If you are applying to medical schools in Texas, you must learn how to write an outstanding TMDSAS personal statement. In this blog, we will go over three TMDSAS personal statement examples and examine what makes them successful. Our analysis and tips will help you craft a winning personal statement for your TMDSAS application.
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If you're applying to dental, veterinary or medical schools in Texas, you'll have to apply through the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service, known as TMDSAS. Check out our ultimate guide to to find out everything you need to know about applying to schools using this system, including your primary application essays.
TMDSAS application page:
Students are often unsure of how to write a TMDSAS personal statement that will stand out, so in this blog, we'll go over some excellent TMDSAS personal statement examples and discuss what makes them great. Keep in mind that the TMDSAS personal statement essay is limited to 5000 characters, including spaces.
Similar to the and the personal statement, the TMDSAS personal statement requires applicants to discuss why they want to pursue a career in a specific field and what makes them a good fit to do so. Review and to determine which schools are best suited for you.
Here's a quick recap of the most important elements of the TMDSAS application process:
I’ll never forget the day I met Sun Li. Our backgrounds could not have been more different. She was an illegal immigrant fleeing poverty and persecution in her homeland, forced to sometimes seek help at the North York Women’s Shelter – mostly, when she couldn’t pay her rent from her measly earnings as a waitress at a local restaurant. And I was the rich, privileged girl, venturing outside my comfort zone to volunteer at the shelter in an idealistic attempt to make a difference in the world. And yet, Sun Li changed my life in a way that I can never forget.
It was 6 am on a Thursday morning and I was 30 minutes away from the end of my shift as volunteer at the shelter. At that moment, Sun Li staggered in, clutching in front of her something bright and red and ugly – her arm, covered in terrible burns. Though shaken, I was prepared. Assessing her injury, I knew based on my first-aid training that she needed professional help. I reached out to call for help – and with her good arm, she grabbed my hand and stopped me. Her next words are etched in my memory: “Don’t call doctor. I don’t have my papers. They will send me back.” For this woman, our health system wasn’t a safe haven in case of an emergency, it was the menacing villain of her story. I’ll never forget her desperation and how helpless I felt in that moment. It took me an hour of frantic calls to find a free clinic in the area that would treat a patient without papers. And in that hour, Sun Li’s injuries got worse. Her arm was permanently disfigured due to scars that could have been easily avoided with quick treatment. It was my job to help Sun Li, and all I could think was how we, as a society, had failed her.
It was this incident that sparked my passion for health care reform. While I had always had an interest in medicine, I knew then that it wasn’t enough for me just to be a doctor – I had to be a doctor who helped people like Sun Li, the ones who needed our help the most, and who often never got it.
I joined North York Women’s Shelter as a volunteer in my freshman year of college, hoping to make a material difference to the most vulnerable population of my city. Initially, I found my experience both frustrating and draining. So many times, women would come to us for help, get better, and then go right back to a harmful environment. My noble ideas of wanting to make a difference were tempered by the limitations of what we could do as individuals. In fact, this helped me learn one of the most valuable lessons of my career – that in the quest to help each other, we cannot work alone. After that fateful night with Sun Li, I decided that we needed a system in place at the shelter to help those who could not seek relief from the system. I organized the Help Her Now initiative, a cross-city coalition of other shelters, free clinics, pro-bono legal aid organizations, to work as a network of emergency, round-the-clock resources for undocumented immigrants, homeless people, domestic abuse victims, and other people who often fell through the cracks of our society.
Through Help Her Now, I met Dr. Beryl Huang, head of the Family Medicine department at the SC Brown Memorial Clinic. She gave me the opportunity to shadow her for three months last summer. While there, I followed her on her rounds, attended her diagnostic sessions with patients, and watched her perform procedures. I was deeply inspired by her commitment to not only “health” but also “care”, and especially by how she often performed pro-bono work for those who needed it. Moreover, despite her busy schedule and tough work commitments, Dr. Huang treated each patient with unfailing warmth, respect, and patience, setting for me an example of the kind of doctor I want to be in the future.
Dr. Richard Grey is another important mentor who taught me the value of team-work as a core tenant of medicine. I participated as an intern in his research study to develop cost-effective mediums to diagnose T1 diabetes. I tested different solutions, charted the growth of cell cultures, analyzed the stability of effective treatments, and consolidated the final data into publishable reports. Dr. Richard Grey made it a point to foster a truly collaborative environment, inviting inputs from interns as well as his fellows, and keeping us all involved with each step of the process. I truly felt that I was part of Dr. Grey’s larger vision to make diabetes diagnosis and treatments easily available to different populations.
