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Residency Personal Statement Examples from Matched Residents

Residency personal statement examples

Use these residency personal statement examples as a reference as you are working on  preparing you residency applications . The following are printed with permission from our own past successful students who worked with us as part of our  application review  programs. If you are having trouble getting started, you are not alone. Many students find that the personal statement can be one of the most challenging components of the  ERAS  or  CaRMS  residency applications. However, your personal statement can make or break your application. Get started on the right track by following the guidelines outlined for you below reviewing the emergency medicine residency personal statement example , pediatrics personal statement example , cardiology personal statement example, and more..  

This blog will outline what types of things to include in your residency personal statement. It will also give you 10 examples of personal statements from 10 different specialties written by actual students who matched into those fields. Reviewing personal statement examples is also good essay writing practice if you decide to write a residency letter of intent . Many of the same principles you apply to the personal statement can be applied to other application materials as well, so consider this review comprehensive. Believe it or not, personal statements also entail a great deal of self-reflection, which means they also function as a great review for residency interview questions , like the “tell me about yourself” residency interview question .

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Article Contents 39 min read

Residency personal statement example #1: family medicine.

During the pre-clerkship years of study in medical school, I enjoyed learning about the many specialties within medicine and actively considered pursuing several of them. I was drawn to the complex pharmacology of the drugs used by anesthesiologists, the acuity of care faced by emergency medicine physicians and the complicated medical issues of patients cared for by internal medicine specialists. I also found myself interested in psychiatrists’ thorough history-taking and the technical skills in performing procedures exhibited by surgeons. It started becoming clear to me that I was interested in many different areas of medicine. I began realizing that I wanted a career that combined the many things I enjoyed in different specialties. A family physician has the flexibility to practice all of these facets of medicine. As clerkship drew nearer, I knew I wanted to gain more clinical experience in family medicine to see if it would be a good fit for me.

My clinical experiences in family medicine were fantastic. I worked with family physicians and family medicine residents not only during my core family medicine rotation and family medicine electives, but also during my psychiatry, surgery, anesthesiology, and pediatrics rotations. These clinical experiences confirmed my belief that family medicine is a diverse and exciting specialty; family physicians, while maintaining a broad base of medical knowledge, can tailor their practices to the needs of their communities and to their own interests and areas of expertise. During my family medicine rotation and electives, I also found myself greatly enjoying my encounters with patients. I enjoy hearing patients’ stories and sorting through their many medical and psychosocial issues. I am also naturally a fastidious person. Being a thorough history-taker and a meticulous recorder of details helps me in formulating a complete story about a patient. My joy in interacting with patients and my attention to detail allow me to appreciate patients as people, not just as disorders or diseases. I am both interested in learning about and have a certain affinity for, family medicine clinical experiences; pursuing a career in this specialty is an obvious choice for me.

The versatility and diversity of family practice initially drew my interest but the wonderful encounters I had with family physicians solidified my desire to pursue a career in this specialty. These family physicians have not only been skilled and knowledgeable clinicians but also, variously, dedicated teachers, researchers, and administrators. They were committed to improving their clinical skills by attending continuing education lectures and courses. They practiced patient-centered care and were knowledgeable about community resources that may help their patients. They worked cooperatively with other health-care professionals to improve patient care. Importantly, these physicians have also been friendly and approachable towards both learners and patients. The family physicians I have worked with also strive toward a healthy work-life balance; all of them seemed to have many interests and hobbies outside of their professions. These clinicians demonstrated to me what being a family physician involves: practicing both the science and art of medicine, advocating for patients, guiding patients through the health-care system, being committed to improving clinical knowledge and, importantly, maintaining one’s own health and happiness.

Being sure of the specialty I want to pursue is the first step in my career. There are many learning opportunities ahead. [Name of the program]’s family medicine residency program is attractive in so many ways: the protected academic days, the opportunity to participate in research and, most importantly, the clinical curriculum, all appeal to me. I believe the solid foundation of family medicine experience, as well as the exposure to other specialties, alongside the opportunities to build the skills necessary for life-long learning through the academic experiences and research, make this an ideal program for me. On a personal note, I grew up in [hometown] and did my undergraduate studies at [name of university]; I would be thrilled to return to my hometown and a university already familiar to me. My career goals after finishing my residency include having a community-based, urban family practice and being actively involved in teaching residents and medical students. I am also open to being involved in research and administration. Career goals, however, may change as I progress through my training. I am excited to begin the next stage of medical training and begin my residency in family medicine!

