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3 Clichés to Avoid Saying in Your Medical School Personal Statement

Every strong medical school candidate has a pristine GPA, a solid MCAT score, and a resume crammed full of extracurricular activities. As an applicant whose great credentials blend in with those of every other applicant, it falls to your personal statement to explain why you are truly phenomenal and rise above competitors. Although it falls to you to explain in your personal statement what makes you shine as a potential doctor, here are a few of the more common clichés to avoid along the way.

Medical School Personal Statement Clichés

“I Really Enjoy Helping People

So you want to become a doctor in order to help people? That’s great, but virtually every single applicant feels the same way, and won’t hesitate to proclaim it loudly and repeatedly in their personal statements. That doesn’t mean that you should disregard altruism in your personal statement, particularly if it is one of your strengths as an applicant. Apply the principle of “show, don’t tell.” Rather than stating that you want to help people, provide an example of community service that you’ve performed and describe how it has personally impacted you. Everyone can write that they want to help people, but it takes a strong candidate to establish his or her selflessness through evidence and compelling writing.

“I come from a family of doctors”
“As the first medical school applicant in my family

Even if this weren’t a cliché, it would still not be wise to include in your personal statement. Medical schools want to see self-driven, independent candidates, not candidates who base their entire careers on what will make their parents happy.

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“I’ve always known I was going to be a doctor.

This is the ‘Divine Revelation’ cliche. You were not suddenly struck by an instantaneous, overwhelming awareness that becoming a doctor was your one and only calling. Even if you somehow were, admissions committees will interpret your decision as hasty and reckless, rather than one you arrived at over years of careful and contemplative deliberation. Going to medical school is a serious commitment, and medical schools do not want to admit someone who might drop out after suddenly realizing that his or her true calling actually lies in mechanical engineering or teaching English literature.

Of course, it will be almost impossible to entirely avoid clichés in your personal statement. It is no accident that so many personal statement themes have becomes clichés, as they are popular and compelling reasons for pursuing a career in medicine. What the strength of your personal statement comes down to is how well you are able to adopt a well-used format, inject original thoughts and ideas into it, and create a personal statement that genuinely feels like your own.

Category: Medical School