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Personal Statement Basics


The personal statement is submitted as part of the centralized application for most health professional schools. It is your only opportunity to "speak directly to the Admissions Committee" about your character, your motivations, your values. Your letters of recommendation and interview come later in the process.


The personal statement must answer two questions:


  1. Who are you - interests, skills, personality, uniquenesses, etc.;
  2. Why do you want to be a physician, dentist, etc.

Do …

  • Understand the Admissions Committee's perspective
  • Understand the Admissions Committee perspective
  • Use correct grammar, spelling, etc.
  • Write an outline
  • Use narrative detail; tell a story
  • Open the personal statement with an "ice-breaker"
  • Include (but don't dwell on) reasons for bad grades, withdrawals if you have more than two, time off from school, etc.
  • Be "other directed"
  • Demonstrate that you understand the "real life" world of working in healthcare
  • Demonstrate your commitment to the profession

Don't …

  • Use cliches
  • Spend too much time discussing your childhood decisions, goals, experiences
  • Use flowery verbiage
  • Follow formulas or use someone else's statement as a template
  • Repeat the "postsecondary experiences" section
  • Overuse "I's"