COVID-19 and Your Personal Statement

Personal Statement

2020-07-11

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted the lives of everyone. Should you write about how you were impacted by COVID-19 in your UCAS personal statement? If so, how should you write about it? In this blog, we offer some words of advice around this topic.

Your personal statement is an important part of your UCAS application and is used by medical schools to rank students for selection to interview and as a resource for the interviewers. Before you go read on, check out these articles on UCAS personal statement to obtain some guidance on writing your personal statement.

Should I Write About COVID-19?

Before you start writing about COVID-19, you should carefully reflect on your past six months and think about what your experience was like during the pandemic:

  1. Minimal impact: You had to attend online classes, spent more time at home, couldn’t meet up with friends, but it wasn’t too bad overall.
  1. Serious impact: Your family went through serious financial hardship, you or your loved one(s) became sick due to COVID-19, or you were incredibly stressed during the lockdown.
  1. Positive impact: COVID-19 made you think more deeply about the healthcare system and the sacrifice that healthcare workers gave for the population, gave you some time to reflect on your life, or inspired you to develop a constructive habit or initiate a new project.

Or you may have gone through two or all of the above at various stages of the pandemic.

If you were impacted minimally, you probably don’t need to write about COVID-19 in your personal statement, but in other cases it may be worth considering.

Don’t Overdo It

If you’ve decided to write about COVID-19 in your personal statement, one advice we would offer is not to overdo it and dedicate only a part of your personal statement to the COVID-19 experience.

This is because COVID-19 is likely to be a very common topic this year. Unless you’ve gone through a very exceptional, life-changing experience, it would be really hard for your personal statement to stand out among thousands of others if you solely focus on COVID-19.

Think About the Purpose of Your Personal Statement

Your personal statement is not a place where you simply list or describe your hardships, including COVID-19. Rather, the description of your experience should be followed by how you’ve demonstrated or developed various qualities, values and skillsets desired by medical schools.

For example, simply writing that your parents were made redundant as a result of COVID-19 and your family went through a period of severe hardship doesn’t say much about you. 

You should elaborate this further, for example, by saying how thankful you were for being able to access the health system at an affordable cost, how the dedication of the front-line workers inspired you, and how you sought part-time work in a GP working as a back office administrator demonstrating your initiative.

You can then link these realisations and lessons to your personal values, career aspirations and passion for medicine and healthcare.

Be Concise

Remember, your UCAS personal statement is limited to 4000 characters, which is roughly 500 words. Therefore, when describing the challenges and impacts of COVID-19 and what you have done or learnt during the pandemic, you should aim to be as concise as possible. This leaves more room to write about other aspects of your life.

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Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious right now? Please don’t worry, head over to our Personal Statement Feedback Services. We’ll give you in depth feedback on every aspect of your personal statement and help you improve it to perfection. We’ll even edit your written English to enhance your personal statements' power of persuasion. We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009, Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.

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