So it’s time to write your personal statement to gain entre to one of the international dentist programs of your choice? If you’re not already aware, your statement of purpose, or personal statement, as I’ll call it here, is one of the most important elements in your application package.
What’s the Big Deal? It’s Just an Essay Right?
Wrong! It’s not just an essay, it’s an opportunity!
Whose opportunity is it though? One might answer, “Oh, well it’s my opportunity to show them how great I really am, right?”
True. However, there’s another opportunity in the mix that I’d like you to be aware of:
Your Personal Statement is the University’s opportunity for an excuse to throw your application in the trash.
Why would I say such a thing and why would a University be grateful for a reason to throw your applications aside? Look at it from the point of view of the person whose job it is to sift through hundreds of applications. These days, with limited University staff, you can bet that the person having to go through your international dentist application also has to read through numerous other international dentist applications and likely a great deal of dentist applications from U.S applicants as well. This is potentially hundreds of applications to read through for only a few people.
If you were a one of these dental applicant reviewers, tasked with reading hundreds of pages of personal statements and knew you could only choose a select few of them, wouldn’t you look for every opportunity you could to toss one aside into the trash? Of course you would!
Making Sure Your Personal Statement Doesn’t Land in the “Rejected” Pile?
The most important recommendation I can make to ensure that your entire personal statement reads as though an American wrote it. If you live in a country where little or no English is spoken, you must spend the time and effort to ensure that your personal statement reads the same way someone who was born and raised in the United States would write it. Don’t fall into making the false assumption that you’ll be given any slack because your native language is not English. Just remember that there are always people who speak English worse than youself who are submitting beautifully written personal statements along with you – they are your competition.
For those of you who live in countries where English is your second language or English is a language you use regularly, you may need to be even more careful! Why? Because you may assume that you don’t need any help in writing your personal statement. True, you may have a solid grasp of conversational English and are quite comfortable with it. Yet just because you speak English on a regular basis doesn’t mean that your dialect matches that of the University admissions reviewer reading your application. If they detect a foreign tongue of any kind, that’s one great reason to say to themselves, “Ahh, this person put very little time, effort, or thought into their personal statement. Next.”
You may write the most incredibly moving story in the world through your personal statement, but if your personal statement sounds awkward to your reader, they will toss it aside in frustration. You don’t want to make your admissions reviewer work any harder than they need to for you – it’s hard enough reading non-stop essays for two or three weeks at a time.
The cardinal rule is this: get an expert to help you with your personal statement. This will likely require you to pay someone. It’s possible that your friend who claims to be an English writing expert and will correct your personal statement for free might do an outstanding job, but it’s not likely. Even people who grew up in the United States are not necessarily great writers – in fact, the majority of them are not. Ensuring your personal statement is above average will require that you hire someone who does this for a living. They should not only clean up your statement in terms of grammar, but they should help you re-organize your personal statement to make sure you’re stating what it is you want to get across. Finally, after having a writing expert edit your personal statement, make sure to send it to someone who can review your statement with some dental school expertise so that they can provide insight on specifically what dental schools expect to hear about your background and expertise.
What to Include and What Not to Include
A lot of people mess this up. They don’t have a good idea of what the purpose of a personal statement is and they submit a paper that basically repeats and expands on everything they included in their C.V.
Your personal statement is not the time for you discuss in detail your C.V., it’s your opportunity to make a case for why you’re the best candidate amongst many for their particular program. If you’re not sure where to start when beginning to write your personal statement, ask this question to yourself:
Why should this school choose me over my peers? What makes me unique?
If you can’t find any reasons, then you’re either not very aware of all you have to offer or you should really question why you’re even bothering to apply to a program for international dentists at all. Some people are overly confident and believe they are nothing less than a gift to the world. This can be problematic down the road when the reality catches up to them that they are just a regular person after all.
On the other hand, there are many people who are overly judgmental of themselves and simply don’t see their immense value. If you fall into this second category, I want to say one thing to you: the fact that you desire to enter an international dentist program in the U.S. says a great deal about you already. It means that you’re ambitious, that you want a better life for yourself and your loved ones than what you currently have available. It means that you’re willing to go through an extremely challenging and strenuous process to achieve your goals and to pursue happiness. You should compare yourself to the great people of history who also were willing to go through hell to achieve their dreams.
Ok, so we’ve established that you have a lot to offer and are a very unique individual. Now I want you to make a list of all the difficult things in your life that you’ve overcome to achieve greater dreams. This list I want you to look at when writing your personal statement and when answering the question, “Why should this school choose me over my peers?”
If you can convince me through the stories that you tell in your personal statement that you’re a person who doesn’t let challenge get in their way, that you’re someone who will go to the ends of the earth to accomplish their goals, that you care deeply about your fellow human beings, that you are coming to the United States to work there and live there and make it a better place, then you’ll convince the admissions evaluator of that as well. Yet this can’t be just talk, it has to be from the heart – you have to convince your reader not just through empty statements, but through powerful stories, that you are someone truly unique and special.
International Dentists: Start Your Engines
My hope is that I’ve given you a different and helpful perspective to consider as you begin the process of writing your personal statement for an advanced standing program in the United States. With preparation, thoughtfulness, and the willingness to get expert help, I know that you’ll be able to write a killer personal statement that will leave your reader no choice but to place your application ahead of the other international dentists.
Please note that at Internal Dentist Central, we’ll not only support you in editing your personal statement for grammar and flow, but we’ll review it from the perspective of what U.S. dental schools expect to see.
Learn more about how to take advantage of our C.V and Personal Statement services.
[wps_hide_none text=”Please Subscribe”]Below, I’m including a video from University of California, Los Angeles about what a personal statement is and some general guidelines to follow when writing your personal statement.[/wps_hide_none]
Check it out below!
Additionally, here are some great guidelines to help you out!