Writing a Personal Statement for Residency Application
Personal statements are an essential, required part of applying to residency. Residency programs screen thousands of applications every cycle and read many hundreds of these statements in the process. You should aim to write an interesting statement that showcases your personality as well as your achievements. Perhaps most importantly, you will need to skillfully articulate the reasons for your interest in family medicine and the particular program you're applying to.
How to Write a Great Personal Statement
A great personal statement sets itself apart from a good personal statement in several ways.
- First, it includes a level of specificity that shows your motivations and interests are authentic. For example, when conveying why you want to match into family medicine, show awareness of the exciting developments in the specialty, or describe your experience with or knowledge of topics like population health management, care coordination, and the social determinants of health.
- Feel free to highlight items in your CV if they help remind your reader of the experiences you’ve had that prepared you for the position. This is your opportunity to expand upon activities that are just listed in the CV but deserve to be described so your reader can appreciate the breadth and depth of your involvement in them. It should not be another comprehensive list of your activities, but rather should refer to activities that are listed in detail on the CV.
- The personal statement is also an appropriate place to address anything that may be ambiguous on your CV. In particular, you should address any nontraditional path you’ve taken through medical school, such as time off or an altered curricular journey. It is better to address these than to leave a program wondering. If you write about academic or personal challenges that you faced during medical school, make a positive impression by focusing on what you've learned from those experiences and how they brought you to where you are now.
You may choose to relate significant personal experiences, but do so only if they are relevant to your candidacy for the position.
Sharpen Your Writing Skills
The importance of good writing in a personal statement cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, not only are good writing skills allowed to deteriorate during medical school, but in some sense, they also are deliberately undermined in the interest of learning to write concise histories and physicals. For the moment, forget everything you know about writing histories and physicals. While preparing your personal statement:
- Avoid abbreviations.
- Avoid repetitive sentence structure.
- Avoid using jargon. If there is a shorter, simpler, less pretentious way of putting it, use it.
- Don't assume your reader knows the acronyms you use. As a courtesy, spell everything out.
- Use a dictionary and spell check.
- Use a thesaurus. Variety in the written language can add interest, but don't get carried away.
- Write in complete sentences.
If you need a crash course in good writing, read The Elements of Style , Fourth Edition by Strunk and White. If you have friends or relatives with writing or editing skills, enlist their help. Student organizations at your school may host personal statement clinics, or your school may offer review services. Many student, medical, and specialty societies, local and national, may offer personal statement reviews or workshops.
Even if you're a great writer and feel confident about your application, you should ask trusted advisors, mentors, and friends to critique your personal statement (and your CV! ). They can help you make your statement as flawless as possible by giving you feedback about areas that might have been unclear or things that should be added.
Don't cross the line
Your personal statement should remain an original composition, even as you seek input and advice. Retain your voice as you refine your writing and don't ever plagiarize. Be aware of other ethical lines you shouldn't cross as well, for example, don't use vague references that would allow for the reader to misinterpret the nature of your experience, and don't take full credit for a project if others worked on it with you.
Copyright © 2023 American Academy of Family Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
The Residency Personal Statement (2023/2024): The Insider’s Guide (with Examples)
A physician and former residency program director explains how to write your residency personal statement to match in to your top-choice residency program in 2024.
Read example residency personal statements and suggested outlines..
The residency personal statement allows residency program directors and associate directors the chance to get a sense of who you are and your commitment to your chosen specialty.
As a former program director who understands how residency personal statements are reviewed, what “stands out,” and, most importantly, what will earn you interview invitations, the information below will help you write a residency personal statement to match!
It is imperative to make sure you get the most accurate guidance possible with regards to your residency personal statement content and optimal residency personal statement length (up to 5300 characters with spaces).
Want more personalized suggestions? Sign up for a FREE residency personal statement consultation .
Table of Contents
Goals for Writing Your 2024 Residency Personal Statement
Above all else, your residency personal statement offers the opportunity to show your interest in your chosen specialty when applying to residency to illustrate you are a good fit.
The more details you offer about why you are interested in the specialty and how your med school rotations, accomplishments and experiences have reinforced this interest, the stronger your personal statement will be, the more it will appeal to selection committees and the better you will do in the match process .
I encourage applicants to offer as much “evidence” as possible to “show” rather than “tell” what qualities, characteristics and interests they have. “Telling” a reader, for example, that you are compassionate and hard working means nothing. Instead, you must “show” that you embody these qualities based on your experiences in health care and the patients for whom you have cared.
The residency personal statement also offers the opportunity to write about who you are as a person to convey some details about your background, influences, and interests outside of your given specialty.
The Importance of a Balanced Residency Personal Statement
The key when writing your residency personal statement is to ensure that it is well-balanced so it appeals to a large group of people who might read your ERAS residency application.
However, it is important to understand that every program director and faculty member has his or her own idea of what he would like to read in a personal statement. As an applicant, you must go into this process understanding that you cannot please everyone, or a specific program, and your personal statement should therefore have the broadest appeal possible.
For example, some program directors would rather hear about your personal interests and curiosities and get to know who you are rather than have you focus on the specialty in which you are interested.
At MedEdits, we suggest taking a “middle of the road” approach; include some details about who you are but also focus on the specialty itself. In this way, you will make more traditional reviewers who want to hear about your interest in the specialty happy while also satisfying those who would rather learn about you as a person.
Above all, be authentic and true to yourself when writing your statement. This always leads to the best results! Read on to learn more about how to write a winning personal statement.
Getting into a residency has never been more competitive. Founded by a former associate program director, the experts at MedEdits will make your residency personal statement shine. We’ve worked with more than 5,000 students and 94% have been matched to one of their top-choice programs.
Need Help With Your Residency Personal Statement?
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Residency Personal Statement Outline & Structure
Residency applicants often do well when given outlines or templates to follow, so, we will offer that, but, it is important to realize that many applicants deviate from these rigid rules. One very typical outline that serves applicants quite well in the residency admissions process is:
- Compose a catchy introduction. Your intro can be related to your interest in the specialty to which you are applying, about a hobby or personal experience, or about your background. Regardless of the topic you choose, you want to tell a story and start with something that will interest your reader and engage him.
- The next two to four paragraphs comprise the body of your personal statement. We encourage applicants to write about any significant experiences they have had related to their desired specialty and/or future goals. This would include information about rotations, electives, and sub internships related to the specialty, volunteer and research experiences and even significant outside interests.
- Finally, you want to conclude your essay. In your conclusion, write about what you seek in a residency program, what you will bring to a residency program, and, if you have any idea of your future career goals, write about those as well. Your conclusion is also where you can tailor a personal statement to a specific geographic area of interest or type of program (rural, urban, community).
Residency Personal Statement Length & Residency Personal Statement Word Limit
Residency Personal Statement Length: Our recommendation is that your residency personal statement be between 4000 – 5300 characters with spaces or up to 900 words in length.
The allowed ERAS residency personal statement length is 28,000 characters which equates to about five pages!
We have been hearing from more and more applicants that the personal statement should not exceed one page when typed in to the ERAS application . Because of this overwhelming trend, we are supporting this guidance unless you have extenuating circumstances that require your personal statement be longer.
Our recommendation is that your residency personal statement be a maximum of 5300 characters with spaces.
ERAS Residency Personal Statement Checklist
- Ensure your personal statement flows well
The best personal statements are easy to read, don’t make the reader think too much, and make your path and interests seem logical. Rarely does a personal statement have a theme. Also try to have each paragraph transition to the next seamlessly.
2. Your personal statement should be about you!
Your personal statement should be about you and no one else. Focus on your interests, your accomplishments and your path. This is your opportunity to be forthcoming about your achievements – by writing in detail about what you have done.
3. Be sure your personal statement clearly outlines your interest in the specialty.
Since the reader wants to be convinced of your understanding of, experience in, and curiosity about the specialty to which you are applying, be sure you highlight what you have done to explore your interest as well as your insights and observations about the specialty to show your understanding of it.
4. Make it human.
Again, your personal statement should be about you! The reader wants to know who you are, where you are from, what your interests are and who you are outside of medicine. Therefore, try to include those details about your background that are intriguing or important to you.
5. Express your interest in the specialty.
The reader fundamentally wants to know why you are pursuing the specialty. The more details you offer the more convincing you are about your commitment and your understanding of the specialty. Be sure to include details that might seem obvious. For example, in emergency medicine you must like acute care, but try to include more nuanced details about your interest, too. What do you enjoy about the diagnoses and pathologies involved? What do you value about the actual work you will do? What do you enjoy about the patients for whom you will care? How about the setting in which you will practice?
6. The start and evolution of your interest.
Readers want to know how and when you became interested in your specialty. Was this before medical school? During medical school? What have you done to pursue and nurture your interest in the specialty?
7. What you have done to learn more about the specialty.
You should explain what you have done to pursue your interest. What rotations have you done or have planned? What research, scholarly work or community service activities have you pursued to further your interest?
8. Where you see yourself in the future – if you know!
Without going into too much detail, write about the type of setting in which you see yourself in the future. Do you hope to also participate in research, teaching, public health work or community outreach as a part of your career? What are your future goals? Since many programs typically train a certain type of physician, it is important that your goals are aligned with the programs to which you are applying.
9. What do you bring to the specialty?
You should try to identify what you can bring to the program and the specialty to which you are applying as a whole. For example, are you applying to family medicine and have a distinct interest in public health? Are you applying for internal medicine and do you have demonstrated expertise in information technology and hope to improve electronic medical records? Do you have extensive research or teaching experience, and do you hope to continue to pursue these interests in the future? Have you developed a commitment to global health, and do you hope to continue making contributions abroad? Programs have a societal obligation to select residents who will make valuable contributions in the future, so the more ambitions you have the more desirable a candidate you will be.
10. What type of program you hope to join?
Do you hope to be part of a community or university-based program? What are you seeking in a residency program? Programs are looking for residents who will be the right “fit” so offering an idea of what you are seeking in a program will help them determine if your values and goals mesh with those of the program.
11. Who you are outside of the hospital?
Try to bring in some personal elements about who you are. You can do this in a few ways. If you have any outside interests or accomplishments that complement your interest in your specialty, such as extracurricular work, global work, teaching or volunteer efforts, write about them in detail, and, in doing so, show the reader a different dimension of your personality. Or, consider opening your statement by writing about an experience related to your hobbies or outside interests. Write about this in the form of an introductory vignette. I suggest taking this nontraditional approach only if you are a talented writer and can somehow relate your outside interest to the specialty you are pursuing, however. An interest in the arts can lend itself to dermatology, plastic surgery or ophthalmology, for example. Or, an interest in technology could relate to radiology .
12. Any personal challenges?
Also explain any obstacles you have overcome: Were you the first in your family to graduate from college? Were you an immigrant? Did you have limited financial resources and work through college? Many applicants tend to shy away from the very things that make them impressive because they are afraid of appearing to be looking for sympathy. As long as you explain how you have overcome adversity in a positive or creative way, your experience will be viewed as the tremendous accomplishment that it is. The personal statement should explain any unusual or distinctive aspects of your background.
- Residency Match: How It Works & How To Get Matched
Common ERAS Residency Personal Statement Mistakes
Do not tell your entire life story or write a statement focused on your childhood or undergraduate career.
Do not write about why you wanted to be a doctor. This is old news. From the reviewers perspective, you already are a doctor!
Do not write a personal statement focused on one hobby or begin with your birth. Some background information might be useful if it offers context to your choices and path, but your residency personal statement should be focused on the present and what you have done to pursue your interest in the specialty to which you are applying.
Do not preach. The reader understands what it means to practice his specialty and does not need you to tell him. Don’t write, for example: Internal medicine requires that a physician be knowledgeable, kind and compassionate. The reader wants to know about you!
Do not put down other specialties. You don’t need to convince anyone of your interest by writing something negative about other specialties. Doing so just makes you look bad. If you switched residencies or interests, you can explain what else you were seeking and what you found in the specialty of your choice that interests you.
Do not embellish. Program directors are pretty good at sniffing out inconsistencies and dishonesty. Always tell the truth and be honest and authentic.
Do not plagiarize. While this seems obvious to most people, every year people copy personal statements they find online or hire companies that use stock phrases and statement to compose statements for applicants. Don’t do it!
Do not write about sensitive topics. Even if you were in a relationship that ended and resulted in a poor USMLE score , this is not a topic for a personal statement. In general, it is best to avoid discussing relationships, politics, ethical issues and religion.
Do not boast. Any hint of arrogance or self-righteousness may result in getting rejected. There is a fine line between confidence and self promotion. Some people make the mistake of over-selling themselves or writing about all of their fantastic qualities and characteristics. Rarely do readers view such personal statements favorably.
Do not write an overly creative piece. A residency personal statement should be professional. This work is equivalent to a job application. Don’t get too creative; stay focused.
Writing ERAS Residency Personal Statements For Multiple Specialties
An increasing number of applicants are applying to more than one specialty in medicine especially if the first choice specialty is very competitive. If you are applying to more than one specialty, even if there is disciplinary overlap between the two (for example family medicine and pediatrics ), we advise you write a distinct specialty for each. Remember that a physician who practices the specialty you hope to join will most likely be reviewing your statement. He or she will definitely be able to determine if the personal statement illustrates a true understanding of the specialty. If you try to recycle an entire personal statement or parts of a personal statement for two specialties, there is a high likelihood the personal statement will communicate that you aren’t sincerely interested in that specialty or that you don’t really understand what the specialty is about.
Writing About Red Flags in your ERAS Personal Statement
The personal statement is also the place to explain any red flags in your application, such as gaps in time or a leave of absence. When addressing any red flags, explain what happened succinctly. Be honest, don’t make excuses, and don’t dwell on the topic. Whenever possible, write about how you have matured or grown from the adversity or what you may have learned and how this benefits you.
If you have left a program or had a break in your medical education, you will also have the chance to explain this in your ERAS application . You should also write about this topic in your personal statement only if you have more to explain, however.
If you have failed a Step exam or one course in medical school, this likely isn’t something to address in the personal statement. However, you should be prepared to discuss any failure during an interview. By the same token, it is best not to address one low grade or poor attending evaluation in your statement.
Have you taken a circuitous path to medicine? If so you might address why you made these choices and what you found so interesting about medicine that was lacking in your former career.
Residency Personal Statement Example
Below are two great examples of residency personal statements that earned the applicants who wrote them numerous interviews and first choice matches. As you will see, these two applicants took very different approaches when writing the personal statement yet wrote equally persuasive and “successful” personal statements.
Residency Personal Statement Example, Analysis, and Outline: The Traditional Approach
The most common approach to the personal statement is what I will call the traditional approach, in which the applicant conveys her interest in the specialty, when that interest began and what she has done to pursue the particular specialty.
- Introduction: Catchy Story
- Paragraph 2: Background Information and how Interest Started
- Paragraph 3: Write about what you did to explore your interest
- Paragraph 4: Second paragraph about your experiences related to your specialty
- Conclusion: Wrap it up. Write something about your future goals.
Below is an example of the traditional approach:
I looked into her eyes and saw terror. She knew the life of her unborn baby was in jeopardy. As tears streamed down her face, she looked to the attending physician. In desperation, she pleaded, “Please save our baby.” She and her husband had been trying to conceive for more than two years, and they knew this could be their only chance to have a healthy child. She went into labor at home and because of a horrible snowstorm was not able to reach the hospital for several hours. When she arrived in labor and delivery, she was crowning. But, the baby was having late decelerations. Because of the sweat on my attending’s forehead I knew the situation was serious. Yet we all tried to remain calm and to keep the patient and her husband calm as well.
I entered medical school with an open mind as everyone suggested. Even as a first year medical student, however, I was fascinated with embryology. I entered my third year still unsure of what I would pursue. I knew I wanted a career that would be challenging and interesting. Because of my background in drawing and painting, I always loved working with my hands. Yet I also enjoyed working with people. Thankfully, my obstetrics and gynecology (ob/gyn) rotation was the first of my third year and I was immediately hooked.
I quickly sought out opportunities for research and became involved in a clinical study investigating the impact of a vegan diet on birth outcomes. I have always had an interest in wellness and nutrition, and this seemed like a perfect fit for me. My research is still in process, but through this experience I have learned how to analyze data, stay objective and critically evaluate the literature. So far, our findings suggest better than normal outcomes for babies born to vegan mothers. This reinforces my goal to educate my patients about the important of diet and nutrition, which I hope to make a part of my future practice.
Early in my fourth year, I completed an elective rotation at Inner City Medical Center. There I cared for a diverse group of patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings. I realized how much I enjoy labor and delivery, but I also value the operative aspects of ob/gyn. I appreciate the importance of understanding the female anatomy so I can operate with precision. I also value the diversity of practice in ob/gyn. Whether caring for a woman about to give birth, helping a woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer navigate her treatment options, or caring for a perimenopausal woman who is coping with symptoms of hormone fluctuations, I enjoy caring for patients with knowledge and compassion. The outpatient aspect of ob/gyn brings satisfaction as well. I look forward to building relationships with my patients, helping them to lead the healthiest lives possible. I have also realized how much I want to care for those who lack access to care. The work I have done at Medical School Free Clinic has helped me realize the gaps that exist in access to care and education. As a future practicing ob/gyn, I hope to work in such a setting at least on a part time basis.
On that snowy night, when we realized the baby was having difficulty being born because of shoulder dystocia, a simple maneuver eased the situation. The baby’s first cry brought such joy and relief to everyone in the room and, at that moment, I knew I had to be part of this specialty. I hope to join a program where I will have the clinical exposure that will give me the skills and experience to care for a wide range of patients. I do not yet know if I will subspecialize, and I will seek out mentors and experiences as a resident to make an informed decision. I would be honored to interview at your program and thank you for your consideration.
Why It’s Great
This is a great personal statement because it clearly conveys the applicant’s interest in, and understanding of, obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) and what the applicant has done to pursue that interest. Not only does this applicant have a long-standing interest in OB/GYN, but, she conveys that she has experienced the specialty in different settings and understands the diverse nature of the specialty. She also includes information about her hobbies and interests and writes about her exploration of OB/GYN outside of the clinical arena. An added bonus is that the applicant writes well and uses descriptive language making her statement interesting and fun to read.
Residency Personal Statement Example, Analysis, and Outline: The Outside Interests Approach
Many mentors advise applicants to tell the reader something about them that is unrelated to medicine or the specialty they are pursuing. This is a fine idea, but be sure your personal statement also includes some details about your interest in your specialty if you decide to move in this direction.
- Introduction: Write a Catchy Introduction. Be creative! Think outside the box.
- Paragraph 2:Elaborate on your introduction offering more details
- Paragraph 3: Write about your specialty choice and what appeals to you.
- Paragraph 4: Write more about your explorations in medical school.
- Concluding paragraph(s): Write about your future goals, the type of program you hope to join and consider looping back to your introduction.
Below is an example of the outside interests approach:
The landscape before me was lush and magical. We had been hiking for hours and had found a great spot to set up camp. As I was unloading my backpack and helping to pitch the tent, I saw a scene I knew I had to capture. I quickly grabbed my carefully packed Leica before the magnificent sunset disappeared. Trying to get the perfect exposure, I somehow managed to capture this image so accurately that it reflected the beauty of what was before us high in the mountains of Utah, so far away from the hustle and bustle of New York City where we attended medical school.
Throughout my life, I have pursued my interests and curiosities with focus and creativity. One of those interests is photography. Even as a small child, I wanted my own camera, and I started snapping interesting scenes and images at the age of 6. As I grew older, this hobby took on more significance. I took a college level course in photography as a high school student, worked as a photographer’s assistant and even considered a career in photography. Paralleling my interest, however, was a desire to travel and experience new places, foods, and cultures.
I have been fortunate to travel all over the world. Rather than stopping in a city or place for a couple of days and seeing the sights, I prefer to immerse myself in my surroundings, eating the food, meeting the people, and staying for as long as I can. My fluency in Spanish and Italian has made it easier to “fit in” naturally. My most recent trip to Costa Rica allowed me to visit sugar cane fields and rain forests. I also volunteered in a clinic that helps the most desperate citizens. Of course, because I never travel without my camera, I also captured the beauty of this country; those pictures can be found on my blog.
Surgery seemed like a natural choice for me. It is a very tactile and visual field that requires patience, attention to detail and creativity—just like photography. The operating room setting is invigorating. I love to be a member of a team, and in surgery team work is an essential part of practice. The ability to deal with anatomical variations also satisfies my creative side; I have always been fond of puzzles, and the field of surgery represents a real-world puzzle to me. I also appreciate the intensity of surgery and believe I have the personality and demeanor for the field. I have always enjoyed solving problems quickly, something the field of surgery requires. My rotations in surgery – in addition to my core surgery rotation I have done trauma and cardiothoracic surgery – have helped me to understand the tremendous opportunities and diversity of the field. I have heard some residents lament that the only reason they went into surgery is to operate. However, I really enjoy seeing patients postoperatively. It is only at that time that a surgeon can really appreciate the impact of his or her work.
