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Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

Featured Admissions Expert: Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got 6 Acceptances

These 30 exemplary medical school personal statement examples come from our students who enrolled in one of our application review programs. Most of these examples led to multiple acceptance for our students. For instance, the first example got our student accepted into SIX medical schools. Here's what you'll find in this article: We'll first go over 30 medical school personal statement samples, then we'll provide you a step-by-step guide for composing your own outstanding statement from scratch. If you follow this strategy, you're going to have a stellar statement whether you apply to the most competitive or the easiest medical schools to get into .

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Article Contents 36 min read

Stellar medical school personal statement examples that got multiple acceptances, medical school personal statement example #1.

I made my way to Hillary’s house after hearing about her alcoholic father’s incarceration. Seeing her tearfulness and at a loss for words, I took her hand and held it, hoping to make things more bearable. She squeezed back gently in reply, “thank you.” My silent gesture seemed to confer a soundless message of comfort, encouragement and support.

Through mentoring, I have developed meaningful relationships with individuals of all ages, including seven-year-old Hillary. Many of my mentees come from disadvantaged backgrounds; working with them has challenged me to become more understanding and compassionate. Although Hillary was not able to control her father’s alcoholism and I had no immediate solution to her problems, I felt truly fortunate to be able to comfort her with my presence. Though not always tangible, my small victories, such as the support I offered Hillary, hold great personal meaning. Similarly, medicine encompasses more than an understanding of tangible entities such as the science of disease and treatment—to be an excellent physician requires empathy, dedication, curiosity and love of problem solving. These are skills I have developed through my experiences both teaching and shadowing inspiring physicians.

Medicine encompasses more than hard science. My experience as a teaching assistant nurtured my passion for medicine; I found that helping students required more than knowledge of organic chemistry. Rather, I was only able to address their difficulties when I sought out their underlying fears and feelings. One student, Azra, struggled despite regularly attending office hours. She approached me, asking for help. As we worked together, I noticed that her frustration stemmed from how intimidated she was by problems. I helped her by listening to her as a fellow student and normalizing her struggles. “I remember doing badly on my first organic chem test, despite studying really hard,” I said to Azra while working on a problem. “Really? You’re a TA, shouldn’t you be perfect?” I looked up and explained that I had improved my grades through hard work. I could tell she instantly felt more hopeful, she said, “If you could do it, then I can too!” When she passed, receiving a B+;I felt as if I had passed too. That B+ meant so much: it was a tangible result of Azra’s hard work, but it was also symbol of our dedication to one another and the bond we forged working together.

My passion for teaching others and sharing knowledge emanates from my curiosity and love for learning. My shadowing experiences in particular have stimulated my curiosity and desire to learn more about the world around me. How does platelet rich plasma stimulate tissue growth? How does diabetes affect the proximal convoluted tubule? My questions never stopped. I wanted to know everything and it felt very satisfying to apply my knowledge to clinical problems.

Shadowing physicians further taught me that medicine not only fuels my curiosity; it also challenges my problem solving skills. I enjoy the connections found in medicine, how things learned in one area can aid in coming up with a solution in another. For instance, while shadowing Dr. Steel I was asked, “What causes varicose veins and what are the complications?” I thought to myself, what could it be? I knew that veins have valves and thought back to my shadowing experience with Dr. Smith in the operating room. She had amputated a patient’s foot due to ulcers obstructing the venous circulation. I replied, “veins have valves and valve problems could lead to ulcers.” Dr. Steel smiled, “you’re right, but it doesn’t end there!” Medicine is not disconnected; it is not about interventional cardiology or orthopedic surgery. In fact, medicine is intertwined and collaborative. The ability to gather knowledge from many specialties and put seemingly distinct concepts together to form a coherent picture truly attracts me to medicine.

It is hard to separate science from medicine; in fact, medicine is science. However, medicine is also about people—their feelings, struggles and concerns. Humans are not pre-programmed robots that all face the same problems. Humans deserve sensitive and understanding physicians. Humans deserve doctors who are infinitely curious, constantly questioning new advents in medicine. They deserve someone who loves the challenge of problem solving and coming up with innovative individualized solutions. I want to be that physician. I want to be able to approach each case as a unique entity and incorporate my strengths into providing personalized care for my patients. Until that time, I may be found Friday mornings in the operating room, peering over shoulders, dreaming about the day I get to hold the drill.

Let's take a step back to consider what this medical school personal statement example does, not just what it says. It begins with an engaging hook in the first paragraph and ends with a compelling conclusion. The introduction draws you in, making the essay almost impossible to put down, while the conclusion paints a picture of someone who is both passionate and dedicated to the profession. In between the introduction and conclusion, this student makes excellent use of personal narrative. The anecdotes chosen demonstrate this individual's response to the common question, " Why do you want to be a doctor ?" while simultaneously making them come across as compassionate, curious, and reflective. The essay articulates a number of key qualities and competencies, which go far beyond the common trope, I want to be a doctor because I want to help people.

This person is clearly a talented writer, but this was the result of several rounds of edits with one of our medical school admissions consulting team members and a lot of hard work on the student's part. If your essay is not quite there yet, or if you're just getting started, don't sweat it. Do take note that writing a good personal essay takes advanced planning and significant effort.

I was one of those kids who always wanted to be doctor. I didn’t understand the responsibilities and heartbreaks, the difficult decisions, and the years of study and training that go with the title, but I did understand that the person in the white coat stood for knowledge, professionalism, and compassion. As a child, visits to the pediatrician were important events. I’d attend to my hair and clothes, and travel to the appointment in anticipation. I loved the interaction with my doctor. I loved that whoever I was in the larger world, I could enter the safe space of the doctor’s office, and for a moment my concerns were heard and evaluated. I listened as my mother communicated with the doctor. I’d be asked questions, respectfully examined, treatments and options would be weighed, and we would be on our way. My mother had been supported in her efforts to raise a well child, and I’d had a meaningful interaction with an adult who cared for my body and development. I understood medicine as an act of service, which aligned with my values, and became a dream.

I was hospitalized for several months as a teenager and was inspired by the experience, despite the illness. In the time of diagnosis, treatment and recovery, I met truly sick children. Children who were much more ill than me. Children who wouldn’t recover. We shared a four-bed room, and we shared our medical stories. Because of the old hospital building, there was little privacy in our room, and we couldn’t help but listen-in during rounds, learning the medical details, becoming “experts” in our four distinct cases. I had more mobility than some of the patients, and when the medical team and family members were unavailable, I’d run simple errands for my roommates, liaise informally with staff, and attend to needs. To bring physical relief, a cold compress, a warmed blanket, a message to a nurse, filled me with such an intense joy and sense of purpose that I applied for a volunteer position at the hospital even before my release.

I have since been volunteering in emergency departments, out-patient clinics, and long term care facilities. While the depth of human suffering is at times shocking and the iterations of illness astounding, it is in the long-term care facility that I had the most meaningful experiences by virtue of my responsibilities and the nature of the patients’ illnesses. Charles was 55 when he died. He had early onset Parkinson’s Disease with dementia that revealed itself with a small tremor when he was in his late twenties. Charles had a wife and three daughters who visited regularly, but whom he didn’t often remember. Over four years as a volunteer, my role with the family was to fill in the spaces left by Charles’ periodic inability to project his voice as well as his growing cognitive lapses. I would tell the family of his activities between their visits, and I would remind him of their visits and their news. This was a hard experience for me. I watched as 3 daughters, around my own age, incrementally lost their father. I became angry, and then I grew even more determined.

In the summer of third year of my Health Sciences degree, I was chosen to participate in an undergraduate research fellowship in biomedical research at my university. As part of this experience, I worked alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, medical students, physicians, and faculty in Alzheimer’s research into biomarkers that might predict future disease. We collaborated in teams, and by way of the principal investigator’s careful leadership, I learned wherever one falls in terms of rank, each contribution is vital to the outcome. None of the work is in isolation. For instance, I was closely mentored by Will, a graduate student who had been in my role the previous summer. He, in turn, collaborated with post docs and medical students, turning to faculty when roadblocks were met. While one person’s knowledge and skill may be deeper than another’s, individual efforts make up the whole. Working in this team, aside from developing research skills, I realized that practicing medicine is not an individual pursuit, but a collaborative commitment to excellence in scholarship and leadership, which all begins with mentorship.

Building on this experience with teamwork in the lab, I participated in a global health initiative in Nepal for four months, where I worked alongside nurses, doctors, and translators. I worked in mobile rural health camps that offered tuberculosis care, monitored the health and development of babies and children under 5, and tended to minor injuries. We worked 11-hour days helping hundreds of people in the 3 days we spent in each location. Patients would already be in line before we woke each morning. I spent each day recording basic demographic information, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight, height, as well as random blood sugar levels, for each patient, before they lined up to see a doctor. Each day was exhausting and satisfying. We helped so many people. But this satisfaction was quickly displaced by a developing understanding of issues in health equity.

My desire to be doctor as a young person was not misguided, but simply naïve. I’ve since learned the role of empathy and compassion through my experiences as a patient and volunteer. I’ve broadened my contextual understanding of medicine in the lab and in Nepal. My purpose hasn’t changed, but what has developed is my understanding that to be a physician is to help people live healthy, dignified lives by practicing both medicine and social justice.

28 More Medical School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted

What my sister went through pushed me to strengthen my knowledge in medical education, patient care, and research. These events have influenced who I am today and helped me determine my own passions. I aspire to be a doctor because I want to make miracles, like my sister, happen. Life is something to cherish; it would not be the same if I did not have one of my four sisters to spend it with. As all stories have endings, I hope that mine ends with me fulfilling my dream of being a doctor, which has been the sole focus of my life to this point. I would love nothing more than to dedicate myself to such a rewarding career, where I achieve what those doctors did for my family. Their expertise allowed my sister to get all the care she needed for her heart, eyes, lungs, and overall growth. Those physicians gave me more than just my little sister, they gave me the determination and focus needed to succeed in the medical field, and for that, I am forever grateful. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #3","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #3"}]" code="tab4" template="BlogArticle">

I came to America, leaving my parents and friends behind, to grasp my chance at a better future. I believe this chance is now in front of me. Medicine is the only path I truly desire because it satisfies my curiosity about the human body and it allows me to directly interact with patients. I do not want to miss this chance to further hone my skills and knowledge, in order to provide better care for my patients. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement #4","title":"Medical School Personal Statement #4"}]" code="tab5" template="BlogArticle">

The time I have spent in various medical settings has confirmed my love for the field. Regardless of the environment, I am drawn to patients and their stories, like that scared young boy at AMC. I am aware that medicine is a constantly changing landscape; however, one thing that has remained steadfast over the years is putting the patient first, and I plan on doing this as a physician. All of my experiences have taught me a great deal about patient interaction and global health, however, I am left wanting more. I crave more knowledge to help patients and become more useful in the healthcare sector. I am certain medical school is the path that will help me reach my goal. One day, I hope to use my experiences to become an amazing doctor like the doctors that treated my sister, so I can help other children like her. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #5","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #5"}]" code="tab6" template="BlogArticle">

