From Average to Outstanding: How to Write a Killer Personal Statement for Scholarships

From Average to Outstanding: How to Write a Killer Personal Statement for Scholarships

Winning a scholarship to medical school will require a personal statement of the highest calibre. Here, we provide an example of a UK medical school personal statement that received four offers (the maximum possible), including to Cambridge, before focusing on Medicine Personal Statement structure and tips for the US.

Sample Personal Statement for Scholarship

The following personal statement is of the standard required to receive a scholarship.

Conversations with doctors and medical students have brought me to the same conclusion: medicine is not simple. Placements in tertiary and secondary care settings have exposed me to medicine’s long hours, intellectual challenges and emotionally draining environment. Yet every placement showed how the care and diligence of doctors had a genuine impact on patients’ lives. The chance to replicate this, combined with unparalleled opportunities to teach, undertake clinical work and perform scientific research, is what draws me to study medicine.

During a placement at GOSH, observing discussions about cochlear implants between doctors, patients and the MDT taught me about the importance of involving patients in their own care and the necessity of communicating with a person on their level of understanding. To develop these skills, I have volunteered as a primary school teaching assistant, worked part-time as a tutor, and taught weekly technology classes for elderly people.

Observing procedures such as laparoscopic appendectomies and breast implant replacement allowed me to contrast the advancements in medicine, particularly surgery, with previous, often disfiguring procedures such as Halstead mastectomies, which I encountered when reading Mukherjee’s “The Emperor of All Maladies”. After also attending lectures at Oxford on the effect on fertility preservation during cancer treatments, I undertook a research project into leukaemia to learn about mechanistic pathways used by antileukemic drugs. My placement also introduced me to aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity, about which I decided to attend further learning on.

Lectures by Trembath and Scott on rare genetic diseases drew my interest to the role of genetics in medical treatments. This interest developed during my Nuffield Research Placement, which culminated in a research-style report on the effects of epigenetics on mitotic chromosome structure and an article on imaging metaphase chromosomes and telomere staining, which will be published in the Young Scientists Journal. Also, I gained an insight into the application of problem-solving skills in research when aiding the design of the verification stage.

Volunteering weekly at a care home and at a disabled children’s playground has shown me the realities of ageing and the infirmity of the vulnerable. Supervising the children or talking to residents allows me to support their emotional wellbeing, thus contributing to the delivery of holistic care, as highlighted in Edwards’s “In Stitches”.

Sample Personal Statement for Scholarship

This also introduced me to the need for constant self-evaluation, a message emphasised in Gwande’s Reith lectures and a key focus in my Kelvin Science Competition essay on how a doctor can know they are doing their job well. I also learnt about the importance of teamwork and leadership in the delivery of high-quality care. I have tried to develop these skills through creating and organising my school’s Science Fair and charity fundraising campaigns with a focus on leading teams in a collaborative environment to achieve the best results for those we catered for.

Furthermore, leading the peer tutoring scheme and coming 3rd in an Apprentice-style TV show, 3G Boss, as well as playing on the school and club cricket teams for the past 5 years have improved my listening and communication. As a student of a performing arts school for 12 years, I have performed on stage and TV in over 50 shows and organised successful cultural, academic and sporting events by leading and working as part of event committees.

The prospect of lifelong learning, the opportunity to improve the quality of life of many on a daily basis and my ambition to utilise my knowledge to serve others has drawn me to a challenge I relish. I have tried to understand the difficulties I will face but with the invaluable learning opportunities I have had, my academic abilities and persistent nature, I see no other field to enter but Medicine.

US Medicine Personal Statement Structure for Scholarship

A well-crafted personal statement can set a candidate apart from the rest of the applicant pool and even earn them a scholarship.

The introduction is a crucial element of the personal statement. It should capture the reader’s attention and provide a clear thesis statement that outlines the purpose of the personal statement. This section should be concise and engaging, and the thesis statement should clearly state the applicant’s motivation for pursuing a career in medicine and highlight what they hope to achieve through their medical education.

Motivation for Medicine: The motivation section of the personal statement is the most important part of the essay. This is where applicants should explain their passion for medicine and what inspired them to pursue a career in this field. They should reflect on their experiences and explain how these experiences have shaped their goals and aspirations. This section should demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to the profession and their willingness to work hard to achieve their goals.

Extracurriculars: The extracurricular section of the personal statement should highlight the applicant’s involvement in non-academic activities. This may include community service, leadership roles, sports, music, or other interests. The goal of this section is to showcase the applicant’s well-roundedness, and how their extracurricular activities have helped them develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership.

Research: The research section of the personal statement should discuss any research experience the applicant has had. This may include laboratory research, clinical research, or any other type of scientific investigation. Applicants should provide specific examples of their research projects and highlight their contributions to the field. They should also discuss what they learned from the research experience and how it has influenced their desire to pursue a career in medicine.

Shadowing: The shadowing section of the personal statement should discuss any shadowing experiences the applicant has had. Applicants should discuss what they learned from their shadowing experience, how it has influenced their understanding of medicine, and – of course – how it has motivated them to pursue a career in this field.

Scholarship and academia: If you are applying for scholarships, you should highlight your academic excellence and previous history of high achievement. Include mention of any previous scholarships, Dean’s List, whether you were a valedictorian, essay competitions won, etc.

Your conclusion should summarise the main points of the personal statement and restate the initial introduction to some degree. This section should also leave a lasting impression on the reader and make the applicant memorable. Applicants may use this section to discuss their future goals and how they plan to use their medical education to make a positive impact in their community and the world.

Personal statement for scholarship: Undergraduate

If seeking to apply as an undergraduate, your personal statement should be similar to that for the Cambridge student above. Remember that scholarships in the UK are a lesser focus, as universities are public – however, in certain other countries you will be able to move straight from high school to undergraduate Medicine and fees are required to be paid directly – meaning that scholarships are once again of huge potential value.

US Medical School Personal Statement for Scholarship: Tips

A well-crafted personal statement can set a candidate apart from the rest of the applicant pool and even earn them a scholarship. Here are five tips for the personal statement that could earn you a scholarship.

– The personal statement is a critical component of the medical school application, and it takes time and effort to craft a compelling essay. It is essential to start early and plan ahead to ensure that the personal statement is well-written and reflects the applicant’s unique qualities and experiences.
– The motivation for medicine is the most important part of the personal statement. It is essential to demonstrate a deep and genuine passion for the field and a clear understanding of what it means to be a physician. Applicants should reflect on their experiences and explain how these experiences have shaped their goals and aspirations.
– Highlight Unique Experiences and Qualities. Admissions committees and scholarship committees are looking for applicants who stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Applicants should highlight their unique experiences and qualities to demonstrate what sets them apart.
– Show, Don’t Tell. A well-crafted personal statement should show the admissions committee and scholarship committee what the applicant has achieved and what they are capable of, rather than simply telling them. Applicants should provide specific examples of their experiences and achievements, and explain how these experiences have shaped their goals and aspirations. They should also use concrete language and vivid descriptions.
– Edit and Revise Carefully. The personal statement is a reflection of the applicant’s writing skills and attention to detail. It is essential to edit and revise the essay carefully to ensure that it is well-written and free of errors. For scholarship applicants in particular, it is vital to write a coherent, compelling personal statement that engages the reader and shows excellence in communication. You can seek help from our admissions specialists here. 

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