent physician. Including experiences that showcase your personality is important. In the first excerpt above, the applicant does not explicitly state that he is caring, but rather illustrates it using vivid storytelling.

Don’t shy away from showing your own unique personality. It may be intimidating to talk about yourself, but this is your opportunity to tell your story.

There is no better way to convince an admissions committee that you want to be a doctor than by describing it through experiences. In the second excerpt above, the applicant writes that he shadowed physicians and learned what characteristics make a good physician.

If you are applying to a dual-degree program , like MD/PhD programs or MD/MPH programs, you can include research experiences or community outreach and public health experiences. However, most dual-degree program options have separate applications that always ask why you want to pursue a dual-degree. In your personal statement, try to focus on experiences that explain why you want to be a physician specifically.

Although you will outline your activities and honors in another part of your application, putting your experiences in the context of your personal statement can help you expand on those compelling stories.

An important aspect of the personal statement is describing your vision for your career and future. The personal statement is your chance to share your dreams.

You can describe your ambitions, goals, and feelings. Medical school admissions committees care about finding a diverse, passionate, and enthusiastic group of students who want to be physicians. Outlining your goals or dreams can help them understand who you are and why you want to be a doctor. They want to know what you will do with your MD.

In the third excerpt above, the applicant describes how he wants to help underprivileged communities and why. If you are research-oriented, include how you hope to progress the field of medicine with research. If you are interested in medical education, include your future goals of becoming a physician educator.

The personal statement is a critical part of your application. Although personal statements by definition vary greatly between applicants, there are key elements that an effective personal statement should contain. The personal statement is about putting you on a piece of paper. Ultimately, you should feel proud of your personal statement and how it tells your story.

Professional Feedback and Editing

To set yourself up for the strongest possible personal statement, start early and get regular feedback and editing from those with real medical school admissions committee experience.

Med School Insiders offers a range of personal statement editing packages from a team of doctors with years of experience serving on admissions committees.

Read our free Step-by-Step Guide: How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement for tips on getting started, what to include, and common mistakes to avoid.

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Home › University › How To Write A Personal Statement? 10 Tips + Student Questions Answered › How To Write A Medicine Personal Statement & Impress Admissions

How To Write A Medicine Personal Statement & Impress Admissions

  • Published January 20, 2023

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Are you considering a career in medicine but feeling overwhelmed by the thought of writing your medical personal statement? You’re not alone. In the UK, medicine is one of the most competitive fields to enter, with on average, over 20,000 applicants for around 6,000 places each year.

But there’s hope, have you considered attending medicine summer schools ? These programs can give you a great insight into what it’s like to study medicine at a UK university and network with your competition in your personal statement.

In this post, we’ll give you tips and tricks to make the process of writing your medical personal statement a breeze. So, whether you’re just starting or looking to revise, keep reading and take the first step towards a successful medical school application.

Brainstorm Your “WHY”

Why do you want to become a doctor ? How do you know this is the career for you?

How will it benefit you and the people around you? These are just some of the questions that can help you connect with your “WHY.”

If there’s one thing to remember on writing a medical personal statement, they should reflect not just who you are but also what motivates you. There are two techniques you can learn to help you with the brainstorming process.

The first technique is journaling. Just start writing about your passion for medicine without overthinking what people will say when they read it after. Write in complete freedom and just let it flow.

After a day or two of journaling, go back and review what you wrote. How do the words make you feel? How does it connect with your goals as a future doctor? Circle those parts that strike an emotional chord within you and use them as material for writing a medical personal statement.

We’ve also covered the exact method of  how to write a personal statement  – don’t miss out!

The second technique is to read books about motivation and inspiration. Inspiring stories surround us. By reading some of them, you’ll have a basic idea of expressing why you want to study medicine.

Books may even help you remember pivotal experiences in your life that inspired you to pursue a  career in the medical field .

In both techniques, the goal is to help you discover what motivates and inspires you to use it as material on how to write a medical personal statement. The more you are connected with your “why,” the easier it will be to write a personal statement that will touch the hearts of the admissions committee.

State Your Skills  For Medical School

What makes you qualified? How will your skills help you become a successful doctor in the future? These are the questions that can help you validate your reasons for pursuing this career path.

After coming up with your “why,” it’s now time to think about what sets you apart from other applicants, and highlight your skills to prove that you are qualified to become a medical student. If you don’t know where to start, here are skills that are valuable to the medical field:

  • A genuine desire to study medicine
  • Self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Intellectual ability
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Personal Organisation
  • Capable of working under pressure
  • Knows how to deal with uncertainty
  • Responsible for one’s own actions
  • Conscientiousness
  • Conscious of one’s own health
  • Confidence and efficiency in communication
  • Team player

Which of these is your strongest suit? Pinpoint at least one to three skills you have that will help you succeed as a doctor. Focus on these strengths when you’re thinking about how to write a medical personal statement.

Related Read :  How To Include Work Experience In Your Personal Statement?

Back-Up Your Skills With Credentials

Of course, it’s not enough to state your skills. Back them up with credentials and the admissions tutors will remember you —state awards, accomplishments, or experiences showcasing your strengths when writing your personal statement. Check out this list for inspiration:

  • Extracurricular activities (clubs/organisations)
  • Awards or certifications
  • Volunteering
  • Leadership positions
  • Meaningful life experiences
  • If you shadowed a doctor

Tell A Story

You may have all the necessary qualifications to be accepted as a medical student, but what counts is how you stand out from others.

Remember, the admissions committee reads thousands of medical personal statements every year. So it would be best if you found a way how to make yours memorable. The best way medical school applicants can give a lasting impression is to present the piece as a story. Can you imagine reading a personal statement structured like a grocery list of skills and credentials? 

Dive Further Into The Top With The :  Best UK Universities For Medicine

If you were the reader, you might not even proceed to read the next paragraph! But if you were to tell a captivating story, your reader will want to keep reading to know how it ends! That is our goal on how to write a medical personal statement.

How can you do it?

Start with a sentence that leads the reader on. Then, write about a time in your life when you experienced an event that set you on fire about being a doctor.

How did it happen? Why did you think of becoming a doctor and not choosing other career paths?

Here’s a pro tip: don’t mention your childhood. It’s in our  what not to put in personal statements  guide and many students still make the mistake of saying, “Since I was a child, I always wanted to become a doctor.” But children have very little reason and experience to make reasonable decisions. The admissions committee is well aware of this. And mentioning your childhood dreams  will not  impress them!

You have to share a significant life event that inspired you to become a doctor when you were old enough to mull it over. As you unfold your story, weave in crucial skills, credentials, and experiences. Be specific with names, dates, and places. Follow this strategy, and your reader will hardly recognise they’re nearing the end of your personal statement!

Write A Strong Opening

You should start your medical personal statement with an opening sentence that hooks the admissions tutors and makes them want to read more. Make the sentence exciting and unique to make people curious about what’s coming next. Have a look at some personal statement introduction examples to understand what exactly a good personal statement opening is.

If possible, don’t open with “I want to pursue medicine as a career because I have a passion for caring for others,” which is a dull opening line. After all, this phrase has been used so often it hardly makes an impact.

Here are some opening sentence ideas on how to write a medical personal statement:“Caring for others is my reason to live.”“My heart beats with the rhythm of the hospital’s emergency room.”“I was one of the fortunate ones.”“It all started with a patient named Mrs Sanchez….”

Reading these opening sentences sparks interest that makes your readers eager to read more. Although, we don’t recommend quotes as openers as they can be really hit and miss – be concise, use the tips mentioned and you’ll ace it.

The trick is to make sure the rest of your personal statement supports your first sentence to ensure coherency. 

Proofread Your Personal Statement

Proofreading is a vital step on how to write a medical personal statement. Handling human lives requires careful attention to detail. Demonstrate your keen attention to detail by ensuring your personal statement is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

It’s essential to point out that the admissions committee not only reads your content. But they also pay close attention to  how you present  your content. A well-organised and coherent write-up reflects a sound writer.

So don’t speed through this stage! Take your time. Run your personal statement through Grammarly.

Read it out loud! Enjoy the process of perfecting your personal statement. After all, this is a vital step in achieving your dream to become a medic!

Ask Others To Read Your Personal Statement

It’s challenging to judge your personal statement with unbiased eyes because you are its author. That’s why asking for other people’s feedback is essential on how to write a medical personal statement.

Approach your family, friends, and acquaintances. Tell them you need their opinion on your personal statement. Do they find it easy to understand? Is it coherent? Do they hear  you  while they’re reading your personal statement?

Ask them as many questions as you can. Don’t be afraid to listen to their criticism. It’s much better to hear corrections now while you still have the chance to revise your work. The result is worth the extra time and effort!

Put Some Distance 

After noting down feedback and revising your medical school personal statement multiple times, it’s best to put it down for a short time. You need to see it with a clear set of eyes.

