How to Write TMDSAS Optional Essays for Medical School Applications
If you are applying to medical schools in Texas, you will need to submit your application through the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS). TMDSAS requires you to write a personal statement, two optional essays, and an optional personal characteristics essay. In this article, we will focus on the two optional essays and how to write them effectively.
The two optional essays are:
Briefly discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application which have not previously been presented. (2500 characters max)
Please describe any personal characteristics and/or important or challenging experiences you have had that will contribute to the diversity (broadly defined) of or provide educational benefits to the student body. (2500 max characters)
These essays are optional, but they are also a great opportunity to showcase your personality, achievements, challenges, and diversity to the admissions committees. Here are some tips on how to write them:
The first step is to choose a topic that is relevant to your application and that has not been covered elsewhere. For example, you can write about:
A significant challenge or hardship that you overcame or learned from
A unique hobby, talent, or interest that sets you apart from other applicants
A meaningful volunteer, research, or clinical experience that shaped your career goals
A personal or family background that influenced your values, perspectives, or aspirations
A cultural, ethnic, or socioeconomic diversity that you can bring to the medical profession
Make sure that your topic is specific and concrete, not vague or generic. Avoid repeating information that is already in your personal statement, transcripts, letters of recommendation, or other parts of your application.
Tip #2: Write a clear and concise thesis statement
The second step is to write a clear and concise thesis statement that summarizes the main point of your essay. A thesis statement is usually one or two sentences that state what you want to convey to the readers. For example:
My experience as a refugee from Syria taught me resilience, compassion, and gratitude for the opportunities I have in America.
As a marathon runner, I have developed discipline, endurance, and teamwork skills that will help me succeed in medical school and beyond.
Working as a medical scribe in an underserved community exposed me to the challenges and rewards of primary care and inspired me to pursue family medicine.
Growing up in a multilingual and multicultural household gave me an appreciation for diversity and a desire to serve patients from different backgrounds.
Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 motivated me to learn more about the human body and sparked my interest in endocrinology.
Your thesis statement should be specific, focused, and coherent. It should also capture the attention of the readers and make them want to read more.
Tip #3: Support your thesis with examples and evidence
The third step is to support your thesis with examples and evidence that illustrate your topic. You can use anecdotes, facts, statistics, quotes, or other types of evidence that support your point. For example:
How did you overcome or learn from your challenge or hardship
How did you develop or demonstrate your hobby, talent, or interest
How did you contribute or benefit from your volunteer, research, or clinical experience
How did your personal or family background shape your values, perspectives, or aspirations
How did your cultural, ethnic, or socioeconomic diversity enrich your life or others' lives
Make sure that your examples and evidence are relevant, specific, and detailed. Avoid using vague or general statements that could apply to anyone. Show rather than tell how your topic relates to your application.
Tip #4: Conclude with a strong summary and takeaway aa16f39245