How to write a grand finale to your personal statement (2023)

hold them till the end

Canhook your reader with the introduction of your personal statement. And you can impress them withmagic words in your personal statement. But what if you don't write a strong conclusion in your personal statement? You'll walk out of admissions committees with a groan instead of a bang.

The conclusion forms an essential part of your personal statement. Admissions committees can jump to it after reading its introduction. Or they can start with it even before reading your introduction.

The reason why they do this? To go through the many applications, they have to go through each cycle.

Good completions will provide the points that admissions committees hope to see. And great endings will increase their view of you as a candidate.

Here, I show you how to write a great conclusion to your personal statement. This tip also works for the conclusion of a statement of purpose.

Where does this advice come from?

Big question! Comes frommy 8 years as an editor at UNESCO before founding DLA in 2008. It comes from interviews I had with members of the admissions committee. And it comes from more than 10 years ofhelping our clients write great personal statements.

And the results speak for themselves. For medical residency, our clients had a 97.4% match rate. For all other programs and schools, the rate is 100%.

Watch thestories that DLA clients have shared about their experience.

Do you want a big personal statement?


3 key concepts and a formula for success

How do you write a conclusion in a personal statement? Start with these three concepts:

  1. Avoid stating that it is your conclusion;
  2. Avoid introducing an incompatible concept; Is
  3. Be specific with the details.

First, I'll discuss these three key concepts in detail. Below, I'll share my foolproof method on how to write a personal statement conclusion.

Tip #1: Avoid stating that it is your conclusion

One thought you might have is to start your conclusion with "In conclusion." Or "In summary." You need to make sure you avoid this or something similar.

Why is this? Program directors and admissions committees see it as your last paragraph. In other words, they already know what your conclusion is. So make your personal statement grand by leaving it out.

Simply using extra words makes your writing less appealing. Prolixity can indicate a lack of diligence or maturity. It could indicate a lack of focus or clarity. And it can indicate doubts about what you are writing.

This is true no matter where it may appear on your personal statement.

Instead, write your conclusion with focus and motivation. Follow the path you gave in your introduction and body. And trust that the admissions committee will know that you have reached your conclusion.

Key #2: Avoid introducing an incompatible concept

Great conclusions advance the concepts of your personal statement. This means avoiding introducing an unsupported idea. Instead, make sure that all ideas connect to what you've previously written.

Let's say, for example, that you haven't yet spoken about your love of teaching. And teaching is important to his future career. She will no doubt want to include it in his conclusion. So make sure you have written about this earlier in his personal statement. That way, it won't come out of the blue when you write about it in your conclusion.

If you write a new and unsubstantiated idea in your conclusion, you can convey:

  1. You don't know how to effectively organize your personal statement;
  2. You are trying to pack too many ideas into your personal statement; either
  3. You are ticking off a checklist of what you have to say.


There are some exceptions to this point. Are you a senior candidate? Do you have several important items you need to discuss? There may simply not be enough room for all of this in the body paragraphs. In that case, your only option may be to submit one last.

In such cases, there are some guidelines to follow. The first is that you must fully develop the new idea to its conclusion. You must do more than mention it.

Second, it must extend from a point mentioned earlier in the personal statement. It must have a foundation.

Finally, it must fit perfectly with the rest of the conclusion. And you should do it without dragging out the conclusion too much. (This can be challenging, so don't be afraid to ask for help.)

Key #3: Be specific in the details

The key to writing a great personal statement isbeing specific. This means being specific both in the words you use (for example, avoiding using “thing”) and in the details you write.

Many candidates make the mistake of being vague in their conclusion. This especially relates to what you want to achieve in the program. You may want to write to "increase my knowledge". Or maybe you want to write to "gain exposure in a variety of settings."

Can you make them more specific so they are more effective for you? For example, in what specific areas do you want to increase your expertise? What specific configuration do you want to expose yourself to?

Any way to be more specific will make your conclusion stronger.

Do you want a big personal statement?


