Personal statements are an integral part of your application. They offer you the opportunity to let the admissions committee understand who you are, to present your motivations for medicine, and to demonstrate how you have explored the field and prepared for the profession. Advocate for yourself. During the application process, you will be writing a number of different kinds of statements:
- Activities Statement: Short descriptions of experiences
- Personal Statement: Longer discussion of yourself, motivation, and experiences
- Secondary Essays: Short essays responding to program specific questions
Ask CPHA about our detailed Canvas courses on applying to MD/DO, PT, PA, and Dental programs. If you are interested in one of these fields and have completed the Orientation course, please meet with us to talk about the application. And we will be happy to add you to the appropriate Canvas course.
Questions to think about to get you started on your personal statement
Strong personal statements begin with reflection. Lay the groundwork for your statement by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why are you choosing your specific health profession? If you want to help people, why don’t you want to be a social worker or a teacher? What interests, concerns, or values drive you in your studies, work, and career choice?
- Think back to volunteer, shadowing, study abroad, research, work, and course experiences. What has been defining? Are there any moments that stick out? What did you learn about yourself or your future profession? How did you change after that experience?
- What do you want the committee to know about you as a person, a student, and a future colleague? What makes you a good fit for the profession and the profession a good fit for you?
- What makes you unique from other applicants?
Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement
Writing personal statements is a long, involved process. Here are some tips on how to go about writing them:
- Start early on your statement, and be prepared to do many drafts.
- Give the statement a “theme” to tie your experiences together.
- Approach the statement as an opportunity to process life experiences and articulate the arc of your journey.
- Be specific. Concrete details help provide the reader with a memorable image of you.
- Don’t just focus on activities that the admissions committee can learn about from your application. Use this opportunity to give NEW information that is not available anywhere else.
- Get feedback. Make use of the CPHA and the Writing Center. Show your personal statement to faculty in your field and letter writers for feedback.
The following are excellent campus resources to help you formulate and revise your personal statement: The Center for Pre-Health Advising Our office is happy to help with the personal statement writing process. Call our office to make an appointment: 263-6614. The Writing Center The Writing Center (6171 Helen C. White) offers workshops on writing personal statements for graduate and health programs. Also, it offers an online Writer’s Handbook with a section on personal statements. Writing Center instructors are also specifically trained to work with students applying to health professional schools. They can help you at any point in the process, whether you are still brainstorming ideas for the statement or are on your final draft.