Careers Service

Personal Statement

Personal Statement for Medicine

Some medical schools will use your personal statement as the basis of your interview. Others put less emphasis on its importance. However, at some stage it is likely to be used as part of the process to assess your suitability for the course. You need a strong personal statement.

In addition to your academic capability, it gives you the opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned from work experience. It demonstrates you have the personal skills required for medicine.

Focus on your reasons for applying, how your work experience has prepared you for the course and career and supporting information, such as extra-curricular activities.

You have a limit of 47 lines or 4,000 characters (including spaces). The form will cut off if you go over the limit. Leave room for breaks between paragraphs if possible.

Feedback on personal statements

As a Newcastle University student or registered recent graduate you can get feedback on your personal statement from the Careers Service and from your personal tutor, if they’re willing.

All our careers advisers have experience of personal statements for medicine. The Careers Service does not check grammar or proof read. Please use the Writing Development Centre for advice on using grammar and punctuation. They do not offer a proof reading service. 

As we are unable to provide email feedback to current students once term starts, unless there are exceptional circumstances, please use the drop-in service to get statement feedback.

Students in the School of Biomedical Science can make use of the special personal statement ‘clinics’ being held in the school in the autumn. Ask your school office for details.

Being reflective

Personal statements are often very descriptive or simply list candidates’ experience. The selectors aren’t just interested in what you’ve seen. They want to know what you learned.

What did you learn about good patient care? How did your experiences challenge your views of the profession? What does this mean for you as a prospective professional?

Conveying passion for the subject without being clichéd

Be specific. Talking clearly and simply about your experiences should convey your enthusiasm. Don’t say ‘I have always longed to be a doctor’ when you could say ‘I have wanted to be a doctor since I was 11, after my experience of....’

If you don’t know how to express why you want to be a doctor, sometimes it can help to ask ‘Why not?’ Why a doctor and not a nurse practitioner? What is the difference between the roles? What does the first role provide that the second doesn’t?

Common mistakes on a personal statement

  • too descriptive - don’t just focus on what you saw, or enjoyed, also say what you learned
  • too general - don’t just say that the doctor’s empathy skills calmed the patient down. What did they do specifically? Was it their tone of voice or body language?
  • too romantic - the selector will want to know that you understand the realities of medicine. Words like ‘enlightened’, ‘privileged’ and ‘longed’ are all a bit too romantic for a personal statement.
  • lack of structure - your statement should follow a logical structure. It should explain why you want to pursue this career, how you have prepared with work experience and end by explaining your other skills/hobbies/interests.
  • name-dropping - you don’t need to give the names of specific practitioners, hospitals, practices or procedures. The selector will be more interested in knowing what you learned about the profession and quality patient care.

Further information