How Should I Start Preparing for my Personal Statement?

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Session 49

Take the first step toward writing your personal statement by brainstorming. Make a mind map, recall your memories, and dig deep for your “why.”

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[00:22] The Goal of the Personal Statement

'The goal of the personal statement is to talk about why you want to be a physician.'Click To Tweet

What you need to write on your personal statement is why you want to be a physician. What was the path that led you to where you are now? What introduced you to medicine?

What experiences have you had that solidified that desire to be a physician? In the end, you can wrap it up with what you hope to accomplish once you’re educated as a physician.

The goal of the personal statement is not to tell the reader why you think you’re going to be a great physician.

Don’t sell to the readers your skills you think you have that will make you a great physician. Don’t tie in all of your previous skills from your previous job and career and experiences to show those are perfect for transitioning into medicine.

[01:30] How Do You Start Preparing for Your Personal Statement?

You need to brainstorm around preparing for your personal statement. There are apps available such as MindNode or find other mind mapping software on Google.

I use my desk as a mindmapping tool, which is a whiteboard that I write on. Or you can use a pen and paper. Use whatever you can use to brainstorm.

Think about your journey to where you are right now. How did you get here? They don’t want to know about every single experience or job you have. It’s not the goal of the personal statement.

“Your personal statement is not a resume.”Click To Tweet

[02:30] Talk About Your Why

What have been the most meaningful, most impactful, and most memorable experiences that you’ve had that continue to show you that this journey is right for you? Think about the patients and physicians you’ve interacted with.

Many students who go through this process leave out the why and just talk about what happened. 

Think about the seed that got you on this journey – whether that was a family member or you being ill. Or was it because of your parent who’s a physician or in healthcare?

'Think about that seed and what experiences have been the most impactful for you and why have they been so impactful for you.'Click To Tweet

In the book, I call this the “takeaway.” What is your takeaway?

[03:45] Final Thoughts

As you’re brainstorming, go through your experiences. What happened and why was it so impactful for you that you think you might want to talk about it in your personal statement?

Do an outline or a mindmap. Do whatever you can to get the thoughts out of your brain. Don’t worry about any essay structure at this point.

Just get the ideas out of your head. Then you can start manipulating those ideas and start filling in the stories behind everything you’re writing about to make it a great coherent essay in the end.


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