So forget about it for a few days. Play your favourite sport. Read your favourite book. Or chill by your couch with your music on. Go about your daily life as if you didn’t spend the last few days working hard writing your medical personal statement.

You’d be surprised what happens when you come back to reread your work. Little details you didn’t notice before will stand out like glaring red lights. You may even catch sentences that don’t fit well together. So revise as much as you need!

What should you not say in a medical personal statement?

  • Instead of using your personal statement to focus on your own or family member’s medical conditions, use it to highlight your experiences that have led you to pursue a career in medicine and the skills and qualities you have developed as a result.
  • Use negative experiences to demonstrate growth and resilience, rather than to create pity. Show how you have overcome challenges and how you have grown as a person.
  • Show your compassion and empathy through your experiences, highlighting how they have helped you understand the needs of patients and how you plan to use this understanding to serve your community.
  • Share specific examples of how you have already demonstrated your abilities and potential, rather than making promises about what you will do in the future. Use concrete examples to show the admissions committee what you are capable of.
  • Discuss the challenges in healthcare and identify ways to improve in these areas without pointing any fingers. Show that you have a realistic understanding of patient needs and that you have potential solutions to improve healthcare.

How Long Should Your Medical Personal Statement Be?

According to UCAS, your medical school personal statement can be up to 4000 characters long. The average word is 4.7 characters, so that’s about 850 words.

how long should a medical personal statement be, 4000 characters, around 850 words

When To Write Your Med School Personal Statement?

Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to begin crafting your medical school personal statement. Instead, take advantage of the summer break to start working on it well ahead of the UCAS deadline, typically in October. This will not only relieve the stress of having to write it alongside A-Level work and BMAT revision but also give you ample time to perfect your statement and make it truly stand out.

Start Writing Your Medicine Personal Statement

Writing a successful medical personal statement is no easy feat. How you open your essay, how well-organised it is, and how well it communicates who you are, are crucial elements in writing a medical personal statement. This article aimed to give you practical tips on how to write a medical personal statement that will help get your foot in the door.

We hope these insights into successful college essays will make the process easier for you. We wish you the best of luck!

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Medical School Personal Statement Hooks (13 Examples)

Medical school personal statement hooks, although they need to be used very carefully, can certainly help bring some personality and originality to an application.

Making up the introductory paragraph of your essay that leads the reader in, they’re also very important.

But it can be hard knowing where to start when it comes to putting them together. Or understanding what works best and why.

To help, I’ve decided to put together 13 hook examples in this article.

Adding my own small critique (on what I think does or doesn’t work), maybe they can offer some guidance when it comes to deciding what to use for your own hooks.

Along with examples, here’s what else we’ll cover to help you with your hooks:

  • Hook topic ideas
  • What makes a good/bad hook
  • Tips on how to write an effective personal statement hook

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

What is a Hook?

A hook is the opening of an essay or a general theme or topic underpinning it.

It’s important because it’s the first thing the reader will see. Therefore it provides the best opportunity for engagement.

Depending on what your prompt is, the hooks you choose can differ across applications. It’ll need to fit a small percentage of the overall word count too (usually around 5,300 characters).

Related : Medical School Diversity Essay Prompts (21 Examples)

A hook can also start from anywhere. It can be a conclusion. Or an insight.

Many applicants choose to present it as a descriptive story rather than a simple “I” statement.

As you’ll see from the following examples!

13 Medical School Personal Statement Hook Examples

To really see and understand these hooks in action, it’s important you click through to those you like and read the examples in their broader context.

The ones picked out here (except those from Reddit) are the hooks included in the general introductions of larger essays.

Examples #1 and #2: General Vs Personal Hooks

“Hope to see you again next week,” I said, while handing the drug addict a packet of syringes. u/throwawatyyyy
Ma’am is this your son?” It was a question I always got as a kid, adopted into a biracial family that was not my own. u/boopboopthesnoot

These examples, taken from Reddit, show some insight into the value of hooks.

The first one received feedback for being a little too generic (overly focused on the “I want to be a doctor because I want to help people” trope) and clunky (using the words “drug addict”).

While the second is more successful; being more personal.

Examples #3 and #4: Engaging Hooks

My story begins at the age of six. I am dressed in a tiny suit with a miniature cello, the perfect size for a doll. It is the debut of The Aloha Trio: I am on cello, and my two older sisters are on violin and flute. My mother describes it as a way of sharing our Hawaiian spirit of “aloha” with a deserving audience. I think of it as torture.
My first patient was a man in his 60’s who fell down a few stairs at the hockey complex. His foot slipped out from under him while climbing the concrete steps, and he smashed his knee and elbow in the process. As a newly certified EMT, it was the first time I was responsible for another’s health. – U.S. News

The two examples here, held up as successful by the respective adcoms reviewing them, are commended for “capturing the reader’s imagination” and showing “clear motivation” as to why they want to become a doctor.

You’ll see the second example is much more measured and matter-of-fact in tone.

Admissions teams aren’t expecting masterful writing verging on “Creative Writing 101”.

Considered and well-thought-out hooks that engage without turning off are far more appropriate!

Examples #5 and #6: Poignant Vs Comedic Hooks

“I love Scriabin!” exclaimed Logan, a 19-year-old patient at the hospital, as we found a common interest in the obscure Russian composer. I knew Logan’s story because it was so similar to my own: a classically-trained pianist, he was ready to head off to college in a month, just as I had the year before. Yet it was Logan who was heading into surgery to remove a recently-discovered brain tumor.
At the beginning of the first Alternative Spring Break (ASB) meeting that I was leading in front of a group of nervous volunteers, I used an icebreaker, Two Truths and a Lie. Being a common face at my campus’s student activities, I have played this game perhaps one too many times. Unlike everyone else who had to take time to think about their interesting truths, I would say the same thing every time. “I want to be a pediatrician, I have alpacas, and I have llamas.” I do not have llamas. – Med School Insiders

Med School Insiders hold up the first example here as better than the second (based on the greater context).

Both hooks are strong. The second one, which uses an anecdote to draw the reader in, makes effective use of humor.

Be careful that your hook helps “show” rather than “tell” your suitability for medicine.

Examples #7 and #8: Narrative Vs Direct Hooks

I made my way to Hillary’s house after hearing about her alcoholic father’s incarceration. Seeing her tearfulness and at a loss for words, I took her hand and held it, hoping to make things more bearable. She squeezed back gently in reply, “thank you.” My silent gesture seemed to confer a soundless message of comfort, encouragement and support.
I was one of those kids who always wanted to be doctor. I didn’t understand the responsibilities and heartbreaks, the difficult decisions, and the years of study and training that go with the title, but I did understand that the person in the white coat stood for knowledge, professionalism, and compassion.  – BeMo

Example #7’s hook here seems to be a lot more impactful than #8’s.

The first is more personal and unique, the second a little too generic and expected.

Example #9: Inquisitive Hooks

Jeremy sobbed quietly, taking deep, shuddering breaths. He wiped his eyes on his favorite Spiderman T-shirt, the one he had been wearing hours earlier when he’d heard the news: His mother had been arrested again, and he may not see her for a very long time. What do you say to a ten-year-old child in that situation? – Transizion

This hook is a great example of capturing the reader and leaving them wanting more.

The use of the question forces the reader to be active in the story.

Your hook should always consider the reader.

Asking questions of them can be a useful way to achieve this.

Example #10: Authentic Hooks

New Orleans was hot and humid during the summer months of 2014–no surprise there. However, for a native Oregonian like me, waking up to 90-degree and 85%-humidity days initially seemed like too much to bear. That was until I reflected on the fact that my temporary discomfort was minute in contrast to the destruction of communities and emotional pounding experienced by the people of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina nine years earlier. – Shemassian Consulting

This example hook has authenticity at its core, providing a tangible example of how the subject helped better the situation.

The individual doesn’t have to tell the reader they are compassionate, it’s shown by the events included in the hook itself.

As Shemassian suggests; your essay doesn’t need to have any “a-ha moment” or a sudden realization.

A slow unfurling story coupled with a descriptive, relatable hook, is often more realistic and grounded in the eyes of the reader.

Example #11 and #12: Contrarian Vs “Off-Topic” Hooks

Mary was well known at our clinic by all of our doctors, nurses, and medical staff. Based on her sharp intellect and cheerful pattern of making all of our staff feel like we were her best friends, it would be difficult to tell why she frequently visited the hospital. Outside of her use of a walker, her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis had not slowed her down much…I wanted to give her the best care possible, whether through asking our great nurses to check in on her or offering an extra blanket or favorite snack to ensure comfort throughout her stay. However, I was simultaneously frustrated that my ability to help Mary ended there. This lingering lack of fulfillment has served as a great motivator to find more ways to do more for patients like her.
My palms had never been as sweaty as when I walked on stage with my trombone in front of a 500-plus member audience on June 9 th , 2015. Sure, I was pretty good, but I would like to think that being invited to play Curtis Fuller’s  Along Came Betty  at the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame had as much to do with the music skills I had honed over the past decade as it did with training the 8-member band of 10 to 13 year-olds from the inner city to join me on that same stage. I was nervous because this performance was for them; I needed to be at my best. – Prospective Doctor

The first hook here shows good use of contrast.

