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Residency Personal Statement Samples and Feedback

Residency Personal Statement Samples and Feedback

Match Application Blog

Residency Personal Statement
Samples and Feedback

Residency Personal Statement Samples and Feedback
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I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want my team to help you with your Residency Application, click here.

Think of your personal statement as your unique chance to share your journey! It’s like a hidden gem in the residency application. Let’s make sure program directors are eager to meet you with a standout personal statement.
Dive into this post, where we’ve gathered some fantastic personal statement samples to inspire and guide your own residency application journey!

Sample 1: The Role Model | General Surgery

“Medicine is not a job, it is a way of life.” As the son of a cardiothoracic surgeon, my father’s mantra constantly echoed in my mind. I was raised in an environment where sacrifice and duty were familiar concepts from a young age. While my father did his best to balance work and family life, there were countless occasions when he had to prioritize his patients and commitments over personal events. Seeing his dedication and the impact he had on the lives of his patients, residents, and staff left an indelible impression on me.

After four challenging years studying biomedical engineering in undergrad, I was fortunate to be accepted to the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. While I was genuinely fascinated with almost every discipline of medicine, I had a particular interest in surgery. To give myself time to mature and explore this path further, I elected to take a research year after my second year of medical school and was able to secure a position in the laboratory of Dr. Seth Reigns, director of the Miami Transplant Institute. In the lab, I was tasked with characterizing Regulatory CAR-T cell populations in nonhuman primates. Excitingly, we found that two infusions of Regulatory CAR-T cells are able to prolong renal allograft survival in the absence of traditional immunosuppression. From a clinical perspective, witnessing the transformative impact of liver transplantation on critically ill patients was awe-inspiring. The chance to participate in donor procurements and witness the miraculous recoveries of patients postoperatively further solidified my resolve. Dr. Reigns, a true life-giver, provided me with a profound appreciation for the field of transplant surgery.

During my research year, I had the opportunity to hone my research skills and make significant contributions. However, it was my immersive experience as a third-year clerk on the trauma service that solidified my desire to pursue a career in surgery. Witnessing the remarkable expertise of the chief residents and attending surgeons in swiftly assessing and diagnosing patients amidst the chaos of the trauma bay, where vital information was often scarce, left me mesmerized. The urgency with which they inserted chest tubes and promptly performed emergent exploratory laparotomies was nothing short of exhilarating and profoundly inspiring. Equally fulfilling was the privilege of accompanying these patients throughout their hospitalization, observing their remarkable recovery from being intubated in the intensive care unit to the triumphant moment of their eventual discharge. This comprehensive experience further affirmed my passion for surgical intervention and reinforced my unwavering commitment to becoming a surgeon.

In addition to my research endeavors, I also became involved with Operation SECURE, a nonprofit crisis center in Miami that offers crisis counseling services free of charge. This experience has been humbling and rewarding, particularly as I counsel individuals struggling with alcohol and substance use disorders. Drawing from my background in transplant surgery, I am able to provide a unique perspective on the long-term consequences of addiction. While surgical intervention can address these issues this experience demonstrated the importance of preventative medicine as well.

Looking ahead, my goal is to pursue a residency in general surgery, with the ultimate aim of specializing in abdominal transplant surgery through a fellowship program. I am well aware that the challenges I will face in my training are formidable, but I am constantly reminded of my father’s voice, urging me to approach this as more than just a job—a true lifestyle that demands my unwavering commitment. As I embark on this journey, I am eager to give everything I have to the field of surgery. It is my steadfast dedication to making a profound difference in the lives of patients, the pursuit of knowledge and innovation, and the opportunity to live my dream that fuels my passion for general surgery and the transformative field of transplantation.

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Commentary on Sample 1

“Medicine is not a job, it is a way of life.” As the son of a cardiothoracic surgeon, my father’s mantra constantly echoed in my mind. I was raised in an environment where sacrifice and duty were familiar concepts from a young age. While my father did his best to balance work and family life, there were countless occasions when he had to prioritize his patients and commitments over personal events. Seeing his dedication and the impact he had on the lives of his patients, residents, and staff left an indelible impression on me.

The first paragraph is what will set the tone for the entire personal statement. Ideally, you can open up with an engaging first sentence that will “grab” the reader. In this case, the applicant is providing a quote from her father describing the sacrifices that one must make as a physician. The applicant then sets up her father as a role model and the role this played in her decision to pursue medicine.

Note that often applicants feel the need to be “too creative” in the opening paragraph. A quote from a mentor or influential person or patient is ok, but you don’t have to always include quotes or extremely unusual stories. Further, recognize that some applicants will have more unique or interesting personal experiences than others. Not every applicant is a cancer survivor or has donated an organ to a family member or is the product of a war-torn country. The overall goal of the personal statement is to provide a concise, polished essay demonstrating your motivations for residency. Along the way, you tell your story while highlighting key aspects of your personality and CV.

