Common Errors in Composing Personal Statements _ The following lists some of the more common errors in most compositions: In appropriate use of punctuations such as excessive commas, and incorrect placement of apostrophes and quotation marks, colons, and semi_colons. When in doubt, consult a basic style guide to check your usage. _ Contractions. Contractions dramatically reduce the formality of your composition. Use the more formal "cannot," "would not," or "should not," instead of "can't," "won't," or "shouldn't." Slang and common colloquial words and expressions. Words and phrases like "a lot," "ain't," "got," "big," "for sure," "gonna," "sort of," "kinda," and the like should never be used. Clichés. These make your writing informal and unintentionally funny. However, when employed correctly, they can actually help add variety to your essay. Repetitive use of words such as ("likewise," "thus," and the like). Keep a thesaurus handy so that you can vary your language. However, do not use "big" words just to impress the reader. Vagueness. This may lead to open interpretation that does not express your ideas as well as more precise words would. "A few" or "enough" can often be replaced by a word that is more precise. Phrases such as these will only leave the reader confused. Make your claims clearer and justified. Steps to Follow to Ensure the Further Improvement of a PS
Consider these as you write your essay for medical school: "What do you really want to do in medicine? _ How are your grades different from everybody else? _ What are your original motivations and _ How have you confirmed those motivations?"