Updated: Feb 22
Universities use personal statements as part of their selection process to decide if students possess the qualities and knowledge suited to the degree that they are applying to. In Medicine, they are looking for students who possess skills like good teamwork and coordination, problem0-solving, adaptability and great communication. Therefore, your personal statement needs to highlight that you have these skills and provide examples of when you have demonstrated them. The UCAS personal statement needs to be a maximum of 4,000 characters – which is roughly 500 words/47 lines.
To write my personal statement, I included the following components kindly set out by The Medic Portal:
Motivation — Why do you want to study Medicine?
Exploration — What have you done to learn about it?
Suitability — Why are you a good fit for it?
I structured my personal statement into ~6 paragraphs and provide some excerpts from my own 2017 statement below:
Paragraph 1 (intro): Why I want to study Medicine (motivation)
Medicine is a unique vocation that combines empathy and care for others with the application and progression of science. Through my academic interests and achievements, together with my experiences of providing support to those in need, I have come to the realisation that a career in Medicine will provide unparalleled personal fulfilment.
Paragraph 2: Wider reading and study (exploration)
Biology and Chemistry have been my favourite subjects so much so that I have ventured beyond the curriculum, attending STEM programmes and taking up my own research projects such as investigating the link between psychosis and cannabis. In particular, they have enabled me to appreciate the mechanisms and complexities of the human body, shaping my passion for the science of medicine.
Paragraphs 3-4: Work experience (exploration)
Paragraph 5: Extra-curricular (suitability)
Beyond my academic interests and volunteering, I am passionate about music and drama. I am a keen pianist and have played at local concerts as part of the London College of Music Camerata. As a member of a theatre group, I have performed in productions such as 'Hairspray' and 'Little Shop of Horrors'.
Paragraph 6 (conclusion): Tie up all that you've said and re-instate why you want to study Medicine and eventually be a doctor (motivation)
Being a doctor is not just a job but a life commitment. The dedication and care that I have seen repeatedly throughout my experiences have readied me for a lifetime of learning and making a positive impact on patient lives and the healthcare system.
Getting feedback on your personal statement for medical school is incredibly important and there are places that review personal statements for free here. Feedback helps you highlight key areas for your improvement, with clear action points so you can redraft and make your statement as strong as it can be.