Hey premeds! Personal statement examples for medical school was the #1 thing that helped me write mine! So I created this post to not only share mine and give you an example, but also provide you with my best tips and resources I learned while writing my own.
If you want to learn *how* to write your personal statement, how to stand out from the sea of other applicants, where to find more great examples, and more then keep reading!
This post is all about personal statement examples for medical school.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Full disclosure here.
Personal Statement Examples for Medical School
How Long is a Personal Statement For Med School?
There is a 5,300 character limit on the AMCAS application (for MD schools) and on the AACOMAS application (for DO schools).
There is a 5,000 character limit on the TMDSAS application (for Texas schools).
Best Resources for Writing Your Personal Statement
Dr. Gray’s Personal Statement Book: This book has so many amazing examples of good versus bad med school personal statements that it is 1000% worth getting. I reference a lot of his advice from this book below when I go into my thought process behind each paragraph.
Dr. Gray’s Personal Statement Videos: In addition to his book he has at least 3 great videos for even more awesome advice! This is a great one HERE.
My Medical School Personal Statement
Suddenly, the sound of an aircraft flying towards us cut through the silence. I look out of the passenger seat window and see the helicopter we have been waiting for. Approaching the helipad, it seemed as though a single gust of wind could drastically change it’s trajectory. Despite how precarious it seemed, the pilot lands perfectly in the designated circle. Per protocol, my partner and I wait for the rotors to come to a complete stop before unloading our gurney. The flight crew meets us with their critical patient; a middle aged man suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. I look down and see that he is intubated and has blood seeping from his nose. Minutes later, as we wheel our patient into the emergency department, I wished I could heal the emotional and physical pain that had caused this injury to occur. Handing him off to the team of doctors and nurses solidified my decision to continue pursuing a career as a physician.
As my partner Lacey drives towards Overlake Hospital I sit in the back of the ambulance with my patient, “Ben”. He is about my age and we talk the entire drive. Initially, we chat about the future and he asks, “How did you decide you wanted to be a doctor?” I explain that after researching careers during my sophomore year, I knew that being a doctor was something I would be passionate about. Growing up, I had little exposure to medicine and naively assumed all doctors were geniuses, who only earned straight A’s, and decided to be doctors precisely at the age of 5. I told Ben that relinquishing the belief that “I was not the kind of person that could be a doctor” and deciding to choose a career purely based on what interested me most, was the catalyst to declare my major and pursue medicine. Next, we talk about Ben. He explains that he has been battling depression since high school and decided it was time to try inpatient treatment. “I am kind of nervous. I have never gone to a place like this and I am unsure what to expect.” I look at him and say, “It is normal to be nervous about something you have never done, but the doctors and nurses will do everything they can to help you get better.” I saw a hint of relief wash over his face. I often think about Ben because he made it clear to me that you never know what people are going through. I only knew he had depression because he was my patient. If I had met him at a coffee shop, I could have talked to him for hours without knowing what he struggles with internally. That experience reminds me to not take patient’s trust for granted.
I am pulled out of my dream as Amanda mumbles my name. My eyes open and all I see is black until they adjust to the dark bedroom. “Can I have a sip of water and my top blanket pulled down?” Still half asleep, I fulfill her requests, and then I quickly doze off again. The next morning, I cross Amanda’s arms left over right and push her torso forward until her head is almost between her knees. She likes to pause and stretch in this position so I wait for her nod to continue. I squat to her level, put my left arm around her back, firmly place my hand on her rib cage, and scoop my right arm under her knees. In two fluid motions I scoot her to the edge of the bed and lift her into her chair. As I fix her hair and position her legs she jokingly says, “Good job Maggie, that was nothing like your dream!” Amanda was referring to a dream I had previously told her about, where I forgot to turn off her chair. In my dream, the chair constantly moved back and forth, so after I lifted her out of bed I could not safely put her down. I was so worried about dropping her when I first became her caregiver that I had that dream a few times. I walk into the bathroom and Amanda wheels in behind me. After I place a catheter, shower, and dress her, I proceed to prepare the kids for soccer practice. Helping Amanda live a normal life gave me an overwhelming sense of gratification. I loved seeing how I was impacting her quality of life, which strengthened my determination to become a physician.
Growing up, I rarely saw people who “looked like me” doing things I wanted to do. I rode horses, but there were no Olympic riders that I knew of who were African American. I wanted to be a doctor, but it was not until I had graduated college that I met a physician who was an African American woman. As a kid, if you do not see something represented in society, you assume it is not possible. No child should have to question whether they can ride in the Olympics or be a doctor because of their skin color. I have enjoyed each job I have had since sophomore year, but each has failed to fulfill what I want in life. I have chosen not to settle and pursue my dream job of being a physician, with the hopes of encouraging and inspiring kids to do the same.
