Write Your Personal Statement

Essays and Personal Statements

Each health profession school asks for a 4,000-6,000-character essay on your motivations for applying. AMCAS, where you will submit your application to medical school, requires a personal statement that is limited to 5,300 characters. If you are applying as an MD-PhD applicant, you will also have to write essays about why you want to pursue a dual-career path and about your research.

If you are worried because you haven’t written essays like this since applying to MIT, don’t worry, Prehealth Advising can help you brainstorm, draft, and refine your personal statement.

The Writing Process

  1. Brainstorm ideas. Consider experiences that had a major impact on you or that helped you determine that this career is a good fit. We recommend applicants’ first essay critique appointment with an advisor focus on brainstorming potential topics and experiences to discus in your personal statement.
  2. Create an outline, jot down ideas of experiences, and start writing. Narrow down your ideas to three or four experiences and develop a theme to tie them together. Refine these ideas to determine what your ‘thesis’ statement is.
  3. Have your essay critiqued by Prehealth Advising staff. We recommend your first appointment with Prehealth Advising staff focus on brainstorming topics. You can also go to professors, academic advisors, research PIs, the MIT Writing and Communication Center and/or your peers to get feedback.
  4. Use our personal statement guide Workshop Your Why MD to help you brainstorm and write your essay, along with other resources in Handshake’s Personal Statement Resources Folder.

Essay Critiques

Feeling stuck? Prehealth Advising can help you at any stage of the writing process. We are happy to help you brainstorm or revise a draft.

  • Appointments: Log into Handshake to make an Essay Critique Appointment with Prehealth Advising. We strongly recommend applicants’ first essay critique appointment be schedule to brainstorm about potential topics and experiences to discus in your personal statement. If you would like discuss your personal statement, email your essay to the advisor 24 business hours prior to your appointment. If not, your appointment may be cancelled.
  • Email: Send a Word document of your essay to prehealthessaycrits@mit.edu. (Please no PDFs.) We will send you feedback on your draft within three to four business days.


Begin writing your essays as early as the fall before you apply to medical school. This way, you will have several months for revisions. Students upload a first draft of their medical school essays to their Credential Service account in early February during the COPA process, but continue revising and refining essays throughout the spring semester before finally submitting the AMCAS application in June.