The subject is at odds with their desire to help the patient but also held back from doing so. Hooks that express contrary viewpoints like this are often very impactful.

Hook #12 is great because it’s so different. We take a break from the common themes of medicine and are transported into another world (but still one with transferrable skills and experiences), which also leads us to want to find out more (did the performance go well?)

Depending on the prompt, your hook can go down unique avenues like this.

It doesn’t always need to start with direct relevance to medicine.

Example #13

The AIDS hospice reeked from disease and neglect. On my first day there, after an hour of “training,” I met Paul, a tall, emaciated, forty-year-old AIDS victim who was recovering from a stroke that had severely affected his speech. I took him to General Hospital for a long-overdue appointment. It had been weeks since he had been outside…While elated that I had literally made Paul’s day, the neglect and emotional isolation from which he suffered disgusted me. This was a harsh side of medicine I had not seen before. Right then and there, I wondered, “Do I really want to go into medicine?” – Accepted.com

Again, this hook is an example of making a contrary point while “showing” the applicant’s relevant extracurricular experience.

In a pile of 20-30 essays, I bet this hook stands out.

Questioning if you even want to go into medicine in the introduction of a med school application is a risk. But it’s also a risk that, if expertly answered, could have a fantastic payoff.

If you’re confident you can back it up with the rest of your essay, risky hooks like this can work well.

Medical School Personal Statement Hook Topics

Coming up with ideas on what to use for your essay hook can be just as difficult as actually writing it.

Here are some popular ideas used by previous applicants that could serve as inspiration:

  • Being first in your family to go to college
  • Losing a loved one to suicide
  • Raising a family
  • Graduating early
  • Growing up in poverty/experiencing homelessness
  • Overcoming physical disability
  • Working construction
  • Military career
  • Teaching career
  • Polyglot/speaking multiple languages
  • Running political campaigns
  • Martial arts instructor
  • Raising goats/chickens
  • Competitive eSports athlete
  • Professional musician
  • Powerlifting and sports training

You can turn almost anything personal to you into a hook.

Spend some time thinking about the things you’ve done/achieved/overcome in life and make a list first (before you start writing).

The important thing is that your personal statement answers some form of the question; “ why medicine ?”

Your hook ultimately should lead into that.

Related : “ Why Do You Want To Be A Doctor?” (Reddit’s 19 Best Answers!)

Related Questions

Do personal statements need a hook.

Hooks aren’t always appropriate for personal statements. There’s no cut-and-dry rule that says you have to start with them.

For many applications, however, hooks can be very useful. Especially if you consider the admissions committee member reading through 20-40 similar-sounding essays in a single day.

In those cases, a good hook can help you grab the attention of the reader and stand out. As well as sell other aspects of yourself that aren’t always obvious or evident in your application.

Whether that actually betters your chance of getting into med school, is probably too much of a stretch to say. But it definitely could help differentiate you.

What is a good hook for a personal statement?

The best hooks are ones that are appropriate to an activity you’re introducing. The more unique they are, and the more effective at fuelling curiosity and encouraging someone to keep reading, the better.

“I’m sick and don’t know if I’ll get better.” Hearing those words is probably the most painful memory I have about my mother. And I’m reminded of it often when I talk with family at the Memorial Hospital Cancer Center.

But there is a fine line between being overly theatric and measured.

A good hook usually does one (or more) of the following:

  • Avoids the cliche “I love science and helping people” opener
  • Shows doesn’t tell
  • Humanizes the subject
  • Personal to you (doesn’t read as if it could have been written by anyone else)
  • Carefully balances unique and shocking (it still needs to be an effective, serviceable essay)
  • Avoids clunky langage/being tonally offensive

A good way to find out if you have a strong hook is to have it critiqued by an editor.

The examples above are just that (examples).

Without knowing the other aspects of a student’s application (or story), their value can be hard to judge!

That’s why it’s also important that the hook you use ties into both the body of your essay and its final paragraph.

What is a bad hook?

A bad hook is usually contrived. It might feature a run-of-the-mill quote or smack of unoriginality. Or tries to define something rather obvious.

An example of a bad hook could be something like:

The definition of medicine has gone through as many changes as the human race. Straddling the worlds of both art and science, it continues to remain unconfined to the boundaries of language.

This is both general (lacks any sense of personality) and empty.

Bad hooks for personal statements miss emotive marks and say little about the person writing them.

Or they over-dramatize the mundane, possibly differentiating you in a negative way.

Why are personal statement hooks so hard to write?

The big reason why hooks are so difficult to write is because of the pressure. They are the opening lines of a statement that’s meant to distill your entire ethos and philosophy for studying medicine into a few short paragraphs. And also summarize countless hours of extracurricular prep and everything else.

But another key reason is that you’re simply not used to crafting them.

Because of that, supposed “good” hooks can sometimes look cliched and cringe-inducing.

Your general lack of experience makes it hard to tell good ones from the bad.

How do you write a personal statement hook for medical school?

Now we’ve explored the example hooks and spent some time in discussion over what could make them good/bad, here are some general tips on how to go about writing them:

  • Start by listing down all the possible ideas you could use for hooks (use the topic ideas to help)
  • Choose the top 3-5 ideas and start turning them into short introductory paragraphs (use the examples as models)
  • Get feedback by running them past other applicants/successful med students
  • Go with the hook that you feel best suits the potential body of the essay

Starting with hooks is probably the best way to begin framing your essay as a whole.

Just getting in the practice of coming up with several ideas is great for overcoming any resistance to writing and helping you gain the confidence in believing you can create something great.

As a quick reminder, here are some of the top do’s/don’ts to keep in mind as you move through this process

  • Do match the hook to the prompt (don’t make it seem random or off-topic)
  • Don’t feel that the hook has to be the starting sentence only (it can be 2-3 sentences or an entire opening paragraph)
  • Do “show”, don’t “tell”
  • Do road test your hooks with friends/family
  • Don’t include controversial topics
  • Don’t be overly flowery (it’s a pointed essay, not a meandering novel)
  • Don’t make it a sob story
  • Don’t include patient names
  • Don’t be repetitive
  • Don’t include anything you wouldn’t want to talk about in an interview
  • Don’t speak negatively (of yourself or others)
  • Don’t use medical jargon
  • Don’t use acronyms without writing them out first

Ready to start coming up with some hooks?


Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more .

personal statement medicine intro

Personal Statement for Medicine

Composing a personal statement for any degree is a challenge but for medicine, this is your chance to illustrate your academic prowess and work experience alongside a genuine passion and fascination for the medical subjects you love. a personal statement can support your application if your exam results are slightly below your expectations or can enhance a strong set of grades for the best chance of acceptance., make the most of your words.

UCAS , the admissions service for universities in the UK, describes a personal statement as “your opportunity to sell yourself to your prospective school, college or training provider.” Students are given a 47 line, 4,000 character limit (which roughly equates to 500 words) in which to show off their appeal to the institutions of their choosing. 

Here, it’s important to get into the mind of the member of admissions staff that will be reading your statement – what do they want to see? 500 words may seem like plenty, but you’ll likely find that space is at a premium when you’re trying to find the perfect formula to impress your chosen university.

Research a career in medicine before you apply

The key things that medical schools will be looking for are evidence of motivation, explorative work experience and suitability for fitting into their learning environment.

Your personal statement is not only an opportunity to demonstrate your motivations for studying medicine, but also to convey a sense of insight into medicine as a career. It is a chance to reflect on your experiences thus far and outline your personal qualities which will enable you to excel as both a medical student and future doctor.

Developing an understanding about the roles and responsibilities of a doctor will help you prepare your personal statement with ease. Volunteering in your local community and undertaking work experience placements are examples of activities which may allow you to gain a deeper insight into medicine. However, reading official resources such as those produced by the General Medical Council (GMC) before you even begin to think about the content of your personal statement, can help to give your writing a clear focus and direction.

Check how universities will use your personal statement 

Your personal statement may be used in the selection process for interviews to a varying degree by each medical school. Having said this, on the whole, personal statements do not feature heavily in the selection process for interview. Whilst this is the case for most medical schools in the UK, a few medical schools will utilise a scoring system to assess the personal statement at some point in their selection process; either before interview (for interview selection) or at the interview itself.

