Given that the average applicant in 2009-2010 applied to 13 programs, the AMCAS can save you a ton of time by allowing you to submit just one application rather than a dozen or more. Learn more about the AMCAs personal statement in this article.
AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) is a centralized application service for medical schools, allowing you to save time by submitting just one application. With over 140 MD granting institutions participating, you’ll likely use AMCAS if you’re applying to medical school in the US. While this service does enhance convenience, it also makes it even more difficult to stand out. Most applicants will have similar backgrounds to yours, and the AMCAS personal statement is your biggest opportunity to show who you are as an individual and persuade the admissions officers to choose you.
As part of your AMCAS application package, you’ll be asked to write a personal statement of not more than 5,300 characters. Although it varies from essay to essay, this will give you enough room for an essay of about one page and one paragraph. This is a hard limit, and the system won’t accept more characters than that, so it is important to keep this limit in mind as you plan and write your essay. Most word processors will give you two character counts, one that includes spaces and one that does not. For the AMCAS personal statement, spaces count as characters.
However, the bigger issue for applicants is that AMCAS doesn’t provide a traditional prompt. You will simply be asked to write an essay about why you want to go to med school. Therefore, what exactly should you include in your AMCAS essay?
Ultimately, that decision is yours, but the admissions officers will be looking for you to show passion for patients and potential to excel both in medical school and in your future career as a doctor. To help, consider these four questions.
Why are you pursuing a career in medicine?
Of course, you are free to answer this question any way you like. However, unless the answer is that you want to make patient’s lives better, medicine might not be for you. From beginning to end, make sure that your essay is patient-focused.
Also, it is common for applicants to begin their essay with an anecdote from their childhood. In our experience, med schools are really only interested in your life after you began college and won’t particularly be impressed with anything before that regardless of how important it was in your path to choosing this career. Instead, choose stories that show the adult you taking concrete steps in the field of medicine.
What makes you an excellent candidate to become a physician? Why do you have what it takes to succeed?
Not only do you need a strong academic track record in the sciences, med schools are looking for applicants who have developed the personality characteristics that will serve them well as a doctor. In your essay, you might want to write about compassion, team work, and respect for patient autonomy. You don’t need to write about all three, but the anecdotes that you choose should reflect an applicant who has not only technical knowhow but ethics and interpersonal skills.
What do you feel that an admissions officer should know about you that is not included elsewhere in your application?
The other parts of the AMCAS application are highly standardized, so the essay gives you a chance to elaborate on who you are outside of your transcripts, test scores, and activities. What activities do you enjoy outside of the classroom? How will you contribute not only to study groups but to the student body as a whole?
Are there any elements of your application that need further explanation or elaboration?
Life is college is not always smooth, and you might have some areas in your transcript or test scores that warrant further explanation. Applicants can be very apprehensive about addressing these issues within the essay out of fear that what they write will harm their application. Therefore, when writing about these situations, always be factual about what occurred and then move quickly to how you resolved the issue and have become a more mature and resilient applicant as a result.
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In this article, Medical School Personal Statements that can beat 52,323 Applications, you will learn to create a sincere, interesting, and thoughtful essay that highlights your strengths and qualities.
With more than 50,000 applicants to medical school this year, only those with a compelling story will be selected to interview.
While metrics, such as the MCAT and GPA, are crucial, admissions committee members view applications holistically meaning who you are and what is important to you matters just as much as your “numbers.”
We’ve got you covered:
Below are some strategies you can employ that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Let’s get started:
Whether you’re applying to AMCAS, TMDSAS, or AACOMAS essay prompts are generally not topic-driven like a traditional essay you might write for an academic class. So let us guide you to understand Medical School Personal Statements that can beat 52,323 Applications.
Keep in mind:
We encourage applicants to try and write a topic-driven essay that has a distinct theme.
“I have a great theme, why I want to be a doctor.”
