You have spent four years learning truly advance and intricate sciences that begin your journey towards becoming a doctor. Perhaps you are a chemistry major, perhaps you are a neuroscience major. Considering the many sciences you are required to take as a prerequisite for medical school, you most likely are not an English major.  But now you have ended your undergraduate career and are expected to write an essay, or personal statement that is about 5300 characters in length. Writing a personal statement when applying to medical school is a frightening and overwhelming task for many medical school hopefuls, and this is completely understandable considering the very limited amount of writing classes required for premed students, particularly on the Binghamton campus.

Being an English major, while I don’t consider myself an essay writing wonder, I do believe that I have been given many tools to improve my writing, and to compose my thoughts into well designed, and respectable essays. Therefore, with some help from the Princeton Review, Yale College, and The Student Doctor Network, I have written a piece on this matter. It is my hope that in this you will find noteworthy advice on how to write an exceptional personal statement.

Writing about yourself is no easy feat, it is important to realize that while you do want the essay to be an illustration of you, you must consider that you are writing to an audience, therefore slight adaptation must be made. Simply, avoid controversial topics and extreme opinion. While you want to show yourself, you do not want to offend or lose interest of a reader who disagrees with your opinion. Additionally when writing about yourself you need to state your accomplishments in a way that does not read as a chronicle of your resume´. The best way to do this is to attach stories that show your good qualities, to different endeavors. In example, if you were the editor of Binghamton’s Premed Life from 2009-10 don’t just list this, instead mention what you learned and how this experience affected your life. Did you learn the value and difficulty of leadership? Or maybe one of your writers knew a great deal of an area of medicine you had never considered, thus increasing your knowledge on said-medical topic.

Moving on to more technical aspects of writing this essay, this statement not only shows your achievements, and intelligence in your perspective field, this essay will either demonstrate your well-rounded nature or lack there of.  The goal is to have your reader realize that not only are you skilled in science and math, but you can write a reasoned, skilled, vivid and overall bright essay. Showing your ability to describe and give detail is a key component to writing a competent essay, a key aspect of this is using varied and somewhat complex vocabulary. I say “somewhat” because while it should be mature and complex, it should never be words you do not even fully understand, words that are ostentatious don’t show your ability, but rather can seem forced, and to have ulterior motivation behind their placement.

My last piece of advice is the most simple, and comes at the end when editing your paper. I always, I repeat ALWAYS read my essay out loud when looking for grammar mistakes, and checking fluidity and coherence of sentences and paragraphs. It may seem trivial, but when reading anything in your head the brain has tendencies to skip little words, or you may not realize the transition from sentence to sentence is odd. Especially with an essay this important, grammar errors seem careless, and strip away an aspect of intellect.

Leaving off, I want you to remember what you are choosing as your profession is truly admirable. If you dedicate sincere effort, and share your honest thoughts and experiences you will write a great personal statement.