Medical school applicants have to write two kinds of medical school personal statements: a general statement for the AMCAS and a more specific secondary statement for each individual school to which they are applying.
Your primary (or AMCAS) medical school personal statement will be sent to every allopathic school you selected. It should convince an admissions committee that you have what it takes to be a successful medical student and a good doctor. It should explain who you are, why you want to be a physician, and what special qualities, experience, or abilities you would bring to the study of medicine.
Your secondary medical school personal statement will be read only at the school you submit it to. Use it to explain why you want to study medicine at this particular school and why you are an especially good fit for the school.
The good part about having your medical school personal statement read is that it means the admissions committee thinks you’re competitive. If your MCAT score, GPA, and other qualifications didn’t stand up against the top part of the applicant pool, the committee would have already put your file aside.
The bad part about having your med school personal statement read is that no one pays much attention to it until a relatively advanced stage of the selection process. Your statements need to be not just good but exceptional to help you stand out in the readers’ minds from all the other applicants who have similarly shining profiles.
To achieve that goal, write a personal statement that:
– Is well organized and well expressed. Your statement is not just an example of how well you can write. It’s an example of how well you can think. Use it to show the admissions committee that you can connect ideas and organize information, thoughts, and feelings.
– Communicates clearly. You’ll spend your medical career working with teams of people to carry out complex tasks. Show the committee members that you appreciate the importance of communicating information concisely and clearly.
– Has personality. Your medical school personal statement is the one part of the written application where you can show the admissions committee the human being behind your stats.
– Tells a story. Stories stick in reader’s minds more effectively than arguments do.