After four challenging years studying biomedical engineering in undergrad, I was fortunate to be accepted to the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. While I was genuinely fascinated with almost every discipline of medicine, I had a particular interest in surgery. To give myself time to mature and explore this path further, I elected to take a research year after my second year of medical school and was able to secure a position in the laboratory of Dr. Seth Reigns, director of the Miami Transplant Institute. In the lab, I was tasked with characterizing Regulatory CAR-T cell populations in nonhuman primates. Excitingly, we found that two infusions of Regulatory CAR-T cells are able to prolong renal allograft survival in the absence of traditional immunosuppression. From a clinical perspective, witnessing the transformative impact of liver transplantation on critically ill patients was awe-inspiring. The chance to participate in donor procurements and witness the miraculous recoveries of patients postoperatively further solidified my resolve. Dr. Reigns, a true life-giver, provided me with a profound appreciation for the field of transplant surgery.

During my research year, I had the opportunity to hone my research skills and make significant contributions. However, it was my immersive experience as a third-year clerk on the trauma service that solidified my desire to pursue a career in surgery. Witnessing the remarkable expertise of the chief residents and attending surgeons in swiftly assessing and diagnosing patients amidst the chaos of the trauma bay, where vital information was often scarce, left me mesmerized. The urgency with which they inserted chest tubes and promptly performed emergent exploratory laparotomies was nothing short of exhilarating and profoundly inspiring. Equally fulfilling was the privilege of accompanying these patients throughout their hospitalization, observing their remarkable recovery from being intubated in the intensive care unit to the triumphant moment of their eventual discharge. This comprehensive experience further affirmed my passion for surgical intervention and reinforced my unwavering commitment to becoming a surgeon.

These next two paragraphs are perhaps the most important. Here the applicant dives into what made her want to become a general surgeon. She talks about her research  experiences in a surgical lab and her clinical experiences with her mentor Dr. Reigns. Note that while she is not simply rehashing her CV, she does mention her academic accomplishments and drives key points home. Note that while the applicant elected to open the first paragraph with a quote from her father, she could have also chosen to open with an internal thought or reflection from these clinical experiences with Dr. Reigns (i.e., “I’ll never forget the moment we completed the venous anastomosis and ended ischemia time. Blood began perfusing the pale liver as it pinked up.”)

In addition to my research endeavors, I also became involved with Operation SECURE, a nonprofit crisis center in Miami that offers crisis counseling services free of charge. This experience has been humbling and rewarding, particularly as I counsel individuals struggling with alcohol and substance use disorders. Drawing from my background in transplant surgery, I am able to provide a unique perspective on the long-term consequences of addiction. While surgical intervention can address these issues this experience demonstrated the importance of preventative medicine as well.

This paragraph draws on another crucial experience that the applicant had outside of the lab/OR. Remember, you are presenting yourself as a whole person so it is important to mention any other influential experiences (volunteering, service, etc.) that you are particularly proud of. Also, note that while the applicant is serving as a crisis volunteer, she circles back and relates it to her prior experiences above.

Looking ahead, my goal is to pursue a residency in general surgery, with the ultimate aim of specializing in abdominal transplant surgery through a fellowship program. I am well aware that the challenges I will face in my training are formidable, but I am constantly reminded of my father’s voice, urging me to approach this as more than just a job—a true lifestyle that demands my unwavering commitment. As I embark on this journey, I am eager to give everything I have to the field of surgery. It is my steadfast dedication to making a profound difference in the lives of patients, the pursuit of knowledge and innovation, and the opportunity to live my dream that fuels my passion for general surgery and the transformative field of transplantation.

The final paragraph is also very critical. Here you should mention your long-term goals. It is ok to be vague and specific at the same time. Finally, you should try to tie things up and if possible, connect them to any comments made in the first paragraph. Here the applicant paraphrases her father’s quote that opens the personal statement. Finally, the applicant affirms their choice for applying to general surgery and provides an optimistic look on their future training.

As a final note remember that the personal statement is just one piece of an entire application. While it is important most applicants do not get an interview based on a personal statement, however, rest assured some applicants do not get an interview based on a poor personal statement. The vast majority of personal statements (~85%) are simply acceptable documents that tell your personal journey while mentioning key aspects of your application. They are well-written, logical, and polished with no grammatical errors. A small portion (less than 5%) are truly incredible literary documents that are beautifully written and tell an incredible story. Still, these personal statements will likely do little in the way of getting you an interview. Finally, the remaining 10% of personal statements are the ones that can have your application dismissed. These personal statements are unpolished, contain grammatical errors, or are trying too hard to fall in the top 5% and come across poorly.

