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What should you write about in your residency personal statement?
Let’s create a residency match personal statement plan.
This “residency match plan” will be similar to the successful plans that we’ve created for thousands of our students over the last decade.
Let’s get started:
Below is a list that will help you get started and an, of course, a successful example residency match essay.
Where should you start?
Start with something catchy to engage your reader. The first one or two sentences are pivotal. If the opening of your essay bores your reader, he may stop reading.
End with a strong conclusion to leave a lasting impression.
Never make this common residency match mistake:
Do not use cliché phrases such as “I like internal medicine because I enjoy working with patients.”
Avoid quotations. The personal statement is about you.
Remember this mantra, show don’t tell.
It is better to “show” through example or anecdote rather than “tell.”
Here’s an example:
Instead of writing “I find the specialty of internal medicine interesting,” explain why, specifically, you find the specialty interesting and what experiences have led to this conclusion.
Avoid this mistake:
Avoid general statements like: “It was rewarding.”
Instead offer specific details about what made an experience rewarding.
Is your paragraph too generic?
With every paragraph, ask yourself if someone else could have written it and, if the answer is yes, go back and make the paragraph unique. You don’t want your written work to be generic.
Do not regurgitate your CV.
Do not regurgitate your CV or write about something that can be read elsewhere in your application.
Do not repeat yourself.
With each sentence, ask yourself, “Have I already said that?” If the answer is yes, hit delete.
Remember to use an active voice:
Use the active rather than passive voice.
Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs.
Your essay should be authentic. No matter what advice others have given you, your essay must be a reflection of you and must be, as the title suggests, personal.
Don’t overuse the word “I.”
And remember these 3 winners:
Be self promoting but not arrogant.
Don’t be negative.
And finally remember this one.
Avoid medical jargon and abbreviations.
Looking for a residency personal statement example?
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.
This post was adapted from How To Be an All-Star Residency Match Applicant: From the First Year of Medical School to Match Day. A MedEdits Guide. by Jessica Freedman MD
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