Top Medical School Personal Statement Don’ts

young medical doctor in hospital

There are lots of articles, seminars and webinars in regards to what you need to do in order to create a fantastic personal statement for medical school and we recommend that you take the time to read as many as you can before you begin creating your 5,300 characters of reflection that will become your personal statement. But even within all of the great suggestions on what to do, you can still accidentally torpedo your chances by committing the following mistakes.

Do not..

1). Allow your frustration to get the best of you – Whomever said that discerning one’s applicable life experiences into one page or 1000 characters is quite the liar. One thing that is important to do is to use this as an opportunity to reflect on your experiences and ask yourself: If you were a member of an admissions committee, what about this would impress you? This is also your opportunity to self reflect on your experiences and take stock on all you’ve done and how the lessons you have learned along the way have brought you to this point and how those lessons will propel you forward.

2). Regurgitate You Resume. – The personal statement is not about your credentials, it’s about the person behind the data and info. It’s about who they are, what they have done and what they have learned in order to be the person they are today. This isn’t the time to discuss all of your trophies and extracurricular activities. Address and expound only on those aspects that have helped define you.

3). Use vague, general or abstract prose. – Far too many times prospective med students will discuss some great act they have done for a prestigious organization/company, feeling that not being too specific adds humility or coolness. No. This is the time to name drop and be specific. Saying you participated in a summer program in order to give back with an international group doesn’t hold a candle to saying: ” For 90 days you participated with vaccinations to war torn survivors in the Sudan with Doctors Without borders.

4). Inundate the reader with Cliches – As you are writing your personal statement, be sure to avoid using experiences life lessons that belong to others. Stay away from this. You want to use your actual experiences and lessons and not cliches.

5). Try too hard to impress the committee. – You need to remember that for the admissions panel, this is not their first rodeo. They have more than likely seen it all and heard even more. You’ve got the credential, you’ve got the awards and acknowledgements. Let them tell their own story. Allow the personal statement to talk to your accomplishments and how those accomplishments have come to define you. The lessons you have learned from winning as well as the lessons learned from losing.

6). Avoid utilizing professional help – This isn’t the time to allow arrogance stop you from getting the most out of your personal statement. You may be a great student but that doesn’t mean you are a great writer. This Is the time to consult a professional medical school personal statement service such as or Princeton Review.

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