THE DO'S

  1. Unite your essay and give it direction with a theme or thesis. The thesis is the main point you want to communicate.
  2. Before you begin writing, choose what you want to discuss and the order in which you want to discuss it.
  3. Use concrete examples from your life experience to support your thesis and distinguish yourself from other applicants.
  4. Write about what interests you, excites you. That's what the admissions staff wants to read.
  5. Start your essay with an attention-grabbing lead--an anecdote, quote, question, or engaging description of a scene.
  6. End your essay with a conclusion that refers back to the lead and restates your thesis.
  7. Edit or revise your essay at least three times.
  8. In addition to your editing, ask someone else to critique your personal statement.
  9. Proofread your personal statement by reading it out loud. Record yourself reading it and then play it back so you can listen for errors.
  10. Write clearly, succinctly.

THE DON'TS

  1. Don't include information that doesn't support your thesis.
  2. Don't start your essay with "I was born in..." or "My parents came from..."
  3. Don't write an autobiography, itinerary, or resume in prose.
  4. Don't try to be a clown (but gentle humor is OK).
  5. Don't be afraid to start over if the essay just isn't working or doesn't answer the essay question.
  6. Don't try to impress your reader with your vocabulary.
  7. Don't rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling or grammar.
  8. Don't provide a collection of generic statements and platitudes.
  9. Don't give mealy-mouthed, weak excuses for your GPA or test scores.
  10. Don't make things up.

LET'S GET STARTED

Now that you have these guidelines to work with, you can get started on your personal statement. Need more help moving forward? Check out our medical school complete packages for the guidance and direction necessary to draft a compelling story and the comprehensive editing needed to perfect it.

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