Finally, my trip to Honduras with a surgical team from my hospital and medical school made me realize that I can make a great contribution globally in the field of surgery. There we saw patients who had no resources or access to care. The facilities in which we worked were bare-bones. Yet the impact we made was tremendous, given that this was a group of people who otherwise would have no surgical care. In this way, I hope to combine my interests in travel and surgery as a resident, if I have time, and certainly as a practicing physician. My ultimate goal is to use my training to help populations globally and domestically.
To gain the most clinical exposure possible, I hope to train in a busy urban hospital. I believe that such a setting will give me the operative experience I need to be able to navigate many situations in the future. Such a setting will also give me the outpatient experience to understand how to manage patients once the surgery is completed.
I look forward to the day when I can be snapping my camera intraoperatively, documenting what I am doing and seeking to help other surgeons. For some, such pictures may not represent the art of those pictures I take in the wilderness, but for me they reflect the beauty of surgery and the great opportunity to make a lasting impression on another human being’s life.
This is a really intriguing personal statement because the author writes about his outside interests in a compelling way that makes him instinctively likable. He then goes on to explain what he enjoys about surgery and what he has done to pursue that interest. As you can see, this applicant writes less about his specialty (surgery) than the applicant in statement #1 did, but, he still convinces the reader of his understanding of, and commitment to, surgery. In this statement, the reader gains a much broader understanding of who the applicant is as a person and what he likes to do in his free time.
Writing your residency personal statement should be about telling your story in your own voice and style. You want to highlight your interest in the specialty for which you are applying while also conveying some ideas about who you are as a person to keep your reader engaged in learning about you as a person.
Residency Personal Statement Consulting Services
MedEdits Medical Admissions offers comprehensive guidance and document review services for residency applicants to every specialty in medicine. With more than twenty years of experience in residency admissions and founded by a former residency admissions officer and physician, MedEdits understands what program directors want to read and can help you decide what aspects of your background to focus on in your residency personal statement to earn the most interviews possible.
Getting into a residency has never been more competitive. Let the experts at MedEdits help you with your ERAS personal statement. We’ve worked with more than 5,000 students and 94% have been matched to one of their top-choice programs.
Sample Residency Personal Statements
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Personal Statement Guidelines
Guidelines for writing personal statements.
The Personal Statement should be personal and specific to you and your experience/s. The goal of the personal statement is so that reviewers can get to know you as unique applicant and what you will bring to the program and the field. Consider the following when putting together your personal statement.
- Never use another person or program to write your personal statement.
- Never copy another individual’s personal statement. This is a violation of professional conduct and the Match.
Before you get started:
- Some specialties may require that you have a separate personal statement for each program.
- Some students will choose to make a common personal statement but modify a paragraph that is program or location specific.
- Be sure to check with specialty and program requirements when drafting your personal statement.
General Tips :
- Grammarly® is an example of a free online resource.
- Stick to 1 page
- Save these highlights for your interview or your noteworthy characteristics.
- We recommend that you create your personal statements in a text file.
- The way you create a text file is Click on 'Start' menu on the desktop, under 'All Programs' Click 'Accessories', Click 'Notepad'. Change the Font to Courier New 10 which is used by ERAS. Keep it to less than one-page single spaced with one-inch margins all around and spaces between paragraphs.
- Do not use any special characters such as Bold, Italics, Underlines, &, ñ, µ, @,#,% etc.
- You don’t want it to look too cluttered.
When you may need more than ONE personal statement :
- If you are dual applying, you likely will need separate personal statements
- For a preliminary program personal statement, you may consider a separate personal statement or modify the personal statement to include what you are looking for in a preliminary program.
- You may consider personalizing a personal statement due to location, family, other circumstances. We recommend that you do this either early or at the end of the personal statement.
- If you are deciding between two or more specialties, it is sometimes helpful to write a personal statement for each. If you cannot see the real differences among them, others who read your statements may be able to discover your true passion.
- Label your personal statement files well so that you know which personal statement is being used for which specialty or program
Before drafting your personal statement, please use the information below to help you organize your thoughts :
- 2-3 paragraphs with a theme (see prompts below)
- Final thoughts/projections forward
Suggested prompts for your personal statement might be :
- Why you chose this field?
- Personality traits
- Experiences such as education, leadership, service, research, or volunteerism
- Related hobbies, etc.
- A brief explanation of gap time particularly for research, dual-degree or certification and how you see this time as beneficial to your residency goals.
- Some things of that nature might be best explained in your MSPE, if you wish. Discuss this with the OSA dean writing your MSPE.
- Applicants can describe any challenges or hardships that influenced their journey to residency. This could include experiences related to family background, financial background, community setting, educational experiences, and/or general life experiences. This question is intended for applicants who have overcome major challenges or obstacles.
- Some projection into your future, of both a professional and personal nature, if you wish. You may not want to be too specific about sub-specialty aspirations, though. People like to see an open mind.
- What you see as the next exciting things happening in your field of interest? How do you see yourself as part of them?
- Avoid being a just list of reasons that you like the specialty
- Balance being personal without overly revealing in these cases
- If you don’t want to talk about a situation in your interview, it shouldn’t be in your personal statement
- If you can’t talk about a situation without becoming overly emotional, you may want to brainstorm if that should be in your personal statement (remember this is a job interview)
- If the description of your story is 1/3 of your personal statement, you are missing an opportunity to talk more about yourself.
- AVOID: I disliked all other specialties till I rotated on XXX.
- AVOID: I noticed that I didn’t really like the way XXX interacted with patients
- AVOID: The patient was angry and non-compliant.
- Run the risk of losing the reader’s attention
Final Thoughts :
- Be specific in what you ask them to review (I.e. grammar, content, voice)
- Faculty members in the type of program to which you are applying.
- People who know you well, on whom you can count for honest feedback, and who can make any necessary corrections in syntax and grammar.
- Read your personal statement out loud to yourself- this is the best way to hear/find things that do not make sense grammatically or in syntax.
- Personal Statement Worksheet
- Personal Growth Program
- Prepare for Residency
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
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You're probably experiencing a mixture of excitement and anxiety as you begin the application process. That's normal. Once you've applied and been selected by a residency program,…
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- v.6(5); 2022 Oct
Creating a high‐quality personal statement for residency application: A guide for medical students and mentors
1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston Massachusetts, USA
Wendy C. Coates
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor‐UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles California, USA
3 Department of Emergency Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Illinois, USA
In 2022, a total of 50,830 applicants applied to residency programs in the United States. 1 The majority of the application are data driven, including Step 1 and 2 scores, preclinical and clinical grades, and the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE or “Dean's Letter”). While there is some flexibility in choosing who writes one's letters of recommendation, there are caps on the number allowed and the contents are usually unknown to the applicant. Therefore, a high‐quality personal statement adds subjectivity and provides flexibility to frame an applicant in the strongest light. Prior research reveals that the personal statement has not always been valued universally. 2 , 3 However, the personal statement may be gaining importance with the recently increased focus on holistic review as well as the transition of USMLE Step 1 to pass/fail and the increasing prevalence of pass/fail grading in U.S. medical schools. 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 This is relevant as objective metrics inconsistently predict a student's ability to practice medicine and succeed in residency 8 , 9 and may present a potential for racial and other forms of bias in applicant selection. 10
While the objective aspects of the application emphasize comparison based on standard measures, the subjective narrative is curated and individualized by the applicant. Moreover, the National Residency Matching Program 2021 Program Director survey data suggest that personal statements influenced some applicants' likelihood of receiving an interview offer, especially when the application was near a program's self‐directed objective cutoff metric; however, its impact on rank list position was less influential. 11 Therefore, it is in the candidate's interest to craft a statement that engages the reviewer. The primary goal of the personal statement must be honest and reflective and be able to tell the story of the applicant (e.g., the influence of their background, key current personal interests, and future goals). Linear and crisp writing makes a personal story easier to read. Despite the stakes, there are few published resources guiding applicants on how to write an effective personal statement. 12
In this paper, we provide recommendations for creating a high‐quality personal statement. The authors have served as advisors to medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty for over 35 years across four separate major academic institutions. They have held core faculty roles, medical school, residency program, or fellowship leadership positions and have served on resident selection and interview committees and in the dean's office. The information compiled here was based on consensus of opinion as well as relevant literature where available. While the primary audience of this article is medical students, the principles may also be valuable for their mentors.
The personal statement provides context to your personal and professional experiences and ambitions. It should not be a line‐by‐line recap of your entire application. Rather, it should highlight aspects which deserve greater attention and detail than are provided in your curriculum vitae. 13 Resist the urge to exaggerate truth, but do not undersell your accomplishments. Stating what you learned from experiences can strike a balance. The personal statement offers a prime opportunity to discuss gaps in training, motivation to pursue a particular field, notable extracurricular activities, general career plans, and concerns with your application. Controversial topics, such as social or political issues, may occasionally be included after careful consideration on how to frame your message and language. A trusted specialty‐specific advisor or mentor can help determine which key points are strategic to address.
Most importantly, your personal statement should be unique and reflect your personal journey and not be at risk of being mistaken for a different applicant or plagiarized from a published work. We recommend that you craft your personal statement directly from your voice and through your lens. While it is prudent to consult a proofreader to check spelling and grammar, it is unacceptable to hire a writer to construct your statement.
Before writing your personal statement, we recommend engaging in self‐reflection. Focus on the crossroads of your path and application that you want to highlight. These form the central points of your essay and may stimulate conversation during your interview. Your trusted network (mentors, significant others, siblings, parents, and close friends) can help early to identify significant traits and experiences. Anything written in a personal statement is available for discussion during the interview, including some topics that are frequently disallowed. Be prepared to discuss what you disclose. Table 1 summarizes general pearls and pitfalls for the personal statement.
Pearls and pitfalls for the personal statement
Writing can be a challenge but following a few basic writing strategies can simplify the task. Creating an outline helps adhere to purposeful clarity and flow. The flow should be linear so that the application reviewer can easily follow the discussion without having to decipher the relevance of content or the meaning of vague analogies. The ability to compose clear, easily readable prose will reflect favorably on your communication skills.
Writing with brevity and paying attention to the word count yields readable, short, and sharp sentences. For many specialties, a one‐page personal statement is the norm; however, ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) does have a cap of 28,000 characters (approximately 5 pages). 12 Your mentor can advise on the preferred length for your intended specialty. Use simple words that convey your meaning to enhance comprehension, and avoid overly colorful language and unnecessary adverbs and adjectives. Minimize the temptation to provide extraneous details, especially when trying to set the scene of a clinical environment, patient encounter, or historic event (e.g., a family member with a medical encounter). You should be the focus of your personal statement.
After creating this first draft, several strategies can be used to improve it. Waiting a few days to edit the statement allows you to reread it from a fresh perspective. Trusted allies may offer valuable insights and assess for flow, context, and comprehension. Mentors can evaluate your statement from the lens of a reviewer. Listening to the statement being read aloud can help identify errors. It is common to need several revisions before settling on your ideal personal statement. As a last step, be sure to check the document for spelling and grammar. Table 2 provides resources that will help with the technical craft of writing.
COMPONENTS OF A PERSONAL STATEMENT
There is no rigid template for a personal statement. Its design and development should be sculpted to describe your unique experiences and ambitions, while being mindful of the storytelling and writing principles outlined above. To that end, no singular format or framework will work for every student. The goal is not to capture the reviewer's or programs's exact preferences, because there is too much variability to predict what is desired. 2 The primary goal of the personal statement is to write clearly about your journey so that reviewers understand who you are. In this section, we provide examples of components to consider including in your personal statement. We do not expect that each of these components will be included in everyone's personal statement. Instead, each author should decide which components best represent their desired message. We understand the temptation to be creative with your writing; however, we recommend caution. A lively statement, specifically in the opening, runs the risk of being cliché or distracting. Table 3 offers suggestions of how to structure the description of your experiences.
Approach to describing experiences in personal statement
Motivation for pursuing medicine overall (consider including, if desired)
The decision to pursue the field of medicine is significant and worthy of discussion. Often students open with a brief description of an educational or clinical encounter, a relative's journey as a patient, or even a personal illness. You may briefly state your reasons for becoming a physician (e.g., enjoyment of clinical medicine, desire to improve health care delivery). No matter the influence that inspired you to pursue medicine, reviewers will appreciate your authenticity.
Motivation for selected residency field (included by many applicants 14 , 15 )
Describe why you are applying to your specialty and highlight personal traits and experiences that make you an ideal fit. Mentors in your desired specialty can discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and future of the field and can assess your compatibility. Avoid superficial phrasing such as “I am applying to emergency medicine because I am interested in helping people.” While this answer is honorable, it lacks a detailed understanding of the nuanced aspects of the field and could apply to any student and specialty. There is no need to describe the specialty to the readers—they are living it daily and want to learn why you will succeed within the specialty's framework.
Tentative plans for residency and career (included by strongest applicants)
If you have tentative plans for residency, possible fellowship, and your subsequent career path, you can include them and any supporting evidence. For instance, “Based on my research thesis studying cardiac biomarkers, I plan to focus on early signs of cardiac disease. I will pursue a fellowship in population health, obtain a Master of Public Health degree, and later work in an academic setting.” You may also link these ambitions, whether clinical or nonclinical, back to why you pursued medicine or the specific discipline. Selection committees value your ability to create a global plan, but they also understand that it may change during residency and will not be disappointed if you revise your path as you discover new opportunities during your training.
Brief context of academic experiences (consider including, if applicable)
The variety of applicants' experiences is as varied as the applicants themselves. It is important to clarify your motivation for engaging in an activity, the depth of your role, and how you improved as a result of your participation. For example, the experiences of a student who is listed as an author on a publication may vary from data entry to principal investigator. An honest reflection of your role and lessons learned is far better than hyperbole. Describe your decision making behind a project and how your skills improved or how it influenced your personal mission as a result. Detailed descriptions are not necessary. Instead, focus on the key components of one or two influential experiences. You may be expected to elucidate the details during your interview.
Relevance of extracurricular activities and prior employment (consider including, if applicable)
Most applicants have a long list of activities to report, and many may not be well understood by the selections committee. The personal statement gives you an opportunity to frame selected experiences. Highlight your important role in an activity or why the activity endorses your potential success in your specialty. There is a significant distinction between a student who created a student‐run clinic (e.g., generated the idea, sought approval, built a team, gathered supplies, scheduled students and faculty) and a student who staffed the clinic twice during medical school. Similarly, your role in a previous job, whether it was career focused or casual, can shed light on your skills (e.g., to highlight management skills, you could recount your experience as a residence hall assistant in college or your role as a team leader in industry).
Special considerations (consider including, if applicable)
The following are selected special considerations for writing your personal statement. They can carry a higher level of sensitivity, so be mindful of word choice. We want to emphasize the importance of discussing your approach with a trusted advisor or mentor. Be prepared to discuss any topics mentioned in the statement during your interview. While this may seem daunting at first, it is an opportunity to directly answer a question that the selection committee may have while reviewing your application. Reading your thoughtful explanation may allay their fears about the event in question and spur their decision to take a chance on extending an interview invitation. No matter the issue, be sure to demonstrate personal and professional growth and how, if at all, the concern enhanced your ability to become a physician.
Leave of absence
If you took a formal leave from medical school, we suggest you acknowledge it in your application. While ERAS has a designated section for leave of absences, consider also mentioning the absence in the broader context of the personal statement. You are not obligated to provide details. You are free to state, “I took 3 months off for a familial obligation.” However, further details can help the reviewer contextualize the absence: “This allowed me to spend the necessary time addressing the issue without compromising my training. Upon my return from leave, I fulfilled the expectations of my medical school.” It is important that your reason for the leave of absence is viewed by the school in the same fashion. If there is any conflict in the purpose of the leave, speak with your medical school leadership to discuss and resolve any disconnect.
You are not mandated to disclose medical conditions. However, if the condition precludes you from performing your duties completely or partially, it is in your best interest to assess whether the program is supportive of providing the least restrictive accommodations for you to participate fully in the training program. While the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, it does not require that you disclose your disability until they are needed. Early disclosure gives employers ample lead time to put accommodations into place but may also lead to bias. 16 , 17 We recommend you discuss with your support system when and whether to disclose a disability and whether this decision will cause relief or worry for you and your potential employer.
Shelf exam/board scores/grades
Standardized test scores may influence students' interview opportunities and ability to match in residency. 11 It is prudent to discuss low scores or failures. A brief but clear description of the likely cause, remediation process, and subsequent successful outcome is needed. Any additional positive data points can be mentioned. For example, “I have since passed all of my shelf exams and my Step 2 score was in the Xth percentile.”
Clerkship evaluations on the MSPE may contain negative comments that might be detrimental to the application. You are generally allowed to review your MSPE prior to finalization. If a detrimental comment is found, you should discuss evaluation concerns with your mentor as soon as possible to plan how to mitigate any negativity. Some negative comments are truthful and constructive and will remain in the MSPE. If the comment remains in the MSPE, the personal statement is available to explain the circumstances clearly and concisely and without casting blame on others. It is important to share the most important stage of processing feedback: self‐reflection and identifying areas of growth. 18 , 19 It is reasonable to direct the reader to subsequent instances of how the initial concern later was cited as a strength.
Limited access to extracurricular activities
Statements often highlight select activities so the reviewer can focus on what you perceive to be the most influential activities. However, not all students have access to the same experiences. There is no clear quantitative marker for how many extracurricular activities such as research, volunteering, or leadership roles one should obtain. Resources can vary from one institution to another, and individuals may not have time to engage in copious activities if they have other financial or family obligations during medical school. The personal statement is an opportunity to briefly explain any limitations with obtaining extracurricular activities.
Social and political factors
Often our personal identity is closely entwined with our societal and political experiences. It is an individual choice how to tell your perspective through your personal lens and whether to disclose your preferences. Incorporating personal identifiers, such as your gender, race, age, ability, sexual orientation, parenting status, religion, or political affiliation, informs the reader on aspects of your life that you feel have influenced your journey. 6 , 7 Revealing these can run the risk of unfair or discriminatory judgment but can also demonstrate your comfort with yourself and positively support the reasons you will shine as a resident physician. 12 Depending on your passion and involvement in a particular topic, this can be an opportune segue to explain your interest and future ambitions. Be prepared to discuss any of these disclosures during your interview. Consulting with your mentor is a good way to gauge the impact this decision may have on your application.
Writing a personal statement can be a challenging task. A thoughtful, organized approach will help you create a meaningful personal statement that enhances your application. Streamline the writing to convey your message concisely. The best personal statements are clear and brief and contain specificity to reflect and explain your unique perspective. This is your opportunity to highlight why you are the ideal candidate for a residency in your chosen field. While this guide cannot guarantee an interview invitation or a match into a desired program, we hope this resource will help ensure that your personal statements can showcase your best possible self.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
AL has received funding personally from EchoNous for consulting. The other authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.
The authors acknowledge Drs. Michelle Lin at UCSF and Sara Krzyzaniak at Stanford for their advice on leave of absences.
Landry A, Coates WC, Gottlieb M. Creating a high‐quality personal statement for residency application: A guide for medical students and mentors . AEM Educ Train . 2022; 6 :e10797. doi: 10.1002/aet2.10797 [ CrossRef ] [ Google Scholar ]
Supervising Editor: Dr. Jason Wagner
The personal statement for residency application: review and guidance
- 1 Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency Program and Harvard Medical School, Office for Multicultural Careers Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA. [email protected]
- PMID: 21809794
- DOI: 10.1016/s0027-9684(15)30341-2
All applicants to US residency programs are required to write a personal statement. Recent reports of plagiarism and homogeneity in these freeform essays suggest the need for better guidance in this process. The authors review the historical and current role of the personal statement and provide a practical framework for writing a unique and effective personal statement, which will help both applicants and residency directors to maximize their chances of a successful match.
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Writing Your Personal Statement for Residency
Tips to convey “ why you for residency specialty”, use your personal statement to introduce yourself to your interviewer..
- Include topics that help the interview go smoothly.
- Be sincere and help the interviewer know what’s important to you.
- Include only the information that you want to discuss.
Write a focused essay, four or five paragraphs in length, that covers the basics.
- The first paragrap h could introduce the reader to you and could focus on what led you to a career in medicine, more importantly your specialty. The tone of the first paragraph sets the tone for the rest of your personal statement.
- The second paragraph should let the reader know how you arrived at your choice of the specialty. (Personal experiences from rotations, leadership activities, work, volunteer, community service, studying abroad, background and/or life/ family experiences).
- The third/fourth paragraphs should confirm why you think this choice is right for you AND why you are right for the specialty. This is an opportunity further distinguish yourself.
- The close/final paragraph could inform the reader what you see as your long-term goals and/or how you see yourself in this specialty. Also, avoid spending too much content on “ What I want/seek/am interested in from a residency program …” The focus should be more on why they should choose you over other candidates
Questions to ask when approaching your Personal Statement:
- What are the reasons for choosing the specialty?
