Medical School Personal Statement Short Guide and Samples
Table of contents
How to Write an Outstanding Personal Statement for Medical School
Medical School Personal Statement Examples
Medical School Personal Statement Example 1 - Experience, Skills, and Qualities
Medical School Personal Statement Example 2 - Toy Stethoscope and the Limitations of Medicine
Medical School Personal Statement Example 3 - Why Caring Is not Enough to Save Lives
Medical School Personal Statement Example 4 - Finding Balance after Tragedy and Disappointment
Medical School Personal Statement Example 5 - On the Path from Patient to Doctor
Writing a medical school personal statement is a rite of passage for future doctors and physicians. It requires days of navel-gazing, painful memories, and scouring the Internet for examples to answer a simple question of ”Why do you want to become a doctor?”. Getting into the school of your dreams hinges on making your personal statement stand out among thousands and make the admission committee remember your story. That’s what we’ll talk about today.
How to Write an Outstanding Personal Statement for Medical School
If you are applying to Med School, you must have successfully gotten into and through college. Admission essay is nothing new for you, and a medical school personal statement is just another type of admission essay. Instead of leading you through the writing process, we’ll focus on the critical components, that will secure your success:
- Start with a hook. The introduction is your only chance to make a first impression. Surprise, impress, shock, or make the reader laugh. Do not rely on cliches just because they work sometimes. Your goal is to make the admission board officer think “Now here’s something I’ve never read before”, not “Oh, another one of those...”. The easiest way to grab the reader’s attention is by letting them peek into your life through a keyhole. Let them glimpse a pivotal moment of your life through your eyes. That is sure to stand out among the sea of applications.
- Tell a story. Your personal statement for medical school is NOT a resume or an autobiography. Think of it as a part reflective, part persuasive essay on the topic why you are the best-suited candidate for the coveted spot in Med School. Listing all your good qualities and accomplishments won’t do any good. So use the old saw and show how good of a doctor you can become without saying it outright. Craft a story of change, self-awareness, compassion, or achievement that supports your topic. It can be a volunteer experience, a journey log, or your first-ever time doing CPR. Infuse the story with details, emotions, and reflections, and you are almost there.
- Answer WHY. The medical school personal statement conclusion is what the admission board will remember best, so it’s the right place to drive the point home. Circle back to the beginning and explain why you want to study Medicine, what it can give you, and what you can bring to the field. Find the balance between selflessness and self-interest to keep from sounding too naïve or pompous.
To tickle your imagination, we’ve collected five medical school personal statement examples. They rely on different styles and play into a variety of strengths. Students submitted these application papers, but we can’t know for sure they were successfully admitted to their chosen schools. Remember that selection criteria vary, and admission boards rely on both objective and subjective assessment when selecting among applicants. Use these medical school personal statement examples to get over the writer’s block, but tell your story in your unique voice. That’s a sure way to impress the admission board with your medical writing.
Medical School Personal Statement Examples
Experience, Skills, and Qualities
People do not appreciate the complexity of the intricate mechanism that is our body until disease strikes. It is one reason the doctor’s profession is unique in its constant evolution through the years of advances in medical techniques, technology, and knowledge. Past experiences fed my desire to join the vocation capable of producing positive effects on the community.
Academic experiences created an outlet for my endless curiosity and an opportunity to turn theoretical knowledge into applied skills. Researching for MedLink paper challenged my self-motivation and organizational skills while spurring my interest in the correlations between psychological and physiological treatment effects, such as placebo phenomenon.
By shadowing the Consultant Psychiatrist, I deepened the understanding of the workings of the human brain. The experience peaked my admiration for medical professionals’ empathy and sensitivity when dealing with individual patients. Considering the challenges patients suffering neurological face, I realized the importance of finding the right approach to each person under the doctor’s care, being patient and willing to assume responsibility.
I learned the value of communication and interpersonal skills for a physician while watching a doctor help a schoolgirl who was harming herself because of bullying. During my time my Respiratory clinic I bore witness to the darker side of the medical profession. The pressure of working with terminal lung cancer patients was a reminder that doctors cannot save everyone.
Playing soccer provides a welcome break from academia and its challenges, and while captaining the school team, I learned valuable leadership skills and developed an ability to think on my feet and make quick decisions under pressure. To find another way to unwind, I learned to play the guitar and honed the skills enough to become part of the band. I have found that juggling academic and extracurricular activities and interests improves time-management proficiency and strengthens willpower and commitment.
