Personal Statement: Motivation for Medicine

Tamsin Dyer

Tamsin Dyer

Senior Writer at Medic Mind

Introduction

Possibly one of the most important questions that you need to address in your personal statement is “Why medicine?”. So what should you include in your personal statement to answer this and where should you write this? Well to answer this first question, we’ll need to go into further detail which we will do later in this video but before I do that, I can answer the question about where I should write it straight away!

In a nutshell, there’s no right answer! Some students chose to include this in their introduction, while others chose to explore their reasons for choosing medicine later in their personal statement in its own paragraph. This is entirely down to personal preference, with no right of wrong answer, perhaps try doing both and see which flows better with the rest of your personal statement.

How do I show my motivation for medicine? 

There are a few key things to consider when thinking about why medicine, these include:

  • Science –  Why do you like the academic side of medicine? Was there a key thing you studied that sparked your interest in medicine from the basic sciences at school?
  • Caring – Why do you want to do a job where you care for people? Being a doctor is a “client facing” role, so why does this appeal to you?
  • Experiences – have you had a certain experience that inspired you to do medicine? Maybe a personal story about your own health or someone close to you. Don’t worry if you haven’t or don’t want to share this, some students find it a very personal reason as to why they choose to pursue medicine rather than enjoying science and caring for others. 

Do many sure that you add personality to these three rather generic statements above. Most applicants to medicine were inspired to apply to medicine for the same reasons, by adding depth and personality it is just another way to make your personal statement stand out. 

Many people ask, should I say if anyone in my family are doctors – You can mention that you have doctors in your family, but you have to show the value of adding this. Think about if they did something inspiring that made you want to follow in their footsteps and become a doctor too, or perhaps your relative helped you see the day-to-day role of a doctor which you found something that appealed to you. An example of this could be: “By living with my uncle, who is a doctor, I have seen first hand how a doctor manages their work life balance”. 

Worked Examples

“I want to do medicine because it is a prestigious job, and I want to challenge myself academically with the opportunity to earn good money as a bonus”

This is a poor explanation, the student comes across as being driven by the title, prestige and money associated with medicine. 

“I love medicine, and have had a dream of going to medical school since young. Viewing my father’s life-depending operation at the age of 16, I was given an insight into the intricacies of a hospital, and the pressure-driven, yet intellectually engaging, environment of medicine”

The answer starts off a tad idealistic, and there is a concern that the stereotypical “life-changing” event will be used poorly. However, the student links his experience to what he gained and learnt from it, so it is a fairly good answer, albeit far from perfect.

“I enjoy the detailed scientific academia which intellectually stimulates and challenges me, alongside the human engagement involved in clinical practice”

This is a good answer, because it links together two different, but equally important, sides of medicine – scientific theory and clinical practice. 

“The fusion of science and society in medicine appeals to me, as the vocation combines the stimulating study of human anatomy with the practical application of this science in a clinical environment, with an altruistic objective.”

This example, although short, has demonstrated several reasons that the candidate wants to study medicine. 

Final Note

Try to think about what you could say for the following key points:

  • Interest in the human body
  • Work experience
  • Scientific news and journals
  • Caring and helping others

By completing exercises such as this, you will be able to construct your answer for why medicine in your personal statement easily. This will also help you when it comes to preparing for medical school interviews. 

The key takeaway here is ensuring you don’t just list a few points – try and focusing on one or two and expanding. You need to integrate the fact that medicine is a fusion of science and social. Hopefully these tips will help you show to medical schools that they should interview you.

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