Crafting a winning personal statement for Medicine can be the difference between an offer of interview and an outright rejection. As such, it’s vital that you spend time on this crucial part of the application process.
Personal Statement Examples for Medical School
Successful offer from Oxford:
My ambition to be a doctor stems from my longing to help people at their most vulnerable, when they seek not only answers but also understanding and compassion. This aspiration is strengthened by my interest in unravelling cellular biology and understanding how it can be applied in a clinical context.
I am intrigued by the complexity of the human genome and the implications of the current work on it, resulting in me writing an essay on CRISPR-cas9 for the DNA Day Competition where I focused on its future benefits, such as in immunotherapy, and potential concerns. This also led me to dedicate my EPQ question to answer “To what extent is our personality determined by our genes?” where I focused on the dopamine receptor D4 gene among others and their influence on personality traits.
I remain fascinated by the way our genes define most aspects of our lives. Genetics also drew me to cancer, particularly treatment, inspiring me to take a MOOC concerning different cancer drugs and ending with an independent research task on the future of cancer diagnostics. I focused on nanotechnology; its implications were so surprising that I presented the idea to my school’s Medical Society. Reading “The Emperor of all Maladies” alerted me to the importance of empirical research and a multidisciplinary approach in the continuous struggle against cancer.
I received great insight into the primary, secondary and tertiary structure of the NHS through my three work experiences. My GP placement signified to me the importance of their work and the challenges they face relating to increased patient numbers and demands. It was an opportunity to discuss potential solutions and their social and ethical implications, a factor which encouraged me to read “Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction.” Teamwork was a vital theme in my surgery placement, where I witnessed MDT meetings on a departmental, interdepartmental and inter-hospital level. The use of the WHO safety checklist allowed me to reflect on the measures taken by hospitals to minimise errors, a theme I am aware of from reading “The Checklist Manifesto.”
In my oncology placement, I saw doctors, with great professionalism and compassion, wade into patients’ emotional melee. The ability to infer the root of patient worry and skilfully tackle it was compelling and I hope to emulate such people-centred care.Forming an empathetic relationship with residents at my local care home was a humbling experience. It encouraged me to further serve my local community through going to soup kitchens on Tuesdays and connecting with the homeless, giving me an opportunity to understand life from the point of view of others.
Inspired by this, a group of friends and I planned a special Christmas event where we brought presents and sang carols to children across London hospitals; it was motivational to see their positivity at a time when they were poorly. On a life-changing humanitarian trip to Kenya I taught local children English and comforted the ill and lonely, thus enabling me to see how fortunate I am and the duty I have to aid others.
I was awarded the Jack Petchey award in recognition of my commitment to school life such as being House Captain. This meant I attended numerous meetings with teachers, led student conferences and gave house assemblies to the lower years, all requiring thorough organisation and teamwork. Outside of school, I am an avid chess player and my interests have led me to win first place in Research and Chess competitions within the national Coptic Festival for three years running. Being a member of my church’s football team, I attend weekly training sessions which is a great way to relieve stress.
Being a successful doctor is not only about having great grades or many achievements. It is about having a zeal for people and science that endures coffee-driven nights, stress and fatigue. My self-evaluative, caring nature, evidenced by my work-experience and volunteering, demonstrates this.
Successfuloffer from Edinburgh:
As a child with severe allergies, I was frequently in and out of Hereford Hospital for blood tests. The atmosphere that frightened the other children, the frenetic bustle of the doctors, served only to inspire a curiosity in me about what they did, what went on in the rest of that building. I returned there recently, countless years later, on work experience – and discovered that my curiosity had intensified over the years into a passion.
Having gained an academic scholarship to secondary school, I take a keen interest in my academic studies and have been awarded multiple school prizes. My main focus has always been the sciences – however, I firmly believe that a good doctor ought to be a capable communicator, rather than just being a scientist. As such I continue to study and enjoy French. Looking at medicine from viewpoints outside of the sciences – learning, for example, of Hippocrates in Greek – has enabled me to see just how far medicine has come, and just how much more useful the modern day doctor is, in an age where people are living longer every year.
I have completed medical work placements at Hereford Hospital and in General Practice and seen everything from a hip replacement to an Ex-Paratrooper worrying about having slightly imperfect skin – a lesson that for the patient, seemingly minor problems can be serious. I’ve had experience of Radiology, Orthopaedics, Bronchology, and A&E, and found myself most drawn to Orthopaedics for its need for teamwork, and the speed, efficiency and efficacy with which patients could be treated. Equally, going on ward rounds with junior doctors laid bare the difficulties encountered in medicine – aged patients with dementia who were bewildered and angry, young patients who were unwilling to accept that they had to be in hospital – and showed me just how strenuous life can be starting out in medicine. Throughout my work experience, the sense of cohesion both among and between the hospital teams astounded me. The close working relationships I expected between Consultants and their Registrars continued down to the Junior Doctors in their team, and across to nurses and indeed administrative staff.
Attending a communication skills workshop based around delivering bad news with medical students at Cardiff University, I learnt just how important the ability to communicate sympathy to patients or their relatives is, but also that a doctor must be careful to empathise rather than sympathise in order to provide the best care for a patient. This lesson was reiterated by doctors I spoke to on work experience, who stressed the importance of empathy when talking to patients in order that they felt their concerns were understood.
As a volunteer I spent a week at a Vitalise centre last summer, helping disabled guests to have an enjoyable holiday. Working sixteen hour days, often up until after midnight helping guests get to bed was incredibly hard work, but more than worth it for the knowledge that I was truly helping people, for the respect I acquired for the guests, and indeed for the experience and confidence I myself gained. I realise that medicine is not always about curing – rather, it is often about improving quality of life for people with no hope of a cure. I have also volunteered at my local British Heart Foundation shop, seeing at first hand the importance of charity to research, and enjoying being part of a team of dedicated volunteers, as well as interacting with customers.
I am acutely aware of how challenging and arduous a medical course can be and believe my interests prove my determination and staying power. My principal sport is cross country, for which I have represented my school and region in both individual and team events. I am currently in the process of completing my D.O.E. Gold award. As a long-term member of the CCF, in which I hold the rank of Sergeant, I have proven my ability to lead others in challenging situations. I am a Prefect at school, where I have learnt how and when to exercise authority, but also to listen to and empathise with others.
I am excited to bring all that I have learnt to the challenge that is Medicine.
Core Tip for Writing a Successful Personal Statement
The single most important tip for a successful personal statement is starting early and iterating it as much as you can. You should work on it with teachers, with other medical student applicants, and ideally Medicine Application Specialists – as we offer at BlackStone Tutors.
How to Create a Compelling Personal Statement
You must make sure that you draw your reader in – you can use a specific achievement at the outset of your personal statement to grab their attention. Throughout, show, don’t tell. Make sure that you are always yourself – your personal statement should allow your personality and attributes to shine through. That means avoiding clichés or recycled content that will have been seen countless times before by the admissions committees.