All my life, all I wanted was to help other people and as a child, I held romantic ideals about how I could use medicine to achieve these goals. Now, thanks to my experiences volunteering, shadowing Dr. Huang, and working with Dr. Grey, I know that it’s not about me. No one person can address the failures of our system single-handedly, but many people working together can effect transformative change that lasts centuries. By becoming a doctor, I hope to be a humble part of this mission.
What's great about this TMDSAS Personal Statement Example
- This essay starts out strong, with an emotionally resonant opening that ties in logically with her passion for medicine. She follows it up with a meaningful personal experience that had a direct impact on her decision to pursue medicine as a career, and also showcases her leadership qualities and commitment to teamwork.
- The essay has a memorable central theme of the writer’s desire to help vulnerable populations and the importance of teamwork. Every example ties into this central theme while also illustrating the range and breadth of the writer’s skills and achievements. Through both medical and non-medical experiences and timely reflections, the writer is able to highlight their suitability for medicine.
- This essay also demonstrates the writer’s ability to self-reflect, and clearly documents their personal growth and changing mindset that has led them to apply for medical school. This shows the admissions committees her commitment to medicine and her ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
A lot of students applying to medical, dental or veterinary school in Texas are surprised to find out that Texas uses its own application service, TMDSAS. So why TMDSAS instead of AMCAS? TMDSAS was actually created first, in 1968, as the UT System Medical and Dental Application Center, two years prior to the creation of AMCAS in 1970. It was designed to be a central application service that would benefit both applicants and participating schools.
Did you know that non-residents cannot make up more than 10% of matriculants at medical schools in Texas?
While out-of-state students can apply to Texas medical schools, state legislature limits the number of non-residents who can attend medical school in Texas to 10%. This creates a rich pool of in-state applicants and because of TMDSAS, students can apply to multiple schools at once for a flat fee of $185, making it much cheaper to apply through TMDSAS compared with AMCAS. In a previous blog, we discuss the , one of three primary application essays required for the TMDSAS applicants, along with the TMDSAS personal statement and optional essay.
Our TMDSAS personal statement examples video covers everything you need to know:
48° 35’ 20” N, 115° 29’ 28” W – The GPS flashed the coordinates of my workplace for the day, Ross Creek, situated in the heart of Kootenai National Forest. I was in the middle of a summer long project to assess stream health based on the macroinvertebrate population. I dropped my backpack overflowing with bug nets, water filters and granola bars, and basked in the shade of the ancient cedars. When was the last time anyone had ventured this far? I considered myself lucky to see this hidden world suspended in time. This experience ignited my passion for discovery and interest in the unknown.
My curiosity drove me to apply to graduate school. This time; however, the path to success couldn’t be found on a GPS. My first semester challenged me academically. I struggled to balance the amount of reading in my classes with the time required to complete my experiments. I spent endless nights analyzing my flow cytometry results while trying to comprehend the difference in subpopulations of CD8+ T-cells. However, in Dr. Leslie's lab I found my stride. He reignited my desire to seek out the questions without answers. I studied a genetic mutation in CovR/S, a two-component regulatory system, which controls expression of virulence factors involved in Group A Streptococcus (GAS) pathogenesis. By the end of my thesis, my work determined a distinct effect of covS mutation on GAS disease presentation. Although my contribution to science may be, well, microscopic, the impact on my intellectual and personal growth was anything but. I left MSU an independent thinker, a confident and skilled communicator, and hungry for another adventure.
Autonomy is built into my DNA. As one of four children, my parents instilled in me at a young age to be self-sufficient and advocate for myself. I carried this philosophy with me my entire life. It was the cornerstone of my success in graduate school, and, ultimately the reason I left. The thought of a new discovery excited me, but I found the lab bench to be quite a lonely place. My accomplishments felt like mine and mine alone and I needed to feel like part of a team, a group, of anything. Both my parents served in the Air Force and their stories of the people they met and the places they traveled piqued my interest. This was it! The perfect opportunity to satisfy my appetite for exploration while working to achieve a common goal.
As a digital network analyst, I lived on the frontier of the Internet deciphering 1’s and 0’s. The job of national security is not an easy one and certainly can’t be accomplished alone. The chance to work on high priority projects was humbling, but still something was missing. I spent all day trying to understand technology meant to connect us, and yet, professionally, I couldn’t feel more detached. Operating on such a grand scale felt cold and impersonal. I looked for other ways to be of more direct service to people.