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Interview Preparation

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Sample 2: The Firefighter | Emergency Medicine

For as long as I can recall, it seemed my destiny was always to become a firefighter. Growing up as the son and grandson of two generations of City of Toledo Firefighters, I witnessed firsthand the selflessness and bravery displayed by these everyday heroes. They were the first responders who fearlessly confronted emergencies, rushing into flaming buildings and establishing deep connections with the community. It was their dedication that inspired me to follow in their footsteps. However, my path took an unexpected turn after high school when I decided to take a position working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) prior to college.

During that transformative year, as I immersed myself in the world of emergency medical services, I had the privilege of interacting with emergency physicians both in the field and in the trauma bay. During these experiences, I was immediately captivated by their ability to think critically, remain calm in the face of chaos, and save lives. It was in those moments that I realized my true calling lay in the field of emergency medicine.

Coming from a blue-collar family, I understood the importance of hard work and determination. As the first person in my family to pursue a college degree, I enrolled in Owens Community College to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Pre-medicine. During this time, I continued to work as an EMT on weekends and during summers, financing my education through steadfast commitment and sheer determination. After two demanding years at the community college, my efforts were rewarded when I earned a full scholarship to the University of Toledo to complete my bachelor’s degree before gaining admission to the Toledo School of Medicine.
From the moment I stepped into medical school, my decision to pursue emergency medicine remained resolute. However, I recognized the value of acquiring a comprehensive understanding of various medical disciplines, as emergency medicine demands proficiency in almost every aspect of medicine. I approached every clinical rotation with enthusiasm, eager to develop the diverse skill set required to excel in the dynamic environment of the emergency department.

As a testament to my passion for the field, I took the initiative to establish the University of Toledo’s Emergency Medicine Interest Group, creating a platform where like-minded individuals could come together. Through this group, I organized lunch talks by members of the department and facilitated shadowing opportunities for first and second-year medical students. Furthermore, I dedicated two months of elective time to work alongside emergency medicine residents and physicians during prehospital care rotations across Toledo, solidifying my passion for the specialty.


Looking ahead, I envision a future where I split my practice between a large teaching academic center and an underserved, rural community. In the academic center, I aim to contribute to the education of residents and students, sharing my experiences and expertise to shape the next generation of emergency physicians. Simultaneously, I am deeply committed to serving in a rural or underserved setting, where I can make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need. I believe that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves access to high-quality emergency care, and I am eager to provide comprehensive and compassionate medical services to underserved populations. With the unwavering motivation and dedication inherited from two generations of first responders, I am ready to embark on the next phase of my training in emergency medicine.

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Sample 3: The impoverished| Primary Care/IM

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” These powerful words, spoken by my mother, have echoed in my mind since childhood. Growing up in a single-parent home on the south side of Chicago, my mother worked tirelessly as a nurse in Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s emergency department. Every night my brother and I would wait for her to arrive after her shift ended at 7 pm. As she shared stories of dedicated physicians and life-saving interventions, I began to view these doctors in the same manner my friends viewed superheroes or sports stars, inspiring me to pursue a career in medicine.

As an African American in a neighborhood lacking professional role models, the path to becoming a physician seemed distant if not impossible. However, my mother’s belief in the power of dreams instilled in me the courage to strive for the extraordinary. With determination, I worked diligently throughout grade school and middle school, propelled by the aspiration to transcend the limitations of my circumstances. Eventually, I was admitted to Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, a magnet school named after a civil rights activist and one of my personal heroes.

Continuing to embrace every opportunity, I was able to attend Northwestern University on a full academic scholarship, where I immersed myself in neuroscience studies. Additionally, I dedicated my time as a tutor, providing support to underserved children in my former neighborhood. Witnessing the impact of education and healthcare disparities further ignited my passion for addressing these inequities.

Entering the University of Chicago Medical School, I embarked on a transformative journey. During my third-year clerkships, I discovered my calling in primary care and internal medicine. Although initially drawn to the fast-paced environment of the emergency department, I found the thoughtful, cerebral approach of internal medicine captivating. Each day, I eagerly embraced the challenge of unraveling complex medical puzzles, weaving together a patient’s diverse comorbidities to form a comprehensive list of differential diagnoses.

Following my third year, I took a gap year dedicated to serving underserved populations in Chicago. This experience provided a profound understanding of social determinants of health and the importance of preventive medicine. It solidified my commitment to bridging the gaps in healthcare access and outcomes, particularly within urban communities like my own.
Looking forward, my vision encompasses practicing as a primary care physician in an urban academic center, where I can not only provide compassionate patient care but also mentor and inspire medical students and residents. Furthermore, I aspire to conduct research that addresses social determinants of health, striving to make tangible improvements in my community.

