dental school personal statement style question

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Jul 3, 2018
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What is recommended for writing the personal statement as far as flowery vs. straightforward?

I wrote one draft with a little metaphor as to how I found dentistry as a good match for my career goals. I was given opposing advice for the style of the personal statement. I had a couple people tell me I needed to be "cinematic" and give details to set the scene of a specific event or to make sure to use interesting words. I also had a family member who is a professor (nutrition-related, ivy league school, reads graduate applicant personal statements) say to cut out everything flowery (i.e. most adjectives) and make it as simple as possible.

I have seen a couple example personal statements where a situation is described that the applicant clenched someones hand comfortingly as tears rolled down their cheeks due to dental pain etc. etc. but I guess I thought that came off as cheesy and dramatic. At the same time I was honestly surprised by the advice to cut out all of the creative writing and just make it sound like a normal person would write or speak. But I can imagine that when a committee has to read so many essays they may appreciate when applicants just state what they are there to state and don't distract with dramatic descriptions of the scene of an event. You are there to prove why you want to be a dentist, not show off your creative writing skills......right??

Does anyone have insight into whether you should take one approach or the other? Or just somewhere in between?

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Use enough flowery details that paint the picture and/or emotion but don't include details that aren't needed. For example, if you're explaining dental pain, don't say "on a beautiful, sunny day in June, I was in bed writhing in agony while cuddling my cat." LOL okay, I'm cuddling my cat right now, so that's where that came from but back to the point- you need to find a balance. Don't make it dry, but its not a short story either. Ask yourself "does this help explain my story or is it extra information?"
I agree with above, use detail only where it is needed. Please do not be cheesy. I've read about 35 statements for this cycle and some of them have experiences just as you described. Some of them were executed well, while others did feel cheesy. Don't be straightforward either, make it a little engaging so that your readers stay interested. So yeah, try to find that perfect sweet spot between flowery and straightforward/blunt. Good luck!

Also, when you have a good draft going, ask any of the available readers on this list to tell you what they think about it!
~*~*~*~*~Official Pre-Dental Personal Statement Reader List 2018-2019~*~*~*~*~
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