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  • Monday, December, 2022| Today's Market | Current Time: 07:56:38
  • Starting your journey in higher education and going to university can be very exciting, but there are critical elements of your application process that could back up your excitement with an acceptance letter, and on the road to your future career. Drafting a personal statement is a particularly vital element that should convey what motivates you to choose this career pathway, while showing you can clearly communicate in writing. Despite its importance, many students can find it challenging to deliver a well thought through statement. Therefore, St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, in the Caribbean, has highlighted five key tips to develop a strong personal statement: do your research, identify what you want to write about, know how to write it, make it personal, and get feedback.

        Do your research

    Before you start putting anything in writing, think about what career you would like, and investigate universities that are well-equipped to help get you there. Invest time in researching the program and if it offers opportunities that will help you meet your career goals. Your personal statement should reflect that you have done your research and know how the outcomes of the program match your professional aspirations.

    Find out what attributes they are looking for in their students, as these qualities need to be reflected in your personal statement. Some universities will list their desired traits on their website and your statement should reflect these qualities.

        Identify what you want to write about

    Now that you know the qualities that your school of choice is looking for in their students, it’s time to show through your writing that you own these characteristics. It is not always easy for people to talk about themselves, so we have created a list of questions that will help you write the answers that your school may be looking for. 

    • Why do you want to study your chosen course?
    • Why is this subject of interest to you?
    • How do your current or previous studies relate to your chosen course?
    • What are your interests outside of school such as hobbies, extra-curricular activities and additional responsibilities? What skills or qualities do these experiences give you?
    • How would studying this program support your future plans?

        Know how to write your statement

    Writing your statement eloquently is as important as the first two steps, if not more. Imagine having all the content you need but not expressing yourself effectively. It is important that the piece has a solid structure and flow of ideas. It should reflect your thought process, transitioning from one idea to the other smoothly.

    Ideally, your statement should start with an introduction to the topic you intend to address.  Following that, comes your main points, which would be the answers to the questions listed in step two. Lastly, you need to have a conclusion to wrap up the piece and tie it back to your introduction. Once you finish writing your statement, make sure you proofread it once and twice for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.

        Make it personal

    This is your opportunity to flex your strengths that are in line with your career of choice. So don’t be shy to express your enthusiasm and what you are good at. It gives a personal essence to your statement that might just get you a place in your program of choice.

    Not everyone’s journey to becoming a doctor is the same. You need to identify where you’d like to practice when you graduate and what specialty is of interest to you. You also need to have a clear understanding of what drives you, which will also help you determine how to frame your statement. Showing aspiration and a long-term plan can give the university an idea of your level of motivation. It should feel natural and easy to write about, since you’d be expressing something that you are passionate about.

        Get feedback from people you trust

    Before you go ahead with submission, it’s always worth asking people you trust for their feedback, for example your tutors, counselors, or experienced professionals. A concept may be clear in your mind, but poorly expressed in writing. They will give you an outsider’s perspective if something does not sound right or is unclear. Therefore, expect to produce several drafts of your personal statement before being totally happy with it.

    To summarize, your personal statement should give the university obvious reasons as to why you are a perfect match for their program. From the passion for the subject you are aiming to study, to your personality traits, interests, writing style, and career goals they all need to encourage the school to have you on board.

    To learn more about how to draft a top-notch personal statement for an international medical school, St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine, Grenada, in the Caribbean, will host a webinar about this topic on the 29 September at 5:30 pm IST on Zoom.

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