Your personal statement is an opportunity to tell grad school admissions teams your unique story. Stand out among the thousands of other grad school applicants with a personal statement that wows.

What's Your Story?

Everyone has a story. Even if you think your path to grad school is generic, or you're worried your lack of extenuating circumstances doesn't give your essay the dramatic impact of other essays, you do possess a unique story (believe it or not). The key to standing out is understanding your story before you begin writing. Ask yourself, Why Do I Want to Become a Chiropractor? Maybe your goal in life is to see a world where patients can get access to healthcare that doesn't rely on painkillers, or maybe you've always dreamed of innovating the healthcare industry with non-invasive procedures. Or perhaps you want to own your business and are attracted to the positive work-life balance that the chiropractic profession provides. Whatever the reason, your story will be unique if you can relate it back to your path to healthcare -- including your upbringing, your family, your beliefs, your ideas for the future of the industry. Your personal statement is your chance to, simply put, get personal.

Explore Chiropractic Program

Write a Unique Opening

Pick up any novel and read from the beginning. You'll notice a theme. They all begin with action (the good ones do, at least). This is because the best storytellers never write in chronological order. Instead, they create a timeline of importance and develop their story based on the most important information they need to get across to the reader. With thousands of applications, the beginning of your personal statement needs to stand out, and starting with a unique opening will help your statement be remembered over others.

Keep in mind, this doesn't mean your statement has to be your most creative piece of writing; many prospective chiropractic students come from scientific backgrounds and may not have taken a college writing course. That's absolutely fine. Stay true to yourself and be honest about your pursuit of a chiropractic career, and your personal statement will reflect that truth.

Writing Tip

Write your opening last. It can help to write your entire essay before writing your opening. When you're happy with your finished piece, go back and write an opening that contains elements of what the admissions team is about to read while teasing the most important information.

Show This Isn't a Last-Minute Decision

Top grad school candidates are students who are serious about their future careers. Admissions want to see commitment and dedication. Highlight any courses you took in undergrad that show you've thought hard about grad school and are committed and dedicated to your future program. Have you volunteered at a clinic or healthcare facility? Or perhaps you have prior work experience? These are great points to expand upon in your personal statement to show you're serious about grad school and your application isn't being submitted on a whim.

Stay Away from the Cliché

It's easy to write something like, "Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a doctor." While it may be true, it's not unique if every personal statement contains the same sentence. A childhood memory isn't enough of a reason to choose a career path. Provide more insight into how the healthcare field remained with you throughout your adolescence, high school, or college years. One moment in time isn't enough; your story should reveal how the healthcare field, and wanting to be part of the healthcare field, has been a consistent presence in your life. Show how your decisions (your college courses, grades, personal decisions, volunteering choices, etc.) have been driving by that need to become a chiropractor.

What if I am switching careers?

Not every chiropractic student has wanted to become a chiropractor their whole life. Many chiropractors are second-career professionals. In fact, the experience gained in another field can be an advantage in your application. If this is you, you should still be able to stay true to your unique story of why you're making the switch to the chiropractic profession.

End with Insight

The best personal statements are those that leave the reader wanting more--more of your story, more of you. What insight can you provide in the last few sentences that ensures the admissions team not only remembers your application, but fights for your application during selection? One strategy is to revert back to your opening. Did you ask a question, or present a premise that you can answer or relate to in your conclusion? This brings your statement full circle and creates a strong sense of satisfaction for the reader. Your ending should also instill confidence and trust that your story is an accurate representation of who you are. Here's an example of a good personal statement ending:

If I am accepted to Chiropractic College, I will have fulfilled one part of my dream of becoming a licensed chiropractor and devoting my life to the healthcare profession. My work-ethic will drive me to learn every day; my curiosity will push me to always ask questions; my passion will carry me further than I can ever imagine; and my professionalism will help steer me through inevitable ups and downs. I am ready for the demands of the healthcare industry, ready to strive for a long and fulfilling career, and ready to achieve my Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Northeast College of Health Sciences.

Your personal statement is your only opportunity to use your voice during the application process. Being original, unique, and true to yourself will help you stand out in your pursuit of becoming a chiropractor.

Want to learn from a current Chiropractor? Dr. Michael Penkin quit his engineering job to apply for Chiropractic College. He now owns his own clinic. 

Read Dr. Penkin's Story