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W RITING A P ERSONAL S TATEMENT FOR H EALTH P ROFESSIONS P ROGRAM A DMISSION The personal statement is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from the.

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Presentation on theme: "W RITING A P ERSONAL S TATEMENT FOR H EALTH P ROFESSIONS P ROGRAM A DMISSION The personal statement is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from the."— Presentation transcript:

1 W RITING A P ERSONAL S TATEMENT FOR H EALTH P ROFESSIONS P ROGRAM A DMISSION The personal statement is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other health profession program applicants.

2 Read the essay you’ve been given. Think about this essay as we talk about characteristics of a good one.

3 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : U SE YOUR OWN VOICE  Make your statement personal. Don’t derive your statement from a website and don’t use quotes or clichés. Use your own words !  Speak through your own voice. By doing this, you lend originality to your essay.  Identify what is unique about YOU that cannot be gleaned from the cold, hard facts of your application.

4 F ROM T HE W RITING C ENTER Here is a list of clichés to avoid: add insult to injury after all is said and done against the current the agony of defeat agree to disagree all walks of life at this point in time avoid like the plague the ball’s in his court be that as it may better half better late than never beyond a shadow of doubt the birds and the bees bite the dust bitter end bottom of my heart bottom of the barrel brainchild bring down the house bring home the bacon broad daylight brutal murder burn the midnight oil by the same token calm, cool, and collected chip off the old block cloud nine cold as ice cold, hard facts come to grips with cool as a cucumber crack of dawn dead as a doornail do or die down and out down for the count to each his own every dog has its day face the music facts of life few and far between fit as a fiddle fresh as a daisy gone but not forgotten green with envy happy medium heave a sigh of relief higher than a kite hit me like a ton of bricks hit the nail on the head hotter than hell hush fell over the crowd hustle and bustle in a nutshell larger than life last but not least last-ditch last straw light as a feather like father, like son live from hand to mouth live like a king lying through her teeth method to her madness more than meets the eye needle in a haystack nip in the bud nose to the grindstone off his rocker off the beaten track off the wall once and for all one rotten apple spoils the barrel only time will tell out of the blue paint the town red put your best foot forward put your foot in your mouth quick as a flash quick as lightning raise (rear) its ugly head raving lunatic rude awakening sell like hotcakes sharp as a razor sharp as a tack short and sweet short end of the stick sigh of relief silver platter sink or swim skeleton in the closet skin of your teeth slow but sure smart as a whip smooth sailing sneaking suspicion soft place in my heart stick out like a sore thumb straight and narrow straw that broke the camel’s back strike while the iron is hot tangled web thin as a rail tip of the iceberg tough nut to crack tried and true truth is stranger than fiction twinkling of an eye two-edged (double edged) sword up in arms vicious cycle vital role walk a fine line walking on air walk the straight and narrow wet blanket when all is said and done when the going gets tough, the tough get going work like a dog wreak havoc

5 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : O RGANIZE  Let your structure flow from the content you have chosen. Many essays use time, life changing events, important activities, influential people. They tell a story that is interesting and grabs the reader from the first paragraph.  An organized essay looks well thought out and neat. Don’t forget that paragraphs separate ideas and make it easier on the reader!

6 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : O RGANIZE ( CONT.) Be clear and concise. Don’t confuse quantity with quality. Adhere to character limits, if given! Remember what you learned in English Composition. Organize the essay and or paragraphs with an introduction, body and conclusion. Have a theme or thesis.

7 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : S ELF - REFLECT  Saying you like science and want to help people or animals doesn’t go far enough. It does nothing to differentiate you from hundreds of other applicants.  You have to discuss things more deeply. What can you do as a member of the health profession you’ve chosen that you could not do in another profession and what strengths do you have to do it?

8 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : S ELF - REFLECT ( CONT.)  Reflect on the “journey” that got you to this place in time and what it reveals about you.  If necessary, use the opportunity to explain (not excuse!) any deficiencies in your application and/or how you’ve grown into a person who is well suited for this career.  To get started: Use the “Questions to Ask Yourself” handout. Write a couple of paragraphs for each question.

