Personal Statement

The personal statement (on AMCAS, officially the Personal Comments Essay) is a vital part of your medical school application. If your medical school application form is "what you've done", the personal statement is "who you are".  Do make it personal. 

 AMCAS (allopathic medical schools) gives you 5300 characters (including spaces!) for your statement. Take full advantage of space allowed, and address these questions directly:

  • 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 haven’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.
  • Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record that are not explained elsewhere in your application.

 The AACOMAS (D.O. schools) personal statement must be shorter (4500 characters max) and should be distinct, with a clear indication of what you know about and why you are interested in osteopathic medicine.  

 The TMDSAS (5000 characters) personal essay asks you to explain your motivation for seeking a career in medicine, and the ways in which your experiences have prepared you for this career.

Getting help

 Class+ writing resources

The Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS+) helps students strengthen many different academic skills, including writing. They can be contacted directly at  479.575.2885 or with a visit to their office in Gregson Hall.  General guidelines for improving personal statements can be found here, and you can make appointments and sign up for tutoring by going here.

Other resources  - Personal statement help from admissions consultants

Aspiring Doc Diaries - Not specific to personal statements, but worth visiting for excellent examples of storytelling. 

Cal Berkeley Graduate School - Statement - Somewhat specific for grad school, but the Do and Don't lists are perfectly on target.

 Crafting Your Personal Statement from AAMC (to advisors, actually, but quite useful for applicants). AAMC has some excellent videos as well.

Yale College's excellent Writing the Personal Statement for Medical School.