Category Archive: Personal Statements

Pwning the Personal Statement Part IIIB: Example 2

We’ve talked about writing and editing the Personal Statement over 3 parts:

Pwning the Personal Statement Part I: Intro and Free Essay Reviews!
Pwning the Personal Statement Part II: Writing the thing
Pwning the Personal Statement Part IIIA: Editing

Now we want to show you how to put it in action. This series of example Personal Statements are from real students who have sent in their essays to us for review. We’ve carefully redacted identifying information, but the core contents remain the same. We’ve invited our guest blogger, Yumi Kovic of madeMD.com to share her insights with the submitted essays.


Actual Essay with Comments

I have always been a curious person. When I do not fully understand something, I ask questions, and I constantly follow my curiosities to new and interesting topics. This curiosity has led me to science and the field of medicine. [Good hook, but rather than just saying you’re curious, give a real, detailed example of your curiosity. Convince your readers!] I am attracted to the logic and extreme depth of science. As a detail oriented person, the scientific approach of objectivity fits my personality and suits my curiosity needs. I decided to study in the field of science by majoring in Exercise Biology at [my university]. Along with studying the body and its processes through biology, I also studied the mind and behavior by minoring in Psychology. With these two subjects, I studied the human condition as a whole. The mixture of these subjects also gave me a better understanding of the interaction between the physical and the mental aspects of medicine. After graduating, I continued to expand my knowledge of science by joining the Health Professions Post Baccalaureate Program at [my university]. Through this program, I enrolled in extremely interesting courses that continue to spark my curiosity and increase my passion for medicine. My ultimate goal is to unite my passion for medicine with my passion for people and the community through becoming a doctor who can provide care and educate communities to lead healthier lives. [“Lead healthier lifestyles” is a very broad statement. Do you have any specific interest or experience you can talk about that narrows this down?]

[Your path and integration of majors is interesting, but your language makes it sound like you’re reading off your CV. You can distill this down into a couple of sentences by simply describing your integration of psychology & biology. Then you can expand that by saying how this gave you a unique perspective on how health should be delivered. Then give examples of how you would use that to benefit your patients. Instead of listing your classes or majors, try to string your experiences into a single narrative.]

My interest in volunteering in the community started when I was an adolescent. I was born and raised in a region that has a prevalence of migrant workers and lower income families. This environment exposed me to the difficulties faced by disadvantaged populations and I decided to help those in my community who were underserved. [This story about your childhood is VERY interesting! However, you never gave us any real, gritty examples or stories about this part of your life. Pinpoint a sharp memory in your childhood that really defines your experience there. Just by telling the story it should answer things like: Who were these migrant workers? Did they teach you anything important? How did they impact your life? What difficulties did they face? How can this be solved?] When I left this region to attend college, I felt the need to continue to volunteer. I satiated this need by joining [redacted] Women’s Honor Society, whose main mission was to help the community through service-oriented activities. Through volunteering with [the Women’s Honor Society], I learned about the importance of effective communication and how simple acts of kindness can go a long way. I was particularly fond of the Inter-Faith Rotating Winter Shelter. I helped provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for homeless individuals, and also spent the night in the facility. Interacting with the homeless people was educational because I learned that most of these individuals were similar to myself, or people I know. A significant amount of the homeless people was educated and a few were around my age. This affirmed my belief that community service is essential because anyone, no matter his background, can undergo difficulties and need assistance.

[This paragraph, like the first, sounds like a CV. On the AMCAS application you’ll have plenty of room to list and describe your extracurricular activities. Avoid repeating your activities in your essay, otherwise the admissions committee will be essentially reading it over twice. You want your personal statement to be an entirely different piece from the rest of your application. This doesn’t not mean experiences on the AMCAS application have to be exclusive from the personal statement, but you should be speaking about those experiences on a deeper, more emotional and more personal level.]

