Admission's committees only spend a few minutes going over personal statements. Generally an average personal statement won't hurt you or benefit you. However, a horrible personal statement will totally get you rejected.
My friend said " A personal statement should be a snap shot of who you are."
The statement really resonated with me, so I wanted to write "The One" that represented me. I started writing a journal on my thoughts and experiences in medicine around February. During June and July, I narrowed my journals down to entries that demonstrate why I chose medicine over other medical professions and experiences that show my personality that fit for medicine. Then, I extensively edited. Things always can be said more precisely and better.
EDITING TIPS: Ask yourself if you delete this word or sentence, do you still make my point?"
After I was done, I asked at least 3-4 people to read my essays for their opinions and proofreading. Many of the admission's committee members don't work in medical field, so your essay should be relatable to people who are not in medicine. My husband is not in the field of medicine, but he knows me well to know if the essay represent who I am. My adviser and a medical student friend helped me to tailor the essay to ensure that everything stayed relevant. Finally, I got it approved by my friend who is a professional writer. It was the final touch that made the essay more polished and put together.
Because of my essay, I submitted my application a later than I would liked to. So it is always better to start early. I tried to be myself and concise. I demonstrated my desire to help people without directly mentioning "wanting to help people." Although it is discouraged, I still talked about my family members who were in the field of medicine as well as those who gone through horrible diseases.
Yes, maybe my personal statement was typical and cliche, but I made it mine. Many of the questions I got during my interviews came from my essay. It did the job. So do not sweat over your personal statement. Just start early and edit it well, and be yourself. It should be a snap shot of who you are.