Effective Pharmacy Personal Statement Tips
Writing an essay is always a pain in a neck. It is difficult to come up with decent ideas, organize them properly, arrive at reasonable conclusions among other things that make any student anxious and nervous.
However, when it comes to creating an admission essay or personal statement, these feeling are enhanced by pressure and heighten to a maximum extent. It is not surprising since every word in this piece of writing matters and may help to form or ruin a positive impression about its author. Fortunately, the overwhelming worries and fear can be overcome if to follow our tips.
Why Writing Your Personal Statement Is Important
First of all, you should realize the role a personal statement plays in your career as a pharmacist and take this essay very seriously. There are many people willing to pursue a major in pharmacy. All candidates usually have good grades, high tests scores, and personal achievements. Nevertheless, only a few succeed in capturing the attention of an admission committee.
In fact, only 50% of the applicants manage to get admitted to the schools of their dream, and they do it using a personal statement. Therefore, you should stop being distressed about this essay and start to treat it not like an obstacle but rather an opportunity to have a promising future. It might be the only chance to stand out.
In addition, a personal statement is a way to actually present oneself to an admission officer. It plays a role of a short TV commercial lasting from 3 to 10 minutes, which is approximate time during which it will be considered. This essay is capable of turning uninteresting facts, such as grades, awards, courses attended, and scores of different tests, into interesting traits of an uncommon personality.
In other words, this paper is able to show not only what you did so far but also who you are and why you may be treated an asset to any institution. Thus, personal statements are needed to make an application noticeable and show that there is an individual behind it.
Consider Audience of Your Pharmacy Personal Statement Essay
Regardless of which article or guide you will read, pharmacy school personal statement tips will always include the point about paying attention to the audience that you address. Your essay will be read by an admission committee that may consist of a couple up to a dozen people.
It will be a team formed from the faculty, admission staff, a doctor working in a relevant community, and sometimes students. Taking into account the major, which you aspire to obtain, all people involved in the admission process will have medical background ranging from clinical experience to MDs and PhDs.
Usually, the committee examines around 50 applications a day. It means that, unfortunately, few minutes will be devoted to reading something that you have been preparing for so long. Moreover, it is likely that not all member of this admission group will read the entire essay. Given the quantity of applications, time constraints, and unlikely but possible subjectivity of admission officers, you need to make sure that your personal statement looks like a bright light on the gray horizon if compared with other papers and can influence a reader within seconds.
Of course, admission committees analyze not only a personal statements. They also check transcripts, scores for MCAT and science or non-science GPAs, and letters of recommendations. They seek for a candidate who possesses high intellect, strong analytical and critical thinking skills as well as evidence that you are a suitable person to treat people.
Only if admission officers find the set of all documents interesting, you will be invited to an interview. Thankfully, such decisions are made through voting, and diversity in the committee guarantees a proper analysis and increases the chances that someone will like it.
However, for it to happen, your personal statement should grab attention and make a long-lasting impression even if your application is the last read on that day.
How to Write a Personal Statement Introduction: Expert Advice
An introduction plays a decisive role in your personal statement because it can either arouse interest in the intended reader or make him/her hastily conclude that there is not much to be expected from your personal statement. Our professional writers are always ready to share their experience with others. We have gathered their most valuable pieces of advice on how to create a powerful introduction.
- Many people decide to write introduction before finishing the body of their essay. However, just because you read the introduction first, does not mean you have to write it before everything else. Introduction performs several functions and one of them is to provide a brief plan of what is going to be discussed in the paper. Since writing is a creative process, you never know for sure how exactly the discussion will unfold, even if there is an outline. Therefore, it is much easier to write the introduction when you already have the rest of your essay.
- This advice concerns opening statement. Attention grabbers add some color to an essay, however, it is vital not to overdo with intrigue. Therefore, unless there is some truly meaningful experience you can share, it might be better to opt for a neutral opening sentence.