Reflecting on my journey, I realize that my mother’s quote encapsulates the essence of my pursuit. With each step I’ve taken, from the dinner table conversations with my mother to my experiences in medical school, I have seen firsthand that dreams can indeed be transformed into reality. By embracing the challenges, dedicating myself to lifelong learning, and advocating for equitable healthcare, I am ready to embark on a fulfilling career in internal medicine—a path that resonates with my values, aspirations, and the indomitable spirit instilled in me by my remarkable mother. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” These words, once whispered to me at the beginning of my journey, now reverberate with even greater significance as I stand at the threshold of a future where I can make a lasting difference in the lives of others.

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Sample 4: The War Survivor| Internal Medicine

The Afghan Civil War erupted when I was in elementary school. Soon after, the Taliban occupied Afghanistan, and, as a girl, I was barred from my school. I had always dreamed of becoming the first female doctor in my family, and this was a goal that required extensive education, let alone elementary school. My family uprooted everything to migrate to Pakistan so that I would be able to continue my education. Living in a country where we were not welcomed, bearing financial burdens, and worrying about safety issues, especially for girls, were the least of the challenges we faced, but that did not hold me back.

Still, that was not the last challenge I faced. When I graduated high school, I could not afford to attend medical school in Pakistan. Instead, I accepted the offer to serve as a teacher at our community school. Teaching at such a young age, tutoring those similar in age to me, and managing a class of thirty students taught me a great deal of discipline and leadership, skills which I have since carried with me throughout my career.

A decade later, the Taliban regime was finally over. We returned to Afghanistan, and I attended the entrance exam for Kabul Medical University. Among thousands of other participants, I was part of the lucky 25% who passed the exam. My endurance had paid off. Finally in medical school, I found myself fascinated by the detailed knowledge and interdisciplinary approach of my internist attendings. Their synchronized orchestration of patient care resonated with my experiences managing diverse students, while their instructive whiteboard sessions on pathophysiology echoed my own tenure at the front of a classroom. These encounters served as enlightening examples, aiding me in sculpting my identity as a burgeoning physician.

On my internal medicine rotation, I was responsible for the care of a patient with multiple myeloma. His low hemoglobin level led to significant limitations in his daily activity. His symptoms were initially attributed solely to his condition, but I was not satisfied with this explanation. When I ordered his iron studies, we were able to diagnose him with concomitant iron deficiency anemia. An iron infusion quickly helped improve his quality of life, which was precious to my patient, as I knew from the time I had spent with him. That ability to help my patient made me finally feel like the doctor I aspired to be. I had found my home in internal medicine. The convergence of laboratory tests, imaging studies, and critical analysis to reach a diagnosis fuels my desire to become an internist.

Despite my passion for internal medicine, women in Afghanistan faced scant opportunities in this field. This was due to a lack of female mentors and sociocultural constraints against females being on night shifts in predominantly male hospitals. Undeterred, I embarked on another journey away from home, this time to the United States. Here, I secured a position as a medical scribe, working in tandem with various healthcare providers. This experience allowed me to absorb their expertise, familiarize myself with the U.S. healthcare system, and diligently prepare for and ultimately pass the USMLE exams.

I have come a long way, and still have a long way to go. My accomplishment of becoming my family’s first female doctor fills me with pride. Yet, I aspire to achieve more – to become a distinguished internist and an empowering role model for the women of Afghanistan. I intend to personify the belief: if you dare to dream, you are destined to achieve.

What Does Our MATCH Application Package Include?

Personal Statement Editing

Our editing includes not only language but also context, structure, and content advising.

ERAS Application Editing

The editing goes beyond language and grammar corrections to structure, design, and content based on your personal story and achievement.

Interview Preparation

The best way to learn something is to do it. That’s why we divide our interview preparation sessions into two parts.
Mock Interview + Feedback

Residency Advising

We are able to provide you with the guidance you need at any step of your journey to make it to your final goal!

Sample 5: Changing Specialties| Internal Medicine

When I was a senior in high school, my girl scout troop would organize weekly medical trips to rural parts of our community, working with local physicians to provide basic medical services to underserved patient populations. I was particularly struck by the excellent care and bedside manner of one of the physicians who used his bilingualism to connect with a non-English speaking patient who had faced significant challenges in accessing care. The doctor’s small gesture left a lasting impression on me, and, for the first time, I realized not only the curative but also the humanistic power of medicine to connect with patients across cultural barriers and in some of their most vulnerable moments. Though I had always had a proclivity for science, it was not until that moment that I had ever seriously considered a career in medicine.

In medical school, I was captivated by pre-clinical coursework in pathology and lectures on disease pathophysiology. I was torn between pathology and internal medicine during my clinical rotations, as I enjoyed the cerebral, deductive nature of each field and the fact that neither was limited to a single organ system or patient population. The opportunity to be the frontline diagnostician and to utilize advanced equipment and laboratory methods eventually won me over to pathology.