My interest in the field of medicine has developed overtime, with a common theme surrounding the importance of personal health and wellness. Through my journey in sports, travelling, and meeting some incredible individuals such as Michael, I have shifted my focus from thinking solely about the physical well-being, to understanding the importance of mental, spiritual, and social health as well. Being part of a profession that emphasizes continuous education, and application of knowledge to help people is very rewarding, and I will bring compassion, a hard work ethic and an attitude that is always focused on bettering patient outcomes. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example # 7","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example # 7"}]" code="tab8" template="BlogArticle">

Medicine embodies a hard science, but it is ultimately a profession that treats people. I have seen firsthand that medicine is not a \u201cone-treatment-fits-all\u201d practice, as an effective physician takes a holistic approach. This is the type of physician I aspire to be: one who refuses to shy away from the humanity of patients and their social context, and one who uses research and innovation to improve the human condition. So, when I rethink \u201cwhy medicine?\u201d, I know it\u2019s for me \u2013 because it is a holistic discipline, because it demands all of me, because I am ready to absorb the fascinating knowledge and science that dictates human life, and engage with humanity in a way no other profession allows for. Until the day that I dawn the coveted white coat, you can find me in inpatient units, comforting the many John\u2019s to come, or perhaps at the back of an operating room observing a mitral valve repair \u2013 dreaming of the day the puck is in my zone. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #8","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #8"}]" code="tab9" template="BlogArticle">

When I signed up to be a live DJ, I didn't know that the oral skills I practiced on-air would influence all aspects of my life, let alone lead me to consider a career in the art of healing. I see now, though, the importance of these key events in my life that have allowed me to develop excellent communication skills--whether that be empathic listening, reading and giving non-verbal cues, or verbal communication. I realize I have always been on a path towards medicine. Ultimately, I aim to continue to strengthen my skills as I establish my role as a medical student and leader: trusting my choices, effectively communicating, and taking action for people in need. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #9","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #9"}]" code="tab10" template="BlogArticle">

\u201cWhy didn\u2019t I pursue medicine sooner?\u201d Is the question that now occupies my mind. Leila made me aware of the unprofessional treatment delivered by some doctors. My subsequent activities confirmed my desire to become a doctor who cares deeply for his patients and provides the highest quality care. My passion for research fuels my scientific curiosity. I will continue to advocate for patient equality and fairness. Combining these qualities will allow me to succeed as a physician. ","label":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #10","title":"Medical School Personal Statement Example #10"}]" code="tab11" template="BlogArticle">

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Please note that all personal statements are the property of the students who wrote them, re-printed with permission. Names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Plagiarism detection software is used when evaluating personal statements. Plagiarism is grounds for disqualification from the application. ","label":"NOTE","title":"NOTE"}]" code="tab2" template="BlogArticle">

As one of the most important  medical school requirements , the personal statement tells your story of why you decided to pursue the medical profession. Keep in mind that personal statements are one of the key factors that affect medical school acceptance rates . This is why it's important to write a stellar essay!

“Personal statements are often emphasized in your application to medical school as this singular crucial factor that distinguishes you from every other applicant. Demonstrating the uniqueness of my qualities is precisely how I found myself getting multiple interviews and offers into medical school.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD

But this is easier said than done. In fact, medical school personal statements remain one of the most challenging parts of students' journeys to medical school. Here's our student Melissa sharing her experience of working on her personal statement:

"I struggled making my personal statement personal... I couldn't incorporate my feelings, motives and life stories that inspired me to pursue medicine into my personal statement" -Melissa, BeMo Student

Our student Rishi, who is now a student at the Carver College of Medicine , learned about the importance of the medical school personal statement the hard way:

"If you're a reapplicant like me, you know we all dread it but you have to get ready to answer what has changed about your application that we should accept you this time. I had an existing personal statement that did not get me in the first time so there was definitely work to be done." - Rishi, BeMo Student

The importance of the medical school personal statement can actually increase if you are applying to medical school with any red flags or setbacks, as our student Kannan did:

"I got 511 on my second MCAT try... My goal was anything over median of 510 so anything over that was honestly good with me because it's just about [creating] a good personal statement at that point... I read online about how important the personal statement [is]... making sure [it's] really polished and so that's when I decided to get some professional help." - Kannan, BeMo Student

As you can see from these testimonials, your medical school personal statement can really make a difference. So we are here to help you get started writing your own personal statement. Let's approach this step-by-step. Below you will see how we will outline the steps to creating your very best personal statement. And don't forget that if you need to see more examples, you can also check out our AMCAS personal statement examples, AACOMAS personal statement examples and TMDSAS personal statement examples to further inspire you!

Here's a quick run-down of what we'll cover in the article:

Now let's dive in deeper!

#1 Understanding the Qualities of a Strong Med School Personal Statement

Before discussing how to write a strong medical school personal statement, we first need to understand the qualities of a strong essay. Similar to crafting strong medical school secondary essays , writing a strong personal statement is a challenging, yet extremely important, part of your MD or MD-PhD programs applications. Your AMCAS Work and Activities section may show the reader what you have done, but the personal statement explains why. This is how Dr. Neel Mistry, MD and our admissions expert, prepared for his medical school personal statement writing:

"The personal statement is an opportunity for you to shine and really impress the committee to invite you for an interview. The personal statement is your chance to be reflective and go beyond what is stated on your CV and [activities]. In order to stand out, it is important to answer the main questions [of medical school personal statements] well: a bit about yourself and what led you to medicine, why you would make an ideal medical student and future physician, what attracts you to [medicine], and what sets you apart from the other candidates. The key here is answering the last two questions well. Most candidates simply highlight what they have done, but do not reflect on it or mention how what they have done has prepared them for a future medical career." - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

“my essay also focused on volunteering in the local health clinic during the many summer breaks. volunteering was more than just another activity to tick off my bucket list for my medical school … i volunteered because i wanted to view medical practice through the lenses of already qualified doctors, not because i needed a reason to be a doctor. i understood that the admissions committee would be more interested in how i was motivated.” – dr. vincent adeyemi, md.

A personal statement should be deeply personal, giving the admissions committee insight into your passions and your ultimate decision to pursue a career in medicine. A compelling and introspective personal statement can make the difference between getting an interview and facing medical school rejection . Review our blogs to find out how to prepare for med school interviews and learn the most common medical school interview questions .

As you contemplate the task in front of you, you may be wondering what composing an essay has to do with entering the field of medicine. Many of our students were surprised to learn that medical school personal statements are so valued by med schools. The two things are more closely related than you think. A compelling personal statement demonstrates your written communication skills and highlights your accomplishments, passions, and aspirations. The ability to communicate a complex idea in a short space is an important skill as a physician. You should demonstrate your communication skills by writing a concise and meaningful statement that illustrates your best attributes. Leaving a lasting impression on your reader is what will lead to interview invitations.

A quick note: if you are applying to schools that do not require the formal medical school personal statement, such as medical schools in Canada , you should still learn how to write such essays. Many medical schools in Ontario , for example, ask for short essays for supplementary questionnaires. These are very similar to the personal statement. Knowing how to brainstorm, write, and format your answers is key to your success!!!

You want to give yourself as much time as possible to write your statement. Do not think you can do this in an evening or even in a week. Some statements take months. My best statement took almost a year to get right. Allow yourself time and start early to avoid added stress. Think of the ideas you want to include and brainstorm possible ways to highlight these ideas. Ask your friends for ideas or even brainstorm your ideas with people you trust. Get some feedback early to make sure you are headed in the right direction.

“I wrote scores of essays at my desk in those few weeks leading up to application submission. I needed it to be perfect. Do not let anyone tell you to settle. There was no moment when I had this shining light from the sky filtering into my room to motivate me. The ultimate trick is to keep writing. It is impossible to get that perfect essay on the first try, and you may not even get it on your fifteenth attempt, but the goal is to keep at it, keep making those edits, and never back down.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD

All personal statements for medical school, often start by explaining why medicine is awesome; the admission committee already knows that. You should explain why you want a career in medicine. What is it about the practice of medicine that resonates with who you are? Naturally, this takes a lot of reflection around who you are. Here are some additional questions you can consider as you go about brainstorming for your essay:

  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What is something you want them to know about you that isn't in your application?
  • Where were you born, how did you grow up, and what type of childhood did you have growing up (perhaps including interesting stories about your siblings, parents, grandparents)?
  • What kinds of early exposure to the medical field left an impression on you as a child?
  • Did you become familiar with and interested in the field of medicine at an early stage of your life? If so, why?
  • What are your key strengths, and how have you developed these?
  • What steps did you take to familiarize yourself with the medical profession?
  • Did you shadow a physician? Did you volunteer or work in a clinical setting? Did you get involved in medical research?
  • What challenges have you faced? Have these made an impact on what you chose to study?
  • What are your favorite activities?
  • What kinds of extracurriculars for medical school or volunteer work have you done, and how have these shaped who you are, your priorities, and or your perspectives on a career in medicine?
  • What was your "Aha!" moment?
  • When did your desire to become a doctor solidify?
  • How did you make the decision to apply to medical school?

You shouldn't try to answer all of these in your essay. Try only a few main points that will carry over into the final draft. Use these to brainstorm and gather ideas. Start developing your narrative by prioritizing the most impactful responses to these prompts and the ideas that are most relevant to your own experiences and goals. The perfect personal statement not only shows the admissions committee that you have refined communication skills, but also conveys maturity and professionalism. It should also display your motivation and suitability for medical practice. Here's how our student Alison, who was a non-traditional applicant with a serious red flag in her application, used her brainstorming sessions with our admissions experts to get a theme going in her medical school personal statement and her overall application package:

"I think it was during my brainstorming session that we really started talking about... what the theme [was] going to be for my application. And I think that was really helpful in and of itself. Just [reflecting] 'Hey, what's your focus going to be like? How are we going to write this? What's the style going to be?' Just to create an element of consistency throughout..." Alison, BeMo Student, current student at Dell Medical School 

After brainstorming, you should be able to clearly see a few key ideas, skills, qualities, and intersections that you want to write about. Once you've isolated the elements you want to explore in your essay (usually 2-4 key ideas), you can begin building your outline. In terms of structure, this should follow the standard academic format, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

As you begin thinking about what to include in your personal essay, remember that you are writing for a specific audience with specific expectations. Your evaluator will be familiar with the key qualities desired by medical schools, as informed by the standards of the profession. But keep in mind that they too are human, and they respond well to well-crafted, engaging essays that tell a story. Here's what our student Alison had to share about keeping your audience in mind when writing your personal statement:

"Make it easy for the reader to be able to work [their] way through [your personal statement]. Because, at the end of the day, I think one thing that helped me a lot was being able to think about who was going to be reading this application and it's going to be these people that are sitting around a desk or sitting at a table and [go] through massive numbers of applications every single day. And the easier and more digestible that you can make it for them, gives you a little bit of a win." - Alison, BeMo student, current student at Dell Medical School

The admissions committee will be examining your essay through the lens of their particular school's mission, values, and priorities. You should think about your experiences with reference to the AAMC Core Competencies and to each school's mission statement so that you're working toward your narrative with the institution and broader discipline in mind.

