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How to Perfect Your AAMCOS Personal Statement aacomas character limit

Now is the time to speak your voice - the adcom is listening!

Looking for the best osteopathic med school admissions advice out there? Ace those AACOMAS apps by reading our osteopathic application 5 tips series - each post, another set of 5 expert tips that will help you get ACCEPTED.

The AACOMAS requires one personal statement that is a maximum of 4,500 characters long.

This is different from the length requirement for the AMCAS application, which is 5,300 characters.
In the space provided write a brief statement expressing your motivation or desire to become a DO. Keep your statement general as the same essay will be sent to all schools you will apply to. Even if you only plan to apply to one program, do NOT make your essays school specific as you may decide to apply to additional programs at a later date, and once you submit your application your essay can NOT be edited or changed.

Below are five tips to help make your AACOMAS personal statement shine.

1. Show, Don’t Tell.

The first axiom of the personal statement is to “show, don’t tell.” Honest, compassionate, caring, dedicated - you want to show all of these qualities. But, listing them isn’t effective. Instead, explain how you’ve shown these qualities using examples that illustrate them.

2. Don’t just repeat the AMCAS statement.

Osteopathic schools want applicants who are interested in their schools and their approach to medicine. Some applicants are tempted to repeat the AMCAS personal statement.

Plagiarizing any part of your personal statement is a violation of the Applicant Agreement.

Not only are the length requirements different, but the schools also have different points of focus.

3. Highlight your knowledge of osteopathy.

In your personal statement for AACOMAS, you should show that you understand the principles of osteopathy.

Your essay should be limited to 4,500 characters. Characters include spaces, carriage returns, and other formatting. Anything entered in over the character limit will not be saved, and your essay will not be saved at this point. If you type your essay directly into AACOMAS, you can view the remaining character count beneath the text box.

But, don’t just repeat the methods; provide examples and instances where you reflect the values of osteopathic medicine.

4. Make the personal statement active and positive.

Use examples and anecdotes that reflect your path to medicine in a constructive light and accents your positive qualities. Don’t apologize or make excuses. Instead, show your enthusiasm for medicine.

5. Proofread.

Make sure that you have proofread your essay multiple times and have someone else read it for errors.

Since the essay section is composed of a text box, formatting such as tabs, italics, or multiple spaces cannot be saved. In order to delineate paragraphs, you should type a double return between paragraphs.

If your essay is sloppy, you will make a sloppy impression. Not what you want to do.

The AACOMAS personal statement is the one place in the application where you speak in your own voice and give the admissions committee an idea of what you are like. Make sure that you use this space to your best advantage and make your application stand out in a competitive field.

Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.

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