We’ve begun working with dual degree (MD/PhD) applicants this year, bringing a good question to the fore. How should dual degree personal statements (“describe why you want a dual degree in 3000 characters or less”) differ from typical medical school personal statements?
- Show synergy. Your patient interactions should inform your research, and your research should enhance your patient interactions. Your personal statement should communication your passion and aptitude for BOTH basic scientific research and patient care…and ideally show how those dimensions intersect.
- Be succinct. When discussing your research interests, be specific about your area of focus but don’t deep dive into your the nuances behind your latest research methodology and approach (you simply won’t have the space). Additionally, you’ll have less space than your MD applicant peers for narrative flourishes, so this statement should be targeted and concise.
- Keep it real. Focus on your most important, meaningful responsibilities (this includes in the “Significant Research Experience Essay” = describe your research experiences in 10000 characters). Describe both the “big picture” of the lab’s work as well as your independent role; don’t describe the menial tasks you completed each day.
- Use your strengths. What unique soft and hard skills have aided you in research and patient contexts? By all means, if your work resulted in a publication on which you were an author, provide the full citation in the “Work/Activities” section of the application.
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