, 15 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
There are many guides on how to write a personal statement. I thought I’d share my own thoughts for all those #premed & #medstudenttwitter folks. This is just my opinion, but it’s served me well.

So here goes: a #tweetorial on the PERSONAL STATEMENT!

#meded #medtwitter
Unlike another recent #medthread on the PS, I don’t think we should be using it to scare our applicants or to expect that they entertain us. Applying for the next level be it med school, residency, or whatever is stressful enough! Let’s support our applicants through it!
First of all, I think the PS when poorly written can definitely lose you an interview. When written in a super compelling way, it may tip you toward getting an interview, but in the vast majority of cases, it doesn’t move the needle much. So first rule: don’t get weird.
That means this is not the time to write about your theory on the JFK assassination, or to write in iambic pentameter. You might get a reader that totally digs it, but the likelihood of that is low across the application process, so I personally think it’s too big a risk.
That means also avoiding things that can be construed as poor traits. You may have all the best intentions, but if someone reads a story & thinks that you came off callous, unethical, etc, it’ll be a no go. So have a friend read it and challenge them to find the negatives!
With all the potential pitfalls, it gets stressful! But the PS can also be liberating.

I think of the PS as a way for you to tell the program more about you as a person that is not apparent in your CV. It’s a time to tell everyone your story and how it ties into your career!
That means that there’s no need to regurgitate your CV, but rather spend the time telling the program about your journey to this point. And importantly, while chronologically organizing your PS may be easy, there are other more effective ways to do it!
Here’s my approach to the PS. Everyone’s got a different take, so bear with me as I take you through mine:

Start with a compelling story - perhaps a patient you saw, an interaction you witnessed, a family member’s experience. Hook the reader and don’t dwell too long!
Move quickly to your thesis statement from your hook. Really just a few sentences to get there is all you need (so you can save space to tell the program more later).

Your thesis statement should be clear but not too narrow. If too narrow, it can turn some people off!
What I mean is this-compare:

“This experience has helped me realize my passion for patient care.”


“This experience has helped me realize my passion for neurosurgery.”

The reader may think, “what’ll happen if they can’t get into neurosurg? Will they give up?”
I’m not saying you should lie. If you truly want to do xyz, you can say it, but I recommend our applicants also include an acknowledgement that that plan might not work out, and they they’d still be committed to a career in medicine!
So moving on from the thesis - show the program your journey to where you are. Maybe this means why you did certain activities, or why you went to a certain school. It doesn’t have to be chronological, just logical and easy to follow.
The big points that most of my advisees don’t emphasize (but I like) are:
- what is unique about you? What do you bring to the table?
- what are you looking for in a future program? (& every program of course will fit this😉)
- where do you see yourself in 10, 15, 30 years?
Some final thoughts:

Don’t get too controversial... yet. Wait to get in first, and then once you’ve got your platform, that’s when you enact the change you want!

We suck at writing in medicine, so have friends outside of medicine proofread your PS.

Revise like crazy!
Hope this helps at least a couple people out there! Thanks for joining! Also, apologies for veering off in a bit of a tangent from my usual #dermtwitter!

Disagree with me? Have other thoughts? Leave a comment to help others!👇👇👇
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Steven Chen
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!