When you applied as an undergraduate, your personal statement probably didn't make much of a difference, because undergraduate admissions are heavily based on numbers (GPAs, test scores, etc). Graduate and professional school admissions are different! Your competitors will have grades and test scores similar to yours, because most people who have the motivation to pursue an advanced degree did well as undergraduate students. As the number of applicants rises and academic budgets are cut, every year there's more competition for fewer admissions openings. How does the committee determine that you have what it takes to succeed in advanced studies? You guessed it. Your personal statement will play a determining role in whether or not your application is successful. So you know you need to write the strongest, most persuasive personal statement you can. But here are two facts you may not know. First, most reviewers will spend only a couple minutes skimming your personal statement. Second, because their job is to weed out the majority of applications, reviewers are looking for reasons not to recommend you for admission.
The Three Common Oversights when writing medical residency personal statements: 1. Not Paying Attention To the Question _ Almost every single teaching hospital poses one or more very specific questions that they want residency applicants to answer. One has to assume that these questions were worded the way they were for a very specific reason(s). Nevertheless, you would be amazed at how many draft personal statements that I get for editing in which it appears that the applicant has not even attempted to answer the specific question(s) posed by the target institution. In fact, most draft statements I receive are generalized essays that fail to address the actual question(s) posed in the target institution's requirement statement. This is an important, if not fatal, oversight.