However, during my pathology residency, the pendulum started to swing back toward internal medicine. I vividly remember the turning point in my decision making. I was staring down the barrel of my microscope at dozens of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes on a peripheral blood smear. I paged the internal medicine team to help confirm the diagnosis of cerebral malaria. Hearing the excitement and celebration of the medical team on the other end, who had been struggling to identify the etiology of the patient’s undulant fevers and fatigue, I felt a pang of envy, a distinct feeling that I was missing out on the human factor of medicine.

Similarly, in my research on the utility of galectin-3 immunohistochemistry staining in papillary carcinoma of the thyroid, I found myself increasingly drawn to the human impacts of scientific investigation. For example, after my successful completion of several experiments, our department was able to secure funding to examine a wider range of malignancies. I was particularly excited when my research enabled our hospital to offer estrogen and progesterone receptor testing and hormonal therapy for breast cancer patients. I quickly realized that I did not just want to diagnose but to directly treat patients, and with each passing day, I yearned more for the ability to heal through empathic listening and the formation of meaningful rapport with patients.

Eventually, I decided to undertake the goal of retraining in internal medicine. To this end, I elected to travel to the United States to undertake hands-on clinical experiences. My time in the U.S. gave me firsthand exposure to a complex healthcare system and a deeper appreciation for the impact of advanced diagnostic technology, cutting-edge treatment modalities, and patient-centered, evidence-based care. I also gained confidence in my abilities to function as a member of a large, interdisciplinary care team, drawing on a skillset I had cultivated from many years of leading my girl scout troop and performing in church choirs.

I aspire to enter a residency program with an emphasis on strong clinical skills training, excellent research opportunities, and a dedication to clinical mentorship. Moreover, I want to be part of a program with strong camaraderie among residents and faculty and a spirit of collegiality and tireless dedication to patient care. Ultimately, I believe that my background in and extensive knowledge of pathology, my compassionate disposition, and my penchant for diligence and collaboration will make me a strong applicant to your residency program. Thank you for your consideration of my application.

Looking for a detailed ERAS Application Template with samples of various experiences?
Hopefully, these samples will help you draft an excellent personal statement to tell the great story of your medical journey! If you need help with editing your personal statement or having an expert lay an eye on it and give you comprehensive feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out to us HERE!
Need guidance on crafting that perfect personal statement? Swing by our blog “How to Write a Good Personal Statement for your Residency Application” for a fun walkthrough on creating a standout residency application statement.
Good luck with your application and always remember, The Match Guy is here for you!
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How to Write a Good Personal Statement for your Residency Application? Examples of Residency Personal Statements

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How to Write a Good Personal Statement for your Residency Application? Examples of Residency Personal Statements

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I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want my team to help you with your Residency Application, click here.

How to Write a Good Personal Statement for your Residency Application? Examples of Residency Personal Statements

The personal statement 📝 is the part of the residency MATCH® application in which I find the most mistakes. Many applicants do not even realize there are problems in their personal statement because the process of self-evaluation requires significant skill and insight. Furthermore, most applicants do not have access to high-quality personal statements to which they can compare their work. Therefore, I am writing this blog to help you navigate the personal statement writing process and provide you with templates of what a good personal statement should look like.

If you need help with your personal statement editing, please reach out to us on this page.

 

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What should you say in your personal statement 📝? 

 
Although there is no one template for a personal statement, it is highly recommended that you include the following elements:
 

 

1-Why are you interested in the specialty 🩺?

  

You should try to convince the reader why you are interested in the specialty to which you are applying. Avoid cliché templates that you see online, and make sure that your interest in the specialty is as personal as possible by incorporating your experiences learning about it and what elements of this specialty most appeal to you. Think deeply about the reasons and the stories that pushed you to pursue this specialty before you start writing, and then you can put these experiences into words. 

Bad example: I am interested in internal medicine because of the long-term relationships with patients, diversity of pathologies, and intellectual challenges.

Good example: My interest in internal medicine started during my first month of clinical rotations. Seeing the diversity of patient presentations and the application of evidence-based medical knowledge in solving patients’ problems is what really drew me to the field.

As you can see from the ‘good’ example, rather than listing boilerplate characteristics of internal medicine that anyone can find online, I attempt to link my interest in the field to personal experiences.

Get FREE exclusive sample personal statements, letters of recommendation, and letters of interest for your residency application!

2-Why you 👩‍⚕️👨‍⚕️? 

 

Why are you a unique applicant and why you should be selected among hundreds of other applicants? 

You must be careful to not seem arrogant, but also do not be shy discussing what makes you stand out. Avoid cliché self-descriptions such as ‘hard worker,’ ‘team player,’ or ‘passionate caregiver.’ Instead, replace these with unique experiences that demonstrate your defining personal qualities in action.

