December 5, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Writing a residency personal statement can be one of the most challenging parts of the application process. Many students admit that they would rather sit for another entrance exam then write out their personal statement. So what is it that makes writing a residency personal statement so challenging?
For one thing, a lot of people find it difficult to write about themselves and extol their virtues without coming across as pompous. Well, it is important to talk about your achievements but how do you do it without making it sound like you are tooting your own horn? Knowing exactly where to draw the line can be tricky.
Secondly, it can also be very difficult to write a personal statement in a single page. How do you sum up all of your achievements in one page? In trying not to skip some things that may be important, some med students end up with personal statements that run into several pages. Unfortunately that does nothing to help.
Here are a few tips to help you write out an outstanding personal statement when you are applying for your residency.
The following points will help you get started with your personal essay and guide you through how to write a convincing statement that will be accepted by most institutions.
Before you set about writing your final statement, create an outline listing all of your achievements on a rough sheet. After you are done, highlight those achievements that you think are relevant to your residency. For example, your medical school achievements will be so much more relevant than any award you may have won in an art competition.
It is very important to stick to a word count if specified. If no word count has been specified, it is still a good idea to try and keep your statement within one page. Keeping it short, simple and compelling is far better than submitting an overly long statement. You have to remember that the admissions committee will have several hundreds of applications to go through, and this includes going through hundreds of transcripts, cover letters and letters of recommendation in addition to the personal statements. They are sure to be more appreciative of anyone who takes the trouble to make it easy for them by keeping it short and relevant. Another risk of submitting an overly long personal statement is that the person reading it is more likely to just skip through the content and may miss out on the most important parts of your essay.
Always stick to positive points about yourself, your career choices and your medical school experience. Portraying yourself or your medical school in a negative manner will not win you any points. A positive statement that is written in an upbeat tone will always be preferred over one that is written in a complaining tone and sounds negative.
Try to balance out your essay so that you cover as many fields as possible. Even though your medical achievements are the most important and they should be highlighted in the beginning, it is also important to include achievements in other areas so that the recruiters can see that you have other interests and other qualities as well. The idea is to come across as a well-rounded person. In mentioning non-medical related achievements, try and select those that showcase your soft skills particularly in areas such as communication, leadership skills or team management skills. Leadership and communication skills, as well being able to work in a team are today considered as essential attributes in healthcare professionals.
Look out for Part 2 for more tips on writing your residency statement!