When it comes to a personal statement for a medical school or nursing programme, the questions are often very open-ended whilst other aspects of the application tend to ask for specifics about past activities and experiences.
Here are some common examples of topics for a medical school personal statement or a nursing school programme personal statement:
- How have you endured adversity?
- How can you fulfil the role of a diversity applicant?
- How have you matured?
- What have you learned from a mentor in your life?
- What event or issue has held importance or value for you and why?
- What are you passionate about and why?
- How have you used any leadership skills to handle a problem or issue in your life?
- What coursework, experiences, or research related to the medical or healthcare profession has motivated you and why?
- What was the most important course or professor that has influenced you and why?
- What personal skills, hobbies, or activities can make you an asset to the medical community and why?
- What pivotal experiences or life events have influenced you to pursue a medical or nursing career?
- How has helping the community or volunteering been an important part of your life and what experience in particular has motivated you?
Here is part of a medical school personal statement example:
It was on the many volunteer expeditions to foreign countries in need that convinced me that I wanted to become a doctor because it was clear that there are so many people in need who require the expert care of a physician. Although it was harrowing to work in some countries that were in the midst of civil war or that had just experienced a major disaster, it taught me about humility and the value of humanity. I will never forget the looks on the faces of those struggling with the bare minimum or even going without food – they always smiled when they saw me and if they had anything they would offer to share it with me. This took me off-guard because I know that I did not look like I needed anything and I certainly did not want to take anything away from them. Their determination to carry on, share with others, and remain positive even in the face of uncertainty and tragedy made me realize I had to do more than what I was already trying to do. It was very rewarding to me to participate in their lives and make a considerable difference where I could but to also realize there was so much more that I could be dong for them. When I returned home, I participated in a number of research trials and studies to further expand my knowledge of medical science and how it can be applied to those that could benefit from the findings. If I had just simply gone straight into research, I would not have had the level of sympathy and understanding of the human side of medicine that is so critical alongside the clinical aspect of medicine. Together, these experiences broadened by knowledge, skill, and understanding of the future role of medicine in helping those in third-world countries to improve their health and well-being as well as learn new ways to take care of themselves and improve their status. My volunteer work is largely due to a family that always encouraged the idea of helping others. As far back as I can remember, my parents encouraged myself and my siblings to do things for other people out of the shear reason of helping improve others’ lives and feeling the satisfaction of making things better for others. It provided me with a greater appreciation for life overall, which made me feel like I could apply this to the medical profession where there is often a lack of that human understanding in what is done for others. My hard work and dedication to helping others can be furthered by continuing on through your medical school where I will gain a new level of knowledge and skill that will be represented in the field in places where these are needed the most.
Here is part of a nursing school personal statement sample:
Becoming a nurse is something that will change my life and my family’s life – one that I thought might not happen due to a number of tragic situations that have made this journey quite a bit longer than I had originally intended. My academic journey has never been easy due to financial pressures and family issues. However, as I grew up, I maintained top marks and worked my way through undergraduate courses. It was then, however, that suddenly I was starting a family whilst my military husband was shipped out. Here I was alone with two little ones, which meant that I had to postpone my nursing education for awhile. What I had thought would be one or two years turned into five. Then, I lost my husband and had to find full-time work to support myself and the children. Suddenly, that dream of nursing seemed as though it would disappear in a puff of smoke. However, my work at a nursing home made me realize that I just did not want to give up on the possibility that I could fulfil this dream. With the help of my extended family, I developed a plan as to how I could maintain my obligations but return to school. As such, I have been able to get to this point in the application process, knowing that my family is helping to ensure I can focus on my nursing classes and achieve my dream from which I can feel satisfied helping others whilst providing for a better life for my children. Although I have not had time for community service because of working and raising my children, I do attend church activities and have volunteered at my children’s school whenever possible. Throughout the many challenges and financial hardships, I have maintained a positive perspective because I have learned that every obstacle and problem has a way of working out and of providing me with a lesson. This only makes me work harder, elevate my goals and objectives to the next level, and appreciate the opportunities that have come along. To become a nurse, it is a must to have a high level of patience and compassion for others. I can truly say that my life experiences and the tragic events that I have faced have deepened those traits in me and helped me to grow in my resolve to achieve the goal of becoming a nurse. Your programme will help me accomplish that because it offers the flexibility and focus that is essential to a working professional who wants to further their academic accreditation.
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