Writing always seemed to be the one thing I have excelled at through college, which many of you already know. I absolutely love helping each and every one of you in the PCAT Study Group with your essays!
Over time, I have received a few common questions/concerns that I’d like to take the time to address. All of which I guarantee will help you to write the perfect personal statement!
Start off with a bang!
First things first, you must start off your intro with a bang. It has to be something catchy – you want to capture the reader’s attention and reel them in.
I always like to think of some sort of “story” that I can tell. Open with the beginning of said story, flow into the essay, and then close with the conclusion relating back to the story.
Try and think of something that reflects who you are as a person. Some event that changed you or helped you become the student you are today. This doesn’t have to be school related! 🙂
If you have some sort of extenuating circumstance (why you failed a class, a childhood tragedy, why you retook a class, why your GPA is low, etc.), I suggest trying to work this into the story you will tell. You’ll make the essay personable but also easy to read (and you’ll also be addressing something important).
The body of the paper…
There’s no exact order of what you need to talk about, so you can really change up the essay to fit your needs. Make sure each paragraph flows from one thing to the next – avoid starting paragraphs with, “Then…” or “Also…” You only have so many characters so make sure you are clear and concise. Shorten sentences whenever you can! Be sure to include the following topics:
- Why you chose pharmacy – give personal examples specific to you
- Short term goals – in school, work, education, extracurriculars, etc.
- Long term career goals – what you plan to do in pharmacy school, after you graduate, etc.
You don’t have to talk about all of the details in each of those points, but apply them as needed to your essay so that you can personalize it.
Review it 🙂
Lastly, please please please make sure you review your paper! Take a couple days to do this – don’t rush it. If you can, have a friend, family member, professor, etc. review it.
How you think you are saying something may not actually come across the way you want it to. That’s why it’s great to obtain others’ feedback.
I know many of you have asked me to help review your essays – and I absolutely love to! But I also see posts asking other students in the group to edit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I would like to point out a few things:
The pre-pharmacy students in the group are in the same boat as you. Unless you know someone very well, you may want to reconsider having them review it (plagiarism – sad, but it does happen).
Instead, try to reach out to students already in pharmacy school or your school’s writing center if it has one!
My biggest piece of advice to you is this: write how you feel most comfortable. If you are a planner and you need to take a couple of weeks to perfect a paper, then do it! If that’s how you perform best in your college classes, don’t treat the PCAT essay any differently. In fact, it’s probably more important (shhh!).
If you are someone who writes best when you procrastinate…..(this is actually me)…..it’s okay. Go ahead and procrastinate, but only to a certain extent. Don’t be pushing yourself until the very last minute to get the essay done.
You need to make sure you have time to review it, so only procrastinate the writing process. Do not procrastinate the review process 🙂
Now that you have the key ingredients for writing the perfect personal essay, you’re set to go! So what are you waiting for? 🙂 Get writing!