If this is the case for one or more of the universities you intend to apply to, pay careful attention to any details on their website which discuss exactly what the admissions team are looking for in a personal statement. For example, the University of Oxford place a larger emphasis on showing an interest in medical science and academia.

Where to find this information

It is important to check exactly how the medical schools you intend to apply to will use your personal statement both before and during the interview. To access the most relevant and up-to-date information you should check the websites for each of the medical schools you may apply to. If you have any queries about how your personal statement will be used, or if anything you find on their websites is unclear, email the admissions team directly.

Key things to remember about your personal statement 

Writing a personal statement can be daunting, but we are here to help make the process less stressful. To break it down, we have listed some essential factors you should remember to focus on when writing your own personal statement:

  • Structure and flow: Creating a clear and organised structure allows the reader to follow your thought process and enables you, the writer, to include the most relevant information about yourself, given the restricted word count.
  • Authenticity: The clue is in the title; your personal statement should be personal! Be genuine and honest about your experiences and skills and let your personality shine through your writing. 
  • Relevance: With the limited word count, you need to include only the most relevant experiences and skills you have that are directly relevant to medicine. 
  • Specificity: Provide details about your experiences and give examples. Avoid any vague and general statements. 

Goals and aspirations: You should mention your goals and aspirations and what you want to get out of a degree in medicine. What are your short-term and long-term goals?

The aim of this section is for you to establish a structure that works for you, by deciding what the main components of your personal statement will be about.

Before diving into finding the best structure for your personal statement, it is important to remember there is no set format or st ructure. Reading a few example statements may help to give you an idea of where you start ; however it is all about finding the right balance that is appropriate for you. This balance will be based on your personal experiences and what has been important in shaping your journey towards Medicine.

You should start your personal statement with a clear introduction and end with a conclusion .


Here, we will focus on developing a structure for the main body of your personal statement. The importance of having a well-thought-out structure is that it will make your thoughts and experiences easier to follow. A good structure will help reinforce the key content of your statement, further giving admissions tutors the impression that you have a focused understanding of medicine and yourself. 

T here is no one way to structure the main body ; in fact , there are many ways! The components you discuss will differ according to your experiences, and the weighting given to these components will largely be based on what medical schools you apply to.


Here is an example of how to divide the main body of your personal statement:

  • Interest in academia and wider reading
  • Work experience and voluntary commitments
  • Extra-curricular Activities

Remember, this is only one example. Alternatively, you could base your paragraphs on the qualities you want to demonstrate, such as:

  • Interest in medicine, science, and academia
  • Compassion, communication skills and empathy
  • Leadership, teamwork and problem-solving

These ideas are here to prompt you, so work around them based on your experiences. If there is a particularly valuable quality, such as resilience, that you are passionate about and have relevant experiences in, of course , this should be included!

The idea of convincing an admissions tutor, in around 500 words, that you are an ideal prospective medical student can be overwhelming. This, as well as the fact that they will be reading through hundreds of personal statements of people applying for the same course, might make you feel pressured to have an introduction that will grab their attention and set you aside from the majority.


A powerful introduction will state an intrinsic motivation to study medicine, whilst also outlining your understanding of the career. However, your reasons for wanting to pursue medicine do not have to be entirely crammed into your introduction. 

W hile there is no set length for an introduction, you should make sure it is not too short that it seems rushed and neglected, but not so long that it is the same size as the paragraphs of your main body. A few sentences should be sufficient for an introduction.


It might seem logical and necessary to begin by writing the introduction, but this is not the case! It is perfectly reasonable to work on other parts of your personal statement and return to write the introduction at a later point in time. Some people even find that once they have written the majority of their personal statement, they are able to pick out points they think will work well for their introduction.

  • Be original: It is a personal statement , so keep it personal. It should accurately depict why you want to study medicine .
  • Give examples: Stories can add to the personal element of motivation to study medicine but ensure that this comes across as genuine. Do not try and pin your motivation down to a single event as this can appear naïve . I nstead , state how this scenario was one of the elements that led you to pursue medicine.
  • Use your time wisely: Do not spend all your time trying to think of a catchy opening. Remember that you can always come back to the introduction.
  • Remember you have a word limit: Keep your statements succinct and to the point.
  • Use a professional tone: Stay away from using humour as the person reading your personal statement may not receive it as well as you would hope. The aim is to be professional and put across your interest in medicine.

Keep in mind that depending on the interview style of the medical schools you are applying to; your personal statement can be used as part of your interview. They may pick out parts of your introduction and ask you to elaborate on them. 

C heck this beforehand and if applicable, remember this when stating your motivations to study medicine. If you would not be happy to talk about it in your interview, then avoid including it!

  • Using cliché words and phrases such as ‘passionate’, ‘fascinated’ and ‘from a young age I have always wanted to’
  • Using a quote without reflecting on how it adds to what you are trying to convey. If possible, avoid quotes and use your own words. After all, they are interested in what you have to say, not a scientist or author
  • Making blank statements that do not add to what you are saying.
  • Describing how TV shows attracted you to medicine, even if other reasons are raised, as this will reduce the power of your introduction.

Reflecting on your work experiences, wider reading and other relevant activities will form the bulk of the main body of your personal statement. Reflection is imperative to a successful application. A well-reflected personal statement shows that you have given serious thought to healthcare as a life-long career , and it goes down extremely well with the admission officers. The General Medical Council (GMC) has created a guide for medical students about reflection – most of the information is transferrable to medical applicants.

It is crucial to understand that the lessons and skills that you take away from an experience are far more superior to the number of activities you have undertaken or descriptions of consultations you may have seen. Therefore, this section will delve deeper into how you should reflect on an experience whilst undertaking it, as well as how this reflection can be incorporated concisely into your personal statement.


Below are some general questions to think about when reflecting on any type of experience you have partaken in . R anging from clinical work experience placements to leadership roles, voluntary commitments, and par t-ti me jobs , you should ask yourself these questions when reflecting on your experiences.

  • Description of the experience: W hat was your role? If you are telling a story, what happened , or what was the task at hand?
  • Feelings and thoughts about the experience: What resonated with you or affected you the most?
  • Analysis and evaluation of the experience: W hat went well and what didn’t? Which parts stood out to you? Did you have any challenging experiences? How did you deal with them?
  • Conclusion and action plan: S ummary of what you learned and what you could have done differently . H ow could you relate this to your development as a doctor ?


The following questions will help you reflect and think critically about learning experiences. This includes anything you have read, listened to, or watched to gain a deeper insight into the life of a medical student and/or doctor.

  • Description: What is the idea or concept you have been exposed to?
  • Feelings and thoughts about what you have learned: What resonated with you or affected you the most?
  • Analysis: Is there anything that drew your attention or anything you found challenging? Does this build upon what you had previously known or read about? Has it changed the way you think, opened your eyes to something new, or made you more confident and assured in a belief you already had?
  • Conclusion and action plan: What other avenues of this concept would you like to explore? How can you implement what you’ve learned in your clinical practice?


Before you sit down and start typing away at your statement, we highly suggest that you first read through all of the reflective notes you wrote when undertaking any experience or activity that gave you an insight into medicine. This will allow you to look back at all of the wonderful experiences you have had and focus on the key points you can take away from them.


There are so many different approaches you can take to reflective writing in your personal statement , and different people prefer different methods. For example, you can structure your reflection according to Gibb’s reflective cycle . Another approach is the ‘STARR’ framework , which stands for ‘Situation, Task, Action, Result and Reflection’ . This is often a favourite among applicants for medicine interviews but can also be used in the personal statement to write structured reflections.

  • S ituation: What is the setting in which you have undertaken your experience?
  • T ask: What was the position or role you held?
  • A ction: What actions did you specifically carry out on a regular basis?
  • R esults: What was the most relevant and significant outcome of your activities?
  • R eflection: What skills and knowledge have you acquired as a result of this activity? How and why had this experience influence d you?

Work experience can be loosely defined as any activity that is designed to sufficiently broaden your understanding of a particular career path. The aim of this section is to provide you with examples of the different types of work experiences you can undertake and how you should go about reflecting on them in your personal statement.


Most students will feel that work experience gives the most realistic perspective of medicine as a career. Through shadowing in consultations, watching surgeries, and perhaps even just being in a clinical environment, you will start to build your understanding of the role of a doctor. 

A pplying to medical school is a huge commitment, so exploring the working life of a physician is definitely a wise thing to do. Work experience allows you to gain valuable skills that may be useful throughout your university life and your career as well.


