Indiana University Bloomington
Health Professions and Prelaw Center
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Personal Statement Warm-Up Exercises

Rachel Tolen, Health Professions and Prelaw Center, Indiana University

Following are some warm-up exercises to help you begin the process of writing your personal statement. These exercises are intended to help you get started on trying out different ideas and approaches you could use in your statement. These topics might make good subjects to write about in your premed journal. Use the exercises to try out different ideas, and then select any of the ones you think are most appropriate to develop into your personal statement.

  1. What have been the pivotal experiences in your life? Looking back, what three or four major events in your life changed you? How were you affected by them? Write a few sentences or a paragraph about each one. (If more than four come to mind, write about all of them).
  2. Think of three or four adjectives that describe you as a desirable applicant and list them. Then, without actually using the adjective, write a few sentences or a paragraph about an event or experience that demonstrates that quality.
  3. Describe an event or interaction you have witnessed in a medical setting that clarified for you that medicine was the right choice for you, or showed you what kind of physician you would like to be. Then consider what insights you might draw about the role of a physician or social aspects of our healthcare system from this experience. 
  4. What is the source of your attraction to a career in medicine? How did you first get interested in medicine?