Personal Statement Recommendations

When crafting your personal statement for your residency, there are some tips to keep in mind. The personal statement should supplement and complement your CV. After reading it, someone should understand:

  1. Who you are
  2. How you developed an interest in the specialty
  3. What your important, relevant experiences are
  4. What attributes will make you a good resident
  5. What your professional goals are

Most of the other considerations are similar to instructions in all writing: Write in full sentences, avoiding abbreviations and jargon. Try avoid repetitive sentence structure, poetry and make sure to keep quotes to minimum. While it’s OK to use a thesaurus, you should keep in mind that a) if you don’t use the word regularly, you might not use it properly, and b) the point of a personal statement is to introduce yourself, so it should still sound like you.

Once you have written a draft, set it aside, then review later. Be sure to ask your specialty advisor to review.  Make sure you (and someone else) proofread your final draft.

Here are some pointers for writing an interesting and effective personal statement:

  • Start early
  • Have multiple versions
  • Write a focused essay covering the basics, 4-5 paragraphs and less than one page
  • Address any academic issues (elephant in the room) at the start
  • Do not make a list of excuses explaining your negative records
  • Write in full sentences and use correct grammar and spelling
  • Always do a spellcheck
  • Don’t use abbreviations and acronyms
  • Avoid repetitive sentence structure
  • Express yourself in a concise, less pretentious style
  • Write to spark some interest for the reader
  • Do not try to be “too cute”
  • Do not use the pronoun “I” too much
  • Be honest and consistent with the rest of your application