Do you need help structuring your personal statement? Are you finding it difficult to start writing? Do not worry, we are here to help! In this blog post, we will provide you with a personal statement framework that will help you organize your thoughts and create a powerful and acceptance-worthy personal statement. We are sharing all the tips to help you make sure that you have the best chance of getting into the school of your dreams!
How to Brainstorm Effectively
You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint or decorate your house without looking through Pinterest first, would you? Similarly, starting what could arguably be the most important essay of your career without a plan is equally as frivolous and could cost you.
Brainstorming is a great way to start any project, the personal statement included.
Drawing a complete blank? No worries, utilizing prompts to get the juices flowing is highly effective.
Better yet, use my Med Personal Statement Starter Kit We created this free resource to walk you through 32 questions designed to extract your best strengths as a medical school applicant. Its a secret weapon we use for the students inside our course.
You can also use a mind map to brainstorm for your personal statement. A mind map is a visual way of brainstorming and organizing your thoughts. It can help you see the connections between different ideas and how they relate to each other. For instance, you can create a mind map of your journey to medical school, or a mind map of formative life, and academic or work experiences that are relevant to your career goals.
Once you have created a mind map, you can start to see the overall structure of your experiences and can begin to get a clearer picture of what things to include in your personal statement. This will help you determine what information is relevant and how to organize it.
Which Personal Experiences to Include
What you want out of your brainstorming session is to have a good idea of what experiences support your best strengths.
Focus on extracting at least 2 exceptional professional experiences, and at least one life experience that supports your best strengths as a candidate.
Your professional experiences can be clinical hours, jobs, exceptional academic experiences such as internships, volunteer efforts, mentoring, blogging ,etc.
Life experiences can be anything else that has personally challenged you to become a better person and a better physician.
Once you have 3 SOLID & personally unique experiences to describe in your essay, you're ready to start to organize the format of your essay.
Create an Outline Map of Your Essay
After you have brainstormed and collected all of your thoughts, it is time to start creating an outline for your personal statement. An outline is a great way to organize your thoughts to ensure that the writing process goes smoothly and painlessly. Being organized with your outline is far more important than being a good writer in this process.
A good personal statement will have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. If these were a sandwich the meat (or plant-based alternative) would be the body, & this is what I want you to focus most on since it is the bulk of it.
The body of the personal statement should be where you expand on your experiences and explain how they have shaped you.
Your outline would look something like this:
Writing to Communicate Your Ideas Clearly
It may sound obvious, but the secret to really great writing is to communicate your ideas clearly.
Your medical school personal statement is not a literary competition, nor is it designed to be a trick assignment where you get more points for doing weird stuff. So after you know that the subject matter of your essay is good then focus on being CLEAR AND CONCISE in your writing.
In my experience a lot of the time it requires explaining the same thing a few different ways and then picking which one communicates your ideas the clearest. The more you can focus on clarifying the message more and more every draft.
The First Draft
For the first draft, we encourage our students to write at least a full page about each experience on their outline, instead of limiting themselves to a certain character count or amount of words. This is because sometimes it takes explaining something with lots of words to try and get the idea out, & that's totally ok, you will be able to ruthlessly edit stuff later. So try and write as much as you want in describing each experience to see how you communicate. Consider that to be your first draft.
The Second Draft & Beyond
Now go back and try to narrow down each experience to 1-3 paragraphs each, leaving only what is essential to communicating your experience clearly as it relates to how it strengthened you as an applicant.
In the last paragraph of each experience write a quick sentence on how this individual experience has strengthened you as a candidate & your decision to pursue medicine.
Incorporate transitional sentences to tie all your experiences together. Utilize the last sentence of the previous paragraph to describe the next paragraph.
Intro & Conclusion
Write an introduction by introducing yourself to the reader and telling them what they will be reading about in your personal statement
Start with a strong opening sentence that grabs the attention of the reader.
Your introduction should end with a thesis statement that tells the reader what you will be writing about in your personal statement.
The conclusion is where you tie all of your experiences together and explain how they have helped you to become the person that you are today.
Your conclusion should also reiterate your interest in medicine, and how you would utilize the opportunity to gain acceptance to medical school.
Edit Like a Pro
The final step is to proofread and edit your personal statement. Focus on CLARITY and how easy it is to read and digest. Essay readers at Admissions committees are really great at skimming to search for pertinent clues about whether you're acceptance worthy or not. If you make it so that they don't have to search and you offer everything they're looking for on a platter, then it will fare better for you and them!
Share it with 3-4 people that you trust to give you good feedback. You may choose to invest in a professional editing service or a course that includes unlimited professional edits like Med Personal Statement Mastery for peace of mind, but if that is not an option in addition to friends, families, and professors, try and have someone in the profession look at it since they may have insight into the kinds of attributes that will help to get you accepted.
Take Home Points
The premise of crafting an unforgettable Personal statement can be daunting, but by following this personal statement framework, you will automatically avoid pitfalls, save yourself precious time and energy and be well on your way to writing a strong personal statement that will help you get into the medical school your dreams.
I hope this was helpful, feel free to share & visit Med Personal Statement Mastery to learn more