W ork experience is evidence to show that you have taken the time to find out more about the realities of a career in medicine. Therefore, it is a vital aspect of not only the personal statement but your medical school application as a whole. The purpose and overall aim of your work experience will broadly fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • To understand the realities of life as a doctor and medical student
  • To develop the skills and qualities needed for a career in medicine
  • To acquire more knowledge about your particular interests


Firstly, we will consider traditional in-person work experience activities, which are usually undertaken in a healthcare environment. This can include hospital, general practi c e, or pharmacy shadowing placements, as well as voluntary roles in a care home or hospice. To make the most out of these types of experiences, we would recommend the following:

  • Listen to the types of questions that healthcare professionals use when taking a history or interacting with patients. What did you think about their interactions with patients? How do they adapt their communication style?
  • Ask questions. This is an opportunity to ask all those burning questions ; don’t be shy! If possible, ask questions to a wide range of health care professionals about each of their individual roles as well as their experiences working in a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Research one of the common conditions that you have seen during your placement and are interested in finding out more about it.

The above points will form the basis of your reflection, so it is important to start thinking about them as you go along with your work experience. Keep a reflective diary to jot down these thoughts and experiences. This diary will become especially useful when sitting down to write your personal statement.


  • Mention the transferrable skills and attributes you will have developed. Skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving and resilience in the face of adversity are vital to a career in medicine.
  • State clearly the insights you have gained. For example, as the GP demonstrates active listening and shows empathy, you will see that the patient immediately opens up and gives more information , which will be helpful in establishing a diagnosis. If this resonates with you, include this in your personal statement.
  • It is important to show that you understand the challenges a doctor will face. Be sure to reflect on any negative experiences which made you more aware of the demanding nature of the profession. What could have been done differently in the scenario you witnessed?
  • Be as concise as possible . D escriptions should be kept to a minimum. It is more important to highlight your thoughts, understanding and values before and after an experience, rather than details about the experience itself.
  • Viewing medical work experience as merely a tick box exercise. Try not to view work experience as a requirement for university statements or interviews. Instead, you should view this as a learning opportunity for yourself so that you can develop both academically and personally. If you have this mindset, you will be able to truly discover a lot more about the subject and about yourself too!
  • Concerning yourself too much with the medical jargon and knowledge you come across during your work experience, whether in-person or virtual. Focus on the attitudes and transferrable skills, and definitely do try to explore the science , but ultimately , medical school will teach you the required knowledge for your career
  • Breaching confidentiality when writing about your work experience, whether it be in your personal statement or reflective diary. This means that you do not include any identifiable information in your personal statement, such as, ‘I witnessed Mr Smith undergoing an ECG’.

Volunteering is the idea of offering your time or skills to benefit an unrelated person or organisation with no formal payment in return.

Relevant volunteering can be considered a form of work experience and can significantly enhance your personal statement. Whilst grades are important, medical schools are also highly interested in students who exhibit genuine care and compassion. 

Doing voluntary work can highlight this side of you and give some insight into the life of a doctor, which is very much a caring profession. Volunteering can assist you in developing the necessary skills and qualities relevant to medicine.


The types of volunteering roles and commitments you can include in your personal statement, can vary extensively. Moreover, the volunteering you have undertaken does not need to be within a healthcare setting. It is more important that you can reflect on your experiences and appreciate how the skills you have developed are relevant to career in medicine. Below are just some examples of voluntary roles you may include in your personal statement:

  • Carehome/hospice volunteer
  • Hospital volunteer
  • School mentor
  • Charity shop assistant
  • Youth group coordinator
  • Foodbank volunteer


  • Emphasise any long-term or frequent volunteering commitments. This shows commitment to medicine and determination. Whilst long-term volunteering is favoured, do not worry if you were unable to complete any due to the pandemic!
  • Use buzzwords alluding to the relevant skills and qualities learnt. Examples of buzzwords can include “contributed”, “enhanced” and “implemented”. 
  • Discuss briefly how you found any volunteering opportunities , especially if you organised it yourself. This shows initiative! If an opportunity is extremely rare or competitive, make sure to highlight this.
  • Group together experiences where you gained similar skills and insights, rather than discussing multiple experiences individually. This can get messy and take up a lot of your time
  • Speak about your feelings and emotions during your volunteering! This shows you are human and comes across much more genuine and sincere.
  • Clearly state your contribution and actions , not someone else’s!
  • Discuss any sacrifices, mistakes, or challenges you faced during your volunteering. Also , make sure you are prepared to describe what you did/would do differently to overcome these challenges!
  • Rambling on about experiences . U se the STARR structure to organise thoughts. Keep it concise!
  • Writing a long list of all the voluntary roles you have ever held. Focus on one or two that you benefitted from greatly and reflect on them.
  • Repeating experiences, certain insights, or qualities. Demonstrate variety in what you have learned.
  • Lie or exaggerate any details!
  • Superficially state what happened. If you are able to, delve further into your thoughts before, during and after volunteering.

When it comes to extra-curriculars, it ’s easy to get confused on what you should include and how to include it in your personal statement. As an aspiring medic, you might have done many different activities at school (and outside) that may be related or seemingly have nothing to do with each other. This could range from part-time jobs to being a prefect in your school, societies, clubs , or even your personal hobbies or sporting interests.


In your personal statement, a great way to tie it all together is to use your activities to reflect on how they made you the person you are today. Instead of simply listing all of your positions or engagements, think about what qualities you were able to gain from them that would make you a better doctor. 

A mong others, qualities like compassion, empathy, time management, organisation, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership are essential in medicine, but they’re not necessarily born in a hospital or through direct engagement in clinical experiences. You have probably been doing some of these activities for a really long time, now let’s frame it in a different context for your application.


In a large pool of applicants, it is easy to think , ‘ H ave I done enough?’. Sometimes, this can be the wrong question to ask, as most medical schools do not look at the ‘number’ of things you have done but rather how the things you’ve done can help you as a doctor. 

D o not worry if you have not done a lot of activities in your time at school. The number of things you’ve done doesn’t matter as much as:

  • What you’ve learned from them
  • How you’ve reflected on them
  • What moments and experiences you can improve on
  • How you’ve later developed as a person and an aspiring medic based on those experiences


With a limited number of characters, every word counts. You want to make sure you make the most of everything you have done, but at the same time , frame it in the most effective way for your application. This is why you might want to focus on some activities over others or group some activities together to give yourself space to write about and reflect on your experiences in a more elaborate way and relate them to your future career. There are many ways you can group your activities, mainly either by the type of activity ( e.g., academic, sports, or volunteering ) or based on what qualities or skills you’ve developed as a result of partaking in this activity.


The short answer is yes if you want to, but – make sure you’re not just taking up space by listing them. You don’t need to elaborate on them too much if you don’t want to, but try to strike the balance so as to show the admissions committee you value your time spent doing these hobbies, but at the same time you’re not taking away from all the other elements of your personal statement. You could also relate them to having a work-life balance – an essential trait in medicine.


  • Use your experiences to highlight your strengths and your skills. How did your activity help you develop a unique skill?
  • Focus on the activities that have benefited you the most.
  • Elaborate with insight and introspection on the activities you’ve chosen to focus on.
  • Group other activities together to help you use your limited characters where they matter most.
  • Listing things you have done without further elaborating on them.
  • Elaborating on every single activity or being repetitive – if they sound similar, group them, or take some out if you don’t think they’re important.
  • Faking interest or passion in something you do not actually like or mention ing an activity you did not really do. It takes away from the space you have to talk about things you are passionate about, which is a lot more valuable and impactful.

This is your final chance to make an impression on the admissions tutor, so make it count! The aim of your conclusion should be to tie together the key points that you included in the main body of your personal statement. Along with the introduction, this is one of the most difficult parts to write, so writing both at the end, after you have a coherent idea of the flow of your piece is advisable.

Ideally, it should only be a few sentences long. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to revisit your conclusion multiple times before submitting. It is important to end on a confident note by expressing a real passion for medicine.


  • Summarise and reiterate your key points: Include s kills, experiences, and interests and how these make you suitable for studying medicine. For example, if your experiences have taught you the importance of resilience, how will this skill help you to progress in your future career?
  • Mention the takeaway points: What do you want the admission tutor to remember about you ?
  • Revisit your conclusion and read it aloud to yourself: Reading it out to yourself and others helps to determine if you’re being concise and getting straight to the point without waffling.
  • Write a couple of drafts: By writing different versions of your conclusion, you might find various ways of conveying the same idea, some that you like more than others. This will help you write the best conclusion to suit you.
  • Acknowledge the difficulties and demanding nature of studying medicine: Studying medicine can be difficult, but you are equipped with the skills to handle this! You should showcase how the skills you’ve developed will assist you in overcoming difficulties .This will show you are the ideal candidate for studying medicine.
  • Writing a conclusion that is too long. You will probably find that the 4000 – character limit of the personal statement will restrict the length of your conclusion. So ideally, one or two succinct sentences should be more than enough to summarise.
  • Introducing completely new points – you do not want to leave the admissions tutor confused by bringing in new ideas that you cannot elaborate on further.
  • As with the introduction, avoid clichés and quotes.
  • Avoid repeating sentences from the main body of the personal statement.
  • Avoid making your conclusion too specific to one university. For example, don’t mention a particular teaching style if it is not offered by all the universities that you are applying for.

