3. USE ONE THEME TO UNIFY THE STATEMENT. Your statement should not be a laundry list of accomplishments (the rest of your packet provides that information). By picking one theme that illustrates who you are (and the background for that laundry list of accomplishments), you give your statement direction and more importantly, you are able to personalize your experiences. A single theme provides the foundation on which you can demonstrate qualities that make you a good "fit" for the schools you are applying to. When considering a theme, let the following topics be your guide: Hobbies you love and actively pursue _ Unique accomplishments _ academic, athletic, or otherwise _ Work habits or attitudes that stand out as predictors of future success _ Family background, parents or other mentors who have encouraged and supported you _ Personal hurdles you have overcome _ A major life event which produced positive results _ Keep in mind the most effective showcase for your desire and drive to succeed in medical school and beyond is a past experience you can illustrate using concrete examples and descriptive language.
2. Make excuses _ Lots of applicants have weaknesses in their application files, especially in their transcripts. Maybe you got low grades your freshman year. Maybe you had to leave school and work for a while. Maybe you got an F in that statistics class and had to retake it. Or maybe you got a degree in one field and are applying to grad school in a different field; or you didn't pass your medical residency exams the first time. Whatever your weakness is, do not offer excuses and do not bad_mouth anyone. So it wasn't your fault that the professor lost your final exam and flunked you, or jobs dried up in your original field of study, or you had the flu when you took the GRE. Don't say anything that sounds like an excuse or sounds like you are blaming someone else for you failing to achieve a goal. Even when it is true, it may make you seem whiny and unable to accept responsibility for your actions. Instead, address the weakness at the end of your statement, and explain how you have overcome it, learned from it, and are a better candidate now because of it.