1. Emphasis on why the applicant wants to enter that specific specialty

This family medicine personal statement example does a great job of explaining why the applicant wants to enter that specific specialty. Their interest is clearly stated and the decision to enter the field is well explained. The author does an excellent job of talking up the specialty and stating what they like about the field based on their clinical experience. For your residency personal statement, you want to highlight any influential moment you had during these experiences. If you had a certain “aha” moment, you might mention this. If demonstrating this commitment is difficult for you, you can always find a reputable ERAS application review service .

2. Intentions are clear

Clearly stating your intentions and using the program's name makes your statement personal and stand out. It shows that you pay attention to details and that your goals and passion align with what the program offers. Use strong, precise language when you are writing. You only have about 800 words, so state your intentions and keep your story clear.

3. Personal connection is established

This particular applicant has a personal connection to the city in which the residency would take place. This won’t be true for every applicant, but if it is, be sure to make room to mention it as long as it fits with your personal narrative. In this example, the applicant also ties this in with one of their goals: having a community-based, urban family practice. In your personal statement, you should merge these elements together for a more cohesive essay.

What to Include in Your Personal Statement

Most residency programs, whether through  ERAS  (US-based) or  CaRMS  (Canada-based) require applicants to submit a personal statement or letter. Some programs will include specific instructions for what they wish you to talk about, while others will not give you a topic. When you’re doing your research for residency programs you want to apply for, you should also take a look at the selection criteria. Each school will have its own rubric that they use to evaluate candidates, so it’s a good idea to review these before you start working on your personal statement. Here is an example of some information stated by McMaster University regarding their residency selection criteria:

“Programs may consider a range of criteria in making their selection decisions for interviews including but not limited to: Medical School Performance Report (MSPR), scores on standardized tests, interest in and aptitude for the discipline, reference letter, experience in research or other scholarly activities, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.”

ERAS, as well as most CaRMS programs, ask that your statement be within a one-page limit, about 750-850 words. Please check the specific program requirements through the ERAS or CaRMS websites.

The experiences in your  residency CV  can be used to help you indicate why you are applying to a particular program and how you came to that decision.

1. Introduction

Typically, your residency personal statement will have three to five paragraphs, which you will use to divide the introduction, body, and conclusion. The personal statement is a formal essay, so you must adhere to the proper structure. The introduction is for you to capture the attention of the reader; for this, you will need a strong hook or opening statement. Feel free to get creative with this. The remainder of your introduction should focus on what drew you to the specialty and how your background experiences informed your decision to apply to the school and program. Your introduction should also contain a thesis statement that allows you to connect your personal background with your suitability for the program, school, and a career in medicine (in this exact specialty).

2. Body (or middle)

The body of the essay is for you to expand on a few critical experiences that made you the excellent, qualified candidate you are today. A good strategy for the body paragraph(s) is to talk about relevant clinical rotation experiences; so for example, if you’re applying to a psychiatry residency, you can talk about a specific patient experience that solidified your decision to pursue this specialty, or an experience that sticks out in your memory. This will be similar to your answer to the interesting case residency interview question . Your goal should be to use these experiences to address your specific interests, goals, and what makes you a good fit for the program. Do some research into the program format, the patient population you will be working with, and the clinical environment. This will help you connect your experiences with what the school/program offers.

3. Conclusion

You might be thinking that once you’ve written a strong introduction and body, the conclusion will be simple. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. You need to use the space in your conclusion to tie everything together and show enthusiasm for the program and for your future career. You can revisit a few key points here to highlight them once again and to relate them to what you’re hoping to gain from the forthcoming training experience. Show passion, determination, and consistency throughout your letter and tie up any loose ends in the conclusion. Some applicants will use this part of the letter to mention a specific goal they want to achieve in residency, such as working with specific faculty members or research plans. You may also mention aspirations to complete a fellowship or what you want your future practice to look like.

Here's why "show, don't tell" is the most important tip for any personal statement:

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Brainstorm Ideas

  • What makes you right for this specialty?
  • What experiences drew you to this specialty?
  • What appeals to you about this specific program?
  • Do you have any experiences working in the city of the program you’re applying to?
  • How will your residency training help you achieve your goals?
  • What are some of your personal strengths that will allow you to contribute to the program?
  • What evidence do you have that you possess those strengths?
  • Do you have any research/publications that align with the research the school is doing?
  • Do you have any gaps in your medical education or evaluations that you would like to address?
  • What’s something you think the program director should know that isn’t obvious from your application materials?

