Medicine Personal Statement
Having a passion for science and human behaviour, a medical career feels inevitable. I am fascinated by the body’s functions and ability to repair itself, and excited at the prospect of being able to assist when it can no longer cope unaided. Doctors’ decisions impact on patients’ quality of life and sense of wellbeing and can mean life or death. I believe I have the right mix of skills to succeed as a doctor and to meet the demands placed on the profession.
My diverse and relevant work experience demonstrates my commitment to medicine. I have worked with the elderly, children with special needs and adults with chronic and debilitating illnesses, and have had clinical and surgical exposure.
I volunteer at a home for the elderly that accommodates Alzheimer’s patients. I spend time with the residents and assist them in many ways while recognising their need for independence. I gain a lot from talking to them and learning about their pasts. At times they do not want to talk and just need to feel someone is there for them. At another home I organised a concert with friends to entertain the residents and to raise money for the Shooting Star charity. I also help at a primary school assisting at homework club. Recently I started volunteering at a special needs farm, which gives people the chance to meet farm animals and ride horses. This enables me to interact with people with various disabilities and to understand the issues their families face.
I have spent time on a hospital stroke ward where I saw MRI scans, and observed the initial assessment to determine a diagnosis. I also attended a Parkinson’s clinic and learned about symptoms and treatment. Being in a hospital environment taught me the importance of listening to patients when asking about their symptoms and experiences to ensure a sound diagnosis.
I also spent two weeks at a veterinary hospital to benefit from the clinical and surgical experience this offered. I observed consultations, assisted during procedures, observed operations, monitored post-operative recovery, and learned about stitching techniques. I also learned about procedures for dispensing drugs and surgical sterilisation.
My academic studies have been invaluable. Biology - learning about the human body; developing analytical and research skills, including field course work; practical application and dissection. Chemistry - identifying unknown chemicals by considering the evidence and drawing conclusions, a key part of making a diagnosis in medicine; understanding the chemical reactions that take place within the body to sustain life. Mathematics – communicating results from complex applications and formulae in meaningful ways. Psychology - understanding how experiences, emotions and motivations drive people to behave and interact in certain ways; learning about neuropsychology and the use of drugs to treat mental illness. History - writing quickly and concisely under time pressure to put arguments across clearly. I have met the rigours and challenges of all courses and the numerous self-study units are an opportunity to demonstrate time-management skills and autonomy.
In my spare time I enjoy a variety of hobbies. I swim, play rounders and netball, and have captained the team on occasion. My leadership skills have been in demand in many areas of my life, including school projects. I also attend a theatre school, where I take lessons in dance, singing and drama, gaining a LAMDA qualification. I love singing and have performed solo in concerts and at school events. I read whenever I can and am working my way through a list of ‘1000 books you must read,’
I have wanted to study medicine for a long time, am fully committed to this career and highly motivated. I will enjoy the challenges of the course and have the ability, confidence and desire to succeed. Medicine is a career for life, a life I will find enjoyable, worthwhile and fulfilling.
Universities Applied to:
- UEA (Medicine) - Offer (AAB) Firm
- Peninsula (Medicine) - Offer (AABa) Declined
- Southampton (Medicine) - Rejection
- Cardiff (Medicine) - Rejection
- UEA (Pharmacy) - Offer (BBB) Insurance
- Biology (A2) - A*
- Maths (A2) - A
- Chemistry (A2) - A
- History (AS) - A
- Psychology (AS) - B
- Citizenship (AS) - B
Generally speaking, this is a good personal statement, though there are some areas which could have been done better. There is a tendency for the author to make observations and not reflect on them, i.e.
"Doctors’ decisions impact on patients’ quality of life and sense of wellbeing and can mean life or death."
Whilst the point the above sentence makes is a valid one, what does it tell the reader about the applicant's suitability? What's needed in this specific example is a reassurance that the author feels they are responsible enough to withstand the pressure of making important decisions. Whenever a point is brought up, it needs to be specifically linked to the applicant.
There is a similar issue later on in the statement, in a paragraph describing their work experience:
"I also spent two weeks at a veterinary hospital to benefit from the clinical and surgical experience this offered. I observed consultations, assisted during procedures, observed operations, monitored post-operative recovery, and learned about stitching techniques. I also learned about procedures for dispensing drugs and surgical sterilisation."
Again, we are given information, but we are missing crucial reflection from the author. What did they take from, say, observing post-operative recovery? All we can say for certain from the paragraph is that they did in in fact observe it, but we are left in the dark as to how it benefited them. Ideally, work experience should not be 'listed', but extrapolated on; the reader should be able to get a feel for exactly how and why the work experience in question bettered the applicant's insight into a medical career.
Other than this, there are some minor structuring issues with regards to paragraphing. There is a general impression that the statement could benefit from a slight reshuffling, in order to make sure no individual paragraphs are overly short. Here, the second paragraph is only two sentences long, which calls into question whether it deserves to be a paragraph in its own right.
On the whole though, there is evidence of clear insight into a medical career, and prospective applicants would do well to learn from it.