Review AAMC Core Competencies : The AAMC Core Competencies are the key characteristics and skills sought by U.S. medical schools. These are separated into three general categories:

You are not expected to have mastered all of these competencies at this stage of your education. Display those that are relevant to your experiences will help demonstrate your commitment to the medical profession.

Review the school's mission statement: Educational institutions put a lot of time and care into drafting their school's vision. The mission statement will articulate the overall values and priorities of each university, giving you insight into what they might seek in candidates, and thus what you should try to display in your personal statement. Echoing the values of the university helps illustrate that you are a good fit for their intellectual culture. The mission statement may help you identify other priorities of the university, for example, whether they prioritize research-based or experiential-based education. All this research into your chosen medical schools will help you tremendously not only when you write you personal statement, but also the rest of your medical school application components, including your medical school letter of intent if you ever need to write one later.

Just like the personal statement is, in essence, a prompt without a prompt. They give you free rein to write your own prompt to tell your story. This is often difficult for students as they find it hard to get started without having a true direction. Below is a list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Use these prompts as a starting point for your essay. Also, they are a great way of addressing why you want to be a doctor without saying something generic.

  • The moment your passion for medicine crystallized
  • The events that led you toward this path
  • Specific instances in which you experienced opportunities
  • Challenges that helped shape your worldview
  • Your compassion, resilience, or enthusiastic collaboration
  • Demonstrate your commitment to others
  • Your dependability
  • Your leadership skills
  • Your ability to problem-solve or to resolve a conflict

These are personal, impactful experiences that only you have had. Focus on the personal, and connect that to the values of your future profession. Do that and you will avoid writing the same essay as everyone else. Dr. Monica Taneja, MD and our admissions expert, shares her tip that got her accepted to the University of Maryland School of Medicine :

"I focused on my journey to medicine and opportunities that I sought out along the way. Everyone’s path and validation is unique, so walking the reader through your growth to the point of application will naturally be different, but that's what I wanted to share in my personal statement." - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

“the essay is not about what you have been through; it's about who it made you into.” – dr. vincent adeyemi, md.

Admissions committees don't want your resumé in narrative form. The most boring essays are those of applicants listing their accomplishments. Remember, all that stuff is already in the activities section of the application. This is where you should discuss interesting or important life events that shaped you and your interest in medicine (a service trip to rural Guatemala, a death in the family, a personal experience as a patient). One suggestion is to have an overarching theme to your essay to tie everything together, starting with an anecdote. Alternatively, you can use one big metaphor or analogy through the essay. Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD and experienced admissions committee member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, encourages you to be creative when it comes to the theme of your personal statement:

"It is very easy to make the “cookie cutter” personal statement. To a reviewer who is reading tens of these at a time it can become quite boring. What I did was [tell] a story. Like any good novel, the stories' first lines are meant to hook the reader. This can be about anything if you can bring it back and relate it to your application. It could be about the time your friend was smashed up against the boards in hockey and you, with your limited first aid experience helped to treat him. It is important that the story be REAL." - Dr. Jaime Cazes, MD, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

Your personal statement must be well-organized, showing a clear, logical progression, as well as connections between ideas. It is generally best to use a chronological progression since this mirrors your progression into a mature adult and gives you the opportunity to illustrate how you learned from early mistakes later on. Carry the theme throughout the statement to achieve continuity and cohesion. Use the theme to links ideas from each paragraph to the next and to unite your piece.

Medical School Personal Statement Structure

When working toward the initial draft of your essay, it is important to keep the following in mind: The essay should read like a chronological narrative and have good structure and flow. Just like any academic essay, it will need an introduction, body content, and a conclusion. If you're wondering whether a medical school advisor can help you with your medical school application, check out our blog for the answer.

Check out our video to learn how to create a killer introduction to your medical school personal statement:


The introductory paragraph and, even more importantly, the introductory sentence of your essay, will most certainly make or break your overall statement. Ensure that you have a creative and captivating opening sentence that draws the reader in. This is your first and only chance to make a first impression and really capture the attention of the committee. Starting with an event or an Aha! moment that inspired your decision to pursue a medical profession is one way to grab their attention. The kinds of things that inspire or motivate you can say a lot about who you are as a person.

The broader introductory paragraph itself should serve several functions. First, it must draw your reader in with an eye-catching first line and an engaging hook or anecdote. It should point toward the qualities that most effectively demonstrate your desire and suitability for becoming a physician (you will discuss these qualities further in the body paragraphs). The thesis of the introduction is that you have certain skills, experiences, and characteristics and that these skills, experiences, and characteristics will lead you to thrive in the field of medicine. Finally, it must also serve as a roadmap to the reader, allowing them to understand where the remainder of the story is headed.

That is a lot of work for a single paragraph to do. To better help you envision what this looks like in practice, here is a sample introduction that hits these main points.

I was convinced I was going to grow up to be a professional chef. This was not just another far-fetched idealistic childhood dream that many of us had growing up. There was a sense of certainty about this dream that motivated me to devote countless hours to its practice. It was mostly the wonder that it brought to others and the way they were left in awe after they tried a dish that I recall enjoying the most creating as a young chef. But, when I was 13, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and I realized that sometimes cooking is not enough, as I quickly learned about the vital role physicians play in the life of everyday people like my family and myself. Although my grandfather ended up passing away from his illness, the impact that the healthcare team had on him, my family, and I will always serve as the initial starting point of my fascination with the medical profession. Since that time, I have spent years learning more about the human sciences through my undergraduate studies and research, have developed a deeper understanding of the demands and challenges of the medical profession through my various volunteer and extra-curricular experiences, and although it has been difficult along the way, I have continued to forge a more intimate fascination with the medical field that has motivated me to apply to medical school at this juncture of my life. ","label":"Sample Introduction","title":"Sample Introduction"}]" code="tab3" template="BlogArticle">

In the body of your essay, you essentially want to elaborate on the ideas that you have introduced in your opening paragraph by drawing on your personal experiences to provide evidence. Major points from the above sample introduction could be: dedication and resilience (practicing cooking for hours, and devoting years to undergraduate studies in human sciences), passion and emotional connection (being able to create something that inspired awe in others, and personally connecting with the work of the grandfather's healthcare team), motivation and drive (being inspired by the role physicians play in their patients' lives, participating in volunteer work and extracurriculars, and an enduring fascination with the field of medicine). Depending on the details, a selection of volunteer and extra-curricular experiences might also be discussed in more detail, in order to emphasize other traits like collaboration, teamwork, perseverance, or a sense of social responsibility – all key characteristics sought by medical schools. Just like an academic essay, you will devote one paragraph to each major point, explaining this in detail, supporting your claims with experiences from your life, and reflecting on the meaning of each plot point in your personal narrative, with reference to why you want to pursue a medical career.

Your final statement should not be a simple summary of the things you have discussed. It should be insightful, captivating, and leave the reader with a lasting impression. Although you want to re-emphasize the major ideas of your essay, you should try to be creative and captivating, much like your opening paragraph. Sometimes if you can link your opening idea to your last paragraph it will really tie the whole essay together. The conclusion is just as important as the introduction. It is your last chance to express your medical aspirations. You want to impress the reader while also leaving them wanting more. In this case, more would mean getting an interview so they can learn more about who you are! Leave them thinking I have got to meet this person.

The narrative you construct should display some of your most tightly held values, principles, or ethical positions, along with key accomplishments and activities. If you see yourself as someone who is committed to community service, and you have a track record of such service, your story should feature this and provide insight into why you care about your community and what you learned from your experiences. Saying that you value community service when you've never volunteered a day in your life is pointless. Stating that your family is one where we support each other through challenge and loss (if this is indeed true), is excellent because it lays the groundwork for telling a story while showing that you are orientated towards close relationships. You would then go on to offer a brief anecdote that supports this. You are showing how you live such principles, rather than just telling your reader that you have such principles:

"Remember to use specific personal examples throughout your statement to make it more impactful and memorable for the readers. Often, painting a picture in the reader’s mind in the form of a story helps with this." - Dr. Neel Mistry, MD

A lot of students make the mistake of verbalizing their personal attributes with a bunch of adjectives, such as, "This experience taught me to be a self-reliant leader, with excellent communication skills, and empathy for others..." In reality, this does nothing to convey these qualities. It's a mistake to simply list your skills or characteristics without showing the reader an example of a time you used them to solve a problem. If you simply list your skills or characteristics (telling), without demonstrating the ways you have applied them (showing), you risk coming across as arrogant. The person reading the essay may not believe you, as you've not really given them a way to see such values in your actions. It is better to construct a narrative to show the reader that you possess the traits that medical schools are looking for, rather than explicitly stating that you are an empathetic individual or capable of deep self-reflection. Instead of listing adjectives, tell your personal story and allow the admissions committee to paint the picture for themselves. This step is very challenging for many students, but it's one of the most important strategies used in successful essays. Writing this way will absolutely make your statement stand out from the rest.

While it may be tempting to write in a high academic tone, using terminology or jargon that is often complex or discipline-specific, requiring a specialized vocabulary for comprehension. You should actually aim to write for a non-specialist audience. Remember, in the world of medicine, describing a complex, clinical condition to a patient requires using specific but clear words. This is why your personal statement should show that you can do the same thing. Using large words in unwieldy ways makes you sound like you are compensating for poor communication skills. Use words that you believe most people understand. Read your personal statement back to a 14-year-old, and then again to someone for whom English is not their first language, to see if you're on the right path.

Ultimately, fancy words do not make you a good communicator; listening and ensuring reader comprehension makes you a good communicator. Instead of using complex terminology to tell the admissions committee that you have strong communication skills, show them your communication skills through clear, accessible prose, written with non-specialists in mind. A common refrain among writing instructors is, never use a $10 word where a $2 word will suffice. If you can say it in plain, accessible language, then this is what you should do.

Display Professionalism

Professionalism may seem like a difficult quality to display when only composing a personal statement. After all, the reader can't see your mannerisms, your personal style, or any of those little qualities that allow someone to appear professional. Professionalism is about respect for the experience of others on your team or in your workplace. It is displayed when you are able to step back from your own individual position and think about what is best for your colleagues and peers, considering their needs alongside your own. If a story is relevant to why you want to be a physician and demonstrates an example of how you were professional in a workplace setting, then it is appropriate to include in your essay.

One easy way to destroy a sense of professionalism is to act in a judgmental way towards others, particularly if you perceived and ultimately resolved an error on someone else's part. Sometimes students blame another medical professional for something that went wrong with a patient.

They might say something to the effect of, "The nurse kept brushing off the patient's concerns, refusing to ask the attending to increase her pain medications. Luckily, being the empathetic individual that I am, I took the time to listen to sit with the patient, eventually bringing her concerns to the attending physician, who thanked me for letting him know."

