Personal statement

Your personal statement is a one-page essay (not to exceed 4,500 characters, including spaces, carriages, numbers, letters, etc.) that gives dental schools a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in dentistry.

Although there is no set of rules mandating what a strong personal statement should include, here are a few tips to help you successfully craft a winning personal statement:

  • Was there a defining moment that helped steer you toward a career in dentistry? If so, consider using that moment as the focal point of your essay.
  • Be colorful, positive, imaginative and personal when discussing why you’re a good candidate for dental school. Ask yourself—in a pile of 100 applications, would I enjoy reading my statement? Be sure to convey your passion for dentistry in your statement.
  • Be yourself.  Don’t use jargon, clichés or big phrases that you would not use in daily conversation. Remember, dental schools want to know about the real you.
  • Be original and thoughtful: Discuss how you would contribute to the profession and patient care, all of which will help you stand out from other applicants.
  • Tell your story—make sure the essay is your story, not someone else’s. 
  • Recruit a friend. Ask a friend, relative or faculty advisor to read your essay and provide constructive criticism. Ask them to think about whether the essay is a good representation of your character, and what they know of your ideals and aspirations.
  • Give yourself time to organize your thoughts, write well and edit as necessary. And don’t forget to proofread, proofread, proofread!

Here are a few things to avoid when writing your personal statement:

  1. Writing what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
  2. Using a gimmicky style or format.
  3. Summarizing your resume or repeating information directly from your transcripts or recommendation letters.
  4. Emphasizing the negative.
  5. Waiting until the last minute to get started on your statement.