The 3 Things a Great Conclusion Must Do
by Ben Frederick MD
on December 29, 2016
When writing a personal statement, an amazing conclusion simply has to do three things:
- It recaps where you’ve been
- It recaps where you are.
- It recaps where you are going.
If you can tie it back to some memorable aspect of your introduction while hitting on those three points, you’ve hit the Holy Grail. So let’s go in depth on each of these three crucial aspects for your own essay:
1) It recaps where you’ve been.
Throughout your essay, you’ve shared experiences, skills and knowledge that have driven you toward who you are today. In your conclusion, remind the admissions team about how all those different elements work in combination to make you a unique candidate for their program.
2) It recaps where you are.
This is an aspect applicants often forget to include. You are at a crucial junction between the past and the future, and this program you’re applying to is the bridge. Recap why this program is an important stepping stone in your career path and how it’s a good fit for you personally.
3) It recaps where you are going.
Most importantly, you must tell the admissions team what your long-term career goal is. The more specific you can be, the better (even if you aren’t 100% sure, it’s best to come off as confident that you know what you want!). For example, rather than just recapping that you want to become a doctor, you can share additional sub-goals, such as wanting to be a doctor who works in low-income, inner city hospitals since you volunteered at those types of facilities before. Or perhaps you plan to go back to the country where you grew up and work as a surgeon there since they are in such short supply.
Bring It Together
Once we bring all three of those elements together, you can see how they link together to form one, solid conclusion. Ideally, your conclusion should be about 4-6 sentences long — not too short but not a long ramble. Below is an example showing how fusing the past (1), present (2) and future (3) together can end your essay on a strong note:
With my experience volunteering in Chicago’s free health clinics combined with my passion for helping children (1), I am ready to take the next step in my career. My grandmother always told me I would make a great pediatrician as she watched me perform checkups on my teddy bear, but it wasn’t until college that I realized she might have been on to something (1 + reference to intro). The University of XYZ’s program would help give me the tools, skills and knowledge necessary to excel in this career path (2). Moreover, its hands-on approach and small class size are the perfect fit with how I learn best (2). I look forward to one day becoming a pediatrician who can work with the same types of children and families I did back in Chicago so that I can make an even bigger difference in both their lives and in the community at large (3).