- What are your key attributes?
- What contributions can I make to the specialty and the residency program?
- What are your career plans and how will your background/additional education contribute to the field?
- What makes me unique enough to stand out among other candidates?
Your goal should be to write a well-crafted statement that is both original in its presentation and grammatically correct. Articulate your personal drive in as eloquent language as you can provide. The writing should flow. No one expects you to be a novelist. The most important thing is to write a concise, clear statement about why you?
Don’t spend a lot of time providing information about you that programs will generally assume to be true for most competent medical students; “I want to help people”, “I love medicine”, “I want to match into a residency program where I can learn”
If you explain your reasons for entering the field of medicine, do so to inform the reader of points beyond the career choice. Avoid spending too much time on “Why I Wanted to Go into Medicine.” How did you arrive at your specialty choice and what experiences support how you arrived at the specialty choice?
Support your strengths and skillset with examples . Most medical student personal statement list similar strengths, “hard worker/will work hard”, “good communication skills”, “relate to/interact with patients” – so if you provide strengths that are common among medical students or even unique to you, it will be important to provide evidence to support your claims, directing programs to come to their own conclusion about your strength.
I f you repeat accomplishments already listed on your CV , they should be relevant to your personal/professional growth. You want the emphasis to encourage the reader to bring this up in the interview.
Use your own words rather than rely on quotes; your own thoughts are more powerful. If you can make it work, great, but don’t dwell on quotes. With only 800 words or less…it is favorable to make them all your own.
Do NOT plagiarize your personal statement.
Length ; Since one page in length in a Word Doc is not the same as what one page will equal one page in ERAS for personal statement formatting, the key is stick to 750-850 words for your ERAS/residency application personal statement. One page in ERAS equals nearly 1,200 words, however most programs preferences for a typical personal statements in terms of Word Count will be within range of 650-850 – this will be acceptable for most residency programs.
Need a review of your personal statement…professional review and editing?
- Melva Landrum , TCOM Residency Counselor will provide thorough feedback through an evaluation form that breaks down your entire personal statement including: content, grammar, structure, flow and overall impact. You can email your personal statement to [email protected] within one week.
- The Career Center can also review personal statements and Center for Academic Performance (CAP) office can provide feedback mostly on grammar and structure.
This page was last modified on November 10, 2023
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Writing the Perfect Residency Personal Statement
If you’re in your third year of medical school, it’s time to sharpen your personal statement writing skills again for the ERAS application .
The good news is you already wrote a great one that got you accepted into medical school ! Now, you’ll need to dig deep and channel the same creative spirit that was there about 3 years ago.
Many applicants are looking for a special formula for writing a personal statement . But here’s the truth: There’s no secret formula. A fantastic residency personal statement includes well-written storytelling detailing your experiences as a medical student and why you’re an excellent fit for the residencies you’re applying to.
In this article, we’ll talk about inspiration, length, structure, and dynamic writing. Let’s dive in.
What is the ERAS personal statement, and why do you need to write one?
Your residency personal statement is similar to your medical school personal statement in that it’s your chance to directly make a case for yourself . Residency program directors use these essays to get to know you beyond your CV. They can only learn so much about you from your medical education history.
Most of the information program directors use to determine if you’re a good fit is quantitative — GPAs, USMLE scores, etc. Odds are, these numbers will be fairly similar across the board.
What sets you apart from other applicants will be qualitative — your personal experiences and career goals, whether you’re hard-working or a team player.
What should you include in your residency personal statement ?
In your residency personal statement , include your experiences and interests that have driven your ambition to mature as a medical professional.
Take time to think about what qualities you’d expect in an exemplary physician. Then, create a list of topics reflecting these qualities from your background.
Create a list of ideas of what to write from these prompts:
- Memorable or “a-ha” moments during medical school (including specific rotations ) that changed the way you think about medicine.
- Volunteering or non-profit work.
- Your greatest skills and qualities and how you use them when practicing medicine.
- Specific instances of when you used strong teamwork skills.
- A personal anecdote that isn’t included on a resume, like an elective that led to an unexpected encounter with a patient that you won’t forget.
- Professors, mentors , family, friends, or anyone else that has inspired your path.
- Your goals in your future career.
- Reasons you are drawn to your specialty.
- Meaningful experiences in medical school or extracurriculars .
- Your most commendable achievements.
Why did you choose your specialty?
When you explain why you chose a specialty, discuss the reasons why you enjoy that specialty and how your strengths will apply to your future career.
Make your answer heartfelt and honest. If your only reasons are money and the lifestyle, your chances of an interview with the program directors will plummet.
Answer these questions while brainstorming :
- What appeals to you about this specialty?
- Did past experiences or clinicals influence your decision for this program?
- What do you believe are the most important qualities for a physician in this specialty? How have you begun to cultivate these qualities in yourself?
- Are there future goals you want to achieve in this specialty?
- Have you done any research related to this field or the advancement of this specialty?
How long should a personal statement be for residency?
The personal statement essay section on ERAS allows for 28,000 characters (about 5 pages).
Our advice? Don’t max out your character count.
Program directors must read the demographics, transcripts, MSPE, experiences section, personal statement , and letters of recommendation before making a decision. That’s a lot of reading.
Your goal is to make your point concisely — writing about a page plus a paragraph is the sweet spot.
Personal Statement Structure
Many applicants don’t know where to start, so we suggest breaking the essay into bite-sized pieces. Use a standard 4-5 paragraph structure. This way, you’ve got small, manageable goals.
Write your residency personal statement using:
- An introduction paragraph.
- 2-3 paragraphs to expand on your theme.
- A conclusion paragraph to tie it all together.
Draw the reader in with a story or anecdote, and introduce a theme. A narrative voice works well here to engage the reader and get them interested.
Don’t tell an extensive story; provide just enough to provide context and introduce a theme.
Body Paragraphs (2-3)
Explore and expand on the central theme of your personal statement . You can talk about the traits or life experiences that will make you good at family medicine , dermatology , or whatever specialty you’re pursuing.
Ensure you’re being specific to the specialty — you don’t need to prove you’ll be a good doctor so much as a good doctor in the field you’re applying to .
Wrap everything up and end with a “bang.” The conclusion should serve to bring all your points together in one place. When I say end with a “bang,” I mean to finish strong .
Stating: “For the reasons above, I believe I will make an excellent internist, ” doesn’t leave the reader with much.
Try something a bit more passionate, idealistic, and enthusiastic. Here’s an example:
“ Internal medicine is centered around improving lives, orchestrating, and managing complex patient care . To me, the true challenge is in the art of internal medicine — to tailor to patients’ needs to maximize their health and improve their overall quality of life.”
With this approach to the structure of your personal statement , the essay becomes more manageable. You can set yourself mini-assignments by just developing one component at a time. Complete one portion each week, and you’ll be done by the end of the month!
Should a residency personal statement have a title?
There is no hard and fast rule about whether a residency personal statement should have a title. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to include a title in your personal statement is up to you.
Consider these factors when deciding whether or not to include a title:
- A good title can serve as a headline for the reader, making your essay stand out before they even start reading.
- A good title can make your statement stand out and help it to be more memorable.
- On the other hand, a poorly chosen or overly generic title could actually detract from your personal statement.
Most residency programs do not require, or even want, a title for personal statements. Be sure to check the program’s guidelines before including one.
If you do choose to include a title, make sure it is relevant, concise, and impactful. Avoid overly generic or cliche titles, and focus on conveying the main message or theme of your personal statement.
It is less common to have a title, so if you do it right, you may stand out from the crowd.
How To Make Your Personal Statement Stand Out
Take time to brush up on your writing skills to make your personal statement stand out .
These skills may not have been your focus in the last few years, but concisely expressing your dedication to the specialty will retain a program director ’s attention.
Oh, and always remember to proofread and check your grammar! If you specifically prompt ChatGPT to “review your personal statement for grammar and punctuation only,” it does a pretty good job.
Just be sure not to have AI write your personal statement, as it doesn’t know your stories, and can’t convey your sentiment, tone, or emotion.
Language and Vocabulary
The simpler, the better. Hand your essay to a friend or family member to proofread. If they have to stop and look up any word, it’s probably the wrong word choice. Maybe it’s the perfect word for the sentence, but anything that distracts the reader from the content is a problem.
Avoid the following:
- Contractions. Contractions are informal language. They aren’t appropriate for applications or professional writing.
- “Really” as in “I really learned a lot.” Try the word “truly” instead. It sounds more sincere.
- “Really” or “very” as in “it was a really/very great experience.” Here, “really” is a qualifier that holds the place of a better word choice; e.g., Really great = fantastic, wonderful, exquisite; Very important = paramount, momentous, critical.
Simple sentence structure is usually the best. Follow these rules:
- Avoid quotations if you can. This is your essay, and it should focus on what you have to say, not someone else. There may be exceptions to this rule (like a statement a professor made that changed the course of your medical career), but these are rare.
- Punctuate correctly. Misplaced commas or a missing period can distract a reader from your content. If grammar isn’t your strong suit, have a friend (or a spellchecker like Grammarly) check your essay for errors.
Saying you want to go into pediatrics because you love kids might be true, but it’s also a given. Everyone going into healthcare is interested in helping people.
This is your opportunity to make it more personal. Talk about the life experiences that have uniquely informed your career path and what makes you different from every other med student trying to get a residency interview .
Don’t Make It Too Complicated
Be simple, straight to the point, and authentic.
Aim for clear wording that communicates your central theme. If you talk about your professional future and goals, they should be realistic and carefully considered. Your goal is to leave program directors with a strong impression of your character and maturity.
Try Dynamic Writing
Dynamic writing is all about feel and rhythm. Even good content written poorly can come out flat. Here are some cues to evaluate and improve your writing:
- Read your writing out loud. Do you have to catch your breath in the middle of a sentence? If so, the sentence is too long and needs some additional punctuation, editing, or to be split up.
- Vary your sentence structure and/or the length of the sentences. When you’re reading, do you feel like there is a repetitive rhythm? This usually results from too many short sentences stacked on top of each other.
Be Prepared To Revise Your Statement
You’ve done this part before. Once the bulk of your statement is done, have someone else read it, then start revising. The great thing about the revision process is that you don’t have to write the first draft perfectly.
If you can afford it, consider working with a professional team for help with the residency application process , including personal statement editing.
Our friends at MedSchoolCoach can help you with personal statement editing.
Should you write multiple ERAS personal statements ?
Write a residency personal statement relevant to each specialty you apply to, each with a clearly stated goal.
While it’s a good idea to write a personal statement for every specialty you apply to, you don’t have to write one for each specific program . Maybe you have research experience in a few different specialties and aren’t sure where you’ll get residency training .
A blanket personal statement to cover all specialties is bland at best and, at worst, a red flag . Your interest in becoming an OB/GYN should be informed by different experiences than your interest in anesthesiology or plastic surgery .
Anyone who reads your personal statement should have all the relevant information for integrating you into their program. Don’t overshare experiences or learnings from irrelevant rotations , classes, or experiences.
Let’s say you send your personal statement to a program director for a radiology residency program . If he reads that you’re torn between radiology and emergency medicine , is he more likely to accept you, or an applicant who seems all-in for his program’s specialty?
Ready to write? Get your residency personal statement prepared!
It’s time to knock out that first paragraph ! We have given you the structure and tools to write a personal statement that reflects your strengths. Remember, there’s no formula for the perfect personal statement , but there are tried and true methods for strong writing.
Schedule a free consultation with MedSchoolCoach to see how we can help you increase your chances of matching into the residency of your choice.
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Documents for ERAS® Residency Applicants
Each program sets individual requirements for the documents that should be submitted with the MyERAS® application. Be sure to research each program individually to determine those requirements before making document assignments.
- Sign In to the MyERAS® Portal
- ERAS® Timelines for Residency Applicants
- ERAS Participating Specialties and Programs
Within your MyERAS account, you may create personal statement(s); identify the people who will write letters of recommendation (LoRs); authorize the release of your Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) and/or United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) transcripts; and manage all other documents. Below is an overview of each of the main documents used in ERAS. For detailed information, please see the Documents section of the MyERAS User Guide.
The dashboard provides a snapshot of the progress of various documents and their statuses in the MyERAS portal.
- Uploaded but Unassigned LoRs - Count of LoRs that have been uploaded but are not assigned to any programs, highlighting that assignments may need to be made.
- Unassigned Personal Statements - Count of Personal Statements that have been saved but are not assigned to any programs, highlighting that assignments may need to be made.
- Latest USMLE Request Status - Current status of the latest request made to NBME or ECFMG (for IMG Residency) after at least one program has been applied to with the USMLE transcriptassigned.
- Latest COMLEX-USA Request Status - Current status of the latest request made to NBOME after at least one program has been applied to with the COMLEX-USA transcript assigned.
- Status of Additional Documents - Status of all other applicable documents as either Not Uploaded or Uploaded .
The Photo is most often used by programs to help identify applicants when reporting for an interview. Applicants must upload their own Photo in the MyERAS portal by selecting Upload New Photo in the Actions column. A photo file should not exceed these requirements:
- Dimensions: 2.5 in. x 3.5 in.
- Resolution: 150dpi
- File Size: 150kb
The personal statement may be used to personalize the application to a specific program or to different specialties. There is not a limit to how many personal statements you may create; however, you may only assign one (1) for each program.
Note : There are a number of websites that provide examples of Personal Statements. Do not copy any information from these sites and use them in your Personal Statements without giving credit to the author. This is considered plagiarism. See the ERAS Investigation Policy
Special Note About Formatting
- Personal Statements must be created in plain text formatting. HTML and other special text formatting, such as bold, italics, underline, text color, and alignment, are not allowed. Personal statements created outside of the MyERAS system should be done in a plain text word processing application such as Notepad (for Windows users) or Text Edit (for Mac Users) to ensure text stays as clean as possible.
LoRs must be uploaded through the ERAS Letter of Recommendation Portal (LoRP) by the LoR Author . It is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up with LoR Authors regarding LoRs.
- Creating LoR Entries - You must create a LoR entry for each LoR you intend to use during the application season.
- Confirming LoR Entries - You must confirm a LoR entry before an associated Letter ID can be generated.
- Uploading LoRs - The Letter ID contained in the LoR Request form must be used to upload the associated LoR through the Letter of Recommendation Portal (LoRP).
- Resending New Scores - Applicants must take action in their MyERAS portal to resend USMLE scores to programs previously designated to receive them.
The USMLE transcript is required by many MD residency programs as part of an application to be considered for their positions.
- Authorizing the Release for the USMLE Transcript - Applicants must authorize the release of their USMLE transcript in order to make assignments of the USMLE transcript to the programs they designate.
- Paying for the USMLE Transcript - The NBME or ECFMG (for IMG Residency) charges a one time fee of $80 for transmitting USMLE transcripts to the programs designated by applicants.
- Viewing the USMLE Requests Status Report - Applicants can view the USMLE Requests Status Report to track the status of their USMLE requests by program.
The COMLEX-USA transcript is required by many AOA-accredited and ACGME-accredited residency programs as part of a D.O. applicant’s application to be considered for their positions.
- Authorizing the Release for the COMLEX-USA Transcript - Applicants must authorize the release of their COMLEX-USA transcript in order to make assignments of the COMLEX-USA transcript to the programs they designate.
- Paying for the COMLEX-USA Transcript - The NBOME or ECFMG (for IMG Residency) charges a one time fee of $80 for transmitting COMLEX-USA transcripts to the programs designated by applicants.
- Viewing the COMLEX-USA Requests Status Report - Applicants can view the COMLEX-USARequests Status Report to track the status of their COMLEX-USA requests by program.
Uploading : An applicant’s Designated Dean's Office is responsible for uploading the Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE or “Dean’s Letter”) into the ERAS system for residency applicants. Find out more in the frequently asked questions section.
IMGs Only : IMG residency applicants must indicate in the MyERAS system if they themselves or their medical school will provide a MSPE to the ERAS Documents office at the ECFMG. Instructions for submission can be found here: https://www.ecfmg.org/eras/applicants-documents-index.html .
Medical School (MS) Transcript
Uploading : An applicant’s Designated Dean's Office is responsible for uploading the MS Transcript into the ERAS system for residency applicants. Find out more in the frequently asked questions section.
IMGs Only :
- IMG residency applicants must indicate in the MyERAS system if they themselves or their medical school will provide a MS Transcript to the ERAS Documents office at ECFMG. Instructions for submission can be found here: https://www.ecfmg.org/eras/applicants-documents-index.html .
- ECFMG Status Report: The ECFMG Status Report confirms the ECFMG certification status for an IMG residency applicant. This report contains the month and year that examinations were passed for ECFMG Certification, but does not contain your USMLE transcript.
- Uploading: The ECFMG is responsible for uploading the ECFMG Status Report into the ERAS system for IMG residency applicants.
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Sign up to our newsletter, residency personal statement: the ultimate guide.
Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University
Are you planning on writing your personal statement for residency? We’ll cover everything you need to know about the process.
The residency application personal statement is an essential part of applying to programs, but it can be intimidating. We get it. It can be challenging to write about yourself and your life experiences within 3,500 characters. We’ll cover everything you need to know about writing a powerful statement!
Get The Ultimate Guide on Writing an Unforgettable Personal Statement
Importance of Your Personal Statement in a Residency Application
The importance of your personal statement in your application cannot be overstated. Yes, you have secured solid letters of recommendation from physicians and crushed your USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) .
However, your personal statement is the one component of your application where you can make a case for yourself and leave a lasting impression on program directors.
Think about it this way: program directors receive thousands of applications From aspiring medical residents and review thousands of standardized, quantitative factors like grades and test scores across the board. They also read thousands of essays and want to see something that will pique their interest.
Your personal statement is an opportunity to show program directors specific qualities that make you stand out and shine . Program directors want to know the person behind the stellar numerical achievements.
They want to know that you will thrive, reach your greatest potential in their program, and continue to have an exceptional career as a leader in healthcare.
Because of how competitive programs can be, your writing may very well be the tiebreaker that leads to your acceptance into a top program over another applicant.
While a strong personal statement might not compensate for low exam scores, a weak one will definitely hurt an otherwise strong application.
Residency Personal Statement Outline
Knowing what you should include in your personal statement will help you get started. Your statement should include and reflect on a combination of the following:
- What draws you to medicine/your specialty?
- The desirable qualities, attributes, and skill sets make you well-suited to a program and will help you succeed.
- Your long-term plans as a practicing physician after you complete your program. This can include what you hope to accomplish in your residency and your preferred setting.
- What attracts you to a particular program, and how would it make you a good fit?
Ultimately, program directors are looking for residents who are the best candidates and colleagues to work with and train. Combining the above suggestions will give program directors a good sense of what having you on their team would be like.
3 Tips to Help You Start Writing
Here are three tips to help you get started!
1. Consider Why You’re Pursuing a Particular Residency
Before you start your application personal statement, you should be clear on why the specialty you’ve chosen is the right one for you . Program directors want to know that you have a realistic idea of what the specialty entails.
If your writing fails to convey solid, meaningful reasons for pursuing the chosen specialty, you will likely not be invited for an interview. Don’t hurt your chances by sounding disinterested in the field or focusing on superficial aspects of the specialty, like high salaries and benefits.
UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine urges you to “remember that this is your chance to focus on your medical career objectives, i.e., what specialty you'd like to go into and what your ultimate goals might be.”
To begin drafting your personal statement, brainstorm. Brainstorming allows you the freedom to be creative and informal. When brainstorming, you do not have to worry about grammar, spelling, or editing. You want to write down your ideas and get your creative juices flowing.
After you have a body of ideas, you can work on weaving one or several elements into a strong, concise narrative.
3. Ask Yourself Questions
The following questions will help you get started brainstorming ideas for your personal statement:
- What first drew you to the specialty?
- What are your greatest qualities, and how have you demonstrated these qualities? Focus on a few desirable qualities for a medical professional during specialization.
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Name an experience, clinical or otherwise, that significantly impacted you. Why was the experience meaningful, and how did it change you?
- What obstacle, challenge, or failure did you overcome, and what did it teach you about adversity?
- When did you know you wanted to pursue your chosen specialty?
- What is your most meaningful extracurricular activity?
- Who are your role models? What qualities do they possess that inspire you to be like them? How does this translate in your chosen field?
- What medical cause do you care about the most, and what led you to care about it?
Remember, brainstorming aims to put down everything you can remember with as much detail as possible without worrying about grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or revisions.
The more details you explore while brainstorming, the easier it will be to extract and expand upon the stories you want to tell.
How to Write An Amazing Residency Application Personal Statement
Now that you have completed your preliminary brainstorming, let’s review how to write a personal statement. Later in this guide, we will review samples of other applicants’ personal statements and analyze what makes them successful.
Start With A Catchy Introduction
A captivating introduction pulls the reader in and makes them want to read to the end. Your introduction should lead with detail. Don’t rely on platitudes, clichés, and vague language .