  Growing up the first-born daughter of a hard-working Saskatchewan cattle farmer and hairdresser, medicine was never a consideration. In a small town, I could easily see how too much free time got many of my peers in trouble. From grade 8-12 I devoted myself to sports, playing high school, club and provincial beach volleyball, weeknights and weekends year round. Despite my small stature and lack of innate abilities, with determination and persistence, I overcame these obstacles. At the end of my grade 11 year, I received an athletic scholarship and chose to pursue business administration and athletics.

After the first six months, it became apparent that I was not going to attain my full potential in education at [university name}. Despite my parent’s reservations, I left and enrolled at a [university name] for the next semester. This university was much more challenging as I was now balancing my educational and financial responsibilities by working evenings and weekends managing a number of part-time jobs. With little direction as to what degree I wanted to pursue, I happened to enroll in anatomy and physiology. This was the first time I became really excited about my future prospects and began actively considering a career in medicine.

The first time I applied to medicine, I was rejected. Despite my initial devastation, in hindsight, it was a great opportunity for myself to reflect on my own motivations for medicine and work as a laboratory technician at a potash mine in my hometown. I gained additional life experience, spent time with my family and was able to help financially support my husband’s pursuit of education after he had so selflessly supported me for many years.

My first exposure to anesthesia was in my first year of medical school with [Dr. name here] as my mentor in clinical reasoning. I was again, intrigued by the anatomy and physiology with the interlacing of pharmacology. I remained open to all specialties, however, after summer early exposures, research, and clerkship it became clear to me that anesthesia is where I felt the most fulfilled and motivated.

In a way, anesthesia was reminiscent of the competitive volleyball I had played years prior. I was again a part of a team in the operating room with a common goal. Similarly, our countless years of education and practice had brought us together to achieve it. In volleyball, my role was the setter, which to many is considered a lackluster position as we rarely attack the ball and score points with power. However, as a setter, my role is to set the pace, strategize and dictate the game from my team’s perspective. There is a long sequence of crucial events before a “kill” in volleyball and I strategized my teammate's individual strengths in both offense and defense to win. Anesthesia gives me the same opportunities to strategize anesthetics, balance individual patient’s comorbidities and anatomy all while maintaining a calm demeanor and level head through unexpected circumstances. In volleyball, I never shied away from tense games or difficult situations, instead I trusted in my own abilities and training despite uncharted territory. Lastly, I didn't need to actually score the point in order to understand my role and contributions to my team.

As an athlete, I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allow us to fail, but most importantly, to learn. I believe that the curriculum at this program will provide me with a well-respected education, which strongly reflects my learning style. I also admire the mandatory communication block in the curriculum because I believe an emphasis on clear and concise communication, is essential as an anesthetist.

Throughout the course of the next 5-10 years, I anticipate that both my husband and I will complete the next chapter in our educational pursuits. We both agree that [program name here] has the potential to nurture the next chapter in both our private and professional lives if given the opportunity.

What Makes This Sample Effective?

1. the theme is personal and consistent.

In this anesthesiology residency personal statement example , the author of this passage carries the theme of athletics throughout the statement. Having a theme can unify your personal statement and give it direction. This is a good example of a way to use a theme to tie together different ideas. Having a good theme is also something you should keep in mind when you’re answering anesthesiology residency interview questions , as program directors want to see that this particular specialty choice wasn’t simply drawn out of a hat; rather, your emphasis on a theme can demonstrate that your choice was intentional and the right fit.

2. The tone is positive throughout

Also, take note of how the author explained the transition to different schools without speaking negatively of the institutions. In your own personal statement, feel free to use the names of the universities you attended. They have been redacted here for anonymity. This statement has parts where you could customize it. Use the name of the program when possible or the name of the town. Taking time to add this into your statement shows the program that you pay attention to detail while personalizing it to each program.

3. Lessons learned apply to medicine

The writer of this personal statement relies on analogy to connect their experience to their interest in anesthesiology: “I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allow us to fail, but most importantly, to learn.” This analogy works so well because it shows why the applicant is suited to the program and specialty, it reveals an important aspect of their personality with evidence, and it sets expectations for how they want to contribute to the field. In your essay, you can use a similar strategy by tying together a major life theme or event with what you learned and how that applies to your medical training.

I was six years old when my father read to me the first chapter of “How Things Work.” The first chapter covered doors and specifically, the mechanics in a doorknob. What lay hidden and confined in the door panel was this complex system that produced a simple action. I credit this experience as the onset of my scientific curiosity and eventually my passion for complex systems found in medicine. Intensivists vigilantly maintain homeostasis within the human body, a complex system in and of itself, a concept I recognize as personally fascinating and enticing. I find myself especially drawn to the field of critical care and intensive care medicine. My dreams to become an intensivist would be highly complimented by a residency in surgery.

