Writing an Effective Medical School Personal Statement

You may be asking yourself why it’s important to write an effective medical school personal statement. Let’s look at the numbers. According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in the 2019-2020 school year alone, 53,371 people applied to medical school. Of those 53,371 prospective students, less than 22,000 were accepted. This is an acceptance rate of about 41%.

Getting into medical school is pretty much the gold standard for any college student. People are impressed when you tell them you’ve been accepted into graduate school, and they get really excited for you when they hear you’re working on a doctoral degree. When you tell someone you’ve been accepted to medical school, though, is when they really become impressed. That’s because not just anyone can make it into med school. It takes someone special who stands out from the crowd.

Numerous doctors, psychiatrists, and researchers will tell you that every generation, people are getting smarter. This is great for the human race as a whole, but it makes it that much harder for smart students to get into competitive programs. It’s fine for you to have an exceptional GPA and great MCAT scores, but if every other person applying to med school also has those things, it’s not exactly going to set you apart from anyone.

Limited Spots vs. Numerous Applicants

Each year, a limited number of spots open up for prospective medical school students, and every year, an excessive number of students try to win those coveted spots. Because they understand how competitive this process is, in addition to keeping their grades up and scoring high on the MCAT, these students also intern in prestigious placements and put in hours of volunteer and community service.

Chances are if you’re applying to medical school, you’ve done these things too. So how do you make sure that your application stands out from the thousands of others from equally qualified students?

You have to write an effective, well-written, and memorable medical school personal statement for your admissions essay.

The personal statement is the one place in the entire application packet where you get to tell your story and shine a light on yourself. This is the place where you get to explain exactly why you’re more qualified and/or deserving of a spot in med school than every other applicant.

That’s why writing the perfect med school personal statement is so important.

Medical School Prerequisites

Before you can even apply to medical school, there are several things you have to do first. If at the time of reading this article, you’re already in the process of applying for med school, you’ve probably already taken care of most of these things. Feel free to use this as a checklist to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Step 1: Choose the Right Major and Take the Right Classes

Traditionally, students who want to attend medical school major in one of the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Chemistry

Med school students can come from many different majors, though, including English, Sociology, Religion, and other fields. The downside to coming to med school from one of these majors is that you may have to take a few extra classes to ensure you’ve taken the required courses for med school. For most schools, these include:

  • English – 1 year
  • Biochemistry – 1 year
  • Physics & Physics Lab – 1 year
  • Biology & Biology Lab – 1 year
  • General Chemistry & Chemistry Lab – 1 year
  • Organic Chemistry & Chemistry Lab – 1 year
  • Various Upper-Level Science-Related Courses & Electives

Most of the science majors have all of these courses as part of their main curriculum, which is why most students hoping to go to medical school major in those fields.

Step 2: Take the MCAT or Equivalent Standardized Test

If you’re headed to medical school in the United States, you have to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). If you’re going to medical school in the UK, you’ll most likely be required to take the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) instead. Other countries have their own versions of this test, but at their core, they’re all very similar.

They’re all standardized exams that test students’ knowledge of various fields. The majority of questions focus on the hard sciences, but there are other questions as well. Some of these include questions about sociology, psychology, and questions to test your critical thinking and analysis skills. Be sure to check out your prospective schools’ required minimum scores for admission.

Step 3: Get Some Experience

During your undergraduate years, you’ll also want to be obtaining some real-world experience. Get out and do some volunteer work. Look for summer internships that place you inside doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals. Job shadow doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, etc. Get a job in medical research if possible. Do whatever you can do to be able to show the med school admissions teams that you have real, relevant experience in the field of medicine.

The Admissions Process

The process of applying to a medical school in the United States is a little different than the process of applying to a med school in another country. For example, in many countries outside the United States, you have to apply to each different medical school individually. In the United States, though, no matter how many schools you plan on applying to, it all starts in one place: the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

If you ever used the Common App to apply for colleges as an undergrad, you’ll have an idea of what it’s like to apply to med school using the AMCAS as a central application starting point. Applying to medical school through the AMCAS is the first step in a two-step process. This application is your base application that gets sent out to all the medical schools to which you apply.

