Updated: Jun 17
This personal statement was used by a current medical student to apply to medical school at: the University of Birmingham, the University of Southampton, King's College London, and the University of Nottingham. The application cycle was 2019 entry. The applicant received interview offers at all 4 medical schools!
Note: the applicant was an international student.
Remember, this personal statement is not 'perfect' - none ever will be! Each medical school is looking for something different. Be careful not to plagiarise personal statements you read online - UCAS will detect this.
Example personal statement (635 words)
Provision of health care is extensive, but so is its disparity. Humans have strived, with considerable success, to bridge the gap between requisite and access; however, socio-political factors greatly govern the latter’s disparity, often in regions of global unrest and poverty. My desire to bridge this division has unequivocally strengthened my resolve to pursue medicine as a career.
I was first exposed to this harsh discrepancy while interning with a pediatrician in the poverty-stricken area of Peshawar, Pakistan. Despite the hospital’s lack of resources, through my time in the NICU, on ward rounds and in the outpatient department clinic, I saw the collaboration between the multidisciplinary team to ensure patient safety. Watching doctors comfort a family that lost one of a pair of pre-mature twins due to sepsis, while still coming to terms with the causality themselves, ascertained the importance of empathy while maintaining composure in the face of adversity. As I listened and talked to patients about their ailments, I realised the gravity of these illnesses on their lives and the responsibility physicians have to improve them.
I learned about the importance of communication between a medical team when I observed a team of nurses, anesthesiologists and a specialist ENT surgeon at a hospital in UAE meticulously discuss the surgical plan for a nasal reconstructive surgery. Even though the surgery presented with unforeseen complications, I was struck by the confidence and placidity with which they tackled the situation. Although I noticed the sharp contrast in healthcare between both the countries, I also saw that physicians everywhere have the same primary goal of making the successful treatment of patients their priority.
A week in the radiology department, where I saw doctors spend long hours behind a screen identifying internal organs and pinpointing possible sources of malady helped me appreciate the significance of a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, which led me to choose Biology as one of my A level courses. This placement propelled me to complete a neurology course which introduced me to basic neurological processes and enabled me to visualize the brain as a large biological circuit. Intrigued by this, I read “When Breath Becomes Air”, a book that has taught me that disease does not discriminate and the need for persistence in adversity.
Volunteering at a pharmacy for two months during the summer gave me a new insight. As I helped pharmacists check patient vital signs and BMI’s and saw them counsel patients on prescription drug usage, the need for a locally accessible health care professional became apparent. As I worked with the pharmacists to assist the patients, I learnt the value of effective communication in treatment. Using the interpersonal skills I developed during this time, I worked on a team to organize, promote and participate in fundraisers for charity and set up my school’s ancillary staff event.
Outside of school, I am a contributing blog writer for the Pakistan Youth Forum. This has given me an outlet to speak about my opinions on a public platform, whilst also being deeply cathartic. My work as a sixth form prefect and participation in debates and orientations has helped hone my communication, teamwork, and leadership skills, all vital skills for medicine. I also organized an ‘Anti-Smoking Talk’ with a doctor, where albeit stressful to juggle schedules and secure approvals, organization and discipline helped me pull off a successful event.
My diverse experiences have taught me that a career in medicine requires discipline, determination, and perseverance. Even though medicine can be a challenging career path to take, I believe that my enthusiasm for the field, my desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives, my patience and resilience will allow me to be successful in a demanding, yet highly fulfilling field, like medicine, and I hope to begin this journey with a degree from the UK.