Dr Gerald S Foster

Director of Admissions Harvard Medical School

I LOOK FOR AN ESSAY that's neat, literate, and not too long. We count the personal statement a lot more than the essay written on the AM CAS test, which turns out not to be very helpful. So you should give a personal statement some thought. I think there are all kinds of approaches. I think the important thing is for the essay to be_aj:efkcuorijof.the s.tud£ni and demonstrate good written communication skills.

Some applicants try to include much too much. Every personal statement request indicates the things that the committee wants you to talk about, so the applicants should address those things and make the essay interesting for the reader.

We ask people to comment on some of the experiences and interests that bear on their choice of medicine as a career. People simply ought to write something that's revealing about themselves.

Two to three people read the statement to make a decision about an interview, and then, if the person is interviewed, the statement will be seen by everybody on the committee. There are about 15 people on the interviewing subcommittee. If the applicant moves on to become a finalist, then another 15 people will see the statement. 1 often read the personal statement before I interview somebody; it lets the applicant know I've read his or her folder, and it often gives me some opening subjects to discuss in the interview.

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