9 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Writing A Personal Statement Taken from Who am I? What characteristics do I possess (e.g. honest, compassionate, loyal)? What skills do I have (e.g. analytical, communication, organizational)? How have I changed/grown over the years? What caused these changes and how have they affected me? What makes me unique? How am I different from other applicants? Why should the admissions committee be interested in me? Are there any obstacles that I had to overcome and how have I dealt with these difficulties from my past? Are there any experiences from my past that have affected my life? Can I relate these experiences to my goals? Who has influenced me over the years (e.g. parent, sibling, teacher, or friend) and how have they influenced me? What are my career goals? Why do I want to continue my studies? When did I become fascinated by my field of study? Why am I interested in my field of study? What have I learned about my subject of interest? How has my discipline shaped me? What has my field of study taught me about myself? How can I address my academic record? Do I have any gaps or inconsistencies on my records (transcript and/or exam scores) that I can explain? Are there any awards, recognition, or honors that I have received and that are worth mentioning? How do field services enhance my application? What internships and/or jobs have I had in the past? What have I learned from my internship and/or job experiences? What skills have I acquired? How are my internship and/or job experiences related to my field of interest? Have they prepared me for my future career? Have I been involved in any social services? How it contributed to my growth and how is it related to my goals? What extracurricular activities have I participated in and how do they contribute to my professional goals? Who is my audience? Who will be reading my personal statement? How can I make my essay compelling to the readers? Why am I applying to this program? Why am I applying to this institution? How will attending this graduate school help me grow as an individual and prepare me for my future career? What do I offer the program? Why should a school take me on?

10 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : E XCELLENT WRITING MECHANICS You must be fastidious about basics such as spelling and subject/verb agreement. Make sure you do not have a sentence fragment or run on sentences. Use punctuation correctly.

11 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : E XCELLENT WRITING MECHANICS ( CONT.) Avoid slang, jargon, casual or racy language, use of the second person voice. Use the first person “I” most of the time. Always have someone (or several someones!) proof- read your statement.

12 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : S HOW YOUR EMOTION  Write with feeling! One way to convey your passion is to use emotional language.  Although you have to show your passion in your essay, you must be careful not to overdo it.  Convey positive, upbeat emotions associated with the professional choice you’ve made. Be cautious about using humor.

13 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : U SE UNIQUE EXAMPLES  Use specific examples to support assertions. Example: Don’t just say you’re a hard worker. Describe a situation that proves it.  Thousands of personal statements discuss initiative, but only hundreds show initiative with concrete examples of demonstrated motivation and leadership.

14 W HAT YOU SHOULD DO : M AKE THE READER WANT YOU  Project confidence and a positive outlook.  Be professional; neither too casual nor too formal.  Write something that is pleasant and engaging. Make the reader want to meet the person that wrote that essay at an interview.

15 W HAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO …… Repeat/reword information already available in other parts of the application. Make excuses or blame others for any low grades or other problems with your credentials. Get overly personal, including dwelling on physical and mental health issues. Reveal yourself as an unique individual, but do it professionally.

16 W HAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO … ( CONT.) Stretch the truth to make yourself look good. Don’t “pad” the resume with minor activities or be anything less than totally honest. Fail to respond to a specific question, if it was asked. Don’t “cut and paste” copies of your personal essay without being careful that it is appropriate for where you’re placing it. Especially be careful if you’ve mentioned a school name. School A doesn’t want to hear that you’ve always wanted to attend School B!

17 Fail to follow directions, if given. Write about emotionally charged, highly controversial topics unless asked to do so. Be negative, whiny, arrogant, defensive……..You get the idea. What you should NOT do… (cont.)

18 Read the new essay you’ve been given. Think about this essay is different from the first one.

19 T HE “ GOOD ” STATEMENT …. Starts with a “hook”. Moves on to a clear statement as to the writer’s purpose. Weaves in elements of the “hook” and makes it clear why the “hook” was chosen to illustrate the writer’s purpose. Ends on a positive, confident note. Summarizes but doesn’t say so.

20 W EBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION essay.com/medicalschoolpersonalstatement.html essay.com/medicalschoolpersonalstatement.html personal-statement-medical-school.html personal-statement-medical-school.html Note : These are medical school only, but the ideas are relatively universal. Consult Career Services for more information.

21 T HE W RITING C ENTER Use SU’s Writing Center early and often. It’s free! Expect to write and re-write your personal statement several times. This means you can’t wait until the last minute! Consult the website too:


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