• Medical School Application

Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

Featured Admissions Expert: Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

These 30 exemplary medical school personal statement examples come from our students who enrolled in one of our application review programs. Most of these examples led to multiple acceptance for our students. For instance, the first example got our student accepted into SIX medical schools. Here's what you'll find in this article: We'll first go over 30 medical school personal statement samples, then we'll provide you a step-by-step guide for composing your own outstanding statement from scratch. If you follow this strategy, you're going to have a stellar statement whether you apply to the most competitive or the easiest medical schools to get into .

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Listen to the blog!

Article Contents 36 min read

Stellar medical school personal statement examples that got multiple acceptances, medical school personal statement example #1.

I made my way to Hillary’s house after hearing about her alcoholic father’s incarceration. Seeing her tearfulness and at a loss for words, I took her hand and held it, hoping to make things more bearable. She squeezed back gently in reply, “thank you.” My silent gesture seemed to confer a soundless message of comfort, encouragement and support.

Through mentoring, I have developed meaningful relationships with individuals of all ages, including seven-year-old Hillary. Many of my mentees come from disadvantaged backgrounds; working with them has challenged me to become more understanding and compassionate. Although Hillary was not able to control her father’s alcoholism and I had no immediate solution to her problems, I felt truly fortunate to be able to comfort her with my presence. Though not always tangible, my small victories, such as the support I offered Hillary, hold great personal meaning. Similarly, medicine encompasses more than an understanding of tangible entities such as the science of disease and treatment—to be an excellent physician requires empathy, dedication, curiosity and love of problem solving. These are skills I have developed through my experiences both teaching and shadowing inspiring physicians.

Medicine encompasses more than hard science. My experience as a teaching assistant nurtured my passion for medicine; I found that helping students required more than knowledge of organic chemistry. Rather, I was only able to address their difficulties when I sought out their underlying fears and feelings. One student, Azra, struggled despite regularly attending office hours. She approached me, asking for help. As we worked together, I noticed that her frustration stemmed from how intimidated she was by problems. I helped her by listening to her as a fellow student and normalizing her struggles. “I remember doing badly on my first organic chem test, despite studying really hard,” I said to Azra while working on a problem. “Really? You’re a TA, shouldn’t you be perfect?” I looked up and explained that I had improved my grades through hard work. I could tell she instantly felt more hopeful, she said, “If you could do it, then I can too!” When she passed, receiving a B+;I felt as if I had passed too. That B+ meant so much: it was a tangible result of Azra’s hard work, but it was also symbol of our dedication to one another and the bond we forged working together.

My passion for teaching others and sharing knowledge emanates from my curiosity and love for learning. My shadowing experiences in particular have stimulated my curiosity and desire to learn more about the world around me. How does platelet rich plasma stimulate tissue growth? How does diabetes affect the proximal convoluted tubule? My questions never stopped. I wanted to know everything and it felt very satisfying to apply my knowledge to clinical problems.

Shadowing physicians further taught me that medicine not only fuels my curiosity; it also challenges my problem solving skills. I enjoy the connections found in medicine, how things learned in one area can aid in coming up with a solution in another. For instance, while shadowing Dr. Steel I was asked, “What causes varicose veins and what are the complications?” I thought to myself, what could it be? I knew that veins have valves and thought back to my shadowing experience with Dr. Smith in the operating room. She had amputated a patient’s foot due to ulcers obstructing the venous circulation. I replied, “veins have valves and valve problems could lead to ulcers.” Dr. Steel smiled, “you’re right, but it doesn’t end there!” Medicine is not disconnected; it is not about interventional cardiology or orthopedic surgery. In fact, medicine is intertwined and collaborative. The ability to gather knowledge from many specialties and put seemingly distinct concepts together to form a coherent picture truly attracts me to medicine.

It is hard to separate science from medicine; in fact, medicine is science. However, medicine is also about people—their feelings, struggles and concerns. Humans are not pre-programmed robots that all face the same problems. Humans deserve sensitive and understanding physicians. Humans deserve doctors who are infinitely curious, constantly questioning new advents in medicine. They deserve someone who loves the challenge of problem solving and coming up with innovative individualized solutions. I want to be that physician. I want to be able to approach each case as a unique entity and incorporate my strengths into providing personalized care for my patients. Until that time, I may be found Friday mornings in the operating room, peering over shoulders, dreaming about the day I get to hold the drill.

Let's take a step back to consider what this medical school personal statement example does, not just what it says. It begins with an engaging hook in the first paragraph and ends with a compelling conclusion. The introduction draws you in, making the essay almost impossible to put down, while the conclusion paints a picture of someone who is both passionate and dedicated to the profession. In between the introduction and conclusion, this student makes excellent use of personal narrative. The anecdotes chosen demonstrate this individual's response to the common question, " Why do you want to be a doctor ?" while simultaneously making them come across as compassionate, curious, and reflective. The essay articulates a number of key qualities and competencies, which go far beyond the common trope, I want to be a doctor because I want to help people.

This person is clearly a talented writer, but this was the result of several rounds of edits with one of our medical school admissions consulting team members and a lot of hard work on the student's part. If your essay is not quite there yet, or if you're just getting started, don't sweat it. Do take note that writing a good personal essay takes advanced planning and significant effort.

I was one of those kids who always wanted to be doctor. I didn’t understand the responsibilities and heartbreaks, the difficult decisions, and the years of study and training that go with the title, but I did understand that the person in the white coat stood for knowledge, professionalism, and compassion. As a child, visits to the pediatrician were important events. I’d attend to my hair and clothes, and travel to the appointment in anticipation. I loved the interaction with my doctor. I loved that whoever I was in the larger world, I could enter the safe space of the doctor’s office, and for a moment my concerns were heard and evaluated. I listened as my mother communicated with the doctor. I’d be asked questions, respectfully examined, treatments and options would be weighed, and we would be on our way. My mother had been supported in her efforts to raise a well child, and I’d had a meaningful interaction with an adult who cared for my body and development. I understood medicine as an act of service, which aligned with my values, and became a dream.

I was hospitalized for several months as a teenager and was inspired by the experience, despite the illness. In the time of diagnosis, treatment and recovery, I met truly sick children. Children who were much more ill than me. Children who wouldn’t recover. We shared a four-bed room, and we shared our medical stories. Because of the old hospital building, there was little privacy in our room, and we couldn’t help but listen-in during rounds, learning the medical details, becoming “experts” in our four distinct cases. I had more mobility than some of the patients, and when the medical team and family members were unavailable, I’d run simple errands for my roommates, liaise informally with staff, and attend to needs. To bring physical relief, a cold compress, a warmed blanket, a message to a nurse, filled me with such an intense joy and sense of purpose that I applied for a volunteer position at the hospital even before my release.

I have since been volunteering in emergency departments, out-patient clinics, and long term care facilities. While the depth of human suffering is at times shocking and the iterations of illness astounding, it is in the long-term care facility that I had the most meaningful experiences by virtue of my responsibilities and the nature of the patients’ illnesses. Charles was 55 when he died. He had early onset Parkinson’s Disease with dementia that revealed itself with a small tremor when he was in his late twenties. Charles had a wife and three daughters who visited regularly, but whom he didn’t often remember. Over four years as a volunteer, my role with the family was to fill in the spaces left by Charles’ periodic inability to project his voice as well as his growing cognitive lapses. I would tell the family of his activities between their visits, and I would remind him of their visits and their news. This was a hard experience for me. I watched as 3 daughters, around my own age, incrementally lost their father. I became angry, and then I grew even more determined.

In the summer of third year of my Health Sciences degree, I was chosen to participate in an undergraduate research fellowship in biomedical research at my university. As part of this experience, I worked alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical students, physicians, and faculty in Alzheimer’s research into biomarkers that might predict future disease. We collaborated in teams, and by way of the principal investigator’s careful leadership, I learned wherever one falls in terms of rank, each contribution is vital to the outcome. None of the work is in isolation. For instance, I was closely mentored by Will, a graduate student who had been in my role the previous summer. He, in turn, collaborated with post docs and medical students, turning to faculty when roadblocks were met. While one person’s knowledge and skill may be deeper than another’s, individual efforts make up the whole. Working in this team, aside from developing research skills, I realized that practicing medicine is not an individual pursuit, but a collaborative commitment to excellence in scholarship and leadership, which all begins with mentorship.

Building on this experience with teamwork in the lab, I participated in a global health initiative in Nepal for four months, where I worked alongside nurses, doctors, and translators. I worked in mobile rural health camps that offered tuberculosis care, monitored the health and development of babies and children under 5, and tended to minor injuries. We worked 11-hour days helping hundreds of people in the 3 days we spent in each location. Patients would already be in line before we woke each morning. I spent each day recording basic demographic information, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight, height, as well as random blood sugar levels, for each patient, before they lined up to see a doctor. Each day was exhausting and satisfying. We helped so many people. But this satisfaction was quickly displaced by a developing understanding of issues in health equity.

My desire to be doctor as a young person was not misguided, but simply naïve. I’ve since learned the role of empathy and compassion through my experiences as a patient and volunteer. I’ve broadened my contextual understanding of medicine in the lab and in Nepal. My purpose hasn’t changed, but what has developed is my understanding that to be a physician is to help people live healthy, dignified lives by practicing both medicine and social justice.

28 More Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted

What my sister went through pushed me to strengthen my knowledge in medical education, patient care, and research. These events have influenced who I am today and helped me determine my own passions. I aspire to be a doctor because I want to make miracles, like my sister, happen. Life is something to cherish; it would not be the same if I did not have one of my four sisters to spend it with. As all stories have endings, I hope that mine ends with me fulfilling my dream of being a doctor, which has been the sole focus of my life to this point. I would love nothing more than to dedicate myself to such a rewarding career, where I achieve what those doctors did for my family. Their expertise allowed my sister to get all the care she needed for her heart, eyes, lungs, and overall growth. Those physicians gave me more than just my little sister, they gave me the determination and focus needed to succeed in the medical field, and for that, I am forever grateful. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #3","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #3"}]" code="tab4" template="BlogArticle">

I came to America, leaving my parents and friends behind, to grasp my chance at a better future. I believe this chance is now in front of me. Medicine is the only path I truly desire because it satisfies my curiosity about the human body and it allows me to directly interact with patients. I do not want to miss this chance to further hone my skills and knowledge, in order to provide better care for my patients. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement #4","title":"Medical School Personal Statement #4"}]" code="tab5" template="BlogArticle">

The time I have spent in various medical settings has confirmed my love for the field. Regardless of the environment, I am drawn to patients and their stories, like that scared young boy at AMC. I am aware that medicine is a constantly changing landscape; however, one thing that has remained steadfast over the years is putting the patient first, and I plan on doing this as a physician. All of my experiences have taught me a great deal about patient interaction and global health, however, I am left wanting more. I crave more knowledge to help patients and become more useful in the healthcare sector. I am certain medical school is the path that will help me reach my goal. One day, I hope to use my experiences to become an amazing doctor like the doctors that treated my sister, so I can help other children like her. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #5","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #5"}]" code="tab6" template="BlogArticle">

My interest in the field of medicine has developed overtime, with a common theme surrounding the importance of personal health and wellness. Through my journey in sports, travelling, and meeting some incredible individuals such as Michael, I have shifted my focus from thinking solely about the physical well-being, to understanding the importance of mental, spiritual, and social health as well. Being part of a profession that emphasizes continuous education, and application of knowledge to help people is very rewarding, and I will bring compassion, a hard work ethic and an attitude that is always focused on bettering patient outcomes. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example # 7","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example # 7"}]" code="tab8" template="BlogArticle">

Medicine embodies a hard science, but it is ultimately a profession that treats people. I have seen firsthand that medicine is not a \u201cone-treatment-fits-all\u201d practice, as an effective physician takes a holistic approach. This is the type of physician I aspire to be: one who refuses to shy away from the humanity of patients and their social context, and one who uses research and innovation to improve the human condition. So, when I rethink \u201cwhy medicine?\u201d, I know it\u2019s for me \u2013 because it is a holistic discipline, because it demands all of me, because I am ready to absorb the fascinating knowledge and science that dictates human life, and engage with humanity in a way no other profession allows for. Until the day that I dawn the coveted white coat, you can find me in inpatient units, comforting the many John\u2019s to come, or perhaps at the back of an operating room observing a mitral valve repair \u2013 dreaming of the day the puck is in my zone. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #8","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #8"}]" code="tab9" template="BlogArticle">

When I signed up to be a live DJ, I didn't know that the oral skills I practiced on-air would influence all aspects of my life, let alone lead me to consider a career in the art of healing. I see now, though, the importance of these key events in my life that have allowed me to develop excellent communication skills--whether that be empathic listening, reading and giving non-verbal cues, or verbal communication. I realize I have always been on a path towards medicine. Ultimately, I aim to continue to strengthen my skills as I establish my role as a medical student and leader: trusting my choices, effectively communicating, and taking action for people in need. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #9","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #9"}]" code="tab10" template="BlogArticle">

\u201cWhy didn\u2019t I pursue medicine sooner?\u201d Is the question that now occupies my mind. Leila made me aware of the unprofessional treatment delivered by some doctors. My subsequent activities confirmed my desire to become a doctor who cares deeply for his patients and provides the highest quality care. My passion for research fuels my scientific curiosity. I will continue to advocate for patient equality and fairness. Combining these qualities will allow me to succeed as a physician. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #10","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #10"}]" code="tab11" template="BlogArticle">

Medical school personal statement example: #11

Medical school personal statement example: #12, medical school personal statement example: #13, medical school personal statement example: #14, medical school personal statement example: #15, medical school personal statement example: #16, medical school personal statement example: #17, medical school personal statement example: #18, medical school personal statement example: #19, medical school personal statement example: #20, medical school personal statement example: #21, medical school personal statement example: #22, medical school personal statement example: #23, medical school personal statement example: #24, medical school personal statement example: #25, medical school personal statement example: #26, medical school personal statement example: #27, medical school personal statement example: #28, medical school personal statement example: #29, medical school personal statement example: #30.

Please note that all personal statements are the property of the students who wrote them, re-printed with permission. Names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Plagiarism detection software is used when evaluating personal statements. Plagiarism is grounds for disqualification from the application. ","label":"NOTE","title":"NOTE"}]" code="tab2" template="BlogArticle">

As one of the most important  medical school requirements , the personal statement tells your story of why you decided to pursue the medical profession. Keep in mind that personal statements are one of the key factors that affect medical school acceptance rates . This is why it's important to write a stellar essay!

“Personal statements are often emphasized in your application to medical school as this singular crucial factor that distinguishes you from every other applicant. Demonstrating the uniqueness of my qualities is precisely how I found myself getting multiple interviews and offers into medical school.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD

But this is easier said than done. In fact, medical school personal statements remain one of the most challenging parts of students' journeys to medical school. Here's our student Melissa sharing her experience of working on her personal statement:

"I struggled making my personal statement personal... I couldn't incorporate my feelings, motives and life stories that inspired me to pursue medicine into my personal statement" -Melissa, BeMo Student

Our student Rishi, who is now a student at the Carver College of Medicine , learned about the importance of the medical school personal statement the hard way:

"If you're a reapplicant like me, you know we all dread it but you have to get ready to answer what has changed about your application that we should accept you this time. I had an existing personal statement that did not get me in the first time so there was definitely work to be done." - Rishi, BeMo Student

The importance of the medical school personal statement can actually increase if you are applying to medical school with any red flags or setbacks, as our student Kannan did:

"I got 511 on my second MCAT try... My goal was anything over median of 510 so anything over that was honestly good with me because it's just about [creating] a good personal statement at that point... I read online about how important the personal statement [is]... making sure [it's] really polished and so that's when I decided to get some professional help." - Kannan, BeMo Student

As you can see from these testimonials, your medical school personal statement can really make a difference. So we are here to help you get started writing your own personal statement. Let's approach this step-by-step. Below you will see how we will outline the steps to creating your very best personal statement. And don't forget that if you need to see more examples, you can also check out our AMCAS personal statement examples, AACOMAS personal statement examples and TMDSAS personal statement examples to further inspire you!

Here's a quick run-down of what we'll cover in the article:

Now let's dive in deeper!

#1 Understanding the Qualities of a Strong Med School Personal Statement

Before discussing how to write a strong medical school personal statement, we first need to understand the qualities of a strong essay. Similar to crafting strong medical school secondary essays , writing a strong personal statement is a challenging, yet extremely important, part of your MD or MD-PhD programs applications. Your AMCAS Work and Activities section may show the reader what you have done, but the personal statement explains why. This is how Dr. Neel Mistry, MD and our admissions expert, prepared for his medical school personal statement writing:

"The personal statement is an opportunity for you to shine and really impress the committee to invite you for an interview. The personal statement is your chance to be reflective and go beyond what is stated on your CV and [activities]. In order to stand out, it is important to answer the main questions [of medical school personal statements] well: a bit about yourself and what led you to medicine, why you would make an ideal medical student and future physician, what attracts you to [medicine], and what sets you apart from the other candidates. The key here is answering the last two questions well. Most candidates simply highlight what they have done, but do not reflect on it or mention how what they have done has prepared them for a future medical career." - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

“my essay also focused on volunteering in the local health clinic during the many summer breaks. volunteering was more than just another activity to tick off my bucket list for my medical school … i volunteered because i wanted to view medical practice through the lenses of already qualified doctors, not because i needed a reason to be a doctor. i understood that the admissions committee would be more interested in how i was motivated.” – dr. vincent adeyemi, md.

A personal statement should be deeply personal, giving the admissions committee insight into your passions and your ultimate decision to pursue a career in medicine. A compelling and introspective personal statement can make the difference between getting an interview and facing medical school rejection . Review our blogs to find out how to prepare for med school interviews and learn the most common medical school interview questions .

As you contemplate the task in front of you, you may be wondering what composing an essay has to do with entering the field of medicine. Many of our students were surprised to learn that medical school personal statements are so valued by med schools. The two things are more closely related than you think. A compelling personal statement demonstrates your written communication skills and highlights your accomplishments, passions, and aspirations. The ability to communicate a complex idea in a short space is an important skill as a physician. You should demonstrate your communication skills by writing a concise and meaningful statement that illustrates your best attributes. Leaving a lasting impression on your reader is what will lead to interview invitations.

A quick note: if you are applying to schools that do not require the formal medical school personal statement, such as medical schools in Canada , you should still learn how to write such essays. Many medical schools in Ontario , for example, ask for short essays for supplementary questionnaires. These are very similar to the personal statement. Knowing how to brainstorm, write, and format your answers is key to your success!!!

You want to give yourself as much time as possible to write your statement. Do not think you can do this in an evening or even in a week. Some statements take months. My best statement took almost a year to get right. Allow yourself time and start early to avoid added stress. Think of the ideas you want to include and brainstorm possible ways to highlight these ideas. Ask your friends for ideas or even brainstorm your ideas with people you trust. Get some feedback early to make sure you are headed in the right direction.

“I wrote scores of essays at my desk in those few weeks leading up to application submission. I needed it to be perfect. Do not let anyone tell you to settle. There was no moment when I had this shining light from the sky filtering into my room to motivate me. The ultimate trick is to keep writing. It is impossible to get that perfect essay on the first try, and you may not even get it on your fifteenth attempt, but the goal is to keep at it, keep making those edits, and never back down.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD

All personal statements for medical school, often start by explaining why medicine is awesome; the admission committee already knows that. You should explain why you want a career in medicine. What is it about the practice of medicine that resonates with who you are? Naturally, this takes a lot of reflection around who you are. Here are some additional questions you can consider as you go about brainstorming for your essay:

  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What is something you want them to know about you that isn't in your application?
  • Where were you born, how did you grow up, and what type of childhood did you have growing up (perhaps including interesting stories about your siblings, parents, grandparents)?
  • What kinds of early exposure to the medical field left an impression on you as a child?
  • Did you become familiar with and interested in the field of medicine at an early stage of your life? If so, why?
  • What are your key strengths, and how have you developed these?
  • What steps did you take to familiarize yourself with the medical profession?
  • Did you shadow a physician? Did you volunteer or work in a clinical setting? Did you get involved in medical research?
  • What challenges have you faced? Have these made an impact on what you chose to study?
  • What are your favorite activities?
  • What kinds of extracurriculars for medical school or volunteer work have you done, and how have these shaped who you are, your priorities, and or your perspectives on a career in medicine?
  • What was your "Aha!" moment?
  • When did your desire to become a doctor solidify?
  • How did you make the decision to apply to medical school?

You shouldn't try to answer all of these in your essay. Try only a few main points that will carry over into the final draft. Use these to brainstorm and gather ideas. Start developing your narrative by prioritizing the most impactful responses to these prompts and the ideas that are most relevant to your own experiences and goals. The perfect personal statement not only shows the admissions committee that you have refined communication skills, but also conveys maturity and professionalism. It should also display your motivation and suitability for medical practice. Here's how our student Alison, who was a non-traditional applicant with a serious red flag in her application, used her brainstorming sessions with our admissions experts to get a theme going in her medical school personal statement and her overall application package:

"I think it was during my brainstorming session that we really started talking about... what the theme [was] going to be for my application. And I think that was really helpful in and of itself. Just [reflecting] 'Hey, what's your focus going to be like? How are we going to write this? What's the style going to be?' Just to create an element of consistency throughout..." Alison, BeMo Student, current student at Dell Medical School 

After brainstorming, you should be able to clearly see a few key ideas, skills, qualities, and intersections that you want to write about. Once you've isolated the elements you want to explore in your essay (usually 2-4 key ideas), you can begin building your outline. In terms of structure, this should follow the standard academic format, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

As you begin thinking about what to include in your personal essay, remember that you are writing for a specific audience with specific expectations. Your evaluator will be familiar with the key qualities desired by medical schools, as informed by the standards of the profession. But keep in mind that they too are human, and they respond well to well-crafted, engaging essays that tell a story. Here's what our student Alison had to share about keeping your audience in mind when writing your personal statement:

"Make it easy for the reader to be able to work [their] way through [your personal statement]. Because, at the end of the day, I think one thing that helped me a lot was being able to think about who was going to be reading this application and it's going to be these people that are sitting around a desk or sitting at a table and [go] through massive numbers of applications every single day. And the easier and more digestible that you can make it for them, gives you a little bit of a win." - Alison, BeMo student, current student at Dell Medical School

The admissions committee will be examining your essay through the lens of their particular school's mission, values, and priorities. You should think about your experiences with reference to the AAMC Core Competencies and to each school's mission statement so that you're working toward your narrative with the institution and broader discipline in mind.

The AAMC Core Competencies are the key characteristics and skills sought by U.S. medical schools. These are separated into three general categories:

You are not expected to have mastered all of these competencies at this stage of your education. Display those that are relevant to your experiences will help demonstrate your commitment to the medical profession.

Review the school's mission statement: Educational institutions put a lot of time and care into drafting their school's vision. The mission statement will articulate the overall values and priorities of each university, giving you insight into what they might seek in candidates, and thus what you should try to display in your personal statement. Echoing the values of the university helps illustrate that you are a good fit for their intellectual culture. The mission statement may help you identify other priorities of the university, for example, whether they prioritize research-based or experiential-based education. All this research into your chosen medical schools will help you tremendously not only when you write you personal statement, but also the rest of your medical school application components, including your medical school letter of intent if you ever need to write one later.

Just like the personal statement is, in essence, a prompt without a prompt. They give you free rein to write your own prompt to tell your story. This is often difficult for students as they find it hard to get started without having a true direction. Below is a list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Use these prompts as a starting point for your essay. Also, they are a great way of addressing why you want to be a doctor without saying something generic.

  • The moment your passion for medicine crystallized
  • The events that led you toward this path
  • Specific instances in which you experienced opportunities
  • Challenges that helped shape your worldview
  • Your compassion, resilience, or enthusiastic collaboration
  • Demonstrate your commitment to others
  • Your dependability
  • Your leadership skills
  • Your ability to problem-solve or to resolve a conflict

These are personal, impactful experiences that only you have had. Focus on the personal, and connect that to the values of your future profession. Do that and you will avoid writing the same essay as everyone else. Dr. Monica Taneja, MD and our admissions expert, shares her tip that got her accepted to the University of Maryland School of Medicine :

"I focused on my journey to medicine and opportunities that I sought out along the way. Everyone’s path and validation is unique, so walking the reader through your growth to the point of application will naturally be different, but that's what I wanted to share in my personal statement." - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

“the essay is not about what you have been through; it's about who it made you into.” – dr. vincent adeyemi, md.

Admissions committees don't want your resumé in narrative form. The most boring essays are those of applicants listing their accomplishments. Remember, all that stuff is already in the activities section of the application. This is where you should discuss interesting or important life events that shaped you and your interest in medicine (a service trip to rural Guatemala, a death in the family, a personal experience as a patient). One suggestion is to have an overarching theme to your essay to tie everything together, starting with an anecdote. Alternatively, you can use one big metaphor or analogy through the essay. Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD and experienced admissions committee member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, encourages you to be creative when it comes to the theme of your personal statement:

"It is very easy to make the “cookie cutter” personal statement. To a reviewer who is reading tens of these at a time it can become quite boring. What I did was [tell] a story. Like any good novel, the stories' first lines are meant to hook the reader. This can be about anything if you can bring it back and relate it to your application. It could be about the time your friend was smashed up against the boards in hockey and you, with your limited first aid experience helped to treat him. It is important that the story be REAL." - Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

Your personal statement must be well-organized, showing a clear, logical progression, as well as connections between ideas. It is generally best to use a chronological progression since this mirrors your progression into a mature adult and gives you the opportunity to illustrate how you learned from early mistakes later on. Carry the theme throughout the statement to achieve continuity and cohesion. Use the theme to links ideas from each paragraph to the next and to unite your piece.

Medical School Personal Statement Structure

When working toward the initial draft of your essay, it is important to keep the following in mind: The essay should read like a chronological narrative and have good structure and flow. Just like any academic essay, it will need an introduction, body content, and a conclusion. If you're wondering whether a medical school advisor can help you with your medical school application, check out our blog for the answer.

Check out our video to learn how to create a killer introduction to your medical school personal statement:

Introduction

The introductory paragraph and, even more importantly, the introductory sentence of your essay, will most certainly make or break your overall statement. Ensure that you have a creative and captivating opening sentence that draws the reader in. This is your first and only chance to make a first impression and really capture the attention of the committee. Starting with an event or an Aha! moment that inspired your decision to pursue a medical profession is one way to grab their attention. The kinds of things that inspire or motivate you can say a lot about who you are as a person.

The broader introductory paragraph itself should serve several functions. First, it must draw your reader in with an eye-catching first line and an engaging hook or anecdote. It should point toward the qualities that most effectively demonstrate your desire and suitability for becoming a physician (you will discuss these qualities further in the body paragraphs). The thesis of the introduction is that you have certain skills, experiences, and characteristics and that these skills, experiences, and characteristics will lead you to thrive in the field of medicine. Finally, it must also serve as a roadmap to the reader, allowing them to understand where the remainder of the story is headed.

That is a lot of work for a single paragraph to do. To better help you envision what this looks like in practice, here is a sample introduction that hits these main points.

I was convinced I was going to grow up to be a professional chef. This was not just another far-fetched idealistic childhood dream that many of us had growing up. There was a sense of certainty about this dream that motivated me to devote countless hours to its practice. It was mostly the wonder that it brought to others and the way they were left in awe after they tried a dish that I recall enjoying the most creating as a young chef. But, when I was 13, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and I realized that sometimes cooking is not enough, as I quickly learned about the vital role physicians play in the life of everyday people like my family and myself. Although my grandfather ended up passing away from his illness, the impact that the healthcare team had on him, my family, and I will always serve as the initial starting point of my fascination with the medical profession. Since that time, I have spent years learning more about the human sciences through my undergraduate studies and research, have developed a deeper understanding of the demands and challenges of the medical profession through my various volunteer and extra-curricular experiences, and although it has been difficult along the way, I have continued to forge a more intimate fascination with the medical field that has motivated me to apply to medical school at this juncture of my life. ","label":"Sample Introduction","title":"Sample Introduction"}]" code="tab3" template="BlogArticle">

In the body of your essay, you essentially want to elaborate on the ideas that you have introduced in your opening paragraph by drawing on your personal experiences to provide evidence. Major points from the above sample introduction could be: dedication and resilience (practicing cooking for hours, and devoting years to undergraduate studies in human sciences), passion and emotional connection (being able to create something that inspired awe in others, and personally connecting with the work of the grandfather's healthcare team), motivation and drive (being inspired by the role physicians play in their patients' lives, participating in volunteer work and extracurriculars, and an enduring fascination with the field of medicine). Depending on the details, a selection of volunteer and extra-curricular experiences might also be discussed in more detail, in order to emphasize other traits like collaboration, teamwork, perseverance, or a sense of social responsibility – all key characteristics sought by medical schools. Just like an academic essay, you will devote one paragraph to each major point, explaining this in detail, supporting your claims with experiences from your life, and reflecting on the meaning of each plot point in your personal narrative, with reference to why you want to pursue a medical career.

Your final statement should not be a simple summary of the things you have discussed. It should be insightful, captivating, and leave the reader with a lasting impression. Although you want to re-emphasize the major ideas of your essay, you should try to be creative and captivating, much like your opening paragraph. Sometimes if you can link your opening idea to your last paragraph it will really tie the whole essay together. The conclusion is just as important as the introduction. It is your last chance to express your medical aspirations. You want to impress the reader while also leaving them wanting more. In this case, more would mean getting an interview so they can learn more about who you are! Leave them thinking I have got to meet this person.

The narrative you construct should display some of your most tightly held values, principles, or ethical positions, along with key accomplishments and activities. If you see yourself as someone who is committed to community service, and you have a track record of such service, your story should feature this and provide insight into why you care about your community and what you learned from your experiences. Saying that you value community service when you've never volunteered a day in your life is pointless. Stating that your family is one where we support each other through challenge and loss (if this is indeed true), is excellent because it lays the groundwork for telling a story while showing that you are orientated towards close relationships. You would then go on to offer a brief anecdote that supports this. You are showing how you live such principles, rather than just telling your reader that you have such principles:

"Remember to use specific personal examples throughout your statement to make it more impactful and memorable for the readers. Often, painting a picture in the reader’s mind in the form of a story helps with this." - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

A lot of students make the mistake of verbalizing their personal attributes with a bunch of adjectives, such as, "This experience taught me to be a self-reliant leader, with excellent communication skills, and empathy for others..." In reality, this does nothing to convey these qualities. It's a mistake to simply list your skills or characteristics without showing the reader an example of a time you used them to solve a problem. If you simply list your skills or characteristics (telling), without demonstrating the ways you have applied them (showing), you risk coming across as arrogant. The person reading the essay may not believe you, as you've not really given them a way to see such values in your actions. It is better to construct a narrative to show the reader that you possess the traits that medical schools are looking for, rather than explicitly stating that you are an empathetic individual or capable of deep self-reflection. Instead of listing adjectives, tell your personal story and allow the admissions committee to paint the picture for themselves. This step is very challenging for many students, but it's one of the most important strategies used in successful essays. Writing this way will absolutely make your statement stand out from the rest.

While it may be tempting to write in a high academic tone, using terminology or jargon that is often complex or discipline-specific, requiring a specialized vocabulary for comprehension. You should actually aim to write for a non-specialist audience. Remember, in the world of medicine, describing a complex, clinical condition to a patient requires using specific but clear words. This is why your personal statement should show that you can do the same thing. Using large words in unwieldy ways makes you sound like you are compensating for poor communication skills. Use words that you believe most people understand. Read your personal statement back to a 14-year-old, and then again to someone for whom English is not their first language, to see if you're on the right path.

Ultimately, fancy words do not make you a good communicator; listening and ensuring reader comprehension makes you a good communicator. Instead of using complex terminology to tell the admissions committee that you have strong communication skills, show them your communication skills through clear, accessible prose, written with non-specialists in mind. A common refrain among writing instructors is, never use a $10 word where a $2 word will suffice. If you can say it in plain, accessible language, then this is what you should do.

Display Professionalism

Professionalism may seem like a difficult quality to display when only composing a personal statement. After all, the reader can't see your mannerisms, your personal style, or any of those little qualities that allow someone to appear professional. Professionalism is about respect for the experience of others on your team or in your workplace. It is displayed when you are able to step back from your own individual position and think about what is best for your colleagues and peers, considering their needs alongside your own. If a story is relevant to why you want to be a physician and demonstrates an example of how you were professional in a workplace setting, then it is appropriate to include in your essay.

One easy way to destroy a sense of professionalism is to act in a judgmental way towards others, particularly if you perceived and ultimately resolved an error on someone else's part. Sometimes students blame another medical professional for something that went wrong with a patient.

They might say something to the effect of, "The nurse kept brushing off the patient's concerns, refusing to ask the attending to increase her pain medications. Luckily, being the empathetic individual that I am, I took the time to listen to sit with the patient, eventually bringing her concerns to the attending physician, who thanked me for letting him know."

There are a couple of things wrong with this example. It seems like this person is putting down someone else in an attempt to make themselves look better. They come across as un-empathetic and judgmental of the nurse. Maybe she was having a busy day, or maybe the attending had just seen the patient for this issue and the patient didn't really need re-assessment. Reading this kind of account in a personal statement makes the reader question the maturity of the applicant and their ability to move past blaming others and resolve problems in a meaningful way. Instead of allocating blame, identify what the problem was for the patient and then focus on what you did to resolve it and reflect on what you learned from the whole experience.

One last note on professionalism: Being professional does not mean being overly stoic, hiding your emotions, or cultivating a bland personality. A lot of students are afraid to talk about how a situation made them feel in their personal statement. They worry that discussing feelings is inappropriate and will appear unprofessional. Unfortunately for these students, emotional intelligence is hugely important to the practice of medicine. In order to be a good doctor, one must be aware of their own emotions as well as those of their patients. Good doctors are able to quickly identify their own emotions and understand how their emotional reactions may inform their actions, and the ability to deliver appropriate care, in a given situation. Someone who is incapable of identifying their emotions is also incapable of managing them effectively and will likely struggle to identify the emotions of others. So, when writing your personal statement, think about how each experience made you feel, and what you learned from those feelings and that experience.

How to Write About Discrepancies and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Part of your essay's body can include a discussion of any discrepancies or gaps in your education, or disruptions in your academic performance. If you had to take time off, or if you had a term or course with low grades, or if you had any other extenuating circumstances that impacted your education, you can take time to address these here. It is very important to address these strategically. Do not approach this section as space to plead your case. Offer a brief summary of the situation, and then emphasize what you learned from such hardships. Always focus on the positive, illustrating how such difficulties made you stronger, more resilient, or more compassionate. Connect your experiences to the qualities desired by medical schools. Here's how I student Alison address an academic discrepancy in her application:

I had an academic dishonesty during undergrad, which, at the time, ended up being this big misunderstanding. But I was going to appeal this and get it off my record. I was supposed to start nursing school two weeks after this whole ordeal had gone down and, at our university, if you try to appeal your academic dishonesty then you'd have to take an incomplete in that class and I needed this class in order to start nursing school. So I wasn't able to [appeal]. So when I talked with the people at the nursing school they were like ‘it's no big deal, it's fine’. [But] it came back and it haunted me very much. When I was applying [to medical school] I started looking online [to see] how big of a deal is it to have this ‘red flag’ on my application. I started reading all of these horror stories on Student Doctor Network and all of these other forums about how if you have an academic dishonesty you shouldn't even bother applying, that you'll never get in. Schools will blacklist you and I was [wondering] what am I going do. [My advisor suggested I use the essay to talk about my discrepancy]. 