The AMCAS

The AMCAS is a general, standard application. In it, you’ll provide colleges with all the basic information about yourself. This includes the standard application information, such as your name, contact information, demographic information, education history, resume, transcripts, GPA and MCAT scores, etc. You’ll then select the medical schools you’d like your application to be sent to, and you’ll be required to write your medical school personal statement.

It can take up to six weeks for your AMCAS application to be processed. During this time, the AAMC will be verifying your educational history and your course work. After this process is complete, you’ll receive a copy of everything the AAMC verified on your application. If you disagree with something, you have ten days after you’ve been notified that your AMCAS has been processed to dispute it.

After that, your AMCAS application packet, along with verified course work and verified GPA, your list of work and/or volunteer experience and extracurricular activities, your MCAT scores, your letters of recommendation and your medical school personal statement will be sent to each of the schools you expressed interested in attending.

It’s incredibly important that you enter everything exactly right the first time; otherwise, you could experience delays in processing. There are, though, a few sections on the AMCAS in which you’ll need to be especially careful.

Course Work

The course-work section of the AMCAS is extremely detailed. You have to list each course you’ve taken, how many credit hours it was worth, your grade in the course, whether you withdrew from or failed the course, whether you took it as a duplicate course, etc. This goes all the way back to your freshman year of college. Have your transcript on-hand while taking care of this part of the AMCAS because messing up here is the number one cause of processing delays.

Work/Activities (Extracurricular Activities)

In this section, you’ll be able to list any relevant work and/or volunteer/internship experience you have. You’ll also be able to list any awards or honors you’ve received and any extracurricular activities worth mentioning. There is one catch though. You can only enter a maximum of 15 separate activities. Once you’ve hit the 15 activities, you can’t enter anything else.

For this section, it’s important to note that the quality of the experience is much more important than the “quantity” of experiences you list. If you’re the type of person that was a part of everything and has three pages worth of work, volunteer experience, and extracurricular activities to discuss, you’re going to have to pick the 15 most impressive ones.

Letters of Recommendation

Although you won’t be asked to include any actual letters of recommendation on your AMCAS application, you’ll be asked to provide the contact information for the people you have asked to write your letters. Choose your references carefully.

Your Medical School Personal Statement

This is arguably one of the most important parts of your application. This is the section that can make you seem personable and memorable as opposed to just another application in the pile. For the medical school personal statement on the AMCAS application, you’re allowed 5,300 characters, which is approximately one page. This may not seem like a lot of room in which to write your story, but when you remember that over 50,000 people sent in almost 900,000 applications last year, you’ll understand why the admissions committee members want you to be brief. Despite the brevity, though, you still have to make this statement count.

Submitting the AMCAS

Once your AMCAS application packet has been processed, it, along with your transcripts and letters of recommendation, will be sent to the medical schools you selected on the application. There’s a separate fee for each school, so double-check the cost before submitting to each new school.

These schools will look at your initial application, and then they’ll likely request some secondary information from you. This is the second step of the two-step process. Each school’s application process at this point is different. Some may send you a list of yes or no questions to answer and send back to them.

Others will require you to write a more detailed, in-depth personal statement. These secondary personal statements are your second chance to shine and stand out from the crowd, so don’t take this lightly. Secondary medical school personal statements are one of the few times in life you really do get a second chance to make a first impression. If you do well here, you’ll likely be called in for an interview.

Now let’s discuss these personal statements in a little more detail.

What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is merely a statement – a short essay – that you write about yourself, your life, your story, your experiences, your goals, etc. For the AMCAS application, you’ll have a specific prompt to answer. For the secondary school-specific applications, you’ll probably have different prompts to which you’ll be asked to respond.

In the rare case a college asks you to write a second personal statement but doesn’t provide you with a prompt to guide your writing, there are several things you can include. First of all, make sure you list the characteristics you possess that would make you a good fit for the medical field. Then talk about a time you demonstrated these exceptional characteristics.

Some qualities that make for a good physician are:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Experience with and appreciation for diversity
  • Integrity
  • A strict code of ethics and a good moral compass
  • A desire to serve and help others
  • Good people and communication skills
  • Kindness, a strong work ethic, and grace under pressure

It’s important to present these things like you’re telling a really good story. You can’t be dry and boring, or your application is likely going to be lost to the bottom of the pile. You might also mention why you were attracted to the medical field in the first place and what your goals are after successfully completing medical school. Talk about your passions and the things you hope to achieve once you’re an established physician.

