Medical School Personal Statement Tip: Should you identify a preferred specialty in your essay?

The short answer: Probably not.

You may know exactly what sort of practice you’ll have someday. Still, resist the urge to announce it in your AMCAS, AACOMAS, or TMDSAS essay. This is especially true if you favor a very narrow, competitive field.

Why? Because it takes some serious chutzpah to declare that you will be a urologist or dermatologist before you’ve taken a single class. Yes, you might achieve that dream, but your reader will not think highly of your boldness.

Remember your freshman year of college? How many of your peers said they were going to be doctors? How many changed their mind after Organic Chemistry? Same deal with medical school.

But there are exceptions to this rule. If you have great reasons for wanting to pursue a more general path—maybe you want to be a family physician or pediatrician—and you are applying to programs that really prioritize these tracks, then go for it!

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Your reader doesn’t really want to hear all about medicine in your personal statement.

Portrait of an attractive Latin student doing some school work with a laptop in the library

These days, everyone is an expert on healthcare. Your job in writing a personal statement is not to teach your reader something they already know. And no matter how great your clinical experiences are, their assumption is that you really don’t know anything yet. You get to prove that in medical school and residency. For now, your reader just wants to get to know you better.

So, although you may be eager to share your eye-opening realizations about the state of the profession, or the insurance industry, or governmental bureaucracy, waxing philosophical on such subjects is a waste of characters. Continue reading “Your reader doesn’t really want to hear all about medicine in your personal statement.”

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