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6 Must Do’s for Writing your Residency Personal Statement

by winnell

I’ve got you covered this residency cycle!

Spell Check & Grammar

Spell check and grammar is more important than content. By this, I mean that most residency programs are doing quick reads  of personal statements. Many program directors have said that personal statements are usually standard and there’s very few that actually stand out. The ones that stand out positively are in the minority and the ones that stand out negatively are usually due to grammatical or spelling errors that can actually hurt your application. You can also take advantage of the Grammarly to check for any errors. The World’s Best Grammar Checker

Get to the Point

Your essay doesn’t have to be screen writer worthy. Your residency personal statement is to portray the person that you were before medicine, during and  in the future of medicine. You’re not there to be a novelist. While some people may have that gift of writing, you are supposed to simply paint a vivid picture of who you are through the paper and hit all of the most common points.

Keep it One Page

The final draft should be one page on Word or Google Doc. Your personal statement should be one page typed, non-spaced on Word with12 point font. It has to fit that one page on the ERAS portal.  So, just know that if it’s over one page the second page will most likely not be read.

Intense Proofreading

It is very important for your personal statement to be seen by a fresh pair of eyes. By this, I mean you should have atleast 3-5 proofreaders. You should have one who is  a really great writer and will   more readily pick up grammatical and spelling errors. You should have a reader who is a peer or colleague  who is also applying to residency or an attending physician who has applied to residency in the past. You should also seek proofreading from someone who is outside of Medicine. Those outside of medicine  may provide a different perspective that you didn’t consider.

Expect Multiple Edits

The essay will likely need 10-20 edits before finalizing.  Don’t feel bad if you find yourself revising your essay a dozen of times. I don’t even know how many revisions and edits I had but it was probably over 15 at the bare minimum.

Structure the Five Paragraphs

Your personal statement should be a five paragraph essay. The first paragraph should be an opening sentence that paints a descriptive picture . Then, the following sentences will describe the experience that led you to Medicine.  The last few sentences of your introductory paragraph will state what specialty you’re interested in and how that opening story led you there. The second paragraph should explain some of your past interests that have led you to Medicine. This could be some of your volunteering experiences, previous career opportunities or research  opportunities. The third paragraph should describe your clinical years in medical school and how that made you realize you wanted to be in the specialty that you are applying for. The fourth paragraph should include some of your current personal experiences and personality traits that have molded you into this healing and clinical profession. The final paragraph which is the fifth paragraph should detail what you look forward to as a physician and tie that into your initial first paragraph of the essay. This paragraph should also explain the kind of residency you are looking for in order to establish your goals as a physician. You should also speak to your future career interests and how they would resonate with the perfect residency that you desire.

If you would like to have personal statement revisions and more one on one chats about the residency cycle, let’s connect further on Instagram or email for more advice!

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