Bad example: I am a hard worker, and I always did my best to succeed and overcome hardships.

Good example: Growing-up in a low-resourced country and having to work two jobs to provide living for my family while in medical school, giving up was never an option. I always thrived in challenging situations, guided by both my diligent work ethic and a spirit of unrelenting optimism in the face of setbacks. My life experiences have imbued me with resilience and perseverance, qualities that will no doubt benefit me in residency.

As you can see here, I did not say that the applicant is a ‘hard worker.’ From the story, you can easily conclude that they have the resilience and perseverance required to overcome the challenges of residency.

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3-What are you looking for in a program 🏥?

 

This part is not a ‘must’ like the previous two. However, including what type of programs you are looking for can help program directors to gauge whether you are a good fit. When discussing this point, you can emphasize factors such as good clinical training, research, camaraderie among the residents and the faculty, or any other important program elements you are seeking.

Since ERAS allows you to submit multiple personal statements for different programs, you can tailor these personal statements based on the programs to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for programs that focus on research or to those that value clinical excellence, you can write two personal statements that reflect these respective emphases.

Additionally, if you are applying for two specialties, you can write two personal statements (one for each specialty).

Good example: I am looking for a program that offers me the clinical training to become a competent internal medicine physician in addition to providing me with the acumen to conduct pioneering research.

What Does Our MATCH Application Packages Include?

Advisor UNLIMITED Access

We get how stressful the residency match process is, so we're here for you - communicate with your personal advisor ANYTIME you need!

Personal Statement Editing

Our editing includes not only language but also context, structure, and content advising.

ERAS Application Editing

The editing goes beyond language and grammar corrections to structure, design, and content based on your personal story and achievement.

Interview Preparation

The best way to learn something is to do it. That’s why we divide our interview preparation sessions into two parts.
Mock Interview + Feedback

4-Career goals 🎯

 

A group of people jumping in the air Description automatically generated with medium confidence


Your long-term career goals are another important piece of information to include in your personal statement. Read about the programs to which you are applying to ensure that your professional goals align with their educational philosophy and outcomes. If you are interested in conducting cutting-edge research during your residency, then it may not be a good idea to apply for a program with no research infrastructure or research output.

Examples of career goals include practicing in an academic setting, being involved in resident and medical student education, conducting research studies, or performing clinical duties in a large academic center or a low resource hospital (or some combination or variation of these). Again, try to understand the programs that you are applying to so they align with your career goals.

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5-Hobbies and interests
 

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The hobbies and interest section is another optional part to include in your personal statement where you list the activities outside of medicine that interest you. This section illustrates the qualities and passions that make you a unique candidate, whether it be winning a medal🏅in a competitive sport🏃🏀🤺🏇⛷️🏄🏊, training as a ballet dancer, or playing the bagpipes. Try to explain how the skills you gained from this hobby or extracurricular activity will translate into making you a better resident/doctor.

Example: During medical school, I was a member of our local basketball team that won the national championship multiple times. Basketball taught me perseverance and the importance of putting the team’s interest over individual achievement and success. I believe the same principles apply to medicine in that even the most brilliant surgeons or physicians, cannot work on their own; rather, they must work together and combine their individual expertise to achieve optimal outcomes for the patient. I can think of many instances in which I applied this mindset in collaborating with other medical students, nurses, and attending physicians on my clinical rotations in order to provide the best possible care for a patient.

 

6-Weaknesses and how you address them ❌😳

 

Sometimes there are obvious red flags on your CV that every program director will notice, such as low STEP scores or multiple attempts on the USMLE exams. It might be a good idea to explain why this happened or how you overcame these hurdles and what you learned in the process. Others disagree with the idea of addressing weaknesses in your personal statement and prefer that you explain them during the interview if you are asked. My personal preference is to explain why the red flag happened if you have a reasonable explanation and story

Looking for a detailed ERAS Application Template with samples of various experiences?

7-The introduction and the end 

 
The introduction and the end of your personal statement should be the most engaging parts to read. Experienced writers tend to start with a catchy opening hook to grab the reader’s attention and often end with a paragraph that refers to the beginning of the personal statement, thereby bringing the story full circle.

For example, if you were talking how a family member’s medical problem encouraged you to pursue a particular specialty, you might start with a quick introduction talking about this experience, and then end with a line or two referring back to the introduction and stating how it has informed your future career goals. The introduction and conclusion paragraphs are the hardest to write but can also serve to make your personal statement stand out.

 

8- Why the US?

 

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If you are an international medical graduate (IMG), you might consider adding a few lines talking about why you chose to train in the US.

 

Mistakes to avoid when writing a personal statement for residency the application

 

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1-Starting too late

 

One of the biggest mistakes that applicants make when writing the personal statement is that they start a week or two before the application deadline. I personally started mine two months before the application deadline. This timeline allowed me to write multiple drafts before sending it to my mentors and residents for review and feedback.