First off, if anyone out there has an academic violation don't read student doctor network. don't listen to anybody. you absolutely are still a potential medical student and schools are not going to blacklist you just because of one mistake that you made. that's all lies. don't listen to them. i don't even think it came up a single time during any of my interviews. i think a lot of that came back to how i wrote that essay and the biggest advice that i can give that i got from the [bemo] team is explain what happened… just give the facts. be very objective about it. in the last two thirds [of the essay] you want to focus on what you learned from it and how it made you a better person and how it's going to make you a better physician.” – alison, bemo student, current student at dell medical school.

We hope many of you find a peace of mind when you read Alison's story. Because it shows that with the right approach to your medical school personal statement, you can overcome even red flags or setbacks that made you dread the application process. Use your personal statement to emphasize your ability to persevere through it all but do so in a positive way. Most of all, if you feel like you have to explain yourself, take accountability for the situation. State that it is unfortunate and then redirect it to what you learned and how it will make you a better doctor. Always focus on being positive and do not lament on the negative situation too much.

Additional Mistakes to Avoid in Personal Statements:

Check out this video on the top 5 errors to avoid in your personal statement!

Step 3: Writing Your First Draft

As you can see, there is a LOT of planning and consideration to be done before actually starting your first draft. Properly brainstorming, outlining, and considering the content and style of your essay prior to beginning the essay will make the writing process much smoother than it would be you to try to jump right to the draft-writing stage. Now, you're not just staring at a blank page wondering what you could possibly write to impress the admissions committee. Instead, you've researched what the school desires from its students and what the medical profession prioritizes in terms of personal characteristics, you've sketched out some key moments from your life that exemplify those traits, and you have a detailed outline that just needs filling in.

As you're getting started, focus on getting content on the page, filling in your outline and getting your ideas arranged on the page. Your essay will go through multiple drafts and re-writes, so the first step is to free write and start articulating connections between your experiences and the characteristics you're highlighting. You can worry about flow, transitions, and perfect grammar in later drafts. The first draft is always a working draft, written with the understanding that its purpose is to act as a starting point, not an ending point. Once you've completed a draft, you can begin the revising process. The next section will break down what to do once you have your first draft completed.

You can also begin looking at things like style, voice, transitions, and overall theme. The best way to do this is to read your essay aloud. This may sound strange, but it is one of the single most impactful bits of writing advice a student can receive. When we're reading in our heads (and particularly when we're reading our own words), it is easy to skip over parts that may be awkwardly worded, or where the grammar is off. As our brains process information differently, depending on whether we're taking in visual or auditory information, this can also help you understand where the connections between ideas aren't as evident as you would like. Reading the essay aloud will help you begin internalizing the narrative you've crafted, so that you can come to more easily express this both formally in writing and informally in conversation (for example, in an interview).

#1 Did You Distinguish Yourself From Others?

Does your narrative sound unique? Is it different than your peers or did you write in a generic manner? Our admissions expert Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, shares how she got the attention of the admissions committee with her personal statement:

"I also found it helpful to give schools a 'punch-line'. As in I wanted them to remember 1-2 things about me that are my differentiators and I reiterated those throughout [the personal statement]." - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

Use your narrative to provide a compelling picture of who you are as a person, as a learner, as an advocate, and as a future medical professional. What can you offer? Remember, you will be getting a lot out of your med school experience, but the school will be getting a lot out of you, as well. You will be contributing your research efforts to your department, you will be participating in the academic community, and as you go on to become a successful medical professional you will impact the perception of your school's prestige. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, so use this opportunity to highlight what you bring to the table, and what you will contribute as a student at their institution. Let them know what it is about you that is an attribute to their program. Make them see you as a stand out from the crowd.

#2 Does My Essay Flow and is it Comprehensible?

Personal statements are a blessing and a curse for admission committees. They give them a better glimpse of who the applicant is than simple scores. Also, they are long and time-consuming to read. And often, they sound exactly alike. On occasion, a personal statement really makes an applicant shine. After reading page after page of redundant, cookie-cutter essays, an essay comes along with fluid prose and a compelling narrative, the reader snaps out of that feeling of monotony and gladly extends their enthusiastic attention.

Frankly, if the statement is pleasant to read, it will get read with more attention and appreciation. Flow is easier to craft through narrative, which is why you should root the statement in a story that demonstrates characteristics desirable to medical schools. Fluidity takes time to build, though, so your statement should be etched out through many drafts and should also be based on an outline. You need to brainstorm, then outline, then draft and re-draft, and then bring in editors and listeners for feedback (Note: You need someone to proofread your work. Bestselling authors have editors. Top scholars have editors. I need an editor. You need an editor. Everyone needs an editor). Then, check and double-check and fix anything that needs fixing. Then check again. Then submit. You want this to be a statement that captures the reader's interest by creating a fluid, comprehensible piece that leads the reader to not only read each paragraph but want to continue to the next sentence.

#3 Did You Check Your Grammar?

If you give yourself more than one night to write your statement, the chances of grammatical errors will decrease considerably. If you are pressed for time, upload your file into an online grammar website. Use the grammar checker on your word processor, but know that this, in itself, isn't enough. Use the eyes and ears of other people to check and double-check your grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Read your statement out loud to yourself and you will almost certainly find an error (and likely several errors). Use fresh eyes to review the statement several times before you actually submit it, by walking away from it for a day or so and then re-reading it. Start your essay early, so that you actually have time to do this. This step can make or break your essay. Do not waste all the effort you have put into writing, to only be discarded by the committee for using incorrect grammar and syntax.

#4 Did You Gather Feedback From Other People?

The most important tip in writing a strong application essay is this getting someone else to read your work. While the tips above are all very useful for writing a strong draft, nothing will benefit you more than getting an outside appraisal of your work. For example, it's very easy to overlook your own spelling or grammatical errors. You know your own story and you may think that your narrative and it's meaning make sense to your reader. You won't know that for sure without having someone else actually read it. This may sound obvious, but it's still an absolute necessity.

“It was very helpful for two of my mentors to review my statements before submitting my application. Ensure you trust the judgement and skills of the person to whom you would be giving your personal statement for review.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD

Have someone you trust to read the essay and ask them what they thought of it. What was their impression of you after reading it? Did it make sense? Was it confusing? Do they have any questions? What was the tone of the essay? Do they see the connections you're trying to make? What were their takeaways from your essay, and do these align with your intended takeaways for your reader? Ideally, this person should have some knowledge of the application process or the medical profession, so that they can say whether you were successful in demonstrating that you are a suitable candidate for medical school. However, any external reader is better than no external reader at all.

Avoid having people too close to you read your work. They may refrain from being too critical in an effort to spare your feelings. This is the time to get brutal, honest feedback. If you know someone who is an editor but do not feel that they can be objective, try and find someone else.

Want more examples? Check out our video below:

FAQs and Final Notes

Your personal statement should tell your story and highlight specific experiences or aspects of your journey that have led you to medicine. If your first exposure or interest in the medical field was sparked from your own medical struggles, then you can certainly include this in your statement. What is most important is that you write about what factors or experiences attributed to you deciding that medicine is the right career path for you.

Sometimes students shy away from including their own personal struggles and describing how they felt during difficult times but this is a great way for admissions committees to gain perspective into who you are as a person and where your motivations lie. Remember, this is your story, not someone else's, so your statement should revolve around you. If you choose to discuss a personal hardship, what's most important is that you don't cast yourself as the victim and that you discuss what the experience taught you. Also, medical schools are not allowed to discriminate against students for discussing medical issues, so it is not looked at as a red flag unless you are talking about an issue inappropriately. For example, making yourself appear as the victim or not taking responsibility.

All US medical schools require the completion of a personal statement with your AMCAS, TMDSAS or AACOMAS applications.

Medical schools in Canada on the other hand, do not require or accept personal statements. In lieu of the personal statement, a few of these schools may require you to address a prompt in the form of an essay, or allow you to submit an explanation essay to describe any extenuating circumstances, but this is not the same as the US personal statement. For example, when applying through  OMSAS , the  University of Toronto medical school  requires applicants to complete four short, 250 words or less, personal essays.

Many students struggle with whether or not they should address an unfavorable grade in their personal statement. What one student does isn't necessarily the right decision for you.

To help you decide, think about whether or not that bad grade might reflect on your poorly. If you think it will, then it's best to address the academic misstep head-on instead of having admissions committees dwell on possible areas of concern. If you're addressing a poor evaluation, ensure that you take responsibility for your grade, discuss what you learned and how your performance will be improved in the future - then move on. It's important that you don't play the victim and you must always reflect on what lessons you've learned moving forward.

Of course not, just because you didn't wake up one morning and notice a lightbulb flashing the words medicine, doesn't mean that your experiences and journey to medicine are inferior to those who did. Students arrive to medicine in all sorts of ways, some change career paths later in life, some always knew they wanted to pursue medicine, and others slowly became interested in medicine through their life interactions and experiences. Your personal statement should address your own unique story to how you first became interested in medicine and when and how that interest turned to a concrete desire.

While your entire statement is important, the opening sentence can often make or break your statement. This is because admission committee members are reviewing hundreds, if not thousands of personal statements. If your opening sentence is not eye-catching, interesting, and memorable, you risk your statement blending in with the large pile of other statements. Have a look at our video above for tips and strategies for creating a fantastic opening sentence.

Having your statement reviewed by family and friends can be a good place to start, but unfortunately, it's near-impossible for them to provide you with unbiased feedback. Often, friends and family members are going to support us and rave about our achievements. Even if they may truly think your statement needs work, they may feel uncomfortable giving you their honest feedback at the risk of hurting your feelings.

In addition, family and friends don't know exactly what admission committee members are looking for in a personal statement, nor do they have years of experience reviewing personal statements and helping students put the best version of themselves forward. For these reasons, many students choose to seek the help of a professional medical school advisor to make sure they have the absolute best chances of acceptance to medical school the first time around.

If you have enough time set aside to write your statement without juggling multiple other commitments, it normally takes at least four weeks to write your statement. If you are working, in school, or volunteering and have other commitments, be prepared to spend 6-8 weeks.

Your conclusion should have a summary of the main points you have made in your essay, but it should not just be a summary. You should also end with something that makes the reader want to learn more about you (i.e. call you for an interview). A good way to do this is to include a call-back to your opening anecdote: how have you grown or matured since then? How are you more prepared now to begin medical school?

The goal is to show as many of them as you can in the WHOLE application: this includes your personal statement, sketch, reference letters, secondary essays, and even your GPA and MCAT (which show critical thinking and reasoning already). So, it’s not an issue to focus on only a few select experiences and competencies in the personal statement.

Yes, you can. However, if you used an experience as a most meaningful entry, pick something else to talk about in your essay. Remember, you want to highlight as many core competencies across your whole application). Or, if you do pick the same experience: pick a different specific encounter or project with a different lesson learned.

Once your essay is in good shape, it's best to submit to ensure your application is reviewed as soon as possible. Remember, with rolling admissions, as more time passes before you submit your application, your chances of acceptance decreases. Nerves are normal and wanting to tinker is also normal, but over-analyzing and constant adjustments can actually weaken your essay.

So, if you're thinking about making more changes, it's important to really reflect and think about WHY you want to change something and if it will actually make the essay stronger. If not your changes won't actually make the essay stronger or if it's a very minor change you're thinking of making, then you should likely leave it as is.

The reality is, medical school admission is an extremely competitive process. In order to have the best chance of success, every part of your application must be stellar. Also, every year some students get in whose GPAs or  MCAT scores  are below the median. How? Simply because they must have stood out in other parts of the application, such as the personal statement.

The ones that honestly made the most impact on you. You'll need to reflect on your whole life and think about which experiences helped you grow and pushed you to pursue medicine. Ideally, experiences that show commitment and progression are better than one-off or short-term activities, as they usually contribute more to growth.

Final Notes

This Ultimate Guide has demonstrated all the work that needs to be done to compose a successful, engaging personal statement for your medical school application. While it would be wonderful if there was an easy way to write your personal statement in a day, the reality is that this kind of composition takes a lot of work. As daunting as this may seem, this guide lays out a clear path. In summary, the following 5 steps are the basis of what you should take away from this guide. These 5 steps are your guide and sort of cheat sheet to writing your best personal statement.

5 Main Takeaways For Personal Statement Writing:

  • Brainstorming
  • Content and Theme
  • Multiple Drafts
  • Revision With Attention to Grammar

While a strong personal statement alone will not guarantee admission to medical school, it could absolutely squeeze you onto a  medical school waitlist , off the waitlist, and onto the offer list, or give someone on the admissions committee a reason to go to battle for your candidacy. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the incredible skills you've worked and studied to refine, the remarkable life experiences you've had, and the key qualities you possess in your own unique way. Show the admissions committee that you are someone they want to meet. Remember, in this context, wanting to meet you means wanting to bring you in for an interview!

Dr. Lauren Prufer is an admissions expert at BeMo. Dr. Prufer is also a medical resident at McMaster University. Her medical degree is from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. During her time in medical school, she developed a passion for sharing her knowledge with others through medical writing, research, and peer mentoring.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!

Apple Podcasts

Like our blog? Write for us ! >>

Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions.

Jack Weaver

I have been reading posts regarding this topic and this post is one of the most interesting and informative one I have read. Thank you for this!

Hello Jack! Thank you very much for your comment. We glad you find this helpful!

Get Started Now

Talk to one of our admissions experts

Our site uses cookies. By using our website, you agree with our cookie policy .

FREE Training Webinar: How To Make Your Med School Application Stand Out

(and avoid the top 5 reasons that get 90% of applicants rejected).

Time Sensitive. Limited Spots Available:

We guarantee your acceptance to med school or you don't pay.

Swipe up to see a great offer!

mission statement medical school essay

  • (888) 381-9509
  • [email protected]
  • Book a Meeting
  • student login
  • Student Login
  • Our Services
  • Our Story How it started
  • Our Team Meet Our Advisors & Tutors
  • Our Services How we can help you
  • Our Difference Learn why we stand out
  • Success Stories & Testimonials Hear the stories
  • For Parents Learn why you should trust us
  • Organizational Partners Provide value to your students
  • Institutional Partners Enhance your student offering
  • In the News Read Our Stories
  • Frequently Asked Questions Find answers
  • MCAT Tutoring One-on-One Personalized Help
  • MCAT Go An Audio Learning Experience
  • MCAT Practice Exams Boost Your Score
  • MCAT Prep App Videos, Flashcards & Q-Bank
  • MCAT CARS Mastery Top-Rated CARS Video Course
  • Pre-Med Coach 9th & 10th Grade Roadmap Planning
  • College Admissions 11th & 12th Grade Pre-Med Consulting
  • Direct Medical (BS/MD & BA/MD) Application Consulting
  • Interview Preparation BS/MD Candidates
  • Pre-Med Coach Pre-Application Development
  • Application Advising Med School Admissions Support
  • Personal Statement Editing Refine Your Narrative
  • AMCAS Editing Application Editing
  • Secondary Editing Secondary Application Editing
  • Interview preparation Realistic Practice
  • CASPer Preparation Simulation & Coaching
  • Ontario Application Support OMSAS Application
  • Residency Advising Complete Match Support
  • Residency Interview Preparation
  • ERAS Personal Statement Refine Your Story
  • USMLE STEP 1 Maximize your scores
  • USMLE STEP 2 Shine on your boards
  • USMLE STEP 3 Conquer your final hurdle
  • COMLEX LEVEL 1 and 2 Score higher
  • Travel with Us Hands-On Clinical & Research
  • Virtual Shadowing Explore Medical Specialties
  • Under the Stethoscope Admissions Video Course
  • Research Roadmap Master Clinical Research
  • MSC Score Calculate Your Chances
  • Guidebooks Comprehensive Guides
  • Med School Explorer Find Your School
  • MCAT Review Videos, Questions, Notes

The Only 3 Medical School Personal Statement Examples You Need to Read

mission statement medical school essay

Posted in: Applying to Medical School

mission statement medical school essay

Table of Contents

The personal statement is one of the most important parts of the med school application process because t his mini-essay is a critical opportunity for you to stand out from other prospective medical students by demonstrating your passion and personality, not just your grades.

Admissions committees receive hundreds or more AMCAS medical school applications , so yours should be unique and captivating. Your medical school personal statement shows admissions officers who you are beyond your high school or pre-med GPA , extracurriculars , and MCAT score . 

The best personal statements are… well, personal . This is your chance to share what life experiences have compelled you toward a career in healthcare or the medical field , and how those experiences shape the picture of your ideal future.

MedSchoolCoach has crucial advice for writing your personal statement . 

Read these examples of personal statements for prospective med students.

Writing a great medical school personal statement is a lot easier with the right support. We’ve helped numerous med school applicants craft top-notch personal statements and can do the same for you.

But first: 7 steps to writing an engaging personal statement.

Before you read these excellent examples, you need to understand the process of writing a personal statement.  

Include these in your medical school personal statement:

  • Why you’re passionate about becoming a doctor
  • Your qualities that will make you a great physician
  • Personal stories that demonstrate those qualities
  • Specific examples of the communities you want to serve as a member of the medical field

What are the most important things to remember when writing a medical school personal statement ?

  • Begin the writing process early: Give yourself plenty of time for brainstorming and to revisit your first draft, revising it based on input from family members and undergrad professors. Consult the application timeline for your target enrollment season.
  • Choose a central theme: An unfocused essay will leave readers confused and uninterested. Give your statement a clear thesis in the first paragraph that guides its formation.
  • Start with a hook: Grab the reader’s attention immediately with your statement’s first sentence. Instead of opening with a conventional introduction, be creative! Begin with something unexpected.
  • Be the you of today, not the you of the future: Forecasting your future as a physician can come across as empty promises. Don’t get caught up in your ambitions; instead, be honest about your current situation and interest in the field of medicine.
  • Demonstrate your passion: It’s not enough to simply state your interest in becoming a doctor; you have to prove it through personal stories. Show how your perspectives have been shaped by formative experiences and how those will make you an effective physician.
  • Show, don’t tell : Avoid cliches that admissions committees have heard hundreds of times, like “I want to help people.” Make your writing come alive with dynamic, persuasive storytelling that recounts your personal experiences.
  • Tie everything together: Conclude by wrapping up your main points. Reiterate your passion for the medical profession, your defining personal qualities, and why you’ll make a good doctor.

You can read more about our recommended method in our step-by-step guide , but those are the major points.

Example 1 — From the Stretcher to the Spotlight: My Journey to Becoming an Emergency Medicine Physician

Another siren shrieks as the emergency room doors slide open and a team of EMTs pushes a blood-soaked stretcher through the entrance. It’s the fifth ambulance to arrive tonight — and only my first clinical shadowing experience in an emergency medicine department since my premed education began.

But it wasn’t my first time in an emergency room, and I knew I was meant to be here again.

In those crucial moments on the ER floor, many of my peers learned that they stumble in high-pressure environments. A few weeks of gunshot wounds, drug overdoses, broken bones, and deep lacerations in the busiest trauma bay in the region were enough to alter their career path.

They will be better practitioners somewhere predictable, like a pediatrician in a private practice where they choose their schedules, clients, and staff.

Every healthcare provider has their specialties, and mine are on full display in those crucial moments of lifesaving care. Why am I pursuing a career in Emergency Medicine? Because I’ve seen firsthand the miracles that Emergency Medicine physicians perform.

12 years ago, I was in an emergency room… but I was the one on the stretcher.

A forest-green Saturn coupe rolled into my parent’s driveway. The driver, my best friend Kevin, had just passed his driving test and was itching to take a late-night run to the other side of town. I had ridden with Kevin and his father many times before when he held his learner’s permit. But this time, we didn’t have an adult with us, and the joyride ended differently: with a 40-mph passenger-side collision, T-boned by a drunk driver.

I distinctly recall the sensation of being lifted out of the crumpled car by a paramedic and laid onto a stretcher. A quick drive later, I was in the care of Dr. Smith, the ER resident on call that night. Without missing a beat, he assessed my condition and provided the care I needed. When my mom thanked him for saving my life, he simply responded, “It’s what he needed.”

Now I’m watching other doctors and nurses provide this life-saving care as I observe as a premed student. I see the way the staff works together like a well-oiled machine, and it reminds me of my time in high-school theater.

Everyone has a role to play, however big or small, to make the show a success. All contributions are essential to a winning performance — even the technicians working behind the scenes. That’s what true teamwork is, and I see that same dynamic in the emergency department.

Some actors freeze during performances, overcome by stage fright. Other students are too anxious to even set foot in front of an audience; they remain backstage assisting with split-second costume changes.

Not me. I felt energized under the spotlight, deftly improvising to help my co-stars when they would forget their lines. Admittedly, I wasn’t the best actor or singer in the cast, but I provided something essential: assurance under pressure. Everyone knew me as dependable, always in their corner when something went awry. I had a reputation for remaining calm and thinking on my feet.

My ability to stay unruffled under pressure was first discovered on stage, but I can use it on a very different platform providing patient care. Now, when other people freeze under the intensity of serving public health on the front lines, I can step in and provide my calm, collected guidance to see them through.

As an ER doctor, I will have to provide that stability when a nurse gets flustered by a quarrelsome patient or shaken from an irreparably injured infant. When you’re an Emergency Medicine physician, you’re not following a script. It takes an aptitude of thinking on your toes to face the fast pace and unpredictable challenges of an emergency center.

During my time shadowing, I saw experienced physicians put those assured, gentle communication skills to use. A 13-year-old boy was admitted for a knife wound he’d received on the streets. He only spoke Spanish, but it was clear he mistrusted doctors and was alarmed by the situation. In mere minutes, one of the doctors calmed the patient so he could receive care he needed.

Let me be clear: I haven’t simply gravitated toward Emergency Medicine because I liked it most. It’s not the adrenaline or the pride that compel me. I owe Emergency Medicine my life, and I want to use my life to extend the lives of other people. Every person brought into the trauma bay could be another me , no matter what they look like.

People are more than their injury, health record, or circumstances. They are not just a task to complete or a challenge to conquer.

My childhood injury gave me an appreciation for the work of ER doctors and a compassion for patients, to foster well-being when people are most broken and vulnerable. I already have the dedication to the work and the heart for patients; I just need the medical knowledge and procedural skills to perform life-saving interventions. My ability to remain calm, think on my toes, be part of a team, and work decisively without making mistakes or overlooking critical issues will serve me well as an Emergency Medicine physician.

Some ER physicians I spoke with liked to think that they’re “a different breed” than other medical professionals — but I don’t see it that way. We’re just performing a different role than the rest of the cast.

Breaking It Down

Let’s look at what qualities make this a great personal statement for med school.

  • Engaging opening: The writer painted a vivid scene that immediately puts the reader in their shoes and leaves them wanting more.
  • Personal examples: The writer demonstrated his ability to stay calm, work as a team, and problem-solve through theater experience, which he also uses as a comparison. And, he explained his passion for Emergency Medical care from his childhood accident.
  • Organized: The writer transitions fluidly between body paragraphs, connecting stories and ideas by emphasizing parallels and hopping back and forth between time.
  • Ample length: Makes full use of the AACOMAS and AMCAS application personal statement’s character limit of 5,300 characters (including spaces), which is about 850-950 words.

Unsure what traits and clinical or research experience your preferred medical school values ? You can research their admissions requirements and mission statement using the MSAR .

Example 2 — Early Clinical Work For Empathetic Patient Care

The applicant who wrote this personal statement was accepted into University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine.

As I walked briskly down the hall to keep up during our daily rounds in the ICU, I heard the steady beeping of Michelle’s cardiac monitor and saw a ruby ornament twinkling on the small Christmas tree beside her. She was always alone, but someone had decorated her room for the holidays.

It warmed my heart that I wasn’t the only one who saw her as more than a patient in a coma. I continually felt guilty that I couldn’t spend more time with her; her usual companions were ventilators, IV bags, and catheters, not to mention the golf ball-sized tumors along her spine. Every day, I thought about running to Michelle’s bedside to do anything I could for her.

Thus, I was taken aback when my advisor, who was visiting me that day, asked me if I was okay. It never crossed my mind that at age 17, my peers might not be able to handle the tragedies that healthcare workers consistently face. These situations were difficult, but they invoked humanity and compassion from me. I knew I wanted to pursue medicine. And I knew I could do it.

From my senior year of high school to my senior year of college, I continued to explore my passion for patient interaction.

At the Stepp Lab, I was charged with contacting potential study participants for a study focusing on speech symptoms in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. The study would help future patients, but I couldn’t help but think: “What are we doing for these patients in return?” I worried that the heart and soul behind the research would get lost in the mix of acoustic data and participant ID numbers.

But my fears were put to rest by Richard, the self-proclaimed “Parkinson’s Song & Dance Man,” who recorded himself singing show tunes as part of his therapy. Knowing that he was legally blind and unable to read caller ID, I was always thrilled when he recognized my voice. The spirit in his voice indicated that my interest in him and his journey with Parkinson’s was meaningful. Talking with him inspired me to dive deeper, which led to an appreciative understanding of his time as a sergeant in the U.S. military.

It was an important reminder: my interest and care are just as important as an effective prescribed treatment plan.

Following graduation, I began my work as a medical assistant for a dermatologist. My experience with a patient, Joann, validated my ability to provide excellent hands-on patient care. Other physicians prescribed her painkillers to relieve the excruciating pain from the shingles rash, which presented as a fiery trail of blisters wrapped around her torso. But these painkillers offered no relief and made her so drowsy that she fell one night on the way to the bathroom.

Joann was tired, suffering, and beaten down. The lidocaine patches we initially prescribed would be a much safer option, but I refused for her to pay $250, as she was on the brink of losing her job. When she returned to the office a week later, she held my hand and cried tears of joy because I found her affordable patches, which helped her pain without the systemic effects.

The joy that pierced through the weariness in her eyes immediately confirmed that direct patient care like this was what I was meant to do. As I passed her a tissue, I felt ecstatic that I could make such a difference, and I sought to do more.

Since graduation, I have been volunteering at Open Door, a small pantry that serves a primarily Hispanic community of lower socioeconomic families. It is gut-wrenching to explain that we cannot give them certain items when our stock is low. After all, the fresh fruits and vegetables I serve are fundamental to their culturally-inspired meals.

For the first time, I found myself serving anguish rather than a helping hand. Usually, uplifting moments strengthen one’s desire to become a physician, but in this case, it was my ability to handle the low points that reignited my passion for aiding others.

After running out of produce one day, I was confused as to why a woman thanked me. Through translation by a fellow volunteer, I learned it was because of my positivity. She taught me that the way I approach unfavorable situations affects another’s perception and that my spirited attitude breaks through language barriers.

This volunteer work served as a wake-up call to the unacceptable fact that U.S. citizens’ health suffers due to lack of access to healthy foods. If someone cannot afford healthy foods, they may not have access to healthcare. In the future, I want to partner with other food banks to offer free services like blood pressure readings. I have always wanted to help people, but I now have a particular interest in bringing help to people who cannot afford it.

While the foundation of medicine is scientific knowledge, the foundation of healthcare is the word “care” itself. I never found out what happened to Michelle and her Christmas tree, but I still wonder about her to this day, and she has strengthened my passion to serve others. A sense of excitement and comfort stems from knowing that I will be there for people on their worst days, since I have already seen the impact my support has had.

In my mind, becoming a physician is not a choice but a natural next step to continue bringing humanity and compassion to those around me.

How did this personal statement grab and sustain attention so well?

  • Personalization: Everything about this statement helps you to understand the writer, from their personal experiences to their hope for how their future career will look.
  • Showing, not telling: From the first sentence, the reader is hooked. This prospective medical student has plenty of great “on paper” experience (early shadowing, clinical experience, etc.), but they showed this with storytelling, not by repeating their CV.
  • Empathy: An admissions committee reading this personal statement would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this student cares deeply about their patients. They remember first names, individual details, and the emotions that each patient made them feel.
  • A clear path forward: The writer doesn’t just want to work in the medical field — they have a passion for exactly how they want to impact the communities they serve. Outside of strictly medical work, they care about the way finances can limit access to healthcare and the struggle to find healthy food in food deserts around the US .

Read Next: How Hard Is It to Get Into Medical School?

Example 3 — Beyond the Diagnosis: The Importance of Individualized Care in Medicine

The applicant who wrote this personal statement was accepted into Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Nova Southeastern University College Of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Haywood sighs and shakes her head upon opening the chart. “I was worried about her A1C. It’s up again. Hypertension, too. Alright, let’s go.”

As we enter the patient’s room, I’m expecting the news about her blood sugar and pressure to fill the room. Instead, Dr. Haywood says, “Roseline! How are you doing? How’s your girl, doing well?”

Dr. Haywood continues to ask questions, genuinely interested in Roseline’s experience as a new mother. If not for the parchment-lined examination chair and anatomy posters plastered to the wall, this exchange could be happening in a grocery store. What about her A1C? Her blood pressure? Potential Type II diabetes?

As I continue to listen, Dr. Haywood discovers that Roseline’s mother moved in with her, cooking Haitian meals I recognize as high on the glycemic index. Dr. Haywood effortlessly evolves their conversation to focus on these. Being Haitian herself, she knows some traditional dishes are healthier than others and advises Roseline to avoid those that might exacerbate her high blood sugar and blood pressure. Dr. Haywood also suggests Roseline incorporate exercise by bringing her baby on a walk through her neighborhood.

During my shadowing experience, I observed one of the core components of being a physician through several encounters like this one. By establishing a relationship with her patient where Roseline was comfortable sharing the details of new motherhood, Dr. Haywood was able to individualize her approach to lowering the patient’s A1C and hypertension. Inspired by her ability to treat the whole person , I began to adopt a similar practice as a tutor for elementary kids in underserved areas of D.C.

Shaniyah did not like Zoom, or math for that matter. When I first met her as a prospective tutee online, she preferred to keep her microphone muted and would claim she was finished with her math homework after barely attempting the first problem. Realizing that basing our sessions solely on math would be fruitless, I adapted my tutoring style to incorporate some of the things for which she had a natural affinity.

The first step was acknowledging the difficulties a virtual environment posed to effective communication, particularly the ease at which distractions might take over. After sharing this with Shaniyah, she immediately disclosed her struggles to share her work with me. With this information, I found an online platform that allowed us to visualize each other’s work.

This obstacle in communication overcome, Shaniyah felt more comfortable sharing details about herself that I utilized as her tutor. Her love of soccer gave me the idea to use the concept of goal scoring to help with addition, and soon Shaniyah’s math skills and enthusiasm began to improve. As our relationship grew, so did her successes, and I suspect the feelings I experienced as her tutor are the same as a physician’s when their patient responds well to prescribed treatment.

I believe this skill, caring for someone as a whole person , that I have learned and practiced through shadowing and tutoring is the central tenet of medicine that allows a doctor to successfully treat their patients.

Inspired by talking with patients who had received life-altering organ transplants during my shadowing experience, I created a club called D.C. Donors for Georgetown University students to encourage their peers to register as organ donors or donate blood. This experience taught me that to truly serve a person, you must involve your whole person, too.

In starting this club to help those in need of transplants, I had to dedicate my time and effort beyond just my physical interactions with these patients. For instance, this involved reaching out to D.C.’s organ procurement organization to inquire about a potential partnership with my club, to which they agreed. In addition, I organized tabling events on campus, which required significant planning and communication with both club members and my university.

Though exciting, starting a club was also a difficult process, especially given the limitations the pandemic imposed on in-person meetings and events. To adapt, I had to plan more engaging meetings, designing virtual activities to make members more comfortable contributing their ideas. In addition, planning a blood drive required extensive communication with my university to ensure the safety of the staff and participants during the pandemic.

Ultimately, I believe these behind-the-scenes actions were instrumental in addressing the need for organ and blood donors in the D.C. area.

From these experiences, I have grown to believe that good medicine not only necessitates the physician cares for her patient as a whole, but also that she fully commits her whole person to the care of the patient. Tutoring and starting D.C. Donors not only allowed me to develop these skills but also to experience such fulfilling emotions: the pride I had in Shaniyah when her math improved, the gratefulness I felt when she confided in me, the steadfast commitment I expressed to transplant patients, and the joy I had in collaborating with other passionate club members.

I envision a career as a physician to demand these skills of me and more, and I have confirmed my desire to become one after feeling so enriched by practicing them.

Here’s what makes this personal statement such a good example of what works:

  • Desirable qualities: The student clearly demonstrates qualities any school would want in an applicant: teachability, adaptability, leadership, organization, and empathy, to name a few. This again uses the “show, don’t tell” method, allowing the readers to understand the student without hand-holding.
  • Personalized storytelling: Many in the healthcare profession will connect with experiences like the ones expressed here, such as addressing patient concerns relationally or the lack of blood donors during the recent pandemic. The writer automatically makes a personal link between themselves and the admissions committees reading this statement.
  • Extensive (but not too long): Without feeling too wordy, this personal statement uses nearly all of the 5,300 characters allowed on the AMCAS application. There’s no fluff left in the final draft, only what matters.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

You can learn a lot from those personal statements. They avoid the most common mistakes that med school applicants make when writing the medical school personal statement.

Here are some things you should avoid in your personal statement if you want to be a doctor:

  • Name-dropping: Admissions counselors won’t be impressed when you brag about your highly regarded family members, associates, or mentors. You need to stand on your own feet — not someone else’s.
  • Dishonesty: Lies and exaggerations can torpedo your application. And they’re bad habits for anyone entering the medical field. Don’t do it.
  • Unedited AI content: Artificial intelligence can help you edit and improve your writing, but don’t let it do the work for you. Your statement needs to be authentic, which means in your voice! A chatbot can’t feel or adequately convey your own empathy, compassion, trauma, drive, or personality.
  • Grammatical errors and typos: Have someone reliable proofread your essay and scour it for typos, misspellings, and punctuation errors. Even free grammar-checking apps can catch mistakes!
  • Telling without showing: I’ll reiterate how important it is to prove your self-descriptive statements with real-life examples. Telling without showing won’t persuade readers.
  • Too many examples: Have 3-4 solid personal stories at most; only include a few that are crucial for providing your points. The more experiences you share, the less impact they’ll make.
  • Fluff and filler: Cut all fluff, filler words, and irrelevant points. There are many other places you can include information in your application, such as secondary essays on your clinical experience, volunteer work, and research projects . 

You can find more valuable do’s and don’ts in our in-depth guide to writing your best personal statement .

Need extra help? We’ve got you covered.

Schedule a meeting with medschoolcoach for expert support on writing and editing your personal statement. we’re here to help you impress medical school admissions committees .

Picture of Renee Marinelli, MD

Renee Marinelli, MD

Dr. Marinelli has practiced family medicine, served on the University of California Admissions Committee, and has helped hundreds of students get into medical school. She spearheads a team of physician advisors who guide MedSchoolCoach students.

See How We Can Help

Search for:, recent posts, medschoolcoach, recent blog posts.

You can negotiate a medical school scholarship

Can You Negotiate a Medical School Scholarship?

