Whilst it’s important for your whole personal statement for medicine to be unique, it’s even more important for the introduction of your personal statement to stand out. A powerful introduction for your personal statement is essential for making a strong first impression, yet it can be the hardest part to write.
Here are five tips to help you get your introduction underway.
1. Write your introduction for your personal statement last
Just like there is no rule about having dessert last, there is no rule about writing your personal statement in order. Sometimes it’s easier to write your introduction for your personal statement at the end once you’ve gotten into the groove of writing. You can even use the main text or conclusion as inspiration.
If you’re really stuck and don’t know how to start your personal statement despite writing the rest of it, have a read through for any paragraphs which can be moved up to the beginning and made into an intro – you might have written the perfect introduction without realising.
Re-read your previous drafts for any chunks of text you removed which on second thought could be reworked into a decent intro.
2. Stay away from the cliche
Not everyone applying for medicine realised that they wanted to be a doctor at the age of three or had an epiphany where they realised medicine was their true calling in life.
Many students will say these things thinking it makes them sound passionate about medicine. In reality, the admissions tutor reading your personal statement will be inwardly rolling their eyes.
It’s really important to avoid these cliches in your introduction for your personal statement, especially if they aren’t true. Sometimes it’s better to show the logical thought process that led you to decide on medicine.
For people who genuinely wanted to be doctors ever since they can remember – that’s great, but just remember to avoid being cheesy about it and focus on sounding authentic.
3. Quotes are a risky business
Starting your personal statement with a quote might sound like a good idea, but there are many ways this can backfire.
What if the person reading it doesn’t agree with this quote, not like the person who said it or simply doesn’t see the point of it? It could set the wrong tone for the rest of your personal statement, so think about if using a quote is really worth the risk.
Instead think about why the quote in particular resonates with you and how it relates to your application process. Use those thoughts and ideas as the basis for your introduction for your personal statement rather than the quote itself.
4. Be specific
When you’re really stuck for ideas you might be tempted to start with a wishy-washy definition of medicine in the hope that the reader thinks you know what you’re talking about.
Being specific in your introduction will show that you have put in some serious thought when deciding on your future career. Think of a specific scenario which really pressed home how much you want to study medicine.
Whilst the scenario itself doesn’t necessarily need to be healthcare related it should show that you honestly believe medicine is right for you. You can also consider writing about what medicine means to you personally.
5. The right length
The introduction for your personal statement is only the start, so while it needs to be engaging it should not consume too many of your 4,000 characters. It also shouldn’t be so brief that it seems rushed or like you didn’t know what to write.
This, however, doesn’t mean that there is an exact word count you need to stick to. Once you’ve written a first draft of your introduction re-read it to see if there is any waffle you should cut out or things you need to explain further.
Hopefully with these tips writing one of the hardest parts of a personal statement will be a breeze and you’ll be able to submit it as part of your UCAS application with confidence, good luck!
Words: Ateka Gomaa