The Red Cross exemplifies all that I believe a community service organization should be. The Red Cross not only provides service to individuals and communities in need, it also prepares the community for disasters and other difficult situations in order to prevent or minimize suffering. [Avoid describing organizations, especially something as widely known as the Red Cross. Any descriptors associated with the organization should be focused on what YOU did and how this changed YOU.] This is similar to how I want to be as a physician. [This correlation is somewhat confusing because you’re comparing yourself, a single person, to a global organization. Try picking one person, maybe within the Red Cross, that you admire.] I not only want to help people who are suffering, but I also want to help educate people to make healthier decisions to prevent disease whenever possible. While volunteering for the Red Cross the last seven years, I educated others in subjects such as swimming, CPR/first aid, and community preparedness. I have also taught and/or tutored science, math, anatomy, athletics, and even religion. [These lists create a very monotonous tone, and it’s unlikely that a reader is to remember much, if at all, from the list. Rather than typing out ALL of the activities you did, pick one significant moment that stuck with you and describe it in detail.] I take pleasure spreading my knowledge about my passions and helping others to overcome their fears. Recently, I started volunteering with an organization called the Special Needs Aquatic Program. This program enabled me to help special needs children become comfortable in the water while rehabilitating them and teaching them how to swim. Through this program, I have learned about physical and mental disabilities and how to overcome them in order to teach and communicate effectively.

Communication is key when it comes to education. While teaching over the years, I have worked with individuals of most ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. [How does this paragraph relate to the ones above? It feels very disconnected. Everything should flow and connect with one another.] I have also learned to adapt my teaching styles to fit to my student’s abilities. I understand what it feels like to be misunderstood. I lost my ability to properly communicate while studying abroad in Italy. I felt frustrated with my lack of communication skills, and even after catching onto the language; I still had difficulty expressing exactly what I wanted with my limited vocabulary. This experience helped me understand what it is like to be unable to communicate my intentions and how to overcome this boundary through non-verbal communication and observation. [I understand what you’re trying to say, but the way you’ve worded your experience in Italy can come off as slightly naive. Traveling to Italy is a privilege, and you should treat it this way. Rather than putting the focus on you here, you can quickly talk about how your experience was difficult, but then go back and say, “what I experienced was on a timeline of a few weeks/months in a foreign country, while others have to experience this on a day to day basis in a place they call home.”] When I have the same problem with communicating with someone because he is unable to speak English, or cannot speak at all, I use observation and the non-verbal forms of communication I have learned to rise above this limitation. Adapting to the given circumstances of a situation is a valuable tool that I have fine-tuned over the years of teaching and I feel that this quality is critical for an aspiring doctor such as myself. [Does this skill of observation and non-verbal communication truly set you apart from everyone else? Unless you are a professional in the art, it is better to tell a story where you saw the hardship these people go through and from there was enlightened/inspired to do something about it.]

I am a well-rounded, logic-driven, and generous person who has a lot to offer the field of medicine. I think that my communication skills along with my passion for education, science, and medicine will help me succeed as a medical student and as a future physician. I hope to spread my knowledge to help people in America make healthier decisions in order to battle the obesity, cancer, and heart disease epidemics, as well as fighting for the rights of underserved and overlooked communities.

[Your goals are very scattered and broad. Coming to the end, I find myself wishing you spoke more about the migrant workers and your experience there. I can easily see you stringing together an essay revolving around the migrant workers, their difficulty in communicating in their world, and their hardship of being medically underserved. Thus drawing connections between each of the topics you touched on with one very descriptive and heartfelt story.]

Overall takeaway

First off I want to state that when writing the personal statement, everyone should keep this in mind: on the AMCAS application you will be allowed to list up to 15 experiences of any kind. You will also be given 700 characters to describe each activity, as well as an additional 1325 characters for 3 experiences you find “most meaningful.” As you can see, you will have plenty of room to write and list off your activities. Therefore, in your personal statement you should limit yourself to talking about a few potent experiences.

Moving forward. This essay felt like a run-off of a CV. It listed your coursework, majors, and several volunteer activities. Then, when there were more intimate details about your childhood and life experiences, I felt myself looking for more to the story.

Remember this: your essay will be read by a committee that may have seen thousands of essays before yours. Think to yourself, if you had to read 10,000 personal statements, which ones would stand out?

