Health Professions Advising

Leslie Bell
Interim Health Professions Advisor

The Health Professions Advising Office is located on the third floor of Bristol Center.


Personal Statement


Dos and Don'ts

Here is a final checklist of things you should do and should avoid while writing your essay:
  • Get personal.
  • Be yourself.
  • Tell a story.
  • Use details, but not excessively so.
  • Be honest and sincere.
  • Write about what interests you.
  • Plan before you write.
  • Show instead of tell.
  • Be specific.
  • Start writing your first draft early.
  • Be concise.
  • Establish your identity and write in the first person.
  • Elaborate on experiences that demonstrate your personality traits and motivation to pursue medicine.
  • Turn weaknesses into strengths. Steer the essay toward your strong points.
  • Be self-confident.
  • Have Leslie North look at it as soon as possible so she can tell if you're going in the right direction.
  • Schedule a Writing Center conference.
  • Revise, proofread, and read aloud.
  • Pay attention to the character limit.
  • Mention high school accomplishments unless outstandingly relevant.
  • Discuss controversial subjects like politics or religion or something from your past that could be embarrassing. 
  • Be overly creative or use gimmicks; you may come off as cutesy or immature. Err on the conservative side.
  • Write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
  • Be overly formal.
  • Exaggerate or embellish.
  • Use jargon or technical language.
  • Write about what it takes to be a good doctor (your audience already knows this) or preach to the committee.
  • Use a thesaurus if you can avoid it.  If you do use a thesaurus, only use words that you know the exact meaning and connotations of (a dictionary can help you with this).
  • Name drop.
  • Begin every sentence with "I."
  • Start with a joke unless you're naturally funny.
  • Underestimate the importance of the essay.