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Applying to Medical School in the UK - Personal Statement

Updated on December 18, 2017
DrCharles95 profile image

I'm Charles and i'm currently a medical student at Newcastle University studying medicine.

Example Plan

1.Why medicine?

2) Work experience

3) Volunteering

4) Extracurricular activities – try and pick activities that demonstrate responsibility, communication skills, leadership, team-working, compassion and coping with challenges.

5) Conclusion why you would be well suited for a medical course – Don’t be cocky “e.g. I look forward to seeing you in medical school.” Don’t address a specific university as this will affect how other universities receive your application.

Source

It's Purpose

It’s to tell the admissions team a few things

  1. Why you want to study medicine?
  2. What have you done to show you understand what the career entails?
  3. Do you understand a doctors role?
  4. What qualities you already posses that they can mould further for you to become a doctor ?
  5. Are you well rounded?
  6. Will you cope with the pressures?
  7. Hobbies?

Some skills and attributes to include

Motivation to study medicine, Genuine interest in the medical profession, Insight into your own strengths & weaknesses, The ability to reflect on your own work, Personal organisation, Academic ability, Problem solving, Dealing with uncertainty, Management skills, Effective communication, Including reading, writing, Listening and speaking, Teamwork, Ability to treat people with respect, Resilience and the ability to deal with difficult situations, Empathy & Honesty

The Introduction of the Personal Statement - Why Medicine?

  • Avoid cliché introductions “from a young age” as these are used a lot every year and shows you have not taken time to think of something unique
  • Get straight to the point
  • Think of an interesting way to capture the attention of the reader but at the same don’t over do it. Interesting quotes, unique genuine experience are usually good ways to start
  • Tell them you know what being doctor is realistically. This includes the good and bad you have seen during your work experience but remember to always have a learning point or a positive spin at the end of a negative coin.
  • Attributes to include: motivation to study medicine, genuine interest in the medical profession

UCAS Top Tips

Source

Bad Introduction Examples

Example A

I have been interested in medicine since childhood. This curiosity began, when at the age of five I saw a video of child birth. I was mesmerized by this miracle of life and by the thought of being involved in something as wonderful throughout my life.

Example B

Failing to secure a place in medical school at 18 created a seed of uncertainty and self-doubt in my mind. It made me question my childhood dream and I asked myself, why do I want to study medicine? Is it because of money? Is it to boost my public image? And then the answer hit me like a bullet, I did not choose medicine for the money or the fame but I chose it because I made a promise after a visit to my homeland, Somalia, that I would choose a path where I can be a great influence in someone's life by helping them physically and emotionally.

Explanation

  • First paragraph – typical introduction of a childhood interest, this was what also came to my mind when I wrote my first personal statement, its very dry and not that interesting
  • Second paragraph – It is too dramatic, story telling, wasted character count, not a realistic reflection of what a doctor is, they are not super heroes. They could have zoned into an experience they saw in Somalia instead which would have been more effective

Example of a Better Introduction

Example A

"The aim of Medicine is not to know the disease, but to relieve the suffering it causes." This quotation from Miguel Angel Garcia sums up why Medicine is my career choice. A close relative of mine fought cancer for two years. I was much younger then, and did not understand why the doctors only wanted to "make her comfortable", but now I do; and that is partly why I want to become a physician myself: not only to work on cures for various diseases but also to make ill people feel better, because, though I admire research, I first and foremost see myself as a practicing physician.

Source

How to Write up Work Experiences in Your Personal Statement

Key Points

  • Talk about patients as people and not diseases
  • Use 'PEEL' - Point, Evidence, Explain, Link

Example of PEEL

During a six week internship in the Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital I observed consultations between physicians and their patients where adolescents were treated using pharmacological and psychotherapeutic approaches. Patients visited various health care professionals who would then discuss the patient and I learned that collaboration between doctors, healthcare providers and administrators as a multidisciplinary team is essential for offering high quality care.

PEEL Breakdown

  • Evidence: During a six week internship in the Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Point: I observed consultations between physicians and their patients where adolescents were treated using pharmacological and psychotherapeutic approaches.
  • Explain: Patients visited various health care professionals who would then discuss the patient and
  • Link: I learned that collaboration between doctors, healthcare providers and administrators as a multidisciplinary team is essential for offering high quality care.

Source

Hobbies

  • Aim is to show you are well rounded and have something else to offer
  • They don’t want robots, they want people with personality

Examples

  • Sports (& exercise)
  • Music, arts and theatre
  • Societies
  • Knitting, reading etc..

My interests include writing and recording my own songs. Some of them have been played on the local radio station. I have also planned and performed at concert events and shows, allowing me to exercise my teamwork and leadership skills as I often work with other musicians. Moreover, joining the American Football team and playing running back position, has given me an opportunity to socialize and interact with different people from different walks of life.

— Charles
Source

Conclusion

Things to include

  • Summary of your understand of the role (long hours, challenges)
  • Positive spin on why you want to study the course

Example

I want to be a physician within the NHS and I understand the considerable demands this career entails but more importantly I recognize how rewarding it can be as a life-long learner helping patients improve their quality of life. I feel comfortable in the learning environment offered by higher education and the NHS has a framework I believe in: integrating universal access and a high level of excellence into healthcare. I hope to be a part of this institution.

Personal Statement

Which section of your personal statement do you feel least confident about?

See results

© 2017 Munyaradzi Charles Mupinga

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