Crafting a Compelling Personal Statement – Examples and Tips

Personal Statement Tips

Medicine Personal statement example: 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.

Medicine Personal statement example: Cambridge 

My work with undergraduate students over a year developing an abdominal adhesions sensor kindled my interest in medicine. While shadowing a doctor in a postnatal ward, I witnessed the satisfaction she derived from using her clinical skills to benefit infants. She communicated complex neonatal issues, such as meconium aspiration and Moro reflexes to parents effectively. It was vital to convey complex information to parents from a variety of backgrounds. I developed this ability by collaborating with a diverse group of people on various women’s advocacy campaigns while interning at UN Women. I learned to persuade, cooperate and problem-solve. Developing the sensor also taught me to work with students from a diverse range of subjects, just as NHS doctors must work with a wide variety of professions in a multidisciplinary setting.

I volunteered to talk to HIV patients weekly this past year. Some refused HAART or continued to use unclean hypodermic needles for recreational purposes. Initially, I struggled to comprehend this but then grew to empathise with them and appreciate the complex reasons why people do not comply with treatment or abstain from unhealthy practices.

My regular volunteer work at a school for disabled children and at an elderly care home has helped me develop compassion and kindness. One patient with severe dementia was constantly distressed, so I patiently held her hand and consoled her for hours at a time. As Pemberton noted in ‘Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) Doctor’, “What mattered to [patients] more than the medicines and the operations and the tests, was that someone was by [their] side.”

The reality that learning medicine does not end with a medical degree was laid before me when I took part in the 2017 SmileAsia trip to Cambodia where I prepared patients for surgery and calmed them before sedation. I also volunteered to translate between Chinese and UK doctors treating children with cleft palate. The desire of the doctors to learn each other’s surgical techniques emphasised the global and ever-changing nature of medicine. I took the initiative to learn the necessary terminology in Mandarin to facilitate this. Through preparing for the Chemistry and Biology Olympiad, I was able to expand my knowledge of biochemistry and human biology and develop resilience through continuous, deliberate practice. I demonstrated initiative by teaching myself extension material and the topics taught in the Upper Sixth. The prospect of continuously extending my knowledge throughout my career greatly excites me.

My passion for learning and research led me to write two essays on poisonous substances and cellular waste disposal respectively, in addition to my IB coursework. Throughout this experience, I learned to consolidate conflicting sources, think critically and manage time. I learned to build on the constructive criticism my supervisor gave me. Considering iatrogenic errors are the third leading cause of death in the US, my willingness to acknowledge and correct my weaknesses would improve my quality of care. I also enjoyed learning more about physiology and pathophysiology.

Starting taekwondo at 14 taught me resilience, which is important in the fast-paced working environment of the NHS. These qualities were developed further in my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition that taught me to persevere despite my asthma. I could not carry much but I found my own way to contribute by administering first aid and teaching my teammates about Lyme’s disease. Similarly, by organising various Model UN conferences, I have learned to work with a wide variety of individuals and lead councils through various topics. Through working in groups for debate as well as in the RCS Chemistry Analysts Competition, I was able to lead and collaborate within tight time constraints. This skill would help me in the fast-paced environment of an NHS hospital.

I believe my passion for medicine and my character will propel me through my medical career.

Personal Statement: Effective Writing Tips 

Crafting an impactful Medicine personal statement requires a combination of strong language, reflection on personal achievements, and adept storytelling techniques. This written piece should not only articulate your passion for medicine, but also demonstrate the specific attributes that will make you a successful practitioner in the field.

Start with powerful language to immediately engage your reader. Use strong, active verbs and meaningful adjectives to make your points. Avoid cliches and make every word count. It’s important that your personal statement leaves a lasting impression, and the right choice of words can create a vivid image in the minds of the admission committee.

Next, showcase your personal achievements. However, don’t simply list them. It’s crucial to describe your accomplishments in a way that illustrates your commitment, resilience, and dedication to medicine. Highlight what you’ve learned from these experiences and how they’ve influenced your decision to study medicine. Showing evidence of your commitment is more persuasive than simply telling.

Finally, employ storytelling techniques to create a cohesive narrative. Your personal statement should not be a collection of unrelated events, but a compelling story that shows your journey towards medicine. Starting with an engaging anecdote can hook your readers, and using this story to weave through your achievements can effectively tie together the different parts of your statement.

Ultimately, your personal statement should be authentic, clear, and reflective, presenting a true representation of who you are and why you’re driven to pursue a career in medicine.

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