- The best personal statements are those that involve a lot self-reflection. Regardless of their purpose, essays are always read by people and if honesty and sincerity shines through your essay, it will be easier for the reader to relate to it. Sharing feelings and personal experience might be hard for science geeks, but it is worth trying. However, a writer should be careful not to go overboard – the line is fine. It is better to ask a few people to read the essay and hear their opinion.
- What can transform a mediocre personal statement into a brilliant one is the second opinion. People, even if they are not experts, can encourage you to look at the piece from a different angle. You can revise an essay a dozen times and it still does not feel perfect until another person reads it and tells you what is wrong. For instance, a friend/relative/classmate who reads your personal statement can help you realize that:
- Your personal statement is not focused and feels like a discussion of separate topics
- While trying to be humble, you resort to self-deprecation
- While describing your attitude to challenges, you become pessimistic.
The Do’s and Don’ts of a Personal Statement Writing
If you are not experienced in personal statement writing, it is better to rely on the opinions of professionals. Our qualified experts share quick tips on personal statement do’s and don’ts.
- Start early, ideally, a month or so before the submission date. This time should be enough to complete all the stages of the writing process carefully.
- Keep your audience in mind.
- Use proper grammar, punctuation, and tone. Correct use of the English language is crucial to your essay success, so you might even enroll on an online course to improve your skills.
- Ensure that the essay has a correct structure. Organize your thoughts in a way that grabs readers’ attention and keeps them interested till the very last sentence.
- Reveal your personality to the reader – insincerity will be easily detected.
- Make sure you proofread and edit the paper more than once. Focus on both content and structure while reading.
- Mention your future goals. Make sure they match the rest of the application.
- Do not repeat the same ideas several times. Repetitions make your personal statement weak and boring.
- Do not exceed the word count limit. Typically, it should be around 1,000 words.
- Do not include tangential discussion.
- Do not use fillers and redundancies. If the personal statement has to be longer, add more meaningful content instead of ‘fluff’.
- Do not be in a hurry.
- Do not list the achievements that are not related to the position you are applying for.
- Do not express your opinion on controversial topics.
- Do not make the essay too personal or emotional.
- Do not make excuses.
- Do not underestimate the profession.
Remember that the application has to be about you and not about the advantages of the field, you are planning to work in. Remember that there are three criteria that define the success of your application – time management, appropriateness of the content, and sincerity. As long as you keep them in mind, you should be able to write a good essay.
A secret to how to write a pharmacy school personal statement successfully is to convince an admission committee in your genuine interest in studying and dedicating yourself to the specialization chosen. You need to tell about the impulse that triggered you to make this complicated decision. Nevertheless, you will be able to explain your desire to pursue this major clearly only if you fully understand the reason for such choice by yourself.
If you opt for pharmacy because of the job security and stability, which it can offer in future, search for something else as you will be unable to enjoy these benefits when deadly bored by the work you do not like. If you want to be a pharmacist to earn a lot of money, this is not the case. Select the job in the spheres of business and entertainment instead. If your reason is to please your mom and dad or get rid of their pressure, you will have not a single happy day at work.
To prosper in pharmacy and write a persuasive admission essay, you should indeed know why you wish to do it. If it is a mystery for you, ask yourself a few questions in order to assess objectively your ability to withstand several years of demanding studies and tough work.
These questions are:
- What attracts me in pharmacy?
- Why should I be a pharmacist instead of a medical doctor?
- What would inspire me to study hard to become a pharmacist?
- What event in my life spurred me to choose this profession?
- Can I indeed treat the needs of other as more important than those of mine?
- Do I possess qualities that are necessary to be a good pharmacist? What are they?
- How do I differ from other applicants willing to study pharmacy?
You should consider this profession to be intriguing and gripping as well as have a calling to help people. If your motives are fully financially driven or the idea of studying pharmacy does not fascinate you from the very beginning, stop reading this article right here or you will find yourself completely miserable at some point of your life.
