In conceptualizing a theme, you have to consider the main question, "What would you like to say with your essay?" For example, do you want the admissions committee to understand your choice of major and career in relation to your family background, or do you want to share your passion for your chosen field and your desire to achieve excellence in it? Whichever theme you come up with, this has to be unique to you as an applicant and should be related to your personal background, choice of major, and choice of career. The more unique a theme is, the more interesting the essay will be. In this sense, you can capitalize on personal facts you believe are noteworthy of exposition.
Engage the Reader from the Start. When it comes to your application, all the information you submit is already set in stone__ except the personal statement. This is your chance to get your program's attention, especially if you feel that your MCAT scores or GPA may be lacking. You want your reader to be interested from the very start of the essay. Admission committee members are often short on time and may be more likely to gloss over your essay if it has a generic, flat, or boring beginning. One way to begin an essay is with a personal vignette__ a quick snapshot of a moment in your life that relates to your decision to apply to medical school. Consider the following two opening statements: a) I've always known that I want to be a doctor. Since my first encounter with death, I've recognized that it is my responsibility to help people. b) The lights flashed, and the sirens wailed as I watched the ambulances cart my next_door neighbor to the hospital. I was ten years old, and it was my first encounter with death. Do you see how the second example engages the reader's attention right away? It is a snapshot rather than a factual statement, which immediately catches the reader's interest. Personal vignettes are not the only way to start your essay, but they are easy to shape into engaging opening statements.