Personal Statement

The personal statement is a very important part of your professional school application. You will address important issues about yourself, usually related to why you want to enter a particular career. This is very hard work for students and usually requires much more time than most expect. Begin this at least several months before it is due, so you will have time to revise, think and revise again. An essay writing workshop is offered each winter, but you don’t have to wait until then to get started. You can reduce the angst of completing the personal statement section if you begin the process early. Remember that it’s difficult to write well. Good personal statements are usually the result of the time-honored process: revision, revision and revision. You can refer to our Personal Statement Handbook for additional information. 

Current character limits for professional application essays are as follows:

  • AMCAS – 5,300
  • AACOMAS – 5,300
  • AADSAS – 4,500
  • OPTOMCAS – 4,500
  • CASPA – 5,000
  • VMCAS - 3,000

We strongly recommend having it reviewed by multiple sources prior to submission, including faculty, friends or relatives with strong writing skills, and other on-campus assistance, etc. We highly recommend The Center for Excellence in Writing (17 Norton Hall). Students are able to meet with them multiple times and they are able to work with you every step of the way, from trying to formulate your ideas to reviewing drafts, and everything in between. All of their tutors are excellent, but we particularly recommend reviewing their staff page and scheduling your appointment with one of their graduate level tutors. 

You are also encouraged to work with any others that you believe can help you with your writing. For those applying MD/PhD, you should work with your research PI on your research essay. 

You will also be able to request a personal statement review from our office. Students are allowed only one personal statement review with Prehealth per application cycle. Therefore, we should be the last ones to review it. 

Procedures to Request a Personal Statement Review from Prehealth

Prehealth personal statement reviews will open each spring semester after drop/add week is over (For Spring 2024, that will be February 1).

Once you have your final draft and you are ready to have Prehealth review it, please follow these steps. Not following these steps may lead to an appointment being cancelled.

  • As mentioned above, you should be creating a final draft with other assistance before sending it to Prehealth because we are able to meet with you to review it only once
  • If your statement is more than 300 characters over the limit for your profession's application, we will decline to review it. We also reserve the right to decline any statement that requires a significant amount of editing that should first be worked on with the CEW. 
  • You must first email it to us at Only send one draft. If you make changes after you email it to us, you cannot send another. Be sure the draft you are sending us is the one you want us to review.
  • We typically need several days to read it, especially during busy times, so you may not hear from us about scheduling your appointment right away. You will then also need time to schedule and attend the appointment. You should plan accordingly to submit your statement at least a few weeks in advance of when you want to have it completed. 
  • After a few days, you will receive an email invitation through Navigate with a link to schedule an appointment for a personal statement review. Please only schedule this appointment using that link. Do not schedule one on your own.
  • Please note that we will only review the draft you emailed to us. If you make any changes between when you sent it and your appointment, we cannot review the new draft.