3 Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement


1. Map out your skills and experiences - Link back!

Grab a notepad and pen and write down all the work experience, extra-curricular activities and hobbies you have completed to-date. Having this list in front of you will make sure you don't miss any important things you might want to mention in your statement.

Now you have this list, you need to draw out the skills each activity has used or developed. You should have two or three skills for every single activity. If you have taken part in your debating society you can note skills such as communication, resilience, teamwork, confidence etc.

To take your personal analysis to the next level you need to link these skills and experiences to how they are going to make you a better Medical Student. This can be hard initially but this is a key difference between a good personal statement and a great one! Lets see how we use an example and go through those steps:

1. Extra-curricular activity = Captain of school hockey team

2. Skills = Teamwork, leadership, communication, dedication to training.

3. Link each skill back to how this makes you a better Medical Student. Here is an example how you could link "teamwork":

Teamwork is crucial as a Medical Student. The problem based learning style requires students to work through patients' cases as a team. The teamwork skills developed will help students work through the case efficiently and ensure each member of the team shares knowledge, resulting in each student with a sound understanding of the case.

2. Start with your second paragraph first

Trying to create the perfect opening sentence is extremely difficult and can often leave you staring at a blank page for hours. Leave the opening sentence until last and get all the important stuff down first.

Your second paragraph will likely discuss your work experience, your passion for medicine or your extra-curricular activities. This will be much easier to write and remember what we discussed above... Reflect on everything you write, draw the skills out and link back to why this will make you a great medical student.

3. Review. Review. Review.

It takes time to create a great statement and it will take a lot of revisions! Don't try and complete it in one evening, instead work on it in short bursts with time in between each burst. The time between sessions will help you see it from different perspectives and stop the "writer's block" feeling.

When you feel you have your statement in good shape, you need to show it to someone else to review it for you. This can be a parent, teacher, or anyone you can trust to give you professional advice.