I was very fortunate to have had a teacher who supported me through my application, who had previously worked within admissions in Oxford. He taught us all how to structure our personal statements, and now I’m going to share what he taught us to you.
Before reading this post, be sure to have read my previous article on Before the UCAS application. There I give suggestions on how to fill these paragraphs with classic examples of what admissions offices are looking for!
Do not rush writing your personal statement. Expect to take several weeks or maybe even a month if not more to write. You will have several versions, the first definitely going to be longer than 4000 characters. Remember, your personal statement has to be within 4000 characters or 47 lines!
The personal statement general structure:
- Leadership and roles of responsibility
- Being a team-player
For an example of a personal statement for medical school, I have posted my personal statement. This follows the general structure above. This is what I submitted on UCAS and eventually got me in to medical school.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
On your first paragraph, introduce yourself as the perfect candidate for medical school by answering the following question: “Why do you want to be a doctor?” Keep your answer short, and aim for your introduction to be less than five sentences/lines. Be honest to your answer. Some choose to give a dramatic answer, which is great if you have such a story, but if you don’t, that’s fine! Write it as it is. Maybe you decided to become a doctor when you once helped a dying man on the street, or maybe you just enjoy the sciences and like working with people. Both answers are excellent! Find an answer that suits you, and write it on your introduction.
Paragraph 2: Academics
Now you have to convince the admissions that you have strong academics, giving you a good foundation ready for medical school. Write about your education. Which program and courses did you choose? What did you get from choosing these courses? The admissions office don’t know a lot about your Swedish education, so a sentence or two about what you have learnt would be good!
After writing about your education, now is the time to write about your academic achievements. Have you won an academic prize? Have you taken courses at university level? Have you joined summer research schools? Have you worked in a lab? Write about them all at the end of this paragraph!
Paragraph 3: Leadership and roles of responsibility
Medical schools want their medical students to be well-rounded individuals. In this paragraph, it’s time to show who you are outside your academics.
Every doctor is expected to be a leader, so good leadership skills and the capability of handling a lot of responsibility is a must! Maybe you’re the president of after school clubs, or maybe you’re a member of the student council. If you have any medical-related experience, now is the time to write about it! Write about your roles and do tell what you did within those roles. Show who you are as a leader, and what you learnt from your responsibilities.
Paragraph 4: Being a team-player
Every doctor is expected to work well in teams, as well as to lead them. Continue writing about who you are outside academics, but this time, angle it towards how you are flexible and work well in teams. Maybe your sports team won a national tournament or you have a part-time job working in a team of people? This paragraph overlaps with the previous, and is something like a continuation, but again, write about your interests outside of school and if you have any medical-related experience, write it down!
Paragraph 5: Conclusion
To end your personal statement, you need to bring everything you have written together to end with the conclusion: you are the perfect candidate for medical school. Just like the introduction, remind the readers why you want to be a doctor. Tell a story of why you are committed on becoming a doctor. Leave the readers with the idea that not only are you committed to becoming a doctor, you will also be quite an awesome one too.