One way to accomplish this is to have an anecdote or two in mind that will be the central focus of your narrative. Then, introduce that anecdote while being aware of both brevity and detail.
Focus on Things That Aren’t on Your CV
The personal statement should never regurgitate what’s already on your CV. Instead, focus on important aspects about you, your experiences, and your qualities that do not appear on your CV.
For example, if you have a hobby that demonstrates personal growth over time, tell a story about it and tie it together with your goals.
The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine suggests that if you want to repeat accomplishments, ensure they’re “relevant to your personal/professional growth. You want the emphasis to encourage the reader to bring this up in the interview.”
Talk About You and Your Desirable Qualities
Program directors want to get to know you as an individual and what you would bring to their program. While this might seem like a no-brainer, it is important that your personal statement remains about you.
Program directors often read narratives that include information about the program they already know and not enough information about the candidate. Shift your tone to reflect on what makes you desirable to the residency.
When talking about your attributes, remember that quality is more important than quantity . Narrow your focus to one or two qualities, and work on incorporating them as part of your storytelling.
Make Use of Storytelling
Avoid generic and superficial declarative statements when you write about yourself and your desirable qualities. For example, don’t simply say, “I am empathetic and compassionate.” This is forgettable, and you will not stand out from all the other applicants.
Instead, it is better and more memorable to show how you exhibited empathy and compassion by telling a story about a real event. Show, don’t tell. People will remember your name if you tell a great story.
Include What You Expect From a Residency Program
Program directors want to know why you are pursuing their program and what you want to gain from the experience. Tie this in with nuanced details about what you have done to pursue your particular interests and how your interests will align with what the program offers.
How will your interests and goals support their mission? What specific strengths will you add or hope to cultivate? Again, the focus should be on you and your expectations, not on over-explaining a program to its directors.
Cite Strong Reasons to Choose a Particular Specialty
Clearly outline your interest in a particular specialty. Program directors want to know your understanding of and interest in a specialty. Highlight what you have done in your career to explore a specialty and detail some of your insights and observations.
Perhaps you’ve researched the length of the residency and were swayed by it. Or you were intrigued by the nature of another one. The more details you can provide, the more persuasive you will be.
For example, you might like acute care in emergency medicine but try to be more specific than that. What do you enjoy about the diagnoses and pathologies involved in emergency medicine? What do you enjoy about the patients in your care? What do you enjoy about the setting in which you will practice?
Include Your Personal and Professional Achievements
Your achievements should demonstrate personal and professional growth over time. Your unique personal or professional achievement may not be listed on your CV. The personal statement is where you can delve into those exceptional and distinctive details about yourself that will set you apart from the crowd.
Always uphold your credibility by being honest and authentic. People will pick up on subtle cues of inauthenticity. Remember, you don’t have to use your personal statement to convince someone of how perfect you are because perfection doesn’t exist.
For example, if you achieve something with a group of colleagues, give credit where it’s due and don’t take the credit all for yourself. Remain true to who you are and the experiences you’ve had thus far. You don’t need to embellish or dramatize them to impress program directors.
They’re looking for someone reliable, credible, and genuine.
Address Areas of Improvement on Your Application
If anomalies are anywhere in your application, such as gap years or leaves of absence, address them with a brief explanation. You don’t need to dwell on areas that need improvement, and you shouldn’t provide long explanations or be defensive.
It’s more important for your readers to see that you faced hardship but took steps to overcome it.
Deliver a Strong Closure
Lastly, end your statement with a punch. Don’t lose steam. Succinctly and naturally wrap up your story. You don’t want to end with a weak declarative statement like, “And that’s why I would be a great resident.”
Instead, try to deliver a callback to your introduction and include the imagery and insights that bring everything together.
5 Things to Avoid in Your Personal Statement
There are certain things that you should avoid in your personal statement. As a rule of thumb, avoid topics and language that risk alienating your readers. Be aware of the following:
1. Acronyms and Jargon
Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon. Don’t assume that your reader knows everything. Be courteous and spell everything out. According to The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), “If there’s a shorter, simpler, less pretentious way of putting it, use it.”
2. Poor Writing Mechanics
Avoid informal, casual writing and poor sentence structure. Be professional and ensure your writing is free of grammatical and spelling errors. You don’t want programs to be distracted by errors while they read your story!
3. Controversial Topics
Avoid controversial topics like ethical issues, religion, and politics. You don’t want to make polarizing or offensive statements, so don’t cross the line. Even if the statements you make aren’t offensive, there’s no guarantee the person reviewing your application will agree with you.
4. Rehashing Why You Want to Be a Doctor
Avoid going into the origin story of why you wanted to become a doctor. You are not applying to medical school, so your personal statement should reflect deeper insights that support your professional and personal experiences. UCSF’s Office of Career & Professional Development offers this advice :
“Presumably, new things have happened in the past four years that inform your decision to choose your specialty or career path, or that illustrate your dedication, leadership, and teaching skills, ability for empathy, etc.” Use these new experiences in your statement!
5. Using Vague/Generic Language
Avoid vague and generic language. The most seasoned writers draw readers in with rich detail and nuance. Using descriptive language makes your statement easier to read and is much more likely to keep the reader’s attention.
With these tips, you should be able to write your personal statement with ease.
Get Professional Help Writing Your Residency Personal Statement
Contrary to popular belief, writers don’t need to hole up in a dark room, slouch over a messy desk, hit a wall with writer’s block, and suffer in solitude. Ask for help! Even the world’s bestselling authors need editors.
Your storytelling ability and writing skills will only improve when you receive editorial feedback from trusted professionals. Getting professional help on writing your narrative will get you closer to being accepted at your first-choice program.
Inspira Advantage is here for you. We are an admissions consulting firm with extensive experience helping candidates get accepted to their dream programs. An expert residency application consultant can ensure you get the support you need at every step while you write and edit your personal statement.
Residency Personal Statement Examples
Reading examples of residency personal essays that program directors consider effective is advantageous. Not only will you gain insight into how to structure your writing, but you will also learn why program directors and career advisors find certain personal statements more successful than others.
We’ll review two good personal statement examples below. Please note that both have been anonymized to protect the authors’ privacy.
Residency Personal Statement Example 1
Here is an ERAS sample personal statement:
One of my most formative memories of medical school was a patient high-fiving me. A seemingly minute detail, that moment came as a culmination of spending hours with a neurologically devastated patient. At the young age of 40, he was unable to speak or even interact with any of the dozens of healthcare workers at his bedside every day. I felt helpless, yet compelled to spend my time talking and reading to him, and urging him to do simple things like turning his head. He suddenly dramatically improved, and it peaked when he gave me a high-five during rounds, after I had playfully asked for one every day for three weeks. In that moment, I felt elation that he was able to lift his arms and regain some ability and autonomy. Pride, in the healthcare system that I had chosen to be a part of. And surprise, that he had been hearing and processing my words all this time when he had given no indication of doing so. On that last day before transfer to a rehabilitation facility, he hung onto my arm and sobbed “thank you” while refusing to let go. I was so impacted by this patient because for such a long time, he was unable to communicate his wants and needs to the outside world.
I believe medicine is the most fundamental form of equity and equality – ensuring someone’s health is the most elemental way to ensure justice for their being. As physicians, we are inherent agents of change, on both an individual and community level. I want to bring this to people all around the world – those desperately fighting just to survive and whose voices are not being heard. Global health is my calling – a consummation between my interest in humanity and my desire to heal historical traumas. This came as a lifelong dream after growing up on both the East Coast and Midwest, having been surrounded by large immigrant and refugee populations. My vested interest in global health has been reaffirmed through my experiences rotating at a children’s hospital in [city], Ghana, and taking trainings and courses aimed at decolonizing global health. Both in and out of my passion for global health came a natural attraction to med-peds. Both medicine and pediatrics have always drawn me in as they both afford me the opportunity to provide holistic care – fitting the puzzle pieces between physical, mental, and social health. Med-peds will also help me become the best trained and most adaptable physician for anyone, womb-to-tomb, in local and global medicine due to the vast fund of knowledge I will develop.
One reason I best fit with med-peds is my adaptability and persistence. I have faced setbacks in my academic career, the biggest of which was after I failed a course during my second year and had to retake the semester. During a hiatus, I pursued independent sociology courses to expand my knowledge base. In the new semester, I developed new study techniques to truly learn medicine instead of just memorizing it. This experience helped me form a cycle of analyzing, changing, and re-examining the way I learn in different scenarios; I built on that methodology repeatedly as modes of learning changed, as evidenced by my step exam scores. I learned the value of reaching out, and I strived to become that person to lean on for my peers going through similar hardships. I am also proud that despite flaws in my test-taking acumen that I have worked on during my later years of medical school, I have always been able to readily apply my medical knowledge in the wards and clinics in a way that is reflected by my patient care.
Furthermore, I see multiple sentiments of the med-peds community reflected in myself. Med-peds folk are mobilizers of change, always creating life-changing and systemic reforms – ideals to which I fiercely relate. I have done my best to embody the amplification of voices that I have seen so vigorously amongst my med-peds mentors both on an individual and community level. To that end, I have always prided myself on being a strong advocate for patients and acting as a loudspeaker for their voices. On a broad level, I started an organization early in my medical training called [organization name] which aims to alleviate food insecurity in [city], which has a complex racial history causing countless food deserts. I have been excited and proud to help [organization] partner up with local organizations and the student-run free clinic to expand access to nutritious foods. I learned to engage with religious and community leaders in [city] to build strong community relationships to sustain change. To address upstream causes, I am starting a voter registration drive for patients in my institution’s safety net med-peds clinic. These experiences taught me the strategy and logistics of organizing systemic changes and enlightened me to people’s powerful stories.
I picture myself practicing a mix of both hospitalist medicine and primary care to adapt to any low-resource community. I want to establish continuity of care amongst those who need it most while also managing higher acuity situations. After rotating in Ghana, I hope to pursue a fellowship in global health after completing my residency. My first-hand experience exposed me to the unique conditions of disenfranchised nations that are not readily discussed in the US. I hope to utilize fellowship training to gain the critical knowledge and translational skills required to establish the greatest benefit. All in all, I am excited to use my experiences and skills to provide care to every type of patient, especially in low-resource settings. I am committed to amplifying the voices of the disenfranchised and helping navigate the difficult road towards better, more equitable healthcare. If, in the process, those voices come in the form of more high-fives, I would not complain.
Residency Personal Statement Example 2
Here is another example:
It was not even the end of the first week of medical school, and I was fighting for my life — and the life of others. On September 19th 2017, Hurricane Maria hit and battered the Island of Dominica. I woke up the next day from a concussion after being thrown 20 feet in the air during the storm. This once lush island was reduced to brown sticks, live wires, and broken glass. I survived the storm, but the destructive aftermath was our new reality.
During the evacuations and rescue missions, I solidified my purpose to become an Emergency Medicine physician. I joined the [EMS name], which was the only organized medical personnel available. One of my most inspiring experiences was the emergency medical evacuation of a six-month-old girl. This patient was an infant with untreated pneumonia. She came in with respiratory distress to our pop-up clinic at 1am. The child was assessed by the only physician on the island and her prognosis was poor, she was unlikely to survive the night. As a student, I realized that in these critical moments I want to be the first responder to aid and to make the best decisions for the patient. She needed to be on a ventilator, and we did not have the facilities or equipment to help the child, only the capacity to provide supplemental oxygen. With limited resources, we had to secure the airway if needed, and I was given the role to disinfect plastic tubing left on the ground. As we provided supportive care, we also organized the logistics of the medical evacuation – from security to cleaning a landing zone for the helicopter. As the helicopter finally arrived at 3am, the sign of relief was clouded by the debris inadvertently thrown towards us during the landing. Despite the difficulties, all team members were safe, and we were finally able to get the patient to a definitive center of care.
To work in medicine, one must be able to function in a team. This event gave me first-hand experience of coordination of care. I was a part of this team for the little girl and learned the importance of delegating tasks, cooperation among members, and having defined goals. Moreover, I was tested to perform under pressure and think clearly. I have been able to translate these skills as I have moved forward with my education, always considering my responsibilities within a team in order to provide the best care. We found out that the little girl survived, and I could not help but feel relieved that our efforts were successful. At times, there is not always the end result that is hoped for however, it is important to persevere and act for the benefit of the patient. These challenges faced during the hurricane also reaffirmed my desire to address the needs of the population during emergency situations. I was exposed to making quick, yet thoughtful decisions in order to produce the best plan of action. These attributes are integral for patient care in the emergency room and I hope to continue to develop these skills as an emergency medicine physician.
As my medical school journey continued, I experienced another challenge – completing my studies on a boat. We had no internet and there was limited space. I learned to cohabitate with four students in a 20 square foot living arrangement. We were docked at [country] during the night, but the school was at sea for four months during the days and we as a school were then displaced to various locations to complete our preclinical studies including [multiple cities]. The difficulties unfortunately continued, with the pandemic occurring at the start of my clinical rotations. The adversities of my limited learning environment did affect my academic performance and impeded me from participating in research opportunities. I struggled with trying to reset my foundational knowledge and had to repeat my third semester. Unfortunately, I shared similar setbacks in my USMLE step 1. I knew that my results did not reflect my abilities to become a clinician. I adapted and made appropriate changes in order to better my scores. I worked on expanding my medical knowledge by attending workshops, study groups, and taking extra time after class to talk to my professors in order to better understand the more complicated concepts. As a result, my clinical acumen improved. I strengthened my time management skills allowing me to study more efficiently, which proved successful as I bettered my Step 2 scores. I have learned how to study well despite distractions and this will be of benefit to me as a future physician.
I did not have the conventional education as others, however the experiences that I encountered molded me into the individual I am today. My desire to help others brought me to the Ukrainian refugee camps as they faced a desperate humanitarian crisis during the war. I was drawn to volunteer this summer in [city] and joined the [organization name] to provide medical services to displaced civilians I wanted to improve people’s well-being through community healthcare services, medical care, and mental support. Having had my own experiences with disaster and crisis, I provided much needed empathy for those people who sensed that they have lost control of their livelihood. Being able to provide support and healthcare to this disenfranchised group of people was extremely gratifying. I continue to expand on my medical knowledge through my involvement in relief efforts and through my clinical education. I have learned to manage the external stressors of my environment, along with my academic deficiencies, by refocusing my efforts into robust translational skills. It is an important facet in my practice to take care of the welfare of the individual. Emergency Medicine would enable me to do so, providing a solid foundation to continue involvement in public health affairs and ability to impactfully respond to relief efforts.
Medicine is a universal language that transcends borders, cultures, and languages. To know that someone is there to help you in your time of need, you do not have to understand the language they are speaking to feel that impact. Emergency medicine truly has no borders. The “ER” is a centralized area of care. However, as an emergency medicine physician, I will be able to apply my knowledge outside the walls of the hospital to the rest of the world. I want to be that healing hand, to help as many lives as I can – whether it be in global health or in my surrounding community. With Emergency Medicine, I can achieve that and protect those who need help the most. I hope to continue to pursue opportunities for community aid and patient advocacy as an effective first line of care. I want to not only be able to identify life-threatening conditions, but have the capacity to treat patients and provide access to the appropriate avenues for their continued care. I will always strive to be someone who runs towards people in need, never away.
More Sample Residency Statements
Looking for more personal statement samples that worked? These medical schools also have examples:
- University of California – San Francisco
- University of Alabama School of Medicine
- University of Nevada School of Medicine
You can view these statements to better understand the tone and format programs look for.
If you still have questions about writing your personal statement, check out these frequently asked questions.
1. Is It Better to Cover All My Relevant Experiences, or Should I Discuss a Few in Particular?
When in doubt, quality over quantity. You should always aim to focus on one or two themes and include a few experiences in particular. Never sacrifice depth and detail just to accommodate quantity. If you write about all your relevant experiences, their significance will get lost in trying to compete for attention in a limited space.
It looks better to hone in on key experiences and provide depth, self-reflection, and nuance. Your CV should list all your relevant experiences, not your essay.
2. Do I Have to Write a Personal Statement for Every Residency Program I Apply to?
No, you should not write a different personal statement for every program you apply to, but you should write one for every specialty. For example, prepare one for family medicine and one for emergency medicine.
You do not have to completely rewrite personal statements for each specialty—you can use elements that will work across the board, like introductory or concluding sentences. Use your best judgment of what will work as a template, then tailor your personal statement for every specialty.
3. I’m Applying to Multiple Specialties. Is There a Limit on the Number of Personal Statements I Can Upload?
No, there is no limit to the number of personal statements you can upload. Your writing should be tailored for the specific specialty.
4. How Long Should a Residency Personal Statement Be?
The length of your personal statement can vary depending on the specific requirements of the program or institution to which you are applying. However, as a general guideline, most programs recommend that essays be approximately one page long.
Typically, a one-page personal statement consists of around 750 to 850 words. Your writing should be concise, focused, and well-structured to effectively communicate your experiences, motivations, and qualifications.
Writing a residency application personal statement is stressful, but our step-by-step guide will make the process much easier as you navigate your application timeline . Now go forth and match into the residency program of your dreams. We believe in you.
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How to write a good personal statement for your residency application examples of residency personal statements.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
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The personal statement 📝 is the part of the residency MATCH ® application in which I find the most mistakes. Many applicants do not even realize there are problems in their personal statement because the process of self-evaluation requires significant skill and insight. Furthermore, most applicants do not have access to high-quality personal statements to which they can compare their work. Therefore, I am writing this blog to help you navigate the personal statement writing process and provide you with templates of what a good personal statement should look like.
If you need help with your personal statement editing, please reach out to us on this page .
What should you say in your personal statement 📝 ?
1-why are you interested in the specialty 🩺.
You should try to convince the reader why you are interested in the specialty to which you are applying. Avoid cliché templates that you see online, and make sure that your interest in the specialty is as personal as possible by incorporating your experiences learning about it and what elements of this specialty most appeal to you. Think deeply about the reasons and the stories that pushed you to pursue this specialty before you start writing, and then you can put these experiences into words.
Bad example : I am interested in internal medicine because of the long-term relationships with patients, diversity of pathologies, and intellectual challenges.
Good example : My interest in internal medicine started during my first month of clinical rotations. Seeing the diversity of patient presentations and the application of evidence-based medical knowledge in solving patients’ problems is what really drew me to the field.
As you can see from the ‘good’ example, rather than listing boilerplate characteristics of internal medicine that anyone can find online, I attempt to link my interest in the field to personal experiences.
2-Why you 👩⚕️👨⚕️?
Why are you a unique applicant and why you should be selected among hundreds of other applicants?
You must be careful to not seem arrogant, but also do not be shy discussing what makes you stand out. Avoid cliché self-descriptions such as ‘hard worker,’ ‘team player,’ or ‘passionate caregiver.’ Instead, replace these with unique experiences that demonstrate your defining personal qualities in action.
Bad example : I am a hard worker, and I always did my best to succeed and overcome hardships.
Good example : Growing-up in a low-resourced country and having to work two jobs to provide living for my family while in medical school, giving up was never an option. I always thrived in challenging situations, guided by both my diligent work ethic and a spirit of unrelenting optimism in the face of setbacks. My life experiences have imbued me with resilience and perseverance, qualities that will no doubt benefit me in residency.
As you can see here, I did not say that the applicant is a ‘hard worker.’ From the story, you can easily conclude that they have the resilience and perseverance required to overcome the challenges of residency.
3-What are you looking for in a program 🏥?
This part is not a ‘must’ like the previous two. However, including what type of programs you are looking for can help program directors to gauge whether you are a good fit. When discussing this point, you can emphasize factors such as good clinical training, research, camaraderie among the residents and the faculty, or any other important program elements you are seeking.
Since ERAS allows you to submit multiple personal statements for different programs, you can tailor these personal statements based on the programs to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for programs that focus on research or to those that value clinical excellence, you can write two personal statements that reflect these respective emphases.
Additionally, if you are applying for two specialties, you can write two personal statements (one for each specialty).
Good example : I am looking for a program that offers me the clinical training to become a competent internal medicine physician in addition to providing me with the acumen to conduct pioneering research.
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4-Career goals 🎯
Your long-term career goals are another important piece of information to include in your personal statement. Read about the programs to which you are applying to ensure that your professional goals align with their educational philosophy and outcomes. If you are interested in conducting cutting-edge research during your residency, then it may not be a good idea to apply for a program with no research infrastructure or research output.
Examples of career goals include practicing in an academic setting, being involved in resident and medical student education, conducting research studies, or performing clinical duties in a large academic center or a low resource hospital (or some combination or variation of these). Again, try to understand the programs that you are applying to so they align with your career goals.
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5-hobbies and interests .
The hobbies and interest section is another optional part to include in your personal statement where you list the activities outside of medicine that interest you. This section illustrates the qualities and passions that make you a unique candidate, whether it be winning a medal🏅in a competitive sport🏃🏀🤺🏇⛷️🏄🏊, training as a ballet dancer, or playing the bagpipes. Try to explain how the skills you gained from this hobby or extracurricular activity will translate into making you a better resident/doctor.