When you receive a medical school acceptance, you are elated, and rightfully so! You've worked a tremendous amount to get[...]

March 7, 2018

Admissions Committee Members

What an Admissions Committee Member Looks for During an Interview

We sat down with Dr. Harvey Katzen, a clinical oncologist and former admissions committee member at George Washington University School[...]

August 19, 2016

A student getting their medical education at a DO school.

What Are DO Schools? [Admissions, Top Schools, + Full List]

Table of Contents Over the last decade, the number of enrolled osteopathic medical students has risen by 77% in the[...]

September 30, 2023

The Pre-Med Journey

The Pre-Med Journey: What it Takes to Get into Medical School

Thinking about applying to medical school? Discover what high school students need to know about obtaining a career in medicine.

Successfully Planning for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK

Successfully Planning for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK

Get ready for the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 with this free guide to study planning and resource utilization.

100 MCAT Study Tips

100 MCAT Study Tips

Taking the MCAT? These 100 tips and tricks will help you ace the MCAT.

Call us at (888) 381-9509

Call Us Now

Or, Schedule a Meeting Below

mission statement medical school essay

Happy April Fool’s Day from MedSchoolCoach!

While mastering sleep-learning is still a dream, mcat go helps you study for the mcat while you are awake. listen to mcat go for free (a $99 value) by entering your email below to receive an exclusive discount code. this ain’t no joke..

mission statement medical school essay

MedEdits Logo

Great Medical School Personal Statement Examples (2024-2025) Insider’s Guide

Medical School Personal Statement Tips

A physician and former medical school admissions officer teaches you how to write your medical school personal statement, step by step. Read several full-length medical school personal statement examples for inspiration.

In this article, a former medical school admissions officer explains exactly how to write a stand-out medical school personal statement!

Our goal is to empower you to write a medical school personal statement that reflects your individuality, truest aspirations and genuine motivations.

This guide also includes:

  • Real life medical school personal statement examples
  • Medical school personal statement inventory template and outline exercise
  • AMCAS, TMDSAS, and AACOMAS personal statement prompts
  • Advanced strategies to ensure you address everything admissions committees want to know
  • The secret to writing a great medical school personal statement

So, if you want your medical school personal statement to earn more more medical school interviews, you will love this informative guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Table of Contents

Medical School Personal Statement Fundamentals

If you are getting ready to write your medical school personal statement for the 2024-2025 application year, you may already know that almost 60% of medical school applicants are not accepted every year . You have most likely also completed all of your medical school requirements and have scoured the internet for worthy medical school personal statement examples and guidance.

You know the medical school personal statement offers a crucial opportunity to show medical schools who you are beyond your GPA and MCAT score .

It provides an opportunity to express who you are as an individual, the major influences and background that have shaped your interests and values, what inspired you to pursue medicine, and what kind of a physician you envision yourself becoming.

However, with so much information online, you are not sure who to trust. We are happy you have found us!

Because the vast majority of people offering guidance are not former admissions officers or doctors , you must be careful when searching online.

We are real medical school admissions insiders and know what goes on behind closed doors and how to ensure your medical school personal statement has broad appeal while highlighting your most crucial accomplishments, perspectives, and insights.

With tight limits on space, it can be tough trying to decide what to include in your medical school personal statement to make sure you stand out. You must think strategically about how you want to present your personal “big picture” while showing you possess the preprofessional competencies med schools are seeking.

When a medical school admissions reviewer finishes reading your medical school personal statement, ask yourself:

  • What are the most important things you want that person to remember about you?
  • Does your medical school personal statement sum up your personality, interests, and talents?
  • Does your medical school personal statement sound as if it’s written from the heart?

It’s pretty obvious to most admissions reviewers when applicants are trying too hard to impress them. Being authentic and upfront about who you are is the best way to be a memorable applicant.

The Biggest Medical School Personal Statement Mistakes

The most common medical school personal statement mistake we see students make is that they write about:

  • What they have accomplished
  • How they have accomplished it

By including details on what you have accomplished and how, you will make yourself sound like every other medical school applicant. 

Most medical school applicants are involved in similar activities: research, clinical work, service, and social justice work. 

To stand out, you must write from the heart making it clear you haven’t marched through your premedical years and checking boxes.

We also strongly discourage applicants from using ChatGPT or any AI bot to write their medical school personal statement. Writing in your own voice is essential and using anything automated will undermine success.

The Medical School Personal Statement Secret

MedEdits students stand out in the medical school personal statement because in their personal statements they address:

WHY they have accomplished what they have.

In other words, they write in more detail about their passions, interests, and what is genuinely important to them. 

It sounds simple, we know, but by writing in a natural way, really zeroing in on WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO, you will appeal to a wide variety of people in a humanistic way. 

MedEdits students have done extremely well in the most recent medical school admissions cycle. Many of these applicants have below average “stats” for the medical schools from which they are receiving interviews and acceptances.

Why? How is that possible? They all have a few things in common:

  • They write a narrative that is authentic and distinctive to them.
  • They write a medical school personal statement with broad appeal (many different types of people will be evaluating your application; most are not physicians).
  • They don’t try too hard to impress; instead they write about the most impactful experiences they have had on their path to medical school.
  • They demonstrate they are humble, intellectual, compassionate, and committed to a career in medicine all at the same time.

Keep reading for a step by step approach to write your medical school personal statement.

“After sitting on a medical school admissions committee for many years, I can tell you, think strategically about how you want to present your personal “big picture.” We want to know who you are as a human being.”

As physicians, former medical school faculty, and medical school admissions committee members, this article will offer a step by step guide to simplify the medical school personal statement brainstorming and writing process.

By following the proven strategies outlined in this article, you will be and to write a personal statement that will earn you more medical school interviews . This proven approach has helped hundreds of medical school applicants get in to medical school the first time they apply!

“Medical

Learn the 2024-2025 Medical School Personal Statement Prompts ( AMCAS , TMDSAS , AACOMAS )

The personal statement is the major essay portion of your primary application process. In it, you should describe yourself and your background, as well as any important early exposures to medicine, how and why medicine first piqued your interest, what you have done as a pre med, your personal experiences, and how you became increasingly fascinated with it. It’s also key to explain why medicine is the right career for you, in terms of both personal and intellectual fulfillment, and to show your commitment has continued to deepen as you learned more about the field.

The personal statement also offers you the opportunity to express who you are outside of medicine. What are your other interests? Where did you grow up? What did you enjoy about college? Figuring out what aspects of your background to highlight is important since this is one of your only chances to express to the med school admissions committee before your interview what is important to you and why.

However, it is important to consider the actual personal statement prompt for each system through which you will apply, AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS, since each is slightly different.

Getting into a medical school has never been more competitive. Let the experts at MedEdits help you with your medical school application materials. We’ve worked with more than 5,000 students and 94% have been admitted to medical school.

Need help with your Personal Statement?

Schedule a free 15 Minute Consultation with a MedEdits expert.

2024 AMCAS Personal Statement Prompt

AMCAS Personal Statement

The AMCAS personal statement instructions are as follows:

Use the Personal Comments Essay as an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Consider and write your Personal Comments Essay carefully; many admissions committees place significant weight on the essay. Here are some questions that you may want to consider while writing the essay:

  • Why have you selected the field of medicine?
  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What do you want medical schools to know about you that hasn’t been disclosed in other sections of the application?

In addition, you may wish to include information such as:

  • Unique hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits
  • Comments on significant fluctuations in your academic record that are not explained elsewhere in your application

As you can see, these prompts are not vague; there are fundamental questions that admissions committees want you to answer when writing your personal statement. While the content of your statement should be focused on medicine, answering the open ended third question is a bit trickier.

The AMCAS personal statement length is 5,300 characters with spaces maximum.

2024 TMDSAS Personal Statement Prompt

TMDSAS Personal Statement

The TMDSAS personal statement is one of the most important pieces of your medical school application.

The TMDSAS personal statement prompt is as follows:

Explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. Be sure to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician.

This TMDSAS prompt is very similar to the AMCAS personal statement prompt. The TMDSAS personal statement length is 5,000 characters with spaces whereas the AMCAS personal statement length is 5,300 characters with spaces. Most students use the same essay (with very minor modifications, if necessary) for both application systems.

You’ve been working hard on your med school application, reading medical school personal statement examples, editing, revising, editing and revising.  Make sure you know where you’re sending your personal statement and application.  Watch this important medical school admissions statistics video.

2024 AACOMAS Personal Statement Prompt

AACOMAS Personal Statement

The AACOMAS personal statement is for osteopathic medical schools specifically. As with the AMCAS statement, you need to lay out your journey to medicine as chronologically as possible in 5,300 characters with spaces or less. So you essentially have the same story map as for an AMCAS statement. Most important, you must show you are interested in osteopathy specifically. Therefore, when trying to decide what to include or leave out, prioritize any osteopathy experiences you have had, or those that are in line with the osteopathic philosophy of the mind-body connection, the body as self-healing, and other tenets.

Medical School Application Timeline and When to Write your Personal Statement

If you’re applying to both allopathic and osteopathic schools, you can most likely use the same medical school personal statement for both AMCAS and AACOMAS. In fact, this is why AACOMAS changed the personal statement length to match the AMCAS length several years ago.

Most medical school personal statements can be used for AMCAS and AACOMAS.

Know the Required Medical School Personal Statement Length

Below are the medical schools personal statement length limits for each application system. As you can see, they are all very similar. When you start brainstorming and writing your personal statement, keep these limits in mind.

AMCAS Personal Statement Length : 5,300 characters with spaces.

As per the AAMC website :   “The available space for this essay is 5,300 characters (spaces are counted as characters), or approximately one page. You will receive an error message if you exceed the available space.”

AACOMAS Personal Statement Length : 5,300 characters with spaces

TMDSAS Personal Statement Length : 5,000 characters with spaces

As per the TMDSAS Website (Page 36): “The personal essay asks you to explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. You are asked to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician. The essay is limited to 5000 characters, including spaces.”

Demonstrate Required Preprofessional Competencies

Next, your want to be aware of the nine preprofessional core competencies as outlined by the Association of American Medical Colleges . Medical school admissions committees want to see, as evidenced by your medical school personal statement and application, that you possess these qualities and characteristics. Now, don’t worry, medical school admissions committees don’t expect you to demonstrate all of them, but, you should demonstrate some.

  • Service Orientation
  • Social Skills
  • Cultural Competence
  • Oral Communication
  • Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others
  • Reliability and Dependability
  • Resilience and Adaptability
  • Capacity for Improvement

In your personal statement, you might be able to also demonstrate the four thinking and reasoning competencies:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Written Communication
  • Scientific Inquiry

So, let’s think about how to address the personal statement prompts in a slightly different way while ensuring you demonstrate the preprofessional competencies. When writing your personal statement, be sure it answers the four questions that follow and you will “hit” most of the core competencies listed above.

1. What have you done that supports your interest in becoming a doctor?

I always advise applicants to practice “evidence based admissions.” The reader of your essay wants to see the “evidence” that you have done what is necessary to understand the practice of medicine. This includes clinical exposure, research, and community service, among other activities.

2. Why do you want to be a doctor?

This may seem pretty basic – and it is – but admissions officers need to know WHY you want to practice medicine. Many applicants make the mistake of simply listing what they have done without offering insights about those experiences that answer the question, “Why medicine?” Your reasons for wanting to be a doctor may overlap with those of other applicants. This is okay because the experiences in which you participated, the stories you can tell about those experiences, and the wisdom you gained are completely distinct—because they are only yours. 

“In admissions committee meetings we were always interested in WHY you wanted to earn a medical degree and how you would contribute to the medical school community.”

Medical school admissions committees want to know that you have explored your interest deeply and that you can reflect on the significance of these clinical experiences and volunteer work. But writing only that you “want to help people” does not support a sincere desire to become a physician; you must indicate why the medical profession in particular—rather than social work, teaching, or another “helping” profession—is your goal. 

3. How have your experiences influenced you?

It is important to show how your experiences are linked and how they have influenced you. How did your experiences motivate you? How did they affect what else you did in your life? How did your experiences shape your future goals? Medical school admissions committees like to see a sensible progression of involvements. While not every activity needs to be logically “connected” with another, the evolution of your interests and how your experiences have nurtured your future goals and ambitions show that you are motivated and committed.

4. Who are you as a person? What are your values and ideals?

Medical school admissions committees want to know about you as an individual beyond your interests in medicine, too. This is where answering that third open ended question in the prompt becomes so important. What was interesting about your background, youth, and home life? What did you enjoy most about college? Do you have any distinctive passions or interests? They want to be convinced that you are a good person beyond your experiences. Write about those topics that are unlikely to appear elsewhere in your statement that will offer depth and interest to your work and illustrate the qualities and characteristics you possess.

Related Articles:

  • How to Get into Stanford Medical School
  • How to Get into NYU Medical School
  • How To Get Into Columbia Medical School
  • How To Get Into UT Southwestern Medical School
  • How To Get Into Harvard Medical School

Complete Your Personal Inventory and Outline (Example Below)

The bulk of your essay should be about your most valuable experiences, personal, academic, scholarly, clinical, academic and extracurricular activities that have impacted your path to medical school and through which you have learned about the practice of medicine. The best personal statements cover several topics and are not narrow in scope. Why is this important? Many different people with a variety of backgrounds, interests, and ideas of what makes a great medical student will be reading your essay. You want to make sure you essay has broad appeal.

The following exercise will help you to determine what experiences you should highlight in your personal statement. 

When composing your personal statement, keep in mind that you are writing, in effect, a “story” of how you arrived at this point in your life. But, unlike a “story” in the creative sense, yours must also offer convincing evidence for your decision to apply to medical school. Before starting your personal statement, create an experience- based personal inventory:

  • Write down a list of the most important experiences in your life and your development. The list should be all inclusive and comprise those experiences that had the most impact on you. Put the list, which should consist of personal, extracurricular, and academic events, in chronological order.
  • From this list, determine which experiences you consider the most important in helping you decide to pursue a career in medicine. This “experience oriented” approach will allow you to determine which experiences best illustrate the personal competencies admissions committees look for in your written documents. Remember that you must provide evidence for your interest in medicine and for most of the personal qualities and characteristics that medical school admissions committees want to see.
  • After making your list, think about why each “most important” experience was influential and write that down. What did you observe? What did you learn? What insights did you gain? How  did the experience influence your path and choices?
  • Then think of a story or illustration for why each experience was important.
  • After doing this exercise, evaluate each experience for its significance and influence and for its “story” value. Choose to write about those experiences that not only were influential but that also will provide interesting reading, keeping in mind that  your goal is to weave the pertinent experiences together into a compelling story. In making your choices, think about how you will link each experience and transition from one topic to the next.
  • Decide which of your listed experiences you will use for your introduction first (see below for more about your introduction). Then decide which experiences you will include in the body of your personal statement, create a general outline, and get writing!

Remember, you will also have your work and activities entries and your secondary applications to write in more detail about your experiences. Therefore, don’t feel you must pack everything in to your statement!

Craft a Compelling Personal Statement Introduction and Body

You hear conflicting advice about application essays. Some tell you not to open with a story. Others tell you to always begin with a story. Regardless of the advice you receive, be sure to do three things:

  • Be true to yourself. Everyone will have an opinion regarding what you should and should not write. Follow your own instincts. Your personal statement should be a reflection of you, and only you.
  • Start your personal statement with something catchy.  Think about the list of potential topics above.
  • Don’t rush your work. Composing thoughtful documents takes time and you don’t want your writing and ideas to be sloppy and underdeveloped.

Most important is to begin with something that engages your reader. A narrative, a “story,” an anecdote written in the first or third person, is ideal. Whatever your approach, your first paragraph must grab your reader’s attention and motivate him to want to continue reading. I encourage applicants to start their personal statement by describing an experience that was especially influential in setting them on their path to medical school. This can be a personal or scholarly experience or an extracurricular one. Remember to avoid clichés and quotes and to be honest and authentic in your writing. Don’t try to be someone who you are not by trying to imitate personal statement examples you have read online or “tell them what you think they want to hear”; consistency is key and your interviewer is going to make sure that you are who you say you are!

When deciding what experiences to include in the body of your personal statement, go back to your personal inventory and identify those experiences that have been the most influential in your personal path and your path to medical school. Keep in mind that the reader wants to have an idea of who you are as a human being so don’t write your personal statement as a glorified resume. Include some information about your background and personal experiences that can give a picture of who you are as a person outside of the classroom or laboratory.

Ideally, you should choose two or three experiences to highlight in the body of your personal statement. You don’t want to write about all of your accomplishments; that is what your application entries are for!

Write Your Personal Statement Conclusion

In your conclusion, it is customary to “go full circle” by coming back to the topic—or anecdote—you introduced in the introduction, but this is not a must. Summarize why you want to be a doctor and address what you hope to achieve and your goals for medical school. Write a conclusion that is compelling and will leave the reader wanting to meet you.

Complete Personal Statement Checklist

When reading your medical school personal statement be sure it:

Shows insight and introspection

The best medical school personal statements tell a great deal about what you have learned through your experiences and the insights you have gained.

You want to tell your story by highlighting those experiences that have been the most influential on your path to medical school and to give a clear sense of chronology. You want your statement always to be logical and never to confuse your reader.

Is interesting and engaging

The best personal statements engage the reader. This doesn’t mean you must use big words or be a literary prize winner. Write in your own language and voice, but really think about your journey to medical school and the most intriguing experiences you have had.

Gives the reader a mental image of who you are

You want the reader to be able to envision you as a caregiver and a medical professional. You want to convey that you would be a compassionate provider at the bedside – someone who could cope well with crisis and adversity.

Illustrates your passion for, and commitment to, medicine

Your reader must be convinced that you are excited about and committed to a career in medicine!

Above all, your personal statement should be about you. Explain to your reader what you have done and why you want to be a doctor with insight, compassion, and understanding.

Medical School Personal Statement Myths

Also keep in mind some common myths about personal statements that I hear quite often:

My personal statement must have a theme.

Not true. The vast majority of personal statements do not have themes. In fact, most are somewhat autobiographical and are just as interesting as those statements that are woven around a “theme.” It is only the very talented writer who can creatively write a personal statement around a theme, and this approach often backfires since the applicant fails to answer the three questions above.

My personal statement must be no longer than one page.

Not true. This advice is antiquated and dates back to the days of the written application when admissions committees flipped through pages. If your personal statement is interesting and compelling, it is fine to use the entire allotted space. The application systems have incorporated limits for exactly this reason! Many students, depending on their unique circumstances, can actually undermine their success by limiting their personal statement to a page. That said, never max out a space just for the sake of doing so. Quality writing and perspectives are preferable to quantity.

My personal statement should not describe patient encounters or my personal medical experiences.

Not true. Again, the actual topics on which you focus in your personal statement are less important than the understanding you gained from those experiences. I have successful clients who have written extremely powerful and compelling personal statements that included information about clinical encounters – both personal and professional. Write about whichever experiences were the most important on your path to medicine. It’s always best, however, to avoid spending too much space on childhood and high school activities. Focus instead on those that are more current.

In my personal statement I need to sell myself.

Not exactly true. You never want to boast in your personal statement. Let your experiences, insights, and observations speak for themselves. You want your reader to draw the conclusion – on his or her own – that you have the qualities and characteristics the medical school seeks. Never tell what qualities and characteristics you possess; let readers draw these conclusions on their own based on what you write.

Medical School Personal Statement Examples and Analysis for Inspiration

Below are examples of actual medical school personal statements. You can also likely find medical school personal statements on Reddit.

example of medical school personal statement, medical school personal statement examples

AMCAS Medical School Personal Statement Example and Analysis #1 with Personal Inventory  

We will use Amy to illustrate the general process of writing an application to medical school, along with providing the resulting documents. Amy will first list those experiences, personal, extracurricular, and scholarly, that have been most influential in two areas: her life in general and her path to medical school. She will put this personal inventory in chronologic order for use in composing her personal statement.

She will then select those experiences that were the most significant to her and will reflect and think about why they were important. For her application entries, Amy will write about each experience, including those that she considers influential in her life but not in her choice of medicine, in her application entries. Experiences that Amy will not write about in her activity entries or her personal statement are those that she does not consider most influential in either her life or in her choice of medicine.

Amy’s personal inventory (from oldest to most recent)

  • Going with my mom to work. She is a surgeon — I was very curious about what she did. I was intrigued by the relationships she had with patients and how much they valued her efforts. I also loved seeing her as “a doctor” since, to me, she was just “mom.”
  • I loved biology in high school. I started to think seriously about medicine then. It was during high school that I became fascinated with biology and how the human body worked. I would say that was when I thought, “Hmm, maybe I should be a doctor.”
  • Grandmother’s death, senior year of high school. My grandmother’s death was tragic. It was the first time I had ever seen someone close to me suffer. It was one of the most devastating experiences in my life.
  • Global Health Trip to Guatemala my freshman year of college. I realized after going to Guatemala that I had always taken my access to health care for granted. Here I saw children who didn’t have basic health care. This made me want to become a physician so I could give more to people like those I met in Guatemala.
  • Sorority involvement. Even though sorority life might seem trivial, I loved it. I learned to work with different types of people and gained some really valuable leadership experience.
  • Poor grades in college science classes. I still regret that I did badly in my science classes. I think I was immature and was also too involved in other activities and didn’t have the focus I needed to do well. I had a 3.4 undergraduate GPA.
  • Teaching and tutoring Jose, a child from Honduras. In a way, meeting Jose in a college tutoring program brought my Guatemala experience to my home. Jose struggled academically, and his parents were immigrants and spoke only Spanish, so they had their own challenges. I tried to help Jose as much as I could. I saw that because he lacked resources, he was at a tremendous disadvantage.
  • Volunteering at Excellent Medical Center. Shadowing physicians at the medical center gave me a really broad view of medicine. I learned about different specialties, met many different patients, and saw both great and not-so-great physician role models. Counselor at Ronald McDonald House. Working with sick kids made me appreciate my health. I tried to make them happy and was so impressed with their resilience. It made me realize that good health is everything.
  • Oncology research. Understanding what happens behind the scenes in research was fascinating. Not only did I gain some valuable research experience, but I learned how research is done.
  • Peer health counselor. Communicating with my peers about really important medical tests gave me an idea of the tremendous responsibility that doctors have. I also learned that it is important to be sensitive, to listen, and to be open-minded when working with others.
  • Clinical Summer Program. This gave me an entirely new view of medicine. I worked with the forensics department, and visiting scenes of deaths was entirely new to me. This experience added a completely new dimension to my understanding of medicine and how illness and death affect loved ones.
  • Emergency department internship. Here I learned so much about how things worked in the hospital. I realized how important it was that people who worked in the clinical department were involved in creating hospital policies. This made me understand, in practical terms, how an MPH would give me the foundation to make even more change in the future.
  • Master’s in public health. I decided to get an MPH for two reasons. First of all, I knew my undergraduate science GPA was an issue so I figured that graduate level courses in which I performed well would boost my record. I don’t think I will write this on my application, but I also thought the degree would give me other skills if I didn’t get into medical school, and I knew it would also give me something on which I could build during medical school and in my career since I was interested in policy work.

As you can see from Amy’s personal inventory list, she has many accomplishments that are important to her and influenced her path. The most influential personal experience that motivated her to practice medicine was her mother’s career as a practicing physician, but Amy was also motivated by watching her mother’s career evolve. Even though the death of her grandmother was devastating for Amy, she did not consider this experience especially influential in her choice to attend medical school so she didn’t write about it in her personal statement.

Amy wrote an experience-based personal statement, rich with anecdotes and detailed descriptions, to illustrate the evolution of her interest in medicine and how this motivated her to also earn a master’s in public health.

Amy’s Medical School Personal Statement Example:

She was sprawled across the floor of her apartment. Scattered trash, decaying food, alcohol bottles, medication vials, and cigarette butts covered the floor. I had just graduated from college, and this was my first day on rotation with the forensic pathology department as a Summer Scholar, one of my most valuable activities on the path to medical school. As the coroner deputy scanned the scene for clues to what caused this woman’s death, I saw her distraught husband. I did not know what to say other than “I am so sorry.” I listened intently as he repeated the same stories about his wife and his dismay that he never got to say goodbye. The next day, alongside the coroner as he performed the autopsy, I could not stop thinking about the grieving man.

Discerning a cause of death was not something I had previously associated with the practice of medicine. As a child, I often spent Saturday mornings with my mother, a surgeon, as she rounded on patients. I witnessed the results of her actions, as she provided her patients a renewed chance at life. I grew to honor and respect my mother’s profession. Witnessing the immense gratitude of her patients and their families, I quickly came to admire the impact she was able to make in the lives of her patients and their loved ones.

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine as my mother had, and throughout high school and college I sought out clinical, research, and volunteer opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of medicine. After volunteering with cancer survivors at Camp Ronald McDonald, I was inspired to further understand this disease. Through my oncology research, I learned about therapeutic processes for treatment development. Further, following my experience administering HIV tests, I completed research on point-of-care HIV testing, to be instituted throughout 26 hospitals and clinics. I realized that research often served as a basis for change in policy and medical practice and sought out opportunities to learn more about both.

All of my medically related experiences demonstrated that people who were ‘behind the scenes’ and had limited or no clinical background made many of the decisions in health care. Witnessing the evolution of my mother’s career further underscored the impact of policy change on the practice of medicine. In particular, the limits legislation imposed on the care she could provide influenced my perspective and future goals. Patients whom my mother had successfully treated for more than a decade, and with whom she had long-standing, trusting relationships, were no longer able to see her, because of policy coverage changes. Some patients, frustrated by these limitations, simply stopped seeking the care they needed. As a senior in college, I wanted to understand how policy transformations came about and gain the tools I would need to help effect administrative and policy changes in the future as a physician. It was with this goal in mind that I decided to complete a master’s in public health program before applying to medical school.

As an MPH candidate, I am gaining insight into the theories and practices behind the complex interconnections of the healthcare system; I am learning about economics, operations, management, ethics, policy, finance, and technology and how these entities converge to impact delivery of care. A holistic understanding of this diverse, highly competitive, market-driven system will allow me, as a clinician, to find solutions to policy, public health, and administration issues. I believe that change can be more effective if those who actually practice medicine also decide where improvements need to be made.

For example, as the sole intern for the emergency department at County Medical Center, I worked to increase efficiency in the ED by evaluating and mapping patient flow. I tracked patients from point of entry to point of discharge and found that the discharge process took up nearly 35% of patients’ time. By analyzing the reasons for this situation, in collaboration with nurses and physicians who worked in the ED and had an intimate understanding of what took place in the clinical area, I was able to make practical recommendations to decrease throughput time. The medical center has already implemented these suggestions, resulting in decreased length of stays. This example illustrates the benefit of having clinicians who work ‘behind the scenes’ establish policies and procedures, impacting operational change and improving patient care. I will also apply what I have learned through this project as the business development intern at Another Local Medical Center this summer, where I will assist in strategic planning, financial analysis, and program reviews for various clinical departments.

Through my mother’s career and my own medical experiences, I have become aware of the need for clinician administrators and policymakers. My primary goal as a physician will be to care for patients, but with the knowledge and experience I have gained through my MPH, I also hope to effect positive public policy and administrative changes.

What’s Good About Amy’s Medical School Personal Statement:  

Paragraphs 1 and 2: Amy started her personal statement by illustrating a powerful experience she had when she realized that medical caregivers often feel impotent, and how this contrasted with her understanding of medicine as a little girl going with her mother to work. Recognition of this intense contrast also highlights Amy’s maturity.

Paragraph 3: Amy then “lists” a few experiences that were important to her.

Paragraph 4: Amy describes the commonality in some of her experiences and how her observations were substantiated by watching the evolution of her mother’s practice. She then explains how this motivated her to earn an MPH so she could create change more effectively as a physician than as a layman.

Paragraph 5: Amy then explains how her graduate degree is helping her to better understand the “issues in medicine” that she observed.

Paragraph 6: Amy then describes one exceptional accomplishment she had that highlights what she has learned and how she has applied it.

Paragraph 7: Finally, Amy effectively concludes her personal statement and summarizes the major topics addressed in her essay.

As you can see, Amy’s statement has excellent flow, is captivating and unusual, and illustrates her understanding of, and commitment to, medicine. She also exhibits, throughout her application entries and statement, the personal competencies, characteristics, and qualities that medical school admissions officers are seeking. Her application also has broad appeal; reviewers who are focused on research, cultural awareness, working with the underserved, health administration and policy, teaching, or clinical medicine would all find it of interest.

Personal Statement Examples

med school personal statement examples

Osteopathic Medical School Personal Statement Example and Analysis #2

Medical School Personal Statement Example Background: This is a nontraditional applicant who applied to osteopathic medical schools. With a 500 and a 504 on the MCAT , he needed to showcase how his former career and what he learned through his work made him an asset. He also needed to convey why osteopathic medicine was an ideal fit for him. The student does an excellent job illustrating his commitment to medicine and explaining why and how he made the well-informed decision to leave his former career to pursue a career in osteopathic medicine.

What’s Good About It: A nontraditional student with a former career, this applicant does a great job outlining how and why he decided to pursue a career in medicine. Clearly dedicated to service, he also does a great job making it clear he is a good fit for osteopathic medical school and understands this distinctions of osteopathic practice.. 

Working as a police officer, one comes to expect the unexpected, but sometimes, when the unexpected happens, one can’t help but be surprised. In November 20XX, I had been a police officer for two years when my partner and I happened to be nearby when a man had a cardiac emergency in Einstein Bagels. Entering the restaurant, I was caught off guard by the lifeless figure on the floor, surrounded by spilled food. Time paused as my partner and I began performing CPR, and my heart raced as I watched color return to the man’s pale face.

Luckily, paramedics arrived within minutes to transport him to a local hospital. Later, I watched as the family thanked the doctors who gave their loved one a renewed chance at life. That day, in the “unexpected,” I confirmed that I wanted to become a physician, something that had attracted me since childhood.

I have always been enthralled by the science of medicine and eager to help those in need but, due to life events, my path to achieving this dream has been long. My journey began following high school when I joined the U.S. Army. I was immature and needed structure, and I knew the military was an opportunity to pursue my medical ambitions. I trained as a combat medic and requested work in an emergency room of an army hospital. At the hospital, I started IVs, ran EKGs, collected vital signs, and assisted with codes. I loved every minute as I was directly involved in patient care and observed physicians methodically investigating their patients’ signs and symptoms until they reached a diagnosis. Even when dealing with difficult patients, the physicians I worked with maintained composure, showing patience and understanding while educating patients about their diseases. I observed physicians not only as clinicians but also as teachers. As a medic, I learned that I loved working with patients and being part of the healthcare team, and I gained an understanding of acute care and hospital operations.

Following my discharge in 20XX, I transferred to an army reserve hospital and continued as a combat medic until 20XX. Working as a medic at several hospitals and clinics in the area, I was exposed to osteopathic medicine and the whole body approach to patient care. I was influenced by the D.O.s’ hands-on treatment and their use of manipulative medicine as a form of therapy. I learned that the body cannot function properly if there is dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system.

In 20XX, I became a police officer to support myself as I finished my undergraduate degree and premed courses. While working the streets, I continued my patient care experiences by being the first to care for victims of gunshot wounds, stab wounds, car accidents, and other medical emergencies. In addition, I investigated many unknown causes of death with the medical examiner’s office. I often found signs of drug and alcohol abuse and learned the dangers and power of addiction. In 20XX, I finished my undergraduate degree in education and in 20XX, I completed my premed courses.

Wanting to learn more about primary care medicine, in 20XX I volunteered at a community health clinic that treats underserved populations. Shadowing a family physician, I learned about the physical exam as I looked into ears and listened to the hearts and lungs of patients with her guidance. I paid close attention as she expressed the need for more PCPs and the important roles they play in preventing disease and reducing ER visits by treating and educating patients early in the disease process. This was evident as numerous patients were treated for high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes, all conditions that can be resolved or improved by lifestyle changes. I learned that these changes are not always easy for many in underserved populations as healthier food is often more expensive and sometimes money for prescriptions is not available. This experience opened my eyes to the challenges of being a physician in an underserved area.

The idea of disease prevention stayed with me as I thought about the man who needed CPR. Could early detection and education about heart disease have prevented his “unexpected” cardiac event? My experiences in health care and law enforcement have confirmed my desire to be an osteopathic physician and to treat the patients of the local area. I want to eliminate as many medical surprises as I can.

Personal Statement Examples

Texas Medical School Personal Statement Example and Analysis #3

Medical School Personal Statement Example Background: This applicant, who grew up with modest means, should be an inspiration to us all. Rather than allowing limited resources to stand in his way, he took advantage of everything that was available to him. He commuted to college from home and had a part-time job so he was stretched thin, and his initial college performance suffered. However, he worked hard and his grades improved. Most medical school admissions committees seek out applicants like this because, by overcoming adversity and succeeding with limited resources, they demonstrate exceptional perseverance, maturity, and dedication. His accomplishments are, by themselves, impressive and he does an outstanding job of detailing his path, challenges, and commitment to medicine. He received multiple acceptances to top medical schools and was offered scholarships.

What’s Good About It: This student does a great job opening his personal statement with a beautifully written introduction that immediately takes the reader to Central America. He then explains his path, why he did poorly early in college, and goes on to discuss his academic interests and pursuits. He is also clearly invested in research and articulates that he is intellectually curious, motivated, hard working, compassionate and committed to a career in medicine by explaining his experiences using interesting language and details. This is an intriguing statement that makes clear the applicant is worthy of an interview invitation. Finally, the student expresses his interest in attending medical school in Texas.

They were learning the basics of carpentry and agriculture. The air was muggy and hot, but these young boys seemed unaffected, though I and my fellow college students sweated and often complained. As time passed, I started to have a greater appreciation for the challenges these boys faced. These orphans, whom I met and trained in rural Central America as a member of The Project, had little. They dreamed of using these basic skills to earn a living wage. Abandoned by their families, they knew this was their only opportunity to re-enter society as self- sufficient individuals. I stood by them in the fields and tutored them after class. And while I tried my best to instill in them a strong work ethic, it was the boys who instilled in me a desire to help those in need. They gave me a new perspective on my decision to become a doctor.

I don’t know exactly when I decided to become a physician; I have had this goal for a long time. I grew up in the inner city of A City, in Texas and attended magnet schools. My family knew little about higher education, and I learned to seek out my own opportunities and advice. I attended The University with the goal of gaining admission to medical school. When I started college, I lacked the maturity to focus on academics and performed poorly. Then I traveled to Central America. Since I was one of the few students who spoke Spanish, many of the boys felt comfortable talking with me. They saw me as a role model.

The boys worked hard so that they could learn trades that would help them to be productive members of society. It was then I realized that my grandparents, who immigrated to the US so I would have access to greater opportunities, had done the same. I felt like I was wasting what they had sacrificed for me. When I returned to University in the fall, I made academics my priority and committed myself to learn more about medicine .

mission statement medical school essay

Through my major in neuroscience, I strengthened my understanding of how we perceive and experience life. In systems neurobiology, I learned the physiology of the nervous system. Teaching everything from basic neural circuits to complex sensory pathways, Professor X provided me with the knowledge necessary to conduct research in Parkinson’s disease. My research focused on the ability of antioxidants to prevent the onset of Parkinson’s, and while my project was only a pilot study at the time, Professor X encouraged me to present it at the National Research Conference. During my senior year, I developed the study into a formal research project, recruiting the help of professors of statistics and biochemistry.