In critical care, each patient in the ICU is usually in a general state of shock. From the initial state of shock, the patient can be further complicated with comorbidities and chronic diseases that may require further intensive medical intervention so that they may recover from a recent surgery or traumatic event. This dynamic nature of the ICU is not available in every unit of the hospital and the high level of acuity does not suit everyone. I, however, enjoy the high energy of the enthralling, engaging and exciting environment offered by the ICU. I am personally energized and awakened by managing patients with surgically-altered physiology coupled with comorbidities. There is an overwhelming satisfaction when a patient following a bilateral lung transplant gets up from his bed and walks through the unit after days of being bedridden, or the moment we can discontinue the lines we had the patient on and finally talk to them after two weeks of intubation and sedation. Being in the ICU also encompasses the emotional seesaw of going from a successful patient case to a room in which a family has just decided that comfort care is the best way to proceed, which gives me chills just to type and verbalize.

The work of an intensivist is not only limited to the patient, but also the emotional well-being of the patient’s family as well. My involvement in the ICU has taught me that sometimes it is necessary to talk to a patient’s family, to explain to them simply that the postoperative expectations that they had had, may not be met. Communication is key in this field, both with the patients and the physicians of the OR. Communication prevents perioperative complications, establishes a willingness to follow directions and relays professionalism. It is important for an intensivist to have an excellent understanding of surgical procedures, so that they may explain to the patient what to expect as well as ease the nerves of the patient preoperatively. A surgical residency would facilitate this understanding and undoubtedly prove to be useful in my future training.

Studying medicine in Europe has taught me volumes about myself, how driven, motivated and open-minded I can be. To move so far away from home and yet be so familiar with the language, I feel blessed to be able to say that I’ve had a high level of exposure to diversity in my life. The mentality in [insert country name here] is if you don’t see the doctor, you are not sick. This common thought has to lead to an outstanding environment to study medicine and to see end-stage, textbook presentations of various pathologies and their management. Studying medicine in two languages has in itself taught me that medicine is a language and that the way a patient presents, conveys themselves, and the findings of the physical examination, all represent the syntax of the diagnosis. This awareness has reminded me that patient care, relief of patient suffering and illness, transcends the grammatical rules of the patient’s native tongue. My clinical experience in [insert country here] will aid me in providing thoughtful care to my future patients.

All things considered, I am ready to leave my home of the last four years and come back to the United States, to enter the next stage of my life and career. I am ready to work harder than ever, to prove myself to my future residency program and most importantly, learn so that I may be a suitable candidate for a future fellowship program in critical care. My experiences abroad have constantly pushed me to new horizons and encouraged responsibilities that I don’t believe I would otherwise have. I’ve developed a new level of human connection through my work in the ICU, the OR and my travels throughout Europe. These experiences will aid me in working with a diverse patient population and a diverse team of physicians. I hope [the program name here] can give me the variety and the background in surgery that I will need to succeed.

1. Atypical experiences are justified

This surgery personal statement example has to do double duty for the admissions committee. It has to explain why surgery, what this student can offer, and why this student is passionate about the field while simultaneously explaining why the applicant chose medical school abroad. If you are applying to a country where you did not attend medical school there, you have to explain why you studied abroad. This often poses a challenge for students. Be honest and positive about your experience. This student did an excellent job of explaining why it was such a good fit for their personality while highlighting the advantages of this experience.

Focus on the characteristics you gained from your experience abroad. Explain how your experience will translate into success in your residency. There are many things to be gained from having spent time outside of your home country. Talk about the skills you developed from living abroad. Unique details like those will set you apart when you are writing your statement.

2. Makes unique experiences an advantage

This applicant studied abroad in Europe. The way they talk about it is key: they explain how the experience was a challenge that they learned from. Most programs and schools are looking for medical school graduates who can contribute to their vision of diversity. If you have experience travelling abroad, this is a good chance for you to explain how this enriched your perspective and professional capabilities. Some of the skills that this applicant discusses are assets for a career in medicine: speaking two languages, exposure to diverse people and methods, and the ability to work with a large patient and physician population from different backgrounds. If you endeavor to explain some of your diverse experiences, be sure to make it clear what you gained and how you can apply it to your residency training.

