“6 Personal Statement Do’s and Don’ts” (Ibrahim Busnaina, U.S. News and World Report)

In “6 Personal Statement Do’s and Don’ts,” Dr. Busnaina suggests ways to make your personal statement stand out, including why you want to pursue medicine and why you are a strong candidate. Unfortunately, even the most well-meaning medical school applicants fall prey to certain pitfalls, and I have edited thousands of medical school personal statements filled with seemingly identical stories of caring for sick grandparents, volunteering in third-world health clinics, and the nearly universal refrain, “I want to help people.” As the desire to help people is hardly unique to doctors, I advise applicants to focus on their personal experiences and keep it specific. How particularly do you want to help people? How will being a doctor enable you to do this in a way that being a teacher or a social worker would not? Where do you imagine yourself in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years? Where do you hope to practice medicine and how will this work reflect your core values and strengths? Connect your experiences (e.g. volunteering in a dental clinic in Ghana) to your aspirations (e.g. volunteering weekly in a local low-income family medical center). Above all, make sure the essay is something only you could have written.

To read more by Dr. Busnaina, visit: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/medical-school-admissions-doctor/2011/05/30/6-personal-statement-dos-and-donts

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