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2-Submitting the first or second draft

 

I recommend that you do multiple revisions before you submit your personal statement. Before I submitted my final personal statement, it had gone through over 20 drafts. This number is just to give you an idea of the lengthy transformation process between the initial draft and the final product. Your personal statement should be the best version of your story summarized in 500-700 words. Your goal is to convince programs to invite you for an interview so they can get to know you better!

 

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3-Not getting feedback

 

I highly recommend you have your personal statement reviewed by an individual (or individuals) with experience in personal statement editing. This might include residents or mentors who have edited other applicants’ personal statements in the past, residents who went through this process and know how it works from personal experience, or even professional advisers. Try to seek out people who will provide you with structural edits, if needed, and not just superficial grammatical edits. I helped many students with personal statement editing by suggesting a complete overhaul of their original structure so that their story would shine through more effectively. I am happy to help students with significant editing and re-writing. You can check our website to learn more about our personal statement editing.

Keep in mind that the more you show your personal statement to others, the more revisions you will receive. You do not have to accept every individual’s revisions or suggested changes, but take them into consideration and keep those changes that you think are most effective at conveying your desired message.

 

4-Using online templates

 

Stay away from using online templates because you want your personal statement to be as personal as possible. It will definitely take you more time to create your own personal statement, but then again that is why it is called a ‘personal’ statement. You must spend significant time and effort so your personal statement does not look like the hundreds of other applications each program receives. The purpose of the templates in this blog is to provide examples rather than for you to copy these in your own personal statement. This would constitute plagiarism and could get you into serious trouble.

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5-Talking about why you got into medical school

 

If you are applying for residency, focus on why you want to enter a certain specialty rather than why you got into medical school. You are past the medical school experience at this point and you should not take a significant portion of your personal statement talking about what influenced you to choose medicine in the first place. You can definitely discuss that in a couple of sentences, but no more than that. Focus primarily on the specialty to which you are applying.

 

6-Having it too short or too long

Try to keep your personal statement around 500-700 words and discuss the points that have been mentioned above. Do not make it so short that people cannot understand your story or so long that it becomes boring to read.


7-Lacking structure and flow
  

Many students think that the main issue with their personal statement are problems with the English language, whether in regard to grammar or word choice. However, this is an easily fixable problem. The major mistake I find in most personal statements is a lack of flow in the content (jumping from one idea to another) which makes it difficult for the reader to follow. That is why a structural edit of a personal statement takes significantly more time. I recommend you stay away from services that only change a few words here and there to make the language correct. Seek structural edits if needed. It’s definitely good to have a personal statement free of grammatical errors. However, what is most important is having nice flow and structure that makes your story enjoyable to read.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about personal statement for residency applicants

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Do I have to write a personal statement for the residency application?

 

Yes, you must write a personal statement for your ERAS residency application.


When should I start working on my personal statement?

 

Around 1-2 months before the application deadline.


How long is the personal statement for the residency application? How many words should a personal statement be?

 

500-700 words.


Can I write multiple personal statements for my ERAS application?

 

Yes, you can assign different personal statements for different programs and different specialties.

Don't risk your residency match chances with an average ERAS application. Allow our experts to enhance your accomplishments using our comprehensive ERAS CV editing services.

How many personal statements should I write for my ERAS application?

 

You should write at least one personal statement for your ERAS application. However, you can write as many as you like. You can assign different personal statements for different programs and different specialties. You can only submit one personal statement for each program.


Do you recommend editing your personal statement by non-m
edical professionals?

 

I would not recommend having your personal statement edited by a non-medical professional only, as they often will not understand the nuances of the residency Match process. Having good command of the English language is completely different from having a good sense of structure, flow, and content needed to successfully be accepted into a residency program.


How do I write a strong personal statement? 

 

Check the parts on what to include in a personal statement and the templates on this blog to help you write an effective personal statement.


Do you offer personal statement editing?

 

If you need help with personal statement editing, check out our re-write and structural edit services on this website.

Do you want our experienced team to edit your Personal Statement?

Is my personal statement an important part of the application?

 

Yes, definitely. Your personal statement tells your story and achievements, many of which get lost in your CV. Moreover, some of your interviewers might only have access to your personal statement but not your CV.


How do you write a personal statement for residency application?

 
 

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1-Start early

 

Starting early gives you the time to write multiple drafts and for other people to thoroughly review and provide feedback on your personal statement.

2-Start with bullet points

 

Write all the ideas and the topics you want to discuss you in your personal statement without necessarily making them into full sentences. At this stage, you are just trying to identify what you would like to include rather than how you are going to narrativize it. After you create your map of ideas, pick the ones that you think would be the most relevant and transform them into compelling text.

