“Ultimately, this is why medicine is the only career path for me.”
“My experiences have all confirmed my belief that medicine is the best way to make use of my talents and skills.”
You know what all those hackneyed conclusion paragraph sentences sound like (and you hate yourself for them). Fluffy. Redundant. Grandiloquent. Dissociated and disconnected. The synthesis and momentum of your hard-won prose comes to a screeching halt…and your reader’s attention is lost.
So, how do you avoid this personal statement pitfall?
1) Keep the synthesis going. Make new connections between experiences and ideas. This doesn’t mean just using new words, it means generating novel thinking! Having finished the rest of your statement, what commonalities surfaced? What is left to say?
2) Continue the story. You might choose bookend your personal statement with 1 pivotal anecdote. If done artfully, this can be a great cohesion-building tool! (Just don’t opt for the maudlin default, and a conclusion sentence like this: “And now every time I see a patient I will remember good ol’ Joe…”)
3) Present your unique value proposition. Most applicants won’t ever get to this level of depth or take the time to reflect inward. What do you really value in your career as a physician, and how will that drive you? What forces have underscored each of your experiences to date?
4) Keep it crisp. Depending on the quality of the rest of your statement, you may not NEED a lengthy conclusion paragraph. So, consider ending a dynamite statement vs. dulling its impact with a lackluster conclusion.
We frequently prescribe the IEE litmus test to most of our clients: could any sentences in your conclusion paragraph be substituted in another applicant’s personal statement? If that answer is yes, you still have work to do. The majority of you will simply need to dig deeper; some may need to rein in earlier content to give your personal statement ‘somewhere to go’.
In the end, trust the extra investment WILL be worth it.The majority of personal statements we encounter – even the very best – don’t sustain the same level of prose from start to finish.
So, keep synthesizing, keep digging and keep your reader engaged!
Ivy Eyes Editing