Working at the School of Medicine reinforced my analytical skills. I spent my summer in the department of emergency medicine, working with the department chair, Dr. Excellent. Through Dr. Excellent’s mentorship, I participated in a retrospective study analyzing patient charts to determine the efficacy of D-dimer assays in predicting blood clots. The direct clinical relevance of my research strengthened my commitment and motivated my decision to seek out more clinical research opportunities.

A growing awareness of the role of human compassion in healing has also influenced my choice to pursue a career in medicine. It is something no animal model or cell culture can ever duplicate or rival. Working in clinical research has allowed me to see the selflessness of many physicians and patients and their mutual desire to help others. As a research study assistant in the department of surgery, I educate and enroll patients in clinical trials. One such study examines the role of pre-operative substance administration in tumor progression. Patients enrolled in this study underwent six weeks of therapy before having the affected organ surgically excised. Observing how patients were willing to participate in this research to benefit others helped me understand the resiliency of the human spirit.

Working in clinical trials has enabled me to further explore my passion for science, while helping others. Through my undergraduate coursework and participation in volunteer groups I have had many opportunities to solidify my goal to become a physician. As I am working, I sometimes think about my second summer in Central America. I recall how one day, after I had turned countless rows of soil in scorching heat, one of the boys told me that I was a trabajador verdadero—a true worker. I paused as I realized the significance of this comment. While the boy may not have been able to articulate it, he knew I could identify with him. What the boy didn’t know, however, was that had my grandparents not decided to immigrate to the US, I would not have the great privilege of seizing opportunities in this country and writing this essay today. I look forward to the next step of my education and hope to return home to Texas where I look forward to serving the communities I call home.

Final Thoughts

Above all, and as stated in this article numerous times, your personal statement should be authentic and genuine. Write about your path and and journey to this point in your life using anecdotes and observations to intrigue the reader and illustrate what is and was important to you. Good luck!

Medical School Personal Statement Help & Consulting

If all this information has you staring at your screen like a deer in the headlights, you’re not alone. Writing a superb medical school personal statement can be a daunting task, and many applicants find it difficult to get started writing, or to express everything they want to say succinctly. That’s where MedEdits can help. You don’t have to have the best writing skills to compose a stand-out statement. From personal-statement editing alone to comprehensive packages for all your medical school application needs, we offer extensive support and expertise developed from working with thousands of successful medical school applicants. We can’t promise applying to medical school will be stress-free, but most clients tell us it’s a huge relief not to have to go it alone.

MedEdits offers personal statement consulting and editing. Our goal when working with students is to draw out what makes each student distinctive. How do we do this? We will explore your background and upbringing, interests and ideals as well as your accomplishments and activities. By helping you identify the most distinguishing aspects of who you are, you will then be able to compose an authentic and genuine personal statement in your own voice to capture the admissions committee’s attention so you are invited for a medical school interview. Our unique brainstorming methodology has helped hundreds of aspiring premeds gain acceptance to medical school.

MedEdits: Sample Medical School Personal Statement, Page 1

Sample Medical School Personal Statement

MedEdits: Sample Medical School Personal Statement, Page 2

Example Medical School Personal Statement

MedEdits Medical Admissions Founder and Chairwoman, Jessica Freedman, MD

  • Website Disclaimer
  • Terms and Conditions
  • MedEdits Privacy Policy

mission statement medical school essay

Med School Insiders

2024 How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement (11 Steps)

  • By Med School Insiders
  • December 2, 2023
  • Medical Student , Pre-med
  • Medical School Application , Personal Statement

Each piece of a med school application brings a unique set of anxiety-ridden challenges, but few equal that of the personal statement. A personal statement is much, much more than a narrative-version of your CV. Reiterating your grades and extracurriculars in complete sentences is not how to write a medical school personal statement.

A personal statement is an opportunity to tell your story. Why do you want to study medicine? What drives you? This is your chance to let an admissions committee know who you really are beyond your grades.

Of course, you’re studying to become a doctor, not a novelist, which means the idea of crafting your personal statement may seem daunting, to say the least.

In this guide, we’ll take a comprehensive, step-by-step look at how to write a medical school personal statement, including how to get started, everything you need to include, and common mistakes to avoid.

Article Sections

  • Anatomy of Medical School Personal Statement

What Med School Admissions Committees Look For

How to get started.

  • How to Write a Personal Statement

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Medical school personal statement examples, anatomy of a medical school personal statement.

A personal statement has a 5,300 character maximum, about 1.5 pages of single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font. The challenge isn’t trying to fill in words; the challenge is selecting the key moments in your life that made you want to be a doctor and expressing them concisely.

A personal statement is made up of three parts:

Introduction

It’s essentially a short essay that uses your life experience to succinctly demonstrate why you’re the right person for the job. If someone’s making a movie about your life and the events that shaped your desire to become a doctor, what key moments do you want to highlight?

Your introduction must capture an admissions committee’s attention. Use the introduction to hook your readers. The first few sentences should entice them to read more.

There isn’t a perfect number of paragraphs or set structure. This is where you discuss the experiences that have shaped your personality, your desire to study medicine, and your dreams for the future.

This is the summary of your statement, and it should tie in directly to your introduction. Now is the time to emphasize why you want to be a physician and your future goals.

Learn more about the Anatomy of a Stellar Medical School Personal Statement .

Admissions committees need to know they’re accepting students who are ready to face the rigorous day-and-night grind of medical school. They have your CV and transcripts; now you need to demonstrate you have what it takes to succeed.

The personal statement is your chance to display your personality and highlight the experiences that shaped you. What drives you? What strengths and experiences will you bring to medical school? Why are you an asset?

The admissions committee isn’t looking for a list of your accomplishments. They want to know your story . Don’t tell the admissions committee you’re compassionate and driven; show them with tangible examples from your life.

So you’re a great listener. What’s a moment in your past that demonstrates this? If you care deeply about the wellbeing of others, what story from your life illustrates that passion?

1 | Read Real Personal Statement Examples

Right off the bat, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone—far from it. Every medical student who came before you has written personal statements, which means you have a wealth of examples to read and learn from.

Every personal statement is unique to the writer. Don’t expect to find a perfect blueprint you can copy off of, but reading several different personal statements will give you a sense of the themes, concepts, strategies, and stories that can help you find success.

If you know people in your own life who have successfully matriculated to med school, it’s a good idea to ask them if you can take a look at their personal statement. Med School Insiders compiled a database of personal statements donated by successful medical school applicants. Reading successful personal statements will give you an idea of what’s expected.

Reading bad personal statements can also give you an idea of what mistakes to avoid. Learn from our bad personal statement examples , which includes key insights into what you should do instead.

2 | Reflect on Past Experiences

Hand writing journal Personal Statement prompts

Take this as an opportunity to reflect. Don’t think of it as brainstorming, and don’t worry about being creative just yet. Simply think back on key moments from your past.

Think of your personal statement like your superhero origin story. You may have excellent grades, abilities, and a natural aptitude for science, but why are you pursuing medicine? What moment or moments in your life revealed to you why you had to be a doctor?

Take Spider-Man. Yes, Peter Parker received his superpowers from a radioactive spider bite, but that’s not why he fights crime; Spider-Man fights crime so that what happened to his Uncle Ben never happens to anyone else. Bruce Wayne is incredibly smart, incredibly strong, and incredibly rich, but that’s not why he fights crime as Batman. Bruce Wayne became Batman so that no one else would lose their parents to a random act of violence like he did.

The truth is, a lot of superheroes have pretty similar motivations, and doctors have similar motivations, too. Your desire to become a doctor likely stems from a genuine intellectual interest in medicine, a desire to work closely with other humans, and a drive to help people and save lives. The other med school hopefuls you’re applying with have very similar motivations.

The key is digging deep and determining what you value most about becoming a doctor. Once you know that, think about the tangible experiences in your life that helped you realize those values.

Utilize our list of 25 medical school personal statement prompts as you ideate and reflect on your life to date.

3 | Choose Which Experiences/Traits to Highlight

Identify three to four personal strengths you are particularly proud of and want the admissions committee to know. Where did these strengths shine in your premedical years? What experiences helped you build on these strengths? This will make up the body of your personal statement.

Remember: writing a personal statement takes time—and lots of it. It will likely take several different attempts and drafts. After discussing your selected strengths, you may find that they don’t define you well enough or that there are better options. Don’t be discouraged. Give yourself plenty of time to reflect on and explore a variety of different strengths.

Don’t forget about the interview; the admissions committee will certainly ask you to further elaborate on the experiences outlined in your personal statement. Share personal stories that you want to be asked about and feel comfortable addressing.

Generally, personal statements involve experiences in the following categories:

  • A passion for patient interaction
  • Intellectual curiosity for medicine (academics, research, etc.)
  • Dedication and discipline (medicine or another pursuit)
  • Perseverance in the face of adversity
  • Interpersonal and professional skills

How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement

4 | show, don’t tell.

If essays or storytelling aren’t necessarily your strong suit, think back to math class and those equations where the teacher made you show your work for the full grade. It’s not enough that you got the answer right; you had to show how you arrived at the answer.

Think of this in the same way. It’s great that you’re compassionate, but the admissions committee isn’t going to take you at your word. They want you to back up that claim with evidence. It is vital that you show the admissions committee you’re compassionate with concrete examples from your life that illustrate your journey to medicine.

It’s much more impactful to share a story that demonstrates specific qualities than it is to tell someone you have those qualities directly. Saying you are hardworking or resilient is not enough. You need to craft a story that allows the reader to infer those qualities about you.

5 | Leverage the Narrative-Based Approach

Book open - Narrative for Medical School Applications

You are applying to medical school along with an immense number of other students with great grades, stellar qualifications, and impressive clinical hours. These are all key to your medical school application, but the best grades in the world won’t set you apart in the eyes of the admissions committee.

Your personal statement is a chance to stand out in a crowded field. Too many personal statements read like a CV but with full paragraphs, which quickly becomes monotonous.

Leverage a narrative-based approach so that the admissions committee is excited to learn more about you. Your entire application should illustrate your compelling journey toward becoming a doctor. Highlight how your experiences make you an asset who will contribute uniquely to the medical school.

It’s not enough to simply check off the boxes. The admissions committee wants to know your story.

Learn How to Develop a Cohesive Narrative for Medical School Applications .

6 | Create an Outline

After taking the time to reflect on the experiences and traits you want to include in your personal statement, create an outline to structure your approach .

You do not need to stick to it, but this is the general structure of most personal statements:

  • Introduction (A strong hook to catch the reader’s attention—usually an anecdote or reflection that introduces the theme of your story. Hook the reader with the opening sentence.)
  • Experience 1
  • Experience 2
  • Experience 3
  • Conclusion (Tie your story back to the opening hook/theme. Summarize why you want to be a physician and what your future goals are.)

Remember, this is not a list of your accomplishments. The personal statement must read like a cohesive narrative, not a resume.

Establish a theme in the introduction that’s central to your desire to become a doctor. Each following paragraph will illustrate how your personal experiences have shaped that desire and prepared you for your journey. In the conclusion, gracefully tie back to your central theme or hook to turn the personal statement into a consistent, interconnected story.

7 | Force Yourself to Start Writing

It’s understandable and common to feel overwhelmed while writing a personal statement. In fact, if you don’t feel overwhelmed, it’s safe to say that you’re not taking this seriously enough.

Start with a theme, but don’t get stuck trying to come up with the perfect opening sentence. That comes later. Once you have a general outline, just start writing. See what happens, and—most importantly—be kind to yourself.

The first words you write won’t be perfect, but they will get you started. You should fully expect the first draft of your personal statement to be terrible. That’s okay. First drafts are never perfect.

Your first draft probably won’t look anything like your final essay. Put one foot in front of the other and just start writing. Get the ideas out and worry about editing later.

8 | Keep it Concise and Direct

In your subsequent drafts, focus on cutting down your words and being concise. It’s not your use of flowery language that will impress the admissions committee. Forget about extravagant word choices and convoluted sentence structure. You don’t have the space for poetic tangents anyway.

Use your words efficiently, and favor clear language over long, complicated words. It’s easy for readers to spot when you’re using a thesaurus, and it will only take away from your end message. Find the simplest way to say something.

For example:

Hard-working over Assiduous

Compassion over Magnanimity

Agree over Concur

Use tools like the Hemingway App to keep your language direct and concise.

9 | Take Some Time Away

Take time away from your drafts. Once you complete a draft, take a break, and let it sit. Go for a walk, watch some TV, or work on a completely different activity. After your break, come back to your personal statement with fresh eyes. You may find that the fantastic opening line you came up with isn’t so fantastic anymore, or that sentence you weren’t so sure about actually works really well.

Writing your personal statement will take time. Even if you feel extremely confident in your personal statement, take time away from it and come back.

10 | Refine, Review, and Edit

Hand editing paper Personal Statement Editing

We recommend using editing apps like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor , but don’t rely on bots alone to catch possible mistakes.

Ask your friends and family for their first impressions on the content of your personal statement. Tell them to be brutally honest (because the admissions committee certainly will be.) Reach out to a mentor or people who have been through this process before.

Spelling or grammar mistakes indicate carelessness on your part and are an automatic red flag for admissions committees. Read over your work carefully, and ask others you trust to do the same.

The editing process is such a critical phase for your personal statement. Learn how to edit your personal statement to impress admissions committees.

11 | Invest in Essay Editing Services

Your medical school personal statement is arguably the most important piece of your application. While an excellent essay can lock-in your interview offer, a poorly-written personal statement can ruin your chances—even with stellar grades, impressive academic awards, and a notable list of extracurriculars.

Don’t risk your acceptance. Essay editing services can provide the help that friends, family, and mentors cannot.

Med School Insiders Personal Statement Editing Services includes careful analysis of content and tone as well as helpful insights into how you can improve your essay and impress admissions committees.

How to Write a Personal Statement List of 11 steps

Avoid the following common personal statement mistakes .

  • Don’t list your accomplishments or rehash your CV and extracurriculars.
  • Don’t make spelling or grammar errors.
  • Don’t overuse the word I. Doing so makes you more likely to state your accomplishments instead of telling a story.
  • Don’t use flowery language or words you found in a thesaurus.
  • Don’t explain to a physician what medicine is all about. Talk about yourself and your experiences; the admissions committee already understands medicine.
  • Don’t state the obvious or use clichés. (Every applicant likes science and wants to help people.)
  • Don’t lie or fabricate your personal stories.
  • Don’t make excuses for poor grades or a low MCAT score.
  • Don’t speak negatively about another physician or healthcare professional.
  • Don’t plead for an interview or acceptance.
  • Don’t edit your personal statement by yourself.
  • Don’t procrastinate.

Learn more: 20 Personal Statement: Dos and Don’ts .

Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid list

It’s important to read the personal statements of matriculated students. While you won’t be able to mimic someone else’s personal statement, you can still learn a lot from them, and reading different statements can spark ideas for your own essay.

We compiled a selection of real medical school personal statements from successful applicants. These statements are for reference purposes only and should not be plagiarized in any way. Plagiarism detection software is used when evaluating personal statements, and plagiarizing is grounds for an automatic disqualification.

Be sure to read the included feedback regarding the personal statements as well, as this will give you extra insight into what admissions committees are looking for.

Read Real Medical School Personal Statement Examples .

Medical School Personal Statement Editing

Don’t write your medical school personal statement alone—we can help. Med School Insiders offers a range of personal statement editing packages , from general editing to unlimited, in-depth editing with a physician who will be there to advise you every step of the way.

Learn more about our Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages . Our team of doctors has years of experience serving on admissions committees, so you’ll receive key insights from people who have been intimately involved with the selection process.

Next read: Guide to Understanding the Medical School Application Process

Picture of Med School Insiders

Med School Insiders

Hands on laptop keyboard - Ready to Apply to Medical School

Am I Ready to Apply to Medical School?

Are you ready to apply to medical school? Applying before you’re ready is a costly mistake. Find out if you’re on the right track for acceptance this cycle.

AACOMAS - doctor hands helping a patient

2024 AACOMAS Application Guide for DO Schools

Use our AACOMAS application guide for an ideal DO school application timeline, what you need to include, mistakes to avoid, and frequently asked questions.

TMDSAS - Texas flag and medical objects

2024 TMDSAS Application Guide for Texas Medical Schools

Use our TMDSAS medical school application guide for key insight into the primary application process. We’ll outline an ideal application timeline, what you need to include, mistakes to avoid, and FAQs.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Join the Insider Newsletter

Join the Insider Newsletter

Receive regular exclusive MSI content, news, and updates! No spam. One-click unsubscribe.

Customer Note Premed Preclinical Med Student Clinical Med Student

You have Successfully Subscribed!

ACCEPTED

Which program are you applying to?

Medical school personal statement examples.

Get accepted to your top choice medical school with your compelling essay.

THE TOP 10 MEDICAL SCHOOLS

HAVE AN AVERAGE ACCEPTANCE RATE OF 5.3%

home-usnews

A GREAT MEDICAL SCHOOL PERSONAL STATEMENT IS KEY IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS

If you want to get into the best school, you need to stand out from other applicants.  

U.S. News   reports the average medical school acceptance rate at the top 100 med schools at 6.35% , but our med school clients enjoy an 85% ACCEPTANCE RATE .

How can you separate yourself from the competition successfully? By creating a great personal statement.

body:nth-child(2) > div.body-wrapper > main:nth-child(3) > div:nth-child(1) > div:nth-child(1) > div:nth-child(1) > div:nth-child(1) > div.row-fluid-wrapper.row-depth-1.row-number-6 > div:nth-child(1) > div:nth-child(1) > div.row-fluid-wrapper.row-depth-1.row-number-7 > div:nth-child(1) > div:nth-child(1) > #hs_cos_wrapper_dnd_area-module-12 > #hs_cos_wrapper_dnd_area-module-12_ > h2:nth-child(2)">Medical School Sample Personal Statements and Essays

Here we present medical school personal statement examples to give you ideas for your own essay.

Pay close attention to the consistent format of these effective personal statements:

ENGAGING INTRODUCTION / UNIFYING THEME / COMPELLING CONCLUSION

Give the admissions committee readers a clear picture of you as an individual, a student, and a future medical professional. Make them want to meet you after they finish reading your essay.

Here's what you'll find on this page:

  • How Sample Med School Essays Can Help You
  • Before you Start Writing
  • Writing Your Opening Paragraph
  • Writing Your Body Paragraphs
  • Writing Transitions
  • Writing Your Conclusion
  • Common Elements Between Personal Statements

Five Don'ts for Your Medical School Personal Statement

  • Personal Statement Examples & Analysis
  • Frequently Asked Questions

How can these sample med school essays help you?

You plan to become a physician, a highly respected professional who will have great responsibility over the health and well being of your future patients. How can you prove to the admissions committee that you have the intelligence, the maturity, the compassion, and the dedication needed to succeed in your goal? 

The medical school personal statement examples below are all arguments in favor of top med schools accepting these applicants. And they worked. The applicants who wrote these essays were all accepted to top medical schools - most to multiple schools. They show a variety of experiences and thought processes that all led to the same outcome. However, while the paths to this decision point vary widely, these winning essays share several things in common. 

As you read them, take note of how the stories are built sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, adding to the evidence that the writer is worthy of acceptance. This evidence includes showing a sustained focus, mature self-reflection, and professional and educational experiences that have helped prepare the applicant to succeed. 

As you write your medical school personal statement , include your most compelling, memorable and meaningful experiences that are relevant to your decision to become a doctor. Each sentence should add to the reader’s understanding of who you are, what your strengths are, and why you will make an outstanding physician. Your resulting essay will help the adcom appreciate your intellectual and psychological strengths as well as your motivations, and conclude that you are worthy of acceptance into a top medical school. 

Techniques for creating successful medical school personal statements

Before you start writing your med school personal statement.

Before you start writing your medical school personal statement you will need to choose a topic that will reflect who you are and engage the reader. There are a few strong ways to proceed. Try freewriting with a few of the following topic ideas.

Why medicine? Do you have a personal experience that made you certain about being a physician? How, when, did you know this was the right career for you? Is there a doctor you know (or knew) who emulates an altruistic moral character, someone who won your deepest respect? Can you show this person in action or describe them as they model inherent qualities, those for which you will strive as a physician?

How has a clinical experience been a real growth moment for you? Can you tell that story? Sometimes a clinical experience is deeply personal, something experienced by you or by someone in your family. Sometimes a clinical experience is about a patient whose situation taught you something deeply valuable, something honestly insightful about what good care means, about humanity, about empathy, about compassion, about community, about advantage and disadvantage, about equity and inclusion. 

Choose an experience outside the comfort of your own community, an experience where you were the outsider (uncertain, facing ambiguity) and this experience brought about a fresh, resonant understanding of yourself and others, an understanding that made you grow as a person, and perhaps brought about humility or joy in light of this geographical or cultural dislocation. Often this prompt includes traveling to other countries. Yet, it could work just as beautifully discovering people in close places that were previously unfamiliar to you – the shelter in the next town over, a foster home for medically unstable children, the day you witnessed food insecurity firsthand at a local church and decided to do something about disparity.

Read other successful personal statements in guides and publications. You can read sample personal statements that work here: medical school personal statement examples

The prompts above have great possibilities to be successful because they locate experiences that require better than average human understanding and insight. When we re-convey a moving human experience well, we tell a story that aims to bring us together, unite us in our common humanity. Telling powerful stories about humanity, in the end, presents your deeper attributes to others and demonstrates your capacity to feel deeply about the human condition. 

Be careful how often you use the first person pronoun, though you may use it. Revise for clarity many more times than you might do in other writing moments. Choose precise vocabulary that sounds like you, and, of course, revise so that you present to your readers the most pristinely grammatical you. 

Once you’ve looked at the sample medical school personal statements in the link above, try freewriting again according to one of the themes listed that applies to you. For instance, perhaps your prior freewriting aimed to describe a moment in your life that seeded your interest in medicine. Great. Save that file. Now, start again with a different topic, perhaps one from the linked page of sample personal statements. For instance, let your freewriting explore the time you traveled to another country to participate in a public health mission. What person immediately comes to mind? Hopefully this person is quite different from you in identity and culture. Make sure this comes across. Describe the scene when you first encountered this person. What happened? Tell that story. Why do you think you remember this person so vividly? Did the experience challenge you? Did you learn something deeper and perhaps more complex about humanity, about culture, about your own assumptions about humanity? Hopefully, you grew from this experience. How did you grow? What do you now understand that you did not understand before having had this experience? Hindsight may very well bring about perspective that demonstrates that you now understand the value of that human encounter. 

Here is a cautionary bit of advice about writing about childhood. Yes, it is relatively common to have had a formidable experience in childhood about illness, health, healthcare, medicine or doctors. Right? Most of us have had at least one critical health issue in our own family when still a child. Sometimes it is absolutely true that a moment in childhood began your interest in healthcare. 

One may have had a diagnosis as a child that turned one’s life path toward being health-aware. For instance, are you a juvenile-onset, Type I diabetic? Do you have a cognitive or physical disability? Were you raised in a home with someone who had a critical illness or disability? Did a sibling, parent or grandparent get gravely sick when you were young? 

Upon writing-up any of these situations for your personal statement, there is a catch-22. For medical school application activities, the rule of thumb is “nothing from high school.” So why then is it sometimes a good idea to write about a childhood situation in a personal statement? The answer has to do with the uniqueness of your story and the quality of hindsight through which you narrate it.

Let us slow down for a moment on the issue of writing about childhood. Typically, traditional applicants to medical school are steadfastly dedicated to their academic and pre-professional aims. Science curriculum, especially pre-med curriculum, is demanding and rigorous, and it trains science students to excel in empirical thinking and assessment. 

Sometimes, when asked to write a personal essay, hard core science students feel the rug pulled out from under them. Are you more confident and meticulous about action steps and future plans than you are confident about being a sage looking back on your life? Chances are your answer is “yes.” 

Of course you can write; you’re a smart person and a very good student. Yet, writing a heartfelt, perceptive essay about yourself or an aspect of your life for an application to medical school is unnerving even as you understand why your application might benefit from story-telling. Yes, your application should benefit from your engaging, authorial presence in the essay. An application that lacks this is wholly at a disadvantage. 

Perhaps you are gravitating to the choice to share a story about your childhood. 

For instance, what if you sat down to free-write the following prompt:

Draft an essay about a childhood experience that ingrained medicine as one of your inherent interests. Do so in a manner that demonstrates the value of hindsight while telling it.

Is it hard to stay calm about this prompt right now even though this prompt is precisely what could make your personal statement successful? The idea of this prompt is what many successful applicants have written well, and you can too. Why not seek professional guidance for your personal essay? Accepted has consultants who advise applicants through this process. We advise you on the whole process of developing a successful idea for an essay, help you mine your experiences, outline your strongest ideas, and after you’ve written them up, edit your drafts. You can view these personal statement services here: Essay Package

Back to tips. The key to writing a personal statement that frames a moment in childhood well is to stand firmly in the present and stay descriptive and perceptive. Write up that experience trusting you have insight. Quite a bit of time has passed since then, and that distance has given you the opportunity to see things a little differently now. 

Let’s presume you want to write about how as a child you had an older sibling with a cognitive impairment. You and your family witnessed time and again doors being shut, so to speak, on his ability to be included in school events or community events.

Free writing A: My older brother, G, had moderate cognitive impairment. He was never given field time in soccer games. When this happened, G cried. When this happened, I cried and felt hurt by how much time my parents spent trying to calm him down, eventually leaving the field, holding him close and bringing us back home, another Saturday wrecked. 

Example A has no benefit of hindsight.

Free writing B (with some hindsight): My older brother, G, had moderate cognitive impairment. Most of the time, kids were kind to him. “Hey G, how are you, man?,” they would say and high-five him. Most kids greeted him, offered him snacks and a seat on the sideline blanket. It was touching to see him included and seen at soccer games.

Further hindsight: G was rarely played in the game. 

Reflective comment: No harm would have been done in letting him play. It’s clear to me now how much more work we each need to do about inclusion. Community-based team sports are pretty good about extending kindness at the sidelines, but that is not the same thing as letting all kids play in the game. I am still grateful for every kindness extended to my brother, but perhaps letting him play in the game would have demonstrated to kids and parents alike a deeper message about the importance of inclusion over winning. The coaches meant no harm, but that is precisely how unconscious bias plays. Afterall, community by its very definition is about inclusion.

Standing tall on this matter brings out a maturity and vocabulary to master this kind of personal writing that Free Writing A lacks. You don’t want to go back in time and join your younger self and narrate from that perspective. The “return” to your former child typically results in replicating a childlike emotional capacity – and chances are, that’s not you anymore. You’ve seen more. You’ve grown more. You’re now formally educated. You’re more skilled at making connections between ideas and experiences. You can narrate a scene or circumstance and attach awareness of what you realize now it means – like the over-narratives of documentaries where the author sheds true insight about the meaning of past events. 

Most traditional applicants to medical school are just a few years older than teenagers. 

When hindsight brings great clarity and insight to the significance of an experience, we demonstrate a keener maturity and an understanding that in authoring an experience we have a responsibility to demonstrate how a personal experience becomes a valuable portal to understanding the situation of others. Hindsight done well can be a stunningly beautiful and engaging narrative skill.

Perhaps you would rather write about a clinical experience? If you write about patients, change names, change gender, change some context to assure anonymity. Nearly all healthcare workers are concerned about telling patient stories because we worry about appropriating someone else’s experience, or feel we may not have the right, literally since HIPAA set rules on patients’ privacy rights in 1996. We should be concerned about telling patients’ stories; however, how we tell them is key in honoring them. When we honor patients and convey their stories to others we demonstrate the reciprocity of the professional relationship. Physicians no longer have a prescriptive, patrician role. Physicians are no longer sole authorities. Physicians and patients establish a reciprocal relationship, a two way street wherein a physician steps into a space of illness with the patient and walks with them, with the goal of healing, curing and advocating for them. When doctors tell stories, they establish that patients matter, that these encounters matter, that doctors think about patients and often learn from them. 

How we write patient stories is best done humbly, of course. We can narrate a story that becomes exemplary for its insight and empathy – after all, insight and empathy are desirable traits of a physician. Be sure to show rather than tell, most of the time. Be sure to capture the sensory detail of people and place. For instance, is the patient sitting on a blue plastic chair under ultraviolet lights in the waiting room of a free clinic? Is a woman with her gray hair twisted in a bun wearing a cotton hospital gown, waiting against a concrete wall in a tiny examination room with the door open? (Setting makes a character more real.) 

Finally, your story perspective, what you see and understand, becomes another way of revealing who you are. 

How to write your opening paragraph:

A strong opening paragraph for a story begins “several pages in.” A strong story begins with you, the narrator, already standing in the ocean with water splashing at your knees. This is called a hook: “D began to bleed after the second attempt to start an intravenous line.” 

Then, get the basic narrative facts down, the 5 W’s, the who, what, where, when and why, so your readers will not be confused: “She was a patient in the infusion clinic in the cancer pavilion of a major Boston hospital. She came to the clinic for her first round of chemotherapy.”

What else about this moment engaged you? Did D come to her appointment alone via an Uber ride? Why wasn’t anyone with her? How did that make you feel? Did the two of you hold a conversation while you were trying to start an IV? Why do you think she started to bleed? How did she respond when she saw you were having trouble starting this IV? Why didn’t she have a Medi-port yet? Here, you are building fuller context for her story. Don’t race through the scene; rather, build it, slowing down time, using images and sensory details to “paint” with your words. Smaller details, necessary ones, help you portray D as an individual. 

“Semper Fidelis was tattooed on her forearm. ‘Thank you for your service,’ I said.” 

“‘This cancer thing,’ she said, ‘this is nothing.’”

“D’s comment set me back. She had triple-negative breast cancer. She had blood running down her arm to her hand, between her fingers and onto a stiff, white pillow case on which she rested her arm. Triple-negative breast cancer was much more than nothing. In fact, it was very serious.” 

What questions came to mind that provide several ways of reading this moment? Write them down. For instance,

  • Did D not know about the gravity of her diagnosis?
  • Was she steely and tough yet informed?
  • Did she live through something much worse while enlisted as a Marine?

The questions themselves may wander too much to serve your personal statement as a succinct essay, which it needs to be. However, the answers to those questions may be exactly the additional content you need to develop this story’s acumen and perception as you demonstrate how getting to know the patient is a critical skill in order to help her. And now a theme is starting to come through: a doctor treats a patient, not a diagnosis. Voilà!

Moving forward: How does a doctor reframe clinical assumptions in this instance? What does a future doctor learn from a circumstance like this? 

Notice in the example above that the writing is active, uses details, and vivid language.

This writer has a palpable connection to the moment. One key to choosing one experience over another for your personal statement is how visual and vivid your recollection is. Often, moments worth mining for meaning are easy to recollect because they still have unresolved messages that need to be understood. Writing experiences helps us find their meaning, their sense. 

Notice as well, the scene above captures a moment of ambiguity, a concept particularly difficult for many health science professionals to embrace because there are multiple ways of looking at and understanding something. Stories send empiricism into the wind. People are not solely empirical. There is the self that is the body, which can be understood empirically, but there’s also the self that inhabits the body, the thinking/feeling/being and perceiving self. Stories are not about right answers. Stories attend to sentience and explore humanity. Patients’ lives are rife with uncertain moments, uncertain decisions, uncertain treatments, uncertain consequences, and uncertain outcomes. How does a physician engage with health uncertainty, understand it, and navigate it through pathways of humanity rather than pathways of diagnosis?

How does health care challenge you to grow in humanistic ways?

How to write your body paragraphs:

Once you have written a compelling scene, it might be a good idea to reflect upon why you were drawn to write about this experience in particular before your proceed. How does this scene illustrate meaningfully something worth explaining about becoming a physician? For instance, D’s scene was illustrative of an unexpected shift in perception that mattered when treating a patient with a serious cancer diagnosis. This unexpected shift happened to you, not to her. D’s been living with herself aplenty. Her point of view surprised you, not her, and reveals an incongruence between her perspective on her illness and yours.

Brief moments of ambiguity like this one can make us talk to each other, make us want to do something, can bring us to explore some further niche, specialty or research. Perhaps D brought you to peruse PubMed to research “Issues in Clinical Practice when Caring for Veterans” to see if you could find articles to help you help D and other veterans. Perhaps D’s comment was so truthful that you now volunteer with a veterans’ organization to scribe their stories for a war history museum? This “call to action” is a worthy story in a personal statement. Tell D’s story and conclude it with empathy and action. (Taking action to help is a demonstration of empathy.) Mindfully showing the experience with D as a catalyst to a path of action to help those under duress -- in distress, in crisis, or adrift in inequity -- matters.

Perhaps, follow this conclusion with a brief explanation of what principles now guide your humanistic path to medical school as long as they are principles that matter to your choice schools. 

Here are a few things to avoid in writing your medical school personal statement. Avoid talking about your scholastic path in preparation for medical school in your essay. The essay is not a place to reiterate scholastic achievements, for instance, a high GPA, academic honors, academic awards, publications, or MCAT scores because they’re front and center in other areas of your application. 

Instead, frame your medical school personal statement around a formidable experience that directly or indirectly led you to pursue medicine. This could be a struggle that you’ve overcome that demonstrates your fortitude (the story of a sociocultural disadvantage or disability), the first time you deeply understood the ramifications of health care disparities you will not forget. Likely, this would be a personal story about yourself or a family member, a clinical story or a mission trip, or a story about a patient from some other volunteer work that you’ve done. 

Additional topic ideas for your personal statement: What is a successful doctor? What does a successful life as a doctor look like? What happens to your understanding of best practices when a patient’s situation makes a best practice unrealistic, and what is the remedy? What epiphany, small or large, resides in you now since having mined a critical, clinical experience? Do you see a difference in the way you respond to patients since having had this experience? How has clinical experience matured you, deepened your awareness of living? If a patient experience became a catalyst for you to branch out or deepen your healthcare exposure opportunities, talk about that too. What opportunities? Why?

Writing effective transitions:

You are now ready to proceed to a conclusion that leaves your readers, the admissions committee, with a lasting impression of you – your life, your mind, your character -- as a 21 st century physician. 

Chances are, you’ll need to transition from the previous discussion of a time in the past to squarely speak about yourself here and now or in a comment toward the future. 

Can you sum up your main idea for the past experience? Consider the benefit of using a word or phrase -- thus, just as, hence, accordingly, in the same way, correspondingly -- and present your central idea again but only in a few repetitive words (called parallelism) or with synonymous words, creating internal unity in the essay. 

Be careful how you do this. The phrasing should feel necessary and fluid rather than reductive or even worse, phrasing that sounds like filler. 

The shift you’re making is from then to now, or from then to now and to the future as in “all this is to say.” Would you benefit from a fact, a quote, a statistic, or an informed prediction on the state of medicine, public health, or the future of medicine? 

Grammar tips: 

Transitional words can indicate:

  • a process: first, second, next, finally…
  • time: by lunch time, that evening, two weeks later…
  • spatial sequences: down the block, two miles west, one bed over…
  • logic sequences: likewise, however, evidently, in other words…
  • meta-thought: as I say this, looking back, I have nothing left to say…

If grammar and idea flow are a concern, have a look at Accepted’s editing services: Med School Essay Package

A consultant will walk you through the inception of an essay, an outline, and editing from first through final drafts, including suggestions for idea development and transitions from one idea to another.