If, however, you are still passionate about becoming a pharmacist, make sure to follow the most important of the pharmacy personal statement tips. Tell the admission committee about the grounds for such a desire to and answer the question “Why?” extensively. Jot down every reason, which you think encouraged you to make this decision. You will not have to choose only one and discuss it throughout the personal statement. It will be even better to address several drivers behind your actions, implying that pharmacy is not something impulsively chosen but rather a specialization for which you have been getting ready your entire life.
Recall all experiences, instances, people, events, and other factors that inspired you to dedicate your life to helping others. Do not try to make something up because it, as you think, might be a better explanation. Insincerity and untruthfulness of your word will be easily noticed. Instead, try to tell a story in which you show a clear connection between some of your experiences, for instance, an occasion in a medical school, and your willingness to become a pharmacist. You may refer to some of your biggest achievements, a personal failure as well as a lesson learned from it, an obstacle or fear, which was once overcome, a dire moment of your life, or something else that you are proud of or deem to be worth mentioning.
Your essay should be indeed personal. It does not mean that it must be extremely touchable or emotional. It is neither required nor advisable. Simply tell a story that is meaningful to you. It will then be believable and capable of showing who you are. Use many details so that while reading your personal statement, an admission officer could vividly imagine the event and relive the same situation.
Contrary to numbers, grades, and facts, bright examples and unusual ideas will demonstrate your personality. If you have no captivating story to tell, at least support everything with specific examples.
Another useful approach to adopt is to address own skills and illustrate how they can help you to be a good pharmacist and aid people. Include some of the qualities that schools are looking for. Some of them are maturity, sincerity, compassion, empathy, and determination to study.
Surely, this list is not exhaustive, but it can assist you to choose on what kind of traits to focus. Remember that recounting features will not bring any fruitful results. You have to show how you have used them in various situations or relationships with people. An additional set of skill, which should be demonstrated in the essay, is a good command of English, writing skills, and ability to express thoughts clearly.
Adopt a Special Pharmacy Personal Statement Format
Usually, you are free to write a personal statement in any format you like. It will be acceptable as long as you observe the rules of standard English, demonstrate consistency, and adopt formal writing style. However, you might be requested or just expected to answer one of the following questions, namely why you are a unique applicant, why you can be considered a competent person, or why you are willing to become a doctor. Check the format that each of the questions requires.
The first question is closely related to the second one. In both cases, you are demanded to advertise yourself but from different perspectives. If the former question is asked, a school is interested in you as a personality while the latter implies the curiosity about your academic and scientific back ground as well as overall competence. When addressing your uniqueness, you should tell about you talents, skills, or some exceptional abilities and, of course, explain how they can make you a hard-working student and outstanding pharmacists.
Speculate on how you can be different from the rest of the class in a positive way. You may also tell about some traits of your character, but they also should be presented along with some experience that you had and in connection to your desire to dedicate your life to medicine.
If you have some other exceptional feature, for instance, you are mature age student, have a disability, or come from an unusual ethnic or social background, point it out. Describe how diversity, which you may bring to class or an educational institution, can be beneficial. You may also emphasize that these characteristics of yours will be especially helpful in a work or hospital setting in terms of communication with people in need.
Tie everything you say to your motivation to study pharmacy and show how your experiences make you the best fit for the school. If you had been abroad, you might tell about the instances of cross-cultural interactions and sensitivity that you have developed under those circumstances.
When you are asked about your qualification, you should concentrate on the working experience and academic background, which are crucial regardless of whether you are applying for a medical school or a position of a pharmacist. If you can tell about instances of direct research or hospital experience, you have a great advantage over your competitors. In case you have none, describe the involvement in some relevant activity even if it seems insignificant.
Mention it and thoroughly explain what you have learned from it and how it can help you in your future career in medicine. The example of a related experience can be volunteering, which is not even connected with the medical sphere. It will still serve as the evidence of your immense desire to assist people in need.
Addressing the last question, think of the moment when you first thought about becoming a pharmacist. Certainly, you might have wanted to work in the field of medicine for so long that have already forgotten the initial inspiration. Still, try to recall. Perhaps, it was some event in childhood, or you once met a person whose footsteps you would like to follow.
