Writing a personal statement:
It’s not as bad as you think
Sowhat isthe point?
The personal statement is your opportunity to stand out!Let your personal statement work for you
Questions to ask yourself before you start…
What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help theuniversitybetter understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?
What personal characteristics (for example. integrity. compassion. persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success incollege and beyond?Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocreACTscores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?
Other tips for writing your personal statement
Tell a story: Use a story to illustrate the point that you really want to express. Stories are easier to remember than straight facts and this will make the committee members remember you.Give supporting details: If you mention in your personal statement that you will be a greatstudent or even a doctorbecause you are hard working, then you’ll have to provide proof!Don’t be afraid to show them how much you know!
Do not use the same answers as other applicationsDo not includeelementary school achievements(unless they are absolutely remarkable!)Do not touch on controversial or political topicsDO NOT LIE!!!Avoid clichés
As with writing any essay remember these tips:Make surethe introductionisinteresting.You want to draw them in!Use the funnel approach in your introductionRemember the basic structure of an essay: introduction, body, conclusionCHECK FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS!!
Jake Arians jogged on to the field to kick anything but an ordinary field goal. He was the place kicker for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers. Although I was a senior linebacker, all I could do was cheer to help Jake make the kick. Jake succeeded and delivered an overtime win over Tulane in my last senior game. While I was celebrating with my teammates, a bittersweet feeling came over me. For the past thirteen years, academics and football had been my life; my football career had ended.I entered Auburn University with an academic scholarship and chose to walk-on to the football team. Throughout my football career, I was never the fastest, strongest or the largest; the majority of the time, I was one of the smallest. Success came by discipline to play with the correct techniques; learning the opposing team’s tendencies; fearlessness to meet any oncoming foe head on; and refusing to lose. I earned the chance to play on special teams and was awarded a varsity letter. In my junior year I transferred to UAB to complete my undergraduate degree and to play football. Although I completed my undergraduate education and was accepted to medical school, something within me was missing.After I completed the basic science portion of medical school, I rotated through the required specialties. One rotation appealed to the side of me that was missing. In Orthopedic Surgery, I found myself in a room with colleagues discussing the presenting problems of the previous day. We were accompanied by experienced physicians who gave advice and made sure that we were correctly applying the knowledge we had gained from reading about each patient’s problems. Game plans were developed and executed.
I practiced suturing and other techniques that allowed me to help the team address various problems. I read and studied the pathological basis for these problems and the multiple ways to approach specific problems. While working long hours with the Orthopedic team, I felt part of a team with a specific role to play. Whether retrieving films from radiology or helping to close after surgery, I felt I had helped my team achieve a victory when a patient’s problem was corrected.I realize that many of the skills and talents had helped me succeed in football are inherent in Orthopedic Surgery: specifically, obtaining knowledge of the opponent or patient’s disease, psychomotor skills, adjusting the game plan to fit each patient’s problems, available resources, and the most important, teamwork. As I look to future and residency training, I seek a program that can provide four elements: experienced physicians from whom I can learn to apply the knowledge gained through patient contact; volume and variety of surgical cases; resident teams that work together to improve their knowledge and skills; and a program that encourages its residents to be active participants in treatment planning so they can become competent and successful team leaders.