The TMDSAS personal statement is an opportunity to tell your story and explain how your journey has led you to medicine.
Why do you want to become a doctor? What drew you to medicine? What drives you? Admissions committees expect a lot more than a rehash of your CV. This is your chance to show an admissions committee who you are beyond your grades.
This post will cover TMDSAS personal statements, including how the TMDSAS personal statement differs from AMCAS, how to write a personal statement for Texas medical schools, and common mistakes to avoid.
Not sure what type of application you need to submit? Read our guide on AMCAS vs. AACOMAS vs. TMDSAS Med School Application Differences to discover how the three application services compare to one another.
What is a Medical School Personal Statement?
A medical school personal statement is an opportunity to share your story about why you want to be a doctor and the people and moments in your life that led you to this vocation. While excellent grades and a stellar MCAT score are big parts of your medical school application, your personal statement is the heart of your application and your chance to sell yourself to admissions committees.
Why do you want to spend the next eight or more years of your life studying to become a doctor? What moments in your life made you realize you were meant to heal people? Who inspired you to take this first big step and apply to medical school? What drives you? Why are you more qualified than your fellow applicants? What makes you great?
Your personal statement is not a rehash of your CV or a list of your accomplishments; your personal statement will show admissions committees who you are beyond your grades. It’s your very own superhero origin story.
The Anatomy of a TMDSAS Application
Every year at the beginning of May, the TMDSAS application opens for submissions. Around mid-June, colleges start to receive applications. To maximize your chance of acceptance, it’s important to submit your application as soon as possible after submissions open.
Do not procrastinate. Rolling admissions means the odds you will be accepted decrease dramatically the later you submit your application. Submit your primary and secondary applications long before the actual deadline for submissions, as keeping on top of your deadlines could be the difference between acceptance and rejection.
Take a look at our timeline below. It includes both possible and ideal schedules.
The personal statement is only one component of your primary application. For your application to be successful, you must work on multiple application pieces at once.
- GPA and MCAT Score
- Personal Statement
- Letters of Evaluation (also called Letters of Recommendation)
- Experiences and Achievements Section
- Mini Essays
- Depending on the schools you choose, you may also need to take a Casper test.
Read our complete TMDSAS Application Guide for more information about the other application components.
What Makes the TMDSAS Personal Statement Different?
The TMDSAS personal statement is virtually the same as the AMCAS personal statement, but with one key difference. The TMDSAS personal statement has a maximum of 5000 characters versus the AMCAS personal statement, which allows for 5300 characters.
If you plan on applying to medical schools both inside and outside of Texas, ensure your TMDSAS personal statement is 5000 characters or less so that you meet the lower character limit.
5000 characters or less isn’t very much room; it’s less than 1.5 pages of single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font. This means the challenge isn’t filling the space—it’s choosing which key events from your life to include and writing about them in a way that’s engaging and revealing, yet concise.
How have your experiences shaped your desire to become a doctor? Your TMDSAS personal statement is your chance to sell yourself to admissions committees and demonstrate why you have the determination and passion needed to excel in a Texas medical school.
How to Write a TMDSAS Personal Statement
1 | Reflect on Your Life and Past Experiences
Take the time to sit back and reflect on all that’s happened in your life. Don’t worry about being creative yet, and don’t think of it as brainstorming. Simply take the time to explore your memories and reflect on how and why you are where you are right now, applying to medical school.
Where does your passion for medicine come from? What’s the driving force behind your ambition? What makes you different from your fellow applicants? Go beyond your accomplishments and grades—odds are, the students you’re applying with have similar statistics. This is your chance to sell yourself.
Think of your personal statement as your own personal superhero origin story. What key moments from your past made you realize you wanted to practice medicine?
Take your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Why does he put on a suit and spend every day fighting crime and protecting the innocent when he could use his extreme intelligence to start a business and get rich? Yes, he was granted superhuman abilities when he was bitten by a radioactive spider, but why use those abilities to save people?
Well, Peter Parker was told by his Uncle Ben that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Then, Peter’s uncle was murdered in part because Peter looked the other way instead of using his powers for good. This forever changed Peter’s life and made him realize that his extraordinary abilities made him morally obligated to serve humanity.
Do you have someone in your life like Uncle Ben who inspired you to pursue medicine? Is there a moment from your past that shattered your illusions about life and changed you forever? Deeply consider your past and how different events and people in your life have shaped your values and impacted your aspiration to become a doctor.
2 | Mind the 5000 Character Limit
Applicants who are applying through both AMCAS and TMDSAS need to pay close attention to the character limit. 5000 characters is not a lot of space to tell a compelling story about your journey toward medical school.
You can write one personal statement that’s under 5000 characters, which can be used for both AMCAS and TMDSAS applications, or you can write one <5300 character essay for AMCAS, and another slightly shorter <5000 character essay for TMDSAS. If you choose the latter, make sure the words you cut don’t hinder the quality of your story—and don’t mix the applications up!
You might choose to cut an AMCAS personal statement down to 5000 characters to fit for TMDSAS, but never intentionally try to add unneeded words to a TMDSAS personal statement just to get closer to the AMCAS character limit. It’s okay to have fewer characters than the limit, so long as you thoroughly answer the essay question.