Through academic and professional experience, I have learned the demands and stresses that are constant companions of the doctor. However, instead of deterring me, they strengthened my resolve to join the intellectually stimulating and ethically challenging field of Medicine. I believe these experiences have prepared me to succeed in University life and the medical profession.
Toy Stethoscope and the Limitations of Medicine
When given a choice between a toy stethoscope and a dollhouse, I chose the former at the age of four. That was my first step on the path towards Medicine, and I have never strayed far from it, always fascinated by the intricate workings of a human body.
I have never limited my academic experience to high school Chemistry and Biology and have accumulated a rich tapestry of experience working under a variety of doctors. Each occasion deepened my understanding of the medical profession, its challenges, and requirements. The first in a row of fascinating discoveries occurred in Year 12 when I arranged a work experience with a local GP. Her professional skills coupled with energetic communication style engendered absolute trust among her patients, emphasizing for me the effect a solid relationship with a doctor can have on the treatment efficiency.
Working at St. George’s Hospital introduced me to the harsher truths about Medicine and impressed upon me the need to keep patience, professionalism, and sense of humor to deal with a variety of patients of different ages and attitudes. It was at ICU of the same hospital I learned the value of teamwork as I watched doctors and nurses labor side by side to get patients from the brink and ensure their long-term improvement.
My Oncology experience was the most difficult of all, as I interacted with cancer patients, providing care and taking their minds off their diagnoses if only for a few minutes. Watching the man, I talked to everyday, die under the best care was a shock, if a valuable lesson. It taught me the limitations of Medicine, despite its constant development and advancement, the doctors are not miracle-workers. Still, I admire physicians and nurses working tirelessly to reduce suffering.
Realizing the pressures of the medical profession, I turned to diving and shooting. The former emphasized the fragility of the human body and its limitations while the latter taught me concentration and steadfastness. My army scholarship demonstrates not only my commitment and leadership abilities but enables me to deliver qualified medical help to those who need it most while my fluent command of French and Spanish will let me communicate across cultures.
I realize Medicine is a demanding journey with multiple pitfalls, but challenges make it more attractive for me. Since I was a four-year-old with a toy stethoscope, I wanted to help people regain their health and lives by using my knowledge and skills, and Medicine is the best way to do it.
Why Caring Is not Enough to Save Lives
When my mother had to stay in the hospital over seven months, I was overwhelmed with helplessness and constant anxiety. Sitting at her bedside with nurses and doctors rushing through the hallways, never sparing more than 5 minutes for my mom, I wanted nothing more than to become a doctor and teach them how to take care of a patient. That is how naïve and full of myself I was. After years of study, shadowing doctors, and volunteering at hospices, I learned the pressures of the medical profession, but I still stand by my determination to become a doctor.
Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, and so many other classes, labs, and research taught me that there is more to Medicine than just caring for the patient. Without knowledge, skills, and the constant drive to learn and discover the latest techniques and advances, the doctor can not diagnose, assess the patient’s medical history, and prescribe treatment.
Shadowing Dr. Partridge, I finally saw the trusting and caring relationship I wanted to be directed at my mother during her lengthy hospital stay. As a general practitioner, he surprised me by devoting much time to explain the symptoms and treatment regime to every patient. I remember a distraught family with a toddler no older than two who had a high fever and had trouble breathing. Dr. Partridge explained that Mike had caught the flu and told the parents what to do to speed up the recovery and when they should call emergency medical responders. This experience emphasized the importance of establishing trust with the patient; however, I needed to see the other side of Medicine to understand the difference between private practice and public health system.
My experience at Northside Hospital finally opened my eyes to the pressures and stress the doctors and nurses face. While Dr. Partridge dealt with common colds and indigestion, here, the medical personnel had to provide comfort to oncology patients and deal with unsuccessful emergency surgeries. During my stay, I learned the value of teamwork and realized that Medicine can be ugly, brutal, and worst of all - helpless in the face of incurable diseases and unlucky timing.
Looking back at my mother’s extended hospital stay, I now remember the nurse who always checked with us at the start of her shift, and I can see the dark circles under the doctor’s kind eyes. Having been on the other side of Medicine, I understand that caring and making time for the patient is not enough. Professionalism, skills, and compassion are equally important, as well as being prepared for the worst outcome. I believe I am now ready to continue on my path towards becoming a doctor.
