From "candidate profile" to "individual": in one essay
Medical schools can easily see from the rest of your packet whether or not you meet the medical school requirements for a given institution. But the numbers tell the committee little about you. Medical school admissions committees rely on the personal statement to assess your interests, goals and personality because knowing these things about you will help the committee assess the “fit” between the you and the school.
Why you are a good fit for the schools you are applying to
It is true that your AMCAS statement is a “general” statement that can be sent to any of the schools in the AMCAS system. But you are not going to do this. There are only a few schools you will be applying to. What do they have in common? Can you play to this characteristic of the target medical school(s) in your AMCAS statement by showing in the essay why you are such a good fit for such a program? Of course you can. For example, if the target schools are all very strong in one particular area (e.g. internal medicine), it would help to develop internal medicine as a specific area of interest in your essay.
Does anyone actually read my essay?
Your AMCAS statement is a critical element of your application to medical school; it is often read many times, by many different individuals, particularly if two candidates are almost “equal” in terms of their numbers but there is room only for one.
How important is the content in my essay?
The content of your essay is very important, not just because your selection of content reflects your skills and aptitudes as a candidate. Keep in mind that when the time comes for your interview, your essay is often the source of many, if not most, of your interviewer’s questions. This is why, when preparing your personal statement for medical school admissions, it is critical that you be able to easily converse about your content with your interviewer. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are a mature or nontraditional candidate (e.g. career-changer). Mature candidates may have references to research performed years ago in their personal statements, or they may have completed the medical school requirements years ago. When this is the case, a thorough review of the essay’s content helps immeasurably in the interview.
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