Applying to Medical School

Writing the Personal Statement for Medical School

The medical school personal statement can be one of the most difficult parts of the application for pre-medical students. The hardest part about writing the personal statement for medical school is knowing what to write about. How are you supposed to stand out amongst tens of thousands of applicants? In order to get your thought process going, ask yourself the following questions:

General Questions:

1. What is distinct and/or unique about you and/or your life story?

2. What are some specific details (personality, values, people, experiences) you can share with the admissions committee to help them get a better understanding of who you are?

3. In what ways have your experiences contributed to your growth?

4. Have you overcome any obstacles or difficult circumstances in your life?

5. What valuable personal characteristics (for example: integrity, compassion, diligence) do you have?

6. What skills (for example: communicative, leadership, administrative) do you have?


Then you need to connect the answers to the prior general questions to the following questions that are more specific towards medicine:

1. How and when did you become interested in medicine?

2. What have you learned so far about medicine?

3. Why do you want to become a doctor?

4. How do you know you want to be a doctor? Or more specifically, how have your experiences and your understanding of yourself confirmed your desire to do medicine?

5. In what ways have you shown that you have the personal characteristics necessary to succeed in the field of medicine?

6. How will your skills translate into being a good doctor?

7. Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that need explaining? (This can be an obstacle or difficult circumstance)


Though you do not want to include the answers to all these questions in your personal statement, knowing the answers to these questions is a good starting point for writing the personal statement for medical school. You should highlight a few unique experiences, skills, and/or personal characteristics and make those the focal point of your essay.


FAQs about the Medical School Personal Statement

How many characters is the medical school personal statement?

The available space for the AMCAS personal statement is is 5,300 characters (spaces are counted as characters), or approximately one page. The AACOMAS, for DO schools, is similar in length.

What are good resources for the personal statement?

There are numerous great resources while you start writing your personal statement, including this video on YouTube!

Edward Chang

Edward Chang is the Co-founder and Director of Operations of He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a urology resident at the University of Washington. He also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, graduating with a major in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. If you are interested in contributing to, please contact him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EdwardChangMD and Prospective Doctor @ProspectiveDr.

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