There are a couple of things wrong with this example. It seems like this person is putting down someone else in an attempt to make themselves look better. They come across as un-empathetic and judgmental of the nurse. Maybe she was having a busy day, or maybe the attending had just seen the patient for this issue and the patient didn't really need re-assessment. Reading this kind of account in a personal statement makes the reader question the maturity of the applicant and their ability to move past blaming others and resolve problems in a meaningful way. Instead of allocating blame, identify what the problem was for the patient and then focus on what you did to resolve it and reflect on what you learned from the whole experience.

One last note on professionalism: Being professional does not mean being overly stoic, hiding your emotions, or cultivating a bland personality. A lot of students are afraid to talk about how a situation made them feel in their personal statement. They worry that discussing feelings is inappropriate and will appear unprofessional. Unfortunately for these students, emotional intelligence is hugely important to the practice of medicine. In order to be a good doctor, one must be aware of their own emotions as well as those of their patients. Good doctors are able to quickly identify their own emotions and understand how their emotional reactions may inform their actions, and the ability to deliver appropriate care, in a given situation. Someone who is incapable of identifying their emotions is also incapable of managing them effectively and will likely struggle to identify the emotions of others. So, when writing your personal statement, think about how each experience made you feel, and what you learned from those feelings and that experience.

How to Write About Discrepancies and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Part of your essay's body can include a discussion of any discrepancies or gaps in your education, or disruptions in your academic performance. If you had to take time off, or if you had a term or course with low grades, or if you had any other extenuating circumstances that impacted your education, you can take time to address these here. It is very important to address these strategically. Do not approach this section as space to plead your case. Offer a brief summary of the situation, and then emphasize what you learned from such hardships. Always focus on the positive, illustrating how such difficulties made you stronger, more resilient, or more compassionate. Connect your experiences to the qualities desired by medical schools. Here's how I student Alison address an academic discrepancy in her application:

I had an academic dishonesty during undergrad, which, at the time, ended up being this big misunderstanding. But I was going to appeal this and get it off my record. I was supposed to start nursing school two weeks after this whole ordeal had gone down and, at our university, if you try to appeal your academic dishonesty then you'd have to take an incomplete in that class and I needed this class in order to start nursing school. So I wasn't able to [appeal]. So when I talked with the people at the nursing school they were like ‘it's no big deal, it's fine’. [But] it came back and it haunted me very much. When I was applying [to medical school] I started looking online [to see] how big of a deal is it to have this ‘red flag’ on my application. I started reading all of these horror stories on Student Doctor Network and all of these other forums about how if you have an academic dishonesty you shouldn't even bother applying, that you'll never get in. Schools will blacklist you and I was [wondering] what am I going do. [My advisor suggested I use the essay to talk about my discrepancy]. 

First off, if anyone out there has an academic violation don't read student doctor network. don't listen to anybody. you absolutely are still a potential medical student and schools are not going to blacklist you just because of one mistake that you made. that's all lies. don't listen to them. i don't even think it came up a single time during any of my interviews. i think a lot of that came back to how i wrote that essay and the biggest advice that i can give that i got from the [bemo] team is explain what happened… just give the facts. be very objective about it. in the last two thirds [of the essay] you want to focus on what you learned from it and how it made you a better person and how it's going to make you a better physician.” – alison, bemo student, current student at dell medical school.

We hope many of you find a peace of mind when you read Alison's story. Because it shows that with the right approach to your medical school personal statement, you can overcome even red flags or setbacks that made you dread the application process. Use your personal statement to emphasize your ability to persevere through it all but do so in a positive way. Most of all, if you feel like you have to explain yourself, take accountability for the situation. State that it is unfortunate and then redirect it to what you learned and how it will make you a better doctor. Always focus on being positive and do not lament on the negative situation too much.

Additional Mistakes to Avoid in Personal Statements:

Check out this video on the top 5 errors to avoid in your personal statement!

Step 3: Writing Your First Draft

As you can see, there is a LOT of planning and consideration to be done before actually starting your first draft. Properly brainstorming, outlining, and considering the content and style of your essay prior to beginning the essay will make the writing process much smoother than it would be you to try to jump right to the draft-writing stage. Now, you're not just staring at a blank page wondering what you could possibly write to impress the admissions committee. Instead, you've researched what the school desires from its students and what the medical profession prioritizes in terms of personal characteristics, you've sketched out some key moments from your life that exemplify those traits, and you have a detailed outline that just needs filling in.

As you're getting started, focus on getting content on the page, filling in your outline and getting your ideas arranged on the page. Your essay will go through multiple drafts and re-writes, so the first step is to free write and start articulating connections between your experiences and the characteristics you're highlighting. You can worry about flow, transitions, and perfect grammar in later drafts. The first draft is always a working draft, written with the understanding that its purpose is to act as a starting point, not an ending point. Once you've completed a draft, you can begin the revising process. The next section will break down what to do once you have your first draft completed.

You can also begin looking at things like style, voice, transitions, and overall theme. The best way to do this is to read your essay aloud. This may sound strange, but it is one of the single most impactful bits of writing advice a student can receive. When we're reading in our heads (and particularly when we're reading our own words), it is easy to skip over parts that may be awkwardly worded, or where the grammar is off. As our brains process information differently, depending on whether we're taking in visual or auditory information, this can also help you understand where the connections between ideas aren't as evident as you would like. Reading the essay aloud will help you begin internalizing the narrative you've crafted, so that you can come to more easily express this both formally in writing and informally in conversation (for example, in an interview).

#1 Did You Distinguish Yourself From Others?

Does your narrative sound unique? Is it different than your peers or did you write in a generic manner? Our admissions expert Dr. Monica Taneja, MD, shares how she got the attention of the admissions committee with her personal statement:

"I also found it helpful to give schools a 'punch-line'. As in I wanted them to remember 1-2 things about me that are my differentiators and I reiterated those throughout [the personal statement]." - Dr. Monica Taneja, MD

Use your narrative to provide a compelling picture of who you are as a person, as a learner, as an advocate, and as a future medical professional. What can you offer? Remember, you will be getting a lot out of your med school experience, but the school will be getting a lot out of you, as well. You will be contributing your research efforts to your department, you will be participating in the academic community, and as you go on to become a successful medical professional you will impact the perception of your school's prestige. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, so use this opportunity to highlight what you bring to the table, and what you will contribute as a student at their institution. Let them know what it is about you that is an attribute to their program. Make them see you as a stand out from the crowd.

#2 Does My Essay Flow and is it Comprehensible?

Personal statements are a blessing and a curse for admission committees. They give them a better glimpse of who the applicant is than simple scores. Also, they are long and time-consuming to read. And often, they sound exactly alike. On occasion, a personal statement really makes an applicant shine. After reading page after page of redundant, cookie-cutter essays, an essay comes along with fluid prose and a compelling narrative, the reader snaps out of that feeling of monotony and gladly extends their enthusiastic attention.

Frankly, if the statement is pleasant to read, it will get read with more attention and appreciation. Flow is easier to craft through narrative, which is why you should root the statement in a story that demonstrates characteristics desirable to medical schools. Fluidity takes time to build, though, so your statement should be etched out through many drafts and should also be based on an outline. You need to brainstorm, then outline, then draft and re-draft, and then bring in editors and listeners for feedback (Note: You need someone to proofread your work. Bestselling authors have editors. Top scholars have editors. I need an editor. You need an editor. Everyone needs an editor). Then, check and double-check and fix anything that needs fixing. Then check again. Then submit. You want this to be a statement that captures the reader's interest by creating a fluid, comprehensible piece that leads the reader to not only read each paragraph but want to continue to the next sentence.

#3 Did You Check Your Grammar?

If you give yourself more than one night to write your statement, the chances of grammatical errors will decrease considerably. If you are pressed for time, upload your file into an online grammar website. Use the grammar checker on your word processor, but know that this, in itself, isn't enough. Use the eyes and ears of other people to check and double-check your grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Read your statement out loud to yourself and you will almost certainly find an error (and likely several errors). Use fresh eyes to review the statement several times before you actually submit it, by walking away from it for a day or so and then re-reading it. Start your essay early, so that you actually have time to do this. This step can make or break your essay. Do not waste all the effort you have put into writing, to only be discarded by the committee for using incorrect grammar and syntax.

#4 Did You Gather Feedback From Other People?

The most important tip in writing a strong application essay is this getting someone else to read your work. While the tips above are all very useful for writing a strong draft, nothing will benefit you more than getting an outside appraisal of your work. For example, it's very easy to overlook your own spelling or grammatical errors. You know your own story and you may think that your narrative and it's meaning make sense to your reader. You won't know that for sure without having someone else actually read it. This may sound obvious, but it's still an absolute necessity.

“It was very helpful for two of my mentors to review my statements before submitting my application. Ensure you trust the judgement and skills of the person to whom you would be giving your personal statement for review.” – Dr. Vincent Adeyemi, MD

Have someone you trust to read the essay and ask them what they thought of it. What was their impression of you after reading it? Did it make sense? Was it confusing? Do they have any questions? What was the tone of the essay? Do they see the connections you're trying to make? What were their takeaways from your essay, and do these align with your intended takeaways for your reader? Ideally, this person should have some knowledge of the application process or the medical profession, so that they can say whether you were successful in demonstrating that you are a suitable candidate for medical school. However, any external reader is better than no external reader at all.

Avoid having people too close to you read your work. They may refrain from being too critical in an effort to spare your feelings. This is the time to get brutal, honest feedback. If you know someone who is an editor but do not feel that they can be objective, try and find someone else.

Want more examples? Check out our video below:

FAQs and Final Notes

Your personal statement should tell your story and highlight specific experiences or aspects of your journey that have led you to medicine. If your first exposure or interest in the medical field was sparked from your own medical struggles, then you can certainly include this in your statement. What is most important is that you write about what factors or experiences attributed to you deciding that medicine is the right career path for you.

Sometimes students shy away from including their own personal struggles and describing how they felt during difficult times but this is a great way for admissions committees to gain perspective into who you are as a person and where your motivations lie. Remember, this is your story, not someone else's, so your statement should revolve around you. If you choose to discuss a personal hardship, what's most important is that you don't cast yourself as the victim and that you discuss what the experience taught you. Also, medical schools are not allowed to discriminate against students for discussing medical issues, so it is not looked at as a red flag unless you are talking about an issue inappropriately. For example, making yourself appear as the victim or not taking responsibility.

All US medical schools require the completion of a personal statement with your AMCAS, TMDSAS or AACOMAS applications.

Medical schools in Canada on the other hand, do not require or accept personal statements. In lieu of the personal statement, a few of these schools may require you to address a prompt in the form of an essay, or allow you to submit an explanation essay to describe any extenuating circumstances, but this is not the same as the US personal statement. For example, when applying through  OMSAS , the  University of Toronto medical school  requires applicants to complete four short, 250 words or less, personal essays.

Many students struggle with whether or not they should address an unfavorable grade in their personal statement. What one student does isn't necessarily the right decision for you.

To help you decide, think about whether or not that bad grade might reflect on your poorly. If you think it will, then it's best to address the academic misstep head-on instead of having admissions committees dwell on possible areas of concern. If you're addressing a poor evaluation, ensure that you take responsibility for your grade, discuss what you learned and how your performance will be improved in the future - then move on. It's important that you don't play the victim and you must always reflect on what lessons you've learned moving forward.