3. The writer’s voice and style are unique

To get matched to the program and school of your choice, you will need to stand out from the crowd. To do this effectively in your personal statement, give your writing a unique style and allow your personality to shine through. In this example, the writer achieves this in the first paragraph in the “hook” in which they describe when their father used to read “How Things Work”; this life event left a lasting impression, and the writer links this to why a residency in surgery would benefit their goal of becoming an intensivist. With a first draft, it’s okay to experiment with word choice and content. Make sure you include all the necessary elements and formatting requirements, but try your best to put the “personal” in personal statement. Note that this is a general surgery example; if you were applying for plastic surgery or neurosurgery, you should read plastic surgery residency personal statement examples or neurosurgery personal statement examples for a slightly varied essay strategy.

Writing a residency personal statement? Here are the top books for residency applicants:

Residency Personal Statement Examples #4: Emergency Medicine

One of the most surprising things that I learned through my emergency medicine (EM) electives is that working in an emergency department is like leading a horse. I grew up on a farm in the [name of city], and working with animals was very much a part of my childhood. When walking a horse, one must be prepared for anything should the animal become spooked. It can startle at any moment and one must react quickly and calmly to redirect the thousand-pound creature. Similarly, in EM, one never knows when the department is going to become “spooked” by what comes through the door. EM is exciting, with a variety of patient presentations and medical procedures done on a daily basis. I enjoy dealing with the unexpected challenges that arise in caring for patients with backgrounds vastly different from my own. It would be a privilege to gain the skills as an emergency physician to provide acute life-saving care, to connect patients with resources and other healthcare professionals, and to provide comfort to patients and families in the settings of acute loss or difficult diagnoses. I feel that the [name of program] is the ideal path to reach that goal.

First, the [name of program] offers additional support and training to continue to perform research and other scholarly activities. Through my experience in quality improvement, I have learned of the value of research and how it can be applied to practical problems. For instance, while volunteering in a pool rehabilitation program for individuals with neurological disabilities, a patient who I had worked with for a year tragically suffered a fall and broke his hip leaving him significantly disabled. This led me to research inpatient falls during medical school and I initiated a quality improvement project and presented at several conferences, quality improvement rounds, and meetings with hospital stakeholders. After several years of work, I am very proud that this led to the implementation of a province-wide quality improvement initiative funded by [name of organization]. This initiative is physician-led and is aimed at reducing inpatient falls across [name of city]. This project demonstrated how rewarding research is when it can be translated into tangible initiatives and is why I am particularly interested in quality improvement research. I look forward to more dedicated time in the [name of program] to develop my research skills and to apply quality improvement to EM.

In addition to increased training in research, the [name of program] offers the opportunity to subspecialize within EM. While in medical school, I helped my single mother raise my much younger siblings and this has inspired my interest in pediatric EM. I maximized my studying through the effective use of weekly group study sessions and podcasts to allow for free weekends to return home to spend with my brother and sister. Through my experiences teaching and playing with my siblings, I have learned to deal with children in a calm and friendly manner. I used these skills to maintain positive therapeutic relationships with children during my pediatric EM rotation at [name of hospital]. For instance, I was able to cast the forearm of a frightened child by first demonstrating the procedure on her toy rabbit, and then calmly fitting a cast on her arm. I enjoy the emphasis on patient and family education as well as the focus on making the patient feel safe and cared for. I would love to explore this field further as my niche within the [name of program] in emergency medicine.

Alongside research and pediatric EM, I am also interested in teaching. Some of my fondest memories involve the evening teaching sessions during primary and secondary school spent with my grandpa, a retired teacher. My grandpa modeled effective teaching techniques, first assessing my knowledge and then expanding on it by asking questions and providing guidance when needed. Similarly, some of my best memories in medical school include the five-minute bedside teaching sessions after interesting cases that were taught in that way. Inspired by many residents and staff I have worked with, I look forward to expanding my teaching role in residency. Like my grandpa and my clinical mentors, I hope to help future students maximize their learning potential through the delivery of lectures and bedside teaching. Training within the [name of program] would allow additional time to develop the skills necessary for this, through increased exposure to mentorship, teaching role models, and opportunities to be involved in curricular development.

I would feel privileged to join the resident team in the [name of program]. I was fortunate that most of my core clerkship training including EM, as well as my fourth year EM elective, was at the [name of hospital]. What stands out the most to me most about working in the [name of hospital] is the tight-knit community feel in the setting of a high volume, high acuity ED. I value that the small program leads to a cohesive resident group and staff who are invested in their learners. Furthermore, from my rotations there, I know the ample procedural and hands-on exposure residents get from the beginning of their training. With my interest in pediatric EM, I value the longitudinal exposure to pediatrics at [name of program], with opportunities to do dedicated pediatric rotations both at [name of hospital], as well as [name of hospital]l. Finally, the [name of city] is my home; my family and friends are here, and I love the hiking, fishing, kayaking, and snowboarding that are all less than an hour away. I would be incredibly honored to have the privilege of pursuing EM in the [name of program], and look forward to serving my community.

