Writing your personal statement is a massive part of your application to medical school, and it is the first time that a university will see something about you that isn’t just facts and figures. However, a personal statement can also make or break an application, so you need to make sure that it is well written and includes everything that you need. Here is the general format you should use to make sure you include everything necessary.
An introduction is always where to start, make it original and interesting. What attracted you to medicine? Why? Be as honest as you can (don’t say you want to be a doctor because of the money), and pick something you find particularly interesting about medicine and explain why it’s fascinating.
A paragraph about work experience should be near the top too, mention that you arranged it yourself to show your organisational skills. There’s no need to list the clinical skills you practised or the procedures you saw, but make sure to focus on what you learned about what it’s like to be a doctor, and any skills that you realised will be useful for you as a doctor in the future. Explain why these skills are important and mention how the work experience benefited you as a person. Underneath this paragraph it’s worth dedicating a small amount of space to voluntary things you’ve done throughout your education so far – things like being a prefect, a peer mentor etc. Say what you did, what you learned from it and why it is important.
Some students like to mention how the A levels they’re studying now are relevant to medicine, but this isn’t really necessary as a lot of medical students will be doing the same A levels. It will serve you much better to have a paragraph talking about an area of medicine which particularly interests you, it shows that you have read up on the subject and do really have a passion for it.
Always include a paragraph about your extracurricular activities, explaining what you do in your spare time and why. It needs to tell the reader something about you, and make sure that you say how each hobby has helped you as a person. Hobbies are an important part of life, especially for medical students who often need to relax and unwind away from medicine. Talk about any major ambitions you have outside of medicine – saying you’re training for the London Marathon shows real dedication and drive.
Finally, your conclusion needs to sum up why you want to be a doctor and why it’s a perfect career for you. Sound confident and looking forward to the upcoming challenges at medical school, but don’t be arrogant and assume that you’re going to get in. Don’t mention anything new in this section, that time has passed!
The biggest rule about writing a personal statement is that you need to draft it out several times, and absolutely make sure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors, as these will make your personal statement look really unprofessional. For more general advice about writing a personal statement, check out our blog post here.