Of course not, just because you didn't wake up one morning and notice a lightbulb flashing the words medicine, doesn't mean that your experiences and journey to medicine are inferior to those who did. Students arrive to medicine in all sorts of ways, some change career paths later in life, some always knew they wanted to pursue medicine, and others slowly became interested in medicine through their life interactions and experiences. Your personal statement should address your own unique story to how you first became interested in medicine and when and how that interest turned to a concrete desire.

While your entire statement is important, the opening sentence can often make or break your statement. This is because admission committee members are reviewing hundreds, if not thousands of personal statements. If your opening sentence is not eye-catching, interesting, and memorable, you risk your statement blending in with the large pile of other statements. Have a look at our video above for tips and strategies for creating a fantastic opening sentence.

Having your statement reviewed by family and friends can be a good place to start, but unfortunately, it's near-impossible for them to provide you with unbiased feedback. Often, friends and family members are going to support us and rave about our achievements. Even if they may truly think your statement needs work, they may feel uncomfortable giving you their honest feedback at the risk of hurting your feelings.

In addition, family and friends don't know exactly what admission committee members are looking for in a personal statement, nor do they have years of experience reviewing personal statements and helping students put the best version of themselves forward. For these reasons, many students choose to seek the help of a professional medical school advisor to make sure they have the absolute best chances of acceptance to medical school the first time around.

If you have enough time set aside to write your statement without juggling multiple other commitments, it normally takes at least four weeks to write your statement. If you are working, in school, or volunteering and have other commitments, be prepared to spend 6-8 weeks.

Your conclusion should have a summary of the main points you have made in your essay, but it should not just be a summary. You should also end with something that makes the reader want to learn more about you (i.e. call you for an interview). A good way to do this is to include a call-back to your opening anecdote: how have you grown or matured since then? How are you more prepared now to begin medical school?

The goal is to show as many of them as you can in the WHOLE application: this includes your personal statement, sketch, reference letters, secondary essays, and even your GPA and MCAT (which show critical thinking and reasoning already). So, it’s not an issue to focus on only a few select experiences and competencies in the personal statement.

Yes, you can. However, if you used an experience as a most meaningful entry, pick something else to talk about in your essay. Remember, you want to highlight as many core competencies across your whole application). Or, if you do pick the same experience: pick a different specific encounter or project with a different lesson learned.

Once your essay is in good shape, it's best to submit to ensure your application is reviewed as soon as possible. Remember, with rolling admissions, as more time passes before you submit your application, your chances of acceptance decreases. Nerves are normal and wanting to tinker is also normal, but over-analyzing and constant adjustments can actually weaken your essay.

So, if you're thinking about making more changes, it's important to really reflect and think about WHY you want to change something and if it will actually make the essay stronger. If not your changes won't actually make the essay stronger or if it's a very minor change you're thinking of making, then you should likely leave it as is.

The reality is, medical school admission is an extremely competitive process. In order to have the best chance of success, every part of your application must be stellar. Also, every year some students get in whose GPAs or  MCAT scores  are below the median. How? Simply because they must have stood out in other parts of the application, such as the personal statement.

The ones that honestly made the most impact on you. You'll need to reflect on your whole life and think about which experiences helped you grow and pushed you to pursue medicine. Ideally, experiences that show commitment and progression are better than one-off or short-term activities, as they usually contribute more to growth.

Final Notes

This Ultimate Guide has demonstrated all the work that needs to be done to compose a successful, engaging personal statement for your medical school application. While it would be wonderful if there was an easy way to write your personal statement in a day, the reality is that this kind of composition takes a lot of work. As daunting as this may seem, this guide lays out a clear path. In summary, the following 5 steps are the basis of what you should take away from this guide. These 5 steps are your guide and sort of cheat sheet to writing your best personal statement.

5 Main Takeaways For Personal Statement Writing:

  • Brainstorming
  • Content and Theme
  • Multiple Drafts
  • Revision With Attention to Grammar

While a strong personal statement alone will not guarantee admission to medical school, it could absolutely squeeze you onto a  medical school waitlist , off the waitlist, and onto the offer list, or give someone on the admissions committee a reason to go to battle for your candidacy. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the incredible skills you've worked and studied to refine, the remarkable life experiences you've had, and the key qualities you possess in your own unique way. Show the admissions committee that you are someone they want to meet. Remember, in this context, wanting to meet you means wanting to bring you in for an interview!

Dr. Lauren Prufer is an admissions expert at BeMo. Dr. Prufer is also a medical resident at McMaster University. Her medical degree is from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. During her time in medical school, she developed a passion for sharing her knowledge with others through medical writing, research, and peer mentoring.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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Medical Biosciences Personal Statement Example – Imperial College London

Home » Application Guide » Medical Biosciences Personal Statement Example – Imperial College London

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Welcome to our collection of Medicine Personal Statement Examples! We’ve searched far and wide to find personal statements from successful applicants all around the UK and asked them to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of their work for your own inspiration. Today’s subject is from Aneesha, who studies Medical Science at Imperial College London.

Aneesha had a applied to a selection of top medical schools in the UK before receiving an offer from both Imperial and King’s College London .

Of course, Aneesha chose the former, so let’s read the personal statement that got her a place at Imperial College London, or skip straight to her feedback to learn what made her personal statement a success!

Please be aware that these examples are meant purely for the sake of inspiration, and should absolutely NOT be used as a model around which to base your own personal statement. UCAS have a rather strict system that detects plagiarism .

Imperial Medicine Personal Statement Example

Whole personal statement.

Medical Science appeals to me because of its mutability. Particularly, the opportunity to continually learn and apply new innovations to help the human body function fascinates me. A teacher opened my eyes to how science is linked with all aspects of our life, prompting me to choose Biology at my A/Level. Human Biology in particular interested me. I realised how the various organ systems need to work in tandem to keep our bodies functioning.   Visiting a Surgical Intensive Care Unit opened my eyes to instances in which congenital disorders destabilised the functioning of the entire body, which I was not able to glean from my textbooks.

Seeing an ETU function highlighted how stressful a medical career can be. Often, a single doctor on shift had to prioritise among patients who had been waiting for hours, and were heckling the doctor. I was impressed by their ability to keep calm and make swift decisions based on a range of symptoms. A highlight of my work experience was being able to see a Caesarean section delivery. I saw how everyone from the nurses to the surgeons contributed towards the procedure. Observing how the team supported the mother, calmly explaining what she could expect, and holding her hand through the pain, opened my eyes to the level of empathy and reliability required in this profession.

Shadowing a consultant in a Paediatric Preliminary Care Unit, I witnessed her dismiss a child’s concerns about an abdominal pain, and spoke to the mother in medical terms which did not effectively communicate the problem to her. On the other hand, another demonstrated how good communication can work wonders in drawing a patient out, with relatively simple questions like, “Have you eaten lunch yet?” This proved to be a highly thought-provoking experience, highlighting the importance of communication in medical practice.

During a project to raise funds for a local orphanage, we visited and spent hours with the children. I realised that what made them happiest was not the items we donated, but the fact that we spent time with them. The realisation that care is more valued than material items was humbling.

I wish to study abroad as repeated closure of local universities due to student unrest is discouraging and challenging. I wish to study in England as I have previously lived in the UK for a period of 5 years, and I am acclimated to the culture and language. English is also the main language of instruction of my current school. I hence believe that England would be a solid environment to be in whilst away from home.

Ranking second in the country at my GCE O/Level and maintaining a high academic level in my A/Level years has given me the confidence that I am able to cope with the academic demands of a medical degree.

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Imperial Medicine Personal Statement Example Analysis

Now, let’s go section by section and see what Aneesha has to say about what she wrote:  



Beginning with what fascinates me about the course and including real life experience to back it up demonstrates my enthusiasm and excitement for my chosen degree, as well as an understanding of what a career in medicine could involve. An introduction needs to quickly get the point across that you have a genuine reason for joining this course and that you would be an asset to the university for this reason. This is especially true when your explanation dives deeper into actual subject knowledge rather than staying surface level. If you plan on specialising into a specific area, mention it (although you need to be careful not to come off as stuck in your ways and unable to explore new fields).

In terms of improvements, I could’ve introduced my other reason for studying medicine in my introduction. As I have chosen to write my personal statement in a narrative style, my motivation for studying medicine is laid out chronologically, however I feel that introducing these ideas earlier on could improve the overall structure of my personal statement and make me appear to be a more diverse candidate.

These two paragraphs both cover my ‘work experiences’ and generally have a similar format, so I felt it was best to discuss them together. In these paragraphs, I have reflected on my experiences in hospital and a clinical environment, which demonstrates that I am able to learn from experience. It also demonstrates a realistic understanding of a career in medicine and its challenges. A general rule of thumb is that any work experience like this needs to be discussed in-depth when writing a personal statement. It’s the most relevant and some of the most challenging work experience you can do pre-med school. It’s also good to focus more on what you learnt and witnessed compared to the work you actually did. The lessons learnt from the professionals are more valuable than any amount of assisting and busy-work you likely had to do during your time there!

The biggest flaw with this section is with the structure. I feel that these paragraphs may seem a little disjointed, as I have taken different experiences and written them without including any statement tying these experiences together. These experiences aren’t too different from each other, so it shouldn’t have been too hard to find a theme that links them together and explains how everything discussed helped me grow as a person.

In my “work in a local orphanage” paragraph, I have demonstrated that I am able to work in a professional capacity, which is always a sign of a good candidate early on ( voluntary work is always a good look as well). I have also reflected on this experience and tied it back to how this experience is of value to develop skills necessary in my career of choice. Best of all, it shows the humility that anyone needs when working in medicine, as it is primarily a human subject.

It’s a very short section though, so I could have brought in more examples of work placements and how these experiences have shaped me, and reflected further on how these experiences helped me develop my understanding of myself and my capabilities. These wouldn’t have had to have been as in-depth as my work experience discussion, but mention more examples of learning experiences will show a more well-rounded character on the page.

In my “why do I want to study abroad” paragraph, I have highlighted a few reasons why I have chosen to leave home and learn in a completely new environment. I have also demonstrated that I feel confident in being able to acclimatise myself to this new environment. This may not be the most relevant information to provide in a personal statement, although it does display a great strength of my character and the skill of perseverance.

However, I feel that I could have highlighted what about the education system and course delivery in the UK interests me, and how I feel that this academic environment would be the best place for me to complete my degree and develop my skills. One piece of advice I can definitely give is this: UK applicant’s don’t really need to add a section like this to their personal statements!

As a school prefect, dealing with my peers who faced issues such as stress, mental health concerns, and coming to terms with a horrific terrorist bombing, I was required to be an empathic listener and someone who was willing to actively help my fellow students. I understood my capacity to help, but knew my limitations. The emotional demand also taught me how to keep myself healthy whilst helping.

Music is my outlet, and I find time to play in a number of orchestras and sing chorally. Playing with the Sri Lanka Symphony Orchestra, I have been able to meet people of various social strata, ethnicities, religions and sexualities. As leader of my school orchestra, I learned the value of being organized and punctual, and how to lead a team, which I feel are transferable in my career of choice.