Personal Statement Deep Dive
As I mentioned above, I followed Dr. Gray’s advice religiously throughout the application cycle. So no surprise I mainly used his personal statement book to figure out how to tackle my own personal statement. I highly suggest getting it!
✨ 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗜 𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝘆 𝗣𝗦 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲:
“The goal of each and every sentence in your personal
statement is to make the reader want to move onto the next sentence.” Dr. Gray – page 16
One of my favorite parts of working as an EMT was getting flight calls where the patients flew in via helicopter and we drove them to the ED. I thought starting off with describing the scene of the helicopter landing and wheeling in our patient would keep the person reading this interested enough
to read more.
✨ 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗜 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆:
“When you are done with your personal statement, you should have shown the reader examples of experiences that you’ve had that have made an impact on you.” Dr. Gray – page 19
Check ✅ Working as an EMT was definitely impactful!
✨𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗜 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗵 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀:
“What is your takeaway? Put another way, how did the
experience impact your decision to continue down the path to becoming a physician.” Dr. Gray – page 20
This specific experience of mine is one that I always think of when I think about why I want to be a doctor.
✨ I wish I had a deeper level of understanding
(what is the physiology behind what is going on right now?)
✨ I wish I had a wider scope of practice to treat
him and diagnose him (what tests are going to ran, what medications are going to be given?)
Second Paragraph – What Planted the “Seed”
“𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂?” Dr. Gray – Page 71
I knew I needed to talk about when I first thought about pursuing medicine in my personal statement. I kind of intertwined that into the story in this paragraph because my “initial exposure” doesn’t really have much of a story.
Like I explained, I rarely went to doctors growing up and definitely didn’t think of myself as someone who could be one.
I always knew I would have a science or math related major and when I sat down and chose, I really just chose premed because those classes looked the most exciting.
In my interviews I say this BUT then I expand by saying “I further explored that initial interest the following summer by shadowing an orthopedic surgeon and that is when I really became hooked to the idea.” Then I explain why working as an EMT has solidified that decision for me.
The reason I make note of that is because many premeds want to be a doctor because they “love science and want to help people”. If I left it at that though, that wouldn’t be enough and it wouldn’t be unique.
“𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗼𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗽𝗵𝘆𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗻.” Dr. Gray – Page 29
So that’s why I mention my initial interest of liking science and choosing the premed track.
Then I make my story unique by adding all the impactful experiences I had 𝘢𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳 that initial decision. ✨
Third Paragraph: An Experience That Strengthened My Desire to Pursue Medicine
For this paragraph I wanted to talk about my experience as a caregiver. I worked for a quadriplegic mother of two and was responsible for her and her children’s care for 48 hour shifts. I worked every other weekend from Friday at 6pm to Sunday at 6pm.
I felt like this was a unique experience to talk about, and I didn’t get a chance to expand on it for my extracurricular description (I had three other most meaningful ECs so I used my personal statement to expand on this experience).
When you are adding stories in your own personal statement, think about stories that really SHOW your personal qualities OR stories that helped you decide you really want to be a doctor. If you notice in the story I first chose for one of my earlier drafts, it was basically a story about the kids. I think it was taking the whole story thing a little too far and I wasn’t keeping Dr. Gray’s advice in mind as well. Yes, it is a story BUT what is the point of telling a story about a sunny day in California playing with the kids?
That isn’t what the personal statement about. I redid the story because I wanted to share a story that showed the hands on responsibilities I had, how I cared about doing well, and why it was an impactful experience.
“Black female doctors represent only 2% of physicians.” (source: Forbes article written in 2020)
The most personal paragraph of my personal statement is my conclusion paragraph.
In Dr. Gray’s personal statement book, he explains that one of the goals of your personal statement is including what you hope to accomplish as a physician.
My hope as a physician is to make an impact in increasing diversity in medicine through mentorship and outreach.
“You could continue to tweak and edit your personal statement for years. You would never get anywhere though. At some point, good enough is all your need.” Dr. Gray – Page 101
Now you have seen my personal statement from start to finish. It’s not perfect, but I told my story, attempted to reflect on my impactful experiences, and shared how I hope to impact those in the future. This version was 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 and after some feedback and edits it was ready to be submitted!
I hope these personal statement examples for medical school really helped give you ideas on how to write your own!