Personal Statement

Then the 3rd piece of data is the personal statement. The personal statement is a one-page essay that you write. Basically it’s why I want to be a doctor, in a nutshell. As you can imagine, the spectrum is really not that broad. There’s the altruist, and then there’s the realist who tries the honest angle — I want to make a good living for my family. There are people who are motivated to go into research; they know at that point in their careers that they’re interested in solving a particular puzzle, a biological question. They want to be a virologist, or a cancer researcher. For some reason or other, in their undergraduate careers they’ve decided these things and they want to include them in the statement so it has some scope, some direction.

But the content of the statement is probably less important than the character that comes out of it. It must be well written and well crafted; it must be a good piece of literature. You want to take a lot of time to do it and get a lot of critique. But if you allow everyone else to write it for you, that shows through too. It really has to be about you. Another great pit is when you get to an interview, and an interviewer asks you “Tell me a little more about this,” and you come up empty because you put that in there to look good and it really isn’t about you. And if that comes up, then that’s it.

And why would that be? It says that you’re insincere. And insincerity in medicine doesn’t make it. That’s the kind of thing that an interviewer is going to try to determine.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

For more information about pre-health professions advisement at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Donald Slish
Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee Chairperson
Office: Hudson Hall 325
Phone: (518) 564-5160