Residency Personal Statement Do’s And Don’ts

December 30, 2013

A Gap Medics student observing surgery in Tanzania Writing a residency personal statement can be quite a challenging task and many students will feel lost when they sit down to write it. The very fact that you are expected to pen your entire existence on one single page can seem very daunting.

The important points

It’s difficult to figure out what would be appropriate to add on your personal statement and what it is that people would like to read. Here are some pointers that might help you understand what you can add to your residency personal statement.

  • Do create an outline and begin with a list. You will need to make a note of your strengths. Once you have those down, group all the important things into separate paragraphs. It will not be possible to fit in everything so just pick the points that are very prominent and impressive.
  • Do be positive when you are writing your personal statement. The truth is that no one really wants to read anything that downgrades other specialties or sounds whiny or has a complaining tone to it. Negativity is always frowned upon and you should always maintain a positive note.
  • Don’t try to add a humorous strain to the content unless you are confident you can pull it off well. Most school authorities are not really looking for humor in a personal statement and some attempts can be truly disastrous and can have an adverse effect.
  • Do be concise and stick to the one page limit.
  • Do maintain a good balance in what you write. Spotlight your strengths but ensure that it does not border on the egotistical side. You might find it a little awkward to write about your own strengths and praise yourself but once you begin writing, you will find that it is not too difficult.
  • Don’t be repetitive. Make it a point to avoid repeating facts or achievements that you have already made a mention of in your CV. The purpose of a personal statement is not to read a comprehensive list of all your extra-curricular activities and accomplishments
  • Do add a personal touch to the statement. It should sound like a story. You should be able to narrate why and how you really care about the field that you are going to be stepping into.
  • Do ask friends and family to read your personal statement for the residency. Though you might not like all the advice that comes your way, use some people as a sounding board. Use your judgment but getting inputs from others is important. Try to get some advice from people who write well. Sometimes others around you might point out some of your strengths that you might not have considered at all.

It can be difficult to summarize your entire life in a single page, but it is not impossible. The trick lies in going about it the right way.