These paragraphs again link together fairly closely, so it’s easier to analyse them together. In this “school/extra-curricular activities” section, I have demonstrated my academic capabilities as well as the skills I have developed in teamwork, communication , leadership and resilience , all of which are invaluable . While I have not gone too in-depth into any of these, it’s not really that necessary as they are all just smaller things that combine into a larger selection of skills and life lessons.

This paragraph could have been improved if I had linked it back to my paragraph on my work experience, and how the characteristics I developed linked back to my observations and reflections of a clinical environment. Having many individual experiences only gets you so far in your personal statement, almost anyone can go and do some of these things. The strength of them come from what you learn from them and how you can use all these experiences together to become a better medical worker. There are also some areas here that aren’t strictly necessary. If I had needed more space in other areas of the statement, this would have been the first place to make cuts.

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Having seen the emotional and intellectual demand associated with medicine I feel it is a career which is both stimulating and ultimately rewarding. This is why I hope to follow this discipline through my life.

In my conclusion, I have briefly summed up all of the ideas I brought out through my personal statement, which links my paragraphs together and highlights what I feel are the key aspects of this statement. This is exactly what a conclusion should do. There’s no need to add extra information or anything else in the last moments of you statement, all you need to do is reflect upon and summarise what you’ve said.

This conclusion could have been further strengthened if I had mentioned a few key areas of my statement more specifically, in order to further demonstrate my understanding of what I feel are the most important segments. The reader wants to know that you fully understand what you’ve written and are genuine about the points you’ve made. The conclusion is the perfect place to do this, so being more specific, although not overly detailed, is a good idea.

Final Thoughts

I think my personal statement is honest and reflective, and the narrative style I have written it in demonstrates my journey in arriving at the conclusion I have. I feel that I have addressed several important questions such as why I have chosen this degree, what I have done to further my understanding of my chosen career, and how my personal experiences have shaped me in a way that lead to my choices. I also feel the answers I have provided are effective and convincing, using my real world experience to prove my commitment and skill in the field of medicine.

I feel that the structure of my personal statement is a little disjointed at times, as I have written about a number of experiences without linking them together. Providing the links in your development is the best way to legitimise what you have said and make for a more believable and engaging story. This problem is highlighted in my conclusion, which could have pointed out the key points in my statement better. This would have helped round out the statement and make the important parts of what I said stick out in the reader’s mind after they finished reading.

So there you have it! This personal statement helped Aneesha get a place at imperial College London! Everyone has different experiences and abilities, so you may not be able to relate to everything that was said in this personal statement. However, the information and advice provided by Aneesha is universal and will help any applicant write a better personal statement!  

Be sure to check out more Medicine Personal Statement Analyses to see advice from all different kinds of applicants, including Ali Abdaal himself! Or if you want to get started on your own statement, check out 6med’s Personal Statement Bundle for all the support and resources you’ll ever need! If you want full support on every part of your application and a guaranteed place at med school, the Complete Bundle will be perfect for you.

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Medicine Personal Statement Inspiration – Ali Abdaal (Cambridge)

Medicine Personal Statement Examples – Cambridge (Elizabeth)

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Medicine Personal Statement Examples – Plymouth (Abdullah)

Medicine Personal Statement Examples – King’s College London (Azzra)

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Graduate Medicine Personal Statement Examples – Sunderland (Ikrah)

Medicine Personal Statement Examples – Cambridge (Annie)

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Medicine Personal Statement Examples – Bristol (Faraz)

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How to Write a Biomedical Science Personal Statement

Tips for starting your biomedical science personal statement.

Writing your personal statement can feel like a mammoth task and knowing where to start can be really tricky. It is important, however, to not get too wrapped up in what a perfect biomedical sciences personal statement should be and instead think about what will make you and your passion for the subject stand out .

Everyone’s personal statement will be different as there is no one way to write it, but there are some essential components that your biomed personal statement should include. Committing to a three or four year degree course at a top university is no walk in the park; you need to be invested in pursuing what you are applying to for at least the next 3/4 years, therefore showing your passion for biomedical sciences is one of the most important components of your personal statement.

But what does this mean and how do you portray this on one side of A4? Mention specific topics/ themes that you like about biomedical sciences , showcase some subject knowledge, highlight super-curriculars that you have engaged with as well as writing about any extracurriculars, personal interests and skills that you have that will make you a fantastic candidate to study biomedical sciences at a top uni.

checklist for Biomedical Science personal statement preparation

Showing My Passion for Biomedical Science?: The Importance of Super-Curriculars

Most top unis, including Oxbridge, will be less interested in your extracurricular activities and more interested in how you can prove your passion for biomedical sciences. Super-curriculars are the best pieces of evidence you can provide – they show that you have gone above and beyond your school syllabus and taken initiative to broaden your knowledge.

These may include things like reading books related to the subject, listening to podcasts, reading magazine and newspaper articles, completing MOOCs (massive online open courses), watching documentaries, attending taster days or any relevant work experience you have undertaken . By no means do you need to do all of these but having a couple of examples will be an excellent way to make your biomedical science statement standout.

Having said this, it is most important to engage with what you’re genuinely interested in rather than what you feel you should be reading, watching, listening to and so on – this way your pure interest will shine through naturally without it feeling forced. If invited to interview as well, this will make it much easier for you to talk about your personal statement as it will all be things you enjoyed.

Biomedical Science Personal Statement

Need to boost your super-curriculars?

Our co-curricular division, Minds Underground, was built out to support top students approaching university/ Oxbridge applications and looking to stretch beyond the curriculum. You could try:

Our University Prep Virtual Summer Schools (e.g. Medicine, Biology) - Each is hosted by 2 Oxbridge graduates and will provide loads of exciting content for personal statements and interviews

Online Research Experiences e.g. Research Projects with a PhD Researcher in Pharmacology & Biotechnology; AstraZeneca/ Cambridge

Medical/ STEM Extension Sessions : We run a weekly Medical and STEM Club, designed to give students exposure to exciting ‘beyond the syllabus’ topics they could mention in their personal statement

Book recommendations for Biomedical Sciences

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – this book tells the story of a woman who died in 1951 from cervical cancer whose legacy continues to this day with the HeLa cell line. Taken from Henrietta’s tumour while she was still alive, it was cultured in a lab and found to be immortal. Having been used in an array of biomedical research since then, the ethical issues and dilemmas raised in this book provide insight into some of the arguments and discussions that are dominant within the field of bioethics.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks – this book by the neurologist Oliver Sacks provides a series of case studies of some of the most notable patients of Sacks’ career; despite this book being particularly fascinating to those interested in neuroscience and psychology, this is an interesting read for anyone entering the field of biomedical science.

The Epigenetic Revolution by Nessa Carey – epigenetics is the study of differences between genetically identical organisms which have non-identical phenotypes; this book provides a detailed and fascinating insight into the relatively new discipline of epigenetics.

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre – an engaging analysis of the current state of science; particularly recommended if you are interested in research and how science can often be “lost” behind money, media and business.

biomedical science personal statement book recommendations

Podcast Recommendations for Biomedical Sciences

New Scientist Weekly

Instant Genius

What about my extra-curriculars?

When it comes to extra-curriculars, it can be tempting to write a list of everything you’ve done to show how well-rounded you are, however, it is better to only mention a couple and relate it back to why you should be offered a place to study biomedical sciences. For example, being a prefect equips you with leadership and teamwork skills which would be useful during group project and practical classes; completing a Duke of Edinburgh award would provide you with problem solving skills, again important during practical classes and also when critically appraising primary papers.

Addressing the universities’ selection criteria

To make your whole personal statement shine even brighter you should address specific selection criteria from the course webpage on the universities’ websites. The University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division website says they are looking for biomed candidates who show “intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm” , as illustrated by your examples of seeking out super-curriculars for instance. Similarly, communication skills can be shown through jobs that you may have had – “I have worked in my local charity shop for 2 years, talking with customers and colleagues helped me to develop my interpersonal skills.”

How Do I Start Drafting and Structuring My Biomed Personal Statement?

You can never have too many drafts of your personal statement. It is best to start early so you have time to edit and adapt and improve. Often when you think you have a final copy you can go back and make even more improvements. Having a break and coming back with a fresh pair of eyes can help you spot gaps or errors or can even help you reduce the character count (as UCAS has a strict limit on characters so it is important to keep your paragraphs concise and to the point). Make sure to create links between each section/ paragraph to make the whole personal statement flow as one, instead of it reading like a list of what you’ve done and why you should be given a place to study biomedical sciences.

If you are struggling with the structure of the statement it is a good idea to simply write whichever paragraph you can and then come back at the end to order your paragraphs and create links. You may want to write your ending before you’ve written your introduction – there is no right or wrong way to do this, it just has to be yours.

How Do I End My Personal Statement?

Concluding your personal statement for biomedicine can feel just as hard as starting it but at this point you are almost there! If you can, it is good to conclude with a punchy sentence, something that nicely rounds up what you have been saying throughout: that you are a passionate biomedical scientist who is excited to pursue a biomedical sciences degree. You could refer back to what makes you the ideal biomed candidate and use keywords from the degree course webpages to help.

Here is an example:

In conclusion, my unwavering passion for biomedical science, coupled with my commitment to ongoing learning and contributing meaningfully to the field, drives my aspiration to embark on this transformative journey of academic growth, making me eager to bring my unique perspective, dedication, and skills to the vibrant and innovative community of biomedical researchers.

Applying to Oxford Biomed? Here's What You Should Also Do

Oxbridge and other top universities will use your personal statement as a component of their short-listing procedure. Oxford will use your personal statement to generate questions for the interview to which you may be invited. For biomed, these questions relating to your biomedical science personal statement are likely to be ice breakers as the interviewers will expect you to be comfortable talking about your personal statement and anything that you have mentioned within it. Therefore, it is important that you write your statement with the expectation that you will be asked to expand upon and explain every single sentence.