How to write your conclusion:

A strong conclusion for your medical school personal statement can highlight the relevance of a timely issue (for instance, the physician shortage in the U.S.), make broader inferences about something you’ve already discussed (for instance, the broader implications of a particular health care disparity), or a call to action that you now embrace (for instance, community-based work that you did during the pandemic that now has become a central interest). Altruism, or understanding another’s disadvantaged situation, should not be represented in your conclusion as “ideas alone.” Commitment to serve others is not solely aspirational (“As physicians, we must do everything we can about inequity"), but a strong conclusion puts ideals into action (“I have joined Dr. T’s research team to conduct qualitative research about how social strata paradigms impact health care inequity”). Action in the conclusion should be associated with an experience shown earlier in the essay and culminate as a demonstration that you have already begun shaping your path in medicine. You are not waiting to begin but have already begun facing the challenges and responsibilities of future physicians. This kind of conclusion shows vision, maturity, commitment and character.

If the story in the body of your personal statement is about an experience, the conclusion should show your growth since then and keep in alignment how you’ve grown with the medical school values and missions of the majority of schools on your list. So, if you’re applying to top-tier allopathic schools, your growth may be in the depth and orientation of your recent research, or in having established a tighter link between your clinical experience and research. 

If you’re applying to osteopathic schools, your growth should be in keeping with the osteopathic schools’ values and missions on your list and include recent hands-on experience, something with specific tasks and responsibilities, rather than shadowing, since shadowing is often seen as passive experience. It may be that you’ve become a licensed EMT and will work as an EMT in a relevant region or state during the gap year. It may be that you’ve been certified and now work as a harm reduction specialist for a particular organization in a particular city or county. 

If you’re applying to both allopathic and osteopathic schools, each personal statement should align with the academic orientation of each pathway. Using the same personal statement for both AMCAS and AACOMAS applications is rarely a good idea. 

Accepted offers help with the whole application process: Primary Application Package

Other elements that each essay below have in common:

Accepted provides sample medical school personal statements with titles classifying types of narratives that have potential for success. Applicants do have some freedom of choice in what topic will serve their essay best. Why only “some” freedom in topic for this personal essay? Because this essay is one tool you will use to reach a professional goal. 

Not all essays help us reach professional goals. Writers of effective essays must take into account who will read them. Think about who your audience is. In this case, it’s a medical school admissions committee – not a friend, not a parent, not a peer. How will you write an essay on the same topic, let’s say a lab experience that went from bad to revelatory? You’d tell this story quite differently to your lab mates than you would to your professor, than you would to the president of your university, than you would in a grant application. 

Here’s what can happen when the “audience” isn’t considered sufficiently when writing about a passion. Let’s say you love playing soccer, and played on a Division 3 team as an undergraduate. Let’s say it didn’t matter to you that the team was Division 3 as long as it meant you could get on the field and play through your undergraduate years. It’s quite possible that one can write well about playing soccer, but one must do so in such a way that the reader really believes and understands the parallel between doing what you love and a future in medicine. Otherwise, the writer may very well convey that they love soccer. However, when written without the focus that medical school admissions committees will be readers, the essay could end up conveying that the narrator really wants to be a soccer coach, not a doctor. 

So, there’s only some freedom in topic and some freedom in writing approach - and the two must make sense together in order to facilitate accomplishing your goal. 

There is no “one-size-fits-all” to writing a successful medical school personal statement. There are, however, aspects to the sample essays on this site that stand out. 

First, each personal statement example is authored by someone who knows exactly what story they’re telling. No matter what their first draft looked like, by the time the final draft is ready to go, all fuzzy draft moments have been made lucid and engaging. All sections of the essay should have the polish and the same goals. 

  • Why am I telling this in this way? 
  • To what ends does each scene or moment speak?
  • Have I revised enough to make every sentence demonstrate strong writing skills?

Each sample personal statement emphasizes narrative control, engages with a direct voice, has conclusive things to show and say, demonstrates logical steps in idea development, and presents effective framing of the composition as a well-written form that displays strong writing skills. 

Even when an essay includes a “bookend” structure (a narrative structure that begins and ends with X, with middle content about Y), the story of Y (i.e. a mission trip in Mexico) is the primary story framed by the X bookend story (i.e. the love of running) to give ballast to the context in which this writer wants us to understand the mission trip as well, as a parallel story of challenge, commitment, exhilaration, exhaustion and necessity.

The same is true for stories that contain contrasts. If you’ve traveled ten mile or ten thousand miles, it is quite possible you’ve encountered different assumptions than your own about health care, health care access, trust, understanding of middle-class or first-world beliefs about health, understanding beliefs from poor and disadvantaged communities, illness, health care in contrast with a different cultural standard than what you’re used to, different beliefs about health care access, and a lack of or cautious trust in deference to doctors. (See the “Nontraditional Applicant” and “The Traveler.”) The key to this kind of essay is first demonstrating the contrasts between the two realities (yours and the patient’s reality) and their relative assumptions. Second, demonstrate an understanding of beliefs amid the two experiences and aim to reconcile their adverse assumptions.

However you proceed with the paragraph by paragraph progression of your medical school personal statement, be sure to see how there’s deeper intuition or knowledge associated with how the ideas progress. Do not repeat yourself, or reiterate a statement or idea unless you are clearly doing so for rhetorical emphasis.

Then, kiss your draft goodnight. Let it sit for two or three days, and return to it time and again with fresh eyes – to trim, tighten, clarify, improve tone and intention, and importantly, to make sure you have direct regard for your audience, who it is, what they’re looking for, and how you are the person whom they seek, as you maintain a tone and direction consistent with your goals and what you’re seeking from an admissions committee. 

Many students focus on their own or family members’ medical conditions in their personal statements. The essay sometimes reads like a medical history. Taking this approach can hurt your application for several reasons: It may alert them to conditions that could impact your ability to perform in medical school,   indicate that you lack boundaries by oversharing , or suggest a lack of maturity in focusing only on yourself and family – rather than on helping others or serving the community.

Anything you share in your personal statement can be brought up in your interview. If you share details of painful events, losses, or failures that you have not yet processed or come to terms with, that disclosure could come across as an invitation for the reader to pity you. Accepting long-term changes in our lives transforms us; we are constantly evolving through our experiences. Until you have integrated this information into your identity, depending on how impactful it was, you may not be able to use the experience to shed insight on yourself quite yet. Use negative experiences that are at least a year or older depending on how long it takes you to process and reflect. Most importantly,   use them to show growth and resilience , not to create pity.

  • DON’T demonstrate a lack of compassion or empathy. One of the creepiest essays I’ve ever read – it still sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it – was a student’s description of how much she enjoyed anesthetizing and removing the brains of mice. Her intention was to share her love of science, research, and learning but the feverish glee with which she described these procedures lacked compassion for the creatures that lost their lives for her research project. This lack of respect for the sacredness of life made it an easy decision to reject her application. Research was probably a better path for her, especially since she wasn’t able to gauge the reaction her statements would have on her audience.
  • DON’T bargain. The least fun essays to read are those that contain more promises than a politician’s speech. They include statements like, “If accepted into this program, I will….” The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you really want to demonstrate what you are capable of achieving during your medical education,  give examples of what you have already accomplished . This approach is far stronger than making hollow promises.
  • DON’T complain. Criticizing or pointing out the failures of healthcare professionals who have treated you or whom you have observed in the past will only reflect negatively on you. Since your application will be reviewed by doctors, as well as admissions professionals, it’s critical that you do not insult those from whom you are seeking acceptance. While it is true that medical mistakes and lack of access to care have devastating consequences for patients, their families and communities, identifying ways to improve in these areas without pointing any fingers would be more effective. By demonstrating your realistic knowledge of patient needs and sharing potential solutions, you can present yourself as an asset to their team.

Be careful what you write. Create a personal statement that is honest (not bitter), reveals your personality (not your medical history), and delivers a compelling explanation for your motivations for entering medicine (not empty promises). 

Do you want our expert advice on your medical school personal statement?

Sign up for a free consultation!

Med School Personal Statement Consultant Dr. Mary Mahoney

Mary Mahoney 2

Med School Personal Statement Examples and Analysis

Now let’s explore what you can learn from some of these outstanding sample med school essays.

Medical school personal statement example  #1: Emergency 911 

“Call 911!” I shouted to my friend as I sprinted down the street. The young Caucasian male had been thrown fifteen yards from the site of impact and surprisingly was still conscious upon my arrival. “My name is Michael. Can you tell me your name?” In his late twenties, he gasped in response as his eyes searched desperately in every direction for help, for comfort, for assurance, for loved ones, for death, until his eyes met mine. “Flail chest,” I thought to myself as I unbuttoned his shirt and placed my backpack upon his right side. “Pulse 98, respiration 28 short and quick. Help is on the way. Hang in there, buddy,” I urged.

After assessing the patient, the gravity of the situation struck me into sobriety. The adrenaline was no longer running through my veins — this was real. His right leg was mangled with a compound fracture; his left leg was also obviously broken. The tow-truck that had hit him looked as though it had run into a telephone pole. Traffic had ceased on the six-lane road, and a large crowd had gathered. However, no one was by my side to help. “Get me some blankets from that motel!” I yelled to a bystander and three people immediately fled. I was in charge.

But my patient was no longer conscious; his pulse was faint and respiration was low. “Stay with me, man!” I yelled. “15 to 1, 15 to 1,” I thought as I rehearsed CPR in my mind. Suddenly he stopped breathing. Without hesitation, I removed my T-shirt and created a makeshift barrier between his mouth and mine through which I proceeded to administer two breaths. No response. And furthermore, there was no pulse. I began CPR. I continued for approximately five minutes until the paramedics arrived, but it was too late. I had lost my first patient.

Medicine. I had always imagined it as saving lives, curing ailments, alleviating pain, overall making life better for everyone. However, as I watched the paramedics pull the sheets over the victim’s head, I began to tremble. I had learned my first lesson of medicine: for all its power, medicine cannot always prevail. I had experienced one of the most disheartening and demoralizing aspects of medicine and faced it. I also demonstrated then that I know how to cope with a life-and-death emergency with confidence, a confidence instilled in me by my certification as an Emergency Medical Technician, a confidence that I had the ability to take charge of a desperate situation and help someone in critical need. This pivotal incident confirmed my decision to pursue medicine as a career. 

Of course healing, curing, and saving is much more rewarding than trying and failing. As an EMT I was exposed to these satisfying aspects of medicine in a setting very new to me — urban medicine. I spent most of a summer doing ride-alongs with the Ambulance Company in Houston. Every call we received dealt with Latino patients either speaking only Spanish or very little broken English. I suddenly realized the importance of understanding a foreign culture and language in the practice of medicine, particularly when serving an underserved majority. In transporting patients from the field to the hospitals I saw the community’s reduced access to medical care due to a lack of physicians able to communicate with and understand their patients. I decided to minor in Spanish. Having almost completed my minor, I have not only expanded my academic horizons, I have gained a cultural awareness I feel is indispensable in today’s diverse society.

Throughout my undergraduate years at Berkeley I have combined my scientific interests with my passion for the Hispanic culture and language. I have even blended the two with my interests in medicine. During my sophomore year I volunteered at a medical clinic in the rural town of Chacala, Mexico. In Mexico for one month, I shadowed a doctor in the clinic and was concurrently enrolled in classes for medical Spanish. It was in Chacala, hundreds of miles away from home, that I witnessed medicine practiced as I imagined it should be. Seeing the doctor treat his patients with skill and compassion as fellow human beings rather than simply diseases to be outsmarted, I realized he was truly helping the people of Chacala in a manner unique to medicine. Fascinated by this exposure to clinical medicine, I saw medicine’s ability to make a difference in people’s lives. For me the disciplines of Spanish and science have become inseparable, and I plan to pursue a career in urban medicine that allows me to integrate them.

Having seen medicine’s different sides, I view this as a multifaceted profession. I have witnessed its power as a healing agent in rural Chacala, and I have seen its weakness when I met death face-to-face as an EMT. Inspired by the Latino community of Houston, I realize the benefits of viewing it from a holistic, culturally aware perspective. And whatever the outcome of the cry "Call 911!" I look forward as a physician to experiencing the satisfaction of saving lives, curing ailments, alleviating pain, and overall making life better for my patients.

Lessons From Med School Sample Essay #1: Emergency 911

This essay is one of our favorites. The applicant tells a story and weaves a lot of information into it about his background and interests. Note how the lead grabs one’s attention and the conclusion ties everything together.

What makes this essay work?

  • A dramatic opening paragraph

This essay has an unusually long opener, but not only is it dramatic, it also lays out the high-stakes situation of the writer desperately trying to save the life of a young man. As an EMT, the writer is safe in sharing so much detail, because they establish their bona fides as medically knowledgeable. With the urgent opening sentence (“Call 911!”) and the sad final sentence (“I had lost my first patient.”), the writer bookends a particularly transformative experience, one that confirmed their goal of becoming a doctor.  

  • A consistent theme

The theme of a med school essay in which the applicant first deals with the inevitable reality of seeing a patient die can become hackneyed through overuse. This essay is saved from that fate because after acknowledging the pain of this reality check, the writer reports that they immediately committed to expanding his knowledge and skills to better serve the local Hispanic community. While not an extraordinary story for an EMT, the substance, self-awareness, and focus the writer brings to the topic makes it a compelling read.

  • Evidence supporting the stated goal

This applicant is already a certified EMT, which serves as evidence of their serious interest in a medical career. In going on ambulance ride-alongs, the writer realized the barrier in communication between many doctors and their Spanish-speaking patients, which inspired the writer to take steps to both learn medical Spanish and shadow a doctor in a Mexican clinic. These concrete steps affirm that the applicant has serious intent.

Medical School Personal Statement Example #2: The Traveler

"On the first day that I walked into the Church Nursing Home, I was unsure of what to expect. A jumble of questions ran through my mind simultaneously: Is this the right job for me? Will I be capable of aiding the elderly residents? Will I enjoy what I do? A couple of hours later, these questions were largely forgotten as I slowly cut chicken pieces and fed them to Frau Meyer. Soon afterwards, I was strolling through the garden with Herr Schmidt, listening to him tell of his tour of duty in World War II. By the end of the day, I realized how much I enjoyed the whole experience and at the same time smiled at the irony of it all. I needed to travel to Heidelberg, Germany, to confirm my interest in clinical medicine.

Experiences like my volunteer work in the German nursing home illustrate the decisive role travel has played in my life. For instance, I had volunteered at a local hospital in New York but was not satisfied. Dreams of watching doctors in the ER or obstetricians in the maternity ward were soon replaced with the reality of carrying urine and feces samples to the lab. With virtually no patient contact, my exposure to clinical medicine in this setting was unenlightening and uninspiring. However, in Heidelberg, despite the fact that I frequently change diapers for the incontinent and deal with occasionally cantankerous elderly, I love my twice-weekly visits to the nursing home. Here, I feel that I am needed and wanted. That rewarding feeling of fulfillment attracts me to the practice of medicine.

My year abroad in Germany also enriched and diversified my experience with research. Although I had a tremendously valuable exposure to research as a summer intern investigating chemotherapeutic resistance in human carcinomas, I found disconcerting the constant cost-benefit analysis required in applied biomedical research. In contrast, my work at the University of Heidelberg gave me a broader view of basic research and demonstrated how it can expand knowledge – even without the promise of immediate profit. I am currently attempting to characterize the role of an enzyme during neural development. Even though the benefit of such research is not yet apparent, it will ultimately contribute to a vast body of information which will further medical science.

My different reactions to research and medicine just exemplify the intrinsically broadening impact of travel. For example, on a recent trip to Egypt, I visited a small village on the banks of the Nile. This impoverished hamlet boasted a large textile factory in its center where many children worked in clean, bright, and cheerful conditions weaving carpets and rugs. After a discussion with the foreman of the plant, I discovered that the children of the village learned trades at a young age to prepare them to enter the job market and to support their families. If I had just heard about this factory, I would have recoiled in horror with visions of sweatshops running through my head. However, watching the skill and precision each child displayed, in addition to his or her endless creativity, soon made me realize that it is impossible to judge this country’s attempts to deal with its poverty using American standards and experience.

Travel has not only had a formative and decisive impact on my decision to pursue a career in medicine, it has also broadened my horizons – whether in a prosperous city on the Rhine or an impoverished village on the Nile. In dealing with patients or addressing research puzzles, I intend to bring the inquiring mind fostered in school, lab, and volunteer experiences. But above all, I intend to bring the open mind formed through travel.

Lessons From Medical School Sample Essay #2: The Traveler

No boring repetition of itinerary from this seasoned traveler! This student ties their travels to their medical ambitions through the effective use of short anecdotes and vivid images. Can you sense the writer’s youthful disappointment during early clinical experiences and mature satisfaction working in the retirement home?

This applicant effectively links the expansive benefits of travel to their medical ambitions. By sharing vivid anecdotes from and reflections on these experiences, the writer enables the reader to easily imagine them as a talented physician in the future.

  • An engaging opening that frames the storyline Many fine application essays open with imagery so vibrant that the writing could be mistaken for fiction. This essay is no different. We meet the writer in the setting of a nursing home overseas, where they question whether their volunteer experiences there will help them determine their career path. Notice how the first sentence reflects a worry, “I was unsure of what to expect,” but by the final sentence, the writer concludes with satisfaction, “I needed to travel to Heidelberg, Germany, to confirm my interest in clinical medicine.” With this framing, we appreciate the essay’s theme.
  • Reflections on and contrasts about varied experiences in medicine The writer’s reactions to various encounters reveal a maturing mind-set: the “unenlightening and uninspiring” experience volunteering in a New York hospital versus the feeling of being “needed and wanted” in the nursing home in Heidelberg; the “disconcerting . . . constant cost-benefit analysis required in applied biomedical research” versus the “broader view of basic research and . . . how it can expand knowledge – even without the promise of immediate profit” at the University of Heidelberg. These reflections demonstrate a thoughtfulness born of experience.
  • How traveling has expanded his potential as a physician Of the five tightly constructed paragraphs in this substantial essay, the final two paragraphs home in on how travel has had an “intrinsically broadening impact” and stimulated an “open mind” to people and situations. This kind of sophisticated view is a desirable trait to adcoms.
  • Out-of-the-box theme Although this essay’s foundation is built on the writer’s sincere and dedicated aspirations for a medical career, they allowed themselves the space to write about the broadening intellectual benefits of travel, linking those benefits to professional potential. Even when writing about children working in a factory in Egypt, this applicant brings an expanded mind-set and greater cross-cultural understanding that will no doubt benefit them in their career.

Medical School Personal Statement Example #3: The Non-Traditional Applicant

"Modest one-room houses lay scattered across the desert landscape, their rooftops a seemingly helpless shield against the intense heat generated by the mid-July sun. The steel security bars that guarded the windows and doors of every house seemed to belie the large welcome sign at the entrance to the ABC Indian Reservation. As a young civil engineer employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, I was far removed from my cubicle in downtown Los Angeles.

However, I felt I was well-prepared to conduct my first project proposal. The project involved a $500,000 repair of an earthen levee surrounding an active Native American burial site. A fairly inexpensive and straightforward job by federal standards, but nonetheless, I could hardly contain my excitement. Strict federal construction guidelines laden with a generous portion of technical jargon danced through my head as I stepped up to the podium to greet the twelve tribal council members. My premature confidence quickly disappeared as they confronted me with a troubled ancient gaze. Their faces revealed centuries of distrust and broken government promises.

Suddenly, from a design based solely upon abstract engineering principles, an additional human dimension emerged – one for which I had not prepared. The calculations I had crunched over the past several months and the abstract engineering principles simply no longer applied. Their potential impact on this community was clearly evident in the faces before me. With perspiration forming on my brow, I decided I would need to take a new approach to salvage this meeting. So I discarded my rehearsed speech, stepped out from behind the safety of the podium, and began to solicit the council members’ questions and concerns. By the end of the afternoon, our efforts to establish a cooperative working relationship had resulted in a distinct shift in the mood of the meeting. Although I am not saying we erased centuries of mistrust in a single day, I feel certain our steps towards improved relations and trust produced a successful project.

I found this opportunity to humanize my engineering project both personally and professionally rewarding. Unfortunately, experiences like it were not common. I realized early in my career that I needed a profession where I could more frequently incorporate human interaction and my interests in science. After two years of working as a civil engineer, I enrolled in night school to explore a medical career and test my aptitude for pre-medical classes. I found my classes fascinating and became a more effective student. Today, I am proud of the 3.7 GPA I have achieved in competitive post-baccalaureate courses such as organic chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics.

Confident of my ability to succeed in the classroom, I proceeded to volunteer in the Preceptorship Program at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center. I acquired an understanding of the emotional demands and time commitment required of physicians by watching them schedule their personal lives around the needs of their patients. I also soon observed that the rewards of medicine stem from serving the needs of these same patients. I too found it personally gratifying to provide individuals with emotional support by holding an elderly woman’s hand as a physician drew a blood sample or befriending frightened patients with a smile and conversation.

To test my aptitude for a medical career further, I began a research project under the supervision of Dr. John Doe from the Orthopedic Department at Big University. The focus of my study was to determine the fate of abstracts presented at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand annual meeting. As primary author, I reported the results in an article for the Journal of Hand Surgery, a peer-reviewed publication. My contribution to medicine, albeit small, gave me much satisfaction. In the future, I would like to pursue an active role in scientific research.

My preparation for a career as a medical doctor started with my work as a professional engineer. From my experiences at the ABC Indian Reservation, I realized I need more direct personal interaction than engineering offers. The rewarding experiences I have had in my research, my volunteer work at the Los Angeles County Hospital, and my post-bac studies have focused my energies and prepared me for the new challenges and responsibilities that lie ahead in medicine."

Lessons From Med School Sample Essay #3: The Non-Traditional Applicant

Here, an older applicant takes advantage of their experience and maturity. Note how this engineer demonstrates their sensitivity and addresses possible stereotypes about engineers’ lack of communications skills.

What works well in this essay?

  • A compelling lead This story begins in a hot desert landscape, an unexpected and dramatic starting point. Can’t you just feel the heat and sense the loneliness of the remote Indian reservation? Equally powerful in this first paragraph is when the writer faces the need to suddenly and completely rethink their carefully planned approach to address the tribal leaders. Their excitement is dashed. Their confidence has plummeted. They are totally unprepared for the mistrust facing them and their plan, and they need to improvise –quickly. Who wouldn’t want to read on to see how they resolve this dramatic turn of events?
  • Solid storytelling that leads to a satisfying conclusion This nontraditional med school applicant reinvents themself in this essay. After realizing that they want more human involvement and interaction in their work, they take this self-knowledge and show us the steps they took to achieve their new goal. The steps are logical and well thought out, so the writer’s conclusion that they are well prepared in every way for med school makes perfect sense.
  • Evidence to support their theme Through taking prerequisite courses in medicine (and achieving high grades) to bedside hospital volunteering (which provides emotional satisfaction) to helping write a medical research paper (which provides a feeling that they are making a meaningful contribution), the writer offers evidence that they are well suited for their new goal of a career in medicine. Each experience shared is relevant to the writer’s story. Any reader will agree that the applicant’s future as a physician is promising.
  • A thoughtful perspective From the opening paragraph, the writer shows their ability to adapt to new situations and realities with quick thinking and psychological openness. They assess each stage of their journey, testing it for intellectual value and emotional satisfaction. Journeys of reflective self-discovery are something adcoms value.

Medical School Personal Statement Example #4: The Anthropology Student

"Crayfish tails in tarragon butter, galantine of rabbit with foie gras, oxtail in red wine, and apple tartelettes. The patient had this rich meal and complained of “liver upset” (crise de foie). Why a liver ache? I always associate indigestion with a stomach ache. In studying French culture in my Evolutionary Psychology class, I learned that when experiencing discomfort after a rich meal, the French assume their liver is the culprit. Understanding and dealing with the minor – sometimes major – cultural differences is a necessity in our shrinking world and diverse American society. Anthropology has prepared me to effectively communicate with an ethnically diverse population. My science classes, research, and clinical experience have prepared me to meet the demands of medical school.

I first became aware of the valuable service that physicians provide when I observed my father, a surgeon, working in his office. I gained practical experience assisting him and his staff perform various procedures in his outpatient center. This exposure increased my admiration for the restorative, technological, and artistic aspects of surgery. I also saw that the application of medical knowledge was most effective when combined with compassion and empathy from the health care provider.

While admiring my father’s role as a head and neck surgeon helping people after severe accidents, I also found a way to help those suffering from debilitating ailments. Working as a certified physical trainer, I became aware of the powerful recuperative effects of exercise. I was able to apply this knowledge in the case of Sharon, a 43-year-old client suffering from lupus. She reported a 200% increase in her strength tests after I trained her. This meant she could once again perform simple tasks like carrying groceries into her house. Unfortunately, this glimpse of improvement was followed by a further deterioration in her condition. On one occasion, she broke down and cried about her declining health and growing fears. It was then that I learned no physical prowess or application of kinesiology would alleviate her pain. I helped reduce her anxiety with a comforting embrace. Compassion and understanding were the only remedies available, temporary though they were.

To confirm that medicine is the best way for me to help others, I assisted a research team in the Emergency Room at University Medical Center (UMC). This experience brought me in direct contact with clinical care and provided me with the opportunity to witness and participate in the “behind-the-scenes” hospital operations. Specifically, we analyzed the therapeutic effects of two new drugs – Drug A and Drug B – in patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke. The purpose of this trial was to determine the efficacy and safety of these agents in improving functional outcome in patients who had sustained an acute cerebral infarction. My duties centered around the role of patient-physician liaison, determining patients’ eligibility, monitoring their conditions, and conducting patient histories.

I continued to advance my research experience at the VA Non-Human Primate Center. During the past year, I have been conducting independent research in endocrinology and biological aspects of anthropology. For this project, I am examining the correlation between captive vervet monkeys’ adrenal and androgen levels with age, gender, and various behavioral measures across different stress-level environments. I enjoy the discipline and responsibility which research requires, and I hope to incorporate it into my career.

Anthropology is the study of humans; medicine is the science and art of dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease in humans. From my work at UMC and my observation of my father’s practice, I know medicine will allow me to pursue an art and science that is tremendously gratifying and contributes to the welfare of those around me. My anthropology classes have taught me to appreciate cross-cultural perspectives and their relationship to pathology and its etiology. Firsthand experience with exercise therapy and nutrition has taught me the invaluable role of prevention. Medical school will now provide me with the technical knowledge to alleviate a crise de foie."

[ Click here to view an excerpt from the original draft of this essay. ]

Lessons From Medical School Sample Essay #4: The Anthropology Student

With a diverse background that includes anthropology studies, work as a certified physical trainer, and experience in clinical medical research, this applicant builds a strong case for their logical and dedicated choice of a medical career.

  • An engaging opening that frames the storyline This writer cleverly uses an example from anthropology class, linking the description of a heavy, gourmet French meal to an appreciation for cross-cultural understanding that will be an asset during their medical career. Notice that the writer is not describing their own personal experience here but piggybacked on a class lesson to create a colorful, engaging opening.
  • A solid variety of relevant experiences In this six-paragraph essay, the writer links their lessons from anthropology studies to a firsthand understanding based on observing how their surgeon-father related to patients, to becoming a physical trainer directly helping others, and then to two different kinds of medical research. Each experience builds logically and chronologically on what came before, adding to the substance of the applicant’s preparation for medical school.
  • A powerful personal experience with a client In the third paragraph, the writer’s experience working with a patient with lupus is particularly strong and memorable. Their initial success with Sharon is followed by an almost immediate and radical decline in her condition. This is a moving anecdote that shows the applicant’s understanding of the limitations of medicine – and the power of compassion.
  • An excellent summary paragraph that ties everything together The final paragraph isn’t the place to offer new information, and this one doesn’t. Instead, it reminds the reader about the strong foundation the writer built from academics to career and medical research. Readers will be persuaded that after these experiences and reflections, the applicant truly appreciates “cross-cultural perspectives and their relationship to pathology and its etiology,” as well as the “firsthand experience with exercise therapy and nutrition teaching the invaluable role of prevention.”

Don’t Write Like This!

As the time approached for me to set my personal and professional goals, I made a conscientious decision to enter a field which would provide me with a sense of achievement and, at the same time, produce a positive impact on mankind. It became apparent to me that the practice of medicine would fulfill these objectives. In retrospect, my ever-growing commitment to medicine has been crystallizing for years. My intense interest in social issues, education, and athletics seems particularly appropriate to this field and has prepared me well for such a critical choice...

I’ve been asked many times why I wish to become a physician. Upon considerable reflection, the thought of possessing the ability to help others provides me with tremendous internal gratification and offers the feeling that my life’s efforts have been focused in a positive direction. Becoming a physician is the culmination of a lifelong dream, and I am prepared to dedicate myself, as I have in the past, to achieving this goal.

Lessons from Don’t Write Like This

This is an excerpt from the original draft of the Anthropology Student’s AMCAS essay. We are not including the whole thing because you can get the idea all too rapidly from just this brief portion. Note the abundant use of generalities that apply to the overwhelming majority of medical school applicants. Observe how the colorless platitudes and pomposity hide any personality. Can you imagine reading essays like this all day long? If so, then imagine your reaction to a good essay.

More sample essays

The Dental School Applicant Sample Essay >>

The Physician Assistant Sample Application Essay >>

What's next?

You’ve just made a smart investment of time by studying these successful sample essays. Now you’re one step closer to writing essays that can lead to acceptance at a top medical school.

Why not make the next smart investment and team up with an experienced admissions expert ? We have helped thousands of qualified applicants get accepted to their dream schools and look forward to helping you too. 

Get Expert Help With Your Medical School Application

Our world-class team helps you stand out from the competition and get accepted.

APPLICATION STRATEGY / PRIMARY AND SECONDARY ESSAY REVIEW / INTERVIEW PREP

Med school personal statement FAQs

1. when should i start writing my personal statement for medical school.

Typically, traditional applicants who have a goal of submitting their AMCAS or AACOMAS application in June write their personal statement after they take the MCAT in March. Starting the prewriting for the personal statement earlier than that is fine too; however, if an applicant plans to sit for the MCAT in the early spring, writing a compelling personal narrative while preparing for the MCAT can often be too much. Both require very different kinds of thinking. The intensity of studying for the MCAT, and the empirical thinking it requires, can interfere with the imaginative brainstorming needed to find your topic and develop it.  

Before focusing on the personal statement, look at all the elements of the primary application. As a whole, the personal statement, activities, MMEs, MCAT, transcript, biographical information and letters, will portray you. One element alone is not enough to bring out the whole you. It might help to strategize about how (and where) to highlight different elements of your background, experience, and character in the different parts of the primary application. Then work on the personal statement knowing what aspects of you are already represented in the other sections of the application. This way, each element adds value to the application and contributes to a more complete picture of you.

It makes sense to compartmentalize completing different parts of the application. Many applicants take the time they need to focus on one application component at a time, which seems to help them be thorough. 

Don’t underestimate how much time it takes to write well. Exploring ideas in writing, developing those ideas, showing rather than telling a story, staying clear, writing fluidly, surmising maturely and insightfully, takes much more time than most people anticipate. So, don’t wait until Memorial Day to write your essay and intend to submit on June 1. Give yourself the churn time writing well needs. Also, give yourself time to put a draft down for a day or two and return to it when you’re able to read it afresh. Sometimes, we revise over and over again in one sitting to the point that we can no longer hear the story or its sense because we have been rehearsing and revising a draft to beat the clock. Doing this is a risky way to go about the personal statement. Remember, this essay should be a very impressive part of your application, not merely one more part of the application to finish. At the end of the day, the medical school personal statement is a window that allows others to see you, know you as a person, know you better and beyond your achievements.

2. How do I find the perfect personal statement topic? Does one exist?

Certainly, some ideas are better than others, and one idea might work better for one person and not so well for someone else. However, there is no “perfect” topic. In fact, writing an essay with the approach of trying to out-psych this important application requirement is likely not the strongest way to find your best topic, nor is it the best way to engage your readers. 

Instead, consider the following approach. What is an experience you’ve had that matters greatly in helping others understand who you are as a future physician? Why medicine, not in general, but for you, demonstrated by way of a story about an experience that directly ties to being a physician or indirectly demonstrates your sound character as it corresponds with human qualities medical schools desire. When we read what kinds of people medical schools seek, it’s easy enough to identify quite a few character traits that appeal to many schools: compassion, resiliency, adaptability, selflessness, inclusivity, and altruism among them. What experience, when written with key details and description, reveals who you really are?

3. How do you choose the right amount of personal qualities to list?

A strong medical school personal statement should not replicate other parts of the application, with the exception of it being a specific story that stems from a particular experience associated with one of your activities. Otherwise, there’s no listing in this essay. Unfortunately, some applicants do treat the personal statement as an opportunity to list awards, accolades, and experiences, paragraph by paragraph. Meanwhile, medical school admissions officers can see these awards and experiences in the Experiences section of the application. Rarely, if ever, does this kind of writing bring out voice, vision and identity. Instead, tell a true story, revised with care and precision, that shines with voice, vision and identity.

4. Are there any topics I should avoid for my medical school personal statement?

Certainly, one idea might work better for one person and not so well for someone else. So, there’s a subjectivity in what to write and what not to write. Generally, however, there are some topics to avoid. Don’t write about a time you felt cheated, inconvenienced, frustrated or angry. Sometimes, secondary essay prompts will ask you about a struggle or a mistake, and for these answers, it’s best to show how you turned the situation around or keenly learned from it. Don’t get too caught in childhood. Many applicants do write about a time when they were not yet grown; however, don’t get swallowed by it. Write the scene and then stay in the present to demonstrate your maturity and worthwhile hindsight.

Remember -- no matter what the topic, tone matters. 

5. What kind of experience should I include in my personal statement?

6. can the experience i use on my med school personal statement be from outside of college.

Absolutely. It is relatively common for applicants to only portray themselves as students, and this can be a problem. Sometimes, when applicants write about themselves as excellent students the tone of such a personal statement can sound boastful or pleading. Neither quality is advantageous. 

Seeing oneself in any other light can result in a stronger “snapshot” of who you are, as long as the theme or topic of your personal statement still suits the intention of the application in the first place – demonstrating who you are as an appealing candidate for medical school. When we consider the writing task for the personal statement to be much more story-driven, readers go on a descriptive journey. What journey would you like to share?

7. Should I talk about challenges I’ve faced?

If other parts of your medical school application suggest a struggle – whether a lower MCAT score or a notable weak semester on a transcript – it might be advantageous to explain what happened and how you turned that situation around. Whether writing about a challenge in the personal statement or secondaries, the key is to demonstrate resilience. Applicants with physical or cognitive disabilities may choose to write about seeking assistance -- whether a doctor, therapist or a tutor -- and how learning alternative strategies helped them figure out how to attain higher academic achievement. 