In the back of the ambulance, I struggled to hear the first “thud” of his blood pressure above the blaring sirens. The quiet I’d become accustomed to was nowhere to be found. We were dispatched for an 87-year old male patient, complaining of shortness of breath. My partner assessed his respirations while I measured his pulse oximetry. A quick exam revealed his breathing was rapid and shallow and an SpO2 of 88%. We provided oxygen, kept him warm, and transported him to the nearest hospital. By the time we arrived, his breathing had improved and speaking became easier. Our intervention worked! My partner and I functioned independently, but we cared for the patient in unison. We moved our patient to his room and as we left, he gave us a wave and a smile. In that moment, I no longer felt removed from my work. As patients detailed the pain of their worst day, I was an active participant: engaged and fully present. Their outcome depended not on my knowledge of the human body alone but also the bond we formed. A fact highlighted during my time shadowing.
Dr. John's clinic served as more of a classroom than an exam room. As many of his patients were living with HIV, he educated his patients on their illness and listened intently as they asked questions. Nothing was off limits. His openness allowed his patients the freedom to discuss difficult and embarrassing topics. The trust he established facilitated a better experience and gave his patients the tools necessary to take care of themselves. He empowered his patients to take control of their health. This experience showed me the interconnection between patient and provider and how one depends on the other.
Medicine allows me a glimpse inside the most intimate of human events. I feel a closeness that I’ve yet to experience sitting behind a computer or a microscope. No longer analyzing my subject from afar but up close and personal. Armed with a GPS, I navigated the trails of Montana easily. In medicine, the path isn’t as clearly marked which is why I’m applying to medical school. I’m eager to learn more, do more, and explore uncharted territory.
What's great about this TMDSAS Personal Statement Example
- This statement example is great because it checks off all of the critical points a personal statement should include such as a creative opening, personal experiences, and a great flow. The opening paragraph is quite unique, starting with GPS coordinates, as a reader you're instantly intrigued to find out where the location is and where the story is going. It's very descriptive and interesting, allowing for full submersion.
- Personal experiences are well demonstrated as the applicant does a great job of using specific examples, such as working in Dr. Leslie's lab, as a digital analyst, and as a paramedic to showcase different qualities and skills. The fact that the applicant chose to discuss experiences that are completely different and unique, both in their roles and responsibilities, is an excellent approach for showing flexibility and adaptability.
- The essay flows extremely well and takes the reader on a chronological journey through the applicant's life. Additionally, the connection the applicant makes to the opening in the end really brings the paper together. It is clear that the applicant has strong motivations for pursuing medicine. This is shown through the applicant's continual drive to learn more, explore, and find the path to doing something they are truly passionate about.
Check out some tips that will help you write your TMDSAS personal statement:
When I was 16 years old, Dr. Shelby informed me that I was very lucky to be alive. In the same moment, he was telling me that I would never run any marathons, sprints, or obstacle runs again. My athletic career was interrupted by anorexia, an eating disorder that has plagued my body and mind from the ages of 14 to 16. At 16, when I finally started my eating disorder recovery program, Dr. Shelby informed me that I had developed osteoporosis that would take years to fully heal, so running track was out of the question. I thought then that my life was over, but in fact, a new life was just beginning.
Through my recovery, when I could barely move around, filled with both frustration and curiosity, I sought out all the reading materials I could to understand how and why I had landed in this position. I read a lot of books about anorexia nervosa, it’s diagnosis and treatment, its outlook and prognosis, and long-term health effects including osteoporosis. This period of recovery coincided with a wonderful discovery of my interest in the field of medicine, and one of the earliest long-term goals I defined for myself as part of my recovery was that I would one day become a doctor and turn this interest into my profession.
After my recovery, I went on to complete my high school career as salutatorian, determined to make up for lost time and opportunities by making academics my priority. In college, I chose to major in biology with a minor in psychology. The resultant combination of coursework perfectly prepared me to explore my burgeoning interest in the neurobiological underpinnings of maladaptive eating behaviors. To my satisfaction, I found that every course I took confirmed my passion for this area of research.
In my sophomore year, I joined Dr. Stuart Lenning’s team at the TDS Health Sciences Institute as an assistant researcher in their on-going project about the role of brain-based mechanisms in producing chronic symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD and the use of alpha, beta, and delta waves as a treatment for the same. As assistant researcher, I conducted CT scans, collected results, prepared analytical reports about variations in brain waves, and synthesized the data to determine the efficacy of treatment models. It was a tremendously fulfilling learning experience, encompassing a wide range of research skills and on-the-job clinical knowledge. I was particularly impressed by the direct implications of this research on similar symptoms in anorexia nervosa patients, and under Dr. Lenning’s guidance, I started my own project, a pilot study of the use of beta waves as a treatment to correct the brain-based mechanisms that caused maladaptive eating behaviors. In my junior year, I developed the study into a research paper that was published in the 20XX issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
While my work with Dr. Lenning was exciting and helped me refine my ideas about the research I want to do in the future, it was an extremely rigorous and mentally draining work experience. Our tests failed more than once, and every time, we had to start from scratch, trying to figure out what went wrong. At the end of it, I was left with some doubts as to my ability to contribute to any meaningful research and what impact I really could make by taking up medicine. But my faith in medicine was restored when I joined clinical work at the Dr. Langley Psychiatric Institute.
