Writing your Personal Statement for Medicine!

One of the most important things about applying to Medicine through UCAS is your personal statement. With everything else on your application, universities already know that you are intelligent and can achieve the grades. What they are wanting to see now is your personality and why you think medicine is right for you. That's where your personal statement comes in.

I thought I would quickly share my advice for picking the best parts of you to showcase while checking all the boxes you need to get into Medicine!

Concise
Your personal statement can make or break your application. It must showcase the best of you and all your volunteering and work experience and extracurricular activities! Trying to fit that all into just 4,000 characters and 47 lines can be difficult.

Of course, grammar and punctuation is incredibly important: do not shorten words; use paragraphs; vary your punctuation and sentence structure.

Write simply and to the point. It must be interesting from the first line. Don’t try to lead the reader in with a long, unnecessary introduction, instead, convey why you want to become a doctor and the evidence you have built to support why you think it would suit you.

Work Experience, Volunteering and Extracurricular
Most medical schools are very open about the difficulty of securing clinical experience. While it is great if you can, your work experience doesn’t have to be in a hospital. Observing doctors can give you a unique insight into the profession but it will not disadvantage you if you can't get a placement.

The most important thing to remember is that it is not what you see or do but essentially you must ensure you take full advantage of the opportunity, observe carefully and ask searching questions!

You can do anything from ward rounds, being a porter, working in nurseries, volunteering in care homes, having a part time job. Anything and everything! The wider the range of your experiences, the better.

In terms of extracurricular activities, I would say the most important thing is to do something you love. I took the advice of my tutor but ended up loving it: knitting! I was a little confused at first but in reality, it helps with hand dexterity and it's different. I also loved to read and played the guitar but given that I had a fair number of other items to talk about, I didn't manage to fit them in*.

To get into medicine, you’ve got to be the kind of student who can achieve high grades while simultaneously leading an active life. Being somebody with both requires good time management and the ability to interact with a range of individuals.

Why?
Every single thing you say has to have a clear and basic structure.

  • Exploration. What have you done? 
  • Suitability. What did you learn?
  • Motivation. How does this relate to medicine?

Unique
Medicine is a very oversubscribed course across the country. Admission tutors receive hundreds of very similar personal statements so if you have something unique you've done or experienced, be sure to mention it. It will help make you stand out.

Reading
One thing that I would advise is to read around the topic. Two really good, easy to read and interesting magazines are New Scientist and Student BMJ. If you enjoy them and can discuss them, pick out a specific article that you loved. Be prepared though, this may get brought up at interviews!

Ending
For me, I like a structure to anything I write: beginning, middle and end. While the middle should make up the most of your writing, I do think it is important to include a final closing sentence. Keep it punchy, short and simple. Summarise why you think Medicine is right for you and remember to sound excited!

Reference
Once you submit your UCAS application, your personal tutor has to attach their reference. I had a very close relationship with my tutor so she was incredibly helpful. After removing a lot of information*, because I had far too much to write about, she included some pieces in her reference so it was still mentioned.

Know when to Stop
Just remember, if you're anything like me, your personal statement will never be perfect. Despite your best intentions, you will draft and redraft and redraft again! The best advice I can give is to let others read your statement, especially your personal tutor. When they're happy with it and you somewhat agree, you have to know when to let go.

On that note, if you ever want another opinion, I am more than happy to help out! I hope that helps and good luck!

Ps. For privacy purposes and to prevent people copying my work, I will not be sharing my personal statement however you can find many examples online.

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