Personal Statement: Academic Interest
When considering what to include in your personal statement, it is important to remember what information is included in your basic UCAS application. For example, medical schools will already have your GCSE and A-level grades, therefore, including this in your personal statement is a waste of character count that you are allowed. Instead when we say academic achievements there are other things you can include:
- EPQ or project – If you have completed a science based extended project qualification, or similar, you may want to talk about this in your personal statement.
- Academic Awards – you may have won awards at school for your academic ability, and you may wish to include this in your personal statement too.
How do I talk about my academic interest?
When talking about academia most applicants think of their school grades, but how else can you demonstrate your academic ability? Have you read any books or journals, or studied above and beyond the curriculum at school? These are things you can include in your personal statement that will both interest the examiner and demonstrate your high academic ability.
- Journals – you may have read an article in a scientific journal such as the Student BMJ that was of particular interest.
- Books – these may be scientific books or personal medical stories. Books such as those by Adam Kay and Henry Marsh are very popular amongst medical students and applicants to medical school, and can add interest to your personal statement.
- Talks you have attended – Academic interest doesn’t have to be in the form of traditional journals and books, you may have been to an interesting scientific talk or exhibition that inspired you with regards to science and medicine. The Body Worlds exhibitions, shown world wide are unique and interesting exhibitions to talk about, so why not visit one if you have the chance.
“I have read seven medical journals, set up my school medical society and have attended many debates on scientific advancements.”
Although this shows the candidate has done a lot, it is just listing and doesn’t show any insight into what the candidate learnt. Try to pick one and focus on this by describing your academic achievements in it, such as the next example.
“Setting up our school medical society has given me a platform to debate and research a diverse range of topics, such as the implications of the development of resistance in cancer cells to chemotherapy.”
In this example the candidate has stuck to talking just about their medical society and how this has meant they have done extra reading to debate with peers, such as their example of the development of resistance in cancer cells to chemotherapy. This is a great choice, as it is medically relevant, beyond their curriculum and also shows knowledge and understanding of current healthcare issues.
So, there you have it! Don’t worry if you have very few academic achievements or none – it’s not an issue at all! We recommend that you read at least one journal or book to display your academic interest in medicine as it will show the medical schools that you have a genuine interest in the area.