I admit that when I initially took on this experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I felt apprehensive about entering the intense and sometimes overwhelming world of psychiatric medicine. Observing Dr. Sandra May as she conducted her rounds, performed surgery, and delivered notifications to families, I saw the huge positive impact a good doctor could make. That experience proved to me that ultimately, whether it’s research, diagnosis, or treatment, medicine is all about patient-care and developing the most efficient means of helping people.
To help me further develop my communication and interpersonal skills, I took up a volunteer peer counselor role in the Eating Disorders Unit of the Institute. I completed a three-month certification to ensure I could handle the responsibilities of the role, and so far, I have primarily counseled adolescents suffering from anorexia nervosa. Though it can be mentally grueling at times, at the end of the day, I derive great satisfaction from knowing that I am using my skills and personal experience to help others navigate and survive the same challenges that I once did.
Dr. Shelby’s words destroyed me completely when I was 16 – but they also set me on a path of recovery which led me to my new dreams, new life, and new perspective. That crucial recovery period lit a spark of curiosity in me for the academic world of medicine; and it also drew me towards a career of compassion and service, inspired by Dr. Shelby’s example. I hope to one day help others in the same way as she helped me.
What's great about this TMDSAS Personal Statement Example
- This essay follows a more traditional, linear structure by walking through the key incidents leading up to medical school in the applicant’s life. It distinguishes itself by sustaining a logical flow punctuated with self-reflective remarks and personal experiences that help to create an interesting narrative that holds the attention of the reader.
- While this essay talks about the applicant’s personal motivations for medical school, the emotional background is balanced with a clear summary of the applicant’s technical skills, achievements, and relevant medical experiences. This communicates a cohesive, sincere statement about why the applicant is interested in medical school and well-suited for it.
- The essay wraps up nicely by tying the conclusion back to the introduction and showing how the applicant’s core motivation and value system have developed with the experiences they’ve gained.
What's great about this TMDSAS Personal Statement Example
- This essay has a great flow with excellent transitional sentences to the following paragraphs. Each paragraph serves its purpose and allows the reader to follow along on the applicant’s journey in chronological order. The student does a great job of describing their initial interest in medicine, and throughout the essay, we see how this interest grows and evolves to become passion and dedication. Most importantly, this essay does what it promises. In the opening paragraph, the applicant states that they have had the opportunity to experience healthcare from multiple different perspectives, throughout the essay, we see each of these perspectives discussed.
- Through examples, the applicant demonstrates their ability to self-reflect, a desirable skill the admissions committee will be interested in. For example, although the applicant discusses an unfortunate event that they witnessed, they don't play the victim. Instead, the applicant immediately discusses what they appreciated and learned from the situation.
- Another great aspect of this personal statement is that the applicant demonstrates their ability to look ahead to set and achieve future goals, an important quality the admissions committee will be assessing.
What's great about this TMDSAS Personal Statement Example
- This essay does a wonderful job of showcasing the students unique skill-set through concrete examples. The student discusses their shadowing experience, medical volunteering abroad and lab research which makes the reader value their varied experiences in the medical field.
- It's nice to see family importance, values and the applicant's desire to heal throughout the essay. The opening paragraph is general, and as the essay progresses, we learn of the applicant's specific experiences and how they are deeply connected to a career in medicine.
- The conclusion, in particular, is very strong. Instead of just altering the introduction, the applicant provides an in-depth summary that ties together all the aspects we already saw demonstrated in earlier paragraphs. The applicant also does a good job of demonstrating self-reflection, in particular, what they have learned from each experience previously discussed. They leave the reader with a lasting feeling that they are truly motivated to be the best version of themselves and provide the best care possible.
1. How is the TMDSAS personal statement different from AMCAS or AACOMAS personal statement?
The main difference between the essays is their length. While the AMCAS and AACOMAS personal statement is limited to 5300 characters, TMDSAS limits your personal statement to 5000 characters including spaces.
2. Is there a specific prompt for this essay?
Yes, there is:
"The personal essay asks you to explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. You are asked to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician."
As I already mentioned, your essay is essentially asking you to show, rather than simply tell, why you want to become a physician.
