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How will my personal statement change if I am taking a gap year?

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Many students will be taking a gap year due to the recent chaos that has happened recently with A level grades. So I thought I would make a short, simple blog post on how your personal statement will change if you are taking a gap year and some frequently asked questions that you have sent my way.

Do universities know if I am a re-applicant; should I mention this?

You do not need to mention this on your personal statement (save yourself characters) since the university will probably already know that you are taking a year out, especially if you are talking about some of your experiences in the future tense or if you mention that they will be taking place during your gap year. Being a re-applicant does NOT negatively impact your application in any way whatsoever, especially considering the recent events. 

Are there any significant differences in the approach to writing a personal statement as a gap year re-applicant?

Yes, there are but not many.

You should be mentioning some new experiences and focusing on why you are doing these experiences, what you hope to learn and how this will make you a suitable candidate for Medicine. You can re-use the same personal statement but why not provide some new insights!? Perhaps, you can undertake (at least one) more recent work experience or may need to write in the future tense if you have not done any yet.

You can talk about what you HOPE to learn as opposed to what you DID learn for experiences that you are talking about doing in the future. Reflection is pretty much the same, just say it in the future tense. 

What is the best way to write about future plans/intentions to gain insight, since reflection is key when writing about things I have done?

The best thing to do is reflect on your reflections!

Re-read your personal statement. Now that you’ve decided to take a gap year/been unsuccessful in your applications to Medicine, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have any of your reasons or motivations for studying Medicine changed?

  • What’s keeping you going? You will have definitely developed resilience!

  • What continues to inspire you to study Medicine?

  • What new experiences have you undertaken in your gap year that may have changed your outlook on Medicine?

Thinking like this will help remodel your personal statement - you’ll be surprised by how much a setback can build character and change your perspective on pursuing a medical career! Re-think about why you have chosen to study Medicine and how your gap year will reinforce this. Your first paragraph and conclusion are the 2 things that are most likely to change completely compared to your original personal statement. It is very important to sit down and think about why you are still wanting to study Medicine despite being unsuccessful etc. This will be unique to each person and set you apart from other candidates.

You can view a copy of my gap year personal statement here

I hope it can help with how to structure your own and articulate yourself to the best of your ability. For more on personal statement structure, check out my blog post on personal statements

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