The key to making an essay memorable is to tell a story that hooks the reader like a good book. Instead of listing a number of your experiences and skills, pick one to three incredible and defining moments in your life that will effectively communicate your story and drive for medicine. This will take some serious reflection, and may take a long time to work out.

Your essay already has a lot of great ideas that you can pick from. In particular, your childhood experience with migrant workers can develop into an intriguing story that strings together the difficulties they face in communicating and in accessing medical resources. Then, you could delve into the deeper and more emotionally rooted topics such as how this affected you from a young age, how it changed your perspective, how it shaped your goals, and how your unique drives you to aid the underserved.

In doing this, your ultimate goal is to make that one guy in the committee, after reviewing thousands of applications, speak up and say “what about that one who was so dedicated to fight for migrant workers? There was something special there.”


Yumi Kovic is the founder of madeMD.com, a comprehensive site of advice for all things pre-med. Yumi has a passion for writing, advising, and extreme multi-tasking. Follow Yumi on Twitter and check out her services for more personal and detailed essay edits.

Permanent link to this article: http://portal.mcatquestion.com/pwning-the-personal-statement-part-iiib-example-1/

Pwning the Personal Statement Part IIIB: Example 1

We’ve talked about writing and editing the Personal Statement over 3 parts:

Pwning the Personal Statement Part I: Intro and Free Essay Reviews!
Pwning the Personal Statement Part II: Writing the thing
Pwning the Personal Statement Part IIIA: Editing

Now we want to show you how to put it in action. This series of example Personal Statements are from real students who have sent in their essays to us for review. We’ve carefully redacted identifying information, but the core contents remain the same. We’ve invited our guest blogger, Yumi Kovic of madeMD.com to share her insights with the submitted essays.


Actual Essay with Comments

“Beep! Beep!” the drive-thru sensor alarmed.
[With this line I see you’re attempting to captivate your reader. That is great – however your captive mark should be more soothing and intriguing. I will touch more on this throughout the essay.] 

“Welcome to Rooster’s. How may I help you?” It was the thirty-seventh time that
[The “thirty-seventh” descriptor put me in a somewhat negative mindset. I immediately thought to myself, “Did he/she really count every customer?” It’s better to exaggerate to a point where it’s obvious and somewhat funny. “It must have been the thousandth time that…”]
night I had asked that question at my after-school job in high school. Rooster’s was a fast-food chicken restaurant conveniently located down the street from my house. Before clocking out, I had a conversation with my manager, Sam, about him looking for another job because Rooster’s was not paying him enough to support himself and he did not want to live with his mother anymore. As I clocked out, I saw him boxing up what was probably the only food he would have to eat at home that night. “I cannot live like this for the rest of my life, “ I thought as I looked down at my greasy work shirt.

[The Rooster’s paragraph does not fit in with the rest of the essay and lacks to describe your reasons or goals for medicine. I understand you’re trying to describe a desire to do something greater. However, many high school students, including myself, have done menial work, and this likely has little effect on our career choices. Rather than looming on Sam’s poor situation, find something you’re inspired by.]

My thoughts quickly went back to Mrs. Marsh’s fourth grade classroom at [my] Elementary School. Over a snack of Ritz Bitz cheese crackers and a Juicy Juice apple juice box, my friend Sally and I were discussing our life’s goals. I decided I wanted to be a pediatrician because I loved kids and needed a profession that would be a support the type of lifestyle I wanted to provide for myself. Sally wanted to be a plastic surgeon. We both agreed to go to the same college and medical school, move to California to practice and be next door neighbors in our luxurious mansions. That plan soon became unrealistic as Sally and I got older and grew apart; however, it played a large role in the motivation I had to succeed throughout middle school and high school.

[The mention of “mansions” brings in a very negative connotation early on that cannot be easily salvaged. Rather than turning it around later on, which you did, it’s better to focus on more positive aspects. Also, the language of the paragraph has a strong sense of adult character in what is a childhood scene. If you want to talk about your childhood, make it sound fun and playful and not so serious, unless of course it is a serious topic.]