Of course, from time to time, a student might write a beautiful essay with a theme, but, most of the time these essays do not succeed in telling an applicant’s story comprehensively and convincingly.
Related:Too Early to Start Working on Your 2018 Medical School Application? – When to Start Your First Draft
I don’t have anything to write about.
Of course you have a story.Everyone does.
Here is a list of questions that can help a student find key elements of his or her story.
How should you start your medical school personal statement?
You hear conflicting advice. Some tell you not to open with a story. Others tell you to always begin with a story. Regardless of the advice you receive, be sure to do three things:
1) Be true to yourself. Everyone will have an opinion regarding what you should and should not write. Follow your own instincts. Your personal statement should be a reflection of you, and only you.
2) Start your personal statement with something catchy.Think about the list of potential topics above.
3) Don’t rush your work. Don’t panic. Composing great documents takes time and you don’t want your writing and ideas to be sloppy and underdeveloped.
Medical school personal statements that can beat 52,323 applications.
SHOW, DON’T TELL
Know this mantra:
Something my clients hear me say throughout the application process, and a common mantra for anyone who works in admissions, is to “show” rather than “tell.”
What does this mean, exactly?
It means that whether you are writing a personal statement or interviewing, you should show evidence for what you are trying to communicate.
Here’s an example.
In a personal statement, never say that you are compassionate and empathetic; instead, demonstrate that you possess these qualities by offering concrete examples.
Medical School Personal Statements that can beat 52,323 Applications via GIPHY
Also keep in mind:
Like your personal statement, your interview responses, too, should evoke all the qualities and characteristics that your interviewer is seeking. Again, show don’t tell.
And consider this:
The following is a medical school interview question, “Tell me about your most valuable shadowing experience and why it was important to you.”
Hit them with this kind of answer:
“My most valuable experience was shadowing Dr. Brit. I really learned so much about oncology, which I found fascinating. I would go home every night and read about what I had heard and learned. But I also enjoyed watching him talk to patients. I noticed that he held each patient’s hand, listened to them attentively and made clear to each person that he really cared.”
And there’s more:
By talking about his mentor, this applicant shows his understanding of the importance of compassionate care, and in expressing this, further suggests that these ideals are important to him, too.
The mantra “show, don’t tell” cannot be said enough. Remember this throughout every stage, written documents and interviews, of the medical admissions process.
Where can I find further inspiration? Need help with your personal statement med school?
1) Click hereto visit the Student Doctor Network website to find out how other students are preparing to write their personal statements.
2) Click hereto see what students on the Reddit medical school personal statement premed forum are saying about their personal statements.
3) Your application materials must be authentic, but sometimes a little inspiration helps. Read The MedEdits Guide to Medical School Admissions. There you will find examples of ‘successful’ personal statements and application entries.
I would like more resources about medical school personal statements and how to apply.
RELATED: What to Watch out for in Medical School Interviews
Where should I look?
For those of you who love to drink coffee and stay up until the roosters come out.Here’s a great “go to” list where you can read about more personal statement and application topics.
1) Click here to visit www.AAMC.org to learn about AMCAS, the allopathic (M.D) application service.
2) Click here to visit the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website to review important requirements for your AACOMAS application.
3) If you want to apply to most medical schools in Texas, you will need to complete the TMDSAS application. Click here for more information.
Personal Statement for Medical School Myths
Personal Statement Myths:The list below is based on an article I wrote all the way back in 2010 for The Student Doctor Network.I guess some solid advice never gets old.
#1: Never write about anything that took place in the past or before college.
#2: Never write about topics unrelated to medicine.
#3: Never write about a patient encounter or your own experience with health care.
#4: Always have a theme or a thesis.
#5: Don’t write about anything negative.
Click here to read the article on SDN.
Example Personal Statement
Synopsis: A first generation college student learns from family illness. This personal statement is an excerpt from The MedEdits Guide to Medical School Admissions, P. 162.