Personal Statement Question

I was just wondering if anyone can suggest a good website or book that gives tips and examples on writing the personal statement. I won’t be applying till next spring but I don’t want to wait till the last minute to start writing it.

Currently, I have no idea where to even begin.


I used “Resumes and Personal Statements for Health Professionals” by James Tsynger. Reading the personal statements helped me get a sense of what others talked about and helped get my creative juices flowing. If I remember correctly, it was a workbook that helped identify key events in your life as well as articulate your motivations and goals.

I had to look it up on Barnes & Noble website because I couldn’t recall the name. There are other books on the topic out there also now.

Hope this helps. Good luck!!

my personal statement was about my journey and it was extremely tailor made to me.

i think my premed advisor said it best when he said the personal statement is a chance to tell something about you…use it to convey what makes you unique. adcoms see a million and one “i want to be a doctor because of x/y/z” so do not do that. embrace the fact that you are a nontrad and tell that story…that journey.

best wishes

Thank you both for the information. I’m going to look for the book “Resumes and Personal Statements for Health Professionals” this weekend. Thank you for the advice onawingandaprayer. I generally do not have much of a problem with writing but for some reason when it comes to my personal statement I just don’s know where to start.

For what it is worth, also take a look at the website “”. They had a downloadable book (~$20) about writing personal statements that I found very helpful.


  • onawingandaprayer Said:
tell that story...that journey.

Becky is exactly right (IMO) -- the personal statement is a story. About you, why you want to do this, why you will be a good doc, how your life has led you to this point (this is key for non-trads such as ourselves -- why didn't we do this 10 or 20 years ago?!) etc.

Tell it like a good story. Hook the reader at the very beginning with something incredible. Keep the rest of it engaging as well. Include pertinent information, of course, but in a way that invites the reader in to stop and stay awhile, not hurry off to the next application. Make the ADCOMS want to get to know you further. Because if they do, they'll likely invite you for an interview. And that's the goal, right?

Caveat: I am just starting a post-bac pre-med program this fall, so I have not yet applied to med school (although I have twiddled around with some personal statement essay rough drafts already). The reason I feel I can give some advice on this subject is that my background is in news journalism (and then later editing), so storytelling (of the nonfiction variety) was my livelihood for many years. And, if I may say so, I was pretty good at it.

One more suggestion -- even if you don't start literally writing your essay today or tomorrow, now that it's on your mind, begin keeping a notepad with you to write down ideas that pop in your head. I always have either pen/paper, my iPhone, my laptop, or a digital recorder (usually multiple of these) on hand because I'm constantly coming up with things that I want to remember -- often medicine-related topics that I want to write about / discuss on my blog. Just another thought.

Good luck. And WTG on starting to think about this so far in advance! You will thank yourself for this come spring.

if you think it would help to give you an idea, i would be more than happy to email you a copy of mine so that you can see how i told my journey.

Hi onawingandaprayer,

If you wouldn’t mind e-mailing me a copy of your letter that would be great. My e-mail address is

I purchased “Medical School Essays That Made A Difference” by Princenton Review this weekend. I think it will be helpful but would still be very interested in seeing how others have wrote theirs.

Thank you

OP, go to and ask for some help, they have people who volunteer their time to help you with your personal statement… The biggest thing is to have a statement that the admissions people want to read, it should be captivating, not dull or boring (which is how I write, so I needed a lot of help)… also, find people you know who are talented writers (even if you are) and have them all read it with a red pen… It should be written over the course of months, not days, and the more revisions and work you put into it, the more likely you are to have it get you noticed! Best of luck!!