When I entered high school and had a little control over what classes I could take I found myself choosing science courses such as Chemistry and Human Anatomy & Physiology. [This sentence is somewhat contradictory because you say you had little control over your classes, yet you chose your courses.]
I really became intrigued with the human body and how it functions. A class called Health Science Careers gave me the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of careers in the health field through researching the careers and shadowing. [Rather than arbitrarily listing the things you did, be DESCRIPTIVE! Real, descriptive examples are always more powerful than listing off a number of things you did, even if it’s only one example. For instance, what careers did you explore? Who did you shadow? What was that like? How did you feel?] I realized that the health field offered the best combination of two things I loved: science and people. Acknowledging this was indeed the path for me, I entered into college declaring a major in Biomedical Science. [At this point, you have told us that you had made a huge life decision to dive into the science & health field, however we have no reason to believe you. Again, give hefty descriptive examples. What excited you about science? Can you describe some specific experiment that enthralled you?]

As I rode into the campus of [my] University, I noticed a sign on each side that read “Enter to Learn” and “Depart to Serve” respectively. [These signs are very intriguing and could work well as your lead in for the personal statement. Consider making this your first paragraph. You may want to get more descriptive by telling us about the environment around you, the bustling students, your nerves and excitement.] I had no idea at that time that those words would shape and mold my desire to become a physician. [Another good hook that would work well in the first paragraph.] Service is a universal theme at [my University] no matter what club/organization [Avoid slashes, it’s better to keep the writing narrative-like by writing “club OR organization”.] you are involved in. My participation in various outreach experiences with different groups of people caused my eyes to be opened to an important life-long lesson: this world is not about me. [Again – give us a real, descriptive example full of emotions. This is a very emotional and important part of your life. Pick a moment that perfectly describes this tipping point.] Prior to college I was more interested in what medicine could do for me. Within one semester of being at [my University], my mentality switched to a desire to know what I could do for medicine. [Very good line: “what I could do for medicine.” – you may want to include people or humanity in that.] I soon saw my desire fulfilled by working with an Internal Medicine physician named Dr. Harold Mandet. I have been able to work with her all throughout my undergraduate education and have seen literally every patient [This feels a bit overstated.] leave her better than when they came. A transformation of their countenance would take place as she was treating them. I was amazed to see how she was able to combine the knowledge and skills she received in medical school with another tool that cannot be learned from a book—love. The love she has towards her patients makes them feel like a person and not a condition she is treating. [Good ideas – humanizing the process of medicine.] She takes the time to talk to her patients and shows a genuine concern for their health. By watching Dr. Handet [First you say Dr. Harold Mandet, and then Dr. Handet – be forewarned, spelling mistakes on important words like physician names will not look good!] I could see that what drove her was her passion to better someone else’s life through knowledge and training received in medical school.

Becoming a physician will allow me to impact individuals in the same way Dr. Handet does. [Rather than referring back to Dr. Handet, describe exactly what kind of physician YOU want to be. Remember, YOU are the one trying to get into medical school, not Dr. Mandet.] Physicians receive a certain level of trust and respect from their patients that will allow me to not only assist patients physically but emotionally. [This sentence feels somewhat like a power-trip. Instead, talk about carefully building trust and relationships with your patients. Remember – you have to earn your patients’ trust, even as a doctor.] There is a song that says “If I can help somebody, my living shall not be in vain.” I believe becoming a physician is the best career choice for me to make because it combines my love of science and people with my desire to serve others. [Be careful with this type of line. Virtually everyone going to medical school wants to go because they like science and people. It’s okay to like those two things, but you have to state it in an genuine and convincing way. For instance, chemistry teachers and nurses like science and people. What sets you apart from them? How is being a physician different from every other job involving science and people? Once again, stories go much farther than a run of words.]

For this case I focused on suggesting and analyzing the content of the essay, which is a great first step towards writing the personal statement. This essay brings in a range of ideas and experiences that can be narrowed and, at the same time, expanded.

Overall takeaway

It took nearly half the essay to get to the real essence of why you wanted to become a physician. You want to hook your readers early, and hook them with the right information. Rather, the essay started with a slightly upsetting story about Sam’s managerial position at Rooster’s.