Medical School Personal Statement Prompts

Prompt 1: The AMCAS Prompt – Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school.

Remember, for this particular personal statement, you’re only allowed 5,300 characters to thoroughly answer the prompt. That’s 5,300 characters, not words, and that does include spaces. That doesn’t give you a ton of space to write about yourself, but regardless of that, you still have to find a way to make an impression with your statement.

In this small amount of space, you have two main goals. The first is to tell the admissions committee who you are outside of all the dry information they’re getting about you in your transcripts and scores. You’re not just telling them who you are; you’re also telling them what it is about you that makes you deserve a request for a second application. You have to sell yourself to this committee and make them want to know more about you.

Secondly, you have to answer the prompt directly. The question asks why you want to go to medical school. You have to address that. Otherwise, you’ve ignored the prompt completely, which shows the committee that you’re not great at following instructions and that you probably don’t have a clear idea of why you’re interested in med school.

The personal statement is the humanizing part of the application. You have to make the committee see you as a person with dreams, goals, and a desire to better the world somehow. If the word count permits, talking about why you became interested in medicine in the first place is a great way to lead into why you’ve chosen medicine and what you plan to do with your degree once you’ve earned it.

You don’t have a lot of room here, so you don’t need to waste words with a long introduction or a humbling portion that talks about a weakness you’re hoping to overcome. In this personal statement, it’s all about highlighting those strengths unique to you that would make you an excellent doctor.

Prompt 2: What aspect of [this school] appeals most to you?

While answering this question, you can easily showcase your specific interests in the field of medicine while also sticking to the prompt. For example, if that school is well-known for its obstetrics program, and that’s the field you’re interested in pursuing, you can still use the format we’ve outlined above.

You start by talking about what got you interested in obstetrics in the first place, and then you transition into your plans for the future. Along the way, you talk about how and why that particular school’s obstetrician program is the perfect fit for you. You can discuss the specific elements of the program you’re particularly excited about learning and address how the program will help you achieve your future career goals.

Prompt 3: Briefly describe a situation where you had to overcome adversity; include lessons learned and how you think it will affect your career as a physician.

This is a great opportunity for you to talk about triumphs in your life. It’s also a question that really allows you to showcase your positive characteristics and attributes. You take a time in your life when you faced some hardship, and then you dive into talking about exactly how your strengths allowed you to overcome that hardship.

Be sure you explain how that particular situation shaped your morals and your worldview. What about that experience made you the person you are today, and how does that tie in with your goals for your future? Once you’ve done that, you’ve tied it back into the general prompt and can follow the guidelines outlined above.

Prompt 4: Where do you see yourself in your career 15 to 20 years from now?

Honestly, this prompt is just another way of asking the AMCAS prompt of why you want to go to medical school, only with this one, you’re going to spend a little bit more time talking about your future goals than you do talking about why you became interested in medicine in the first place. The format for answering this one, though, is just the same as answering the AMCAS prompt.

You’ll start by touching on those characteristics that are likely to make you a successful physician. You can then transition into what, specifically, you plan to do in the medical field and what inspired you to make that choice. Then you move straight into talking about your after-med-school plans for your future. Be sure to answer the prompt though. Notice that it says “15 to 20 years from now.”

By then, you should be fairly well established and have a decent career. Talk about that point in your career, not the ‘fresh out of med school, first residency’ part of your career.

Standard Medical School Personal Statement Format

Despite the prompt you’re given – or whether you’re given a prompt at all – there is a general format you’ll use when writing your med school personal statement. When it comes to the AMCAS statement, this format is a little different because you’re encouraged simply to type it up in the text box on the application.

With that in mind, you won’t be able to set margins or choose a font or anything like that. If you want to type your statement up in another window first, do it in something simple and format-free, like Notepad. Otherwise, you run the risk of your essay not showing up as text in the text box. It may end up looking like gibberish, and you absolutely cannot edit that portion of your application once it’s been processed. It’s best just to type it in the text box and submit.