Read some more Emergency Medicine Personal Statement Examples !


The thought of caring for severely ill children seemed disheartening and overwhelming when I first began shadowing [name of doctor] at [name of hospital] five years ago. I was very nervous. While some of the cases were indeed difficult, my experience was starkly different. In one of our first cases, I quickly jumped in to comfort a scared child suffering from kidney disease. The mother of our patient confided in me about her son's struggles with bullying due to the disfiguring edema. I felt how much she appreciated being able to share her son’s challenges with me. Throughout my clinical experiences, I saw that caring for a pediatric patient often involves delicately navigating complex social situations and family dynamics. From that point on, I knew I had both the passion and compassion to succeed as a future pediatrician.

I am particularly keen to complete my residency at the [name of school], because I had such an immersive learning experience completing 5 years of research with [name of doctor] at [name of hospital] and at [name of hospital], not to mention [name of school]'s stellar international reputation. The incredibly high standard of excellence at [name of school], as well as [name of city] being my hometown, make the [name of school] my top choice to complete my residency. To further demonstrate the excellent education, I remember a time while shadowing at [name of hospital] in the genetics clinics where we discussed the pathophysiology of Bartter’s syndrome. The residents were having a hard time understanding this disease, but [name of doctor] explained the exact pathophysiology and downstream effects of it. The incredible intellect, mentorship and leadership [name of doctor] demonstrated has inspired me to pursue a nephrology fellowship upon completion of my residency.

During my elective rotations in [name of cities], I saw indigenous pediatric patients with a variety of ailments from hypoglycemia to cystic fibrosis. I spoke with them about the struggles of travelling long distances to obtain care. As an Inuit member of the [name of group], I have spent time reflecting on the medical needs of this much-overlooked population and hope to explore ways of reaching out to underserved populations in my future career.

I am prepared to be a leader and engaged learner in my residency program because of my participation in impactful leadership roles. I am currently the president of the [name of society], where one of my main duties is coordinating the [name of initiative], an initiative that teaches children about hospitals and healthy living. I was able to spend one-on-one time with disabled children teaching them about the heart through dance and instruments and activities to decrease fears associated with hospitals. This demonstrated the importance of promoting health care initiatives for kids and educate families and their children on how to be advocates of their own health.

As a competitive Irish dancer for sixteen years, I developed perseverance, determination, and time management that have been critical throughout my medical school training. Competing in front of judges and thousands of spectators all over the world, performing to my best ability under intense pressure was a necessity. I persevered with the challenge of competing at an international level and still maintained a very high level of academic performance while achieving my career high of second at the World Championships.

As an IMG applicant born and raised in [name of city] and educated in [name of country], I believe that my international education provides many advantages. I was exposed to diverse cultures and innovative ways of thinking from teachers from all over the globe at the [name of college] that I hope to bring back to Canada with me. Through the last 6 years, I have also had many research experiences and clinical electives in Canada that have given me insights into the intricacies of the Canadian Health Care system.

I am confident that pediatrics is the field I wish to pursue and I cannot wait to begin my residency so that I can start becoming an excellent clinician who advocates for children, as well as a scholar involved in research projects that will help advance the field. After successfully completing my pediatric residency program, I plan to pursue a pediatric fellowship. I am excited at the prospect of working and learning at the [name of school] while being an active and professional member of your residency program. I am also looking forward to developing my teaching skills and contributing to the community while also enjoying bike rides down the paths in the [name of path] and to be reunited with my [name of city] based family.

Want to see more Pediatrics Personal Statement Examples ?

“Code blue, electrophysiology laboratory” a voice announces overhead during my cardiology rotation. As the code team, we rush to the patient, an elderly man in shock. Seamlessly, we each assume our preassigned roles. I quickly review his chart and note to the team-leader that this patient had a previous EF of 10 percent and just got cardioverted. Vasopressors administered, intubation, central line secured, and the patient is stabilized and sent to our floor. During my rotations in internal medicine, I was constantly elated by my team’s ability to come together at such key moments. This gave me a sense of joy I did not find in other rotations. Moreover, I had inspiring attending physicians and residents who served as my mentors. They taught me that an internist is a medical expert committed to evidence-based medicine and perpetual learning, a compassionate physician, and an engaged community member. These lessons and the satisfaction of managing highly complex cases with a dedicated team consolidated my interest in internal medicine.

