Why Your AMCAS Personal Statement Needs a Theme

The following guest post is courtesy of Admit2Med, a company devoted to medical school admissions consulting. They offer personalized advise to medical school applicants. Located in New York City, Admit2Med helps students nation-wide to structure and edit personal statements, fill out the AMCAS/AACOMAS application, and prepare for medical school interviews. Advice from experienced experts is always the best and the Admit2Med staff includes a former admissions  staffer and an MD/PhD student at an Ivy League school.

Writing your AMCAS personal statement is tough. You’re so concerned about mentioning your clinical experience, highlighting all of your extra curricular activities, and explaining how you are the perfect candidate for medical school that you may not have even thought about having a theme. That is a mistake. Without a unifying concept your essay will be a bunch of random, forgettable facts. The right theme provides the hook your reader needs to remember your essay even after reading hundreds of others.

How do you select this crucial theme? Good question. You start very much in the same way you started to think about your essay. Ask yourself why you truly want to be a physician and what experience, hobby, or character trait has seen you through this journey. If nothing stands out; try writing lists of your most meaningful extra curricular activities, your most valued personality traits, and your favorite memories. Now look over these lists. Is there anything common to all of them? That’s your theme.

The key to keeping your statement interesting is to not only open with a compelling anecdote or tidbit about yourself but to weave all of your other writing into the main theme. This can take creativity but there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction a reader gets when they realize how all the parts of your essay fit together. It’s like snapping in the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, you feel fulfilled and happy – a mood that makes you likely to put an application into the “yes” pile. So don’t ignore the importance of having a theme. It just might be the difference between an interview invite and an outright rejection.