Finding Balance after Tragedy and Disappointment
Despite my best efforts at CPR, the traffic accident victim died on my watch. I wasn’t on my EMT shift, but still had the knowledge and skills to help the man run over by the minivan. With a crowd of gawkers at my back, I tried to breathe life back into his lungs and performed chest compressions until the ambulance arrived. It was only watching the paramedics cover the man with a sheet that made me realize I failed.
That was not the worst day of my life, but it was the first time I doubted my decision to become a doctor. I have seen death before but never felt the pulse and breath disappear under my hands. I should have realized long before that medicine is not all-powerful, but did not. It took months and countless hours at the hospital to return my faith in the medical profession.
The first step on my way back towards Medicine was a volunteer position working with elderly patients with neurological conditions. Witnessing their weakness and dependence emphasized the value of empathy and patience when dealing with every patient, regardless of their age, gender, race, or emotional response to medical professionals. On one of my shifts with Mr. Andrews, I suddenly realized that there was no one else to help this grumpy elderly gentleman get ready for his daughter’s visit. Even though I have never heard a kind word of thanks from him, the sight of Mr. Andrews surrounded by grandkids is still fresh before my eyes every time someone asks me why I want to be a doctor.
My days shadowing doctors and nurses of the Southwest General Hospital reawakened my ceaseless drive to work hard to make the patients’ lives better. Sleepless nights and discouraging thoughts were worth it when I saw the young mother hold her child for the first time after a tortuously long labor. Family reunions after simple surgeries and severe allergic reactions taught me the value of every life saved, every hurt alleviated, and every day free of pain and suffering.
Balance is the ruling principle of both my academic and personal life. I have seen young EMTs and doctors burn out at their prime because of the long hours and unreasonable expectations they placed on themselves. I strive to compensate long hours of learning and working with martial arts training and cooking. Both require steady hands, a clear mind, and precise actions. I have noticed an increase in my concentration and steadiness after a productive workout or cookout.
I know being a doctor is a physical, intellectual, and emphatic challenge. Seeing suffering almost drove me away from Medicine, but I have come to realize the importance of balance in a physician’s life. I have learned to take every win and work harder to ensure there are more good days without loses than there are bad days. I believe University will help me gain the knowledge and skills to achieve this goal.
On the Path from Patient to Doctor
While most children hate hospital smell, sounds, and food, I learned to appreciate my frequent stays in St. Luke’s Hospital. While waiting for one illness or another to fade, I made quick friends among nurses. They would sneak me red jello instead of green, and the doctors would let me tag along on pediatric rounds. Every stay turned into the best kind of adventure, and I quickly set my mind on becoming a doctor.
Years later while shadowing oncologists, cardiologists, and psychologists in the same hallways, I finally saw the flip side of the doctor’s life. It wasn’t as glamorous as ER and Grey’s Anatomy, with far more bad days and unsuccessful treatments, cries of pain and desperate tears in the waiting room. Still, the doctors and nurses were the same as in my childhood dreams - unfailingly professional and with hearts large enough to find a smile and a kind word for every patient and family member.
My hospital experience taught me something no Biology or Chemistry class can never explain - the dual nature of the physician’s role. From my childhood heroes, I have learned that a good doctor is skilled and knowledgeable, but kind and patient, and that’s the type of doctor I want to become. I believe the doctor should do her best to ease the pain and restore health to see her patients as rarely as possible. Still, the doctor should know when to let go of guilt and sadness over losses to help others.
I have tried to model the doctors I shadowed at St. Luke’s Hospital when volunteering with orphanages and pediatric wards. Working with small children can be even more demanding as kids are less pain-tolerant and more explosive with negative emotions. It has been a test of my communication and interpersonal skills, and I believe the experience will benefit my medical studies. If I can talk down a hysterical five-year-old and convince him to take his medicine, I hope I can repeat the same feat with a fifty-year-old patient.
I cannot say I am grateful to have been a weak and chronically ill child, but I like to find a silver lining in every situation. My regular visits to St. Luke’s Hospital peaked my interest in Medicine and helping others. My later experience as a volunteer at the same hospital turned an idealistic vision of a child into a multi-faceted understanding of the demands of the medical profession. With relevant academic and volunteer experience under my belt, I am ready to start the final leg of the journey to make the full circle to the pediatric ward and inspire other delicate kids to become doctors.