If you are applying from out-of-state, carefully consider your decision to apply to Texas medical schools. Only 10% of acceptances to Texas medical schools go to applicants outside of the state, which significantly lowers your chances. Plus, you’ll need to take the time to familiarize yourself with two separate application services.
3 | Illustrate Your Points With Examples
What are your best, most favorite qualities? What moments in your life have you demonstrated these qualities? Telling an admissions committee that you’re ‘compassionate’ or ‘brave’ isn’t enough; they need to see these qualities reflected in the anecdotes you share.
Show, don’t tell.
Admissions committees aren’t going to take you at your word. They need to be convinced with tangible evidence. Let’s say you want the admissions committee to know you’re brave. Why do you believe yourself to be brave? When have you acted bravely in the past? Tell that story. Sharing a story about a moment in your life where you had to be brave is far more impactful than simply claiming you’re brave in a sentence.
If there’s a specific quality you want admissions committees to know you have, help them to infer it through an engaging story. How can you demonstrate the quality without stating it explicitly?
4 | Develop a Cohesive Narrative
Standing out amongst a sea of thousands of applicants with similar grades, accomplishments, and motivations isn’t easy. What makes you different? Why should an admissions committee pick you over someone with the same or higher MCAT score?
Your personal statement is what makes you stand out. There’s a lot more to medical school acceptance than good grades. Think of this as your chance to distinguish yourself from the competition. Repeating your CV but in complete sentences is boring and monotonous. It’s not intriguing, and it doesn’t tell the admissions committee anything more about you.
Your personal statement must be a story that ties into the overall narrative of your application. It’s not a list of your accomplishments or a bunch of appealing adjectives like ‘resilient,’ ‘compassionate,’ or ‘hardworking.’ Craft a story that helps admissions committees infer those qualities about you. Demonstrate how your abilities and experiences make you an asset to the school.
Just like every good story, a personal statement should have a beginning, middle, and end. How have your experiences led you to this point in your life? If someone’s making a movie about your life, which moments absolutely have to be included so that your story makes sense?
5 | Utilize Clear and Direct Language
You may be crafting an engaging story, but don’t think that means you need to include a lot of flowery language and impressively long words. Tell your story clearly and concisely, and avoid looking to a thesaurus to find more interesting words when a simpler one will suffice.
For example, instead of saying ‘in perpetuity,’ say ‘forever.’ Instead of saying ‘indomitable,’ say ‘invincible.’ Instead of saying ‘vinegarish,’ say ‘harsh.’
If you think you can find a simpler way of saying something, do it. You only have 5000 characters; don’t waste them on trying to be poetic.
Use tools like the Hemingway App to help keep your language succinct, clear, and direct.
6 | Take Your Time
Writing your personal statement is going to take a great deal of time. Do not procrastinate. It will take a while to reflect on and select the key moments from your life you want to write about in your personal statement.
Plus, there’s still plenty to do after you complete your first draft. There will be many versions and iterations of your personal statement before you land on the one that you’re going to include in your application. This is a good thing. It shows you are gathering critical feedback and making the necessary adjustments to perfect your story.
Show your personal statement to friends, family members, and mentors you trust. If you know someone who has recently successfully matriculated to medical school, their feedback is invaluable, as they know exactly what it takes to write an effective personal statement.
Be sure to also take all the time you need to carefully edit for spelling and grammar. Don’t let a typo sink your chances of acceptance.
Get started on your personal statement as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time for revisions. Your personal statement is the heart of your application, so take your time and ask for feedback from trusted experts.
For a more in-depth look at writing a personal statement, read our Personal Statement Guide, which includes 11 steps for starting, writing, and editing your personal statement.
Common Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t make these common mistakes in your personal statement. The personal statement is a vital piece of your application that requires careful planning and thorough editing.
- Not developing a cohesive narrative across your application.
- Leaving your personal statement to the last minute. (You should begin months in advance.)
- Restating your CV and extracurriculars.
- Listing favorable personal qualities without backing them up with real life examples.
- Including personal anecdotes you won’t feel comfortable discussing with someone during in-person interviews.
- Lying about your personal experiences or fabricating stories.
- Overusing the word “I.”
- Overlooking spelling or grammar errors.
- Using a thesaurus for the sake of including larger words.
- Explaining what medicine is about to admissions committees.
- Using clichés. (Every applicant likes science and wants to help people.)
- Making excuses for poor grades or a low MCAT score.
- Speaking negatively about another physician or healthcare professional.
- Pleading for an interview or acceptance.
- Editing your personal statement by yourself.
Make Your TMDSAS Personal Statement Stand Out
Med School Insiders will help you create a stand out TMDSAS personal statement. We offer a range of personal statement editing packages, from general editing to unlimited editing with a physician who will be there to advise you every step of the way.
We’re dedicated to creating a generation of happier, healthier, and more effective future doctors. Our Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages are tailored to your needs and the specific schools you are applying to. We can help you with every aspect of your application, including MCAT tutoring, mock interviews, secondary editing, and student advising. Our team is built of doctors who have years of experience serving on admissions committees, so you’ll receive key insights on the selection process.