Personal Statement: 5 Tips on Writing About Motivation

Writing your medical personal statement and want tips on how to write about your motivation? 

Because studying medicine is such a commitment, universities want to know that you have sufficient motivation to make it through – and you’ll have to prove it on your personal statement.

After all, no medical school wants to take on a student who realises medicine is not for them after a few years! Here are some top tips on how to write about your motivation for medicine. 

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1. Be honest

Don’t write about how you’ve wanted to help people since you were in utero because chances are when you were that young the goal was more orientated towards food and warmth.

You may have wanted to be a doctor since you were very young, but why? Explain it to them, else it will seem false. You don’t have to have wanted to be a doctor for years – you just need to want it now, and be ready to commit yourself.

2. Don’t give them a bog standard answer

Every student naturally gravitates towards writing the same thing – ‘I want to help people’ and ‘I want to give back to my community’ and ‘I like science’. If you’re going to use something along those lines, justify yourself.

3. Trust yourself

If your reason for wanting to do medicine makes you want to do medicine, it’s enough – you just have to justify it to the university, not to anyone else. It doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks it’s ‘not enough’- if you can convince the admissions board, it’s fine.


4. Know what you want

You don’t have to list every stereotypical reason and you don’t have to be a cliché – if you want to do it, you want to do it, and that will be evident in your statement. On the other hand, if you actually aren’t that convinced about medicine, that’ll be clear too – so make sure you know what you want.

Really consider if you’re choosing medical school because of the degree or because of the career- because there are much easier ways to earn money/get into research/give back to people.

5. Remember that medicine is a vast subject

It’s unlikely that you’ll end up in the specialty you think is most suited to you at this point in time. Universities aren’t expecting you to lay down a life plan for them but they are expecting you to have considered this – are you willing to change? Are you dead set on being a clinical geneticist within neurophysiology, or have you considered the wider implications of a career in medicine, given that it will remain competitive for the rest of your life?

They will want to know that your enthusiasm isn’t for one single topic, that you will remain engaged for the entire course. Try and include something that shows you have a wider understanding of doctors, medicine and its impact – and don’t worry if you have no clue what you want to do!

You don’t have to be a budding cardiothoracic surgeon and you don’t have to know what every specialty does – you just have to show them that you’re willing to get stuck in and give it a go regardless.  

Medical school can be a long few years, but it can also be some of the best in your life – so let the admissions board know that your enthusiasm for medicine will get you through. Good luck!

Words: Katie Hodgkinson


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