The personal statement is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other health profession program applicants.
Read the essay you’ve been given.
Read the essay you’ve been given.
Think about this essay as we talk about characteristics of a good one.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: USE YOUR OWN VOICE
Make your statement personal. Don’t derive your statement from a website and don’t use quotes or clichés. Use your own words !
Speak through your own voice. By doing this, you lend originality to your essay.
Identify what is unique about YOU that cannot be gleaned from the cold, hard facts of your application.
FROM THE WRITING CENTER
Here is a list of clichés to avoid:
add insult to injury after all is said and done against the current the agony of defeat agree to disagree all walks of life at this point in time avoid like the plague the ball’s in his court be that as it may better half better late than never beyond a shadow of doubt the birds and the bees bite the dust bitter end bottom of my heart bottom of the barrel brainchild bring down the house bring home the bacon
happy medium heave a sigh of relief higher than a kite hit me like a ton of bricks hit the nail on the head hotter than hell hush fell over the crowd hustle and bustle in a nutshell larger than life last but not least last-ditch last straw
light as a feather
like father, like son
live from hand to mouth live like a king lying through her teeth method to her madness more than meets the eye needle in a haystack nip in the bud nose to the grindstone off his rocker off the beaten track off the wall once and for all one rotten apple spoils the barrel only time will tell out of the blue paint the town red put your best foot forward put your foot in your mouth quick as a flash quick as lightning raise (rear) its ugly head raving lunatic rude awakening sell like hotcakes
skeleton in the closet skin of your teeth slow but sure smart as a whip smooth sailing sneaking suspicion soft place in my heart stick out like a sore thumb straight and narrow straw that broke the camel’s back strike while the iron is hot tangled web thin as a rail tip of the iceberg tough nut to crack tried and true truth is stranger than fiction twinkling of an eye two-edged (double edged) sword up in arms vicious cycle vital role walk a fine line walking on air walk the straight and narrow wet blanket when all is said and done when the going gets tough, the
tough get going work like a dog wreak havoc
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: ORGANIZE
Let your structure flow from the content you have chosen. Many essays use time, life changing events, important activities, influential people. They tell a story that is interesting and grabs the reader from the first paragraph.
An organized essay looks well thought out and neat. Don’t forget that paragraphs separate ideas and make it easier on the reader!
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: ORGANIZE (CONT.)
Be clear and concise. Don’t confuse quantity with quality. Adhere to character limits, if given!
Remember what you learned in English Composition. Organize the essay and or paragraphs with an introduction, body and conclusion. Have a theme or thesis.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: SELF-REFLECT
Saying you like science and want to help people or animals doesn’t go far enough. It does nothing to differentiate you from hundreds of other applicants.
You have to discuss things more deeply. What can you do as a member of the health profession you’ve chosen that you could not do in another profession and what strengths do you have to do it?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: SELF-REFLECT (CONT.)
Reflect on the “journey” that got you to this place in time and what it reveals about you.
If necessary, use the opportunity to explain (not excuse!) any deficiencies in your application and/or how you’ve grown into a person who is well suited for this career.
To get started: Use the “Questions to Ask Yourself” handout. Write a couple of paragraphs for each question.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Writing A Personal Statement
Taken from http://gradschool.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/questps.htm
Who am I?
What characteristics do I possess (e.g. honest, compassionate, loyal)?
What skills do I have (e.g. analytical, communication, organizational)?
How have I changed/grown over the years? What caused these changes and how have they affected me?
What makes me unique? How am I different from other applicants?
Why should the admissions committee be interested in me?
Are there any obstacles that I had to overcome and how have I dealt with these difficulties from my past?
Are there any experiences from my past that have affected my life? Can I relate these experiences to my goals?
Who has influenced me over the years (e.g. parent, sibling, teacher, or friend) and how have they influenced me?
What are my career goals?
Why do I want to continue my studies?
When did I become fascinated by my field of study?
Why am I interested in my field of study?
What have I learned about my subject of interest?
How has my discipline shaped me? What has my field of study taught me about myself?
How can I address my academic record?
Do I have any gaps or inconsistencies on my records (transcript and/or exam scores) that I can explain?
Are there any awards, recognition, or honors that I have received and that are worth mentioning?
How do field services enhance my application?
What internships and/or jobs have I had in the past?
What have I learned from my internship and/or job experiences? What skills have I acquired?
How are my internship and/or job experiences related to my field of interest? Have they prepared me for my future career?
Have I been involved in any social services? How it contributed to my growth and how is it related to my goals?
What extracurricular activities have I participated in and how do they contribute to my professional goals?
Who is my audience?
Who will be reading my personal statement?
How can I make my essay compelling to the readers?
Why am I applying to this program?
Why am I applying to this institution?
How will attending this graduate school help me grow as an individual and prepare me for my future career?
What do I offer the program? Why should a school take me on?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: EXCELLENT WRITING MECHANICS
You must be fastidious about basics such as spelling and subject/verb agreement.
Make sure you do not have a sentence fragment or run on sentences.
Use punctuation correctly.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: EXCELLENT WRITING MECHANICS (CONT.)
Avoid slang, jargon, casual or racy language, use of the second person voice. Use the first person “I” most of the time.
Always have someone (or several someones!) proof-read your statement.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: SHOW YOUR EMOTION
Write with feeling! One way to convey your passion is to use emotional language.
Although you have to show your passion in your essay, you must be careful not to overdo it.
Convey positive, upbeat emotions associated with the professional choice you’ve made. Be cautious about using humor.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: USE UNIQUE EXAMPLES
Use specific examples to support assertions. Example: Don’t just say you’re a hard worker. Describe a situation that proves it.
Thousands of personal statements discuss initiative, but only hundreds show initiative with concrete examples of demonstrated motivation and leadership.
Be professional; neither too casual nor too formal.
Write something that is pleasant and engaging. Make the reader want to meet the person that wrote that essay at an interview.
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO……
Repeat/reword information already available in other parts of the application.
Make excuses or blame others for any low grades or other problems with your credentials.
Get overly personal, including dwelling on physical and mental health issues. Reveal yourself as an unique individual, but do it professionally.
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO… (CONT.)
Stretch the truth to make yourself look good. Don’t “pad” the resume with minor activities or be anything less than totally honest.
Fail to respond to a specific question, if it was asked. Don’t “cut and paste” copies of your personal essay without being careful that it is appropriate for where you’re placing it. Especially be careful if you’ve mentioned a school name. School A doesn’t want to hear that you’ve always wanted to attend School B!