3. How should I structure my TMDSAS personal statement?
Your personal statement should follow the structure of an academic essay, and therefore must be organized in the following way: introduction, body, and conclusion.
The key to a successful introduction is a gripping first sentence. The opening sentence can make or break your essay. Remember, admission committees review hundreds of applications and get tired from reading the same thing over and over, so your personal statement must catch their attention right away. Your introduction must lure them into reading your entire statement, rather than tossing it away after reading a couple of sentences. Additionally, your intro should serve as a roadmap for the rest of your essays.
Learn how to write a killer introduction to your medical school personal statement:
Your body paragraphs should be built around 2 or 3 experiences that motivated you to apply to medical school. Why so few? Your essay is not a CV, and therefore, should not simply list all the important experiences that led you to pursue a career in medicine. You must be very selective about which experiences you choose to cover in your personal statement, and it can certainly be difficult to narrow them down. Limiting your scope will give you more space to write about your experiences in detail. When it comes to personal statements, quality definitely trumps quantity. Instead of writing about many experiences in no detail, it is better to write about fewer experiences in vivid detail.
The conclusion should not be a dry summary of your personal statement. While you may reiterate some of your main points, your conclusion should also incite more interest in the reader. Remember, the main purpose of primary and secondary applications is to get that coveted interview invite. The conclusion of your personal statement should ignite the admission committee's interest to meet you!
4. What kind of experiences should I write about in the body paragraphs of my TMDSAS personal statement?
Only you can choose which experiences formed your desire to become a physician. But I will give you one simple but very important rule to follow: show, rather simply tell. What do I mean by this?
It is of vital importance that you use solid examples to support anything you write in your personal statement. For example, if you write that you want to become a doctor because you want to make a difference in underserved or isolated communities, make sure to include examples of personal experiences that demonstrate to the admission committee that you have taken the necessary steps to learn the challenges and needs of these communities. Include what skills you learned and how this experience shaped your motivation to become a physician. Such details show, rather than simply tell, that you are dedicated to pursuing your passion for medicine.
If you have never worked in such environments and have no personal experience working with these populations, you must reconsider writing about this. You may genuinely want to work in these communities, but the admission committee will not take your application seriously. Instead, brainstorm what kind of vivid and strong experiences make you a unique candidate and write about them. Do not try to impress the admission committee by writing about what you think they want to hear – be true to your own motivations and experiences.
5. I can talk about many experiences that led me to choose medicine. How do I choose which ones to include in my personal statement?
It can be very difficult to choose what to write about in your personal statement, especially if you have many quality talking points that can be used in the essay. The best way to approach this dilemma is to research the school to which you are applying. Read its mission statement and research the website to learn its overall goals and objectives and reflect on which of your personal experiences speak to these goals.
It would be wise to check out your school’s profile in the AAMC Medical School Admission Requirements portal to find out what their selection factors are and what kind of applicants they accept. Based on this information, you may choose to highlight your impactful clinical or shadowing experience or discuss a significant research project that got you interested in medicine. MSAR can help you narrow down and identify which personal and professional experiences you should include in the statement.
MSAR portal homepage:
Another great source of inspiration for personal statements can be the AAMC’s that outline the qualities and skills expected of all incoming medical students. Review this list and brainstorm which of your experiences relate to these competencies.
6. So, how long should I give myself to write my personal statement?
Give yourself at least 8 weeks to write the statement. Writing a quality statement takes a lot of brainstorming, drafting, and editing. Some statements take months to complete.
7. Should I let someone else edit my essay?
If you would like a second opinion on the quality of your essay, it might be a good idea to hire a . They can help you shape your essay into a solid, captivating narrative. Your personal statement is perhaps the most challenging component of your application, and therefore it must be the strongest. A med school advisor can point out the weak points of your essay and help you work out your challenges.
Otherwise, you can ask someone you trust to read your statement. This individual should feel comfortable giving you feedback and have great attention to detail. Tip: do not give your essay for review to more than 2 people. Too much feedback can negatively affect the structure and content of your personal statement. Remember, your essay should represent you - too much external input may destroy that ineffable quality of the essay that makes it yours.
8. Is a personal statement really that important? Aren’t my GPA and MCAT score more indicative of my ability to become a doctor?
I cannot overstate the importance of a personal statement for medical school acceptance rates. While your grades and scores may demonstrate your academic prowess, they do not reveal your personal qualities.
A personal statement is the first glimpse the admission committees get into your values, experiences, and events that led you to pursue the medical profession, as well as your goals and aspirations as a future physician. Not only does a personal statement reveal your character, but it also demonstrates your communication skills and your ability to self-reflect and articulate why you want to become a doctor.