Example : During medical school, I was a member of our local basketball team that won the national championship multiple times. Basketball taught me perseverance and the importance of putting the team’s interest over individual achievement and success. I believe the same principles apply to medicine in that even the most brilliant surgeons or physicians, cannot work on their own; rather, they must work together and combine their individual expertise to achieve optimal outcomes for the patient. I can think of many instances in which I applied this mindset in collaborating with other medical students, nurses, and attending physicians on my clinical rotations in order to provide the best possible care for a patient.
6-Weaknesses and how you address them ❌😳
Sometimes there are obvious red flags on your CV that every program director will notice, such as low STEP scores or multiple attempts on the USMLE exams. It might be a good idea to explain why this happened or how you overcame these hurdles and what you learned in the process. Others disagree with the idea of addressing weaknesses in your personal statement and prefer that you explain them during the interview if you are asked. My personal preference is to explain why the red flag happened if you have a reasonable explanation and story
7-The introduction and the end
For example, if you were talking how a family member’s medical problem encouraged you to pursue a particular specialty, you might start with a quick introduction talking about this experience, and then end with a line or two referring back to the introduction and stating how it has informed your future career goals. The introduction and conclusion paragraphs are the hardest to write but can also serve to make your personal statement stand out.
8- Why the US?
If you are an international medical graduate (IMG), you might consider adding a few lines talking about why you chose to train in the US.
Mistakes to avoid when writing a personal statement for residency the application
1-Starting too late
One of the biggest mistakes that applicants make when writing the personal statement is that they start a week or two before the application deadline. I personally started mine two months before the application deadline. This timeline allowed me to write multiple drafts before sending it to my mentors and residents for review and feedback.
2-Submitting the first or second draft
I recommend that you do multiple revisions before you submit your personal statement. Before I submitted my final personal statement, it had gone through over 20 drafts. This number is just to give you an idea of the lengthy transformation process between the initial draft and the final product. Your personal statement should be the best version of your story summarized in 500-700 words. Your goal is to convince programs to invite you for an interview so they can get to know you better!
3-Not getting feedback
I highly recommend you have your personal statement reviewed by an individual (or individuals) with experience in personal statement editing. This might include residents or mentors who have edited other applicants’ personal statements in the past, residents who went through this process and know how it works from personal experience, or even professional advisers. Try to seek out people who will provide you with structural edits, if needed, and not just superficial grammatical edits. I helped many students with personal statement editing by suggesting a complete overhaul of their original structure so that their story would shine through more effectively. I am happy to help students with significant editing and re-writing. You can check our website to learn more about our personal statement editing.
Keep in mind that the more you show your personal statement to others, the more revisions you will receive. You do not have to accept every individual’s revisions or suggested changes, but take them into consideration and keep those changes that you think are most effective at conveying your desired message.
4-Using online templates
Stay away from using online templates because you want your personal statement to be as personal as possible. It will definitely take you more time to create your own personal statement, but then again that is why it is called a ‘personal’ statement. You must spend significant time and effort so your personal statement does not look like the hundreds of other applications each program receives. The purpose of the templates in this blog is to provide examples rather than for you to copy these in your own personal statement. This would constitute plagiarism and could get you into serious trouble.
5-Talking about why you got into medical school
If you are applying for residency, focus on why you want to enter a certain specialty rather than why you got into medical school. You are past the medical school experience at this point and you should not take a significant portion of your personal statement talking about what influenced you to choose medicine in the first place. You can definitely discuss that in a couple of sentences, but no more than that. Focus primarily on the specialty to which you are applying.
6-Having it too short or too long
Try to keep your personal statement around 500-700 words and discuss the points that have been mentioned above. Do not make it so short that people cannot understand your story or so long that it becomes boring to read.
7-Lacking structure and flow
Many students think that the main issue with their personal statement are problems with the English language, whether in regard to grammar or word choice. However, this is an easily fixable problem. The major mistake I find in most personal statements is a lack of flow in the content (jumping from one idea to another) which makes it difficult for the reader to follow. That is why a structural edit of a personal statement takes significantly more time. I recommend you stay away from services that only change a few words here and there to make the language correct. Seek structural edits if needed. It’s definitely good to have a personal statement free of grammatical errors. However, what is most important is having nice flow and structure that makes your story enjoyable to read.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about personal statement for residency applicants
Do I have to write a personal statement for the residency application?
Yes, you must write a personal statement for your ERAS residency application.
When should I start working on my personal statement?
Around 1-2 months before the application deadline.
How long is the personal statement for the residency application? How many words should a personal statement be?
Can I write multiple personal statements for my ERAS application?
Yes, you can assign different personal statements for different programs and different specialties.
How many personal statements should I write for my ERAS application?
You should write at least one personal statement for your ERAS application. However, you can write as many as you like. You can assign different personal statements for different programs and different specialties. You can only submit one personal statement for each program.
Do you recommend editing your personal statement by non-m edical professionals?
I would not recommend having your personal statement edited by a non-medical professional only, as they often will not understand the nuances of the residency Match process. Having good command of the English language is completely different from having a good sense of structure, flow, and content needed to successfully be accepted into a residency program.
How do I write a strong personal statement?
Check the parts on what to include in a personal statement and the templates on this blog to help you write an effective personal statement.
Do you offer personal statement editing?
If you need help with personal statement editing, check out our re-write and structural edit services on this website.
Is my personal statement an important part of the application?
Yes, definitely. Your personal statement tells your story and achievements, many of which get lost in your CV. Moreover, some of your interviewers might only have access to your personal statement but not your CV.
How do you write a personal statement for residency application?
Starting early gives you the time to write multiple drafts and for other people to thoroughly review and provide feedback on your personal statement.
2-Start with bullet points
Write all the ideas and the topics you want to discuss you in your personal statement without necessarily making them into full sentences. At this stage, you are just trying to identify what you would like to include rather than how you are going to narrativize it. After you create your map of ideas, pick the ones that you think would be the most relevant and transform them into compelling text.
3-Start with the first draft
Expand on the points you chose from the previous step. Do not worry if the language is not perfect, because at this point, you are still far away from your final draft. Try to discuss why you are interested in the specialty, why you are unique, why you should be chosen for this spot, and what kind of programs you are looking for. Do your best to craft a memorable introduction and ending.
4-Go onto the second draft
Give it a few days to a week before transitioning to your second draft. This gap will allow the ideas to settle in your mind and for you to focus on those ideas and language choices that best convey the story you are trying to tell.
5-Send your personal statement to others
At this point, you can start sending your personal statement to friends who are experienced with editing and reviewing personal statements. Do not send it to random people you do not know because your personal statement is a confidential document, and it is unlikely that their advice will be of much value to you. If you do not know any people who are experienced with personal statement editing, seek professional guidance. I cannot tell you how many people have reached out to me to fix personal statements that they already paid for because the cheap service they first consulted was bad. You get what you pay for! If you need help with personal statement editing, check our re-write and structural editing service on this website .
After you receive feedback from others, do not accept every revision or suggestion blindly. Make sure that these suggested changes reflect the points you are most hoping to convey in your personal statement. However, if the person offering the advice is experienced in personal statement editing and/or the residency Match process, it is worth incorporating as many of their suggestions as possible.
At this point your personal statement is almost ready, and you can change a few things here and there until you are ready to submit the final version.
The FREE Personal Statement Template
‘Females can never be surgeons!’ These were the words that resonated in my ears every time I expressed my interest in surgery. My medical school tutors, family, friends, all dissuaded me from pursuing this course. In a patriarchal society like the one I grew up in, women were expected to adhere to restrictive cultural norms. Thankfully, I persevered. Growing up in war-torn Iraq made for a difficult and unusual childhood. War and fighting were the norm, as were constant displacement and unstable living situations. Due to the unrelenting violence that ravaged the country since before I can remember, the emergency room in my medical school hospital, Al Mosul University Hospital, was constantly flooded with trauma patients. The combination of diverse cases and shortage of clinical staff proved the perfect storm for piquing my surgical interests, as I was afforded the opportunity to perform tasks typically reserved for first and second-year residents. Though I quickly rose to the intense demands of working in Al Mosul’s ED, my male colleagues would often remind me that surgery was not an appropriate avenue for women, and that I should instead choose an ‘easier’ specialty that would allow me to focus on raising a family. For me, however, the decision was crystal clear. Surgery was the perfect blend of manual dexterity and methodical decision making. I was not only fascinated by the diversity of surgical cases, but also by the surgeons’ abilities to repair and heal the horrific war injuries. Seeing patients who suffered bomb blasts on the brink of death be stabilized through expert surgical intervention sparked my passion for the incredible restorative power of surgery. The fast pace, required precision, and the exquisite coordination of working as part of a surgical team further cemented my interest. At a local surgical conference, I was fortunate to meet a visiting US surgeon who was in Mosul as part of his mission trip to Iraq. After speaking to him at length about my burgeoning interest in the field, he encouraged me to follow my passion, and even helped me secure several rotations in the US. It was during these rotations that I received my first exposure to the US healthcare system, from its incredible access to technological advancements unheard of in most Iraqi hospitals to its focus on cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce. Following my rotations, I spent two years as a post-doctoral clinical researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), investigating longitudinal outcomes for trauma patients who sustained debilitating war injuries. My research years were transformational, not only providing me a robust foundation in clinical research, but also giving me a deeper appreciation for the positive impact of holistic care on trauma patients’ lives and wellbeing. As a result of my experiences at BWH, I hope to enroll in a program with equal parts emphasis on surgical and research skills development and that embraces diversity as a core value. Following my residency, I aspire to return to Iraq and continue to treat patients suffering from trauma, conduct research on optimizing outcomes for trauma patients, and educating the next generation of surgeons. As a female growing up in Iraq, I faced many challenges during my quest to secure a residency spot in the US. Despite the discouragement of tutors and family members as well as the daunting prospect of starting a long and difficult journey in a new country, I am steadfast in the pursuit of my professional dreams. I have one goal that I will keep fighting for in the years ahead: an unwavering commitment to make a difference in patients’ lives and empower women in Iraq and around the world to help me make that difference. My message to those women who, like me, are told by those around them that they can never be surgeons: do not be discouraged. Let their words fuel your strength and fight to make the world a better place for yourself and your patients!
I wish you the best of luck with your residency application. Here are some more personal statement samples that can help you draft your own personal statement. More Personal Statement Samples
By Malke Asaad
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Residency Personal Statement Examples from Matched Residents
Use these residency personal statement examples as a reference as you are working on preparing you residency applications . The following are printed with permission from our own past successful students who worked with us as part of our application review programs. If you are having trouble getting started, you are not alone. Many students find that the personal statement can be one of the most challenging components of the ERAS or CaRMS residency applications. However, your personal statement can make or break your application. Get started on the right track by following the guidelines outlined for you below reviewing the emergency medicine residency personal statement example , pediatrics personal statement example , cardiology personal statement example, and more..
This blog will outline what types of things to include in your residency personal statement. It will also give you 10 examples of personal statements from 10 different specialties written by actual students who matched into those fields. Reviewing personal statement examples is also good essay writing practice if you decide to write a residency letter of intent . Many of the same principles you apply to the personal statement can be applied to other application materials as well, so consider this review comprehensive. Believe it or not, personal statements also entail a great deal of self-reflection, which means they also function as a great review for residency interview questions , like the “tell me about yourself” residency interview question .
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Article Contents 39 min read
Residency personal statement example #1: family medicine.
During the pre-clerkship years of study in medical school, I enjoyed learning about the many specialties within medicine and actively considered pursuing several of them. I was drawn to the complex pharmacology of the drugs used by anesthesiologists, the acuity of care faced by emergency medicine physicians and the complicated medical issues of patients cared for by internal medicine specialists. I also found myself interested in psychiatrists’ thorough history-taking and the technical skills in performing procedures exhibited by surgeons. It started becoming clear to me that I was interested in many different areas of medicine. I began realizing that I wanted a career that combined the many things I enjoyed in different specialties. A family physician has the flexibility to practice all of these facets of medicine. As clerkship drew nearer, I knew I wanted to gain more clinical experience in family medicine to see if it would be a good fit for me.
My clinical experiences in family medicine were fantastic. I worked with family physicians and family medicine residents not only during my core family medicine rotation and family medicine electives, but also during my psychiatry, surgery, anesthesiology, and pediatrics rotations. These clinical experiences confirmed my belief that family medicine is a diverse and exciting specialty; family physicians, while maintaining a broad base of medical knowledge, can tailor their practices to the needs of their communities and to their own interests and areas of expertise. During my family medicine rotation and electives, I also found myself greatly enjoying my encounters with patients. I enjoy hearing patients’ stories and sorting through their many medical and psychosocial issues. I am also naturally a fastidious person. Being a thorough history-taker and a meticulous recorder of details helps me in formulating a complete story about a patient. My joy in interacting with patients and my attention to detail allow me to appreciate patients as people, not just as disorders or diseases. I am both interested in learning about and have a certain affinity for, family medicine clinical experiences; pursuing a career in this specialty is an obvious choice for me.
The versatility and diversity of family practice initially drew my interest but the wonderful encounters I had with family physicians solidified my desire to pursue a career in this specialty. These family physicians have not only been skilled and knowledgeable clinicians but also, variously, dedicated teachers, researchers, and administrators. They were committed to improving their clinical skills by attending continuing education lectures and courses. They practiced patient-centered care and were knowledgeable about community resources that may help their patients. They worked cooperatively with other health-care professionals to improve patient care. Importantly, these physicians have also been friendly and approachable towards both learners and patients. The family physicians I have worked with also strive toward a healthy work-life balance; all of them seemed to have many interests and hobbies outside of their professions. These clinicians demonstrated to me what being a family physician involves: practicing both the science and art of medicine, advocating for patients, guiding patients through the health-care system, being committed to improving clinical knowledge and, importantly, maintaining one’s own health and happiness.
Being sure of the specialty I want to pursue is the first step in my career. There are many learning opportunities ahead. [Name of the program]’s family medicine residency program is attractive in so many ways: the protected academic days, the opportunity to participate in research and, most importantly, the clinical curriculum, all appeal to me. I believe the solid foundation of family medicine experience, as well as the exposure to other specialties, alongside the opportunities to build the skills necessary for life-long learning through the academic experiences and research, make this an ideal program for me. On a personal note, I grew up in [hometown] and did my undergraduate studies at [name of university]; I would be thrilled to return to my hometown and a university already familiar to me. My career goals after finishing my residency include having a community-based, urban family practice and being actively involved in teaching residents and medical students. I am also open to being involved in research and administration. Career goals, however, may change as I progress through my training. I am excited to begin the next stage of medical training and begin my residency in family medicine!
1. Emphasis on why the applicant wants to enter that specific specialty
This family medicine personal statement example does a great job of explaining why the applicant wants to enter that specific specialty. Their interest is clearly stated and the decision to enter the field is well explained. The author does an excellent job of talking up the specialty and stating what they like about the field based on their clinical experience. For your residency personal statement, you want to highlight any influential moment you had during these experiences. If you had a certain “aha” moment, you might mention this. If demonstrating this commitment is difficult for you, you can always find a reputable ERAS application review service .
2. Intentions are clear
Clearly stating your intentions and using the program's name makes your statement personal and stand out. It shows that you pay attention to details and that your goals and passion align with what the program offers. Use strong, precise language when you are writing. You only have about 800 words, so state your intentions and keep your story clear.
3. Personal connection is established
This particular applicant has a personal connection to the city in which the residency would take place. This won’t be true for every applicant, but if it is, be sure to make room to mention it as long as it fits with your personal narrative. In this example, the applicant also ties this in with one of their goals: having a community-based, urban family practice. In your personal statement, you should merge these elements together for a more cohesive essay.
What to Include in Your Personal Statement
Most residency programs, whether through ERAS (US-based) or CaRMS (Canada-based) require applicants to submit a personal statement or letter. Some programs will include specific instructions for what they wish you to talk about, while others will not give you a topic. When you’re doing your research for residency programs you want to apply for, you should also take a look at the selection criteria. Each school will have its own rubric that they use to evaluate candidates, so it’s a good idea to review these before you start working on your personal statement. Here is an example of some information stated by McMaster University regarding their residency selection criteria:
“Programs may consider a range of criteria in making their selection decisions for interviews including but not limited to: Medical School Performance Report (MSPR), scores on standardized tests, interest in and aptitude for the discipline, reference letter, experience in research or other scholarly activities, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.”
ERAS, as well as most CaRMS programs, ask that your statement be within a one-page limit, about 750-850 words. Please check the specific program requirements through the ERAS or CaRMS websites.
The experiences in your residency CV can be used to help you indicate why you are applying to a particular program and how you came to that decision.
Typically, your residency personal statement will have three to five paragraphs, which you will use to divide the introduction, body, and conclusion. The personal statement is a formal essay, so you must adhere to the proper structure. The introduction is for you to capture the attention of the reader; for this, you will need a strong hook or opening statement. Feel free to get creative with this. The remainder of your introduction should focus on what drew you to the specialty and how your background experiences informed your decision to apply to the school and program. Your introduction should also contain a thesis statement that allows you to connect your personal background with your suitability for the program, school, and a career in medicine (in this exact specialty).
2. Body (or middle)
The body of the essay is for you to expand on a few critical experiences that made you the excellent, qualified candidate you are today. A good strategy for the body paragraph(s) is to talk about relevant clinical rotation experiences; so for example, if you’re applying to a psychiatry residency, you can talk about a specific patient experience that solidified your decision to pursue this specialty, or an experience that sticks out in your memory. This will be similar to your answer to the interesting case residency interview question . Your goal should be to use these experiences to address your specific interests, goals, and what makes you a good fit for the program. Do some research into the program format, the patient population you will be working with, and the clinical environment. This will help you connect your experiences with what the school/program offers.
You might be thinking that once you’ve written a strong introduction and body, the conclusion will be simple. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. You need to use the space in your conclusion to tie everything together and show enthusiasm for the program and for your future career. You can revisit a few key points here to highlight them once again and to relate them to what you’re hoping to gain from the forthcoming training experience. Show passion, determination, and consistency throughout your letter and tie up any loose ends in the conclusion. Some applicants will use this part of the letter to mention a specific goal they want to achieve in residency, such as working with specific faculty members or research plans. You may also mention aspirations to complete a fellowship or what you want your future practice to look like.
Here's why "show, don't tell" is the most important tip for any personal statement:
Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Brainstorm Ideas
- What makes you right for this specialty?
- What experiences drew you to this specialty?
- What appeals to you about this specific program?
- Do you have any experiences working in the city of the program you’re applying to?
- How will your residency training help you achieve your goals?
- What are some of your personal strengths that will allow you to contribute to the program?
- What evidence do you have that you possess those strengths?
- Do you have any research/publications that align with the research the school is doing?
- Do you have any gaps in your medical education or evaluations that you would like to address?
- What’s something you think the program director should know that isn’t obvious from your application materials?
Growing up the first-born daughter of a hard-working Saskatchewan cattle farmer and hairdresser, medicine was never a consideration. In a small town, I could easily see how too much free time got many of my peers in trouble. From grade 8-12 I devoted myself to sports, playing high school, club and provincial beach volleyball, weeknights and weekends year round. Despite my small stature and lack of innate abilities, with determination and persistence, I overcame these obstacles. At the end of my grade 11 year, I received an athletic scholarship and chose to pursue business administration and athletics.
After the first six months, it became apparent that I was not going to attain my full potential in education at [university name}. Despite my parent’s reservations, I left and enrolled at a [university name] for the next semester. This university was much more challenging as I was now balancing my educational and financial responsibilities by working evenings and weekends managing a number of part-time jobs. With little direction as to what degree I wanted to pursue, I happened to enroll in anatomy and physiology. This was the first time I became really excited about my future prospects and began actively considering a career in medicine.
The first time I applied to medicine, I was rejected. Despite my initial devastation, in hindsight, it was a great opportunity for myself to reflect on my own motivations for medicine and work as a laboratory technician at a potash mine in my hometown. I gained additional life experience, spent time with my family and was able to help financially support my husband’s pursuit of education after he had so selflessly supported me for many years.
My first exposure to anesthesia was in my first year of medical school with [Dr. name here] as my mentor in clinical reasoning. I was again, intrigued by the anatomy and physiology with the interlacing of pharmacology. I remained open to all specialties, however, after summer early exposures, research, and clerkship it became clear to me that anesthesia is where I felt the most fulfilled and motivated.
