Your life on a piece of paper

Literally that’s all it is.

The Personal Statement for me was the dreaded part of applying to medical school. The main reason being: It makes you write in an unconventional manner. After avoiding the use of ‘I’ for the majority of my education using it extensively just felt a bit arrogant.

The structure I used was:

INTRO:
It should answer the question of why you want to do medicine – no longer than 4 lines or so, you’re working to tight limit!

EXPERIENCE:
What did you learn from your experience? How did this reflect what is required of a doctor? What did you enjoy? What did you realise that you were previously unaware of? – This made up the bulk of my statement probably 2k characters.

SCHOLASTIC THINGS:
How have you contributed to the school community? Show you have the aptitude for medicine. What did you particularly enjoy learning about? Wider reading or projects could sit nicely here.

EXTRA CURRICULAR:
What skills have you learnt? Even if your main hobbie is shopping – write it down! You could say how you enjoy fashion and how this is relaxing for you for example.

OUTRO:
No more than, I would say, 3 lines and it should reiterate your intro!

This is the structure that I used and it is by no means the absolute way of writing your personal statement. Do what you feel is right!

After the first draft expect lots to be altered as it is a bit ropey as essentially you have just written everything down – or you could be the envy of all people and have a perfect first draft! But after this I ran into problems because I showed it to 3 people, 1 who was quite senior had the complete opposite view of what should be written to the others. In this situation I didn’t even agree with what they suggested and just went with what I thought was best – this meant that I could send it off confident in my work. So be prepared for that.

My next issue was that it was over 1000 characters over the limit – having a whole extra year to add onto this with the same limit as last year just doesn’t seem fair – but hey ho! I decided to cut out all the unnecessary adjectives and use of also which saved a good number of characters. Then I attempted rephrasing things, and when I still remained over the limit it came down to cutting out full sentences. For example: I chose to keep my care home work over a first aid course because I thought that would have more value. With every sentence I read I asked ‘does this add to my application?’ if not then it had to go!

Once I had got it under the word limit and sent it to my UCAS advisor, she then proceeded to say that it had to be paragraphed!!! This meant that it was now over the line limit and more pruning had to take place.

After 11 drafts and 4 weeks of hard work I finally sent it off!

TOP TIPS!
– Start writing it early, during the summer maybe.
– Try and use the active voice rather than passive voice in your writing.
– Be concise.
– Don’t stress too much about it.
– Make sure you are happy with it, and it sounds like you and what you want to put across to admissions.
– Get others to read it but not too many as otherwise you have conflicting advice!

I hope this provides some help to you, let me know if I can help with anything else you want to know!

Until next time…

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