Writing your personal statement is probably the most difficult part of your UCAS form. Having to write about yourself can feel a bit contrived. You have to sell yourself and emphasize your good points without sounding like a know it all or egotistical.
To apply for Medicine you have got to be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons you may even find whilst you’re writing your statement that it is possibly the wrong choice for you. You should always apply for the thing that you feel most passionate about and not base your reasoning on status, money or pressure from your parents to be a success. Otherwise it is a waste of time.
That said, if you are serious about Medicine then you must write a winning personal statement. Medicine is one of the most competitive subjects to get in to. Universities have to be very selective, your personal statement and your references have to be good to get offered an interview.
The admissions tutors are looking for many different things and they will be specific. Firstly they will look at your grades and your predicted grades. Most institutions state AAB but the calibre of applicants naturally raises the standard to AAA. There are some cases though where applicants have been impressive enough in an interview and with their personal statement to get offered ABB or even BBB. If you are worried about your grades letting you down then it is very important to think about where you’re applying.
Some universities are more in favour of personal attributes than others. Look into applying to newer schools like Hull York Medical School or Peninsula. St. Georges have also been known to go easier on the grades if they are especially impressed by the applicant, look at their profiles on the student book website. You may also have to submit a record of your attendance at school or college. This will also greatly affect the likelihood of you being offered a place. If you’re attendance is bad then it reflects very negatively on your commitment to learning and your ambition and reliability.
In your opening paragraph you should give a brief introduction to who you are, what you’re doing at the moment and why you are applying to read Medicine. For instance “I am currently in my final year at college where I have been reading Biology, Chemistry and History A Levels. Medicine as a career is something that I have considered for many years” Go on to explain the background to your reasons; maybe you’re from a medical family so have a natural disposition to a medical career that you could expand upon or perhaps you have a fascination with science and the human body that has influenced your choice.
There are many reasons why you have chosen medicine and you need to be quite clear about it. Saying that you want to “help people” is just not enough, it is a flimsy reason and you don’t have to be a doctor to help people, you could work in a homeless shelter. Think about what being a doctor would really entail and what personal attributes you have and how they will contribute to making you a good doctor.
If you are a successful candidate you will be studying for a long time. Probably for the rest of your life, medicine is always changing and developing and you will need to keep up to date with scientific technology and research. You have to be someone who is dedicated, hard working and most importantly; enjoy learning. You need to demonstrate somewhere in your statement that you are cut out for this and are positive about it.
Explain how the subjects you have studied at A Level has given you a good background for medicine and how your unrelated subjects (for example English or History) have aided your choice too.
You should have carried out several relevant work experience placements over the past couple of years to prepare yourself for your choice of career. You may have shadowed a doctor or worked as a porter or used your time to volunteer at a school. You need to make the most of these experiences in your statement and show the personal skills that you developed from them and how they are transferable to a medical degree. Give evidence to show that you have good time management, social skills, ability to work as a team and also to work independently. You also need to draw from your experiences and show that you have a good understanding of medicine.
Your personal statement needs to convince the admissions tutor that medicine is the right choice for you and that you will make a good student and a good doctor. Your unique attributes are what will make you stand out individually from every other medicine applicant. You will make a good impression by including a paragraph on your hobbies and pastimes. If you are part of a sports team or a musician then make a point of it. Show that you are well rounded and diverse. Highlight your ability to manage a full and healthy lifestyle. Working as a doctor will be stressful at times and personally demanding. You need to express that you have a realistic idea about the role and will rise to the challenge.
Why do you want to be a doctor instead of say, a nurse or midwife or a lab researcher? You must try with your statement to be very clear about this. Try not to use the word “interest” or “interesting” too frequently. It gets very boring for the reader, but at the same time try not to be too flowery with your words, it can take attention away from what you’re actually trying to say. Your Personal statement should only be 4000 characters so avoid waffling. Get your friends and tutors to read over it and listen to their advice and criticisms. Be honest about everything, if you are offered an interview then you will be asked about the things you have written on your statement.