If you are going to start off with a somewhat irrelevant topic, you MUST circle back to the story in the end and tie it into your goals and/or desires for medicine.

The essay had great ideas and thoughts towards the end when describing your university experience. However, they came in a little too late. An easy way to fix this is to push this paragraph straight to the top. The anecdote about seeing the signs “Enter to Learn” and “Depart to Serve” are intriguing hooks that you can add on to and play off of throughout the entire essay.

My biggest piece of advice is to go back to the drawing board and really reflect. Your essay is full of rather artificial descriptions of your passion. You cannot just say that you “like” science; you must SHOW it through pure example. After you show your detailed example you can summarize it. But you cannot claim anything without a captivating story.

Try to pinpoint very specific, colorful and meaningful moments in your university life that truly directed your passion to become a physician. Write them out with excruciating detail, choose which ones describe you and your goals best, and finally shave out the unneeded fluff.

By doing this you will hopefully turn the focus to YOU. Throughout the essay, we are constantly referred to outsiders: Sam, Sally, and then Dr. Mandet. This is the personal statement. Make it about you!

Descriptive examples. That is my best advice. Dig deep and reflect!


Yumi Kovic is the founder of madeMD.com, a comprehensive site of advice for all things pre-med. Yumi has a passion for writing, advising, and extreme multi-tasking. Follow Yumi on Twitter and check out her services for more personal and detailed essay edits.

Permanent link to this article: http://portal.mcatquestion.com/pwning-the-personal-statement-part-iiib-example-1-2/

Q&A with M Prep: Personal Statements

We recently received this email from a student regarding writing her personal statement:

I have been working on my personal statement and I started out with the free flow writing. It worked out well at getting ideas but I feel my paper sounds egotistical, too ‘health’ related, doesn’t transition well, and kinda feels all over the place… I was first going to attempt to have a great opening and break up the essay on the characteristics I possess that I would demand from a physician. I have a story how I developed them and attempted to perfect them. All of my stories are original to me, but I don’t know if this is what every medical student feels/ experiences and I don’t want to be unoriginal to the reader.

This issue is something a lot of students definitely face during the process of writing personal statements and is probably an inevitable consequence of Steps 1 and 2 from our ‘Pwning the Personal Statement Part II’. What are you supposed to do now that you’ve collected what appear to be several incongruous stories?

Believe it or not, you’re on the right track. The next step is really going to come down to making good choices about the story you want to tell and how your examples tell that story coherently. This happens during the editing process and it doesn’t happen alone. We’re going to deal with the editing process in Part III of the Pwning the Personal Statement series (coming soon!), but for now, here are a few things you can quickly do to figure out whether you’re on the right track.

  1. In 2-3 sentences, briefly tell the best story you can about yourself and why you’ll make a great doctor. Be as flattering to yourself as you want; this isn’t going into your essay. Include all the key reasons that you would want someone else to know if they were to meet you.
  2. Identify any key points that aren’t covered in any of your examples and add them in.
  3. Read over your personal statement and decide which examples tell any of those key points you wrote about in Step 1. Eliminate any redundancies by taking out the weakest one (you will not need two examples showing the same thing in your essay) and eliminate any stories that don’t hit any of your key points. Save this as Draft 2 (you can always bring culled stories back to life later if you want).
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 in their entirety (what you wrote in Step 1 may change after you’ve rewritten your essay a few times). Go through at least 2 full cycles of this process.
  5. Give your essay to someone whose opinion you trust but who doesn’t know you very well personally. Have them read the essay and ask them two questions:
    • Do they think what you wrote in Step 1 makes sense and is sufficient justification for admission to med school.
    • Do they think the essay matches what you wrote in Step 1.

    If you get a yes for both, you’re on the right track. If not, ask for specific feedback and go back to the drawing board.

Got your own questions you want answered? Email us at info@mcatquestionaday.com and we may feature your question and response!

Permanent link to this article: http://portal.mcatquestion.com/qa-with-m-prep-personal-statements/

Pwning the Personal Statement Part II: Writing the thing

This article is a continuation of Pwning the Personal Statement Part I: Intro and Free Essay Reviews!