Now that you have written your personal statement, the hard part is over, right? Well, in all honesty , you might find yourself spending more time editing your personal statement than writing it! It is important to give yourself enough time to perfect your personal statement before the deadline. 

O ur advice at this point is – before you start editing, put your personal statement away. By the time you have finished writing, you will have read and re-read it countless times in the process. You need to take the time away from it to get a fresh look. This will be invaluable when you start editing.


First things first, triple-check that your word processor has spell-check on with UK English, so that you can correct any spelling mistakes. It may sound obvious; however, technology can often malfunction!

You are a school-age pupil, so the piece should sound like you wrote it. It does not have to sound like you have taken letter-writing classes and have used a thesaurus on every other word. However, you also need to come across as professional. It is best not to use contractions such as don’t (do not), as it is too informal. Make sure you have used a combination of long and short sentences so that it has structure, as well as making sure every sentence doesn’t start with ‘I’.


There are many ways of making sure your personal statement reads well. One method, which is particularly helpful is to read your personal statement aloud to someone else. It becomes very obvious when a sentence is too long and does not flow or make sense when you say it aloud. The person listening will be able to tell you which parts do not sound right. 

W hen we write, we often overestimate how well the writing sounds because you will , of course , know what you meant to say. However, to another person and the admissions team reading it – you want them to know exactly what you mean, rather than having to decode paragraphs that are not crystal clear .

You could try asking an English teacher at your school, or a friend who is studying English to read through it. The spelling, grammar and syntax are independent of the content , so this could be really useful in ensuring it flows well.


Whilst it may seem tempting to gain as many opinions as possible on your personal statement, it is better to seek the advice of a few trusted individuals. The medicine personal statement is , by nature , a subjective piece of writing. Having too many people read your personal statement and suggest changes, can become quite confusing and stressful very quickly! Here’s how you can avoid this situation: 

  • Make sure you are close to your final draft before giving your personal statement to someone else to read. However, still ensure you have enough time to make changes.
  • If your school has a careers advisor or team of teachers familiar with reading personal statements, it is worth having your personal statement read and critiqued by them.
  • When listening to feedback from others, consider all you can get, but don’t be afraid to not include all the feedback you receive since your personal statement should be truly reflective of only you.
  • If you would really like a raw opinion, find a way to have a teacher read it anonymously ! The admissions tutor will be reading your personal statement with no knowledge of who you are. If you want someone to read your personal statement with no knowledge of your background, print off a copy with your details omitted.


  • Do not waste characters writing about things that are elsewhere on your UCAS form. For example, your A-level (or equivalent) choices can all be entered in the qualifications section.
  • Remove unnecessary adverbs such as somewhat, rather, sometimes, fairly, pretty really, quite, basically, hopefully, luckily.
  • Use the verb form of a word over the noun form – this should reduce words. For example, ‘I created a MedSoc’ vs ‘A MedSoc was created by me’
  • Print off your personal statement to edit and cut words. Print it off in a different font to the one you typed it in. This will provide an experience of looking at your personal statement with ‘fresh eyes’.
  • Use the ‘Build, Blur, Corrode’ method to identify the weakest parts of your personal statement.
  • If you cannot bear to cut sentences, copy and paste them into a document called ‘Scrap’ , that way you know exactly where to find them if you were to want to add them again.
  • When focusing on a specific paragraph, copy it into a new blank document and separate each sentence with a line between them. Use this technique to perfect each individual sentence and identify those that are too long.
  • When retelling encounters from your work experience, details of what exactly happened are not always necessary!


Once you’ve followed the steps and tips we have outlined, your personal statement is all ready to be submitted. You’ve finished another step in your application to med school! You’re essentially mid-way through the application process ; you should be proud of yourself that you have made it this far. 

Next, you should think about references from your teachers and prepare yourself for a medical school interview. Interviews can be intimidating, but don’t worry! We have created a guide to help you understand the process and how to complete the interviews to the best of your ability. 


If you need some work experience to help enhance your med school application, we are here to help! At Premed, we offer in-person and online work experience to ensure you get a taste of life in the medical field. Boost your chances of getting into medical school by applying to one of our work experience courses today.

What should a medicine personal statement include?

When writing a personal statement for medicine, you should focus on including relevant work experience and any volunteer work. The majority of your writing should focus on these aspects as it is important to reflect on your experiences and how this makes the ideal candidate to study medicine. You may also want to include a few short sentences about some extra-curricular activities you partake in as well. 

What should you not say in a medical personal statement?

Don’t be generic about why you want to study medicine. You should demonstrate you have a passion for helping people by providing examples through any work experience or volunteering. Remember, an admissions tutor will read hundreds of personal statements so your application needs to be personal to you. 

Additionally, don’t provide general statements about your skills and experiences or simply list them. You should reflect on your experience and skills by supplying concrete examples to support your statements. This will show you can demonstrate these skills, enhancing your application. 

What do medical schools want in a personal statement?

What your personal statement should contain may differ from university to university but there are some common trends. For example, you should focus on writing about your skills and work experience and reflect on what you have learned from them. It is also ideal to state you understand what a career in medicine entails and how you are prepared to manage the challenges that come with a career in medicine. 

How should I structure my personal statement?

There are several ways you can structure a personal statement, there is no set structure! The way you write your personal statement should be personal to you based on your own experiences. An example of how you can structure your personal statement is:

Another example of a personal statement structure is: 

  • Interest in academia and medicine
  • Group of skills related to each other (e.g., compassion, empathy and communication)
  • Another group of skills related to each other (e.g., leadership, teamwork and problem-solving)

Remember, you also need to include an introduction and conclusion! 

How long should a personal statement be?

You have a limit of 4,000 characters for your personal statement based on UCAS guidelines . This is equivalent to approximately 550-1,000 words. This shows you need to be precise with what you include in your personal statement as you are limited by the words you have. 

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Personal Statement: Introduction

Starting your personal statement off is often one of the hardest parts of writing your personal statement. You may have already got the body of your text written, but it’s that tricky opener that many students struggle with. That’s why we have listed our top tips below:

1. Why are you interested in medicine?   

It is important to start with what has drawn you to medicine or science. After all, that is the main focus of your whole personal statement. 

personal statement medicine intro

2. Focus on why medicine as a degree or profession? 

Think about why you want to do medicine. Not what interests you, but why do you want to do it? Is it the rewarding career? Is it the academic challenge? It is important not to focus on your skills or activities at this point, as that comes into the main body of your personal statement. 

3. Writing Style  

This has to be captivating and engaging. Remember you want to grip the reader immediately. Think of the admissions staff reading your personal statement, they have probably at this point read hundreds, so you need to make it interesting and engaging to keep their attention and separate yours from every other applicants. 

4. Give examples   

If it was science for example that sparked your interest in medicine give an example of what it was. Such as: “From an early age I have been fascinated by the workings of life. The human body is a remarkable machine with many diverse systems producing an organism that could never be artificially reproduced”. This is much more insightful that just saying “I have always been interested in the workings of the human body”.

Frequently Asked Question

→what is a personal statement introduction.

A personal statement introduction is the opening paragraph of your personal statement. It is an opportunity to grab the reader’s attention, provide context for your application, and set the tone for the rest of your statement.

→What should I include in my personal statement introduction?

In your personal statement introduction, you should introduce yourself and provide some background information about your academic and professional experiences. You may also want to discuss your motivation for pursuing your chosen field of study and highlight any relevant achievements or accomplishments.

→What are some tips for writing a strong personal statement introduction?

To write a strong personal statement introduction, you should focus on capturing the reader’s attention and providing a clear and compelling introduction to your application. You should also be sure to tailor your introduction to the specific program or institution you are applying to, and avoid using clichés or generic statements.

→Can I use a quote or anecdote in my personal statement introduction?

Yes, using a quote or anecdote can be a great way to grab the reader’s attention and add some personality to your personal statement. However, it is important to ensure that any quote or anecdote is relevant to your application and helps to support your overall message.

→How important is the personal statement introduction?

The personal statement introduction is an important part of your personal statement and can significantly impact the reader’s impression of you as an applicant. A strong introduction can grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for a compelling and well-crafted personal statement.

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  • Personal Statement: Extra-Curricular Activities
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  • How do I Structure my Personal Statement?

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Medicine Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide

Home » Application Guide » Medicine Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide

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Writing a Personal Statement can be intimidating; having to pitch the most important reasons why you would make a great addition to a medical school (within a mere 4000 characters) can feel like a Herculean task that can wait until tomorrow.

This guide will help you put pen-to-(metaphorical) paper, and break down what exactly makes a successful Personal Statement for Medicine, including how to structure each section of the statement, things to do, and things to avoid.

