Preparing a personal statement

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Preparing a personal statement

All application processes require a personal statement, and each has its own instructions. The following are excerpts from the application instructions for some centralized application services:

AMCAS – “This is your opportunity to provide personal information that is otherwise not included on the application. Consider and construct your comments carefully; many admissions committees place significant weight on this section.”

AACOMAS – “We encourage you to provide your motivation for applying to the field of osteopathic medicine in this section.”

AADSAS – “Your Applicant Essay provides an opportunity to explain why you desire to pursue a dental education.”

VMCAS – “Your personal statement should help the admission committee(s) learn something about you as a person, about the development of your interest in veterinary medicine and about your career goals.”

AACPMAS – “State below why you are interested in becoming a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Provide any additional significant information to your application, e. g., experience in a health care delivery setting”

This is a student’s opportunity to expound upon experiences not represented in other parts of the application, or which were not described in enough detail. As a program applicant, you volunteered a lot of hours, but what kind of experiences did you gain from it? Think about how did your experiences motivate you even further to pursue this career? Express unique qualities/experiences you have that you would like the committee to know about. The following suggestions will be helpful:

  • Proofread the essay before copying and pasting to your application!

  • Quality is more important than quantity.

  • Make sure the essay is typed (paper applications). Do not squeeze the lines together to make a long essay fit — shorten the essay.

  • Have others read your essay. Ask them to comment not only on grammatical errors, but also on what kind of person the essay makes you sound like. Do you sound sincere?

  • If explaining anything negative on your application (such as a bad semester, conduct probation, etc.), be open and honest. Mention the facts and move on. Explain your side of the story, but do not make excuses.

  • Creativity and quality are important, but you are not expected to write a masterpiece. It should be apparent that you can express yourself well, but do not try to “woo” the admission committee with big words and elaborate descriptions. You should sound like a real person.

  • Try to stick with why you are interested in your chosen field, what you have done in the field, etc. Do not try to use this as an essay to review the field, its strengths, weaknesses, current trends, etc. This essay is intended to provide details about you, not your chosen field.

  • If you are reapplying, write a new personal statement. Show that you are willing to put effort into your new application.

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