Admission, application and entrance essays: writing, editing, proofreading

How to write a personal statement for medical school: 10 great things to write about

Writing personal statements can be really tedious when you’re a student, in part because you have to write so many of them. Here are ten ideas to freshen up your personal statement for medical school:

  1. Write about being a child.
  2. No, not the cliché of “I always wanted to grow up to be a doctor.” Not that. Instead, tell an authentic, interesting, poignant, or funny story about your childhood—one that has made you who you are today. It could be a small challenge you overcame, or even a childish failure that has stuck with you and motivated you over the years.

  3. Write about the future.
  4. Your future plans are as important as your past. Weave your five or ten year plan into a personal statement to add a new facet.

  5. Write about a relationship with someone else.
  6. Actually, just write about someone else, and make yourself, and your actions evident through your narrative about them. This could be a story about a best friend, a parent, a sibling, or even an enemy.

  7. Write about an organization you belong to.
  8. Whether it’s a church group, a riding club, a band, or some other group, writing about these interactions demonstrates how you see other people and how you approach group dynamics.

  9. Write about a major failure or mistake.
  10. This is a good one for two reasons—people usually don’t write about it, and because our failures are sometimes the most authentic way to show who we are as people.

  11. Write about something you love.
  12. This seems obvious, but keep in mind that you can make the actual topic of the essay something you love rather than yourself. Just be sure to weave in information about you while you write about it.

  13. Write about a dilemma you’ve faced.
  14. Whether it was an ethical dilemma, an academic one, or just a choice you had to make in life, how you view dilemmas and how you solve them says a great deal about it.

  15. Write about a challenge you decided not to take on.
  16. Sometimes caution is the better part of valor, and sometimes we have to save our energy and passion for the right challenge.

  17. Write about something bad you’ve done.
  18. This could be a lie you told as a child, a big mistake you’ve made—this is a great way to show who you are, and how you’ve grown.

  19. Write about something you’re really, really good at.
  20. Sometimes writers gloss over this, so it can be a refreshing change.

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