Personal Statements for the Health Sciences

Report
Personal Statements
for the Health
Sciences
Interesting Personal
Statements
 Tell a STORY

unique, compelling, honest, positive, down-to-earth
 Explain WHY you are in love with something
that you do
 SHOW the application reader why or how you
will make a good health professional
 ANSWERS questions posed on application.
 Are well written: well crafted, polished prose
The Basic “Shape”: Opening
The goal is to tell your story. . . Begin with:
 A “hook” (or anecdote) that breathes life
into your statement.
 A summary of experience or statement
of your preparedness.
 A statement that explains why this
school, this profession, this faculty
mentor, etc.
The Basic Shape: Body
Elaborates on the opening:
 Explains your background, education, and/or community;
 Gives the reasons you became interested in the health
profession(s);
 Describes your academic preparation (including lab or
research), any relevant work, and other experiences, i.e.,
volunteer work.
 Describes your research concisely. (Leave out
minute details-write for a general scientific
audience.)
 Offers a sense of what you gained from these
experiences—what qualities have you developed as a
student and a professional-in-the-making?
The Basic Shape: Conclusion
Wrap up with final thoughts and
comments:
 What do you want to do with this
degree?
 Wrap up any dangling ends
 Make final connections/Tell results
 Final statement of purpose


Makes connection to mission statement
Notes specific faculty members of interest
The “Secondary” Statement
The secondary application essay is about
your “fit” in the program/school of your
choice:
 Tailored to each school;
 Demonstrates particular skills sets;
 Explains why this program is right for
you and/or best enables you to meet
your goals.
Getting Started: Questions
Why you? Why should you be you considered a strong
candidate for this program?
 What experience(s) led you to become interested in a
specific area of health-science? Classes, readings,
seminars, work, volunteer experiences?
 Have your failures made you a stronger candidate? (For
Candidate who need to explain any gaps or
discrepancies in their academic records.)
 Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or
hardships? How have these experiences shaped you?
 What evidence can you provide for your desirable
personal characteristics: persistence, determination,
good problem-solving skills, or taking the initiative?
Examples
Why I Love Science: A Personal Statement
J. Phys. Chem. A, 2004, 108 (45), pp 9627–9628
“I do not know when I first became interested in science. I think
it was a slowly evolving process that started with my love for
mathematics in high school, which was transferred to science
as I realized the beauty of its application to the understanding of
the world around us. I was particularly excited in a freshman
chemistry course taught by Bob Rosenberg at Lawrence
College, in which I discovered how simple physical models
could be used to distill complex phenomena to their essential
simplicity. I did not come from a scientific family. On the
contrary, my mother was an artist and my father a bookbinder,
which exposed me to art at a very early age. However, I have
come to realize the close connection between art and science.
Both artists and scientists attempt to understand the world by
reducing its complexity to a few strokes of a brush or simple
concepts such as Coulomb's law. So, perhaps I owe my interest
in science to my artist parents.”
Examples
Telling your story:
www.phikappaphi.org
“I was going to be late. At this point, the clock on my dashboard
all but dared me to think otherwise. Regardless, I kept glancing
at the shoulder of the . . . freeway, thinking that if I got out and
ran I would just make it in time to set up the event. Since the car
was not moving, I decided to go over my speech. It wasn’t
much, just a few words jotted down to commemorate the
moment: “I would like to welcome all of you to the first
orientation session for the Collegiate Med Volunteers. It is our
hope that this program will allow you first-hand experience in
the medical field while also serving to lighten the load of an
overworked county hospital staff…” After the first two
sentences, I stopped reading, accelerated two feet forward, and
anxiously stuffed the crumpled sheet back into my pocket. The
volunteer program that I had been developing for four months
was finally coming to fruition.”
Resources
OWL Purdue:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/01/
Cathie Griffin’s Advice:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/student/st
udent_life/article1473952.ece
Sell yourself:
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previou
s_issues/articles/2006_01_06/sell_yourself_guidance_for_devel
oping_your_personal_statement_for_graduate_school_applicati
ons
Sample Personal Statements:
http://www.phikappaphi.org/web/Files/sample_personal_statement
s.pdf
Michelle LaFrance, Ph.D.
Additional Resources
 http://www.wagner.edu/departments/pre_health/statement 
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advice on what to do and include
http://www2.ucsc.edu/careers/health/statement.html - the
personal statement
http://www2.ucsc.edu/careers/health/strategies.html
One of the best sources is “Write for Success”; it has sample
personal statements and critiques of their strong and weak
points by admission officers at 3 medical schools
http://www.ltsc.ucsb.edu/health/info_sheets/personal_statement
.PDF
http://www.cmu.edu/hpp/achieve/pstips.html
http://advisingservices.ucdavis.edu/advising/hsa/handouts/writin
g_personal_statement_application_health_profession_school.ht
ml

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