For the secondary essays and personal statements sent to each individual college, though, you won’t always have to type them in a text box. For these, you’ll use the same basic formatting guidelines, unless otherwise noted in the college’s specific personal statement instructions. These include:

  • Using MLA formatting
  • Margins set at one-inch on every side
  • 12-point font size (Arial/Times New Roman)
  • Uniformly double-spaced
  • No extra lines between paragraphs
  • Use first-line indentation for new paragraphs

You’ll also use the same general formatting style in setting up the structure of your personal statement. As with most essays, you’ll have an introduction, some body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Again, this is only true of the secondary personal statements you receive from the individual colleges.

For the AMCAS personal statement, you won’t have a lot of room, so you’ll want to use introductory and conclusion sentences rather than paragraphs, leaving room for most of your actual information in the body of the personal statement.

Step 1. Introduction

Your main objective in the introduction is to catch the reader’s attention and make him want to keep reading out of interest rather than obligation. In a general, “tell us about yourself” type of prompt, you’ll pick two or three of the qualities you possess that you feel would be most desirable in a doctor and mention how those three qualities are important facets of your character.

For other types of prompts, you’ll use your introduction to set the tone for your story. Whatever story you’re about to tell to answer the prompt, this paragraph is your lead-in. Set the tone and the stage for what you’re about to say, and let your body paragraphs follow smoothly and seamlessly after.

Step 2. Body Paragraphs

In this section, you’ll tell your story, and it truly does need to be a story. People who work in the admissions offices of medical schools are tasked with reading literally thousands of personal statements each year. Many of these are full of anecdotes or overused cliches. Others are just horribly boring. It’s important that your story is entertaining, honest, and memorable.

Whatever story you were building up to telling in your introductory paragraph, now’s the time to tell it. There’s an old writer’s adage that says, “Show; don’t tell.” That’s what you need to do in your body paragraphs. You must paint a picture for the reader. Allow him to see the story you’re laying out for him. This way, you’re engaging him in a story, not just talking at him. Don’t assume this means being lengthy and rambling though. Always stick to the point, and don’t add a lot of unnecessary details.

Whatever the prompt, you also want to use these body paragraphs to work in something that talks about why medicine is your chosen field. There are five main questions you should answer in the body paragraphs, even if the prompt doesn’t guide you to these questions specifically. They are:

  • What was the experience that made you want to become a physician?
  • How did you feel during this experience?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • How did it affect you, your community, and your worldview?
  • What about it made you want to pursue medicine?

No matter what the specific prompt is – unless, of course, it’s something crazy like, “What’s your favorite color in the rainbow?” – you should be able to find a natural, organic way to work this into your medical school personal statement.

Step 3. Conclusion

In the conclusion paragraph, you’ll wrap everything up and make it all fit together neatly. This is the point where you change from ‘show; don’t tell’ to ‘state it boldly and explicitly.’ Restate those two or three main qualities you mentioned having. Then briefly, within one or two sentences, talk about your perspective on the event/story you told in your body paragraphs. Finally, once again proclaim your passage for the medical field.

Medical School Personal Statement Cliches to Avoid

We’ve already discussed some of the things you need to do while writing your personal statement for med school. Now let’s discuss some things you definitely should not do.

1. Don’t Rewrite Your Application

First of all, don’t simply repeat your resume and AMCAS application information. The admissions department has already looked through your application. They already know what courses you’ve taken, what your GPA and MCAT scores look like, and what types of relevant experience you have. Don’t tell them all of that again. This is your chance to be unique and tell them something they don’t already know about you. Don’t waste words on things they can read in your application packet.

2. Don’t Be a Snob

Highlighting your strengths and accomplishments is perfectly fine in your personal statement. You want to be impressive. What you don’t want to do is come off as sounding like a pretentious snob who thinks he’s better than everyone else. You have to find the perfect balance between bragging on yourself and beating people over the head with how great you are.

3. Don’t Fill Your Personal Statement with Overused Cliches

Telling a short personal anecdote isn’t necessarily a bad thing; although you should be aware that many other people will start their personal statements in exactly the same way. If you do use a personal anecdote, though, keep it to one. Don’t use one after the other after the other, and avoid cliches like the plague!

It’s okay to talk about your goals and how you plan to use your career in medicine to better the world, but you can’t just come out and say things like, “I want to make the world a better place.” Of course, you do. We all want that. Saying it in those bald-face terms, though, just sounds silly.

