VMCAS Application: Getting Started on the Personal Statement
The deadline for the VMCAS application is October 1; however, you should plan to submit your application as soon as possible. When applicants delay in submitting the VMCAS application, it is typically because they are stuck on the personal statement. So, how do tackle a 5000 character essay intended to convince the committee that they should give a spot in their school?
Before you start to write, you must know what you are supposed to be writing about. In your statement, you need to describe your motivation for becoming a veterinarian, how you became interested in vet medicine and the qualities you possess that will make you a superb vet. Use the personal statement as an opportunity to show the committee why you should be accepted over another applicant with similar grades and GRE scores.
Other sections of the VMCAS application give you a chance to describe your work and extracurricular activities. Therefore, don’t turn the personal statement into a resume. Instead, choose the most relevant and engaging experiences and focus on those. The opening and closing the paragraphs will have the greatest impact on the reader, so use your strongest material in those sections.
“Show don’t tell” is an essential rule of writing and absolutely applies to the personal statement. Use examples, details and stories to write a compelling and convincing essay. Describing your role in the care of a German Shepherd with a compound fracture will convey your affinity for vet medicine far more effectively than simply stating outright that you have cared for animals before and will be a good vet. Therefore, the first step in writing should be to note down any interesting anecdotes, scenarios or examples to use as material. With that done, you will have a starting point for crafting your story. It typically takes 4-6 drafts to formulate a personal statement but with your initial ideas written out, the next step will be far easier.