Compassion and a holistic approach to medicine remain quintessential for patient care. During my rotations, I took advantage of opportunities to learn from my patients both at the bedside and through independent reading. As a senior student, I prepared learning capsules that I presented to my team. This taught me to synthesize and communicate information efficiently. Beyond that, I took courses outside of the formal curriculum such as a point-of-care ultrasound course to improve my ultrasound procedural skills. When we no longer had any curative interventions to offer patients, I learned that acknowledging the patients’ suffering and being present for them in their most vulnerable time can ease their pain. As a resident at [name of school], I will continue my dedication to academic excellence and compassionate, patient-centered care in my efforts to care for my patients.

I have built strong ties to my community serving as president of the [name of school] Biology Student Union. Together, we enacted a complex study space and locker initiative through my role as a mentor at [name of organization]. These experiences instilled in me the values of proactivity and advocacy which I aim to bring with me to [name of school]. There, I hope to continue my community engagement as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of [name of city]. Moreover, as I learn more about [name of town]'s healthcare system, I hope to combine that knowledge with my medical education to add my perspective to health policy decision-making in the province.

In addition to its excellent academic reputation, [name of school]’s commitment to academic excellence and continuing education, as exemplified by the abundant academic teaching, drew me to the program. Moreover, given my belief that we develop to be an amalgam of characteristics and values our mentors espouse, I was delighted to learn about the mentorship opportunities available. This was a unique characteristic that motivated me to apply to [name of school]. Finally, having lived in [name of city] for the last ten years, I am looking forward to spending the next chapter of my life in a smaller, more tightly knit community of [name of city].

As I learned and modeled the different roles of an internist, I also learned a lot about myself. I learned of my thirst for knowledge, of my desire to treat as well as to heal the patient, and of my urge to be a leader in my community. These characteristics will play a defining role in my residency. I also learned of my passion for acute medicine. After my residency, I hope to further subspecialize in cardiology. As a future cardiologist, I aim to provide patient-centered care, conduct research, continue my community engagement, and act as a role model to future generation.

Get inspired with these Cardiology Personal Statement Examples !

Watch this to learn what red flags to avoid in your residency personal statement!

Residency Personal Statement Examples #7: Psychiatry

I grew up in a tight knit military family in a community struck with the stigma of mental illness. Throughout my childhood we lost friends to the complications of untreated mental illness including overdose and suicide. I knew at that point that I wanted to pursue mental illness and completed a psychology degree and then a nursing degree. In University, I volunteered in a distress service for 6 years, providing individual sessions to students on issues including suicidality, interpersonal violence and addiction. As a registered nurse, I honed my skills in mental status examinations and cared for their comorbid psychiatric illness with medical disease utilizing communication and building rapport. I saw the impact of life altering conditions and procedures on their mental health. As a medical student, I continued to explore psychiatry through City X summer studentship and appreciated the breadth of psychiatric practice. As a clerk, I completed a range of psychiatric electives, caring for patients in multiple care settings and across various socioeconomic and age ranges. I enrolled in the integrated community clerkship, in X town, a community 900 km North of X city. The socioeconomic disparities and lack of access to mental health services had a negative impact on community, with suicidality and addictions. I followed my patients across practice domains assessing their functioning, medication regimen and continued to build a collaborative relationship. This proved crucial to uncover their health status across domains and helped me identify areas to support their challenges. 

I value the ability to understand my patients from a biopsychosocial framework and addressing negative thought processes in support of their wellness. I view our duty in psychiatry is to support their strengths on a trajectory to wellness and provide guidance and resources utilizing pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. Psychiatry is a newer field of medicine, allowing for ongoing innovations in treatment and practice. This is exciting to explore novel approaches to treatments as we continue to uncover the physiological, neurological and pharmacological dimensions of mental health. It is also important to recognize the challenges of psychiatry. The history of mental illness creates access to care barriers from both a structural viewpoint with longer wait times and on a personal level due to their concern about the social and occupational implications of stigma. As our population ages, this threatens to overwhelm the current psychiatric infrastructure and will require more complex approaches due to medical comorbidities and medication contraindications. We will require ongoing research focused on medical comorbidities of neuropsychiatric illness and treatment modalities to improve quality of care. 

I am drawn to the University of X psychiatry program due to its resident focused approach. I appreciate the ongoing mentorship and supervision and the preparatory endeavors including the mock examinations. From a clinical perspective, the program has a strong psychotherapy curriculum and offers unique elective opportunities including electroconvulsive therapy. The ability to continue serving rural communities solidifies my interests in this well-known program. 