Formula for a great conclusion to your personal statement

The formula I present here takes you step by step as you write your conclusion. Includes how to start completing your personal statement. Includes how to finish it. And it includes how long the completion of your personal statement should take.

Although the formula follows a logical progression, feel free to change it. If you find that another order works better for you, go for it. Just make sure you've covered every element in your conclusion.

How long should it take to complete a personal statement?

There are some rules of thumb to determine how long your conclusion should be. The first is that it should be long enough to cover the four parts below. At the same time, it should not last long. A good word count range is 100-120 words.

Part 1: Get started with your vision for your future career

The key to a great conclusion is how you start. Start with your vision for your future career. This is a single sentence indicating where you see yourself in 5-10 years. Think of your vision as your final thesis statement.

The vision can be your medium-term goals, your long-term goals, or both. Choose the option that brings the best focus and context to your conclusion.

For example, you may want to pursue a cardiology fellowship after your internal medicine residency.

Or maybe you want to go into private practice after law school and spend time doing pro bono work.

But what if those goals change as you progress through the program? All good. You don't need to hit them exactly in your personal statement. And you don't have to get attached to them just because you mentioned them.

The goal here is to demonstrate a clear vision of the path you are on. Being intentional will make your app stand out.

Part 2: Please state precisely what you are looking to achieve in the program below

Once you've established your medium- and long-term goals, work backwards from there. Do a self-assessment. What exactly do you need to achieve next? What next step will best position you to achieve your career vision?

The more specific you are with these answers, the better. Then frame them exactly as what you are looking to achieve in the program.

This could be the specific knowledge you want to gain. It could be a specific technique that you want to master. It could be a specific search you want to perform. It may be a specific experience that you want to have.

For example, are you planning to apply for a cardiology scholarship? Therefore, pursuing cardiology electives would be a goal for an internal medicine residency.

And to apply to law school? Is your long-term goal to practice in an area with litigation? So one goal for the law school would be to participate in a mock trial.

Part 3: List the specifics you are looking for in a program

First, you have established your vision. Then you have identified the next step to take to achieve that vision. Now say which aspects would equip you to reach the next step.

Does the program have a high rate of case types that align with your interests? Does it offer certain relevant technologies? Training in certain techniques? Private or elective courses?

Is there a particular professor whose research interests fascinate you?

What about elective rotations? Or partnerships available in the program?

Do you offer an elective rotation in a cath lab? This would be great for someone wanting a career in cardiology. How about a renowned mock testing program? That would be great for a career in litigation.

And you can go further. Are you an aspiring Vietnamese doctor or lawyer? Do you want to work with Vietnamese immigrants? Does the program you are applying for serve this population? So mention it.

Geographical and other links to the program

Do you have geographic or other ties to the program? For example, do you have close family or friends in the area? Do you have classmates who graduated from the program you are applying to? Excellent! This is where you would mention them.

Are you enrolling in programs that use theComplementary ERAS application? Did you specify geographic preferences? What about the preference for an urban versus rural setting? Did you bookmark specific programs? Then tailor your conclusion accordingly. This is essential for medical residency.

For each one of your favorite programs, write a different version of your conclusion. Adapt it to each program.

Then group all the other programs by common characteristics (for example, geography). Be sure to be as specific as possible when doing this. Then adapt a different version of your conclusion for each group of programs.

Part 4: Finally, indicate what the program offers

Did you meet the three previous points? Excellent! All that remains is to declare what the program offers.

This is really very easy. Start by identifying the topics you wrote about in your personal statement. Review your introduction and each paragraph in the body. Then list these topics, in the form of keywords, such as what the program offers.

In this way, two objectives are achieved. The first is to summarize the main points of your personal statement. The second is to provide a forward-looking statement upon completion.

Do you want the help of our experts with your personal statement?


Examples of Personal Statements

We tailor each personal statement we work on to the unique strengths and goals of our clients. Here are two examples of our work, shared with our clients' permission:

  • Sample Personal Statement of Residency: OB/GYN, Licensed IMG

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 9, 2018. Its accuracy and completeness were last updated on December 9, 2022.

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