To be a competitive applicant for medical school, avoid this common mistake when writing your personal statement!

Preaching to the Choir The Best You PAL Academy Mary Kate Kopec

Preaching to the Choir is an incredibly common content writing mistake that students applying to medical and dental school make ALL. OF. THE. TIME.!!! when writing their personal statements … and even talking in their interviews.

So what does “Preaching to the Choir” mean, and how can you avoid it?

Preaching to the Choir happens when you try to show doctors how much you know about what doctors are and what doctors do by telling them what they are and what they do; or when you try telling your readers what’s important about being a doctor.  The same is to be said of healthcare as a practice.

Problem, Fallacy, or Inadequacy

Oftentimes your reviewers on the medical school admission committees are doctors, or they work with doctors, and they are appropriately trained.  So they know.  They already know what doctors do and what they are … reasonably speaking, better than you.  They also know what is important about being a doctor and what is important about healthcare, and what healthcare is and means.

You are using a lot of character space to say something that essentially bears no substantiated weight.  Meaning is essentially valueless.  Plus it can make you appear potentially over-confident or cocky, depending on the wording you use, and that’s not a good thing.

Alternative Approach for Achieving Your Goal

If you seek to let your readers know you understand the importance and role of doctors and healthcare, give specific examples of what you value and why you value it.  You can explain which specific examples guide you in your thoughts about your future practice and why.


“The life of a physician is not without difficulties, but the challenges I have overcome in my life thus far have prepared me for the challenges I anticipate as a necessary part of my medical training and career.”

There are at least two very clear problems with this statement.  1. Reasonably speaking, doctors know about the life of a physician more than you, so don’t tell them, and 2. how can you possibly know whether your life challenges have prepared you for medical school and a career in medicine?  In truth, you’ve never been to medical school, and you aren’t fully versed on the challenges of being a doctor.  Additionally, you’ve never coped through the challenges and expectations.  However, doctors and committee members reviewing your application and personal statement are better versed in this, and in a far better position to make a judgement call about you and your prep.  Don’t give them a reason to view you as less than golden!!!

A potential rewrite

I have overcome many challenges in my life, including learning my own limitations from attempting an 18 credit hour, science laden semester in my freshman year, and the devastating death of my mom when I was just a kid.  Through these challenges, I found strength in myself; the will not to give up – the will to succeed; the fortitude to keep going when my goals become difficult, and perhaps even seem impossible; and I found in my friends and extended family, a support network to help me cope.  I feel these qualities will help me face the rigors of medical school head on, and to find my way to the success I need to achieve to be the wonderful doctor my future patients need me to be.

How can I learn more about Preaching to the Choir and other Common Mistakes?

This is just one example of a common mistake students make when writing their personal statements.  If you are interested in learning more about this common mistake and many others, check out How to Write the Best Medical School Personal Statement, EVER!  You can purchase a print copy at Amazon.  But even better, you have full access to all the contents of this book and many more amazingly valuable resources right here in The Best You PAL Academy.  To learn more, click here.

Menu Pic How to Write the Best Medical School Personal Statement, Ever!

How to Write the Best Medical School Personal Statement, EVER! is found in the Personal Statement (green) category of classes in the Academy.  :0)

My very best wishes to you and for your success as you continue forward with your application!!!

Big Hugs,

Mary Kate

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Mary Kate Kopec · Copyright © 2020. All rights Reserved.

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