In a way, anesthesia was reminiscent of the competitive volleyball I had played years prior. I was again a part of a team in the operating room with a common goal. Similarly, our countless years of education and practice had brought us together to achieve it. In volleyball, my role was the setter, which to many is considered a lackluster position as we rarely attack the ball and score points with power. However, as a setter, my role is to set the pace, strategize and dictate the game from my team’s perspective. There is a long sequence of crucial events before a “kill” in volleyball and I strategized my teammate's individual strengths in both offense and defense to win. Anesthesia gives me the same opportunities to strategize anesthetics, balance individual patient’s comorbidities and anatomy all while maintaining a calm demeanor and level head through unexpected circumstances. In volleyball, I never shied away from tense games or difficult situations, instead I trusted in my own abilities and training despite uncharted territory. Lastly, I didn't need to actually score the point in order to understand my role and contributions to my team.
As an athlete, I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allow us to fail, but most importantly, to learn. I believe that the curriculum at this program will provide me with a well-respected education, which strongly reflects my learning style. I also admire the mandatory communication block in the curriculum because I believe an emphasis on clear and concise communication, is essential as an anesthetist.
Throughout the course of the next 5-10 years, I anticipate that both my husband and I will complete the next chapter in our educational pursuits. We both agree that [program name here] has the potential to nurture the next chapter in both our private and professional lives if given the opportunity.
What Makes This Sample Effective?
1. the theme is personal and consistent.
In this anesthesiology residency personal statement example , the author of this passage carries the theme of athletics throughout the statement. Having a theme can unify your personal statement and give it direction. This is a good example of a way to use a theme to tie together different ideas. Having a good theme is also something you should keep in mind when you’re answering anesthesiology residency interview questions , as program directors want to see that this particular specialty choice wasn’t simply drawn out of a hat; rather, your emphasis on a theme can demonstrate that your choice was intentional and the right fit.
2. The tone is positive throughout
Also, take note of how the author explained the transition to different schools without speaking negatively of the institutions. In your own personal statement, feel free to use the names of the universities you attended. They have been redacted here for anonymity. This statement has parts where you could customize it. Use the name of the program when possible or the name of the town. Taking time to add this into your statement shows the program that you pay attention to detail while personalizing it to each program.
3. Lessons learned apply to medicine
The writer of this personal statement relies on analogy to connect their experience to their interest in anesthesiology: “I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allow us to fail, but most importantly, to learn.” This analogy works so well because it shows why the applicant is suited to the program and specialty, it reveals an important aspect of their personality with evidence, and it sets expectations for how they want to contribute to the field. In your essay, you can use a similar strategy by tying together a major life theme or event with what you learned and how that applies to your medical training.
I was six years old when my father read to me the first chapter of “How Things Work.” The first chapter covered doors and specifically, the mechanics in a doorknob. What lay hidden and confined in the door panel was this complex system that produced a simple action. I credit this experience as the onset of my scientific curiosity and eventually my passion for complex systems found in medicine. Intensivists vigilantly maintain homeostasis within the human body, a complex system in and of itself, a concept I recognize as personally fascinating and enticing. I find myself especially drawn to the field of critical care and intensive care medicine. My dreams to become an intensivist would be highly complimented by a residency in surgery.
In critical care, each patient in the ICU is usually in a general state of shock. From the initial state of shock, the patient can be further complicated with comorbidities and chronic diseases that may require further intensive medical intervention so that they may recover from a recent surgery or traumatic event. This dynamic nature of the ICU is not available in every unit of the hospital and the high level of acuity does not suit everyone. I, however, enjoy the high energy of the enthralling, engaging and exciting environment offered by the ICU. I am personally energized and awakened by managing patients with surgically-altered physiology coupled with comorbidities. There is an overwhelming satisfaction when a patient following a bilateral lung transplant gets up from his bed and walks through the unit after days of being bedridden, or the moment we can discontinue the lines we had the patient on and finally talk to them after two weeks of intubation and sedation. Being in the ICU also encompasses the emotional seesaw of going from a successful patient case to a room in which a family has just decided that comfort care is the best way to proceed, which gives me chills just to type and verbalize.
The work of an intensivist is not only limited to the patient, but also the emotional well-being of the patient’s family as well. My involvement in the ICU has taught me that sometimes it is necessary to talk to a patient’s family, to explain to them simply that the postoperative expectations that they had had, may not be met. Communication is key in this field, both with the patients and the physicians of the OR. Communication prevents perioperative complications, establishes a willingness to follow directions and relays professionalism. It is important for an intensivist to have an excellent understanding of surgical procedures, so that they may explain to the patient what to expect as well as ease the nerves of the patient preoperatively. A surgical residency would facilitate this understanding and undoubtedly prove to be useful in my future training.
Studying medicine in Europe has taught me volumes about myself, how driven, motivated and open-minded I can be. To move so far away from home and yet be so familiar with the language, I feel blessed to be able to say that I’ve had a high level of exposure to diversity in my life. The mentality in [insert country name here] is if you don’t see the doctor, you are not sick. This common thought has to lead to an outstanding environment to study medicine and to see end-stage, textbook presentations of various pathologies and their management. Studying medicine in two languages has in itself taught me that medicine is a language and that the way a patient presents, conveys themselves, and the findings of the physical examination, all represent the syntax of the diagnosis. This awareness has reminded me that patient care, relief of patient suffering and illness, transcends the grammatical rules of the patient’s native tongue. My clinical experience in [insert country here] will aid me in providing thoughtful care to my future patients.
All things considered, I am ready to leave my home of the last four years and come back to the United States, to enter the next stage of my life and career. I am ready to work harder than ever, to prove myself to my future residency program and most importantly, learn so that I may be a suitable candidate for a future fellowship program in critical care. My experiences abroad have constantly pushed me to new horizons and encouraged responsibilities that I don’t believe I would otherwise have. I’ve developed a new level of human connection through my work in the ICU, the OR and my travels throughout Europe. These experiences will aid me in working with a diverse patient population and a diverse team of physicians. I hope [the program name here] can give me the variety and the background in surgery that I will need to succeed.
1. Atypical experiences are justified
This surgery personal statement example has to do double duty for the admissions committee. It has to explain why surgery, what this student can offer, and why this student is passionate about the field while simultaneously explaining why the applicant chose medical school abroad. If you are applying to a country where you did not attend medical school there, you have to explain why you studied abroad. This often poses a challenge for students. Be honest and positive about your experience. This student did an excellent job of explaining why it was such a good fit for their personality while highlighting the advantages of this experience.
Focus on the characteristics you gained from your experience abroad. Explain how your experience will translate into success in your residency. There are many things to be gained from having spent time outside of your home country. Talk about the skills you developed from living abroad. Unique details like those will set you apart when you are writing your statement.
2. Makes unique experiences an advantage
This applicant studied abroad in Europe. The way they talk about it is key: they explain how the experience was a challenge that they learned from. Most programs and schools are looking for medical school graduates who can contribute to their vision of diversity. If you have experience travelling abroad, this is a good chance for you to explain how this enriched your perspective and professional capabilities. Some of the skills that this applicant discusses are assets for a career in medicine: speaking two languages, exposure to diverse people and methods, and the ability to work with a large patient and physician population from different backgrounds. If you endeavor to explain some of your diverse experiences, be sure to make it clear what you gained and how you can apply it to your residency training.
3. The writer’s voice and style are unique
To get matched to the program and school of your choice, you will need to stand out from the crowd. To do this effectively in your personal statement, give your writing a unique style and allow your personality to shine through. In this example, the writer achieves this in the first paragraph in the “hook” in which they describe when their father used to read “How Things Work”; this life event left a lasting impression, and the writer links this to why a residency in surgery would benefit their goal of becoming an intensivist. With a first draft, it’s okay to experiment with word choice and content. Make sure you include all the necessary elements and formatting requirements, but try your best to put the “personal” in personal statement. Note that this is a general surgery example; if you were applying for plastic surgery or neurosurgery, you should read plastic surgery residency personal statement examples or neurosurgery personal statement examples for a slightly varied essay strategy.
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Residency Personal Statement Examples #4: Emergency Medicine
One of the most surprising things that I learned through my emergency medicine (EM) electives is that working in an emergency department is like leading a horse. I grew up on a farm in the [name of city], and working with animals was very much a part of my childhood. When walking a horse, one must be prepared for anything should the animal become spooked. It can startle at any moment and one must react quickly and calmly to redirect the thousand-pound creature. Similarly, in EM, one never knows when the department is going to become “spooked” by what comes through the door. EM is exciting, with a variety of patient presentations and medical procedures done on a daily basis. I enjoy dealing with the unexpected challenges that arise in caring for patients with backgrounds vastly different from my own. It would be a privilege to gain the skills as an emergency physician to provide acute life-saving care, to connect patients with resources and other healthcare professionals, and to provide comfort to patients and families in the settings of acute loss or difficult diagnoses. I feel that the [name of program] is the ideal path to reach that goal.
First, the [name of program] offers additional support and training to continue to perform research and other scholarly activities. Through my experience in quality improvement, I have learned of the value of research and how it can be applied to practical problems. For instance, while volunteering in a pool rehabilitation program for individuals with neurological disabilities, a patient who I had worked with for a year tragically suffered a fall and broke his hip leaving him significantly disabled. This led me to research inpatient falls during medical school and I initiated a quality improvement project and presented at several conferences, quality improvement rounds, and meetings with hospital stakeholders. After several years of work, I am very proud that this led to the implementation of a province-wide quality improvement initiative funded by [name of organization]. This initiative is physician-led and is aimed at reducing inpatient falls across [name of city]. This project demonstrated how rewarding research is when it can be translated into tangible initiatives and is why I am particularly interested in quality improvement research. I look forward to more dedicated time in the [name of program] to develop my research skills and to apply quality improvement to EM.
In addition to increased training in research, the [name of program] offers the opportunity to subspecialize within EM. While in medical school, I helped my single mother raise my much younger siblings and this has inspired my interest in pediatric EM. I maximized my studying through the effective use of weekly group study sessions and podcasts to allow for free weekends to return home to spend with my brother and sister. Through my experiences teaching and playing with my siblings, I have learned to deal with children in a calm and friendly manner. I used these skills to maintain positive therapeutic relationships with children during my pediatric EM rotation at [name of hospital]. For instance, I was able to cast the forearm of a frightened child by first demonstrating the procedure on her toy rabbit, and then calmly fitting a cast on her arm. I enjoy the emphasis on patient and family education as well as the focus on making the patient feel safe and cared for. I would love to explore this field further as my niche within the [name of program] in emergency medicine.
Alongside research and pediatric EM, I am also interested in teaching. Some of my fondest memories involve the evening teaching sessions during primary and secondary school spent with my grandpa, a retired teacher. My grandpa modeled effective teaching techniques, first assessing my knowledge and then expanding on it by asking questions and providing guidance when needed. Similarly, some of my best memories in medical school include the five-minute bedside teaching sessions after interesting cases that were taught in that way. Inspired by many residents and staff I have worked with, I look forward to expanding my teaching role in residency. Like my grandpa and my clinical mentors, I hope to help future students maximize their learning potential through the delivery of lectures and bedside teaching. Training within the [name of program] would allow additional time to develop the skills necessary for this, through increased exposure to mentorship, teaching role models, and opportunities to be involved in curricular development.
I would feel privileged to join the resident team in the [name of program]. I was fortunate that most of my core clerkship training including EM, as well as my fourth year EM elective, was at the [name of hospital]. What stands out the most to me most about working in the [name of hospital] is the tight-knit community feel in the setting of a high volume, high acuity ED. I value that the small program leads to a cohesive resident group and staff who are invested in their learners. Furthermore, from my rotations there, I know the ample procedural and hands-on exposure residents get from the beginning of their training. With my interest in pediatric EM, I value the longitudinal exposure to pediatrics at [name of program], with opportunities to do dedicated pediatric rotations both at [name of hospital], as well as [name of hospital]l. Finally, the [name of city] is my home; my family and friends are here, and I love the hiking, fishing, kayaking, and snowboarding that are all less than an hour away. I would be incredibly honored to have the privilege of pursuing EM in the [name of program], and look forward to serving my community.
The thought of caring for severely ill children seemed disheartening and overwhelming when I first began shadowing [name of doctor] at [name of hospital] five years ago. I was very nervous. While some of the cases were indeed difficult, my experience was starkly different. In one of our first cases, I quickly jumped in to comfort a scared child suffering from kidney disease. The mother of our patient confided in me about her son's struggles with bullying due to the disfiguring edema. I felt how much she appreciated being able to share her son’s challenges with me. Throughout my clinical experiences, I saw that caring for a pediatric patient often involves delicately navigating complex social situations and family dynamics. From that point on, I knew I had both the passion and compassion to succeed as a future pediatrician.
I am particularly keen to complete my residency at the [name of school], because I had such an immersive learning experience completing 5 years of research with [name of doctor] at [name of hospital] and at [name of hospital], not to mention [name of school]'s stellar international reputation. The incredibly high standard of excellence at [name of school], as well as [name of city] being my hometown, make the [name of school] my top choice to complete my residency. To further demonstrate the excellent education, I remember a time while shadowing at [name of hospital] in the genetics clinics where we discussed the pathophysiology of Bartter’s syndrome. The residents were having a hard time understanding this disease, but [name of doctor] explained the exact pathophysiology and downstream effects of it. The incredible intellect, mentorship and leadership [name of doctor] demonstrated has inspired me to pursue a nephrology fellowship upon completion of my residency.
During my elective rotations in [name of cities], I saw indigenous pediatric patients with a variety of ailments from hypoglycemia to cystic fibrosis. I spoke with them about the struggles of travelling long distances to obtain care. As an Inuit member of the [name of group], I have spent time reflecting on the medical needs of this much-overlooked population and hope to explore ways of reaching out to underserved populations in my future career.
I am prepared to be a leader and engaged learner in my residency program because of my participation in impactful leadership roles. I am currently the president of the [name of society], where one of my main duties is coordinating the [name of initiative], an initiative that teaches children about hospitals and healthy living. I was able to spend one-on-one time with disabled children teaching them about the heart through dance and instruments and activities to decrease fears associated with hospitals. This demonstrated the importance of promoting health care initiatives for kids and educate families and their children on how to be advocates of their own health.
As a competitive Irish dancer for sixteen years, I developed perseverance, determination, and time management that have been critical throughout my medical school training. Competing in front of judges and thousands of spectators all over the world, performing to my best ability under intense pressure was a necessity. I persevered with the challenge of competing at an international level and still maintained a very high level of academic performance while achieving my career high of second at the World Championships.
As an IMG applicant born and raised in [name of city] and educated in [name of country], I believe that my international education provides many advantages. I was exposed to diverse cultures and innovative ways of thinking from teachers from all over the globe at the [name of college] that I hope to bring back to Canada with me. Through the last 6 years, I have also had many research experiences and clinical electives in Canada that have given me insights into the intricacies of the Canadian Health Care system.
I am confident that pediatrics is the field I wish to pursue and I cannot wait to begin my residency so that I can start becoming an excellent clinician who advocates for children, as well as a scholar involved in research projects that will help advance the field. After successfully completing my pediatric residency program, I plan to pursue a pediatric fellowship. I am excited at the prospect of working and learning at the [name of school] while being an active and professional member of your residency program. I am also looking forward to developing my teaching skills and contributing to the community while also enjoying bike rides down the paths in the [name of path] and to be reunited with my [name of city] based family.
“Code blue, electrophysiology laboratory” a voice announces overhead during my cardiology rotation. As the code team, we rush to the patient, an elderly man in shock. Seamlessly, we each assume our preassigned roles. I quickly review his chart and note to the team-leader that this patient had a previous EF of 10 percent and just got cardioverted. Vasopressors administered, intubation, central line secured, and the patient is stabilized and sent to our floor. During my rotations in internal medicine, I was constantly elated by my team’s ability to come together at such key moments. This gave me a sense of joy I did not find in other rotations. Moreover, I had inspiring attending physicians and residents who served as my mentors. They taught me that an internist is a medical expert committed to evidence-based medicine and perpetual learning, a compassionate physician, and an engaged community member. These lessons and the satisfaction of managing highly complex cases with a dedicated team consolidated my interest in internal medicine.
Compassion and a holistic approach to medicine remain quintessential for patient care. During my rotations, I took advantage of opportunities to learn from my patients both at the bedside and through independent reading. As a senior student, I prepared learning capsules that I presented to my team. This taught me to synthesize and communicate information efficiently. Beyond that, I took courses outside of the formal curriculum such as a point-of-care ultrasound course to improve my ultrasound procedural skills. When we no longer had any curative interventions to offer patients, I learned that acknowledging the patients’ suffering and being present for them in their most vulnerable time can ease their pain. As a resident at [name of school], I will continue my dedication to academic excellence and compassionate, patient-centered care in my efforts to care for my patients.
I have built strong ties to my community serving as president of the [name of school] Biology Student Union. Together, we enacted a complex study space and locker initiative through my role as a mentor at [name of organization]. These experiences instilled in me the values of proactivity and advocacy which I aim to bring with me to [name of school]. There, I hope to continue my community engagement as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of [name of city]. Moreover, as I learn more about [name of town]'s healthcare system, I hope to combine that knowledge with my medical education to add my perspective to health policy decision-making in the province.
In addition to its excellent academic reputation, [name of school]’s commitment to academic excellence and continuing education, as exemplified by the abundant academic teaching, drew me to the program. Moreover, given my belief that we develop to be an amalgam of characteristics and values our mentors espouse, I was delighted to learn about the mentorship opportunities available. This was a unique characteristic that motivated me to apply to [name of school]. Finally, having lived in [name of city] for the last ten years, I am looking forward to spending the next chapter of my life in a smaller, more tightly knit community of [name of city].
As I learned and modeled the different roles of an internist, I also learned a lot about myself. I learned of my thirst for knowledge, of my desire to treat as well as to heal the patient, and of my urge to be a leader in my community. These characteristics will play a defining role in my residency. I also learned of my passion for acute medicine. After my residency, I hope to further subspecialize in cardiology. As a future cardiologist, I aim to provide patient-centered care, conduct research, continue my community engagement, and act as a role model to future generation.
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Residency Personal Statement Examples #7: Psychiatry
I grew up in a tight knit military family in a community struck with the stigma of mental illness. Throughout my childhood we lost friends to the complications of untreated mental illness including overdose and suicide. I knew at that point that I wanted to pursue mental illness and completed a psychology degree and then a nursing degree. In University, I volunteered in a distress service for 6 years, providing individual sessions to students on issues including suicidality, interpersonal violence and addiction. As a registered nurse, I honed my skills in mental status examinations and cared for their comorbid psychiatric illness with medical disease utilizing communication and building rapport. I saw the impact of life altering conditions and procedures on their mental health. As a medical student, I continued to explore psychiatry through City X summer studentship and appreciated the breadth of psychiatric practice. As a clerk, I completed a range of psychiatric electives, caring for patients in multiple care settings and across various socioeconomic and age ranges. I enrolled in the integrated community clerkship, in X town, a community 900 km North of X city. The socioeconomic disparities and lack of access to mental health services had a negative impact on community, with suicidality and addictions. I followed my patients across practice domains assessing their functioning, medication regimen and continued to build a collaborative relationship. This proved crucial to uncover their health status across domains and helped me identify areas to support their challenges.
I value the ability to understand my patients from a biopsychosocial framework and addressing negative thought processes in support of their wellness. I view our duty in psychiatry is to support their strengths on a trajectory to wellness and provide guidance and resources utilizing pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. Psychiatry is a newer field of medicine, allowing for ongoing innovations in treatment and practice. This is exciting to explore novel approaches to treatments as we continue to uncover the physiological, neurological and pharmacological dimensions of mental health. It is also important to recognize the challenges of psychiatry. The history of mental illness creates access to care barriers from both a structural viewpoint with longer wait times and on a personal level due to their concern about the social and occupational implications of stigma. As our population ages, this threatens to overwhelm the current psychiatric infrastructure and will require more complex approaches due to medical comorbidities and medication contraindications. We will require ongoing research focused on medical comorbidities of neuropsychiatric illness and treatment modalities to improve quality of care.
I am drawn to the University of X psychiatry program due to its resident focused approach. I appreciate the ongoing mentorship and supervision and the preparatory endeavors including the mock examinations. From a clinical perspective, the program has a strong psychotherapy curriculum and offers unique elective opportunities including electroconvulsive therapy. The ability to continue serving rural communities solidifies my interests in this well-known program.
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Residency Personal Statement Examples #8: Internal Medicine
“People are drawn to medicine in one of two ways: the humanity or the science.” My mentor, [name of doctor], staff medical oncologist at the [name of hospital], once told me this. As a volunteer during my premedical studies, I assisted him with his impromptu lunchtime clinics while others were on break and was able to catch a glimpse of his patients’ unshakable trust in him. Those moments sparked my interest in Internal Medicine. Internists are entrusted with the most complex patients in any hospital. Therefore, Internists take on the responsibility of a patient’s trust in their lowest, most disoriented moments. Accordingly, when I finally started clinical rotations, I saw it as my responsibility to fully understand each patient’s motivations and fears to advocate for their goals. One patient I had gotten to know still stands out in my mind. She was 95, witty, and self-assured but was found to have bone metastasis causing excruciating pain during her hospital stay. She knew she did not want aggressive life-prolonging treatment and declined further workup, but how could we help her? I suggested palliative radiotherapy to my team because I remember her telling me “I had a good life. I am not scared of death, but if I have to be around for a while, can’t I be more comfortable?” Therefore, my team entrusted me to talk to her and her family about a referral to Radiation Oncology. She responded to me with “I don’t think there’s anyone who knows what I’d want better than you. You’ve listened to me so much. I trust you.” I spent the next half hour explaining the rationale behind the referral to both her and her family. She received urgent Radiotherapy two weeks later. Her narcotic requirement decreased by more than half. After that moment, I envisioned that one day, I could also look into the eyes of someone at their most vulnerable moment and give them confidence to trust me and my team with their care.
