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Writing a Personal Statement

Overview

Your personal statement (P.S.) is the first place where you can speak directly to the person reading your application. It is your chance to tell them something about yourself that can't be gleaned from your application. The P.S. is not dependent on grades or other people’s opinions, just on your own words.  It should be brief, yet provide the reader with an overview of who you are, where you are headed and what you will bring to the program.  Your P.S. should not be a rehash of why you came to medical school or a summary of your CV, but rather a succinct statement of your career goals that reflects your personality and style.  This is where a program can get to know you in your own words and determine if you will be a “good fit” for their program. The personal statement can be difficult to write and is a source of much frustration and delay for students; start early and use all available resources.

A good personal statement won't necessarily get you the position, but a bad one can torpedo your candidacy!

Quick Links

Purpose of the Personal Statement

Content of a Personal Statement

Suggested Paragraphs

Personalizing Your Personal Statement

You may need more than one personal statement if…

Applying to Preliminary & Transitional Year

If you are applying for a preliminary or transitional year program, you should write a separate P.S. and or revise your original P.S.

Example of sentences from Preliminary Medicine statement...

Strong Closing Statements

Timeline

Worksheet for Personal Statement

This worksheet was developed by Anita D. Taylor, M.A. Ed., Associate Professor & Director of Career Advising Oregon Health & Science SOM, to aid her students in preparing for and organizing their personal statements.  She has shared to document with us. Download your own copy of the worksheet and fill it in yourself before starting your P.S.
Download Worksheet

Common Mistakes

Tips

Helpful Resources

Sample Personal Statements

P.S. Reviews

All initial P.S. review requests can go to your Pathway Advisor. If you have specific or special circumstances (gaps in medical education, failed board exams, etc), then you can ask your Student Affairs Career Advisor to also review your Personal Statement.

References:

AAMC Careers in Medicine Website
Anita D. Taylor, M.A. Ed., Associate Professor & Director of Career Advising,
Oregon Health & Science SOM