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"My medical aspirations" - Personal statement for graduate entry medicine

Hello everyone

I have attached a statement below and would very much appreciate your insight - about the flow, tone, whether its succinct and anything else. Be brutal, the admissions officers will be :-)


One incense cone, two sticks, and a candle. I was eleven and a young man with down's syndrome was showing me how to package these items into fiddly gift sets as part of a learning disability work scheme. Experiences like these with local charities and with international mental health and addiction organisations in my teens and twenty's were critical in shaping my sense of citizenship. I essentially developed a fundamental albeit pragmatic desire to be socially responsible and to provide support for those who needed it most; which in time developed into a desire to pursue a career in medicine.

After six years working and volunteering overseas I returned to the UK in 2005 and became a radio dispatcher for the South Central ambulance service. Introduced to the essentially civilising British convention of the NHS and healthcare provision, I immediately felt an immense sense of professional fulfilment, purpose and perspective. It was here in my new vocational home that an avid interest in science quickly grew.

Within a year I began to crave career progression and a return to face-to-face, hands-on people- centric problem solving. I subsequently considered which front line health care profession might be the right choice for me and it was then that medicine emerged as a clear and natural winner.

I began an Access to Science course and the following year embarked upon a Bsc in Human and Medical Science. Two years into my degree and I have progressed steadily, now being predicted a 1st class honours. I have found that my maturity, level headedness, superior organisation and dedication have been critical in my developing academic success, and are attributes which I hope to bring to medicine.

My medical aspirations were reaffirmed during my time shadowing doctors in my local A&E department. I learnt that hospitals aren't glamorous, are often heart wrenching, and that being a doctor requires an immense amount of innate applied and social skill, both of which I genuinely feel I possess.

Every Thursday I spend my afternoon at the Headway day centre in Milton Keynes for adults with acquired head injury. The extremely enjoyable participation in cognitive therapies such as debates, art and physiotherapy workshops has given me insight both into the physical and emotional barriers faced by head injury patients, and also into the importance of community rehabilitation services.

My summer breaks in contrast to my term time commitments are an opportunity to maintain my overseas voluntary interests. Last year I travelled to Jammu Kashmir, where I worked with a local charity to produce a health and hygiene booklet for women in remote mountainous regions. During this amazing experience I learnt not only how to research and compile such a document, but also about the selfless and tenacious dedication exhibited by healthcare professionals in the region; attributes which I hope to also display in practice.

This summer I'm staying closer to home, and have been afforded the opportunity of working in one of The University of Westminster laboratories. This process has given me a new understanding and respect for the critically analytical, meticulous and creative thinking required for effective research. Much like medical doctors the scientists I have encountered are driven primarily by an ambition of social betterment and for this reason along with enjoying my practical time in the lab I have not ruled out a career in medical research.

My combined, detailed experiences have made me the confident applicant presenting this statement to you today. I have consistently worked toward and reflected upon the opportunity and challenges a career in medicine presents, and I am determined it is my calling. I pledge that as a doctor I will always show integrity, humanity and stamina! And that I will do my upmost to be a valuable member of a profession to which I truly aspire.

Hi Ellen

You need hyphens here
face-to-face, hands-on, people-centric

Within a year I began to crave professional development

What do you mean by the phrase, "professional development"? It seems vague.

coupled with my drive for scientific knowledge resulted in medicine emerging as a clear and natural winner.

You have already said that nicely in the first paragraph. No need to repeat it.

I learnt that hospitals aren't glamorous, are often heart wrenching, and that being a doctor requires an immense amount of applied and social skill. I also learnt that those skills were in line with my own innate aptitudes and disposition.

Instead of the second sentence, you can put the "..maturity, level headedness..." line and also include some of the social skills you mentioned. This reduces the word count and makes the previous statement stronger.

By the way, you seem really courageous. Even some Indians are afraid of going to Jammu & Kashmir, which is sad.

Good luck!
Jul 7, 2010   #3
Thank you very much Ershad

Any advice on the overall quality of the statement - the impression it gives ?

Best Wishes

Well, your writing is good; grammatically astute and easily understandable. I like the fact that all your paragraphs are built around the same central theme.

I forgot one point. Why didn't you include a para on the institution, explaining why you want to attend that particular one and how it will help you achieve your goals?
Jul 8, 2010   #7
Anyone else fancy chipping in - I know that my grammar isnt so bad and sentance structure etc I suppose I am looking to make my statement stand out, sound as though it has a little humanity injected in it: Its really difficult elevating a piece of writing from academically apt to memorable and effective.


Hi again!

Wait for sometime. Kevin or Susan will help you out. In the meantime, I can give you one more suggestion.

Your essay has little hints of some incidents of your life, but you never elaborate them. For example, the one in the first paragraph. Here, I felt like you were going to describe the experience and how exactly it affected your outlook, but you end it there. Pick an incident and tell the reader about it.

My personal statement is nearly complete, take a look at that one:
EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,840
[Contributor] 129  
Jul 8, 2010   #9
Moderators .. are you out there ? I would love some professional advice

Alright then! Ha ha, what is that old saying... The squeaky geese gets the wheel.

I think Down's Syndrome needs to be capitalized.

"fundamental albeit pragmatic"--- I don't think this works, because albeit means something like "though admittedly" ... as though the pragmatism has something to do with its being fundamental.. I don't know how to explain what I am trying to say! ha ha...Just change albeit to "and"...

You have some impressive accomplishments, but the essay is full of boastful things like "my sense of citizenship," my level head, all my good qualities..etc. It seems boastful. However, in this kind of essay you are SUPPOSED to show your good attributes! So, I am just giving you honest feedback; try to mention examples that make the reader conclude on her own that you have "an immense amount of innate applied and social skill"... rather than making that claim, show the reader.

Try to simplify and remove some of the boastful stuff, replacing it with examples and anecdotes that SHOW those qualities.

You write very well, which reflects your sophisticated and methodical way of thinking, so you have nothing to worry about!

EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,840
[Contributor] 129  
Jul 12, 2010   #11
Yeah, I'm glad you are here! Also, I regret using the word boastful, because it is not the right word. All I meant to say was that you should use the rule, "show, don't tell." Give examples instead of claims, and the whole essay is transformed.

That is true in interpersonal communication, too. And I like the way writing is similar to real life: if you show, you don't have to tell. In real life, you can show with your actions and no words are necessary. In an essay like this, it is not so easy! :-)

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