Starting the essay can be extremely stressful and is often the hardest part of making a great personal statement (PS).  Students often want to write the essay by having inspiration inform structure.  This usually results in staring at a blank Word document for hours!  It’s far more efficient to have a structure over which you can lather inspiration.  With that, let’s lay out a structural approach to your PS.

1. Brainstorm: Create an Experience Map

You don’t have to be ultra-creative here.  Start off with a chronological list of notable accomplishments and experiences you’ve had in the last 5-8 years.  These can include volunteering at the hospital, doing research, and running marathons – anything you think could even be remotely relevant.  Ask for help from close family and friends – they’ll often remember events that you might have forgotten.  Quicktip: Making your list chronological will help ensure you get it all down!  Next to each item, write a short blurb about what you gained or what it tells about you as a person.  Here’s an example:

Research in pediatrics lab – displayed independence because I was given my own project.  Developed a love for science.

It’s as easy as that.  Your PS won’t include all of your experiences, just the select few you later choose to develop.  For now, this map will help you start to see the story you want to craft.  Did you realize you wanted to become a doctor ever since you shadowed that surgeon?  What subsequent experiences did you have that inspired that dream, developed its growth, and prepared you for this next step in medicine?  Your story should start to become visible at this point.

2. Word Vomit Time

This step is key and almost no one follows it.  It’s a huge benefit in writing essays and will relieve you of that writer’s block.  A lot of this probably won’t make it into your final essay but it will get you warmed up and focused.  Take a look at your experience map and just start writing whatever comes to mind.  Start with a brief introduction, jump into your examples, and conclude with a simple conclusion.  This word dump can be garbage – it doesn’t matter.

Here’s why: this process forces you to just write what’s on your mind and get your thoughts down in paragraph format.  It will reveal to you what you find important to discuss.  The editing process will allow you to clear things up, change examples around, etc.  Editing is ALWAYS easier than starting an essay.  That is why we heavily recommend you to just get your thoughts down first.

Yes, your essay might read “I want to be a doctor.  I love people and what to help them.”  Again, this can all be fixed up later with more poignant language.  If you at least get it started, you will have completed the hardest part of essay writing, all in probably under a couple hours.

3. Edit Like Mad!

We’ll be going in depth into this in Part III of this series.

4. Keep in mind…

While writing the PS, keep the following items in mind.  They should help you gather your thoughts and avoid common pitfalls in personal statement writing.

Recent examples trump old ones, but within reason.

Don’t talk about something that happened last week for the sake of having something recent, but don’t use something from 2nd grade unless it’s just there as background.  Your essay should show maturity; you’re going to do that by introspecitvely examining your major accomplishments in recent years, showing your utmost commitment to the field of medicine.

¼ of your content is answering the question “What happened”; ¾ is answering the question “Why does it matter”

Generic advice you’ll find online tells you to “show not tell” and to “not list chronologies”.  What they leave out is that your “awesome example” is probably pretty lame on its own.  Adcoms have likely read hundreds of essays which use the same examples you did.  Personal hardship/illness, global health work, research, they’ve read it all.

The only way to make your example unique is to actually talk about its impact on you and your desire to be a physician.  Explain what you learned from it and its overall value and why it proves that you have a deep passion for medicine.  Prove that you didn’t just get inspired; you took action and did something with your inspiration.

Don’t write like you talk

“I always used to think essays were best written as a conversation because I thought it literally enabled my writing to move mountains with meaning.”

Did you catch all the things wrong with that sentence?

1. “Always.” …really?  Did I think that way when I was five years old?  No.  Be clear about what you mean.  Avoid expletives and superlatives.
2. “Literally.” The writing literally moved mountains?  No, it didn’t.  Using “literally” or other hyperbole to illustrate a metaphor destroys your credibility.
3. “Move mountains.” Cliché.  ‘nuff said.
4. Avoid alliteration and consonance unless it actually makes the sentence sound nice and it’s a good sentence.  Don’t artificially inject a poetic or eloquent voice if it’s not who you really are.  Readers can tell, and it risks sounding cheesy.
5. This list is not exhaustive.  Always remember: be clear about what you are trying to say and say nothing more.
6. You have limited space so make it count.  For your Word Vomit, just throw it out there and don’t worry about these things.  But your second pass over it should already start cutting out anything that isn’t crucial to your story.

