4. HAVE AN ENGAGING OPENING. Given the limited time committee members have to initially review each packet and read each personal statement, an interest_catching opening is essential, playing off the unified theme you have decided on. Choose a quote which sums up a hurdle overcome or an attitude which has brought you success in the past. Begin with an anecdote, a brief personal story which serves as a lead to your ambition and drive to follow in a mentor's or family member's footsteps. Ask a question, one which frames a hobby or a major life event that has set you on the path to medical school. Whichever opening you choose, it should be professional rather than chatty, and more importantly, get immediately to the heart of whatever it is about yourself you are highlighting. You have a limited number of characters at your disposal ), so setting the scene with your introduction should use up very little space. We all tend to be taken by personal stories, but the point is how your story leads directly to those characteristics that medical schools will feel best fit their program and faculty.
Take a minute and think about what most students are electing to write about in a medical school personal statement. 5ꯠ times, a medical school admissions committee member sees: "I want to be a doctor," "I want to help people," "I have wanted to be a doctor for a long time." To an experienced admissions committee member, these cliched reasons say, "I know I want to be a doctor but I don't really know how to express why I want to do it. I don't have specifics, clear motivation. I don't have a specific orientation. I just want to do it." To write a medical school essay that's great, you've got to transcend generalities like that in order to be persuasive. Because if you don't, what's going to happen is your reader is going to say, "I've read this medical school personal essay a million times before."And although it's a nice medical personal statement, it has nothing new, nothing unique to you. It causes your reader, the person who's going to determine whether or not you get an interview, to look at other aspects of your application to try and get some sense as to who you are. And that is going to be experiences, it's going to be grades, it's going to be MCAT score. Your reader, the committee member, is really going to be stuck, struggling to figure out why you're applying.