Are you applying for Medicine at university? If so, you will be sending off a personal statement with your UCAS application to five different universities about why you want to study Medicine.
You might be feeling anxious at the prospect of writing 4,000 characters (or 550 to 1000 words) on why Medicine is your chosen degree. It is daunting to showcase your skills and summarise your ambition to become a doctor in around two sides of an A4 paper.
Your medical personal statement has to grab the attention of university recruiters, who will be sifting through thousands of applications every year. In the year 2021, 28,690 applications were made for Medicine at UK universities, which was up 20.9% compared to applications in 2020.
So, if you are a future doctor, your medical personal statement must stand out from the crowd and impress university admissions teams.
Here are our top tips to write a successful Medical personal statement.
How to start a Medical personal statement
The first thing you should do is brainstorm your ideas. Don’t worry about the structure of your personal statement just yet; you want to put your ideas down on paper first. Grab a notebook and pen, or do your brainstorming on a computer document if you prefer.
Gather your thoughts and write down words that spring to mind when you think about why you want to become a doctor.
Use a strong opening line which will hook readers in. Don’t just say: “I am passionate about Medicine.” Illustrate your passion for Medicine and why it is a good fit for you.
Avoid cheesy cliches. Nobody is going to take you seriously if you say write: “I wanted to become a doctor after I received a toy doctor’s kit when I was six years old.”
Discuss your motivation for applying for Medicine
Explain why you want to become a doctor. What about the profession that attracts you? What inspires you?
Show that you are fascinated with the human body and with treating patients. It should be clear that you want to care for vulnerable people and help relieve their pain and suffering.
Medicine is not for the faint-hearted, as it can be a fast-paced and incredibly stressful profession. So, illustrate your competency by showing that you understand the challenges and pressures of the role.
Additionally, outline what attracts you to this Medicine degree course. You will spend five years studying for this degree. Familiarise yourself with the course brochure and pick out aspects of the programme which excite you. Explain why they appeal to you and how they correlate with your career ambitions.
To demonstrate that you will be an asset to a university, your Medical personal statement should demonstrate what you can bring to the course.
Answer this crucial question: why should you be offered a place on the course, over the thousands of others who are also applying?
Talk about your interest in Medicine
You need to show you are doing a wider reading of medical knowledge before you arrive at university. Talk about the scientific books and journals have you been reading and what lessons you have gained from them.
If you have listened to any podcasts about Medicine or healthcare, what insights did they give you? Additionally, staying up-to-date with news about healthcare will show university admissions teams that you know what is going on in the field.
Have a think about how your studies have encouraged you to apply for Medicine. Have you conducted a science experiment in the classroom or attended a recent school trip that really stimulated your mind?
Explain which speciality of Medicine you are interested in and why. Perhaps you are passionate about working with children, so paediatrics is the right speciality for you. Or maybe you are really interested in heart diseases, so cardiovascular medicine is appealing.
Talk about how you are expanding your knowledge of that speciality, e.g. through reading, researching or volunteering. Describe how this knowledge has influenced you to pursue Medicine at university.
Write about your work experience
Have you spent some time shadowing a doctor at a GP surgery or volunteering at a hospital or pharmacy?
It looks fantastic on your Medical personal statement if you talk about the experience you gained in patient-facing areas.
If you haven’t yet gained any work experience, research local healthcare providers in your area and ask if you can shadow staff there. These could be clinics, community mental health teams, rehabilitation units, care homes, children’s homes, hospices, and social enterprises.
If you have a part-time job, mention this on your Medical personal statement, as it shows universities that you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Reflect on the things you observed and learned during your work experience, as these have helped you develop the critical skills needed to train as a doctor. University recruiters want to see evidence that you have gained skills such as active listening, communication, empathy and teamwork.
Showcase your achievements
In your Medical personal statement, mention any awards you have collected, like the EPQ qualification, the Duke of Edinburgh Award or Young Enterprise.
If you have occupied a leadership role, such as Prefect, captain of a sports team, or Scout leader, talk about the valuable skills which you gained, such as conflict resolution or mentoring.
Include any recent achievements you are proud of. For example, if you have run a marathon, given a public speech or taken a gap year to work or travel.
Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation are perfect. Try reading your Medical personal statement out loud, as this will make it clear if your writing isn’t flowing smoothly. Ask a teacher, family member or friend to proofread your personal statement and provide feedback.
How to end your Medical personal statement
Conclude with a short summary that details:
- your passion for medicine.
- what your core skills are.
- the impact you hope to make with a degree in medicine.
What do medical schools want in personal statements?
Every year, medical schools are bombarded with countless applications, but they can only shortlist a select few to interview. Your Medical personal statement will also form the basis for questions asked at the interview.
Medical schools want to see the reasons why you want to pursue a Medicine degree and what you wish to do with it.
They will look for the key skills and attributes required for the challenge of a medical degree, such as:
- Taking responsibility for your own actions
- Resilience and adaptability
- Excellent written and verbal communication
- Desire to alleviate others’ distress
- Managing risk and dealing with problems
What should you not say in a Medical personal statement?
Don’t write paragraphs and paragraphs about your extra-curricular activities if they have no relevance whatsoever. For instance, it is no use telling universities that you enjoy binge-watching Game of Thrones or playing PlayStation games.
But university admissions teams do want to see that you are an all-rounded person. So, in a sentence or two, you can briefly mention your hobbies if they demonstrate transferable skills.
For example, if you enjoy designing websites, this shows university recruiters that you are tech-savvy. If you enjoy reading, this shows curiosity and intelligence. If you have qualifications in music, theatre or sports, or you speak different languages, this will give university recruiters a flavour as to who you are as a person.
Your academic grades and personal details
When you apply for Medicine, universities will receive a copy of your grades and predicted grades. So, don’t waste the word count by including what marks you scored in your exams and coursework.
There is no need to include personal details such as your address, date of birth or contact number.
Copying chunks of text from websites, books or sample personal statements is simply unacceptable. UCAS uses plagiarism detector software, which detects similarities.
If you copy someone else’s personal statement and the UCAS software detects more than 30% similarity, you and your course provider will be notified by email, and your application could be rejected.
Make sure your Medical personal statement is 100% accurate and your own work. If UCAS suspects your application is fraudulent, they can request proof to verify the information you have provided.
There you have it, the ultimate guide to writing a Medical personal statement. Remember to highlight your skillset and convey your enthusiasm for medicine. Don’t forget to request feedback from someone you trust.
Best of luck with your application!
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