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Writing Your Personal Statement


The application personal statement is a very important part of your application. It is a narrative way for you to personalize your application, to tell the schools more about yourself and your motivations and goals. However, many applicants have trouble writing the personal statement…putting into words what they are thinking and feeling. So, here are some suggestions on how to get started writing it.

The first step is to clearly understand the prompt in the application. In other words, what are the schools wanting to know? In most cases, they want to better understand your motivations for seeking admission into their school and entry into the given profession. They also want to know things that you have done to support these motivations, and what meaning you have taken away from those experiences.

Once you clearly understand what you are to be writing about, you can begin to put together ideas. It is sometimes easier to do this initially in a series of incomplete thoughts. Just jot down words and phrases that seem to resonate with you about your motivations and goals. Maybe they are words that indicate your abilities or personal characteristics, or possibly phrases that remind you of experiences that you have had. They might even be philosophical thoughts about what you think a healthcare professional should do or be. The key here is to think outside of the confines of a formal essay and to just get some ideas out of your head. Don’t limit the number of things you include on this list. You will likely only use a limited amount of this information in the formal personal statement that you write.

After you have completed this process of thinking about the ideas and topics you want to include in your personal statement, you can begin to organize the ideas you now have into some kind of coherent outline. You are probably going to start seeing some redundancies and/or some clear direction on where you want to go with it. Begin to group like thoughts into categories so that you can get organized. A meaningful outline might even begin to emerge as you do that.

Before you actually start the formal writing process, think about the following three key elements of the essay:

WHAT?


This is the part of the essay that is about your motivation and the experiences that you have had in support of that motivation. You do not need to reiterate in detail things that you have already included in the application. You simply want to focus on a few experiences that you feel really do support your internal motivation for seeking a career in healthcare.

SO WHAT?


This is the part of your essay that really differentiates a good essay from a great one. What value or meaning did you take away from the experiences you have had. Did you learn anything from those experiences? What did you learn about yourself or about the healthcare career you are seeking to enter?

NOW WHAT?


This is the part of the essay where you explore what you want your future in healthcare to look like. This doesn’t mean that you have to explore the details of your future in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine. It does mean that you need to have some thoughts about what you want out of a professional life…how you envision your career evolving. For example, what are the personal traits that are important to you that you would want to exhibit in your career as a healthcare professional?

If you will include coverage of these three general areas in your essay, you will go a long way toward helping the professional schools understand more about you.


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About the author: The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) is the centralized application processing service for applicants to the first-year entering classes at all of the public medical, dental, and veterinary schools in the State of Texas.

Inside Health Education

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