The following information is from the University of Manchester medical faculty website. I have posted it on here as Manchester has a new website (they merge with UMIST in September 2004) and when the old site closes I suspect this info may disappear for ever, so I am preserving it for future generations :wink: I think it is probably some of the best advice around in regards to setting out your personal statement for medical school. It also contains valuable information for referees too (believe me many referees need advice!). This is what the Admissions Tutor and their team say they want to see, so it can only boost your chances if you follow their advice! The information is equally valid for all the other medical schools. I hope you find it useful. Personal Statement Reasons for choosing medicine. This may appear obvious to you. It is not obvious to us. The Admissions Co-ordinator and the Admissions Tutors have not met you and know nothing about you. It is vital that you tell us why you wish to be a doctor. Do not be afraid of apparently ‘trite’ comments such as a desire to help people or a desire to care. There is no ‘correct’ answer to this question but not to address it at all would seriously weaken your application. Amount of work experience in a caring role We are not looking for necessarily medically-related work experience, such as shadowing a GP or consultant. Such experience can be difficult to obtain for students under the age of 18. However, we are interested in caring experience which may or may not be medically-related. Tell us how you got involved in such work, how long you have been doing it, how much time you spend each week and, most importantly, what you have gained from it. Interests/hobbies. Medicine is about being able to communicate. True communication calls for some shared life experiences and empathy with others. Hence the student who is totally absorbed in his/her studies to the exclusion of almost all else is less likely to make a good doctor. Tell us about your interests and hobbies. Tell us why you pursue them. How long have you been involved? Have you achieved any outside recognition [e.g awards, certificates, etc..]. The Medical School is aware that some students may have more opportunities than others to pursue a wide range of interests. We are not so much concerned with exactly what you do in your spare time but that you have some spare time and that you do something with it. Presentation and style We would prefer your personal statement to be typewritten. If not, it should be handwritten legibly in black ink. Please remember that the form is photocopied down to half its size before it is seen by the Admissions Tutors and Admissions Co-ordinator. It must thus be legible after this is done. Applications will be marked down for careless errors of grammar and spelling. Reference This likely to be written by your Head Teacher, College Principal or the head of your year/Form Tutor. Mature students should approach an academic supervisor whenever possible, a ‘character reference’ is not sufficient. We do, however, want to know what the writer of the reference thinks about you as a whole person, not merely about your academic achievements and potential. Please ensure that whoever is writing the reference sees a copy of these guidelines. The areas in which we require information comprise: Commitment to medicine Whilst the length of time that a student has been committed to a medical career may be relevant here, it is not the only factor. Equally important are the steps that the student has taken to confirm this commitment [work experience in a caring role – see above, talking to medical and paramedical professionals and even work experience in other areas which have convinced thestudent that those areas are ‘not for them’]. Some insight into the student’s awareness of the realities, advantages and disadvantages of a medial career, would be useful here. Staying power/perseverance This section could equally be titled ‘commitment to academic study’. Whilst we are obviously interested in whether the student works at an appropriate level of intensity, inputs work on time and is reliable, some insight into the students’ interest and enthusiasm for the subject would also be useful. ‘Late developers’ should not be disadvantaged by this process. We are keen to hear about students who have blossomed in their interest and commitment relatively late in their school career or as a graduate or other mature applicant. Communication skills The ability to communicate is essential to the practice of medicine. However, communication is not merely about articulation and vocabulary, but it is also about listening. Thus whilst we are interested in students’ contributions to class discussion and extra curricular activity, we would be pleased to hear about how the student relates to others, in particular the less gifted students or younger students, and how well they accept criticism. Humanity/humility There is clearly some overlap here with ‘communication’ but information in this section should primarily deal with how the referee feels about the student’s ability to care and empathise [is there practical evidence of this?], and how the student sees him/herself in the school and wider community or in the case of mature applicants in the workplace or in higher education. Intellectual potential This is not only evidenced by GCSE grades and achieved or predicted A-level grades or degrees. It is important for the referee to tell us about ‘late academic developers’ e.g. the student who achieves the bare minimum GCSE grade ‘A’ passes but is likely to blossom at ‘A’ level and beyond. Other evidence of intellectual potential beyond the mere ability to pass exams is important here. Leadership qualities These may be displayed within the school or in the wider community. Appointment as a prefect is an example. However, the University is aware that not all schools operate a Prefect system. Being a Prefect of course does not necessarily imply good leadership skills, and further evidence for such skills should be offered in this section. The opinion of the referee is important. Where a school or college has had little opportunity to assess this area, we would encourage the referee to obtain independent information from other sources. Team work These skills may be demonstrated either within or outside school. We recognise that not all students have sporting aptitudes, but participating in sport is not the only way in which students can excel in this area. Social and charity involvement would be relevant here as would membership of a team in class practices, field trips, hikes, expeditions etc. will also be important. Once again, Manchester Medical School recognises that not all schools and colleges will have equal opportunities to assess teamwork skills and therefore where such opportunities do not exist within school, we strongly encourage the referee to obtain independent information from other sources. Mitigating Circumstance The Medical School strongly recommends that in addition to all the above sections, any mitigating circumstances which may affect not only academic performance but any aspect of the information contained in the UCAS form should be included in the referee’s report. These may be personal or family illness,other family circumstances, change of teachers during a course, problems with school facilities, etc., etc. These will be taken into account in the admissions process at all stages. Reproduced with permission from the Medical Admissions Office, University of Manchester.