Personal Statement Example

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10+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2011
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As the new cycle is fast approaching, quite a few people have asked me for advice on their personal statements...

Out of sheer lack of energy/will to read anymore personal statements, I'm posting a copy of mine here for everyone's viewing pleasure. I've blanked out a few irrelevant details such as the name of the dentist I shadowed. Although this helped me to snag an interview at some pretty amazing schools, I genuinely believe the theme and the examples I used are about as cookie-cutter/conservative as you can get. The key to standing out, however, is to show the adcoms that "yeah I know you've already read thousands of shadowing experiences, but my experience is going to make you feel as if there's nothing else I can see myself doing besides dentistry".

Be creative, descriptive, but above all else, reflective. Make it your own story. Good luck!


Adrenaline began rushing through my veins as I prepared to return my opponent's serve. All of a sudden, the tennis ball zoomed across the court, blistering deep into my forehand wing. Eyes on the ball, I rapidly shuffled over to the right as the energy stored in my calf muscles channeled into my arms. In a split second, I whipped my racquet through the air, smacking the ball right on the sweet spot. The ball soared over the net to the other side, landing only to briefly graze the baseline. Triumphant, I flashed a smile as the ball smoked past my opponent and slammed soundly into the fence.

Simply put, the return of a tennis serve is one of my greatest fascinations. Contrary to the belief of an unsuspecting passerby, my pleasure does not purely come from hitting a winning shot. Rather, it is from the technical execution of the shot that I draw a sense of inexplicable satisfaction. From the footwork to the follow-through, each technique is a complex art that needs to be perfected in order for the shot to be carried out flawlessly. It is the unseen reason behind why some shots end in failure while other shots become sensations. Hence, I have come to value the underlying process rather than the final achievement itself.

Similarly, dentistry is an avocation focused upon the process, not the goal. I first developed an affinity towards dentistry due to its hands-on nature. One summer day, I witnessed my mother undergo a root canal treatment. Surprisingly, each root canal filing that the endodontist performed evoked the same inexplicable satisfaction that I would gain from tennis. To my mother, it was just a root canal procedure, but in my eyes, I was observing an artist in the process of creating an oral masterpiece. Furthermore, each step's purpose and technical complexity blew me away as I saw the amount of detail that needed to be addressed in order to alleviate my mother's pain. As these thoughts began to connect, I became struck by a newfound desire to pursue the art of dentistry.

Before long, my interest in dentistry grew to become my passion as I began shadowing Dr. ****, a hospital dentist who specialized in treating medically compromised patients. One of her patients was a student who had lost half of his teeth in a car accident. It was hard not to sense the gravity of his situation as he came into the clinic sullen with despair. During the next six months, however, I saw how Dr. **** established a rapport with the student to gain his trust throughout the ordeal. Each step of the healing process, I gained a greater admiration for how much faith he would place in Dr. ****'s capabilities as she provided him with hope through affirming his recovery. By the end of his final appointment, I was overjoyed to see the student finally smiling with his new set of teeth. His happiness deeply convicted me to serve patients with challenging disadvantages as I reflected upon how rewarding it was to see his misery transformed into exuberance.

After observing Dr. ****'s interaction with the student, I applied what I had learned through mentoring other students as a Kaplan DAT instructor. Just as patients want to have faith in their dentist's restorative abilities, students also want to be assured that their teacher can help them defeat their exams. Thus, as I prepared for each class more thoroughly than the one before, I saw my students become more confident in my teaching capability and, as a result, in their own test-taking abilities. In addition, just as a dentist intimately treats his patients, I began interacting and following up with my students outside of the classroom setting. Above being a teacher, I became their friend as my desire to see them succeed ignited their own motivation and eventual success. Through the process of building trust and friendship with my students, I gained a deeper, more personal understanding of the power of empathy.

As I continue to pursue dentistry, I have come to realize that behind each achievement lies an untold story. To the student, his high score is the result of his steadfast confidence and persistence over the weeks. To the patient, his jubilant smile is a tribute to the amount of trust and care that the dentist has provided over the months. And similarly, to me, I hope that my strong desire to pursue dentistry is a testament to the amount of exposure and preparation that I have experienced over the years as I look forward to dental school, a new chapter in my story.

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I don't think it's a good idea to post a copy of your PS on a public forum.
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Members don't see this ad :)
I don't think it's a good idea to post a copy of your PS on a public forum.

I gave that thought a solid 5 seconds. My PS doesn't exactly expose the most private details of my life, so unless there's a reason this will somehow bring about unforeseen self-incrimination, I suppose the only other disclaimer I should throw out there is: plagiarize at your own risk. I'm not responsible for anyone who fails to think for themselves and decides to copy/paste this directly onto their application. I do, however, want to provide an idea of what a personal statement should look like for those who have no idea where to begin.
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I cried.

Also thank you for doing this. I am in the process of writing my personal statement as well right now and I cannot for the life of me think of what to write. UGH.
When there are only 30 that have the same and a dozen with higher DAT scores, one can write a recipe for hot chilli as a ps and adcoms would not skip a heart beat.
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I just want to say thank you to you guys! @aqz @mardets. Your personal statements gave me insight into how I should come across in my personal statement and your altruism is much appreciated :)
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I enjoyed reading your personal statement. The beginning was captivating and the ending was reassuring.
I'd like to just say that this helped me out so much. Thank you very much for posting your personal statement on this forum. It was really well written and I took a lot of inspiration from it. I wish you the best in whatever part of your journey you're in now :)
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