| Getting Started... | Links | Prompts to start writing with

Getting Started...

Please download this Presentation on how to start writing your personal statement:

Here is the full text to the example personal statements referenced in the above powerpoint:


The following are great sites with even more tips and tricks. It's highly recommended to visit at least the first three.

(in order of most to least useful):




Prompts to start writing with

If you're just browsing... here are some questions to jog your thinking in preparation for the AMCAS personal statement (source). These are also very common topics asked in secondaries. They are roughly in order of importance to your application. Even freshmen and sophomores can think about these questions from time to time and add relevant thoughts as their experiences grow.

  1. The origins and a brief history of your interest in medicine. That is, "why do you want to become a doctor?" (It is essential to explain this carefully to yourself and to the medical schools). It’s especially helpful if you can share vignettes from your life which describe situations or experiences which helped you decide that medicine is for you. You may also add thoughts about any special interests within the field, and any specific sort of career that you envision for yourself in medicine. The latter point does not call for a very specific discussion, as you cannot be expected to have decided this yet.
  2. What recent particular experiences have convinced you that medicine is the right career for you?
    • working or volunteering in a clinical setting?
    • helping people in a one-to-one relationship?
    • having an exciting experience in science?
  3. Academic experience: What led you to select your major? In what ways has it fulfilled, and not fulfilled, your expectations? What courses have especially interested you and why? If majoring in a non-science, how do you expect your major will contribute to your future development as a physician? If you will write or have written a thesis, discuss the development of your interest in this project. Please describe any mentors you have had in college and what role they have played in your life.
  4. What is your background and personal story? Write about yourself, your family, and where you grew up. Write something about where you come from and how your upbringing has impacted your goals in life. Who have been the most influential people in your life outside of school?
  5. Share some strengths and weaknesses that you know about yourself. What do you take pride in about yourself? Where are you pushing yourself to develop most as a person? What three adjectives best describe you?
  6. Scientific research experience, if any - this is particularly important for M.D./Ph.D. candidates: where, when, with whom, content, responsibility and publications (if any).
  7. Special weaknesses or problems presented by your record and background for which you can provide clarification or explanation (e.g., a “sophomore slump,” a late decision for medicine, a bad test score in some area, etc.).
  8. If you interrupted your college career or took time off from school for any period, describe your activities during that time. In what ways was this time valuable and important to you?
  9. Employment: what term time and summer jobs have you held, and how many hours did you work? What did you gain from these experiences (other than income)?
  10. Your personal interests, extracurricular activities, summer activities, hobbies, community service and family circumstances which clarify and broaden the personal picture of you. In what ways have these experiences been instructive and meaningful for you?
  11. What do you see yourself doing 20 years from now? Where do you see yourself in your career? If not medicine, what would you choose to do with your life?