Ever wanted to know what would be the worst thing you could do while writing your personal statement? We’ll here are a few to start with.

1.) EMBELLISHING YOUR STORY

While there is a place for creativity in your essay, you can’t afford to avoid the personal approach entirely by writing an overly creative or philosophical piece. You think you’ll impress the admissions committee with your unique and stand out approach but most medical school admissions officers will advise you to do otherwise. Your personal statement should not stray away from the standard format of the essay.

2.) NOT TAKING THE ESSAY SERIOUSLY

There is a common misconception that if you have an excellent academic record, you don’t have to worry so much about the other components of your application. Give your personal statement the attention it deserves. Treat it as an equal. Make sure you schedule enough time to put into writing a personal statement that it not just quickly thrown together and doesn’t have much thought. Most admissions officers can immediately spot an essay that has been hastily thrown together by a student that thought their stellar grades and test scores were going to get them in the door.

3.) PERSONAL MEANS PERSONAL

The personal statement should be just that-personal. Many students use the personal statement to give a run down of all of the extra curricular activities and accomplishments they have under their belt, without really answering the question of why they’re choosing to become doctors. The personal statement is a chance for students to convey to the admission committee how they see themselves as an asset to the medical school and to the medical profession.

4.) BOMBARDING WITH DETAILS

More is not necessarily better. Don’t add unnecessary detail to your essay just to fill up space. Not only will it probably annoy the person reading your essay, but it will also take away from what you’re really trying to say about yourself and the story you’re trying to tell. Reread through your statement and see if there is anything that you can take out without taking away from your statement.

5.) FORGETTING TO PROOFREAD

You’re probably so busy getting everything together and have a list of twenty-million things on your to do list but you mustn’t forget to proofread your essay. This can be the worst mistake of them all. Nothing destroys the credibility of the application faster than misspelled words and incorrect usage of grammar. It is know that admissions committees see strong communication as a key factor in a potential medical student and therefore expect high quality writing in the personal statement.

This article was published in the March/April 2013 issue of PreMedLife magazine.