An article in US News recently discussed cliche topics to avoid specifically in medical school personal statements. These included listing the reason you wanted to be a doctor as having anything to do with regular doctor visits as a child, overstating your “innate passion for medicine,” beginning a personal statement with a patient anecdote about “Patient X” and/or talking about how you saved someone’s life.

Other overused topics that have become a cliche in medical school personal statements are:

  • The doctor who saved my life
  • “I broke a bone when I was little, and the doctor made me feel better, so I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since.”
  • The desire to cure an incurable disease
  • The desire to make a (usually deceased) family member proud
  • Generic “I want to save lives” statements
  • Coming from a long line of doctors

4. Don’t Victimize Yourself

It’s okay to talk about times in your life when you’ve overcome adversity, especially if that’s what the prompt asks, but don’t keep heaping on the bad. Overcoming adversity is admirable, but discussing every injustice that’s ever been done to you in your life just makes you look like you’re whining and looking for special treatment because your life has been hard.

5. Don’t Talk Like a Thesaurus

If the admissions team has to look up the definition of words you’ve used in your personal statement, it’s ostentatious and derisory. (See what I did there? Annoying, right?) The admissions department is looking for quality med school applicants, not wordsmiths.

6. Don’t Write Outside the Character/Word/Page Limit

If you’re given a range of “between x-y words” (or characters), fall within that range! Don’t give the admissions department less than they asked you to give them; it makes you seem lazy and uninspired. On the other hand, don’t give them more than what they’ve asked you to write either. It’s disrespectful. You must recognize that they have thousands of essays to read, and every person who goes over the maximum word or character count is just adding more work to their already busy days. Plus, it shows a lack of editing.

Medical School Personal Statement Examples

Example Personal Statement 1

“This realization became clear to me in the mountains of Nepal, but the decision was an evolution that began long ago. Lego building blocks as a child were my first introduction to engineering, then came the integration of mechanics and movement with robotics in high school, and eventually human biomechanics as an engineer in college. With these courses I learned to see the body in a new and amazing way. Engineering enabled me to envision muscles not as simple contractile tissues, but as the motors for the pulleys that move our bones. Biomechanics made bones evolve from static connectors into the dynamic moment-arms of life. This fascination with the human body drives my interest in orthopedics and, coupled with my love of patients and surgery, will provide me with a career of continuous discovery and fulfillment.”

– Read the rest here

This is a great example of a body paragraph in a personal statement. The writer is giving us a great explanation of why he’s interested in medicine (orthopedics specifically) and letting us know that he’s been cultivating this interest practically his entire life, but he’s doing so without using that tired old cliche, “I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember.”

Additionally, the way he writes and his vocabulary show us that he’s intelligent without him ever having to state that fact himself. He gives a glimpse into what his future goals and plans are, and his image of combining his “interest in orthopedics” and “love of patients and surgery” for “a career of continuous discovery and fulfillment” is an excellent mental picture with which to leave us. We finish reading this and are left with a feeling that this young man is going to do great things in his career, and never once did he have to come out and say it himself.

Our Verdict:  Image of a smiling face with heart-shaped eyes emoji

 

Example Personal Statement 2

“I was never supposed to become a doctor; that title was meant for my older brother, Jake. My parents held Jake to the highest standard when it came to academics. They did not deem me worthy of being held to the same standard, so I grew up believing I would never be able to outdo him in academics. This notion of intellectual inferiority combined with my childhood success in athletics motivated me to focus on developing as an athlete rather than a student. So why am I applying to medical school and not playing professional baseball? Well, science captivated my attention in 11th grade and hasn’t let go.”

– Read the rest here

The opening sentence of this personal statement is quite good. It takes the opposite stance of the commonly overused med school cliche’ “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor.” Instead, this writer tells us that he was never supposed to be a doctor. That’s an interesting, unique way to start a personal statement. It’s a good hook, and it makes us want to read further to find out what changed.

As we read on, though, we don’t get an immediate explanation. Instead, the writer wastes a ton of words continuing to talk about his brother’s strengths and his own weaknesses. If this were a novel or even a novella, this would be fine, but in the AMCAS personal statement, you only have 5,300 characters to get to the point. This writer is wasting many precious characters, and even worse, he’s wasting them on talking negatively about himself.

