27 May Characteristics of a good conclusion
You’ve finally made it to the conclusion paragraph of your Personal Statement! Now it’s time to tie all your ideas together. This is the place to think about the overarching motives that have led you to apply to dental school. All compelling stories need a strong ending, so this is your chance to really convince the reader that dentistry is your personal passion and the right career for you.
GOALS OF THE CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH
The goal of the conclusion is to think about the big picture. Why do you truly care about attending dental school? What lessons have you learned throughout this journey that will propel you towards this career? These are both essential questions to answer within any admissions essays, specifically within the conclusion. Here are some goals to keep in mind as you write your final paragraph:
- Summarize. You’ve spent your essay sharing your experiences and perspective, so now’s the time to consolidate those ideas into 1-2 sentences. Think about the overarching objective of the essay – to explain why you are perfect for this dental program – and concisely make your case.
Pro Tip: Don’t feel obligated to repeat details you’ve already shared. Instead, think about life after dental school and how you plan to use this education to achieve your personal and professional goals.
- Tell us why you care. Sincerity is key to a strong Personal Statement. An admissions officer wants to know why dental school truly matters to you on a deeper level than merely a career path. Think about the “what?” and “why?” of your story. What about the dental profession is calling you? Why do you know it’s the path for you? It may take some time to develop meaningful sentences that clearly explain why you are passionate about this profession and confident that dentistry is right for you, but that’s an essential component of writing the conclusion.
Pro tip: Be genuine and enthusiastic. Proudly share your story with some emotion. Double check that your sentences are not generic by asking yourself, “Could anyone else write this sentence?”
- Focus on the future. Most of the body of your Personal Statement will emphasize your past experiences, but the conclusion paragraph should be forward-focused. The admissions office wants to know about your ambitions, and this is the place to make sure your goals are clearly articulated. Applicants with big dreams and ambition will stand out in the admissions process. Even if you are not absolutely sure what life will look like after dental school, share your aspirations, and connect them to the profession.
Pro tip: Think ahead to different points in your life, such as your short-term goals, five-year goals, and ten-year goals. As you look into the future, explain how attending dental school will set you on a path to achieve these objectives.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
When writing the conclusion, be sure to challenge yourself to summarize your answers to the two biggest questions your essay should have addressed which are what compelled you to want to become a dentist, and how do you plan to contribute to the profession in the future. Digging deep into what motivates, inspires, and excites you about the prospects of becoming a dentist as well as what you plan to contribute to the profession will help you write a persuasive ending to your essay.
TIPS & REMINDERS FOR YOUR CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH
- Be confident. Make courageous statements about your goals and ambitions. Even if you feel like your future is subject to change, the conclusion should sound self-assured and motivated. For example, you can write sentences that begin with:
- “I believe…”
- “I will…”
- “I hope…”
- “I aspire…”
- “I plan…”
- Reread the first few sentences of your introduction. Sometimes the final lines of your conclusion will reconnect with the details that started the essay. Consider reminding the reader of the ideas you started within the introduction by revisiting them in the conclusion to bring the reader full-circle at the end of your essay.
- Use future tense. If you are talking about your future, make sure your tense matches and remains consistent.
- Include transition sentences. As you write each new paragraph, including the conclusion, always consider the flow of paragraphs by incorporating a transition sentence.
- Make the paragraph short and sweet. Aim to include 3-5 convincing sentences in your conclusion. If you find your writing is growing into a longer paragraph, find a way to split it into two paragraphs, each with a distinct focus. You don’t want your last message to be lost within a lengthy or prolonged ending.