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The personal statement provides an important glimpse of a candidate’s noncognitive traits such as self-awareness, empathy, passion and fortitude.
But Adam Hoverman, DO, who has reviewed many personal statements to assess med school and residency applicants, is concerned that heavily edited, overly polished essays do not accurately portray a candidate’s communication skills.
“Being able to organize your thoughts and write effectively is vital for transmitting knowledge as a physician,” says Dr.
“The applicants will write in very generic terms about how they want to help people, and you don’t see where this comes from,” she says.
“They don’t give their background story, and they don’t provide examples.” Dr.
“If you are applying to osteopathic medical schools, the people evaluating your application need to see that you have an understanding of the osteopathic approach to care.” However, warns Dr.
Pham, applicants should not try to address all of the osteopathic tenets in the essay, which would seem forced and insincere.To ensure that your personal statements are at their best, click on the links below for tips on how to write your personal statement, along with secondary essays.To ensure you have budgeted appropriately, review the AMCAS Fee Assistance Program link.The first part, she says, should be a one-paragraph “uniqueness statement”—something significant the applicant has accomplished, a passionate interest or hobby, or a challenging or deeply moving experience.She recalls one client who had several stories to choose from.Forums are frequently an excellent place to ask and answer questions.However, remember that information you read on forums is not necessarily true- you should independently verify information you read on these forums.Frederick notes that many students try to cram too much information into their personal statements, which end up reading like CVs or résumés.“The personal statement should be a narrative about an experience that led to personal growth in the pursuit of a medical career,” he says. How do you think differently about the world as a result of this experience? Pham reads a personal statement, he wants to be wowed by the applicant’s story.“The personal statement is really the only way you can make a memorable mark on admission committee members before you meet them,” says Benjamin K.Frederick, MD, a third-year radiology resident in Columbia, Missouri, who runs an essay-editing service called Pham advises students to have their personal statements critiqued before submitting them to medical schools or residency programs.