In this article, I explore some of the main points that I found helpful when writing my personal statement to study Medicine as a graduate-entry student. I have gone back to review my own personal statement, recalled some of the advice that was given to me by my careers advisors and asked for some insight from my graduate medic peers so that I can hopefully provide you with some useful tips.
I think it is useful to remember that writing a personal statement for Medicine as a graduate-entry student shows many similarities to writing a personal statement for Medicine as an undergraduate student. Highlighting personal motivations behind your desire to study Medicine, indicating the relevant scientific, or other, content that stimulates your interest in a medical career, reflecting on what you have learned from your work experience and discussing your skills using examples and extra-curricular activities, for example, all remain useful to show that you are an educated, suitable and well-rounded student to study Medicine (do check out our blog post ‘How Do You Write a Personal Statement For Medicine?’!).
Graduate students applying to Medicine will, by definition, be completing (or already have completed) an undergraduate degree during their application process. Studying a degree is a significant life event and often one during which skills are developed and knowledge is acquired, both of which will often be relevant to a career in Medicine. The universities receiving your personal statement may be hoping to see how you have developed over the past three or four years of your degree, and how this development shows further your commitment and suitability to study Medicine.
The undergraduate degree may also be the most recent, or at least relatively recent, life event in terms of education for many graduate applicants. Like how undergraduate students discuss aspects of their most recent and important life event in terms of education ie. higher school education (such as A-Levels in England and Scottish Highers in Scotland etc.), graduate-entry students will discuss aspects of their undergraduate degree (their most recent education). Furthermore, for a portion of graduate students, the undergraduate degree is the time during which students may become certain that a career in Medicine is the route that they would like to pursue (like it was for myself).
So, it makes sense and will be appropriate to discuss selected and important aspects of your undergraduate degree in your personal statement when applying to Medicine as a graduate applicant.
The type of undergraduate degree will help to determine what you will write about. For example – Which degree did you study? Was it a science or a non-science degree? Which modules did you take? Did you have a placement year? Did you study an integrated masters? And so on. Regardless of the degree or type of degree you studied, there will likely be aspects that you would like to discuss which have contributed to your choice and suitability to study Medicine.
Graduate students will have a huge range of modules, experiences and skills from their undergraduate degree that they may want to write about. After brainstorming the options you could write about, it is likely that you will be overwhelmed with how many there actually are! Therefore, I would say it is advisable to focus on the most important examples you can provide which highlight yourself as an individual and your dedication and suitability to study Medicine, rather than listing every single example and not reflecting on them properly. Make sure you choose your examples carefully – ask yourself which genuinely helped to stimulate your interest in and educate your desire to study and practice Medicine and reflect on why this was.
It helped me to focus on highlighting WHAT about and HOW specifically aspects of the undergraduate degree I chose to discuss are important to show reasons for my choice and dedication to study Medicine. Try to use these examples, alongside discussion about other personal statement content, such as work experience, to demonstrate you understand what a career in Medicine entails and the skills required.
You could write about, for example, relevant studying content of the undergraduate degree, wider reading from lectures, your final year project, skills and attributes that you have developed over the past three or four years that may be transferred to studying and practising Medicine (such as organisation, time management, managing stress, remaining calm under pressure [university exam revision relevance] OR teamwork [coursework group project relevance] and so on),work experience and/or placements that you have undergone as part of your degree, extra-curricular activities you have participated in during this time… really, anything that you feel has helped to strengthen your capabilities to pursue a career in Medicine.
Just a note to say remember to make the personal statement personal to YOU. No one has undergone the same combination of experiences and has the same range and extent of abilities as you do. The experiences you had during your undergraduate degree have likely contributed significantly to your decision and capabilities to study Medicine and have shaped you into the candidate you are right now.
I discussed my motivations to study Medicine alongside aspects of my undergraduate degree that encouraged and expanded these motivations. For example, I studied Biomedical Sciences and specialised in Reproductive Biology, which had a considerable clinical component that I thoroughly enjoyed. I tied this into discussing related work experience, at a fertility clinic, and how this experience helped to further stimulate my interest in Medicine. I also discussed undergraduate degree content, for example, from the pharmacology modules I had studied. I expressed how I found this content incredibly interesting and saw application of this information I had learned during work experience at a GP surgery.
Overall, I would suggest focusing on selected examples and events that have genuinely impacted YOUR decision and commitment to study Medicine. It is always useful to do your research, seek advice from a range of individuals and reliable resources and ask people around you to read through your personal statement and provide any feedback they may have. Take your time with it, believe in yourself and best of luck!
Author: Carolina Williams
Editor: Allegra Wisking