Be mature. Don’t blame others or yourself, complain, or regret anything.

There are few things more annoying to read than someone complaining or bringing up a serious weakness and then grasping at straws to justify it.  Don’t write about anything you aren’t prepared to be grilled about in your interview… which means this is not the time for a tell-all.  If you do have regrets and they have to be in your essay, make sure you can demonstrate maturity and growth as a result of the experience.  For example: If you hated doing research, at least you can discuss that you received an excellent opportunity to see academia first-hand and interact with scientists at the cutting edge of their medical field.

Don’t spin.

If you made a mistake and learned from it, admit that you made a mistake.  It will show maturity and that you learned from your past experiences – both very important qualities in an applicant.

Alright, that’s it for Part II!

In Part III, we cover the editing process: Pwning the Personal Statement Part IIIA: Editing.  So go ahead – go work on some word vomit and keep the above tips in mind!  See you next time!

P.S. Don’t send us your word vomit!  We’ll ask for submissions again after Part III!  (Don’t know what we’re talking about?  Check out Pwning the Personal Statement Part I: Intro and Free Essay Reviews!

Permanent link to this article: http://portal.mcatquestion.com/pwning-the-personal-statement-part-ii-writing-the-thing/

Pwning the Personal Statement Part I: Intro and Free Essay Reviews!

It’s getting to be that time when the early birds are thinking about their personal statements.  And you know what they say about the early birds… they get the interview!  We’re doing this series because a) most students struggle building a strategy for this problem and b) this is an extremely long and difficult component of the application process.

Start early!

Every year, students are required to write a personal statement (and additional essays depending on the specific programs where they apply).  The prompt rarely changes, meaning you can start preparing early with confidence.  The earlier you start brainstorming and writing, the better position you’re going to be in to reflect and have a complete and polished essay.

Participate!

This is the first of a multi-part series that will cover how to start brainstorming and writing your personal statement as well as how to edit your essay so it shines.

As part of this series, we’ll read and provide comments on your personal statements!  We’ll select a diverse set of samples and provide detailed comments on them for everyone to see and discuss (all personal info will be redacted).  Email your personal statement for a free review to info@mcatquestionaday.com under the Subject Line: “Personal Statement Sample.”  This is a great opportunity to get some solid feedback as well as help others in learning how to write great admissions essays. 

Note: the review is completely free.  For now, we will comment and provide feedback only on selected essays, so send yours in and be on the lookout for our comments!  Other essays may be reviewed at a later date, so don’t be discouraged if we don’t work on yours immediately!

Begin!

Remember, there’s a lot of generic advice out there.  Do a search and you’ll find the top tips on writing your personal statement include:

  • “Make the personal statement personal”
  • “Don’t list off all your accomplishments”
  • “Have other people help edit your essay”
  • “Tell them what makes you unique”

Everyone follows this advice, and most people use simply those tactics and nothing else.  So, admissions committees (adcoms) end up reading the same essays over and over again.  We’re going to show you how to turn the sleep-inducing essay into something that gleams on the paper.  For this first step, we invite you to jump into the waters fresh.  Get your ideas out as succinctly as you can – here’s the prompt:

Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school. The available space for your response is 5300 characters, or approximately one full page.

As we walk through the next few segments of this series, we’ll talk more about how to get the most from your efforts here.  Over the next few months you will probably end up writing multiple drafts from scratch.  This first draft will still be a useful way for you to reflect on your experiences and practice putting them to words.  Send your essays to info@mcatquestionaday.com and join the discussion!

Permanent link to this article: http://portal.mcatquestion.com/pwning-the-personal-statement-part-i-intro-and-free-essay-reviews/

About | Contact | About the MCAT | Disclaimer | My Account

Lee Simonov Services © 2012