Personal Statement Motivation
The first part of your personal statement should cover your motivation to study medicine. This needs to be clear, powerful and convincing. This section demonstrates some of the popular ways of establishing motivation to study medicine on your personal statement, and suggests how you can personalise and improve upon them.
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Personal Statement Motivation: How Long Should My Motivation Section Be?
It should be one paragraph. Not too short, otherwise it lacks substance. But not too long, or it loses power.
Personal Statement Motivation: How Do I Show Motivation To Study Medicine?
In our experience, the vast majority of personal statements open with one of the following popular gambits:
1. ‘Science + People’
‘I like science and I like working with people, so I want to be a doctor’
2. ‘Medical Epiphany’
‘I had a certain experience at some point that made me want to be a doctor’
Before you scramble to your editing suite, be assured that both of these are fine ways to start your personal statement. It’s true; you do need to stand out. But you can do that within the context of one of the above openings.
The key is to put a personal spin on them. Make them your own.
Reflect on what it really means to be a doctor and why it is the path you want to follow. Honesty is critical throughout the personal statement — and here most of all.
Saying that you like both science and interacting with people is a perfectly logical way to begin explaining why you want to be a doctor. And, in many cases, it’s very honest.
The risks are that it can sound formulaic. It might not stand out and it is sometimes unconvincing.
So, you need a personal spin on it. We recommend applying this chain of thought:
- Why do I love science and what’s a personal example of this?
- What is it about caring for people that inspires me and what experience sparked this?
- How do the two things above fuse together in the career of a doctor?
If you had an experience that made you want to be a doctor, you can certainly use that. However, don’t feel that you will be disadvantaged if this is not the case. You don’t need to manufacture a medical epiphany if there wasn’t one.
Where you truly were inspired by one moment, try following this line of questioning:
- What was the experience exactly and what did you learn about Medicine?
- Why did this make you want to be a doctor?
- What did you do to solidify this emotional response in an analytical way?
Take note that you need to have acted on this feeling by discovering the realities of life as a doctor.
Personal Statement Motivation: Can I Use Clichés?
Avoid clichés in your opening paragraph. An example might be: ‘Since I was 5-years old, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor.’
The trouble with a cliché is that it is, by definition, used by many people. Therefore, it must be either non-specific, dishonest, or both.
Being honest about your own reasons and personal motivations is essential!
Personal Statement Motivation: Should I Say I Have Doctors In My Family?
Many applicants view having a doctor (or many) in the family an awkward truth. Will they think I am blindly following my parents? Will this undermine my personal motivation?
Actually, it depends how you express it.
It doesn’t look great if you say: ‘I want to be a doctor because my father was a doctor and he wanted me to follow in his footsteps.’
But not because your father was a doctor! Simply because you have not conveyed the fact that you have done your own investigation and reflected on what being a doctor means.
What would be more impressive is a statement that says:
‘My father was a doctor. Initially, I was fascinated by the simple idea that he helped improve peoples’ lives.
That inspired me to find out more about what he did every day. In doing so, I was able to learn more about the realities of being a doctor: the highs, the lows, the pride and the heartbreak.
From that starting point, I was inspired to learn more about medicine and undertake my own experiences. That’s when I knew that I too wanted to be a doctor.’
If you were inspired by a family member, we don’t suggest you hide that. Remember: be honest. But you must show that it sparked an individual passion within you.