Top 10 tips for writing your USMLE personal statement.

In part one of “How to Write a Personal Statement for the USMLE,” we covered preparation tips and formatting suggestions when writing your personal statement. Here, we’ve put together the top 10 tips for writing and editing your statement to make it stand out.

  1. Use titles and subtitles. They not only help to tell your story, they also break up the page.
  2. Check grammar and spelling. This statement is a reflection of you. Make sure it is free of errors. A carefully written and proofed statement is a sign that the applicant is compulsive and thoughtful, just what the program is looking for.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be you! Too many applicants think that the personal statement is about discussing academic achievements and medically-related topics. Feel free to talk about experiences that make you unique—your personality and character—and your diverse background.  
  4. Highlight your accomplishments. You should dedicate some space for your accomplishments with their own title and skip a line to stand out.
  5. Don’t be too short or too long. Make sure you write enough. 10 or 15 line personal statement turns a program away from your application.  But, the statement should fit on one page.
  6. Personalize your personal statement. Tell brief stories of the patients you’ve treated. These stories could even form the basis of your interviews.
  7. Don’t begin every sentence with “I.” Every paragraph should have a topic sentence, followed by two or three sentences that support the topic, and a concluding sentence. Every paragraph should build on the paragraph that came before it. The first paragraph should indicate what you hope to prove, and the concluding paragraph should wrap everything up.  
  8. Don’t be afraid to be creative.
  9. Avoid coming off as desperate. Try to come across as a positive person. Make it clear to readers that it would be in their service to interview you.
  10. Seek feedback. Have someone else read your statement. Be open to edits and feedback.

The personal statement is your opportunity to show readers what makes you, uniquely you. Use these tips as a helpful guide and best of luck!