Besides, you might discuss the experience of someone else, for instance, a disease a friend or beloved people, if it is what spurred you to be a pharmacist. You should not make your personal statement dramatic and moving. Your task is just to convince that your desire to study pharmacy is grounded on something, not to make an admission committee cry or pity you. Finally, do not stick to one reason. Your decision to become a healthcare worker should not seem hasty but rather be based on the research and complete understanding of what the job implies.
Perfect Personal Statement Tips
As it was already mentioned, an admission officer will have maximum 10 minutes to review the entire application, including the personal statement, before proceeding to that of another candidate. For this reason, the essay should catch his/her attention from the very first line. It should not simply announce your intentions regarding the paper or its theme. The words and images in it should provoke interest and desire to read the essay until the end. In other words, your essay should start with a lead, i.e., something that draws attention and works as a catchy tune from a commercial.
There are different types of lead that you can use, namely:
- Standard lead. It is called to answer one of six common questions, specifically, who, when, where, why, how, and what. It is frequently used because it effectively informs a reader about the theme of the essay.
- Summary lead. This is a subtype of a standard lead, which, however, covers the answers to as many of the six questions as possible.
- Action lead. This kind of lead is suitable for those who want to make their personal statement short. It is similar to starting a story from the middle without sometimes-redundant introductions.
- Quotation lead. As evident from the name of this lead, it implies the usage of either a direct quote or a paraphrase. Such a technique, however, is efficient only if a citation is funny and brief. The reason for using the quote should be gradually revealed throughout the essay, but you should not interpret it. Under no circumstances, use a cliché or proverb.
- Personal lead. Such lead discloses some information about the author of the essay. To make it work, you should write it from the first person and in informal tone.
- Dialogue lead. It is aimed at engaging the audience in a conversation that is presented in the form of a dialogue or monologue with the author’s thoughts expressed.
- Creative lead. This kind of lead is mostly applied to take a reader by surprise using a funny remark. It is a bit risky to use it in a personal statement, as the sense of humor of an admission officer might be radically different from yours.
- Informative lead. It requires providing a piece of information that is relevant to the topic of your paper. It might be an interesting fact, statistics, or data concerning you.
Even though a memorable lead is vital for your essay, do not try to begin the writing process with composing it. Otherwise, it might result in a writer’s block, much frustration, and eventually procrastination. Since postponing is one of the worst mistakes one may make when writing admissions essays, do you spur yourself to doing it. A great idea for a lead may cross your mind right in the middle or at the end of the creative process, but you will definitely make something up.
Good and Bad Personal Statement Advice
You should follow some good advice when writing an essay:
- Start early. You can be sure that it will take much time before you write an ideal essay and be fully satisfied with the result. Therefore, spare enough time for editing, proofreading, and actual submitting. Believe that you do not want to be in a hurry!
- Show your personality. Reveal your emotions and share personal stories. It will allow to get you know better and understand your intention to become a pharmacist. Appeal to emotions of admission staff.
- Demonstrate commitment. You should show that you realize what a major in pharmacy implies. Illustrate that the years of exhausting studies, internships, and sleepless nights do not matter since, in the end, you will be working in the field of your dream. Any profession in a medicine requires deep devotion and burning desire to make the world a better place. Thus, let an admission officer know that you are prepared to withstand all the challenges, as the pharmacy is your one and only goal.
- Include specific experience. Pre-pharmacy students usually have experiences to share, for instance, volunteering in a local pharmacy and hospital or shadowing a pharmacist as a part of college studies. You should obligatory tell about them. However, instead of briefly mentioning all of them, pick one, describe it in detail, and tie it to your motivation to grow and develop within this industry.
