Personal statements are an important part of many application processes. We have developed the following tips to help you write a persuasive personal statement.
- Check the word/character count for the institution or application service you are submitting your personal statement to. Frequently, the limits are around 1000 words or 5300 characters.
- Limit the use of personal pronouns (I, me, my). In writing a personal statement, using personal pronouns is necessary; however, excessive use could be perceived as being self-centered. A personal statement is one of the first impressions that institutions have of perspective students, so be sure to start off on the right foot.
- Grammar is important. Read and re-read your personal statement. Write in a professional, concise tone, and avoid the use of clichés and slang. Check for misspelled words. A personal statement should also be in your own words.
- Make sure to answer the question prompted. As you are writing your personal statement, refer to the question prompted to ensure that your statement answers the question throughout. This will assist you in staying focused within your writing. Institutions usually want to know why you want to become a healthcare professional, e.g., physician, physician assistant, dentist, etc.
- Include between 2-3 experiences in your personal statement. Choose personal and/or volunteering and shadowing experiences that are relevant to the question prompted. Avoid using only personal experiences. A recommendation would be to use a mixture of personal and volunteering/shadowing experiences. Discuss experiences that made the largest impact on you and your decision to pursue your career path. These experiences may share a common theme; however, they don’t have to. Be sure that you are able to connect the dots between experiences throughout your statement and in your conclusion. In addition, be sure that there is a connection between experiences in your resume and your personal statement.
- Don’t get hung up on all of the details. Be sure to focus on the important details when writing about your experiences and leave out extraneous details. A personal statement is a balance between sharing your experiences and conveying why you are pursuing the health profession path you are on.
- Demonstrate empathy and service for others. Admission officers for healthcare professions want applicants to have demonstrated empathy and service to others. Make sure these characteristics come out in your statement.
- A personal statement is not an autobiography. Do not detail all of your personal accomplishments; your resume will do this. If institutions want to know more about what you have done, they will ask at your interview.
Crafting a Personal Statement, Association of American Medical Colleges