Personal Statement


Crafting Your Message (Part 4)

Theme 3: Why you are exceptional

Although this theme is similar to "why you are qualified," you should be very clear on the difference: whereas "why you are qualified" focuses specifically on your experience that qualifies you to be a better medical student and, ultimately, doctor, "why you are exceptional" focuses on you as a person. Admissions committees value well-rounded candidates that bring more to the table than just good grades. They want a diverse class with different views, interests, and backgrounds. The personal statement is your chance to tell the admissions committee what makes you unique and special, which will in turn help you stand out from the other applicants.

To write about this theme, ask yourself some of these questions: What makes me different? Do I have any special talents or abilities that make me more interesting? How will my skills and personality traits add diversity to the class? What makes me stand out from the crowd? How will this help me to be a better physician and student? Your goal should be to turn whatever makes you different – even a flaw – and turn it to your advantage. 

A talent, unique background, or other aspect of your life that makes you diverse can make an excellent opening to or focus of your essay, and it will surely make your it all the more personal. If you take this approach, however, make sure you always tie your story back to the first two themes: why you want to be a doctor and why you're qualified to become one. This can be a challenging task, especially if what makes you unique doesn't show an obvious connection to your aspiration of becoming a physician, but, if you creatively show what your unique background will bring to the school and practice of medicine, it can benefit your application. 

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