Although my interest in Internal Medicine is rooted in the human connection, my attention to detail, work ethic, and natural curiosity, also makes me especially well-suited for the challenges of Internal Medicine. Indeed, beyond the human connection, Internal Medicine’s challenges of complex problem solving, and large ever-growing breadth of knowledge is also what makes each day so satisfying. When I was on the Nephrology Consult service, I was following a patient with a kidney transplant who was admitted for Line Sepsis. I noticed a mild Non-Anion Gap Metabolic Acidosis and a persistent mild Hyperkalemia. I presented my findings to my staff as a possible Type 4 RTA. He complimented me on my attention to detail and warned that a Type 4 RTA in a kidney transplant patient could be a sign of rejection. We restarted his anti-rejection medication that had been held due to his infection, his electrolyte abnormalities corrected in less than two days. My attention to detail is a particular asset for Internal Medicine because more than any other specialty, the tiniest details like a mildly abnormal lab work, when pieced together in the correct way, could solve the most difficult clinical problem. That is also what makes problem-solving in Internal Medicine so satisfying. My mentors have always complimented me on my work ethic. However, I enjoy staying late for admissions and additional learning or reading hours around my patients at home because learning Internal Medicine is so interesting.
On the other hand, Internists are also tasked with the very large, working with multiple professionals and navigate system issues to keep patients healthy and out of hospital such as when [name of doctor] entrusted me with planning the discharge of a homeless patient during my Medicine CTU elective at [name of hospital]. The patient had Schizophrenia and Grave’s Disease and had been admitted to hospital multiple times that year with thyrotoxicosis due to medication non-adherence. During his admission, I had elicited the help of two homeless outreach coordinators to ensure proper follow-up. Therefore, by the time of discharge, he had a new family doctor, timely appointments with the family doctor and endocrinologist, maps with directions to each appointment, his prescription medications ready to go, as well as a new apartment application.
Ultimately, I am fortunate to be drawn to Internal Medicine for both its humanity and science. I believe that I have the qualities that will help me excel in its smallest details and its largest responsibilities. In residency, I aim to explore and learn as much Internal Medicine as possible before becoming an expert in one area so I can make an informed choice and be a well-rounded physician. Therefore, the fact that [name of city] has so many leading experts especially suits my learning goals. Indeed, during my electives in [name of city], I’ve already learned knowledge that I’ve not encountered elsewhere like the Bernese method of Buprenorphine induction. The availability of resources such as the DKA management simulation and the use of presentations of cutting-edge knowledge as part of evaluation also suits my self-directed learning style. Furthermore, my research has focused on the PMCC Gastro-Esophageal Cancer Database where we were able to discover various new details in the clinical behavior of Gastro-Esophageal cancer due to the large volume of patients are PMCC and its world-class expertise. This line of research would not work as well anywhere else in [name of country]. Indeed, our database is currently the second-largest in the world. Therefore, the second reason [name of city] is my ideal place for training is for its unique research opportunities, so I can continue to contribute to further medical knowledge. Lastly, [name of city] is the most diverse city in [name of country]. Growing up as an immigrant, I had experienced how cultural backgrounds can become a barrier to receiving good medical care. Therefore, the diverse patient population and strong allied health support in [name of city] could also allow me to hone the skills required to assist me in providing good quality care to all patients, regardless of background.
My first exposure to Family Medicine occurred during my time as a Medical Officer working in a small clinic in Nigeria in fulfilment of the [name of service]. There, I recognized that a career in this specialty would offer me the opportunity to not only experience the aspects I cherished most about other specialties, but fulfill my personal interests in advancing community health.
My many encounters with patients during my days in the clinic reaffirmed my view of Primary care physicians as being on the frontline of diagnosis and preventive medicine. There was the middle-aged diabetic patient who had first presented to the emergency with diabetic ketoacidosis, the hypertensive man whose initial complaint of a persistent headache prompted the discovery of his soaring blood pressure, and the adolescent with a family history of allergies who was diagnosed with asthma. These encounters highlighted that as the first point of contact, the general practitioner is not only responsible for diagnosis, but often in ensuring patients are set on the path of healthy habits to prevent disease complications. This unique opportunity to significantly advance the well-being of a patient, and by extension, the community renewed my interest in the field.
An especially appealing feature of Family Medicine is that it provides an opportunity for patient care without limitations of age, sex, disease or organ system. From treating colds and routine checkups to referral for a suspected malignancy, I enjoyed that every day in the clinic was a learning experience and no day was routine. In addition, having a diverse population of patients and cases requires an abundance of clinical knowledge and I cherish the chance to learn and expand my skills every day.
I also value that an essential part of Primary care is in the enduring relationships the practitioners develop with patients. I recall several moments during my clinical experiences when I recognized that some of the bonds formed during ongoing patient interactions had evolved into lasting friendships. Being a practice of continual care, I appreciate that this specialty provides many opportunities to follow patients through different stages of their lives ensuring a deepening of relationship and compliance with care. I was inspired during my clinical rotation here in the United States when I saw how my preceptorís long-term relationships with patients enabled their compliance and often extended to different generations within one family.
Ultimately, I am confident that my experiences have prepared me for a career in this specialty. An agreeable, attentive and compassionate nature has aided me in gaining trust as well as building meaningful interpersonal relationships which are crucial components of this field. Furthermore, my interaction with an extensive array of patients during my clinical and volunteer experiences has equipped me with the ability to communicate and relate to patients across different age groups and backgrounds. In addition, I enjoy working to coordinate patient care with colleagues and other specialties and value that the wellness of the patient is a result of hard work, dedication, and teamwork.
Thus, I hope to find a residency program dedicated to providing in-depth clinical training with a diverse patient population and an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention through patient education and community service. Moreover, I look forward to being part of a program that will encourage my pursuit of intellectual development and advancement to enable my transition into a well-rounded, competent and skilled physician committed to serving people with needs in all areas of medicine. With a career in this specialty, I know that every day will bring a new opportunity to influence health behaviors, and while there will be challenges, fulfilling them will always be satisfying.
Here I am, yet again. Last year, I also applied for a position as a dermatology resident. Though I was not selected, I return with the same diligence and perseverance, as well as additional skills and knowledge. My continued dedication to pursue a career in dermatology reminds me that no good thing comes easily and pushes me to stay motivated and work hard toward my goals.
I am drawn to dermatology for a host of reasons, one of which is the opportunity to work with my hands. In my current residency program, I have had the opportunity to assist in various surgical procedures. I recall the subdued exhilaration I felt when removing my first lipoma and the satisfaction of observing the surgeon completed the procedure with precision and care. My excitement for surgery continued to be reinforced in the many subsequent procedures I assisted with and I look forward to honing my surgical skills further as I complete my training in dermatology.
However, to me, “hands-on” is defined as more than just its literal meaning. The opportunity to build relationships with patients steers me more towards a career in outpatient medicine. During my dermatology outpatient rotation, I was involved in the care of a patient who presented initially complaining of a heliotrope rash and gottron’s papules. When she expressed a deep sense of shame about this rash, I became acutely aware of how patient’s external disease can influence their internal emotions. I thus responded empathetically, simultaneously validating her concerns and providing her with much-needed assurance. When she was later diagnosed with dermatomyositis secondary to underlying breast cancer, this patient requested to speak to me specifically, recalling the positive interaction we had shared before. Again, I was able to explain the diagnosis and treatment plan with patience and regard for her every concern. Developing a trusted physician-patient relationship is crucial in the field of dermatology because most patients exhibit strong internal emotions from their visually external disease. Also important is the ability to deliver difficult news and be considerate of patients’ feelings in these delicate moments. I plan to continue to use these skills during my career as a dermatologist.
To me, dermatology is also a field that is thought-provoking and stimulating due to its constant evolution and advancements. Thus, during my internship, I committed to educating myself in the field of dermatology through multiple research projects. My research thus far has been focused on whether UV light lamps used in gel manicures increases the risk of skin cancers as well as the outcomes of using intralesional 5-fluorouracil for squamous cell carcinoma and keratoacanthomas. While my research was focused in the field of dermatology, I did not hesitate to take on additional projects, pursuing assignments in both breast cancer and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. I strongly believe the best doctors have a thorough understanding of the practice of medicine in totality as our ability to incorporate this knowledge in our diagnosis and treatment of our patients directly impacts their wellbeing. For these reasons, I strive to continually educate myself in not only dermatology, but other fields that might have implications on my practice.
My ideal dermatology program would allow me to manage a variety of complex medical dermatological conditions and engage in research, both of which will continue to challenge me intellectually and push me to exercise creativity to develop innovative solutions to dermatological treatments. As someone who enjoys working with my hands and the instant gratification of the surgical approach as a treatment option, I would also value the opportunity to perform surgeries and improve my surgical skills. Furthermore, I have found that beyond medicine, the people in each program make or break an experience. Positive attitudes, expressed dedication, and mentorship are vital characteristics in any program of my interest.
I am confident my aspirations will be fulfilled in the field of dermatology, but more importantly, I know I will be a good contribution to this field and your program – my work ethic, motivation, and commitment unwavering. I am determined, impassioned, and excited to embark on this next phase of my journey.
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How To Address Areas of Concern
There are some things that are out of our control. Sometimes we have to take time off to deal with personal issues, or sometimes we have to retake tests. If you have something you feel like you need to explain in your application, the personal statement is the area to address it. If you had a leave of absence or failed an exam, you should offer a clear, unemotional explanation of the situation. Use positive language. Whatever the area of concern, try and phrase it in the most favorable light. Take accountable for what has happened, but do not place blame or make an excuse. Here are some phrases you can try and use in your personal statement.
Sometimes we have to interact with people who we don't see eye to eye with. When I worked with (you can choose to say the person's name or just use their title) I learned how to (insert a lesson here). Even though it was a challenge, I have gained skills that will better my future practice. ","label":"Unfavorable Evaluation by an Attending","title":"Unfavorable Evaluation by an Attending"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>
Keep in mind that these are suggestions. If you are concerned about an area of your application that might be a red flag, it may be in your best interest to address it head-on. The choice to write about them is your own individual opinion. Your personal statement should highlight the best side of you. If you think that an area of weakness might hurt your chances, it may be beneficial to take ownership of the problem and write it in a way that will show what you learned and how it made you better.
For the most part, your residency personal statement should be within a one-page limit or approximately 750-850 words. Be sure to check your specific program requirements to verify before you begin writing.
It's entirely up to you if you want to address unfavorable grades or gaps in your studies. However, if you feel something in your application will be seen as a red flag, it's best to address issues head-on instead of having admissions committees dwell on possible areas of concern.
If you're going to address a gap, just ensure that you have a clear narrative for why you took these breaks, what you did on break and what this break means for your ability to function at a very high academic level for many years to come.
If you're addressing a poor evaluation, ensure that you take responsibility for your grade, discuss what you learned and how your performance will be improved in the future - then move on. It's important that you don't play the victim and you must always reflect on what lessons you've learned moving forward.
Absolutely. While it's not necessary to discuss your personal connection to a program location, showing program directors that you have ties to their program's location can give you a competitive edge over other applicants. The reason being is that it's a way to show program directors that you are invested in practicing medicine locally.
That's not to say that you have to apply to programs that are within your home state or province, but if one of the reasons you love a particular program is because of its location in your hometown, don't be afraid to mention this. Whether you enjoy the outdoor activities in the program's location, have family and friends in the area, or even grew up in the area at some point, these can all be great aspects to mention.
Firstly, it's important to check the program's specific requirements for your statement because some programs have a specific prompt or multiple prompts that you'll need to address. If you are not given a prompt, in general, your statement needs to answer “why this specialty?” and “why this program?”. Your responses must be supported with your personal experiences and your statement should incorporate your future career goals.
No, instead you'll be preparing one personal statement for each specialty. For example, if you're applying to emergency medicine and family medicine, you'll need to prepare one statement for emergency medicine and one statement for family medicine.
As long as it's during the application season, you can edit and review your personal statement. However, keep in mind that if you edit your personal statement, there is no guarantee that programs will review the most up to date version. For this reason, it's best to only assign your personal statement to programs once you've 100% happy with the final version.
No, there is no limit on how many personal statements you can create.
Your personal statement should have three major structural elements: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Your thesis statement will appear in your introduction in the first paragraph. The body is for you to discuss major experiences relevant to your chosen specialty, and the conclusion is generally the place to summarize and highlight some of the item you mentioned in the body or introduction.
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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement for Your Residency Application
A medical student’s personal statement is a critical component of their residency application. It offers a unique opportunity to showcase their personality, experiences, and aspirations. While strong grades and exam scores are important, it’s likely your competition will also have a solid academic history. Your residency application’s personal statement is where you can really stand out and explain exactly why you deserve a spot.
What to Include in Your Personal Statement
Starting with a blank white page can be overwhelming. So before you start to actually write it out, create an outline and bullet key points you want to make in each section.
Start with a compelling opening that grabs the reader’s attention. This could be a personal anecdote, a relevant quote, or a thought-provoking statement. Then clearly state your intention to pursue a residency program in your chosen specialty.
2. Why Medicine
Reflect on what initially drew you to medicine. Share a personal story or experience that ignited your passion for healthcare. Discuss your long-term commitment to the field and your desire to make a meaningful impact on patients’ lives.
3. Clinical Experiences
Describe your clinical experiences and how they have shaped your understanding of your chosen specialty. Highlight specific patient encounters, while maintaining patient anonymity, that left a lasting impression on you and reinforced your commitment to your specialty.
4. Research and Academic Achievements
Especially if research aligns with your long-term career goals, it’s essential to highlight this commitment in your personal statement (and during interviews). Mention any research projects you’ve been involved in and the impact they’ve had on your academic and professional growth. Explain how your research experience has shaped your career aspirations and how it can benefit the program and the field in the long run. Discuss any academic achievements, awards, or honors that demonstrate your dedication to learning and excellence.
5. Extracurricular Activities
Share relevant extracurricular activities, such as volunteering, leadership roles, or community service, that have enriched your medical journey. Explain how these experiences have contributed to your personal and professional development.
6. Why This Specialty
Explain why you are drawn to your chosen specialty. Discuss the aspects of the specialty that align with your interests, skills, and values. Share any pivotal moments or mentors who influenced your decision to pursue this path.
7. Program Fit
Discuss why you are interested in the specific residency program to which you are applying. Mention any unique features of the program that appeal to you. Show that you’ve done your research and understand how the program aligns with your career goals.
8. Personal Qualities
Highlight personal qualities and characteristics that make you a strong candidate for the specialty and the program. Use anecdotes or examples to illustrate these qualities, such as empathy, teamwork, adaptability, or resilience.
9. Long-Term Goals
Share your long-term career goals and how completing the residency program will help you achieve them. Express your commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth.
Summarize your main points and reiterate your enthusiasm for the specialty and the program. End with a memorable closing statement that leaves a positive impression on the reader.
More Personal Statement Tips
- Proofread and Edit : Carefully proofread your personal statement to ensure it is free of grammatical errors and typos. Seek feedback from mentors, advisors, or peers to refine your statement and make it as compelling as possible.
- Be authentic . Your personal statement is a chance to convey your passion, commitment, and unique qualities to the residency program directors. It should paint a vivid picture of who you are as a future physician and why you are an excellent fit for both the specialty and the specific program to which you are applying.
- Make it unique to each program. Your residency application personal statement should explain why you are interested in this particular program. Therefore you’re going to want to customize it for each application. You can definitely reuse sections, but when you talk about program fit, research, clinical experiences, etc, be sure to tailor your statement as needed.
- Plan out what you’re going to write, before you start writing. Don’t leave writing your personal statement to the last minute. Before you even sit down in front of a keyboard, take time to reflect on your achievements and experiences so you have an idea of what to write about. Think about it while you’re in the car, in the shower, or eating dinner (you get the idea). Then write those ideas down in your outline. That way when you start to actually write out your statement, all you need to concentrate on is how well your statement is written.
- Be concise. Communicate exactly what you need to. No grandiose statements. The people reviewing your application, and therefore your personal statement, will be reading a lot of these.
How Long Should Your Personal Statement Be
Personal statements should be 600-850 words. This is roughly 4-5 paragraphs or 1 page of single spaced type. While that might sound like a lot, it will go quickly once you start writing. So make sure you communicate efficiently and with brevity, without leaving out important information about you.
Addressing Red Flags in a Personal Statement
If you have any red flags in your application, you can use your personal statement to explain these. Start by acknowledging the red flag honestly and directly. Avoid trying to hide or downplay the issue, as this may erode trust.
Provide a clear and concise explanation of the circumstances surrounding the red flag. Be specific and avoid vague or evasive language.
Lastly, demonstrate how you’ve learned from the experience and grown as a result. Highlight any steps you’ve taken to address and rectify the issue.
Crafting a standout medical residency application personal statement requires careful planning, dedication, and attention to detail. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the competitive application process and increase your chances of securing a spot in the program of your dreams. Good luck on your journey to becoming a medical resident!
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The Medical Residency Personal Statement is one of the most important pieces of the ERAS Residency Application puzzle. No other component of the application gives you as much control in shaping the impression you make on Program Directors and others reviewing your application as the Residency Personal Statement.
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The process for both Writing and Editing Services includes:
- 1 Submit your first draft (Editing) or your completed Questionnaire (Writing)
- 2 Your Writer will deliver your first draft or reach out with any clarifications they need to get started (all communication takes place via our In-House Messaging Platform)
- 3 After reviewing your first draft, you can work with your Editor/Writer on any necessary revisions until you are completely satisfied
- 4 Once we get your approval, the statement is finalized and available for export in PDF and Word format
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Residency Statement’s dedicated team is comprised of all US-based, professional medical Writers and Editors with extensive academic backgrounds and additional training in Medical Residency Personal Statements as well as the nuances of the residency application process.
Everyone on our team is well-qualified to work on statements for each residency specialty, sub-specialty, and even fellowship training.
Founded by Dr. Musa in 2008, our team has worked with over 20,000 applicants to perfect their Personal Statements. Read our Member Testimonials , and join thousands of satisfied clients today.
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I used both editing and writing services, and both were amazing experiences with their professionalism and attitude with anything that I needed to change or delete. Everything was a 5 stars experience, and regarding my PS, I showed it to my mentor back home, he said it was one of the best he had ever seen.
I just wanted to say I really appreciate all the work you've done to help me make this personal statement and I'm very happy with the results! You've done an excellent job of being accommodating, understanding, and just generally helpful and it really meant a lot to me; so again, thank you for all of your help.
You have no idea how much this personal statement means to me. It literally brought me to tears reading it. I was red-lining stress last week. But, thanks to you, reading the statement was the turning point in my week, after which things started falling into place. I want to sincerely thank you for the service you provided me. With the personal statement we crafted, I have confidently submitted my application.
This is exactly what I'm looking for! Thank you so much! The residency team will be reading hundreds of these. The application is so short that the only real opportunity I have to connect with the team is through this essay. I'm sure you know that where I go for the next 3 years of my life may weigh heavily on this statement. You described exactly what I'm looking for, thanks so much!
The Value of Personal Statements
The Personal Statement is rated as one of the most important documents included in the ERAS Application by Program Directors when making interview and ranking decisions.
The Medical Residency Personal Statement can boost a weak application, help secure an interview, provide content for residency interview questions, and even assist Program Directors in making final selections for their Rank Order Lists. A well-crafted Personal Statement helps you stand out and leave a lasting impression when contending for limited residency program positions.
Residency Statement will provide you with the Personal Statement you need to apply with confidence.
Every residency candidate has a story to tell. Whether you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG) or US Medical Graduate (USMG), your personality should be the foundation of your Personal Statement. Residency Statement’s Editing and Writing Services are tailored to include your individual strengths and experiences while capturing your unique voice. If you have written a Personal Statement you would like polished and refined, the Editing Service is right for you. If you are struggling to begin writing your Personal Statement or don’t have the time to draft a full statement, you’ll find everything you are looking for in the Writing Service.
Residency Statement does not believe in limitations or restrictions. When it comes to your Personal Statement, the sky is the limit, and we are dedicated to providing the resources you need to succeed. Not only does our professional team have your back through every step of the Writing or Editing process, but you also have the opportunity to receive expert guidance and access numerous free online resources as well.