Sometimes challenges are circumstantial. Sometimes families face financial hardship (did the family breadwinner become unemployed and therefore everyone else had to work more hours, including you?), emotional stress (due to an ongoing illness, Covid-19, or a divorce?) or trauma (a death of a loved one, a house fire, a veteran/sibling returning home with PTSD). Sometimes an applicant has been a caregiver for someone in the family. Sometimes an applicant has taken a leave from school because of someone else’s struggles, or the emotional fallout on the applicant from someone else’s struggle – the loss of a childhood friend, for instance. Self-care is reasonable. We might need to share a life moment in order to frame the context of a life struggle, showing it in the context of responsibility rather than recklessness or immaturity. Showing how you stepped up in a challenging time can show that you are accountable and caring, as long as the story is told to these ends, rather than suggesting resentment or self-pity. Again, neither of these tones is advantageous, nor is blame. 

Occasionally applicants have been challenged by a course or by a professor, a classmate or teammate and feel unduly subjected to bias. If there’s discrimination involved, that might be a story to tell. If there’s a personality clash, that might not be a good story to tell. 

Finally, as any story of challenge moves along, it’s important to demonstrate what you did, what you learned, how you adapted, or what you now value from having had this life experience that you did not understand before. 

Being a doctor is rife with challenges. In the end, your readers may come to understand how you are an insightful leader with great resilience or a compassionate, problem-solver.

8. How do I focus my personal statement to show that I want to go into medicine and not another field in healthcare?

Great question. On the one hand, it’s a good idea to demonstrate your compassion for others and empathy for people suffering from illness. On the other hand, these are favorable attributes for nearly all healthcare workers -- not only doctors -- but for physician assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers and psychologists too. Since most applicants have done some shadowing of physicians, it’s not unusual for these experiences to contain moments of learning about being a physician through shadowing or through work in a clinic. However, the more clinical the story, the better especially if you’re applying to osteopathic schools of medicine. If you’re applying to allopathic schools of medicine, it’s possible you have some interest in being a researcher, so telling a story about working in a physician’s lab might demonstrate your insights into the value of research in light of disease or patient care. If you already have an affinity for a specialty, telling how you came to know this could be the way to go.

9. Do I introduce my desired field of healthcare in my personal statement?

Maybe. If you’re very committed and have demonstrated a trend in your activities from general volunteer work (older listings) to more specialized experience in a field of medicine (more recent listings), it may be a good idea to write up how you came to know one field of medicine was really your passion. 

Bear in mind that announcing a deep interest in a particular field of medicine may make you “a good fit” or “not a good fit” for some schools. So, if you do write up a story about your desired field of medicine for your personal statement, be sure your list of schools corresponds with this. For instance, if you want to be an obstetrician and you convey this in your personal statement, be certain your schools have clinical exposure or better yet offer specializations in obstetrics, or a required rotation through a hospital for women, for instance.

Lastly, by no means must you announce a desired field of healthcare in your personal statement. You may be asked about your specialized interests in medicine in a secondary or in an interview, so it’s a good idea to think this through, but no, you don’t have to tackle this in the personal statement.

10. What should my character limit be? 

The AMCAS and AACOMAS character limit for the personal statement is 5,300 characters with spaces. The TMDSAS character limit for the personal statement is 5,000 characters with spaces. It’s a good idea to use most if not all of this space for your personal statement. Also, try to avoid the temptation to use the same personal statement for AMCAS and AACOMAS. The osteopathic schools seek applicants who know and prefer an osteopathic orientation to medicine, so the AACOMAS personal statement should demonstrate your fit with osteopathic medicine, based on what story you choose to tell and how you tell it, or at the very least, in the conclusion.

11. How do I know when I’m ready to submit my med school personal statement?

I highly recommend getting feedback about this from a strong mentor, advisor or consultant. Accepted offers comprehensive consultation for every part of the writing process, from brainstorming, to outlining, to mentoring on ideas, and editing until a client has a solid final draft in hand, ready for submission. You can review these services here: Initial Essay Package

Generally speaking, when you’ve accomplished FAQ #2 and #3, avoided the pitfalls in #4, revised for clarity and quality of ideas, developed ideas engagingly, and meticulously revised for quality of writing, then, you may be done.

12. What if I don’t have enough space to discuss everything?

Then your topic is too large or unfocused, in which case you need to focus and narrow the scope of your essays. Or you have a bit of editing to do to eliminate wordiness, digressions, or overstatement Ultimately, you want your essay to be focused, clear, and engaging.

13. Should I personalize my personal statement to the med school I am applying to?

Only if you’re applying to one medical school. Otherwise, your personal statement will reach all schools listed in your AMCAS application or AACOMAS application. It is okay, however, to speak toward the ideals of your first choice, aspirational schools on your list. Other times, applicants choose to write toward the schools that are their safest bets. 

Your secondary/supplemental essays will give you plenty of opportunity to show you belong at an individual school.

14.  Can I talk about mental or physical health in my statement?

15. should i address any bad grades that i got in school.

Generally yes, as long as bad grades are truly bad grades. It’s likely that you do not need to address a rogue grade of B on a transcript. If you had a bad semester or two, the question becomes how and where to address them. The answer is an individual one dependent on the context. The one certainty: You definitely don’t want your entire application to be a rationalization of those bad grades. 

See FAQ #7. 

accepted

Accepted has been helping medical school applicants gain acceptance to top programs since 1994. Our staff consists of former deans, admissions directors, and experienced consultants. 

Get Accepted! Sign up for a free consultation today!

Which program are you applying to?

Accepted

Accepted Admissions Blog

Everything you need to know to get Accepted

mission statement medical school essay

April 26, 2024

Matching Your Values to a Medical School’s Mission Statement

mission statement medical school essay

We cannot stress enough how important it is to understand and think about a medical school’s mission statement when you are applying. Successful applicants not only demonstrate that they have the essential qualifications a particular school wants, but they also prove that their interests and values align closely with those of the school .

Why are med school mission statements so important?

While every U.S. medical school can provide an education that will prepare you for a career as a successful physician, the different schools’ social missions vary greatly. Being familiar with each program’s mission statement will help you narrow down your choices and apply only to the schools where you’d genuinely be happy. Understanding a program’s mission will help you fine-tune your secondary essays and prepare for your interview so you can best express your fit with the program.

mission statement medical school essay

Reading between the lines of med school mission statements

Let’s unpack three medical schools’ mission statements to understand what they are saying about the schools.

Medical School A’s Mission Statement

Medical School A’s mission statement declares that the program strives to do the following:

1. “Produce leaders in medicine.” Translation: We are not just looking for good clinicians, we want people who aspire to be leaders in the field of medicine. Highlighting your leadership activities will be crucial at this institution.

2. “Understand health and disease through biomedical research.” Translation: Research experience is important to us. A single summer of research might not be sufficient here. Thesis-based research, done over a year or more, is more likely to get this school’s attention.

3. “Effectiveness in assembling, organizing, and interpreting data for use in clinical decision-making for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of disease.” Translation: Research, again! Did you complete an independent project that allowed you to collect data and organize and interpret that data to reach a conclusion? Those skill sets are important to this institution.

4. “Understand the limits of personal knowledge and experience, able to demonstrate intellectual curiosity, and seek to actively pursue the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.” Translation: Do you like to learn new things, and are you someone who is always looking for answers? Some of the activities this school will find attractive in a candidate include an independent studies project, study abroad, and learning a new language.

Medical School B’s Mission Statement

Medical School B’s mission statement includes the following:

1. “Committed to creativity and innovation in medicine.”

Translation: We want people who can think independently and with originality. If you can show how you’ve resolved a problem that no one else could, discovered an innovative way to manage your RA duties in the dorm, or developed an app to help other students organize their time better, this school will find your application compelling.

2. “Foster intellectual, racial, social, and cultural diversity.” Translation: We want people who have significant exposure to and experience with diversity . Does your basketball team look like a poster for the UN, and you’ve been its captain for several seasons? Do you speak multiple languages and have lived or worked in areas requiring an acute knowledge of another country’s social and cultural norms? Have you done volunteer work in communities profoundly different from your own? Such experiences will almost be a requirement for this school.

3. “Foster empathy, justice, collaboration, self-education, and respect for others.” Translation: We want students who have the ability to be good colleagues, take a humanistic approach to health care, and are passionate about lifelong learning. Collaborations , either in clubs, research, or even sports and entertainment, will be important to highlight. For example, perhaps you were on the ethics committee at your school or started a humanism in medicine student group on your campus. Your coursework is important, too: courses in medicine and law and classes that intersect science and art can demonstrate your interest in this area. Humanism in medicine is a big deal, so look at this school’s website for classes, seminars, and/or podcasts they offer in this discipline.

mission statement medical school essay

Medical School C’s Mission Statement

Medical School C says their mission is to achieve the following:

1. “Educate a diverse body of students and advance medical knowledge in a dynamic and collaborative environment.” Translation: We value teamwork and the differing perspectives that come from diverse contributors. You will want to focus on times when you have been a part of – or even created – inclusive, cooperative environments, as well as the unique perspectives you can bring to the medical school environment. Were you involved in an interfaith organization? Did you lead group sessions in a rehab or recovery facility? Does your philosophy major give you different perspectives that you can add to the conversation? Any of these can demonstrate your ability to contribute in a collaborative environment.

2. “Foster the development of dedicated clinicians, scientists, public health professionals, and educators.”

Translation: We have a broad view of the healthcare profession and recognize that there are many ways to improve patients’ well-being. If your interests are more focused on community welfare or public health than on research, this school could be a better fit. You might emphasize your ability to work effectively in interprofessional environments with people from different industries, or your experiences educating students of varying abilities as a teaching assistant or tutor.

3. “[Have] a sustained positive impact on the health of individuals, communities, and the world.” 

Translation: We are looking for students who will devote themselves to continued growth and service throughout their careers. Demonstrating that you have a clear purpose that is focused on social and health equity, and sharing how you have worked toward it, will be very important for this school.

On one hand, these schools’ values are very similar in nature – all of them want to train compassionate, competent clinicians. However, Medical School A clearly shows a desire for significant research and leadership, while Medical School B seems most interested in creativity and collaboration , and Medical School C wants to create an inclusive, collaborative, and interprofessional environment . While the experiences you have to offer will be exactly the same for all three schools, you can present yourself to the best advantage for each school by highlighting these experiences from different angles. 

The importance of “fit”

Once you understand a school’s mission statement, you can frame your background and past experiences to match the school’s goals. You can also determine whether you are a good fit for the school – and whether it is a good fit for you. While reviewing med school mission statements, ask yourself the following two questions:

1. Will you fit into the culture of the school?

Adcoms seek candidates who will match their program’s culture – future students who will feel comfortable being themselves and contributing to the classroom or campus environment. The adcom is essentially putting together a puzzle, looking for diverse students with shared ideals who will fit together to create a cohesive class. 

If a school emphasizes its collaborative culture or a teaching approach that focuses on problem-based learning or another very hands-on style, you’ll want to demonstrate that those values are important to you as well. If you prefer to work alone, and this is evident in your experiences, then a culture of teamwork might not be a good fit for you. Make sure your essays and interview answers complement the school’s ideals and that you are the missing piece of your target school’s puzzle.

2. Does the school fit with your goals?

You want to apply to programs that will support your goals and aspirations . If the program’s ideals align with yours, you’ll receive greater support during your med school journey and have a much better chance of achieving your professional dreams. If research is your passion, but your target school’s focus is almost entirely clinical, then… well, that school shouldn’t be your target. Knowing which schools have successfully helped others achieve goals similar to yours will not only help you choose the right schools but also position you to show those programs that your goals align with theirs. If you have an idea of the type of residency you hope to pursue, check the stats on residency placement for different programs. Show how your shared passion for primary care and your extensive experience shadowing a family doctor have prepared you to reach your future goals. Or show how your time scribing in an orthopedic clinic cultivated your passion for surgery, which connects to the school’s research and elective offerings.

Paying attention to these subtle nuances between schools can either strengthen or weaken your position as a candidate. You should start this research at the beginning of the admissions process and return to it later on, when you are writing secondaries and preparing for interviews. Take time to assess your core values and – to the extent that time allows – boost your participation in leadership and scholarship. Look for opportunities to showcase your empathy. Brief exposure is not enough; you want to show ongoing interest in, and the advancement of, all the skill sets that will help you develop into a successful physician.

Medical school applicants can find the different med schools’ mission statements on the AAMC website .

Work one-on-one with a medical school admissions pro who will help you define your goals, choose programs with mission statements that match your goals, and then apply successfully and get accepted! 

Cydney Foote admissions expert headshot

Since 2001, Cydney Foote has advised hundreds of successful applicants for medical and dental education, residency and fellowship training, and other health-related degrees. Admissions consulting combines her many years of creating marketing content with five years on fellowship and research selection committees at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She’s also shared her strategy for impressing interviewers in a popular webinar and written three books and numerous articles on the admissions process. Want Cydney to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

  • What You Need to Know to Apply to Medical School , podcast Episode 561
  • Proving Character Traits in Your Essays
  • Med School Applications Kick Off: Ten Tips to Get You Through the Season

About Us Press Room Contact Us Podcast Accepted Blog Privacy Policy Website Terms of Use Disclaimer Client Terms of Service

Accepted 1171 S. Robertson Blvd. #140 Los Angeles CA 90035 +1 (310) 815-9553 © 2022 Accepted

Stamp of AIGAC Excellence

mission statement medical school essay

Best Ways to Answer the “Why Our Medical School?” Essay

mission statement medical school essay

Many students apply to 30+ medical schools in order to play the numbers game, and this fact is no secret to the medical schools themselves.

The medical schools aren’t stupid; they know they’re not your only choice. But it’s your job to convince them that they’re the best choice for you, which hopefully has a reciprocal effect.

With about 47% of medical schools asking the “Why Our Medical School?” essay question, you’ll want to make this essay a focal point in your secondary writing.

This article will help you better conceptualize this popular medical school secondary essay prompt and complete them in both an efficient and compelling way!

What are Some Other Ways of Asking the “Why Our Medical School?” Essay Prompt

Sometimes it’s useful to reframe the question in new ways to help you determine what to address in your answer:

How do you align with the school’s mission and values?

What opportunities or programs would you take advantage of at the school?

How does the school help to bridge your past and your future?

What makes the school a uniquely good fit for you?

What makes the school stand out from others, and why does that appeal to you?

Some Examples of “Why Our Medical School?” Essay Prompts from Medical Schools

You can find all school-specific secondaries through our Savvy Pre-Med School Search Tool !

  • “Given the distinctive educational philosophy and integrated curriculum at FSM, describe how your personal characteristics and learning style would fit the institution.” (200 words) - Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine
  • “Please write a short essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.” - Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • “What makes LLUSM particularly attractive to you?” (275 words) - Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • “Throughout your application you have given us a sense of how you intend to contribute to the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. We would now like to know about how you anticipate the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix will contribute to your goals and passion for medicine. What aspects of our program and community appeals most to you, and how do you plan to make use of specific resources and opportunities here?” (1000 characters) - UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
  • “When considering medical schools, what criteria are important to you and how does TUCOM align with those criteria?” (500 words) - Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • “Why have you selected the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for your medical education? Please be as specific as possible.” (500 words) - University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • “If you are not a Kansas resident, what is your specific interest in applying to the University of Kansas School of Medicine?” (1,000 characters) - University of Kansas School of Medicine

What Should You Research for Your “Why Our Medical School?” Essays?

1. Mission Statements: The first place to start would be looking at the medical school’s mission statement. The mission statement usually reflects the values and ideologies that the medical school upholds.

2. Specific Opportunities: Go to the school’s website and find an extracurricular, a part of the curriculum, or a program/project that catches your eye and is unique to the medical school.

3. Location: You could also talk about how the location of the medical school suits your lifestyle well and is a great place to explore your other interests.

4. Faculty or Research Mentors: You could pick a faculty member whom you’d be excited to work with and how important of an opportunity that could be for you.

5. Service and Outreach Avenues: You could mention your interest in the outreach programs that the school is involved in and how these are important to your beliefs.

Want help expediting the research process for “Why Our Medical School?” Essays? Check out our comprehensive “Cheat Sheet” articles:

“Why Our Medical School?” - Cheat Sheet for the Top 25 MD Schools

“Why Our Medical School?” - Cheat Sheet for All California Medical Schools

“Why Our Medical School?” - Cheat Sheet for All Texas Medical Schools

How Different Applicants Can Approach the "Why Our Medical School?" Essay

The first applicant: intrigued by research in the field of oncology

  • A family member has been affected by some form of cancer, and through interactions with medical/healthcare professionals they became particularly interested in the field. To return the favor by helping many more families, they proceeded to find universities and medical schools that are equally as passionate about the field as their applicants. 
  • The applicant pursued a lot of extracurriculars and volunteer opportunities in their undergraduate years that allowed them to get much more emotionally attached to the field of medicine, specifically oncology. This motivated/compelled them to apply to medical schools that have ample cancer research and renowned cancer centers with the hope of graduating and working in the field as an oncologist.

The second applicant: interested in the study of health and the delivery of health in rural environments

  • The applicant incorporated a personal story about how their passions came about and emphasized their observed healthcare disparities in rural areas and how they wanted to do their part to improve accessibility and deliver care to people living in rural environments and bridge the gaps existing in healthcare.
  • The applicant explained how they will advantage of the opportunities offered by the medical schools and what they plan to do to fulfill their goals and satisfy their  interests. For example, they emphasized how  entering said medical school will let them take advantage of the Rural Health and Health Disparities course offered by the school and how they plan on taking their learning and understanding to the next level, while also emphasizing what motivated them to pursue this goal in particular and providing examples.

Best Ways to Write a “Why Our Medical School?” Essay Template 

Writing 30 completely original secondaries is a scary thought. To save yourself time, focus on writing great essays for top-priority medical schools, and then use these as templates for all the other secondaries.

Before diving into your prioritized schools, you should definitely check out HOW TO ANSWER “WHY OUR SCHOOL” ESSAYS .

Then use your best answers as formulas for quickly completing the less desired medical schools on your list. The goal will be to create a template that doesn’t look like a template. Try to reuse the material you share about yourself, so that all you have to do is swap in new information about the individual programs.

Let’s say you have 1000 characters. Here’s how you might handle the initial challenge:

Due to my passion for oncology research, I appreciate BLANK MEDICAL SCHOOL’s (BMS) Exploratory Program, which allows new students to incorporate personal benchside pursuits into their curriculum. Under the guidance of Dr. Dream in the Wonderful Lab, I can build off my previous cancer studies while also volunteering in my future specialty of pediatric oncology at BMS Children’s Hospital. After witnessing the dire needs of the poor and homeless at free clinics in college, I would feel honored to work at BMS’s Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured. Many of my experiences have been with terminal patients or in end-of-life care, so I am thrilled at the chance to have a more direct impact through acute, immediate treatments. As an eager, hands-on learner, I value BMS’s early clinical exposure and Specialist Mentoring in the first two years. BMS will allow me to apply my growing expertise toward a new community in need, while also giving me novel opportunities that can hone my future practice. (995 characters)

How to Reuse Your “Why Our Medical School?” Essay Template

In a longer essay, 2-3 sentences can be added to show your personal ties to the location, your relation to alumni, or your interest in continuing an important non-medical activity they offer that matches your background, personality, or prior experiences.

Let’s say you’re writing for a school with a longer limit, maybe 1500 characters. Here’s how you could use your previous answer as a secondaries template :

Due to my passion for oncology research, I appreciate TOKEN MEDICAL SCHOOL’s (TMS) Cancer Center, which houses breakthrough studies in T-cell isolation and customized vaccines. Under the guidance of Dr. Smart in the Brainiac Lab, I can build off my previous cancer studies while also volunteering in my future specialty of pediatric oncology at TMS Youth Hospital. After witnessing the dire needs of the poor and homeless at free clinics in college, I would feel honored to work at TMS’s Student-Run Clinic for the Underserved. Many of my experiences have been with terminal patients or in end-of-life care, so I am thrilled at the chance to have a more direct impact through acute, immediate treatments.

As an eager, hands-on learner, I value TMS’s early clinical exposure and Equal Partner Teaching during the first two years . TMS is located in Tokenville, a community near my hometown, and I would be honored to return there and serve the populations who helped raise me. Being near extended family will provide a great support system for me while adjusting to the rigors of medical school. Since I have always used my athletic hobbies to destress and stay sharp, I am excited to partake in the TMS Fitness Club during my rare free time. TMS will allow me to apply my growing expertise toward a familiar community in need, while also giving me novel opportunities that can hone my future practice. (1398 characters)

Always think about what you can reuse across schools to make the overall application process easier. If you utilize a secondary template, then the only real burden is doing research for each school and making a list of what to include about them in your essays.

For more guidance, check out our 5 TIME-SAVING STRATEGIES FOR WRITING MEDICAL SCHOOL SECONDARY ESSAYS .

We hope this guide has been helpful!

mission statement medical school essay

Upcoming Online Classes

mission statement medical school essay

SUBSCRIBE AND GET YOUR FREE ADMISSIONS TIMELINE

mission statement medical school essay

Learn to be Savvy! Get creative pre-med strategies delivered right to your inbox. FREE Medical School Application Timeline when you subscribe.

We follow the email Golden Rule: we will never send you anything without your permission.

mission statement medical school essay

All work on this site is our own. The content for the Savvy med school search was found on the webpages of the respective medical schools.

  • Text or Call Us 917-994-0765

mission statement medical school essay

Why Us Medical School Essay Example with Writing Tips

Our team of editors have put together a step by step process on how to approach the most common secondary essays . Below is a why us medical school essay example along with the steps to take when writing an effective “why us” response. 

mission statement medical school essay

Writing Tips for the “Why Us” Essay

Why Us Essay Example Prompts 

Why Us Medical School Essay Example

Introduction .

While one of the most common medical school secondary prompts, it is also one of the most important. This is your opportunity to convince admissions committees at the med schools of which you applied how or why your values align with theirs . As you can imagine, a well-written essay can potentially influence admissions committees to accept an applicant while a poorly written essay may persuade the reader otherwise. Here are a few tips in order to meticulously demonstrate your medical school candidacy:

Tip #1 Answer the Why Us Prompt

Not all “Why Our School” secondary prompts are created equal. Some prompts will ask how you will contribute to their school while others ask about qualities you have that would further their medical school’s mission. Similarly, while you may have prepared a response for the “Why Our School” question for another school, you must tailor it to what the school is asking specifically . If you do not do so, the school does not have answers to the question they are explicitly asking. Remember, they are asking the question for a specific reason! Also, a general response may lead admissions committees to assume you have one response you use for “Why Our School” secondary essays, forcing them to believe you are not as interested or knowledgeable about their med school.  

Tip #2 Do Your Research and Brainstorming

It is one thing to know what interests you about this school but another to pinpoint the specifics of the school that make it unique . Doing so can show your genuine interest in that school and that you have correspondingly done your research. You may use their website but do some deep digging as well – use YouTube videos, alumni or medical student outreach, or research the geographic location/community for aspects that interest you. Consider the following questions when doing your own search:

  • What aspects are important to you when considering a medical school?
  • Is there a particular learning structure or curriculum that benefits your learning style? If so, why?
  • Is this school near home or family? You might articulate how or why this is important to you and your future medical education.
  • What unique aspects interest you about this school? Why?
  • Why do you perceive an education at this school would be best for your training? 

Tip #3 Be Specific 

Commonly, students fall into the pitfall of discussing  how the mission statement resonates with them . If the mission statement does, in fact, resonate with you, be sure to discuss why as well as show evidence or examples for how this is true . Often, it is important to be specific about what interests you about the school to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest. Doing so will increase your likelihood of acceptance as admissions committees are interested in accepting students knowledgeable about the school and willing to represent their school enthusiastically. Is there a club or aspect of the curriculum that interests you? Talk about it! 

Tip #4 Reference Aspects of The Medical School (but do not tell them about their own institution!)

There is certainly a difference between the following:

School X values underserved populations and commitment to community health.

Of particular interest, School X emphasizes underserved communities which has been a passion of mine, evidenced by my involvement in Healthcare for the Homeless.

As you can see, this latter example emphasizes what interests the student about the school while avoiding outright telling the admissions committee a fact about their school.

Takeaways Surrounding the “Why Our School” Medical School Secondary Prompt

Therefore, like any other written aspect of your application, it is important to demonstrate additional details about you as a candidate to paint a vivid picture of who you are. As a result, it is essential to marry what interests you about the school and your own personal qualities or characteristics as opposed to solely discussing one or the other. Here, we want to strive to have the best of both worlds. Be honest and genuine – this is the key. Allowing the reader insight into who you are will give them more information to make a decision about your candidacy for acceptance into medical school. 

review2

Need help with your secondary essays?

  • View our Editors
  • Click Here for Affordable Essay Editing

“Why Us” Secondary Essay Example Prompts

Example 1: “Why have you selected the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for your medical education? Please be as specific as possible.” ( Miami Miller School of Medicine )

Example 2: “Why do you wish to attend Meharry Medical College, School of Medicine?” ( Meharry Medical College )

Example 3: “If you are not a Kansas resident, what is your specific interest in applying to the University of Kansas School of Medicine?” ( KU School of Medicine )

Example 4: “In 500 words or fewer, please explain your reasons for applying to the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine. Please be specific.” ( Jacobs School of Medicine )

Example 5: “Why have you chosen to apply to the Georgetown University School of Medicine and how do you think your education at Georgetown will prepare you to become a physician for the future? (1 page, formatted at your discretion)” ( Georgetown University School of Medicine )

Example 6: “ How will you contribute to the diversity of your medical school class and the University of Virginia School of Medicine?” (Virginia School of Medicine)

Example 7:  “Why have you chosen to apply to CNUCOM? (250 words maximum)” ( California Northstate University )

Example 8: “Please write a s hort essay about why you are applying to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We suggest that you limit your essay to about 550 words.” ( Pritzker School of Medicine )

When I signed up for the trip, I never imagined that I would hold a human heart in my hands. My high school field trip to the Hackensack University Medical Center in 2013 was a unique experience to tour different departments in the hospital and ultimately learn about medicine. After setting foot in one of the best hospitals in the New Jersey / New York Metropolitan area, I knew this one-day visit was not enough, and I longed to continue learning here. Six years later, I found myself without a job after the scribe program was closed at Englewood Health by the end of August 2019. However, it was this initial disappointment that led to me finding my current job at Hackensack University Medical Center and returning to an excellent learning environment. By working as a scribe at Hackensack University Medical Center and rotating in the surgical ICU and surgical step-down unit, I was able to work with and learn from top-ranked physicians such as Dr. Sanjeev Kaul, Dr. Javier Martin Perez, and Dr. Saraswati Dayal. What draws me to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is the opportunity to learn at some of the best hospitals serving northern, central, and southern New Jersey and from one of the most diverse populations in the nation. By beginning my medical education through Hackensack Meridian Health, the largest healthcare network of the state, and being exposed to an extraordinary range of patients, disorders, and challenges, I believe I can develop the ability to serve and provide high-quality care to patients from different backgrounds and with a variety of needs.

In addition to the excellent clinical opportunities, I am also interested in the unique curriculum of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. During high school, I developed an interest in preventive health and became more mindful of aspects such as nutrition, posture, sleep hygiene, and physical activity. I want to train to be a physician who can effectively educate others to also take control of their own health. For this reason, I am especially interested in the Human Dimension course. Through building relationships and interacting with families in the community, I will better understand the social, socioeconomic, and environmental determinants of health and ultimately learn how to proactively improve others’ lives.  I am also excited about the special 3+1 curriculum that will enable me to customize my fourth year with many possibilities, including research projects, additional clinical experience, early entry into residencies, community service initiatives, and several dual-degree options. Additionally, the smaller class size will cultivate a close-knit community and enhance my learning experience and training overall. I am fortunate that the school is only a 20-minute drive from home, which would enable me to remain close to my support network and thrive in a familiar environment while attending medical school.

Through this response, the student ties in personal experiences and interests initially within not only Hackensack University but the location. Needless to say, the student does not just include the experience or facts about the school without also making it personal to their journey. The student then progresses to discuss specific elements of the curriculum and class size as well as why it interests them. Therefore, from this response, it is immensely clear why this student is applying to this school specifically as well as what unique aspects interest them about this school.

View more Medical School “Why Us” Examples Here.

mission statement medical school essay

  • 917-994-0765
  • [email protected]
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Medical School Admissions
  • Residency Application
  • Services FAQs
  • The PreMed App
  • MCAT Vitals
  • Meet Our Team
  • Testimonials
  • Join the Team

© 2024 Motivate MD

mission statement medical school essay

  • All-In-One Packages
  • Personal Statement Editing
  • Essay Brainstorming Session
  • Activities Section Editing
  • Secondary Essays Editing
  • Admissions Consulting
  • Interview Preparation
  • CASPer Test Prep
  • ERAS Common Application Editing
  • Interview Prep
  • Essay Editing
  • Virtual Shadowing
  • MCAT Question of the Day
  • List of Medical Schools
  • Medical School Map
  • Tools for Applying to Medical School
  • Medical School Application Timeline
  • 2024 Medical School Personal Statement Examples
  • 2024 Medical School Secondary Essays Examples
  • FAQs about Medical School Interviews
  • Medical School Interview Common Questions & Answers
  • Motivate MD Team
  • Free Consultation

10 Successful Medical School Essays

Sponsored by.

mission statement medical school essay

-- Accepted to: Harvard Medical School GPA: 4.0 MCAT: 522

Sponsored by A ccepted.com : Great stats don’t assure acceptance to elite medical schools. The personal statement, most meaningful activities, activity descriptions, secondaries and interviews can determine acceptance or rejection. Since 1994, Accepted.com has guided medical applicants just like you to present compelling medical school applications. Get Accepted !

I started writing in 8th grade when a friend showed me her poetry about self-discovery and finding a voice. I was captivated by the way she used language to bring her experiences to life. We began writing together in our free time, trying to better understand ourselves by putting a pen to paper and attempting to paint a picture with words. I felt my style shift over time as I grappled with challenges that seemed to defy language. My poems became unstructured narratives, where I would use stories of events happening around me to convey my thoughts and emotions. In one of my earliest pieces, I wrote about a local boy’s suicide to try to better understand my visceral response. I discussed my frustration with the teenage social hierarchy, reflecting upon my social interactions while exploring the harms of peer pressure.

In college, as I continued to experiment with this narrative form, I discovered medical narratives. I have read everything from Manheimer’s Bellevue to Gawande’s Checklist and from Nuland’s observations about the way we die, to Kalanithi’s struggle with his own decline. I even experimented with this approach recently, writing a piece about my grandfather’s emphysema. Writing allowed me to move beyond the content of our relationship and attempt to investigate the ways time and youth distort our memories of the ones we love. I have augmented these narrative excursions with a clinical bioethics internship. In working with an interdisciplinary team of ethics consultants, I have learned by doing by participating in care team meetings, synthesizing discussions and paths forward in patient charts, and contributing to an ongoing legislative debate addressing the challenges of end of life care. I have also seen the ways ineffective intra-team communication and inter-personal conflicts of beliefs can compromise patient care.

Writing allowed me to move beyond the content of our relationship and attempt to investigate the ways time and youth distort our memories of the ones we love.

By assessing these difficult situations from all relevant perspectives and working to integrate the knowledge I’ve gained from exploring narratives, I have begun to reflect upon the impact the humanities can have on medical care. In a world that has become increasingly data driven, where patients can so easily devolve into lists of numbers and be forced into algorithmic boxes in search of an exact diagnosis, my synergistic narrative and bioethical backgrounds have taught me the importance of considering the many dimensions of the human condition. I am driven to become a physician who deeply considers a patient’s goal of care and goals of life. I want to learn to build and lead patient care teams that are oriented toward fulfilling these goals, creating an environment where family and clinician conflict can be addressed efficiently and respectfully. Above all, I look forward to using these approaches to keep the person beneath my patients in focus at each stage of my medical training, as I begin the task of translating complex basic science into excellent clinical care.

In her essay for medical school, Morgan pitches herself as a future physician with an interdisciplinary approach, given her appreciation of how the humanities can enable her to better understand her patients. Her narrative takes the form of an origin story, showing how a childhood interest in poetry grew into a larger mindset to keep a patient’s humanity at the center of her approach to clinical care.

This narrative distinguishes Morgan as a candidate for medical school effectively, as she provides specific examples of how her passions intersect with medicine. She first discusses how she used poetry to process her emotional response to a local boy’s suicide and ties in concern about teenage mental health. Then, she discusses more philosophical questions she encountered through reading medical narratives, which demonstrates her direct interest in applying writing and the humanities to medicine. By making the connection from this larger theme to her own reflections on her grandfather, Morgan provides a personal insight that will give an admissions officer a window into her character. This demonstrates her empathy for her future patients and commitment to their care.

Her narrative takes the form of an origin story, showing how a childhood interest in poetry grew into a larger mindset to keep a patient's humanity at the center of her approach to clinical care.

Furthermore, it is important to note that Morgan’s essay does not repeat anything in-depth that would otherwise be on her resume. She makes a reference to her work in care team meetings through a clinical bioethics internship, but does not focus on this because there are other places on her application where this internship can be discussed. Instead, she offers a more reflection-based perspective on the internship that goes more in-depth than a resume or CV could. This enables her to explain the reasons for interdisciplinary approach to medicine with tangible examples that range from personal to professional experiences — an approach that presents her as a well-rounded candidate for medical school.

Disclaimer: With exception of the removal of identifying details, essays are reproduced as originally submitted in applications; any errors in submissions are maintained to preserve the integrity of the piece. The Crimson's news and opinion teams—including writers, editors, photographers, and designers—were not involved in the production of this article.

-- Accepted To: A medical school in New Jersey with a 3% acceptance rate. GPA: 3.80 MCAT: 502 and 504

Sponsored by E fiie Consulting Group : “ EFIIE ” boasts 100% match rate for all premedical and predental registered students. Not all students are accepted unto their pre-health student roster. Considered the most elite in the industry and assists from start to end – premed to residency. EFIIE is a one-stop-full-service education firm.

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The tribulations I've overcome in my life have manifested in the compassion, curiosity, and courage that is embedded in my personality. Even a horrific mishap in my life has not changed my core beliefs and has only added fuel to my intense desire to become a doctor. My extensive service at an animal hospital, a harrowing personal experience, and volunteering as an EMT have increased my appreciation and admiration for the medical field.

At thirteen, I accompanied my father to the Park Home Animal Hospital with our eleven-year-old dog, Brendan. He was experiencing severe pain due to an osteosarcoma, which ultimately led to the difficult decision to put him to sleep. That experience brought to light many questions regarding the idea of what constitutes a "quality of life" for an animal and what importance "dignity" plays to an animal and how that differs from owner to owner and pet to pet. Noting my curiosity and my relative maturity in the matter, the owner of the animal hospital invited me to shadow the professional staff. Ten years later, I am still part of the team, having made the transition from volunteer to veterinarian technician. Saving a life, relieving pain, sharing in the euphoria of animal and owner reuniting after a procedure, to understanding the emotions of losing a loved one – my life was forever altered from the moment I stepped into that animal hospital.

As my appreciation for medical professionals continued to grow, a horrible accident created an indelible moment in my life. It was a warm summer day as I jumped onto a small boat captained by my grandfather. He was on his way to refill the boat's gas tank at the local marina, and as he pulled into the dock, I proceeded to make a dire mistake. As the line was thrown from the dock, I attempted to cleat the bowline prematurely, and some of the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life ensued.