Biomedical Personal Statement Example

My fascination with the intricacies of life has propelled my journey towards understanding the complexities of the human body. The captivating narratives of Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" ignited my interest in neuroscience, prompting me to explore the underlying mechanisms of neurological disorders. This curiosity laid the foundation for my journey into the field of biomedical science. As I delved into the world of biomedical science, Nessa Carey's "The Epigenetic Revolution" provided a profound insight into the dynamic interplay between genetics and the environment. This exploration sparked my curiosity about epigenetic modifications and their implications for human health. It served as a thematic link, bridging my interest in neuroscience to the broader realm of genetics and molecular biology. Eager to complement my theoretical knowledge with practical insights, I actively sought diverse experiences. I love the New Scientist weekly podcast, which offers a dynamic platform for me to stay abreast of cutting-edge discoveries and emerging trends in biomedical research. An episode titled "Decoding the Brain: Unravelling the Mysteries of Neurodegenerative Diseases" particularly resonated with me, connecting seamlessly with my earlier fascination with neuroscience and serving as a catalyst for my interest in the molecular underpinnings of neurodegenerative disorders. This exposure not only expanded my knowledge but also honed my ability to critically evaluate scientific discourse, a skill integral to navigating the ever-evolving landscape of biomedical sciences. My research experience in Dr. Smith's lab, underscored the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in unravelling the complexities of biomedical challenges. The laboratory work, focusing on cellular signalling pathways, provided a tangible link between theoretical concepts and practical applications discussed in the podcast episode. Recognising the importance of staying at the forefront of scientific advancements, I undertook a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on advanced techniques in molecular biology. This experience not only deepened my understanding of molecular techniques but also acquainted me with the global community of aspiring scientists and researchers. The collaborative spirit within the online cohort mirrored the interdisciplinary approach I envision for my future in biomedical sciences, reinforcing the theme of collaboration and its pivotal role in scientific progress. Exploring topics through podcasts like "The Biomedical Odyssey" has been instrumental in contextualising classroom learning within the broader scope of real-world applications. For instance, I found a podcast episode on "CRISPR: Gene Editing and the Future of Medicine" particularly fascinating. The prospect of precise gene editing raises questions that extend beyond the laboratory into the realm of bioethics. Exploring the ethical considerations associated with CRISPR prompted me to grapple with fundamental questions about the balance between scientific progress and moral responsibility. In addition to my academic pursuits, I have actively sought opportunities to engage with the broader scientific community. Attending conferences, such as the International Conference on Biomedical Sciences, allowed me to interact with eminent researchers and gain insights into the multifaceted nature of contemporary biomedical challenges. These experiences have not only broadened my perspective but have also reinforced my commitment to contributing meaningfully to the field, connecting my academic endeavors to the broader scientific community. In conclusion, my journey in biomedical science has been marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, a commitment to hands-on learning, and an unwavering curiosity about the frontiers of scientific discovery. Armed with a solid foundation, a critical mindset, and an eagerness to contribute to the ever-evolving field, I am poised to embark on the next chapter of my academic journey in biomedical sciences.

The best biomedical personal statements are original and personal to you, showcasing your passion for pursuing a degree in biomedical sciences and encompassing what you are genuinely interested in.

By Evie (Biomedical Science, University of Oxford)

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Looking for a BioMed Personal Statement Tutor or Support For Your Wider Biomedical Science Application?

Biomed personal statement tutoring.

U2’s Oxbridge-educated mentors have a close insight into what admissions tutors like to see in a Biomedical personal statement, and can help students to convey their skills, motivations, and long term goals, in order to stand out from other applicants. The statement should be the candidates own work, but our mentors will provide direction and guide you through the process of content building and writing. We offer offline drafting as well as tuition sessions.

Oxford BioMed Tutoring

We also offer tutoring for students looking for support throughout the Oxford application process (book a free consultation to discuss options). We have a large team of Oxford Biomedical Science tutors including 1st Class, Master’s and PhD level graduates.

The Process:

1) We suggest an Oxford Biomed tutor and send their full CV for review. Our mentors are deeply familiar with the admissions process to study Biomed at the University of Oxford and are well-placed to guide students through biomed personal statement curation, the BMAT and the interview process. We may suggest a range of application tutors to choose from with slightly differing rates depending on qualifications and level of experience.

2) We typically suggest beginning with a 1.5 hour diagnostic session , where the tutor will informally assess the student’s current performance level for application. Following this, we issue a report with feedback, and structure a plan to best prepare.

3) U2’s approach for regular Biomedical Science application sessions: The main focus of tutorial sessions will be to explore material that can be discussed in the personal statement and at interview - this may sometimes stretch from A-Level standard to First Year Undergraduate. Mentors ensure each student refines their interests within Biomedical Science, and is exposed to a range of key themes and topics. Together, we build a case for the student, solidifying the stance and direction they will take during interview. We also provide extensive admissions test and interview preparation support.

Frequency of sessions can be decided between student and tutor. Students can take either ad hoc sessions, or we structure a full programme for preparation, which may include further co-curricular opportunities such as our research projects , Medicine or Biology Summer School and Oxbridge mock interview days . Honing the skills necessary to succeed for Oxbridge ideally requires long-term preparation and mentoring presents a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the very best Oxbridge has produced.

Sessions from £75/h + VAT.

How to Write a Biology Personal Statement Worthy of Oxbridge!

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Biomedicine: Exemplar Undergraduate Personal Statements to help you focus

Posted: 26.10.2023

  • Health and Medicine
  • Personal Statement
  • University Application

If you are on the journey of applying to universities, crafting a compelling personal statement can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. But fear not; we are here to help you navigate this path more easily. We have curated three exemplary personal statements that serve as shining examples of what universities look for in applicants.  

These personal statements focus on Accounting , Biomedical and Engineering applications and embody quality, clarity, and individuality, compellingly showcasing how to present your academic interests, extracurricular activities, and personal experiences.  

However, it is crucial to remember that these are examples to guide and inspire you, not templates to be copied. Plagiarism is not just unethical, but it also robs you of the opportunity to express your unique story and aspirations authentically. Use these examples as a springboard to dive into your unique narrative. Happy writing!

Biomedical Student  

Born and raised in the bustling city of Shanghai, China, I have always been intrigued by the mysteries of science. Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics have captured my interest, and I am currently studying these subjects alongside English for Academic Purposes (EAP) as part of the NCUK International Foundation Year qualification.  

My fascination with these subjects is rooted in a profound curiosity about the human body and its intricate mechanisms. This curiosity has directed me towards a path to study Biomedical Science in the United Kingdom, a country celebrated for its outstanding education system and pioneering research in Biomedicine.  

The UK’s state-of-the-art research facilities, esteemed faculty, and multicultural student community present an enriching environment for international students like me . I am excited to delve into this vibrant atmosphere and gain an in-depth understanding of Biomedical Science, from examining cellular and molecular processes to investigating disease mechanisms and innovative therapeutic strategies.  

My ultimate career aspiration is to become a Biomedical Scientist in a leading pharmaceutical firm. I see myself participating in ground-breaking research projects, contributing to the development of new drugs or therapies, and playing a role in advancing global health. Earning a degree in Biomedical Science from a prestigious UK university will equip me with the requisite knowledge, skills, and practical experience to achieve this ambition.  

science student

I am enrolled in an EAP course to prepare for studying in the UK. This course effectively equips me with the language proficiency, academic skills, and cultural understanding necessary for success in a UK university. My robust foundation in Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics bolsters my readiness for my chosen field.  

I have sought opportunities to apply my scientific knowledge in practical settings during my educational journey . A notable achievement was winning a Regional Science Prize in Year 10 for my research project. This experience honed my research skills and reaffirmed my passion for Biomedical Science. Furthermore, I have visited various pharmaceutical plants on school excursions, gaining insights into the practical aspects of pharmaceutical production and research.  

successful biomedical science personal statement

Outside my academic pursuits, I find solace in painting, which nurtures my creativity and attention to detail – qualities I believe are essential for a successful Biomedical Scientist.   In conclusion, I am eager and prepared to embark on my academic journey in the UK. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities and can positively contribute to your esteemed university.  

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Graduate School Personal Statement

Criteria for success.

  • Your personal statement convinces a faculty committee that you are qualified for their program.
  • It convinces them that you are a good fit for their program’s focus and goals.
  • You show a select group of skills and experiences that convey your scientific accomplishments and interests.
  • Your experiences are concrete and quantitative.
  • Your personal statement is no more than 2 pages.

Structure Diagram

The graduate school personal statement tells your story and demonstrates that you are a good match for a particular department or program. Matching goes both ways: they should be interested in you, and you should be interested in them. Your personal statement should make this match clear.

Analyze Your Audience

Your personal statement will be read by a graduate committee, a handful of faculty from your program. They’re trying to determine if you will be a successful graduate student in their department, a positive force in the department’s intellectual life, and a successful scientist after you graduate. They are therefore interested in your qualifications as a researcher, your career goals, and how your personality matches their labs and department.

The graduate committee probably reads hundreds of applications a year. To make it easy for them to figure out that you are a good fit, make direct, concrete statements about your accomplishments and qualifications. To make it easy for them to remember you, create a narrative that “brands” you.

Create a personal narrative

PhD programs invest in the professional and scientific growth of their students. Get the committee excited about investing in you by opening your essay with a brief portrait of what drives you as a scientist. What research directions are you passionate about, and why? What do you picture yourself doing in 10 years?

Close your essay with a 2-3 sentence discussion of your career interests. No one will hold you to this; this just helps your committee visualize your potential trajectory.

Describe your experiences

Experiences are the “what” of your essay. What experiences led you to develop your skill set and passions? Where have you demonstrated accomplishment, leadership, and collaboration? Include research, teaching, and relevant extracurriculars. State concrete achievements and outcomes like awards, discoveries, or publications.

Quantify your experiences to show concrete impact. How many people were on your team? How many protocols did you develop? How many people were in competition for an award? As a TA, how often did you meet with your students?

Describe actions, not just changes in your internal mental or emotional state. A personal statement is a way to make a narrative out of your CV. It is not a diary entry.

Explain the meaning of your experiences

Meaning is the “why” or “so what” of the document. Why was this experience important to your growth as a scientist? What does it say about your abilities and potential? It feels obvious to you, but you need to be explicit with your audience. Your descriptions of meaning should also act as transition statements between experiences: try to “wrap” meaning around your experiences.

Demonstrate match to your target program

Demonstrate an understanding of the program to which you’re applying and about how you will be successful in that program. To do this:

  • Read the program’s website. See what language they use to describe themselves, and echo that language in your essay. For example, MIT Biological Engineering’s website lists the department’s three objectives.
  • Get in contact with faculty (or students) in your target program. If you have had a positive discussion with someone at the department, describe how those interactions made you think that you and the department may be well-matched.
  • State which professors in the program you would plan to work with. Show how their research areas align with your background and your goals. You can even describe potential research directions or projects.

Resources and Annotated Examples

Annotated example 1.

These are selected sections from the personal statement that an MIT BE graduate student wrote in their successful application to MIT BE. 675 KB

Annotated Example 2

This is the personal statement from an MIT BE graduate student’s successful application to the MIT BE program. 11 MB

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PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE Biomedical Science Personal Statement

Submitted by Sorca

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Make the most of your interest in Biology with biomedical sciences at Swansea.

Tailor your studies towards a career in research, innovation or healthcare with Swansea University's range of biomedical sciences degrees. Foundation Year, BSc and MSci available - there's a place for you at Swansea!

Biomedical Science Personal Statement

The misapprehension that healthcare practitioners are the only people who help those in medical need is one which is difficult to shift, yet – clearly - the research conducted by the biomedical community is on par with - if not superior to - the work of doctors on hospital wards.

Biomedical Science provides the research about the human body’s processes and systems, its molecular and cellular structures and how health and wellbeing can be maintained and improved through breakthroughs in toxicology and pharmacology. My eagerness to help those in need without being on the medical front line but, rather, by providing those on the front line with the means to help the sick and vulnerable, is what has inspired this application to study Biomedical Science. On a visit a local hospital I saw first-hand the valuable contribution of the biomedical community; experiencing the labs at the hospital offered me an insight into what it would be like working in such a lab and an appreciation of how hard the biomedical scientists work. This insight has only enhanced my aspiration to study the subject at university and, ultimately, have a career, in Biomedical Science. Attending a Biomedical Science masterclass at a local university was also influential in my making this application as I started to appreciate what studying Biomedical Science would really be like, as I heard students’ opinions on the subject as well as enjoying the style and content of the lecture.

