How to make your University of Toronto medical school brief personal essays stand out
Tip#1: The first step to writing the perfect medical school application essay is to start as early as possible. An excellent essay takes several weeks and sometimes MONTHS to create. You will need time to first think about the questions and reflect on them daily and brainstorm ideas. It is also important that you discuss the questions with others who may be able to shed some light on the deeper intentions behind the questions being asked.
Tip#2: When writing the first draft of your essays, it is important to keep the following in mind: This is a test of your written communications skills. Therefore, the essay should have excellent structure and flow. This means it will need an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Importantly, you must also be able to convey your sense of maturity, professionalism, and self-reflexivity (i.e. essential non-cognitive skills), while clearly demonstrating your motivation for the medical profession.
The introductory paragraph and more importantly, the introductory sentence or opening sentence of your essay, will most certainly make or break your overall statement. Thus, ensure that you have a creative and captivating opening sentence that draws in the reader. This is your first and only chance to really capture the attention of the admissions committee.
Tip#3: Your introductory paragraph should also serve as a road map to the reader and allow them to understand where the remainder of the story is headed.
Tip#4: The closing sentence of an opening paragraph gives the reader an indication of what is about to follow in the subsequent paragraph. The closing sentence of any paragraph as a matter of fact, should serve as a good transition sentence that allows for good flow to be created from paragraph to paragraph. Therefore, pay attention to your transition sentences that link paragraphs to one another and be mindful of how you use transition words, which link sentences to each other.
Here are some examples of transition words or phrases: However, subsequently, in addition to, furthermore, in conjunction with, etc.
Tip#5: In the body of your essay, you essentially want to elaborate on the ideas that you have introduced in your opening paragraph and draw on your personal experiences to provide evidence.
Tip#6: Lastly, the conclusion of your personal statement should not be a simple summary of the things you have discussed. It should be insightful, captivating, and leave the reader with an impression. Although you want to re-emphasize the major ideas of your essay, you should try to be creative and captivating much like your opening paragraph.
Here are UofT's Brief Personal Essays for this year's application cycle:
Question 1: Privilege and oppression – what do these concepts mean to you?
Question 2: Describe what you view as the biggest benefits and the biggest challenges in how we communicate with one another since the introduction of social media?
Question 3: Dr. Danielle Ofri contends that “the single most powerful diagnostic tool remains the doctor/patient conversation, which can uncover the lion’s share of illnesses. But often the difference between what patients say and what doctors hear is vast”. Discuss and propose a solution.
Question 4: Provide an example of a time when undertaking critical analysis changed the way you considered an issue.
Apply the tips above to these questions and make sure that you first completely understand the intention behind each question before you start writing your first draft.
Once you have completed your first draft, we highly recommend that you have someone who has the expertise required to review your work, such as one of your professors or a medical doctor, so that you can make appropriate revisions prior to submission because you only get one chance to make a first impression.
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