Saving a life, relieving pain, sharing in the euphoria of animal and owner reuniting after a procedure, to understanding the emotions of losing a loved one – my life was forever altered from the moment I stepped into that animal hospital.

"Call 911!" I screamed, half-dazed as I witnessed blood gushing out of my open wounds, splashing onto the white fiberglass deck of the boat, forming a small puddle beneath my feet. I was instructed to raise my hand to reduce the bleeding, while someone wrapped an icy towel around the wound. The EMTs arrived shortly after and quickly drove me to an open field a short distance away, where a helicopter seemed to instantaneously appear.

The medevac landed on the roof of Stony Brook Hospital before I was expeditiously wheeled into the operating room for a seven-hour surgery to reattach my severed fingers. The distal phalanges of my 3rd and 4th fingers on my left hand had been torn off by the rope tightening on the cleat. I distinctly remember the chill from the cold metal table, the bright lights of the OR, and multiple doctors and nurses scurrying around. The skill and knowledge required to execute multiple skin graft surgeries were impressive and eye-opening. My shortened fingers often raise questions by others; however, they do not impair my self-confidence or physical abilities. The positive outcome of this trial was the realization of my intense desire to become a medical professional.

Despite being the patient, I was extremely impressed with the dedication, competence, and cohesiveness of the medical team. I felt proud to be a critical member of such a skilled group. To this day, I still cannot explain the dichotomy of experiencing being the patient, and concurrently one on the professional team, committed to saving the patient. Certainly, this experience was a defining part of my life and one of the key contributors to why I became an EMT and a volunteer member of the Sample Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The startling ring of the pager, whether it is to respond to an inebriated alcoholic who is emotionally distraught or to help bring breath to a pulseless person who has been pulled from the family swimming pool, I am committed to EMS. All of these events engender the same call to action and must be reacted to with the same seriousness, intensity, and magnanimity. It may be some routine matter or a dire emergency; this is a role filled with uncertainty and ambiguity, but that is how I choose to spend my days. My motives to become a physician are deeply seeded. They permeate my personality and emanate from my desire to respond to the needs of others. Through a traumatic personal event and my experiences as both a professional and volunteer, I have witnessed firsthand the power to heal the wounded and offer hope. Each person defines success in different ways. To know even one life has been improved by my actions affords me immense gratification and meaning. That is success to me and why I want to be a doctor.

This review is provided by EFIIE Consulting Group’s Pre-Health Senior Consultant Jude Chan

This student was a joy to work with — she was also the lowest MCAT profile I ever accepted onto my roster. At 504 on the second attempt (502 on her first) it would seem impossible and unlikely to most that she would be accepted into an allopathic medical school. Even for an osteopathic medical school this score could be too low. Additionally, the student’s GPA was considered competitive at 3.80, but it was from a lower ranked, less known college, so naturally most advisors would tell this student to go on and complete a master’s or postbaccalaureate program to show that she could manage upper level science classes. Further, she needed to retake the MCAT a third time.

However, I saw many other facets to this student’s history and life that spoke volumes about the type of student she was, and this was the positioning strategy I used for her file. Students who read her personal statement should know that acceptance is contingent on so much more than just an essay and MCAT score or GPA. Although many students have greater MCAT scores than 504 and higher GPAs than 3.80, I have helped students with lower scores and still maintained our 100% match rate. You are competing with thousands of candidates. Not every student out there requires our services and we are actually grateful that we can focus on a limited amount out of the tens of thousands that do. We are also here for the students who wish to focus on learning well the organic chemistry courses and physics courses and who want to focus on their research and shadowing opportunities rather than waste time deciphering the next step in this complex process. We tailor a pathway for each student dependent on their health care career goals, and our partnerships with non-profit organizations, hospitals, physicians and research labs allow our students to focus on what matters most — the building up of their basic science knowledge and their exposure to patients and patient care.

Students who read her personal statement should know that acceptance is contingent on so much more than just an essay and MCAT score or GPA.

Even students who believe that their struggle somehow disqualifies them from their dream career in health care can be redeemed if they are willing to work for it, just like this student with 502 and 504 MCAT scores. After our first consult, I saw a way to position her to still be accepted into an MD school in the US — I would not have recommended she register to our roster if I did not believe we could make a difference. Our rosters have a waitlist each semester, and it is in our best interest to be transparent with our students and protect our 100% record — something I consider a win-win. It is unethical to ever guarantee acceptance in admissions as we simply do not control these decisions. However, we respect it, play by the rules, and help our students stay one step ahead by creating an applicant profile that would be hard for the schools to ignore.

This may be the doctor I go to one day. Or the nurse or dentist my children or my grandchildren goes to one day. That is why it is much more than gaining acceptance — it is about properly matching the student to the best options for their education. Gaining an acceptance and being incapable of getting through the next 4 or 8 years (for my MD/PhD-MSTP students) is nonsensical.

-- Accepted To: Imperial College London UCAT Score: 2740 BMAT Score: 3.9, 5.4, 3.5A

My motivation to study Medicine stems from wishing to be a cog in the remarkable machine that is universal healthcare: a system which I saw first-hand when observing surgery in both the UK and Sri Lanka. Despite the differences in sanitation and technology, the universality of compassion became evident. When volunteering at OSCE training days, I spoke to many medical students, who emphasised the importance of a genuine interest in the sciences when studying Medicine. As such, I have kept myself informed of promising developments, such as the use of monoclonal antibodies in cancer therapy. After learning about the role of HeLa cells in the development of the polio vaccine in Biology, I read 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' to find out more. Furthermore, I read that surface protein CD4 can be added to HeLa cells, allowing them to be infected with HIV, opening the possibility of these cells being used in HIV research to produce more life-changing drugs, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP). Following my BioGrad laboratory experience in HIV testing, and time collating data for research into inflammatory markers in lung cancer, I am also interested in pursuing a career in medical research. However, during a consultation between an ENT surgeon and a thyroid cancer patient, I learnt that practising medicine needs more than a scientific aptitude. As the surgeon explained that the cancer had metastasised to her liver, I watched him empathetically tailor his language for the patient - he avoided medical jargon and instead gave her time to come to terms with this. I have been developing my communication skills by volunteering weekly at care homes for 3 years, which has improved my ability to read body language and structure conversations to engage with the residents, most of whom have dementia.

However, during a consultation between an ENT surgeon and a thyroid cancer patient, I learnt that practising medicine needs more than a scientific aptitude.

Jude’s essay provides a very matter-of-fact account of their experience as a pre-medical student. However, they deepen this narrative by merging two distinct cultures through some common ground: a universality of compassion. Using clear, concise language and a logical succession of events — much like a doctor must follow when speaking to patients — Jude shows their motivation to go into the medical field.

From their OSCE training days to their school’s Science society, Jude connects their analytical perspective — learning about HeLa cells — to something that is relatable and human, such as a poor farmer’s notable contribution to science. This approach provides a gateway into their moral compass without having to explicitly state it, highlighting their fervent desire to learn how to interact and communicate with others when in a position of authority.

Using clear, concise language and a logical succession of events — much like a doctor must follow when speaking to patients — Jude shows their motivation to go into the medical field.

Jude’s closing paragraph reminds the reader of the similarities between two countries like the UK and Sri Lanka, and the importance of having a universal healthcare system that centers around the just and “world-class” treatment of patients. Overall, this essay showcases Jude’s personal initiative to continue to learn more and do better for the people they serve.

While the essay could have benefited from better transitions to weave Jude’s experiences into a personal story, its strong grounding in Jude’s motivation makes for a compelling application essay.

-- Accepted to: Weill Cornell Medical College GPA: 3.98 MCAT: 521

Sponsored by E fie Consulting Group : “ EFIIE ” boasts 100% match rate for all premedical and predental registered students. Not all students are accepted unto their pre-health student roster. Considered the most elite in the industry and assists from start to end – premed to residency. EFIIE is a one-stop-full-service education firm.

Following the physician’s unexpected request, we waited outside, anxiously waiting to hear the latest update on my father’s condition. It was early on in my father’s cancer progression – a change that had shaken our entire way of life overnight. During those 18 months, while my mother spent countless nights at the hospital, I took on the responsibility of caring for my brother. My social life became of minimal concern, and the majority of my studying for upcoming 12th- grade exams was done at the hospital. We were allowed back into the room as the physician walked out, and my parents updated us on the situation. Though we were a tight-knit family and my father wanted us to be present throughout his treatment, what this physician did was give my father a choice. Without making assumptions about who my father wanted in the room, he empowered him to make that choice independently in private. It was this respect directed towards my father, the subsequent efforts at caring for him, and the personal relationship of understanding they formed, that made the largest impact on him. Though my decision to pursue medicine came more than a year later, I deeply valued what these physicians were doing for my father, and I aspired to make a similar impact on people in the future.

It was during this period that I became curious about the human body, as we began to learn physiology in more depth at school. In previous years, the problem-based approach I could take while learning math and chemistry were primarily what sparked my interest. However, I became intrigued by how molecular interactions translated into large-scale organ function, and how these organ systems integrated together to generate the extraordinary physiological functions we tend to under-appreciate. I began my undergraduate studies with the goal of pursuing these interests, whilst leaning towards a career in medicine. While I was surprised to find that there were upwards of 40 programs within the life sciences that I could pursue, it broadened my perspective and challenged me to explore my options within science and healthcare. I chose to study pathobiology and explore my interests through hospital volunteering and research at the end of my first year.

Though my decision to pursue medicine came more than a year later, I deeply valued what these physicians were doing for my father, and I aspired to make a similar impact on people in the future.

While conducting research at St. Michael’s Hospital, I began to understand methods of data collection and analysis, and the thought process of scientific inquiry. I became acquainted with the scientific literature, and the experience transformed how I thought about the concepts I was learning in lecture. However, what stood out to me that summer was the time spent shadowing my supervisor in the neurosurgery clinic. It was where I began to fully understand what life would be like as a physician, and where the career began to truly appeal to me. What appealed to me most was the patient-oriented collaboration and discussions between my supervisor and his fellow; the physician-patient relationship that went far beyond diagnoses and treatments; and the problem solving that I experienced first-hand while being questioned on disease cases.

The day spent shadowing in the clinic was also the first time I developed a relationship with a patient. We were instructed to administer the Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) test to patients as they awaited the neurosurgeon. My task was to convey the instructions as clearly as possible and score each section. I did this as best I could, adapting my explanation to each patient, and paying close attention to their responses to ensure I was understood. The last patient was a challenging case, given a language barrier combined with his severe hydrocephalus. It was an emotional time for his family, seeing their father/husband struggle to complete simple tasks and subsequently give up. I encouraged him to continue trying. But I also knew my words would not remedy the condition underlying his struggles. All I could do was make attempts at lightening the atmosphere as I got to know him and his family better. Hours later, as I saw his remarkable improvement following a lumbar puncture, and the joy on his and his family’s faces at his renewed ability to walk independently, I got a glimpse of how rewarding it would be to have the ability and privilege to care for such patients. By this point, I knew I wanted to commit to a life in medicine. Two years of weekly hospital volunteering have allowed me to make a small difference in patients’ lives by keeping them company through difficult times, and listening to their concerns while striving to help in the limited way that I could. I want to have the ability to provide care and treatment on a daily basis as a physician. Moreover, my hope is that the breadth of medicine will provide me with the opportunity to make an impact on a larger scale. Whilst attending conferences on neuroscience and surgical technology, I became aware of the potential to make a difference through healthcare, and I look forward to developing the skills necessary to do so through a Master’s in Global Health. Whether through research, health innovation, or public health, I hope not only to care for patients with the same compassion with which physicians cared for my father, but to add to the daily impact I can have by tackling large-scale issues in health.

Taylor’s essay offers both a straightforward, in-depth narrative and a deep analysis of his experiences, which effectively reveals his passion and willingness to learn in the medical field. The anecdote of Taylor’s father gives the reader insight into an original instance of learning through experience and clearly articulates Taylor’s motivations for becoming a compassionate and respectful physician.

Taylor strikes an impeccable balance between discussing his accomplishments and his character. All of his life experiences — and the difficult challenges he overcame — introduce the reader to an important aspect of Taylor’s personality: his compassion, care for his family, and power of observation in reflecting on the decisions his father’s doctor makes. His description of his time volunteering at St. Michael’s Hospital is indicative of Taylor’s curiosity about medical research, but also of his recognition of the importance of the patient-physician relationship. Moreover, he shows how his volunteer work enabled him to see how medicine goes “beyond diagnoses and treatments” — an observation that also speaks to his compassion.

His description of his time volunteering at St. Michael's Hospital is indicative of Taylor's curiosity about medical research, but also of his recognition of the importance of the patient-physician relationship.

Finally, Taylor also tells the reader about his ambition and purpose, which is important when thinking about applying to medical school. He discusses his hope of tackling larger scale problems through any means possible in medicine. This notion of using self interest to better the world is imperative to a successful college essay, and it is nicely done here.

-- Accepted to: Washington University

Sponsored by A dmitRx : We are a group of Chicago-based medical students who realize how challenging medical school admissions can be, so we want to provide our future classmates with resources we wish we had. Our mission at AdmitRx is to provide pre-medical students with affordable, personalized, high-quality guidance towards becoming an admitted medical student.

Running has always been one of my greatest passions whether it be with friends or alone with my thoughts. My dad has always been my biggest role model and was the first to introduce me to the world of running. We entered races around the country, and one day he invited me on a run that changed my life forever. The St. Jude Run is an annual event that raises millions of dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My dad has led or our local team for as long as I can remember, and I had the privilege to join when I was 16. From the first step I knew this was the environment for me – people from all walks of life united with one goal of ending childhood cancer. I had an interest in medicine before the run, and with these experiences I began to consider oncology as a career. When this came up in conversations, I would invariably be faced with the question “Do you really think you could get used to working with dying kids?” My 16-year-old self responded with something noble but naïve like “It’s important work, so I’ll have to handle it”. I was 16 years young with my plan to become an oncologist at St. Jude.

As I transitioned into college my plans for oncology were alive and well. I began working in a biochemistry lab researching new anti-cancer drugs. It was a small start, but I was overjoyed to be a part of the process. I applied to work at a number of places for the summer, but the Pediatric Oncology Education program (POE) at St. Jude was my goal. One afternoon, I had just returned from class and there it was: an email listed as ‘POE Offer’. I was ecstatic and accepted the offer immediately. Finally, I could get a glimpse at what my future holds. My future PI, Dr. Q, specialized in solid tumor translational research and I couldn’t wait to get started.

I was 16 years young with my plan to become an oncologist at St. Jude.

Summer finally came, I moved to Memphis, and I was welcomed by the X lab. I loved translational research because the results are just around the corner from helping patients. We began a pre-clinical trial of a new chemotherapy regimen and the results were looking terrific. I was also able to accompany Dr. Q whenever she saw patients in the solid tumor division. Things started simple with rounds each morning before focusing on the higher risk cases. I was fortunate enough to get to know some of the patients quite well, and I could sometimes help them pass the time with a game or two on a slow afternoon between treatments. These experiences shined a very human light on a field I had previously seen only through a microscope in a lab.

I arrived one morning as usual, but Dr. Q pulled me aside before rounds. She said one of the patients we had been seeing passed away in the night. I held my composure in the moment, but I felt as though an anvil was crushing down on me. It was tragic but I knew loss was part of the job, so I told myself to push forward. A few days later, I had mostly come to terms with what happened, but then the anvil came crashing back down with the passing of another patient. I could scarcely hold back the tears this time. That moment, it didn’t matter how many miraculous successes were happening a few doors down. Nothing overshadowed the loss, and there was no way I could ‘get used to it’ as my younger self had hoped.

I was still carrying the weight of what had happened and it was showing, so I asked Dr. Q for help. How do you keep smiling each day? How do you get used to it? The questions in my head went on. What I heard next changed my perspective forever. She said you keep smiling because no matter what happened, you’re still hope for the next patient. It’s not about getting used to it. You never get used to it and you shouldn’t. Beating cancer takes lifetimes, and you can’t look passed a life’s worth of hardships. I realized that moving passed the loss of patients would never suffice, but I need to move forward with them. Through the successes and shortcomings, we constantly make progress. I like to imagine that in all our future endeavors, it is the hands of those who have gone before us that guide the way. That is why I want to attend medical school and become a physician. We may never end the sting of loss, but physicians are the bridge between the past and the future. No where else is there the chance to learn from tragedy and use that to shape a better future. If I can learn something from one loss, keep moving forward, and use that knowledge to help even a single person – save one life, bring a moment of joy, avoid a moment of pain—then that is how I want to spend my life.

The change wasn’t overnight. The next loss still brought pain, but I took solace in moving forward so that we might learn something to give hope to a future patient. I returned to campus in a new lab doing cancer research, and my passion for medicine continues to flourish. I still think about all the people I encountered at St. Jude, especially those we lost. It might be a stretch, but during the long hours at the lab bench I still picture their hands moving through mine each step of the way. I could never have foreseen where the first steps of the St. Jude Run would bring me. I’m not sure where the road to becoming a physician may lead, but with helping hands guiding the way, I won’t be running it alone.

This essay, a description of the applicant’s intellectual challenges, displays the hardships of tending to cancer patients as a milestone of experience and realization of what it takes to be a physician. The writer explores deeper ideas beyond medicine, such as dealing with patient deaths in a way to progress and improve as a professional. In this way, the applicant gives the reader some insight into the applicant’s mindset, and their ability to think beyond the surface for ways to become better at what they do.

However, the essay fails to zero in on the applicant’s character, instead elaborating on life events that weakly illustrate the applicant’s growth as a physician. The writer’s mantra (“keep moving forward”) is feebly projected, and seems unoriginal due to the lack of a personalized connection between the experience at St. Jude and how that led to the applicant’s growth and mindset changes.

The writer explores deeper ideas beyond medicine, such as dealing with patient deaths in a way to progress and improve as a professional.

The writer, by only focusing on grief brought from patient deaths at St. Jude, misses out on the opportunity to further describe his or her experience at the hospital and portray an original, well-rounded image of his or her strengths, weaknesses, and work ethic.

The applicant ends the essay by attempting to highlight the things they learned at St. Jude, but fails to organize the ideas into a cohesive, comprehensible section. These ideas are also too abstract, and are vague indicators of the applicant’s character that are difficult to grasp.

-- Accepted to: New York University School of Medicine

Sponsored by MedEdits : MedEdits Medical Admissions has been helping applicants get into medical schools like Harvard for more than ten years. Structured like an academic medical department, MedEdits has experts in admissions, writing, editing, medicine, and interview prep working with you collaboratively so you can earn the best admissions results possible.

“Is this the movie you were talking about Alice?” I said as I showed her the movie poster on my iPhone. “Oh my God, I haven’t seen that poster in over 70 years,” she said with her arms trembling in front of her. Immediately, I sat up straight and started to question further. We were talking for about 40 minutes, and the most exciting thing she brought up in that time was the new flavor of pudding she had for lunch. All of sudden, she’s back in 1940 talking about what it was like to see this movie after school for only 5¢ a ticket! After an engaging discussion about life in the 40’s, I knew I had to indulge her. Armed with a plethora of movie streaming sights, I went to work scouring the web. No luck. The movie, “My Son My Son,” was apparently not in high demand amongst torrenting teens. I had to entreat my older brother for his Amazon Prime account to get a working stream. However, breaking up the monotony and isolation felt at the nursing home with a simple movie was worth the pandering.

While I was glad to help a resident have some fun, I was partly motivated by how much Alice reminded me of my own grandfather. In accordance with custom, my grandfather was to stay in our house once my grandmother passed away. More specifically, he stayed in my room and my bed. Just like grandma’s passing, my sudden roommate was a rough transition. In 8th grade at the time, I considered myself to be a generally good guy. Maybe even good enough to be a doctor one day. I volunteered at the hospital, shadowed regularly, and had a genuine interest for science. However, my interest in medicine was mostly restricted to academia. To be honest, I never had a sustained exposure to the palliative side of medicine until the arrival of my new roommate.

The two years I slept on that creaky wooden bed with him was the first time my metal was tested. Sharing that room, I was the one to take care of him. I was the one to rub ointment on his back, to feed him when I came back from school, and to empty out his spittoon when it got full. It was far from glamorous, and frustrating most of the time. With 75 years separating us, and senile dementia setting in, he would often forget who I was or where he was. Having to remind him that I was his grandson threatened to erode at my resolve. Assured by my Syrian Orthodox faith, I even prayed about it; asking God for comfort and firmness on my end. Over time, I grew slow to speak and eager to listen as he started to ramble more and more about bits and pieces of the past. If I was lucky, I would be able to stich together a narrative that may or may have not been true. In any case, my patience started to bud beyond my age group.

Having to remind him that I was his grandson threatened to erode at my resolve.

Although I grew more patient with his disease, my curiosity never really quelled. Conversely, it developed further alongside my rapidly growing interest in the clinical side of medicine. Naturally, I became drawn to a neurology lab in college where I got to study pathologies ranging from atrophy associated with schizophrenia, and necrotic lesions post stroke. However, unlike my intro biology courses, my work at the neurology lab was rooted beyond the academics. Instead, I found myself driven by real people who could potentially benefit from our research. In particular, my shadowing experience with Dr. Dominger in the Veteran’s home made the patient more relevant in our research as I got to encounter geriatric patients with age related diseases, such as Alzhimer’s and Parkinson’s. Furthermore, I had the privilege of of talking to the families of a few of these patients to get an idea of the impact that these diseases had on the family structure. For me, the scut work in the lab meant a lot more with these families in mind than the tritium tracer we were using in the lab.

Despite my achievements in the lab and the classroom, my time with my grandfather still holds a special place in my life story. The more I think about him, the more confident I am in my decision to pursue a career where caring for people is just as important, if not more important, than excelling at academics. Although it was a lot of work, the years spent with him was critical in expanding my horizons both in my personal life and in the context of medicine. While I grew to be more patient around others, I also grew to appreciate medicine beyond the science. This more holistic understanding of medicine had a synergistic effect in my work as I gained a purpose behind the extra hours in the lab, sleepless nights in the library, and longer hours volunteering. I had a reason for what I was doing that may one day help me have long conversations with my own grandchildren about the price of popcorn in the 2000’s.

The most important thing to highlight in Avery’s essay is how he is able to create a duality between his interest in not only the clinical, more academic-based side of medicine, but also the field’s personal side.

He draws personal connections between working with Alice — a patient in a hospital or nursing home — and caring intensely for his grandfather. These two experiences build up the “synergistic” relationship between caring for people and studying the science behind medicine. In this way, he is able to clearly state his passions for medicine and explain his exact motives for entering the field. Furthermore, in his discussion of her grandfather, he effectively employs imagery (“rub ointment on his back,” “feed him when I came back from school,” etc.) to describe the actual work that he does, calling it initially as “far from glamorous, and frustrating most of the time.” By first mentioning his initial impression, then transitioning into how he grew to appreciate the experience, Avery is able to demonstrate a strength of character, sense of enormous responsibility and capability, and open-minded attitude.

He draws personal connections between working with Alice — a patient in a hospital or nursing home — and caring intensely for his grandfather.

Later in the essay, Avery is also able to relate his time caring for his grandfather to his work with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients, showcasing the social impact of his work, as the reader is likely already familiar with the biological impact of the work. This takes Avery’s essay full circle, bringing it back to how a discussion with an elderly patient about the movies reminds him of why he chose to pursue medicine.

That said, the essay does feel rushed near the end, as the writer was likely trying to remain within the word count. There could be a more developed transition before Avery introduces the last sentence about “conversations with my own grandchildren,” especially as a strong essay ending is always recommended.

-- Accepted To: Saint Louis University Medical School Direct Admission Medical Program

Sponsored by Atlas Admissions : Atlas Admissions provides expert medical school admissions consulting and test preparation services. Their experienced, physician-driven team consistently delivers top results by designing comprehensive, personalized strategies to optimize applications. Atlas Admissions is based in Boston, MA and is trusted by clients worldwide.

The tension in the office was tangible. The entire team sat silently sifting through papers as Dr. L introduced Adam, a 60-year-old morbidly obese man recently admitted for a large open wound along his chest. As Dr. L reviewed the details of the case, his prognosis became even bleaker: hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, hyperlipidemia; the list went on and on. As the humdrum of the side-conversations came to a halt, and the shuffle of papers softened, the reality of Adam’s situation became apparent. Adam had a few months to live at best, a few days at worst. To make matters worse, Adam’s insurance would not cover his treatment costs. With no job, family, or friends, he was dying poor and alone.

I followed Dr. L out of the conference room, unsure what would happen next. “Well,” she muttered hesitantly, “We need to make sure that Adam is on the same page as us.” It’s one thing to hear bad news, and another to hear it utterly alone. Dr. L frantically reviewed all of Adam’s paperwork desperately looking for someone to console him, someone to be at his side. As she began to make calls, I saw that being a physician calls for more than good grades and an aptitude for science: it requires maturity, sacrifice, and most of all, empathy. That empathy is exactly what I saw in Dr. L as she went out of her way to comfort a patient she met hardly 20 minutes prior.

Since high school, I’ve been fascinated by technology’s potential to improve healthcare. As a volunteer in [the] Student Ambassador program, I was fortunate enough to watch an open-heart surgery. Intrigued by the confluence of technology and medicine, I chose to study biomedical engineering. At [school], I wanted to help expand this interface, so I became involved with research through Dr. P’s lab by studying the applications of electrospun scaffolds for dermal wound healing. While still in the preliminary stages of research, I learned about the Disability Service Club (DSC) and decided to try something new by volunteering at a bowling outing.

As she began to make calls, I saw that being a physician calls for more than good grades and an aptitude for science: it requires maturity, sacrifice, and most of all, empathy.

The DSC promotes awareness of cognitive disabilities in the community and seeks to alleviate difficulties for the disabled. During one outing, I collaborated with Arc, a local organization with a similar mission. Walking in, I was told that my role was to support the participants by providing encouragement. I decided to help a relatively quiet group of individuals assisted by only one volunteer, Mary. Mary informed me that many individuals with whom I was working were diagnosed with ASD. Suddenly, she started cheering, as one of the members of the group bowled a strike. The group went wild. Everyone was dancing, singing, and rejoicing. Then I noticed one gentleman sitting at our table, solemn-faced. I tried to start a conversation with him, but he remained unresponsive. I sat with him for the rest of the game, trying my hardest to think of questions that would elicit more than a monosyllabic response, but to no avail. As the game ended, I stood up to say bye when he mumbled, “Thanks for talking.” Then he quickly turned his head away. I walked away beaming. Although I was unable to draw out a smile or even sustain a conversation, at the end of the day, the fact that this gentleman appreciated my mere effort completely overshadowed the awkwardness of our time together. Later that day, I realized that as much as I enjoyed the thrill of research and its applications, helping other people was what I was most passionate about.

When it finally came time to tell Adam about his deteriorating condition, I was not sure how he would react. Dr. L gently greeted him and slowly let reality take its toll. He stoically turned towards Dr. L and groaned, “I don’t really care. Just leave me alone.” Dr. L gave him a concerned nod and gradually left the room. We walked to the next room where we met with a pastor from Adam’s church.

“Adam’s always been like that,” remarked the pastor, “he’s never been one to express emotion.” We sat with his pastor for over an hour discussing how we could console Adam. It turned out that Adam was part of a motorcycle club, but recently quit because of his health. So, Dr. L arranged for motorcycle pictures and other small bike trinkets to be brought to his room as a reminder of better times.

Dr. L’s simple gesture reminded me of why I want to pursue medicine. There is something sacred, empowering, about providing support when people need it the most; whether it be simple as starting a conversation, or providing support during the most trying of times. My time spent conducting research kindled my interest in the science of medicine, and my service as a volunteer allowed me to realize how much I valued human interaction. Science and technology form the foundation of medicine, but to me, empathy is the essence. It is my combined interest in science and service that inspires me to pursue medicine. It is that combined interest that makes me aspire to be a physician.

Parker’s essay focuses on one central narrative with a governing theme of compassionate and attentive care for patients, which is the key motivator for her application to medical school. Parker’s story focuses on her volunteer experience shadowing of Dr. L who went the extra mile for Adam, which sets Dr. L up as a role model for Parker as she enters the medical field. This effectively demonstrates to the reader what kind of doctor Parker wants to be in the future.

Parker’s narrative has a clear beginning, middle, and end, making it easy for the reader to follow. She intersperses the main narrative about Adam with experiences she has with other patients and reflects upon her values as she contemplates pursuing medicine as a career. Her anecdote about bowling with the patients diagnosed with ASD is another instance where she uses a story to tell the reader why she values helping people through medicine and attentive patient care, especially as she focuses on the impact her work made on one man at the event.

Parker's story focuses on her volunteer experience shadowing of Dr. L who went the extra mile for Adam, which sets Dr. L up as a role model for Parker as she enters the medical field.

All throughout the essay, the writing is engaging and Parker incorporates excellent imagery, which goes well with her varied sentence structure. The essay is also strong because it comes back full circle at its conclusion, tying the overall narrative back to the story of Dr. L and Adam, which speaks to Parker’s motives for going to medical school.

-- Accepted To: Emory School of Medicine

Growing up, I enjoyed visiting my grandparents. My grandfather was an established doctor, helping the sick and elderly in rural Taiwan until two weeks before he died at 91 years old. His clinic was located on the first floor of the residency with an exam room, treatment room, X-ray room, and small pharmacy. Curious about his work, I would follow him to see his patients. Grandpa often asked me if I want to be a doctor just like him. I always smiled, but was more interested in how to beat the latest Pokémon game. I was in 8th grade when my grandfather passed away. I flew back to Taiwan to attend his funeral. It was a gloomy day and the only street in the small village became a mourning place for the villagers. Flowers filled the streets and people came to pay their respects. An old man told me a story: 60 years ago, a village woman was in a difficult labor. My grandfather rushed into the house and delivered a baby boy. That boy was the old man and he was forever grateful. Stories of grandpa saving lives and bringing happiness to families were told during the ceremony. At that moment, I realized why my grandfather worked so tirelessly up until his death as a physician. He did it for the reward of knowing that he kept a family together and saved a life. The ability for a doctor to heal and bring happiness is the reason why I want to study medicine. Medical school is the first step on a lifelong journey of learning, but I feel that my journey leading up to now has taught me some things of what it means to be an effective physician.

With a newfound purpose, I began volunteering and shadowing at my local hospital. One situation stood out when I was a volunteer in the cardiac stress lab. As I attached EKG leads onto a patient, suddenly the patient collapsed and started gasping for air. His face turned pale, then slightly blue. The charge nurse triggered “Code Blue” and started CPR. A team of doctors and nurses came, rushing in with a defibrillator to treat and stabilize the patient. What I noticed was that medicine was not only about one individual acting as a superhero to save a life, but that it takes a team of individuals with an effective leader, working together to deliver the best care. I want to be a leader as well as part of a team that can make a difference in a person’s life. I have refined these lessons about teamwork and leadership to my activities. In high school I was an 8 time varsity letter winner for swimming and tennis and captain of both of those teams. In college I have participated in many activities, but notably serving as assistant principle cellist in my school symphony as well as being a co-founding member of a quartet. From both my athletic experiences and my music experiences I learned what it was like to not only assert my position as a leader and to effectively communicate my views, but equally as important I learned how to compromise and listen to the opinions of others. Many physicians that I have observed show a unique blend of confidence and humility.

What I noticed was that medicine was not only about one individual acting as a superhero to save a life, but that it takes a team of individuals with an effective leader, working together to deliver the best care.

College opened me up to new perspectives on what makes a complete physician. A concept that was preached in the Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions in Medicine (GPPA) was that medicine is both an art and a science. The art of medicine deals with a variety of aspects including patient relationships as well as ethics. Besides my strong affinity for the sciences and mathematics, I always have had interest in history. I took courses in both German literature and history, which influenced me to take a class focusing on Nazi neuroscientists. It was the ideology of seeing the disabled and different races as test subjects rather than people that led to devastating lapses in medical ethics. The most surprising fact for me was that doctors who were respected and leaders in their field disregarded the humanity of patient and rather focused on getting results from their research. Speaking with Dr. Zeidman, the professor for this course, influenced me to start my research which deals with the ethical qualms of using data derived from unethical Nazi experimentation such as the brains derived from the adult and child euthanasia programs. Today, science is so result driven, it is important to keep in mind the ethics behind research and clinical practice. Also the development of personalized genomic medicine brings into question about potential privacy violations and on the extreme end discrimination. The study of ethics no matter the time period is paramount in the medical field. The end goal should always be to put the patient first.

Teaching experiences in college inspired me to become a physician educator if I become a doctor. Post-MCAT, I was offered a job by Next Step Test Prep as a tutor to help students one on one for the MCAT. I had a student who stated he was doing well during practice, but couldn’t get the correct answer during practice tests. Working with the student, I pointed out his lack of understanding concepts and this realization helped him and improves his MCAT score. Having the ability to educate the next generation of doctors is not only necessary, but also a rewarding experience.

My experiences volunteering and shadowing doctors in the hospital as well as my understanding of what it means to be a complete physician will make me a good candidate as a medical school student. It is my goal to provide the best care to patients and to put a smile on a family’s face just as my grandfather once had. Achieving this goal does not take a special miracle, but rather hard work, dedication, and an understanding of what it means to be an effective physician.

Through reflecting on various stages of life, Quinn expresses how they found purpose in pursuing medicine. Starting as a child more interested in Pokemon than their grandfather’s patients, Quinn exhibits personal growth through recognizing the importance of their grandfather’s work saving lives and eventually gaining the maturity to work towards this goal as part of a team.

This essay opens with abundant imagery — of the grandfather’s clinic, flowers filling the streets, and the village woman’s difficult labor — which grounds Quinn’s story in their family roots. Yet, the transition from shadowing in hospitals to pursuing leadership positions in high schools is jarring, and the list of athletic and musical accomplishments reads like a laundry list of accomplishments until Quinn neatly wraps them up as evidence of leadership and teamwork skills. Similarly, the section about tutoring, while intended to demonstrate Quinn’s desire to educate future physicians, lacks the emotional resonance necessary to elevate it from another line lifted from their resume.

This essay opens with abundant imagery — of the grandfather's clinic, flowers filling the streets, and the village woman's difficult labor — which grounds Quinn's story in their family roots.

The strongest point of Quinn’s essay is the focus on their unique arts and humanities background. This equips them with a unique perspective necessary to consider issues in medicine in a new light. Through detailing how history and literature coursework informed their unique research, Quinn sets their application apart from the multitude of STEM-focused narratives. Closing the essay with the desire to help others just as their grandfather had, Quinn ties the narrative back to their personal roots.

-- Accepted To: Edinburgh University UCAT Score: 2810 BMAT Score: 4.6, 4.2, 3.5A

Exposure to the medical career from an early age by my father, who would explain diseases of the human body, sparked my interest for Medicine and drove me to seek out work experience. I witnessed the contrast between use of bone saws and drills to gain access to the brain, with subsequent use of delicate instruments and microscopes in neurosurgery. The surgeon's care to remove the tumour, ensuring minimal damage to surrounding healthy brain and his commitment to achieve the best outcome for the patient was inspiring. The chance to have such a positive impact on a patient has motivated me to seek out a career in Medicine.