3-Start with the first draft

 

Expand on the points you chose from the previous step. Do not worry if the language is not perfect, because at this point, you are still far away from your final draft. Try to discuss why you are interested in the specialty, why you are unique, why you should be chosen for this spot, and what kind of programs you are looking for. Do your best to craft a memorable introduction and ending.

4-Go onto the second draft

 

Give it a few days to a week before transitioning to your second draft. This gap will allow the ideas to settle in your mind and for you to focus on those ideas and language choices that best convey the story you are trying to tell.

5-Send your personal statement to others

 

At this point, you can start sending your personal statement to friends who are experienced with editing and reviewing personal statements. Do not send it to random people you do not know because your personal statement is a confidential document, and it is unlikely that their advice will be of much value to you. If you do not know any people who are experienced with personal statement editing, seek professional guidance. I cannot tell you how many people have reached out to me to fix personal statements that they already paid for because the cheap service they first consulted was bad. You get what you pay for! If you need help with personal statement editing, check our re-write and structural editing service on this website.

6-Revise

 

After you receive feedback from others, do not accept every revision or suggestion blindly. Make sure that these suggested changes reflect the points you are most hoping to convey in your personal statement. However, if the person offering the advice is experienced in personal statement editing and/or the residency Match process, it is worth incorporating as many of their suggestions as possible.

At this point your personal statement is almost ready, and you can change a few things here and there until you are ready to submit the final version.

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Interview Preparation

The best way to learn something is to do it. That’s why we divide our interview preparation sessions into two parts.
Mock Interview + Feedback

The FREE Personal Statement Template

 
 

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‘Females can never be surgeons!’ These were the words that resonated in my ears every time I expressed my interest in surgery. My medical school tutors, family, friends, all dissuaded me from pursuing this course. In a patriarchal society like the one I grew up in, women were expected to adhere to restrictive cultural norms. Thankfully, I persevered.

Growing up in war-torn Iraq made for a difficult and unusual childhood. War and fighting were the norm, as were constant displacement and unstable living situations. Due to the unrelenting violence that ravaged the country since before I can remember, the emergency room in my medical school hospital, Al Mosul University Hospital, was constantly flooded with trauma patients.

The combination of diverse cases and shortage of clinical staff proved the perfect storm for piquing my surgical interests, as I was afforded the opportunity to perform tasks typically reserved for first and second-year residents. Though I quickly rose to the intense demands of working in Al Mosul’s ED, my male colleagues would often remind me that surgery was not an appropriate avenue for women, and that I should instead choose an ‘easier’ specialty that would allow me to focus on raising a family. For me, however, the decision was crystal clear. Surgery was the perfect blend of manual dexterity and methodical decision making. I was not only fascinated by the diversity of surgical cases, but also by the surgeons’ abilities to repair and heal the horrific war injuries. Seeing patients who suffered bomb blasts on the brink of death be stabilized through expert surgical intervention sparked my passion for the incredible restorative power of surgery. The fast pace, required precision, and the exquisite coordination of working as part of a surgical team further cemented my interest.

At a local surgical conference, I was fortunate to meet a visiting US surgeon who was in Mosul as part of his mission trip to Iraq. After speaking to him at length about my burgeoning interest in the field, he encouraged me to follow my passion, and even helped me secure several rotations in the US. It was during these rotations that I received my first exposure to the US healthcare system, from its incredible access to technological advancements unheard of in most Iraqi hospitals to its focus on cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce. Following my rotations, I spent two years as a post-doctoral clinical researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), investigating longitudinal outcomes for trauma patients who sustained debilitating war injuries. My research years were transformational, not only providing me a robust foundation in clinical research, but also giving me a deeper appreciation for the positive impact of holistic care on trauma patients’ lives and wellbeing. As a result of my experiences at BWH, I hope to enroll in a program with equal parts emphasis on surgical and research skills development and that embraces diversity as a core value. Following my residency, I aspire to return to Iraq and continue to treat patients suffering from trauma, conduct research on optimizing outcomes for trauma patients, and educating the next generation of surgeons.

As a female growing up in Iraq, I faced many challenges during my quest to secure a residency spot in the US. Despite the discouragement of tutors and family members as well as the daunting prospect of starting a long and difficult journey in a new country, I am steadfast in the pursuit of my professional dreams. I have one goal that I will keep fighting for in the years ahead: an unwavering commitment to make a difference in patients’ lives and empower women in Iraq and around the world to help me make that difference. My message to those women who, like me, are told by those around them that they can never be surgeons: do not be discouraged. Let their words fuel your strength and fight to make the world a better place for yourself and your patients!

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I wish you the best of luck with your residency application. Here are some more personal statement samples that can help you draft your own personal statement. More Personal Statement Samples

By   Malke Asaad

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