Personal statements

I’ve started thinking about my personal statement and I’m at a loss… it seems so nebulous as to what is wanted by adcoms… …Some seem to want what inspires you to be a doctor… some seem to want a personal bio… who knows?
My initial thought is some way for me to express my passion about wanting to be in the field… This is hard for me to do without becoming too passionate (ie sounding in any way condemning of the profession or condescending)…
How do you say… seeing all of these situations/conditions/people affected by a multitude of illnesses has inspired me to try to do something about it… without seeming condescending or even full of yourself? especially how do you do this without it becoming a commentary about the “state of things” in regard to medicine?

What “topics” are best to approach in a personal statement? What perspective should one take? What are taboos (other than being grandiose or condemning)?
How far in advance should one construct their personal statement?

I tend to research things. I’ve bought two books so far,
my number one book is “Getting into Medical School” by Sanford J. Brown and Kaplan’s “Medical School Admissions Adviser” both
with the info on the net have been great resources.
I plan to apply in 2005. I have started a rough draft of my statement. I also have written down my thoughts and passions about wanting to become a physcian. The way I understand it you will be selling yourself to the admission commitees.
You will be telling why they should allow you to study medicine, what makes you tick.

I found Barron’s Essays that will get YOU into medical school extremely helpful, even if the sample essays were mostly from traditional students.
the whole first part of the book is a writing exercise - walks you through identifying important biographical milestones, values, heck I don’t even remember what else. I initially thought that, since I am a good writer, I wouldn’t need such a thing. Then I found myself staring at the screen/page, unsure where to start. The Barron’s exercises were GREAT for helping me figure out how to make it all work together.
You definitely DO want to come across as passionate about this choice. It is a PERSONAL statement, after all!

Hi there,
Whatever you write, remember that your personal statement is your opportunity to put something on paper that will convince an admissions committee that you would be an asset to their freshman class. These are your words about your desire to practice medicine. What brought you to this point? Why are you doing this? What keeps you going long after the business majors are sleeping? What characteristics do you have that might serve you well as a physician?
After you have written your “masterpiece” let at least five people who know you well, read and critique your statment. Take their comments under advisement. Incorporate what you need and don’t worry about the rest.
When you are done, put the personal statement away for at least a week and revisit it. Does it make sense? Is this what you want to represent you on paper? Does it truly reflect your feelings and not what you think the committee wants to hear?
You can start writing your PS at any point. The more drafts, the better.

Try sitting down and writing whatever come to your mind. Think about what was the driving force, the overwhelming force that made you decide that you wanted to become a doctor. Just literally write down, in no particular order, everything that comes to your mind.
You can then take what you have written and put it together to make a great, clear, emotional essay that will make any adcom want to have you in their school.
Remember the essay is one of the most important things the adcoms will see. We are all smart, we all have good grades and good MCATs, but it is our personal statements that set us above other applicants in the adcoms minds.
Just write what you feel in your heart. If you have an emotional reason for wanting to become a doctor, the words will come to you. Just my opinion.