Personal Statement

Writing a Personal Statement

Most health-related professional schools require applicants to submit one personal essay, also called your personal statement. This essay is your chance to introduce yourself to admissions committees and discuss what will make you a unique and engaging part of your chosen health profession.

The Basics of Writing a Personal Statement

  • You should be clear and concise in your writing. Admissions committees are looking for a coherent essay with no spelling or grammatical errors.
  • The length of your essay may vary depending on each school’s requirements. If you are submitting your applications through AMCAS, there is a 5,300 character limit, approximately 500 words.
  • Use active voice instead of passive voice, for example, say “I learned” rather than “I was taught”.
  • Write an essay that is personal and describes who you are as a person. Although you might want to discuss an engaging interaction or experience with another person, make sure your essay is primarily about you.
  • Ask others to read over your essay and provide feedback.
  • Expect to make several revisions of your essay.
  • Avoid using slang words and colloquialisms.

Proofread

We cannot stress this enough. A great way to proofread your own writing is to read it backwards: start reading at the very last word of your essay and read until you reach the beginning.

Although your essay should be structured and coherent, for example, correct grammar and spelling, it doesn’t have to be as formal as other academic writing. If writing isn’t your strongest skill, remember that you don’t have to be a great creative writer to write a great personal statement; and remember that your application doesn’t rest solely on your writing abilities. Your personal statement is just one piece of your application. Think of it as a supporting document that will help admissions committees see your true strength and potential.

If you would like help writing your personal essay, you can schedule an appointment with The Writing Center.

Additional Resources from The Writing Center:

Online Writing Resources

Tips for Writers of Application Essays, Personal Statements, Grants, and Cover Letters

Handout on Application Essays