A strong Personal Statement greatly increases your chances for a Match, while a poorly written, weak, or generic statement can be a red flag to residency programs. Ensuring you submit an optimized Personal Statement is critical for residency Match success. We understand how much is riding on your residency application and are committed to supporting your efforts.
What is Residency Statement?
Will programs know i used a writing/editing service, how do i know i will like my statement, why residency statement.
There are so many reasons why you should choose Residency Statement, it’s hard to pick just one!
- We have 14+ years of Medical Residency Personal Statement experience.
- Each Personal Statement showcases the applicant’s personality and specialized knowledge.
- Your content is safe within our secure, encrypted interface.
- Our qualified Editing and Writing team is comprised of adept and highly trained professionals who have read, edited, and written thousands of Medical Residency Personal Statements.
- We have experience helping applicants of all backgrounds: IMGs, USMGs, DOs, and applicants with red flags of every kind (low scores, attempts, gaps, long time since graduation, serious academic divergences, and beyond).
Is Your Personal Statement Ready to Impress?
Many residency applicants believe their Personal Statement is ready to submit. Yet, based on our assessments, very few Personal Statements would meet the standards and expectations set forth by Residency Interview Selection Committees.
- 59% Do not pass Residency Program Standards and need more work
- 38% Do not pass Residency Program Standards and need to be re-written
- 3% Pass Residency Program Standards
Personal statements are an important part of your application to residency programs in the United States. A personal statement is intended to complement your other qualifications by allowing you to express who you are and why you are applying to residency. This is your opportunity to discuss your passion for medicine and/or your chosen specialty, why you want to practice medicine in the United States, important milestones that have happened to you thus far, and your goals for the future. The personal statement should show what kind of person and physician you are and wish to become.
Personal Statements are among the top 5 reasons candidates are invited for interviews.
Your personal statement is an integral part of a successful application. Unless a program’s faculty or residents know you personally through a rotation, your application — including personal statement — presents your entire professional persona to those who extend interview invitations. Competitive programs have hundreds of qualified applicants, so your personal statement must help you stand out.
A well written personal statement can strengthen your application and open opportunities for you. Some application reviewers only skim through the personal statement, while others read it carefully. Since you have no way of knowing how your personal statement will be read or the weight it carries at each program, it is in your best interest to write a high quality personal statement.
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Clarification on Personal Statement Guidelines
We have been getting some questions about the personal statement guidelines , particularly Part B. Our website says specifically that Part B should use bullet point format only . However, I wrote a blog post on personal statements that stated the following:
“In Part B, you are expected to use bullet point format to list other activities or achievements that you want the Admissions Committee to know about. Breaking these into categories – education, work experience, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, etc. – can help tell a story with your bullet points. It’s important to always use dates so that we know what part of your story each point comes from. It’s likewise important to tell us how what you are listing relates to law. At the end of each section, write a sentence or two that outlines how these activities or achievements tie in with your Part A narrative.”
To clarify, the two statements (that from the website and that from the blog post) are not inconsistent. Bullet points can be lengthy, they can have indented sub-bullet points, they can have a header, and they can have a sentence or two summary.
What we try really hard to do is not give examples or templates of what this should look like because we believe strongly that doing this takes away from your unique voice and your ability to tell your story in a way that best suits you. Thus, the format is intended to be followed (bullet point format only) but not to be restrictive (you can apply the bullet point format loosely).
For those who must have a template, I have created two examples that are completely unrelated to law or post-secondary education.
Part A Example 1:
- Carrots, Produce Section
- Celery, Produce Section
- Onion, Produce Section
- Potatoes, Produce Section
- Cream, Dairy
- Bread, Bakery
- Wooden spoon
- Bowls and plates
Tonight, I am making soup for dinner. Soup is a time-honoured tradition in our family on cold days. A healthy dinner is important to feed my partner and children.
Part B Example 2:
My Dog Moose
Moose is a 3-year-old chocolate lab that we have had since July. He is a rescue dog who experiences considerable separation anxiety.
- We went for a car ride Saturday afternoon;
- We went for several walks, as this is part of our daily routine.
- We went to the field to see the cattle Sunday morning. The cattle were disinterested.
- We went swimming in the river Sunday afternoon. Moose swam; I did not (see above Example 1 about cold weather).
- We played fetch. We try to make fetch happen a lot.
- We had a good cuddle every morning.
- He had a nap at my feet while I knitted Saturday afternoon.
- I asked him how his days was every evening. He did not respond but wagged his tail.
I find it’s important to take Moose on adventures and to spend a lot of time with him. While familiarity helps him feel confident, new experiences keep him curious and stimulated. Spending time with Moose is also really important for my mental health.
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January 23rd, 2023
How to Write a Perfect Residency Personal Statement in 2023 | A Complete Guide
Residency program is an important phase in the formation of a medical student. A personal statement is an important requirement to get into the best residency program.
This blog will provide you with a wealth of information regarding how to write personal statement for residency.
Read this blog till the end to clarify all your doubts regarding this most important document in your medical profession.
What is a Personal Statement for Residency Application?
Residency personal statement is the document you will submit to the residency directors to show that you are qualified to do the residency program.
It is your opportunity to demonstrate your unique skills, specialties, and strengths.
Why Should You Write a Residency Personal Statement?
The main purpose of a residency personal statement is to convince the residency directors about your preparedness and suitability to do the residency program.
A tailor-made personal statement would allow the residency directors to figure out how serious you are about your application to the residency program .
If your application lacks a personal statement, the selectors will not be able to get any clue about your unique strengths and skills. Hence, it will be a difficult task for them to select the right candidate from many applicants.
NEED EXPERTS HELP FOR WRITING YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT? CLICK HERE NOW!
Why is Residency Personal Statement an Essential Component in Your Application?
Even if you have secured a number of outstanding letters of recommendation for your residency program, it is still important to write a powerful personal statement. The reasons are:
- Personal statement is an essential component in a residency application.
- It is the only document where you can still contribute to make profile impactful.
- Personal statement helps you show your relevance and suitability to the selectors.
- It enables you to underscore how you differ from hundreds of other applicants with similar qualification and experiences.
- A poorly written personal statement can make your application look less impactful even if you have good GPA and other qualities.
Important Questions to Clarify in Your Residency Personal Statement
Writing an impactful personal statement for residency is not only about writing it in correct format with good language. It is also about addressing a few essential questions. Here are those basic questions that every residency personal statement should shine light on.
Failing to address these questions in the document will make selectors consider your document as incompatible for the purpose, which in turn could result in your application getting rejected.
1. What ignited your interest in medicine?
Try to answer this question reflecting your true sense of identification with your motivation for the domain. Make it sound realistic.
2. What are your specific set of skills and qualities that you think will help you during your residency program?
List down all relevant skills and experiences you have with examples. For instance, leadership skills, research experiences, clinical experiences, experience of helping patients deal with specific issues, team spirit, and communication skills.
3. Do you have any personal attributes that are suited for medical profession?
Describe any personal traits or attributes that you think will be helpful for you while doing the rigorous residency training. It could be your persistence to complete a task without giving up or hardworking.
4. Reasons for your selection of a particular residency program and specialty?
You have already spoken what got you interested in the medical field briefly. Here you will further need to explain all the different reasons that strengthened your decision to choose a particular specialty.
5. How can you prove that you will be a good fit to their team?
The selectors will know whether you will be a good fit to their team only if you share with them details of your interest, hobbies, how you spend your time apart from studies, involvements in extracurricular activities etc. This will give them a fair idea about your personality and help them figure out whether you will make a good colleague to the rest of the team.
6. What are your future plans?
List down both your short term and long-term plans here. Specify what particular area of medical profession you would like to settle finally. Short term plans could be your immediate plans after completing the program.
How to Write Personal Statement for Residency in Just Five Steps?
When you apply for a residency program, it is not enough to be a good candidate. Aim to be the best candidate with a perfect personal statement . Here are five residency personal statement writing steps.
Get ready to write
You might consider reading a few residency personal statement samples for some inspiration but don’t copy them. Get your samples from reliable sources.
Organize the essay
Before you start writing, consider setting up an outline for the essay in a thematic fashion. Review the six questions listed above for the same.
Address each question in paragraph
Do not try to stuff multiple themes in a single paragraph. Dedicate each paragraph for shining light on particular theme or question.
Describe specialty early
It is important to give the reader what
to expect from the essay early on. Specify your specialty in the first paragraph
so, the reader knows where you are heading to.
Proofread and edit
Finishing the writing of your personal statement is only halfway through the journey. You must read it carefully several times and correct the mistakes.
How Long Should Residency Personal Statement Be
Coming to the word limit or length of your personal statement, it is important
to keep it short and precise while addressing all important questions.
The ideal personal statement residency length is about 500 words .
Nevertheless, verify with your institute and find out if they want you to stick to
any specific word counts.
Perfection? Here is Your Winning Format
Like personal statement for any other program, your residency personal statement should comply with specific format. You should check if you are required to comply with any institute-specified format at first. In the absence of any such instructions, you can follow the below given residency personal statement editing guidelines.
- Font Choose any font style that is recognized for academic purposes. This includes Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial etc.
- Font size : Keep the font size between 11 and 12 points. Also, make sure that the chosen font size is maintained throughout your writeup.
- Margins : Keep one-inch margin on left, right, top and bottom.
- Indentation and alignment : Align the text of your essay towards the left margin. Also, indent the first line of each paragraph.
- Spacing : Double-space your writeup. No need of adding any extra space between paragraph since you are indenting the paragraphs.
Organize your essay into multiple paragraphs. Make sure each paragraph serves specific purposes.
- Body paragraph 1
- Body paragraph 2
- Body paragraph 3
Depending on the number of questions or themes you are addressing in your personal statement, you can increase or decrease the number of body paragraphs.
Read more here on personal statements:
Sample for Residency Personal Statement
It is highly recommended to enhance your understanding of writing personal statement for residency by reviewing samples.
Example – Pediatrics Residency Personal Statement
As a child, I had health issues and was always hospitalized for various diseases. I had a severe allergy and fever that always used to worry me as a child. I was treated by a Pediatrician who was very caring and loving. I enjoyed consulting her as she became my best friend. My interaction with her inspired me to become a doctor like her and this is the greatest motivation for me to become a Pediatrician.
During my medical studies, I enjoyed my rounds and ward visits at the pediatric ward. Because of mylove for children, I used to get along with them easily. Though I enjoyed each moment with them, their diseases used to sadden me. One day while I was at my medical rounds, one of our child patients was crying loudly. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease and was at a severe stage. She was very nervous to take her dose of injection and that was the reason behind her crying. I calmed her down and talked to her about a lot of things including her favorite cartoon. Meanwhile nurses injected her with the proper medicine. There were several other instances which made me happy and relaxed with my interactions with children, so I confirmed my decision to choose Pediatrics as my future medical specialization.
During one of my medical internships at a public health care center, I came across several children from tribal societies who were suffering from malnutrition and other diseases due to several vitamin deficiencies. I was let down by a child’s untimely death due to insufficient health care and facilities provided to the passed away child’s mother which was the primary reason for that infant’s untimely death. So I took the initiative to conduct several workshops to make people aware of the increased rate of infant mortality in our state and ways to prevent them and associated with several Government initiatives to tackle the issue. Being part of several such initiatives and visiting various camps made me aware that I need to do a lot more in this sector to increase the health rate of infants in our society.
I choose to complete my residency from XYZ Medical School because of the stellar reputation of the Residency in medical education. I am excited to begin my residency program in the pediatrics field from your Residency and I’m confident that I will be a compassionate, loving and empathetic Pediatric doctor. I am sure the training from your Residency will help me to hone my critical thinking skills and analyzing abilities. I am sure I will leave no chance to assess and treat each of my pediatric patients with care and respect and won’t let them down in their diseases. I am sure this medical residency is my right choice as it well aligns with my interest and aspirations. I believe that I possess the right talents to serve as a Pediatrician. With my ability to connect with small children, I am sure I can prove to be a good Pediatrician. I am sure this position would surely utilize my talents and capabilities in diagnosing children and infants with chronic health conditions and serving those angels would make my day. I am sure under the guidance of your highly qualified and well experienced medical professors, I will emerge as a caring and competent Pediatrician in the future.
Example – Cardiology Residency Personal Statement
As a child when I heard of the Cardiology Department, I wasn’t aware that this is where I would love to work in the future. During my 3rd standard, my father had his cardiac arrest for the first time. We rushed him to the hospital and he was admitted there. A lot of tests were done which included angiogram, angioplasty, treadmill test, etc. I was fascinated by how the Doctors treated my father and was getting him back to life. This inspired me to become a Doctor like them. It was a moment of gratitude and love for those Doctors who brought my father back to life. On growing older, I never let my dream vanish and worked hard to achieve the same.
My passion for Cardiology grew further during my medical school, when I learnt more about Cardiovascular Systems. On learning about the heart and its various functions, I became aware of its importance in a living being’s life. When I came across several medical conditions like Coronary Artery Disease, High Blood Pressure, Aortic Disease, Angina, Arrhythmia etc, my interest grew further. When I saw an open heart surgery during my third year of medical study, I was left in awe at how this organ is designed and functions.
During one of my medical rounds, a patient was brought to me; he was sweating and had trouble breathing. He felt severe uneasiness. But he didn’t have chest pain. On enquiring in detail, it was found that he was diabetic, so I doubted a cardiac arrest. But his lack of chest pain confused us, but soon we did necessary tests and immediate medications were given to him. It was a cardiac arrest and as he was diabetic, it was a silent attack. I was relieved that our timely intervention saved a life.
During all my internships, I chose cardiovascular ward as my priority and these helped me to better familiarize myself with the entire test and medication both theoretically and practically. I mastered the diagnostic procedures, such as ECG, echocardiography, exercise tests, cardiac catheterization, and coronary angioplasty and familiarized myself with recent research in this field. I believe that my strong foundation in interventional cardiology will equip me to care for patients using a catheter-based management for the heart disease.
I have also conducted several workshops on increasing heart diseases in young people; this was an attempt by me to make our youth aware that even young people are prone to heart diseases. During one of those workshops, I came across a student who told me that his brother who was in early 20s died due to cardiac arrest. All this inspired me to conduct my research on this topic and I even published a study on XYZ Journal.
The reason I choose this residency is the quality of education delivered here with due practical exposure. I am sure at your residency I can hone my scientific skills and practical understanding. I look forward to joining your residency program which I am sure will help me to start my dream journey as a Cardiologist. I am sure with the guidance of your highly qualified medical professors and great ambience at your residency, I can emerge as a caring and competent Cardiologist.
Major Dos and Don’ts in Residency Personal Statement Writing
You have had enough of insights about personal statement for residency. Now, here are a few dos and don’ts that are important to keep in mind while drafting your writeup.
A careless mistake, even if it is minor, can potentially affect your ranking in the residency list.
- Make it brief and focused. Stick to one page.
- Produce enough information that help selectors consider you for an interview.
- Have at least two people read your statement and give you feedback.
- Be sure of what you have written in the statement. You may be asked questions from that in the interview.
- Seek editing service if you think your statement needs a professional touch.
- Don’t reproduce your CV in the personal statement. It needs to be more focused on your story as a future physician.
- Don’t let any grammatical or typographical errors be present in your personal statement for residency.
- Do not write any empty statements. Back up every claim so that the program director knows it is true.
- Don’t make it too technical to read. Use simple language. Remember that it is not medical research paper.
- Don’t use same personal statement to apply for multiple residency programs. Customize each statement.
How to Make Your Residency Personal Statement Unique and Outstanding? Pro Tips from Experts
Most applicants become nervous when it comes to writing a residency personal statement as it can break the application if not being careful enough.
The following tips from experts would come in handy as you begin to write your statement.
Emphasize your specialty : It is already clear that why you chose medicine as your career. As you go to write residency personal statement, give more emphasize on the specialty.
Demonstrate rather than listing : Residency personal statement calls for more clarity when it comes to the skills and experiences. Illustrate your strengths rather than listing them down.
Present yourself positively: Remember that your residency personal statement is an opportunity to sell yourself. The greater the amount of positivity you can bring to it, the better it is.
Include information asked for : Some residency programs specify in their guidelines to applicants to furnish certain important information. Failure to include them in the writeup will break your chances.
Avoid plagiarism : Do not copy or paraphrase from sample residency personal statements. While it is good to review them for getting an understanding, plagiarism breaks all your prospects of selection.
Top 10 Residency Programs to Consider in 2022
It is important to do your residency program at the best institute possible. Here is a list of top ten residency programs to choose from.
- University of California, San Francisco
- Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, Chicago
- Heidelberg University, Germany
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
- Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
- Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.
- New York Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia Campus), New York
- Duke University Hospital, Durham, N.C.
- Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Top 10 Medical Residency Program Specialties
As you head to do your residency program, have clarity regarding your specialty. The top 10 medical residency specialties are:
- Internal medicine
- Family medicine
- Emergency medicine
- General surgery
- Obstetrics and gynecology
In A Nutshell
Medical residency is a crucial phase in the formation period of a physician.
We hope this blog has clarified every question you had regarding medical residency program and the personal statement for it.
Let us know your feedback regarding this blog in the comment section below.
When should I begin the preparation of my medical residency personal statement?
The earlier you have your medical residency personal statement ready, the better it is. The point here is to have a perfect document before the application cycle begins. The advantage of having it earlier is that it will enable you to revise the document several times and rectify if it contains any mistakes.
How many personal statements do I need to have ready in order to apply for a residency program?
Normally one personal statement would be enough. If you are applying to multiple programs, make sure you customize each. It is not good to send the same to all programs.
Should I talk about all of my experiences or focus only on a few in my residency personal statement?
Your residency personal statement should be short and concise. Hence, you cannot describe all your experiences in it. Pick one or two most relevant ones and write about them in the document.
How can verify whether my residency personal statement has been written in compliance with the standards?
If the specific residency program you are applying has specified any guidelines, follow them strict. If you haven’t received any instructions, prepare your statement in a format, structure and style that is accepted. If you are not certain whether your statement meets the standards, it is better to seek professional help.
What happens if I cross the recommended length of residency personal statement?
If it exceeds by a few words, it’s okay. It is highly recommended to keep your personal statement for residency to approximately 500 words or one-page.
Mrs Jizah M
Mrs Jizah M has always enjoyed writing down her thoughts since school days. What just started as a hobby slowly transformed into a passion. Her writing skills were first acknowledged by few of her professors when she wrote content for the college website; this was a turing. Slowly she started getting freelance works and later on, a series of events led her to specialize in academic and higher education related documentations. In additional to personal statements, she along with her team writes LORs, SOPs, college application essays, admission essays and all similar types of documents.
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- Greece Tax Updates: November 9th 2023
Circular E.2064/2023 of AADE: Guidelines on tax residency of individuals in Greece
The Independent Authority for Public Revenues (AADE) issued recently a new Circular Ε.2064/2023, which introduces guidelines for the correct and uniform implementation of the provisions that refer to the tax residence of individuals in Greece. By virtue of this new Circular, the definition of tax residence, along with the criteria for acquiring it, are clarified in line with international standards and guidelines, including EU Directives and OECD Clarifying Guidelines on article 4 of the Model Tax Convention (2017 edition).
Specifically, with reference to the criteria introduced in paragraph 1 of article 4 ITC, the terms “permanent residence”, “habitual abode” and “center of vital interests” are explained with more clarity, whilst especially on what concerns the definition of an individual’s “center of vital interests” it is clarified that all personal and economic relations binding the individual with a certain territory should be examined holistically (as a whole), taking also into consideration the actual facts of each particular case (ad hoc).
On what concerns the additional criterion of paragraph 2 of article 4 ITC, which refers to the duration of presence in Greece and which is examined notwithstanding the other criteria of article 4 ITC mentioned above, the new Circular provides clear guidelines on how to calculate the days of presence of the individual in Greece as well as how to determine the year during which the individual should be considered for the first time tax resident of Greece and be obliged to submit an income tax return declaring worldwide income.
Furthermore, the new Circular clarifies certain other issues such as:
- the alternative remedies that an individual can seek in case he/she is considered tax resident both in Greece and in some other country (dual tax residence issue);
- the obligation of the tax authorities to provide specifically reasoned justification when they decide that an individual is a tax resident of Greece, given that in principle the tax authorities also bear the burden of proof of the actual facts that support their decision;
- the procedure for changing tax residence for the year following the year of departure and the procedure and documents required during the previous years in accordance with already existing circulars;
- the obligation of the taxpayer to keep the documents evidencing that the criteria of article 4 ITC are met, in case of a future tax audit; etc.
Closing, it is worth mentioning that the new circular makes reference to numerous decisions of the Council of State, on which the abovementioned clarifications were based, and provides certain specific examples for the better understanding of such clarifications while implementing the provisions of article 4 ITC.
Greece Tax News
KPMG assists its clients in staying updated with the latest news on tax legislation and related developments