Whilst shadowing a surgical team in Texas, carrying out laparoscopic bariatric procedures, I appreciated the surgeon's dedication to continual professional development and research. I was inspired to carry out an Extended Project Qualification on whether bariatric surgery should be funded by the NHS. By researching current literature beyond my school curriculum, I learnt to assess papers for bias and use reliable sources to make a conclusion on a difficult ethical situation. I know that doctors are required to carry out research and make ethical decisions and so, I want to continue developing these skills during my time at medical school.

The chance to have such a positive impact on a patient has motivated me to seek out a career in Medicine.

Attending an Oncology multi-disciplinary team meeting showed me the importance of teamwork in medicine. I saw each team member, with specific areas of expertise, contributing to the discussion and actively listening, and together they formed a holistic plan of action for patients. During my Young Enterprise Award, I facilitated a brainstorm where everyone pitched a product idea. Each member offered a different perspective on the idea and then voted on a product to carry forward in the competition. As a result, we came runners up in the Regional Finals. Furthermore, I started developing my leadership skills, which I improved by doing Duke of Edinburgh Silver and attending a St. John Ambulance Leadership course. In one workshop, similar to the bariatric surgeon I shadowed, I communicated instructions and delegated roles to my team to successfully solve a puzzle. These experiences highlighted the crucial need for teamwork and leadership as a doctor.

Observing a GP, I identified the importance of compassion and empathy. During a consultation with a severely depressed patient, the GP came to the patient's eye level and used a calm, non-judgmental tone of voice, easing her anxieties and allowing her to disclose more information. While volunteering at a care home weekly for two years, I adapted my communication for a resident suffering with dementia who was disconnected from others. I would take her to a quiet environment, speak slowly and in a non-threatening manner, as such, she became talkative, engaged and happier. I recognised that communication and compassion allows doctors to build rapport, gain patients' trust and improve compliance. For two weeks, I shadowed a surgeon performing multiple craniotomies a day. I appreciated the challenges facing doctors including time and stress management needed to deliver high quality care. Organisation, by prioritising patients based on urgency and creating a timetable on the ward round, was key to running the theatre effectively. Similarly, I create to-do-lists and prioritise my academics and extra-curricular activities to maintain a good work-life balance: I am currently preparing for my Grade 8 in Singing, alongside my A-level exams. I also play tennis for the 1st team to relax and enable me to refocus. I wish to continue my hobbies at university, as ways to manage stress.

Through my work experiences and voluntary work, I have gained a realistic understanding of Medicine and its challenges. I have begun to display the necessary skills that I witnessed, such as empathy, leadership and teamwork. The combination of these skills with my fascination for the human body drives me to pursue a place at medical school and a career as a doctor.

This essay traces Alex's personal exploration of medicine through different stages of life, taking a fairly traditional path to the medical school application essay. From witnessing medical procedures to eventually pursuing leadership positions, this tale of personal progress argues that Alex's life has prepared him to become a doctor.

Alex details how experiences conducting research and working with medical teams have confirmed his interest in medicine. Although the breadth of experiences speaks to the applicant’s interest in medicine, the essay verges on being a regurgitation of the Alex's resume, which does not provide the admissions officer with any new insights or information and ultimately takes away from the essay as a whole. As such, the writing’s lack of voice or unique perspective puts the applicant at risk of sounding middle-of-the-road.

From witnessing medical procedures to eventually pursuing leadership positions, this tale of personal progress argues that Alex's life has prepared him to become a doctor.

The essay’s organization, however, is one of its strengths — each paragraph provides an example of personal growth through a new experience in medicine. Further, Alex demonstrates his compassion and diligence through detailed stories, which give a reader a glimpse into his values. Through recognizing important skills necessary to be a doctor, Alex demonstrates that he has the mature perspective necessary to embark upon this journey.

What this essay lacks in a unique voice, it makes up for in professionalism and organization. Alex's earnest desire to attend medical school is what makes this essay shine.

-- Accepted To: University of Toronto MCAT Scores: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems - 128, Critical Analysis and Reading Skills - 127, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems - 127, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior - 130, Total - 512

Moment of brilliance.

Revelation.

These are all words one would use to describe their motivation by a higher calling to achieve something great. Such an experience is often cited as the reason for students to become physicians; I was not one of these students. Instead of waiting for an event like this, I chose to get involved in the activities that I found most invigorating. Slowly but surely, my interests, hobbies, and experiences inspired me to pursue medicine.

As a medical student, one must possess a solid academic foundation to facilitate an understanding of physical health and illness. Since high school, I found science courses the most appealing and tended to devote most of my time to their exploration. I also enjoyed learning about the music, food, literature, and language of other cultures through Latin and French class. I chose the Medical Sciences program because it allowed for flexibility in course selection. I have studied several scientific disciplines in depth like physiology and pathology while taking classes in sociology, psychology, and classical studies. Such a diverse academic portfolio has strengthened my ability to consider multiple viewpoints and attack problems from several angles. I hope to relate to patients from all walks of life as a physician and offer them personalized treatment.

I was motivated to travel as much as possible by learning about other cultures in school. Exposing myself to different environments offered me perspective on universal traits that render us human. I want to pursue medicine because I believe that this principle of commonality relates to medical practice in providing objective and compassionate care for all. Combined with my love for travel, this realization took me to Nepal with Volunteer Abroad (VA) to build a school for a local orphanage (4). The project’s demands required a group of us to work closely as a team to accomplish the task. Rooted in different backgrounds, we often had conflicting perspectives; even a simple task such as bricklaying could stir up an argument because each person had their own approach. However, we discussed why we came to Nepal and reached the conclusion that all we wanted was to build a place of education for the children. Our unifying goal allowed us to reach compromises and truly appreciate the value of teamwork. These skills are vital in a clinical setting, where physicians and other health care professionals need to collaborate as a multidisciplinary team to tackle patients’ physical, emotional, social, and psychological problems.

I hope to relate to patients from all walks of life as a physician and offer them personalized treatment.

The insight I gained from my Nepal excursion encouraged me to undertake and develop the role of VA campus representative (4). Unfortunately, many students are not equipped with the resources to volunteer abroad; I raised awareness about local initiatives so everyone had a chance to do their part. I tried to avoid pushing solely for international volunteerism for this reason and also because it can undermine the work of local skilled workers and foster dependency. Nevertheless, I took on this position with VA because I felt that the potential benefits were more significant than the disadvantages. Likewise, doctors must constantly weigh out the pros and cons of a situation to help a patient make the best choice. I tried to dispel fears of traveling abroad by sharing first-hand experiences so that students could make an informed decision. When people approached me regarding unfamiliar placements, I researched their questions and provided them with both answers and a sense of security. I found great fulfillment in addressing the concerns of individuals, and I believe that similar processes could prove invaluable in the practice of medicine.

As part of the Sickkids Summer Research Program, I began to appreciate the value of experimental investigation and evidence-based medicine (23). Responsible for initiating an infant nutrition study at a downtown clinic, I was required to explain the project’s implications and daily protocol to physicians, nurses and phlebotomists. I took anthropometric measurements and blood pressure of children aged 1-10 and asked parents about their and their child’s diet, television habits, physical exercise regimen, and sunlight exposure. On a few occasions, I analyzed and presented a small set of data to my superiors through oral presentations and written documents.

With continuous medical developments, physicians must participate in lifelong learning. More importantly, they can engage in research to further improve the lives of their patients. I encountered a young mother one day at the clinic struggling to complete the study’s questionnaires. After I asked her some questions, she began to open up to me as her anxiety subsided; she then told me that her child suffered from low iron. By talking with the physician and reading a few articles, I recommended a few supplements and iron-rich foods to help her child. This experience in particular helped me realize that I enjoy clinical research and strive to address the concerns of people with whom I interact.

Research is often impeded by a lack of government and private funding. My clinical placement motivated me to become more adept in budgeting, culminating in my role as founding Co-President of the UWO Commerce Club (ICCC) (9). Together, fellow club executives and I worked diligently to get the club ratified, a process that made me aware of the bureaucratic challenges facing new organizations. Although we had a small budget, we found ways of minimizing expenditure on advertising so that we were able to host more speakers who lectured about entrepreneurship and overcoming challenges. Considering the limited space available in hospitals and the rising cost of health care, physicians, too, are often forced to prioritize and manage the needs of their patients.

No one needs a grand revelation to pursue medicine. Although passion is vital, it is irrelevant whether this comes suddenly from a life-altering event or builds up progressively through experience. I enjoyed working in Nepal, managing resources, and being a part of clinical and research teams; medicine will allow me to combine all of these aspects into one wholesome career.

I know with certainty that this is the profession for me.

Jimmy opens this essay hinting that his essay will follow a well-worn path, describing the “big moment” that made him realize why he needed to become a physician. But Jimmy quickly turns the reader’s expectation on its head by stating that he did not have one of those moments. By doing this, Jimmy commands attention and has the reader waiting for an explanation. He soon provides the explanation that doubles as the “thesis” of his essay: Jimmy thinks passion can be built progressively, and Jimmy’s life progression has led him to the medical field.

Jimmy did not make the decision to pursue a career in medicine lightly. Instead he displays through anecdotes that his separate passions — helping others, exploring different walks of life, personal responsibility, and learning constantly, among others — helped Jimmy realize that being a physician was the career for him. By talking readers through his thought process, it is made clear that Jimmy is a critical thinker who can balance multiple different perspectives simultaneously. The ability to evaluate multiple options and make an informed, well-reasoned decision is one that bodes well for Jimmy’s medical career.

While in some cases this essay does a lot of “telling,” the comprehensive and decisive walkthrough indicates what Jimmy’s idea of a doctor is. To him, a doctor is someone who is genuinely interested in his work, someone who can empathize and related to his patients, someone who can make important decisions with a clear head, and someone who is always trying to learn more. Just like his decision to work at the VA, Jimmy has broken down the “problem” (what his career should be) and reached a sound conclusion.

By talking readers through his thought process, it is made clear that Jimmy is a critical thinker who can balance multiple different perspectives simultaneously.

Additionally, this essay communicates Jimmy’s care for others. While it is not always advisable to list one’s volunteer efforts, each activity Jimmy lists has a direct application to his essay. Further, the sheer amount of philanthropic work that Jimmy does speaks for itself: Jimmy would not have worked at VA, spent a summer with Sickkids, or founded the UWO finance club if he were not passionate about helping others through medicine. Like the VA story, the details of Jimmy’s participation in Sickkids and the UWO continue to show how he has thought about and embodied the principles that a physician needs to be successful.

Jimmy’s essay both breaks common tropes and lives up to them. By framing his “list” of activities with his passion-happens-slowly mindset, Jimmy injects purpose and interest into what could have been a boring and braggadocious essay if it were written differently. Overall, this essay lets the reader know that Jimmy is seriously dedicated to becoming a physician, and both his thoughts and his actions inspire confidence that he will give medical school his all.

The Crimson's news and opinion teams—including writers, editors, photographers, and designers—were not involved in the production of this content.

Mission, Vision and Values

Our mission is to support and promote the health of individuals and communities through innovative medical education programs, research initiatives, and clinical excellence in service to society and to improve the health and wellness of all.

White coat patch

Medical School Governance

Learn more about the organization structure of the Medical School.

Our Mission

To support and promote the health of individuals and communities through innovative medical education programs, research initiatives, and clinical excellence in service to society and to improve the health and wellness of all.

We envision attracting, training, and sustaining diverse individuals who will work together to lead locally, nationally and internationally renowned transformative and socially responsible medical education, research, clinical care, and advocacy. We will inspire and cultivate physician scholars and leaders who positively impact the health of people and society.

  • Humanism and compassion
  • Integrity, accountability, and collaboration
  • Creativity, innovation, and discovery
  • Inclusiveness, diversity, and equity
  • Dedication to anti-racism
  • Social responsibility, both locally and globally
  • Community engagement and service
  • Commitment to professional development

These statements were developed in 2019 with feedback from administrative and academic leaders, representatives of the faculty, and the Medical Student Senate .

Faculty and students are required to review all  school-wide policies and procedures .

Multicultural perspectives are critical to the success of The Warren Alpert Medical School. They enrich educational understanding, foster-culturally appropriate patient care, and enhance trust in research.

New in the MSAR® Website: Expanded Mission Statements

New section.

Select schools recently expanded their mission statements to describe how their mission impacts their curriculum, student life, admissions practices, and graduates’ career choices. 

Student on Laptop

If you’ve seen one medical school, you’ve seen one medical school. Every medical school shares the goal of graduating physicians, but each school likely differs from the others in almost every other respect. Some differences are obvious: class size, location, single versus multiple campuses, educational tracks and dual degree programs, and even curriculum style. Even more fundamentally, schools differ in their visions, missions, and values. These differences are sometimes difficult to discern from the outside looking in. To be fair, all schools have an interest in promoting education, research, service, and health equity, but each school prioritizes these in accordance with its specific mission. No value judgment need be applied; all these different missions add value to society and result in a diverse physician workforce that is well suited to meet the current and future needs of humanity. Why is this important to prospective medical school applicants? The answer is easy. Aspiring medical students also have their own values, interests, and life goals. They look for schools whose missions are best attuned to their personal wavelengths. Both medical schools and applicants ideally look with a “mission-match” in mind. Here’s a simple example: School A’s mission is to create a physician workforce for its specific geographic region. So, this school naturally favors candidates with a demonstrated attachment or commitment to its region. An applicant from this location will likely have more of a chance of admittance at a school that sees them as likely to help the school achieve its mission. Beyond that, once accepted and matriculated, the chances for students to be happy tend to be greatest if they are at a school that allows them to exercise their personal values and fulfill their personal and professional goals. Understanding and aligning with a school’s mission are critical, so how can prospective applicants learn more about the missions of various medical schools? First, of course, browse through a medical school’s website. But comparing schools via this route can be laborious. The AAMC’s Medical School Admission Requirements™(MSAR®) website has comprehensive profiles and free reports with information from all LCME® authority-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada. Recently, a “Mission in Action” pilot project with nine medical schools was launched with the goal of enhancing each school’s ability to communicate its mission in a more meaningful, nuanced fashion. Participating schools were asked to update their current mission statements on the MSAR website to answer the following questions:

  • How has your school’s mission informed the content and structure of your curriculum?
  • How is your school’s mission reflected in the daily life of a student (including student support services)?
  • How does your school’s mission impact admission priorities and practices?
  • How is your school’s mission reflected by the career choices of your graduates?

To discern if the updated statements add value, we’ve created a survey to collect feedback and solicit suggestions for further improvement. We hope that when you use the MSAR website, you will review the enhanced mission statements of the pilot schools listed below and provide your feedback in the brief seven-question survey . The survey link can also be found on the MSAR website in the banner at the top of the landing page highlighting what is new in this edition. Medical schools participating in the pilot:

  • Boston University School of Medicine
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
  • University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • University of California, Davis, School of Medicine
  • Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Learn more about this pilot by visiting the Mission In Action Pilot Working Group website .  By Bruce Blumberg, MD, professor of clinical science at Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.

Secondary Medical School Application Essays: How to Shine

Emphasizing fit and showing authenticity help medical school secondary essays stand out, experts say.

Tips for Secondary Med School Essays

Close-up of young woman brainstorming ideas on paper, looking for inspiration

Getty Images | iStockphoto

One of best pieces of advice when writing an application essay is to be authentic.

Key Takeaways

  • Secondary medical school essays should highlight why an applicant is a good fit.
  • Applicants should submit the essays early without compromising quality.
  • It's important to be authentic in essay responses.

After receiving primary applications, most medical schools ask applicants to complete a secondary application, which typically includes additional essay questions. While primary essay prompts ask why you're pursuing medicine, medical school secondary essays focus on you and how you fit with a specific school.

Secondary essay prompts vary by school, but they're generally designed to help med schools learn about you at a deeper level. They may ask you to reflect on what makes you who you are, a time when you worked with a population different than yourself, an occasion where you asked for help or a time when you worked in a team. They may ask how you spent a gap year before applying to medical school or what you did after your undergraduate degree.

"What we are trying to figure out is if this is a candidate that can fulfill the premedical competencies and whether they are mission-aligned," says Dr. Wendy Jackson, associate dean for admissions at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine . “Can they help fulfill the needs that our institution is trying to deliver?”

A lot rides on these essays, but keeping a few best practices in mind can make the process less daunting.

Emphasize Fit

The first thing medical schools look for is whether an applicant will be a good fit for the school’s mission, Jackson says.

“I would challenge someone who is completing a secondary application to understand the mission of the school and envision how they are going to contribute to that,” she says. “The vast majority of schools are going to ask why you chose their institution, so you need to be prepared to answer that.”

Some secondary essay questions are optional, but experts recommend answering them even though they're extra work. For example, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee asks applicants what makes them interested in the school.

“We just want to see if they’re a good fit for us and that they’ve done a little bit of homework about Vanderbilt," says Jennifer Kimble, director of admissions at Vanderbilt's medical school. "We want to make sure that the students we admit are going to be happy with their Vanderbilt experience.”

Avoid focusing on what you’re going to gain from the school – schools are really asking how you'll be an asset to the program.

"It’s almost like if you’re trying to date someone and you tell them, ‘Here’s what I’m going to get from this relationship,’ without saying, ‘We’re better off together,’” says Shirag Shemmassian, founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting. “You have to sell the idea that you’re bettering one another and how you’re better together than apart. I think students often miss that latter component."

Don't Procrastinate

The medical school application process is often compared to a marathon, but the final steps may feel like a sprint. Applicants typically receive secondary application requests in late June, and in some cases schools want those back within a matter of weeks. Others set deadlines months down the road.

Either way, because of rolling admissions , it's best to send essays in as early as possible without compromising quality, Shemmassian says.

The earlier an applicant submits materials, the less competition they typically face, experts say. For example, Vanderbilt receives nearly 7,000 applications per year. Of those, roughly 600 applicants will be asked to interview and around 260 will be offered admission for 96 spots.

"At the beginning of the cycle, our calendar is wide open and we’re very open to who we bring in for an interview," Kimble says. "Down the road when we only have 30 seats left, it’s highly selective who those candidates are that get those coveted 30 interview spots that are left over."

Prewrite Essays

Applicants won't know the specific language of secondary essay prompts until schools send them, but in many cases, essay prompts are similar year to year and the previous year's prompts are often published on a school's admissions website, experts say. Some schools may change or tweak questions, but you can generally get a head start by prewriting essays based on previous prompts.

"As the new ones come out, you can modify as needed," Shemmassian says. "I would say that about 70% to 80% of prompts will remain the same or similar. If they change, you can usually adapt an essay you’ve written for another school."

Secondary essays vary in length and number. Vanderbilt requires applicants to submit an 800-word essay and two 600-word essays. Some schools may require close to 10 secondary essays. Shemmassian says this is significantly more writing than applicants are used to, so budgeting time is crucial.

But applicants should take care when prewriting essays and make sure each is tailored to the specific school with the correct school name, experts say. Jackson says she's read plenty of essays where applicants included the wrong school name and it cost them.

“You may think you can save time by cutting and pasting or taking half of a previously written essay response and making a modification,” Jackson says. “Be careful, because the questions vary from institution to institution.”

Experts say applicants often neglect to fully read prompts in their haste to complete answers. Though there's a time crunch, it's vital to thoroughly read the prompt and answer the question fully without grammatical or spelling errors.

“That seems kind of silly, but I think we can get going down a road when we’re writing and feel like we’ve completed and written something well but look back and never really have a response to the true question being asked," Jackson says.

Be Authentic

Medical school applicants tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to write something that schools haven't read before, Kimble says. Given that med schools sift through thousands of applicants a year, "we’ve read all sorts of scenarios in life, so take that pressure and put it on the shelf," she says. "That’s not a concern for us. We aren’t looking for something that’s totally innovative."

Experts say schools are mostly looking for authenticity and an organic, genuine tone. The tone "can make or break an applicant," Jackson says.

It may be tempting, especially given time constraints, to rely on outside help – such as ChatGPT or other AI-powered software – to write essays. While some professors and admissions officers have embraced AI to help automate certain processes, Kimble says she strongly discourages med school applicants from using AI to help with secondary essays.

"We had an (application) that you could clearly see was not written by a human voice," she says. "It sounded very computer generated, so we ended up passing on the candidate just because we want to hear their story in their own words."

A Secondary Essay Example

Shemmassian compiles more than 1,000 sample secondary essays each year, using prompts from more than 150 medical schools in various states, and offers them to paying clients. The excerpted example below, created by Shemmassian's team and used with their permission, shows what he considers to be a successful diversity-themed essay in response to a Yale University School of Medicine prompt that asks applicants to reflect on how their background and experiences contribute to the school's focus on diversity and how it will inform their future role as a doctor.

As a child, one of my favorite times of the year was the summer, when I would travel to Yemen… at least until I turned twelve. Suddenly, the traditional and, in my Yemeni American view, restrictive laws for women, applied to me. Perhaps the most representative of these laws was having to cover my hair with a scarf-like garment. Staying true to my values, I decided against returning to Yemen, thereby losing a vital connection to my culture. However, this estrangement did not inhibit my growth.

The 500-word response continues with how the applicant met a Yemeni student who grew up in France and was barred from wearing a headscarf due to a school uniform policy. Where the applicant saw the headscarf as restrictive, the other student saw it as a connection to her roots. The applicant describes how although the same object held different meanings to two people from the same background, she used that to appreciate different perspectives and to advocate for a woman's right to express herself.

Later that year, I applied this lesson in perspective to my work as a clinical coordinator, when a patient walked into the office and handed me a piece of paper explaining she only spoke Arabic...By thinking critically while vernacularly translating the doctor’s advice, I was directly involved in the process of her medical care. Because of my experience in exploring the multi-cultural barriers I faced alongside the Yemeni French student who cherished her headscarf, I spent time talking to this Yemeni patient about the barriers she had faced in receiving care.
This experience motivated me to help overcome cultural healthcare barriers and disparities, showcasing my devotion to equitable treatment by creating a new protocol within the clinic where I work. Now, when scheduling patients over the phone, we ask if they have any language preferences, and we have a series of scripts we can use during each patient’s treatment.

The applicant then drives home why she believes she's a good fit for the school.

My background and experiences will contribute to Yale School of Medicine’s diversity and inform my future role as a physician by creating a student organization that holds informational workshops, utilizing my unique experiences to connect with Yale’s diverse patient population, and working to address healthcare disparities as a future physician. I envision these informational workshops would operate in the Haven Free Clinic patient waiting rooms to empower all patients, regardless of their background.

This essay is successful because it does more than tell essay readers about the applicant's background, Shemmassian says. It shows how the applicant grew "into a more compassionate and culturally humble future physician who will help patients overcome health care barriers."

"Strong diversity essays will always show admissions committees how a unique trait or life experience will help them become a better physician," he says. "This essay is especially successful because the applicant connects their experiences and what they’ve learned because of them to the Yale School of Medicine itself. This is an applicant who is already thinking deeply about not just what they can get out of medical school but how they can contribute to the values and mission of the school they attend."

Searching for a medical school? Get our  complete rankings  of Best Medical Schools.

Medical School Application Mistakes

A diverse group of female medical students listen attentively while seated for a lecture.

Tags: medical school , doctors , graduate schools , education , students

You May Also Like

Medical school rankings coming soon.

Robert Morse and Eric Brooks June 6, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

15 B-Schools With Low Acceptance Rates

Ilana Kowarski and Cole Claybourn June 5, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Advice About Online J.D. Programs

Gabriel Kuris June 3, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Questions to Ask Ahead of Law School

Cole Claybourn May 31, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Ways Women Can Thrive in B-School

Anayat Durrani May 29, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Study Away or Abroad in Law School

Gabriel Kuris May 28, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

A Guide to Executive MBA Degrees

Ilana Kowarski and Cole Claybourn May 24, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

How to Choose a Civil Rights Law School

Anayat Durrani May 22, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Avoid Procrastinating in Medical School

Kathleen Franco, M.D., M.S. May 21, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Good Law School Recommendation Letters

Gabriel Kuris May 20, 2024

mission statement medical school essay

Senior Director for Research, Medical School Office of Research

How to apply.

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Mission Statement

Michigan Medicine improves the health of patients, populations and communities through excellence in education, patient care, community service, research and technology development, and through leadership activities in Michigan, nationally and internationally.  Our mission is guided by our Strategic Principles and has three critical components; patient care, education and research that together enhance our contribution to society.

Responsibilities*

Reporting directly to the Executive Vice Dean for Research/Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), the Senior Director for Research will serve as the chief administrator and business manager of the Medical School Office of Research. This individual will be a key member of the Office of Research leadership team and advisor to the Executive Vice Dean for Research/CSO and will have additional accountability to the Executive Director of Administration and Chief Operating Officer for the Medical School.

The Senior Director is responsible for the operational and fiscal management of the Medical School Office of Research, strategic programs, and reporting units, with a cumulative operation totaling nearly $90M and greater than 600 FTEs. The Senior Director oversees the fiscal, personnel, operational, and administrative activities of the Office of Research and its units. Examples of responsibilities include, but are not limited to, sound financial management (budget preparation and management); human resource management of managers and staff (including hiring, terminating, professional development, and conflict resolution); operational and administrative management; and designing business plans to cost-effectively sustain the infrastructure and offerings of the Office of Research. The selected candidate will be responsible for strategic planning, development, implementation, and assessment of short- and long-range objectives. They will also provide direct supervision, mentorship, and professional development for research directors.

The Senior Director will develop and implement:

  • Research services and infrastructure to enable leading-edge research.
  • Models of research productivity and impact using traditional and non-traditional measures to aid in the identification of research strengths and opportunities.
  • Initiatives and service offerings, including review and evaluation of outcomes.
  • Administrative and research policies, procedures, and operational issues for the research enterprise.
  • Innovative strategies to support faculty, streamline research processes, and reduce administrative burden.
  • Key performance indicators.

They will oversee micro and macro assessments of the economic drivers that impact the research enterprise to inform strategic and tactical planning and lead change to facilitate adoption of new initiatives, policies, and practices.

The Senior Director is expected to manage complex situations and multiple responsibilities simultaneously, mixing longer-term projects with the urgency of immediate demands. They must exercise discretion and demonstrate the ability to respect highly confidential information and act as a liaison between the Executive Vice Dean for Research/CSO and other internal and external constituencies.

The selected candidate will possess the skills to collaborate with and achieve actionable results through others, demonstrate the ability to build strong sustainable relationships, and exhibit the capability to interact with colleagues at all levels of the institution.

The Senior Director represents the Office of Research on institutional working groups and committees to advance the mission of the Medical School and university. Additionally, they will work closely with the Administrative Senior Directors of the Medical School as part of the Senior Administrative Staff team, on institution wide initiatives and deliverables. They are expected to be a strong, effective communicator with the ability to distill complex information into actionable steps, including the ability to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and prepare subsequent communications to inform Medical School leadership.

As a member of a greater team, the selected candidate will be called upon to perform other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications*

  • A bachelor's degree, or equivalent combination of education and experience, with practical work experience in the biomedical sciences and deep knowledge of a large research enterprise such as at an academic health center or equivalent.
  • A minimum of five years of senior management experience with proven business acumen, preferably in a biomedical research or health care-related setting.
  • Demonstrated experience with responsibility and accountability for the daily operations of many units, including priority setting and financial and human resources management.
  • Successful experience leading and managing a complex team of multiple professionals, including hiring, setting direction and expectations, coaching and developing, assessing, and providing formal and informal performance feedback.
  • Demonstrated leadership and change management skills needed to successfully develop new initiatives, change culture, and foster strong partnerships and collaborations across all levels of the university.
  • Ability to build strong interpersonal relationships and trust with all constituents.
  • Excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills.
  • Competency in organizational navigation and ability to deal effectively and persuasively with individuals of varying levels of institutional authority.
  • Ability to use astute judgment, think strategically, analyze logically, and cogently present summaries and recommendations.
  • Demonstrated poise, tact, diplomacy, and unquestionable integrity.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Substantial familiarity with university standard practices and guidelines.
  • Experience within an academic medical center, research institution, or healthcare related setting.
  • Creates value for a diverse community by fostering a climate of service excellence.
  • Leads in the alignment of Michigan Medicine culture by being organizationally astute and leveraging processes and relationships to succeed. 
  • Fosters and supports diverse teams and provides a work climate that is inclusive and elicits a high level of team engagement.

Background Screening

Michigan Medicine conducts background screening and pre-employment drug testing on job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent job offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background screenings.  Background screenings are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Report Act. Pre-employment drug testing applies to all selected candidates, including new or additional faculty and staff appointments, as well as transfers from other U-M campuses.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

IMAGES

  1. Mission Statement

    mission statement medical school essay

  2. Mission statement examples, Personal mission statement examples

    mission statement medical school essay

  3. CME Mission Statement

    mission statement medical school essay

  4. Medical Statement

    mission statement medical school essay

  5. the nursing school statement of purpose sample is shown in blue and

    mission statement medical school essay

  6. School Essay: Medical school personal statement editing

    mission statement medical school essay

VIDEO

  1. Medical School Other Impactful Experiences (Disadvantaged) Essay with Example from Top 20 MD Student

  2. Write an Incredible Personal Statement: 3 Steps with Examples

  3. Describe that Med School in 1 Word Challenge

  4. Personal Statement for Medical School?

  5. Medical School Interview 🩺 What to prepare before interview?USM academic structure

  6. Welcome to My Channel

COMMENTS

  1. Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

    28 More Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted. Medical School Personal Statement Example #3. Imagine holding a baby wearing doll clothes and a diaper made of gauze because she was too small. When I was 4 years old, my sister was born 4 months prematurely, weighing only 1 pound and 7 ounces.

  2. Medical School Secondary Essays: The Complete Guide 2024 (Examples

    Part 1: Introduction. As a medical school applicant, you've worked hard on your submitting the best AMCAS application you can. You've written a compelling medical school personal statement, a detailed AMCAS Work and Activities section, and more.Now med schools are sending you school-specific secondary applications that require you to write additional essays?

  3. 2 Medical School Personal Statements That Admissions Officers Loved

    Lobo notes that an outstanding personal statement typically includes all of the following ingredients: An intriguing introduction that gets admissions officers' attention. Anecdotes that ...

  4. 3 Medical School Personal Statement Examples [2024 Update]

    Example 3 — Beyond the Diagnosis: The Importance of Individualized Care in Medicine. The applicant who wrote this personal statement was accepted into Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Nova Southeastern University College Of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Haywood sighs and shakes her head upon opening the chart.

  5. Medical School Personal Statement Guide and Examples 2024/2025

    Medical School Personal Statement Fundamentals. If you are getting ready to write your medical school personal statement for the 2024-2025 application year, you may already know that almost 60% of medical school applicants are not accepted every year. You have most likely also completed all of your medical school requirements and have scoured the internet for worthy medical school personal ...

  6. 2024 Medical School Personal Statement Ultimate Guide (220+ Examples)

    Part 1: Introduction to the medical school personal statement. You probably know someone who achieved a solid GPA and MCAT score, conducted research, shadowed physicians, engaged in meaningful volunteer work, and met all the other medical school requirements, yet still got rejected by every school they applied to.. You may have even heard of someone who was rejected by over 30 medical schools ...

  7. 2024 How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement (11 Steps)

    11 | Invest in Essay Editing Services. Your medical school personal statement is arguably the most important piece of your application. While an excellent essay can lock-in your interview offer, a poorly-written personal statement can ruin your chances—even with stellar grades, impressive academic awards, and a notable list of extracurriculars.

  8. 2024 Medical School Personal Statement Examples

    Medical school personal statement Sample #1. I stood shoulder to shoulder with choir members, hundreds of eyes in our direction, each seated in the great hall known as the Dallas Myerson Symphony Center. The countless rehearsals, rhythms, and lyrics danced through my mind as I watched the conductor raise his arms, and eagerly awaited his signal.

  9. Medical School Personal Statement Examples

    Med School Personal Statement Consultant Dr. Mary Mahoney. T his med school essay advice is written by Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. who has over 20 years of experience as an advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. She is a tenured English Professor with an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in Literature and Writing from the University of Houston.

  10. How to Answer Common Essay Prompts on Medical School Secondary

    Go beyond the mission statement and goals. ... Emphasizing fit and showing authenticity help medical school secondary essays stand out, experts say. Cole Claybourn May 30, 2024.

  11. Matching Your Values to the Medical School Mission Statement

    Medical School C's Mission Statement. Medical School C says their mission is to achieve the following: 1. "Educate a diverse body of students and advance medical knowledge in a dynamic and collaborative environment.". Translation: We value teamwork and the differing perspectives that come from diverse contributors.

  12. 2024 Medical School Secondary Essays Examples

    2024 Medical School Personal Statement Examples; 2024 Medical School Secondary Essays Examples ... I also have a lot of experience editing medical school essays and mentoring my scribes when I was a chief scribe during my gap years. ... I also served as a mentor and health coach for a local volunteer organization with a mission to help people ...

  13. Medical School Secondary Essay Prompts (2023-2024)

    Some medical school applicants are already focused on pursuing a particular career pathway in medicine. ... There is a page for selecting introversion and extroversion traits/statements but no essay associated with it. University of Miami Miller ... The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois ...

  14. Best Ways to Answer the "Why Our Medical School?" Essay

    The mission statement usually reflects the values and ideologies that the medical school upholds. 2. Specific Opportunities: Go to the school's website and find an extracurricular, a part of the curriculum, or a program/project that catches your eye and is unique to the medical school.

  15. Why Us Medical School Essay Example

    Why us medical school essay example and the steps to take when writing this crucial secondary. Multiple example prompts, tips, and more! Text or Call Us 917-994-0765; ... Commonly, students fall into the pitfall of discussing how the mission statement resonates with them. If the mission statement does, in fact, ...

  16. Mission Statement 2025

    State Medical School Mission Statement NY Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons The guiding vision of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) reads: "We aspire to transform human health by driving discovery, advancing care, and educating leaders.".

  17. 10 Successful Medical School Essays

    Our mission at AdmitRx is to provide pre-medical students with affordable, personalized, high-quality guidance towards becoming an admitted medical student. sponsored by ESSAY

  18. Mission, Vision and Values

    Our mission is to support and promote the health of individuals and communities through innovative medical education programs, ... These statements were developed in 2019 with feedback from administrative and academic ... Learn more about the organization structure of the Medical School. View Bylaws. Brown University. Providence RI 02903 401 ...

  19. New in the MSAR® Website: Expanded Mission Statements

    SHARE: Select schools recently expanded their mission statements to describe how their mission impacts their curriculum, student life, admissions practices, and graduates' career choices. If you've seen one medical school, you've seen one medical school. Every medical school shares the goal of graduating physicians, but each school likely ...

  20. Secondary Medical School Application Essays: How to Shine

    Secondary essays vary in length and number. Vanderbilt requires applicants to submit an 800-word essay and two 600-word essays. Some schools may require close to 10 secondary essays. Shemmassian ...

  21. Senior Director for Research, Medical School Office of Research

    The Senior Director is responsible for the operational and fiscal management of the Medical School Office of Research, strategic programs, and reporting units, with a cumulative operation totaling nearly $90M and greater than 600 FTEs. The Senior Director oversees the fiscal, personnel, operational, and administrative activities of the Office ...