December 5, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Even though a personal statement is all about you and it should be written to give a peek into your life, there are certain things that you should try to avoid while writing your statement.
Whatever the lapse in your record, whether it is a missed year or low academic scores, it is best not to play the blame game or complain about your bad luck or unfortunate circumstances. Misfortunes and missed opportunities are a part of life and learning to accept them shows your maturity. Instead, when you have to explain a blemish on your records, simply make a brief mention of it and instead elaborate on what you intend to do to improve in that particular area.
Humour can be kept for after you get the residency. In your personal statement, stay away from jokes no matter how relevant you think it is to the situation. There’s no way for you to know who will be reading your essay and whether or not they share your sense of humour. Coming across as a wise guy in your essay will more than likely get you crossed off the list of likely candidates.
If after you are done writing you find that your statement does not fill up a page, it’s tempting to repeat a few points that you’ve already mentioned, especially those that you think will show you off in a better light. Avoid that temptation. In the interest of brevity and holding the reader’s interest, if you’ve mentioned something once, there is no need to repeat it. Your statement should be brief, clear and concise and move smoothly from one point to the next without repeating anything at all.
Writing a residency personal statement is truly a labour of love and it can be really difficult to be objective about something that you’ve taken so much time and trouble over. Once you’ve written, rewritten, proofread and tweaked your essay to the best of your capabilities, you should give it to a professor or a senior student from medical school or a family member to go over it and give you some feedback. It’s easier for a fresh pair of eyes to see something you may have missed. Take their feedback and act on it to improve your statement so the final product is perfect in every way!