It isn’t until the sixth sentence that we find out what changed, and even then, the explanation is a weak one. This is an example of a writer misunderstanding the “Show; don’t tell” adage and using up too much space and time to get to the point.

Our Verdict: An image of an unamused face emoji

 

Example Personal Statement 3

“My passion for medicine was planted by my mother’s accident, sculpted by accompanying the elderly woman and transformed by working alongside physicians in underserved communities. I feel humbled that during my journey, many patients have given me their trust to emotionally support them in difficult times. One day I will apply my knowledge and training in medicine to serve as their companion in their most vulnerable time.”

– Read the rest here

This is an example of a conclusion paragraph that’s well done. The writer restates her main points and reminds us of her passion for medicine, but she does so in a way that doesn’t just have her repeating everything she’s already said. Instead, she briefly touches on the three main milestones in her journey that she’s already covered in-depth earlier in her statement.

She reminds us that she initially became interested in medicine due to an accident she witnessed with her mother. Then she reminds us of a nice story she told in the middle of her statement about her volunteer experience working with the elderly in the hospital and explains how that encounter shaped the type of doctor she wanted to be.

Then she reminds us of another piece of her essay, where she talked about her work with the poor and homeless and how that work reshaped her goals for medicine. Finally, she restates some of her best qualities (trustworthy, warm, smart, well-trained) and gives us a vision for her future. This was a perfectly written conclusion to an equally good personal statement.

Our Verdict: Image of a star-struck grinning emoji

 

Example Personal Statement 4

“I was one of those kids who always wanted to be a 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 was hospitalized for several months as a teenager and was inspired by the experience, despite the illness.”

– Read the rest here

While the overall tone and writing style of this writer isn’t bad, she somehow manages to use three of the most overused cliches prospective students are told to avoid when writing their personal statements. She starts out with the innate desire to be a doctor dating back to childhood. Then she moves into how she had frequent doctor visits and how much she loved her interactions with her pediatrician.

Finally, she uses a third cliche topic by talking about being hospitalized as a teenager and how much that experience shaped her future goals of working in medicine. While the essay itself isn’t badly written, it also isn’t memorable or remarkable because she’s using the exact same types of stories of thousands of other applicants.

Our Verdict: Image of face with rolling eyes emoji

 

Example Personal Statement 5

“When I was six years old, I lost my father […]. He was in a coma for four days before he passed away. The images of my father — barely alive, barely recognizable, and connected to multiple machines — are among my earliest memories of medicine and hospitals. Too young to understand the complications of his accident and the irreversible brain damage he suffered, I was a child who thought that medicine had failed. I associated medicine with loss. Fortunately, [my family full of physicians] introduced me to another side of health care, and together they inspired me to seek out other experiences in the medical field.”

– Read the rest here

Although this writer begins in what seems like another cliche story of loss inspiring the desire to be a doctor, the way he changes the narrative and surprises us makes the cliche work for him. Most prospective students have stories about how a loved one was in the hospital or dying and watching that person struggle inspired them to study medicine and help save other children from having to watch their own loved ones die.

Instead, this writer surprises us by telling us watching his dad die in the hospital gave him a bad taste for medicine. It gave him a negative association between medicine and failure. This is just different and unique enough that it draws us in and makes us want to read more. If this young man hated medicine so much, why does he want to go to med school? The desire to find the answer to that one question is enough to hook us and make us want to keep reading.

This is a great example of how an introductory paragraph can grab our attention right away.

Our Verdict: Image of a star-struck grinning emoji

 

Final Tips

With nearly 60% of medical school applicants getting rejected every year, it’s extremely important you turn in the best medical school application packet possible. This means taking all the right courses, maintaining good grades and a stellar GPA, volunteering in meaningful places, and writing a memorable medical school personal statement.

The importance of the personal statement cannot be overstated. It’s the one area in the whole application where you get to make yourself as appealing and as unforgettable as possible, so make sure you invest an appropriate amount of time, effort, and editing into it.

Avoid using overused cliches. Highlight your most impressive strengths. Use proper grammar, formatting, and punctuation. Spell and grammar check everything and stay within the mandated word/character range. Most importantly, show the admissions team that you have a passion for medicine and that they won’t be disappointed in the results if they give you a spot at their school.

You already know how great you are. Now it’s time to show them.