Editing Your Personal Statement
You can find personal statement editing services locally through these resources:
– In the local services section of Craigslist
– Privatized editing services on your college campus
– Your medical school admissions advisor may view your essay for you.
There are also a number of editing services online:
When you are deciding whether you want someone to edit your personal statement or not, you want to be very aware that when you bring your essay to a relative or a faculty member or somebody else, who is not specifically focused on, or experienced in medical school admissions, you want to be prepared that whoever you give the essay to is going to have a lot of opinions around:
1. The grammar of your essay.
2. The style of your essay.
General essay editing services can be great, but the edits and suggestions may not have so much to do with making your essay a better personal statement, as transforming your essay into a form that is more familiar to the writing style of the person giving you the advice.
The cliche is “Opinions are like ears. Everybody has them.” Every person you ask to read your essay will have advice and suggestions to offer, but you need to ask the right questions to make sure that you are getting suggestions that are relevant to the medical school personal statement, and not just general writing advice.
What should you ask your personal statement editor?
Ask your reader: “Which parts of my essay show my personality? Which parts of the essay sound like me?”
Have your editor highlight with a marker those parts of the essay that sound like you. You should then ask the editor why a part sounds like you, so that they can give you a really clear answer that will help you write with more authenticity in future edits.
Everybody has a different way of writing, and there is no ideal writing style. Medical schools do not expect you to be one of the finest writers of the 21st century, but they do expect you to be an undergraduate student with basic writing abilities. Medical schools would like you to convey your motivation to medicine in your essay; they do not expect or want you to write the most elegantly written, poetic piece of prose writing ever known to humankind.
Hiring an expert
Ok, so you’ve shown your personal statement to a campus advisor, faculty member – and maybe your parents. each of them gave you some nice advice about grammar and writing style.
But you’re still not satisfied, it feels like there is something missing from your essay.
At this point, you consider hiring an expert – someone skilled in packaging you as a med school candidate.
You need an expert to answer this question, somebody with a lot of experience in reviewing, critiquing, and improving a candidate’s chances for getting into medical school.
Beyond an editor’s experience, you need to find out if that editor is interested in seeing any write-ups of your experiences, or if the editor is just going to be reading the essay, and giving you feedback on what they see.
It’s really important that the expert you hire has a fairly good understanding of the experiences that you’ve had, so that they can help you choose what experiences are most attractive, and that present you in the most favorable light.
To get your money’s worth, you need to ask yourself: “Does my essay actually improve my chances of getting into medical school?”
It is difficult to know which moments in your life will help you convey your unique motivation to medicine. This is a case of not knowing what you don’t know, and having an expert help you identify the best experiences is essential.
You may feel that the adversity you’ve overcome in life really shows your willingness to commit to medicine, but a qualified expert may choose something completely. So be sure that your editor spends some time interviewing you, to determine what are the best experiences to promote in your personal statement.
You need to speak with your editor
The other thing to look for is whether or not the service will let you talk to an editor. In the age of the Internet, it’s easy to forgo phone conversation and automate a lot of this process, but I think to get a real discussion going about what you are attempting to convey in your essay, you really need to talk it out with a real person.
Comments and review notes inside a word processing document only goes so far, often not far enough. You want to have plenty of time with your editor to explore the nuances of their changes to help you find out how the changes help your application to med school.
You get what you pay for (usually)
Third, you’re going to want to look at price. If the cost of the essay editing is very low, you can’t really expect that you’re going to be getting a lot of detailed attention from the review process, of that particular company. In this instance, you do get what you pay for.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to over pay, but you should expect to spend somewhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the scope of services. You should expect to spend $300 for one essay revision, plus a personal phone conversation, or up to $1,000 for multiple rounds of review, and multiple phone conversations.
Personal statement editing services can help your essay shine, but you need to keep these things in mind if you want to get the most out of the experience.