My choice of Biology and Chemistry at A Level has reinforced my interest in this degree as both subjects have enabled me to view the world around me in a new light, because I have started to understand the fascinating biochemical processes which underpin life on the planet and, indeed, the planet itself. The subjects have offered many opportunities in both accessing relevant subject matter and in developing appropriate laboratory procedures in terms of teamwork, the safe conduct of experiments and careful recording and evaluation of data. My third subject, History, has offered interesting insights into the ways in which disease, especially sexually transmitted diseases, were viewed in the 19th Century as we studied Josephine Butler’s attempt to repeal the Contagious Diseases Act. The subject has also prepared me for university with its emphasis on research, essay writing and Harvard referencing. It is the sciences, though, which have offered me opportunities to develop my personal qualities as I have been invited to support younger students in both Chemistry and Biology GCSE lessons. This has improved my self-confidence as I have found myself able to work effectively with them in improving their understanding. I have also been able to help Year 12 with their current work in Biology which has served to consolidate my own knowledge and allowed me to form a mutually beneficial relationship with other students studying the same subject as me. I have been fortunate in having many opportunities throughout my school life to develop qualities and skills which will allow me to make positive contributions to the university community. Progressing from prefect to senior prefect, in 6th Form, I have encountered potentially stressful situations which I have defused by applying thought-out approaches and effective leadership. I demonstrated similar skills when completing my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award, which also offered many opportunities for teamwork.

During my free time, I enjoy reading around my subjects and am an avid reader of both Biological Science Review and Chemistry Review as I find it fascinating to expand my knowledge by keeping up with current biomedical advances. I also recently read Matt Ridley’s ‘Genome’ which fired my interest in the building blocks of existence. Observing the labs at the hospital showed me how hard biomedical scientists work and my wider reading has made me aware that my chosen course will be challenging, but I am more than prepared to take on these challenges.

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Successful Personal Statement For Natural Sciences (Biological) At Cambridge

Last Updated: 27th July 2020

Author: Adi Sen

Table of Contents

Welcome to our popular Personal Statement series where we present a successful Personal Statement, and our Oxbridge Tutors provide their feedback on it. 

Today, we are looking through a Biological Natural Sciences applicant’s Personal Statement that helped secure a place at Cambridge University. The Natural Sciences Course at Cambridge offers a wide range of physical and biological science subjects from 16 departments in a unique and demanding course.

Read on to see how this candidate wrote a Personal Statement that navigates the wide range of biological science subjects. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Personal Statement:


The universities this candidate applied to were the following:

Enrolling on our Cambridge Natural Sciences comprehensive Programme will give you access to Personal Statement redrafts. 

Your tutor will give you actionable feedback with insider tips on how to improve and make your Personal Statement Oxbridge quality for the best chances of success.  

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Biological Natural Sciences Personal Statement

When Theodore Roszak wrote that nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope, I feel he captures the way that science gives us greater understanding of the world in which we live. With this understanding come opportunities to influence the lives we lead. It is my strong interest in science coupled with my inquisitive nature, thirst for knowledge and analytical thinking that compels me to read Natural Sciences. I aspire to work with others at the forefront of scientific knowledge to see how we can apply this knowledge to meet the challenges that unfold in the twenty-first century.

My A level studies have confirmed my interest in a range of scientific areas. After studying cell organelles in biology, I was captivated by reading ‘Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life’ by Nick Lane, delving deeper into the role of mitochondria in cellular function. Continuing to explore beyond the syllabus, reading ‘Genome’ by Matt Ridley and ‘H2O a Biography of Water’ by Philip Ball has fuelled my interest in other areas such as genetics and molecular biology. My enthusiasm for biology was recognised by being awarded the school Year 12 biology prize. In chemistry, exploring carbon nanotubes was exhilarating as I could see that they have enormous potential in diverse applications such as carrying drugs into specific body cells. It was during work experience at a local hospital I saw that scientists provide the tools for doctors and the significance of research in developing new, improved treatments. To explore further the application of science in different contexts, I attended ‘Chemistry in Action’ lectures at the Institute of Education, London.

I was inspired by speaking with scientists at the forefront of research whilst attending the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society. Intrigued by the development of a nanocell to store clean energy using sunlight and that the cell contained porphyrin which is involved in photosynthesis, I realised that studying the structure and function of plants may provide vital information in developing new ways of storing energy. Keen to experiment, it was exciting to make and identify graphene, the first two dimensional atomic material and to explore the potential uses of this strong, transparent and highly conductive material. It is enthralling to consider how these current scientific developments may be applied in the future. Finding great satisfaction in problem solving and thriving on challenge, I have enjoyed studying mathematics, particularly learning new concepts such as calculus. My study of history has enhanced my analytical and essay writing skills. Moreover, it has given me a perspective on the relationship between science and society over the years.

Balancing my extra-curricular activities with my studies has required good time-management. I enjoy playing the piano and a range of sports including netball, tennis and skiing. Playing in the school netball team for the past six years has shown me the value of good teamwork. I have enjoyed volunteering weekly at Strathmore School for children with disabilities and successfully sought permission to organise an Easter Party for them which required initiative, creativity and management skills. Volunteering on the Whitgift Special Needs Activity Project has enhanced my communication and leadership skills and has made me aware of the challenges faced by those with disabilities and their families.

I believe that I have the skills, scientific curiosity and motivation required to learn from, and contribute to, this diverse and challenging course. Studying Natural Sciences will give me the flexibility to explore a wide range of scientific areas and will enable me to develop the skills to work with colleagues at the cutting edge of science.

For more inspiration, take a look through our other successful Personal Statement a nalysis articles:

Successful Personal Statement For Natural Science (Physical) At Cambridge

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Download our Free Personal Statement Starter Guide 

Good Points Of The Personal Statement

Very well-written with a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion. This statement begins by setting the scene as to why Natural Science, and in particular, Biology, is important to both the world and the applicant. The student clearly explains their interest in Biology and then goes on to explain their interest in the other subjects covered as part of the Natural Sciences degree. Many prospective students forget to do this, and in this statement, every point is justified with examples from the student’s personal experiences which adds emphasis to the statement.

Bad Points Of The Personal Statement

At times this reads a bit like a list, and removing a few examples so that they could say more about those left would have produced a more impactful statement which would more adequately fulfil the requirements to show interest, ability, familiarity, ambition, and understanding of the course’s demands.

UniAdmissions Overall Score:

This is an excellent personal statement with a clear and logical structure. The student does not simply list their achievements but provides reasons for their academic interests. 

We’re giving this one 5/5 as it’s clearly a strong statement that made an impact on the admissions tutors reading it. 

And there we have it – a Cambridge Natural Sciences Personal Statement with feedback from our expert tutors. 

Remember, at Cambridge, the Admissions Tutors are often the people who will be teaching you for the next few years, so you need to appeal directly to them.

Check out our Free Personal Statement Resources page for even more successful personal statements and expert guides.

Our expert tutors are on hand to help you craft the perfect Personal Statement for your Cambridge Natural Sciences application.

With our  Cambridge Natural Science Premium Programme, we help you craft the perfect Personal   Statement , achieve a highly competitive NSAA score and teach you how to  Interview effectively.

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Applying to Residency

Residency road map, first and second year.

Students with questions about different medical specialties and plans for their careers are encouraged to reach out to advisers designated by each department, academic staff in Office of Student and Academic Affairs (OSAA) and faculty in their respective program.

Fall-Winter Intersession : Session to introduce residency application process, CV, personal statement, MSPE (“Dean’s Letter”) discussion

Spring : Meet with Office of Student and Academic Affairs Deans to review career plans, noteworthy characteristics for MSPE

Summer : Class meetings to review residency application and Match processes

Fourth Year

Fall: Complete and submit ERAS application. Residency interviews begin (typically run from October-January)

Winter: Residency program interviews continue. Rank list due in February

Spring: Match Day mid-March

Most students will be applying to residency via the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS).

The Office of Student and Academic Affairs provides support to students during their application to residency programs. An ERAS token will be issued to you early in your fourth year of medical school that will allow you to gain access to the ERAS.

ERAS Application Components

Medical student performance evaluation (mspe).

The MSPE, also known as a dean's letter, will be an important part of your application and will be discussed with you during spring of your third year. A meeting between you and one of the Student and Academic Affairs deans will be scheduled during the spring of your third year. There will also be time to review your MSPE before it is submitted during your fourth year (fall semester).

Noteworthy Characteristics in MSPE

Contained within the MSPE, a maximum of three characteristics highlighting your most salient noteworthy characteristics is required. This section should be presented as a bulleted list. Each characteristic should be described in 2 sentences or less. Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered by you during medical school may be included.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A residency CV is an important document that is used to highlight your experience and training in a succinct, easy to understand format. You will use the information in your CV to fill out either the ERAS residency application or other matching applications. The main goal of a residency CV is to showcase your most significant academic and extracurricular achievements, leaving a lasting, positive, first impression to those who review it. Essentially, your CV should convince residency directors that you are exactly what they are looking for and are a strong match for their residency program. Not only is having an up-to-date CV important for applying to residency and crafting your personal statement, but it's also important for filling out rotation applications and when securing letters of recommendation from physicians.

Letter of Recommendation

You need at least three letters of recommendation per residency, and you can submit up to four per residency. You can check school-specific requirements on the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA).

Personal Statement

The residency personal statement should include and reflect:

  • What draws you to the specialty
  • The skills or qualities that will help you succeed during the residency and as a practicing physician
  • Your long-term plans, what you hope to accomplish, your preferred setting
  • Personal attributes that make you well-suited to the specialty and training
  • What attracts you to a particular program (if you’re applying for a specific program outside of the national matching system or if you customize a personal statement within National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

Ultimately, the combination of these elements will give program directors a sense of the kind of colleague you would be and how you would fit into their program.

ERAS is the system through which you will submit all of your residency application materials, while the NRMP is the organization that facilitates the actual matching process, once all of your documents have been submitted to your programs of interest.

Non-ERAS Residency Application

Students applying to Opthalmology, Plastic Surgery or the military match should contact/notify the Office of Student and Academic Affairs for questions/guidance and if you require components of your education record for Plastic Surgery Common Application (PSCA), San Francisco Residency and Fellowship Match Services (SF Match) or military match.

  • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Apply Smart data
  • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Careers in Medicine
  • American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO)
  • Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) User Guide
  • Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA)
  • 3/17/23 JSMBS prior year Matches
  • National Residency Matching Program (NRMP)
  • Plastic Surgery Common Application (PSCA)
  • San Francisco Residency and Fellowship Match Services (SF Match)
  • Texas STAR (Seeking Transparency in Application to Residency)

If you have any questions please contact:  [email protected]


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