Personal Statement: Tips on Writing about Suitability
Medical personal statements are tricky, especially when thinking about applying for medicine. In your application, the purpose of suitability is to try to figure how you as a person could suit a career in medicine.
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It might be tempting to tell an elaborate tale about the time you built a school in Somalia. But it if it isn’t true, you shouldn’t put it on your application!
You of course want to impress the medical schools you’re applying to, but you can do it truthfully. You don’t need to be the most altruistic person ever; you need to show that you’re human. You can demonstrate key skills for medicine, such as empathy and teamwork, through a simple volunteering placement, for example.
It’s worth noting that simply stating qualities like “I am a hard worker” isn’t enough to get you recognised; you’ll need to be more specific. Whenever you list a quality like “being a hard worker”, ask yourself why that’s important for medicine and how you can best display these. You don’t need to cite these exact qualities but let’s look at few that you might want to consider:
Teamwork: Working cooperatively is important for medical professionals to do their jobs. Examples of group activities in school would display teamwork well, for example. But so too would being on a sports team. There’s lots of room for interpretation – it’s all about how you apply your skills to medicine.
Empathy: Showing that you can deal with people well will go a long way. With explaining a quality like this, you could tie your medical work experience with other forms of work, like care work. Working in a restaurant requires similar qualities, to make sure customer needs are met. You could consider a time you perhaps took care of a family member or a friend.
Resilience: A medical career will carry with it a degree of stress. Showing that you are aware of the realities of it in your application might help you get noticed. Talk about how you best manage stress – here might be a good point to talk about your extracurricular activities.
If you’re really struggling, don’t be scared to ask someone who knows you well to help. Get your friends, family, or a teacher to tell you what sort of qualities you have and when you’ve displayed them. From these, try and work out which might be useful to explain why you’d be right for a career in medicine.
This isn’t easy so don’t be afraid to take some time to think it through. Set some time aside to work on it and, again, ask for help if you’re stuck. Overall, you’ll want to get this right because it’ll go a long way to help improve your application.
Written by Oran Bailey
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