Writing Tips for Medical School Admission Essays
Most students feel the admission essay is the most dreaded part of the whole medical school application process, but they are failing to see the unique opportunity they have to speak directly to the admission committee and to let the members see their true personality, get a sense of who they are as individuals and what skills, thoughts, insights and opinions they will bring to their institution.
It’s true that you can write just about anything in your application essay, at least as far as the members of the admission committee are concerned, but while you express your values and qualities you must also clearly explain and verify your suitability for medicine, because in the end your goal is to be admitted to a medical school and not just to be likeable. Exercise your creativity to craft an essay that conveys the two most basic points of why you’ve chosen this field, and what makes you qualified for this profession.
Considering the serious commitment that medicine requires it’s not that common for people to choose it as their calling later in life. In fact, chances are you’ve always wanted to become doctors, so why not write about that in your admission essays. This doesn’t mean you should bore the medical school admission officers starting with “I've wanted to become a doctor ever since I was little”. The truth is your basic reasons for choosing medicine are probably very similar to everyone else's and you need to be pretty insightful when expressing your uniqueness. Describe your early life experiences, or possibly explain the direct impact that certain medical person has had on you, or on someone you personally know and care for, and then let the readers naturally unfold your interest in this noble calling as they go through your essay.
While you demonstrate your motivations through the experiences you share, you can also extrapolate insights about your qualifications for medicine. This way you can avoid simply listing the attributes you assume you possess, and discuss concrete situations where you’ve applied the particular abilities and qualities. Also keep in mind that your admission essay is an integrated whole and not just a checklist of questions that you must answer, and organize your writing accordingly. Here are few other tips medical students should know when writing their admission essays:
Remember to answer the essay question. Every other element of your admission essay may be perfect but if you fail to provide this crucial information you won’t be admitted to any institution.
Be original and interesting, use personal details, but don’t get too wordy. Just think of the number of essays the admission committee members read every year – though it most probably is true that you want to become a doctor so you can help people, it’s best not to focus on that moment in your essay but to reveal the specific actions that you’ve taken in that direction. Include personal details, and keep the readers interested and wanting to know more about you as they go through your writing. Also be concise so you won’t confuse them about the important ideas you try to convey.
Watch your spelling and grammar. Use rather active than passive voice verbs because passive voice can make the content seem flat and uninteresting. Try to vary the length of the sentences and paragraphs, and use transitions that naturally progress from your arguments instead of just words like as a result, in addition, nevertheless, while, since, or furthermore.
Ask others for their opinions – have they understood your essay’s central theme, do you engage with your introduction and provide closure with your conclusion, have you summarized correctly, does the whole essay support your main argument, what does it say about your personality, what’s the best or the most memorable part, etc.?
Never forget to revise. The first step to improving your medical school admission essay is to apply the previously addressed corrections. Cut where necessary, provide additional elaboration where unclear, make the required changes and then read your essay again until you are completely satisfied.
Alex is a student, writer and a blogger. He can help you to write admission essay. Follow him on twitter @AlexPetryck.