- Use proper structure and organization. Arrange the ideas and paragraphs of your personal statement in a way that will allow a reader to understand it fully and capture the main point. Besides, you should grab his/her attention as early as possible, so start in an unusual manner. Remember that appropriate essay format should be used. Therefore, make sure each paragraph has a topic sentence with the main idea clearly stated, supporting sentences with examples and evidence, and, finally, a short but strong conclusion. The paper should be coherent and cohesive so that ideas change one another smoothly and logically.
- Proofread. Regardless of how perfectly you suit to be a pharmacist according to your personal statement, you will not be admitted if you do not know how to use English or at least dictionaries. Grammatical mistakes and spelling error will definitely ruin a positive impression that you have been trying to form so hard. Thus, proofread the paper and mind that ten times is not too much. Read your personal statement out loud, ask your friend and family to do it, or find out whether one of your professors can do it for you. In other words, do everything possible to make sure that there are no typos and misplaced commas in your essay. Certainly, it might be tiring but absolutely necessary if you do want to study pharmacy.
If someone advised you to do these things, they want you to fail. So, find out what you should definitely not do:
- List grades from the transcript. An admission committee has access to the entire package of your documents meaning that they can see your grade and check them for sure. There is no need to mention them one more time even if you are very proud of them.
- Use fillers. If you want to seem smart or make you sentences look better, do it using meaningful ideas rather than worthless phrases, such as “It is important to note that despite the above-mentioned fact…”
- Mention irrelevant information. Do not tell about any accomplishments that have nothing to do with pharmacy. An admission officer will not be interested. Mention those points that show your competence in this field, serve as an examples of some skills, which are useful for a pharmacist, or support your motivation to pursue this major. Be direct, specific, and express ideas briefly. Do not overload a reader with unnecessary details.
- Plagiarize. You are to write a personal statement, which obviously means that only your thoughts should be expressed in it. Besides, any essay can be easily checked with plagiarism checkers. So, do not put your future at stake. Just write from the depth of your heart.
- Touch controversial topics. Sensitive themes are not the best pitch for your personal statement. Such an approach may evoke mixed feelings and will definitely not yield a favorable result because your views and those of an admission staff member might be dramatically different.
- Apologize. You should not draw attention of an admission committee to drawbacks in your personal statement, some underachievement, or the lack of experience. This essay is your chance to present the best version of you, so do it.
- Discuss money. If money is the only reason you want to study pharmacy, you should actually rethink your choice of major rather than looking for the ways to write an ideal personal statement. Even if they are not the only reason, still do not mention it since it will show you in a bad light.
Final Stage of Writing an Effective Personal Statement
When you have already answered all the questions, supported each point of the paper with an example, discussed extensively own motivation, and even written a pharmacy personal statement conclusion, it is not the end yet. You still must do some editing and proofreading in order to make sure that not a single typo or aspect of the task is omitted. For this purpose, you may use a check test.
If you want to verify that the structure of your personal statement is proper, use the first-sentence test. On a separate piece of paper, write down all topic sentences of your paper and look through them several times. Then, objectively assess whether a person who reads only these sentences will grasp your main ideas. Evaluate whether the ideas flow logically and naturally. If in either case, the answer is negative, consider improving the statement.
Some other questions that might be helpful in checking the quality of the essay are:
- Is your essay personal enough?
- Did you use a lead to start attracting attention from the first sentence?
- Are there sufficient details in descriptions?
- Have you deleted all the clichés and meaningless fillers?
- Does the essay sound fascinating to you?
- Does each paragraph support the thesis?
- Is each point of the essay supported with evidence?
- Are your conclusions logical and reasonable?
- Did you use the sentences of different length and structure?
- Have you overused passive voice, adjectives, or adverbs?
Now you know that your personal statement is the chance to show true self by focusing on own strengths and positive traits. It should be your advertisement, which might make you an attractive asset for any school. Remember that you need to demonstrate your motivation and explain where it stems from. Start conquering a reader’s heart from the very first line using a suitable lead. Finally, try to sound like you; otherwise, hyperbolizing and making up will become the main obstacle on your way to the bright future in pharmacy.
Also you may look through our personal statement samples.