Why is a Personal Statement used?

A Personal Statement is a way for Universities to find out a bit more about you as there is only so much that a set of grades (that is going to be remarkably similar to many other applicants) on a UCAS form can say. It is a chance to showcase what makes you a strong applicant and convince them that you deserve an interview. Additionally, many Universities will also use it as a springboard for certain interview questions, so it can be a prompt to help you in this part of the process too.

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What should your Personal Statement include?

Medicine Personal Statements can be slightly different to other subjects as there are some key areas you need to include due to the vocational nature of the degree;

#1 Motivation

Motivation should be conveyed convincingly as the degree and profession can be gruelling.

Medical schools invest a lot in each participant, so naturally would like to ensure the majority want to see the degree through (see more later in the Introduction guide).

Passion is expressing why you would be enthusiastic to undertake this path and what areas truly interest you.

This can overlap with, and form part of, motivation. It can, inevitably, get a little cringey or cliché so there are tips discussed later about how to avoid this.

Make sure you can verbally expand on whatever areas of interest you mention at interview especially if you claim that you read around the topics.

#3 Suitability

Suitability comes under what skills and qualities you have that would make you a good doctor. These can include:

  • Good teamwork skills,
  • Effective communication,
  • Being trustworthy and acting with integrity,
  • Being organised,
  • Being emotionally resilient,
  • Punctuality and being dependable,
  • Being hardworking,
  • Being caring and empathetic,
  • Being confident but not arrogant etc.

The GMC has a good document explaining some of the traits they require from doctors. Medical schools also often specify which traits they want to see on admissions websites ( like this one from UCL ).

Make sure you show proof of these traits as opposed to just listing, which is less believable – known as “show don’t tell”.

#4 Evidence Of Interest

Evidence of interest (work experience, volunteering etc) – this is crucial to include as it shows you have proactively engaged with your interests.

A key trap many people fall into is listing and going for breadth over depth. It’s understandable as you may want to include everything you’ve done, but what you learn and how you reflect from each experience is far more important than whatever the experience happened to be (see later in the Main body guide).

How do medical schools use Personal Statements?

Medical schools have different marking criteria or ways of using the Personal Statement in the application process.

Medical School Personal Statement Marking Criteria

Some, such as Nottingham, use it alongside UCAT scores to settle tiebreaks between interview scores, whereas others, such as UCL, use it more holistically. To optimise your chances of getting offers, you should do thorough research and hit all the criteria that medical schools ask for.

A good way to approach this is to make a list of the key things each medical school you have applied for requires in the Personal Statement (this is often the motivation, passion, suitability and evidence of volunteering/work experience) and you will often find a lot of this overlaps. This will give you a good base with which to populate the main body of your Personal Statement with.

It can be hard to strike a balance as some medical schools prefer a Personal Statement to show that you are an all-rounded individual and like to hear about the extracurricular activities.

UCL Personal Statement

UCL, for example, like to see “other interests, for example music, travel, sports, or any activities that are considered to broaden the general education of the candidate”. If this is not clear in other parts of the UCAS application, it would definitely be wise to add in a paragraph in the Personal Statement to tick this box.

Cambridge Personal Statement

However, others such as Cambridge, do not place much weight on “specific extra-curricular activities that are not relevant to the course applied for” and like to see additional activities pursued that relate to Medicine or Science.

A way around this for Cambridge applicants could be the SAQ (supplementary application questionnaire), which has a box where you can include additional information that may be more academic and allows you to be slightly more balanced in the PS that goes off to other Universities.

Whichever way you attempt to strike a balance, make sure you do not completely alienate one of your choices in terms of their criteria.

Up-to-date information can often be found on websites for each University and below are some details about how certain Universities use Personal Statements. Remember that this can change year upon year (for example, Nottingham no longer use it as a weighted component) so it is important to get up-to-date information from the specific University websites.

Do not be afraid to drop the admissions team a quick email to signpost you to the correct information if you are ever uncertain!

How to structure a Personal Statement

1. introduction.

There is a reason why many agonise over the perfect way to start their Personal Statement. This is because it is undoubtedly impactful and creates the first impression that sets the tone for how an admission tutor reads the rest of your statement.

If you are finding the introduction hard to write, a good way to begin is by asking yourself why you decided to study Medicine (motivation) and write down the first thing you answer.

The key reason for doing this is once something is written down you can edit it, or change it altogether, but it is something solid to work with. You could even wait until after you have written the main body and then revisit this first attempt at an introduction and reshape it.

Personal Statement Opening Line

There has been research completed about how common certain opening lines were in Personal Statements. Here are the top five (to avoid!):

Things most people like to focus on in the introduction is a few lines about the “personal” nature of their choice to pursue Medicine as this is a good way to segue into writing. This could be some experience that shaped you, or simply what it is about Medicine that makes you want to spend the next 5-6 years studying it. You want to find the balance between conveying passion without being overly dramatic or cliché.

Make sure you are sensible – there is no expectation for your first word to have been “doctor” or to have been driven to study this since age 3. Instead, try to be honest and realistic, and make the reason something you would be comfortable saying out loud face-to-face if it came to it.

2. Main Body

The key things you want to ensure you cover in the main body are:

  • Experiences (placements, volunteering etc)
  • Some extra area of learning or reading you have done in a field that interests you (could follow on from an experience)
  • Traits you demonstrate that will make you a good doctor (could be linked to what you developed during experiences)
  • Brief mention of hobbies/outside interests that make you well-rounded (which could be linked to how you would cope with pressure and relax with a stressful job)

Some people like to approach the main body by dividing into paragraphs of certain traits/interests + examples and then work experience + reflections. Others like to integrate traits into paragraphs about their experiences. The key point to realise is that you have to prioritise what you want to mention as there is no way to crowbar everything in.

Another crucial thing people forget that they need to do is to reflect. For each major experience you mention (eg. a work experience placement) you MUST reflect on things like what it has taught you or how you have gone off to research further about the area etc.

It is a key skill in the profession itself and without reflecting, the main body becomes a list of things you have done which quickly becomes boring to read. By not reflecting, you do not demonstrate your capacity to improve and it does not add some of your personality and thoughts to experiences that others may have had.

For example, one candidate who simply states they did a flashy placement in a well-known hospital and lists all the things they did will have a far less effective and meaningful point than another who may not have managed to obtain clinical work experience, but reflects profoundly on lessons they learned and skills they acquired whilst making cups of tea for elderly people at a care home. By reflecting on major points, you will manage to strike the correct balance of breadth and depth in the main body.

3. Conclusion

Like the introduction, this can often be one of the hardest sections to write. At this point you have likely toiled away over the main body, and the job of the conclusion is to wrap up the statement and leave a positive impression on whoever is reading it. People like to approach this in different ways. Here is a list of some of the things you could use your conclusion to discuss:

  • Reiterate the points you have made. Tie back to key points you made previously and re-emphasise them in the conclusion to give them another chance to hit home.
  • Make it “personal”. Use the space to leave a final impression about why you personally would make a good addition to the university by maybe mentioning what you hope to give back to the community.
  • Talk about moving forward. Write broadly about long or mid-term goals or maybe something relevant that you hope to achieve in the short-term. This could be future career ambitions (although make sure you do not seem close-minded about the path you want to take), areas you are looking forward to studying in more detail, or parts of the course that you are excited to get involved in.
  • Mention an awareness of the challenges of the field. A typical way people show they are realistic whilst reiterating their key skills is a point about how they do know it is a demanding course/profession because of A, B and C but their traits of X, Y and Z would help them rise to the challenge.

This being said, there are plenty of things to avoid doing in a conclusion:

  • Don’t trail off – after using this guide to write a fantastic Personal Statement, don’t ruin it by waffling and not having a decisive end. This will not leave the desired bold impact, and will make your piece seem weak and unstructured.
  • Don’t make it very lengthy – the bulk of your information should be in your main body so use characters wisely in this set of closing remarks and be concise.
  • Avoid being vague and introducing lots of new information – if you have a new big point, the main body is the place to make it as quickly wrenching it into the conclusion can just confuse the reader (and also likely means there is no reflection on this point)

Check out these Personal Statement Inspiration and Examples Articles:

Dentistry Personal Statement Examples – KCL (Emmy)

Dentistry Personal Statement Examples – KCL (Saif)

Dentistry Personal Statement Examples – Cardiff (Eera)

Are you feeling stuck with your Personal Statement?

Writing Top Tips

Apart from the points made above, here are 5 key tips to use when writing your Personal Statement:

Put pen to paper as early as you can.

The process of editing and checking takes most people longer than the writing of a first draft so organise ahead and leave plenty of time. If you are getting other people to check your statement, remember that they may be busy and take a while to reply. Factor this in and do not cut it too close to the deadline.

Start and end with impact.

Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions tutor who is going to be reading Personal Statement after Personal Statement. They are only human and, even if this is your labour of love, it is natural that they may switch off slightly. To create a lasting impression, make sure you hook them in with a good introduction, and end with a strong resolute conclusion.

Flawless spelling and grammar.

Making a mistake with spelling or grammar is a cardinal sin with such a prepared piece of writing.

As far as spelling goes, make sure you use spellcheck and have a very thorough check for words like “or” that may be typed as “of” etc.

Try reading it aloud a few times to see if commas are in the right place and sentence structure makes sense. Often teachers offer to have a read of your Personal Statement so reach out to them for a fresh set of eyes.

For the content side of things, it may be wise to find someone who has experience with the application process to have a read over but pretty much anyone can help you out by checking for spelling and grammar so don’t be afraid to ask for help and feedback. 

Don’t use a thesaurus too much.

If you’re a fan of Friends think along the lines of Joey with a thesaurus . If you can say something simply in fewer words then that can often be better than using overcomplicated vocabulary that can be misused and make the piece challenging to read.

It’s mentioned in detail in the Main body guide, but make sure your statement is a reflective essay and not a list. This is the best way to ensure you make the Personal Statement about you and shows you can learn and improve.

Want even more writing tips? Check out 5 more ways to improve your writing! Signing up to the Personal Statement Crash Course will provide you with heaps of tips and tricks to write the best Personal Statement you can. 

Mistakes/Things To Avoid

Now that we’ve been through 5 tips for your Personal Statement, let’s go the other way and cover things you SHOULDN’T say:

“Saving lives.”

This point is very medic-specific but often people give their motivation for picking the profession as wanting to save lives.

This can seem harmless and certainly doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does not demonstrate you have a true awareness for the field you are entering as the job will not always mean you can, or will be able to, save lives.

Whilst sounding a little less heroic, a better alternative is talking about how you want to improve their quality of life (and learning that this was the job of a doctor could even work in to a reflective point about something you learned from work experience/exposure to the field!)

The “P-word”…

Although it is a point you want to convey, the word “passion” is very overused. Check how many times you repeat words like this and try to cut out unoriginal phrases like “I am fascinated by” or “I am passionate about”.

It might be tempting to fib and over-exaggerate, but remember that asking about anything you put in your Personal Statement is fair game in an interview.

They aren’t expecting you to be superhuman and have an amazing background, but if you get caught out in a lie during the stress of an interview you basically throw your integrity out the window, which is a key trait for future doctors.

Name-dropping universities.

Remember that all choices see this Personal Statement so do not alienate and show disinterest in other choices by name dropping one.

Similarly, for your 5th non-medical option, check with the admissions team if they mind having a Personal Statement geared towards medicine. It is often the case that many biomedical courses do not mind this, and means you can focus on the medical aspect without alienating them, and give your best shot at the 4 medicine options.

Be VERY aware of plagiarism.

A quick Google search can unleash hundreds of exemplar Personal Statements.

This is a good way to understand the sort of thing you could write about but that should be it. Medical schools are very concerned with ethics and it would be very hard for them to excuse a violation of this before you have even set your foot through the door by means of plagiarising.

A good way to avoid this is by resisting the temptation to write your Personal Statement with another one in the same window on your computer. Additionally, be wary about posting excerpts of your statement in public forums as other people could lift these phrases.

That’s not everything that can go wrong though! Learn more about the mistakes you need to avoid when writing your Personal Statement!

Final Words

Understanding the things to write is as important as learning what not to write when it comes to a Personal Statement. Hopefully reading this has helped break down what you need to do to write a successful personal statement section-by-section and has inspired you to start early.

All that’s left to say is good luck with writing your Personal Statement and the application process as a whole!

There’s plenty more ways to perfect your Personal Statement!

Learn how you can write an amazing personal statement for free on our Personal Statement Resources page. Our top guides include:  

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Writing the Personal Statement

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The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:

This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.

2. The response to very specific questions:

Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.

Questions to ask yourself before you write:

  • What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
  • What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
  • When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?
  • How have you learned about this field—through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?
  • If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocre LSAT or GRE scores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?
  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?
  • What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
  • What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
  • Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school—and more successful and effective in the profession or field than other applicants?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?

General advice

Answer the questions that are asked

  • If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar.
  • Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.

Tell a story

  • Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.

Be specific

  • Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.

Find an angle

  • If you're like most people, your life story lacks drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or a "hook" is vital.

Concentrate on your opening paragraph

  • The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.

Tell what you know

  • The middle section of your essay might detail your interest and experience in your particular field, as well as some of your knowledge of the field. Too many people graduate with little or no knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the profession or field they hope to enter. Be as specific as you can in relating what you know about the field and use the language professionals use in conveying this information. Refer to experiences (work, research, etc.), classes, conversations with people in the field, books you've read, seminars you've attended, or any other source of specific information about the career you want and why you're suited to it. Since you will have to select what you include in your statement, the choices you make are often an indication of your judgment.

Don't include some subjects

  • There are certain things best left out of personal statements. For example, references to experiences or accomplishments in high school or earlier are generally not a good idea. Don't mention potentially controversial subjects (for example, controversial religious or political issues).

Do some research, if needed

  • If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.

Write well and correctly

  • Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.

Avoid clichés

  • A medical school applicant who writes that he is good at science and wants to help other people is not exactly expressing an original thought. Stay away from often-repeated or tired statements.

For more information on writing a personal statement, see the personal statement vidcast .


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  12. Writing Medical School Personal Statements

    The AMCAS personal statement prompt is " Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school." This is vague and leaves a lot of room for creativity. In the space provided (5,300 characters, or about 500 words), you have the opportunity to tell your story and show the admissions committee why you are an exceptional applicant ...

  13. How to Write a Perfect Medical School Personal Statement: A Complete

    Here are some tips for writing a strong personal statement introduction: Start with a hook: Begin with a sentence or two that will grab the reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. This could be a personal story, a surprising fact, or a bold statement. ... so be sure to share your personal motivation for pursuing medicine. This ...

  14. 2024 Medical School Personal Statement Examples

    Medical school personal statement Sample #1. I stood shoulder to shoulder with choir members, hundreds of eyes in our direction, each seated in the great hall known as the Dallas Myerson Symphony Center. The countless rehearsals, rhythms, and lyrics danced through my mind as I watched the conductor raise his arms, and eagerly awaited his signal.

  15. The Anatomy of a Stellar Medical School Personal Statement

    There is a 5,300 character maximum for your personal statement. That's about 1.5 pages of single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font to demonstrate why you want to go to medical school. A personal statement is made up of three parts: Introduction (Bread) Body (Meat and Vegetables) Conclusion (Bread)

  16. How To Write A Medicine Personal Statement & Impress Admissions

    Here are some opening sentence ideas on how to write a medical personal statement:"Caring for others is my reason to live.""My heart beats with the rhythm of the hospital's emergency room.""I was one of the fortunate ones.""It all started with a patient named Mrs Sanchez….".

  17. Medical School Personal Statement Hooks (13 Examples)

    Examples #7 and #8: Narrative Vs Direct Hooks. I made my way to Hillary's house after hearing about her alcoholic father's incarceration. Seeing her tearfulness and at a loss for words, I took her hand and held it, hoping to make things more bearable. She squeezed back gently in reply, "thank you.".

  18. Medicine Personal Statement Examples

    Read through Annie's successful medicine Personal Statement for the University of Cambridge. She will analyse the strengths, weaknesses and overall quality of her statement to inspire your own writing. ... I feel the flow of the introduction is quite choppy and only covers information superficially - however, when working to a strict ...

  19. Medicine Personal Statement

    Here is an example of how to divide the main body of your personal statement: Interest in academia and wider reading. Work experience and voluntary commitments. Extra-curricular Activities. Remember, this is only one example. Alternatively, you could base your paragraphs on the qualities you want to demonstrate, such as: Interest in medicine ...

  20. Personal Statement: Introduction

    3. Writing Style. This has to be captivating and engaging. Remember you want to grip the reader immediately. Think of the admissions staff reading your personal statement, they have probably at this point read hundreds, so you need to make it interesting and engaging to keep their attention and separate yours from every other applicants. 4.

  21. Medicine Personal Statement: The Definitive Guide

    This is THE definitive Medicine Personal Statement guide. We go through how to write your statement, what to include and mistakes to avoid! ... Like the introduction, this can often be one of the hardest sections to write. At this point you have likely toiled away over the main body, and the job of the conclusion is to wrap up the statement and ...

  22. How to Write a Personal Statement

    Watch out for cliches like "making a difference," "broadening my horizons," or "the best thing that ever happened to me." 3. Stay focused. Try to avoid getting off-track or including tangents in your personal statement. Stay focused by writing a first draft and then re-reading what you've written.

  23. The Personal Statement

    The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories: 1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2.