the personal statement

A few random thoughts about the personal statement:
1. It is PERSONAL. It should reflect you. Don’t look for a formula or a guaranteed prescribed approach because one point of the PS is to show your true colors.
2. I got this advice from an admissions counselor at Georgetown SOM and found it very helpful: “Your PS should tell the story of how you come to be applying to medical school.” In other words, you’ve travelled some sort of journey to get to the point of applying - what brought you there? what were the interesting stops along the way? why now, not ten years ago, not ten years in the future? Consider the person reading your PS and anticipate what questions they might have about your story.
3. Even if you’re a good writer, get help. I pride myself on my writing and yet I got sooo stuck on the PS. I bought Barron’s “Essays that will get YOU into medical school,” hoping to be inspired by the sample (real) essays printed in the book. They actually weren’t very helpful (most were by traditional students) but what really did help was the autobiographical exercises that the first half of the book walks you through. If you’re having a hard time charting the journey I discussed in #2, consider using these exercises - I got a lot out of it.
4. Start writing early. Give thought to your PS months before you actually apply. You’ll want to do drafts that you put away and look at weeks later; you’ll want to ask friends for their opinions.
5. Another reason to do your PS early - it will be useful for more than just your AMCAS/AACOMAS application. I pushed to finish my PS in time to include it with the recommendation packet that I gave to faculty members, so that they would know a side to me that wasn’t part of my “student persona,” and would have more understanding of why I wanted to go into medicine. To be honest, I don’t know if they read it. I do know that the pre-med committee at my post-bacc institution read it and used the stuff I wrote in drafting their recommendation.
6. Do NOT underestimate the power of a well-written PS. If you and another candidate look alike on paper in terms of stats, having your PS grab the reader and make him/her want to know you better can only be a good thing. Your PS absolutely can get you interview invites.
Hopefully others will chime in with additional suggestions.

For all of you wanting help or having questions re your personal statement, I am working diligently on organizing a chat room with a director of admissions that has had a great deal of experience in reading and evaluating personal statements. As soon as we have a date and time scheduled, or possibly multiple dates and times, we will post it in the forums.
SO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!! It will be coming soon!