A personal statement is a one to two page essay in which you address the following topics:

  • Why you have selected your field of health care
  • Challenges that may have influenced your educational pursuits
  • Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record

Make Your Statement Distinctive

Your statement of purpose is the way in which you will make yourself stand out from other applicants.  You must emphasize your unique experiences.  One way to do this is to choose one detailed example of an anecdote that is unique of your experience.  For instance, you might write about a critical moment which influenced your decision to pursue the health care field.

To ensure your statement stands out and reflects your unique personal experience, read through it with a highlighter in hand. Highlight each sentence or partial sentence that only you could say about your goals and life experiences. The more yellow, the better! Get rid of anything that is not specific to you, and work to provide enough details and personal anecdotes so that the majority of your statement can be highlighted in yellow.

Guidelines for an original and intriguing statement of purpose

  • Strive for depth rather than breadth; narrow your focus to one or two themes, ideas, or experiences
  • Tell the reader what no other applicant could honestly be able to say
  • Provide insight into what drives you
  • Be yourself rather than pretending to be the ideal applicant
  • Do your research about the school - address the school’s unique features that attract you personally
  • Evaluate your experiences rather than merely recounting them

Format

Your statement of purpose should begin with a distinctive opening that catches the attention of the admission committee.  The introduction usually becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.

Subsequent paragraphs should address your qualifications, including your experience in the field, your compatibility with the program, and your long-term goals.  Because you only have a limited number of pages or characters in which to write, you must include pertinent detail in your statement while writing concisely.

Your conclusion should tie together the various issues that you have raised in the essay and reiterate your interest in the specific program. You might also mention how the degree you seek is a step towards a long-term goal.

The language you use should indicate that you are an elegant and poised writer.  Use only professional terms when writing about your clinical experience. 

Revising

Leave ample time after you have written your first draft for adequate revision.  Tighten the structure of your sentences and correct errors in grammar or syntax.  Make sure you have followed the directions in the application.  If you are asked a specific question, such as why you are applying to that particular program, make sure you have adequately addressed that question before elaborating on your qualifications as a student, previous experience, etc.

Once you have completed your initial revisions, enlist the help of faculty members to proofread your paper.  It will benefit you to seek the help of more than one faculty member to proofread, so that the revising process is as thorough as possible.  In some cases, proofreaders might have different opinions on how to revise a part of your statement, at which point you need to use your own judgment.  Remember, it is your statement of purpose and should above all express what you think is pertinent to your candidacy.  It also helps once you have completed the first set of revisions to have a completely new proofreader revise your statement.  Acquiring a variety of perspectives will only benefit you, since the admissions committee reading your statement will likewise be diverse.

Both Dean Almeida and Andrew are more than willing to read through your personal statement and provide feedback.  However, please first visit the Writing Center and have your essay reviewed there for purpose of content, grammar and general flow of your essay.  You may, then, email your statement to Dean Almeida or Andrew for further comments.

Things to Avoid

If you are applying to individual programs, each application may ask similar questions with only slight variation.  Do not be tempted to use the exact same statement for all schools.  

  • Avoid unnecessary duplication.  Do not include details that appear elsewhere in your application.  For example, it is unnecessary to include your GPA or grades, since they are already present on your transcript.
  • Do not make general statements without providing supporting evidence to back them up.  For example, you cannot simply state that you would make a good doctor without including evidence, such as your clinical experience, to support your claim.
  • Do not use contractions.

Character Limits

This table lists the maximum number of characters allowed in a particular personal statement

DegreeApplicationLimit
DO AACOMAS 4,500
DPM AACPMAS 4,500
DMD AADSAS 4,500
MD AMCAS 5,300
OD OPTOMCAS 4,500
DVM VMCAS 5,000