Check out these Psychiatry Personal Statement Examples !

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Residency Personal Statement Examples #8: Internal Medicine

“People are drawn to medicine in one of two ways: the humanity or the science.” My mentor, [name of doctor], staff medical oncologist at the [name of hospital], once told me this. As a volunteer during my premedical studies, I assisted him with his impromptu lunchtime clinics while others were on break and was able to catch a glimpse of his patients’ unshakable trust in him. Those moments sparked my interest in Internal Medicine. Internists are entrusted with the most complex patients in any hospital. Therefore, Internists take on the responsibility of a patient’s trust in their lowest, most disoriented moments. Accordingly, when I finally started clinical rotations, I saw it as my responsibility to fully understand each patient’s motivations and fears to advocate for their goals. One patient I had gotten to know still stands out in my mind. She was 95, witty, and self-assured but was found to have bone metastasis causing excruciating pain during her hospital stay. She knew she did not want aggressive life-prolonging treatment and declined further workup, but how could we help her? I suggested palliative radiotherapy to my team because I remember her telling me “I had a good life. I am not scared of death, but if I have to be around for a while, can’t I be more comfortable?” Therefore, my team entrusted me to talk to her and her family about a referral to Radiation Oncology. She responded to me with “I don’t think there’s anyone who knows what I’d want better than you. You’ve listened to me so much. I trust you.” I spent the next half hour explaining the rationale behind the referral to both her and her family. She received urgent Radiotherapy two weeks later. Her narcotic requirement decreased by more than half. After that moment, I envisioned that one day, I could also look into the eyes of someone at their most vulnerable moment and give them confidence to trust me and my team with their care.

Although my interest in Internal Medicine is rooted in the human connection, my attention to detail, work ethic, and natural curiosity, also makes me especially well-suited for the challenges of Internal Medicine. Indeed, beyond the human connection, Internal Medicine’s challenges of complex problem solving, and large ever-growing breadth of knowledge is also what makes each day so satisfying. When I was on the Nephrology Consult service, I was following a patient with a kidney transplant who was admitted for Line Sepsis. I noticed a mild Non-Anion Gap Metabolic Acidosis and a persistent mild Hyperkalemia. I presented my findings to my staff as a possible Type 4 RTA. He complimented me on my attention to detail and warned that a Type 4 RTA in a kidney transplant patient could be a sign of rejection. We restarted his anti-rejection medication that had been held due to his infection, his electrolyte abnormalities corrected in less than two days. My attention to detail is a particular asset for Internal Medicine because more than any other specialty, the tiniest details like a mildly abnormal lab work, when pieced together in the correct way, could solve the most difficult clinical problem. That is also what makes problem-solving in Internal Medicine so satisfying. My mentors have always complimented me on my work ethic. However, I enjoy staying late for admissions and additional learning or reading hours around my patients at home because learning Internal Medicine is so interesting.

On the other hand, Internists are also tasked with the very large, working with multiple professionals and navigate system issues to keep patients healthy and out of hospital such as when [name of doctor] entrusted me with planning the discharge of a homeless patient during my Medicine CTU elective at [name of hospital]. The patient had Schizophrenia and Grave’s Disease and had been admitted to hospital multiple times that year with thyrotoxicosis due to medication non-adherence. During his admission, I had elicited the help of two homeless outreach coordinators to ensure proper follow-up. Therefore, by the time of discharge, he had a new family doctor, timely appointments with the family doctor and endocrinologist, maps with directions to each appointment, his prescription medications ready to go, as well as a new apartment application.

Ultimately, I am fortunate to be drawn to Internal Medicine for both its humanity and science. I believe that I have the qualities that will help me excel in its smallest details and its largest responsibilities. In residency, I aim to explore and learn as much Internal Medicine as possible before becoming an expert in one area so I can make an informed choice and be a well-rounded physician. Therefore, the fact that [name of city] has so many leading experts especially suits my learning goals. Indeed, during my electives in [name of city], I’ve already learned knowledge that I’ve not encountered elsewhere like the Bernese method of Buprenorphine induction. The availability of resources such as the DKA management simulation and the use of presentations of cutting-edge knowledge as part of evaluation also suits my self-directed learning style. Furthermore, my research has focused on the PMCC Gastro-Esophageal Cancer Database where we were able to discover various new details in the clinical behavior of Gastro-Esophageal cancer due to the large volume of patients are PMCC and its world-class expertise. This line of research would not work as well anywhere else in [name of country]. Indeed, our database is currently the second-largest in the world. Therefore, the second reason [name of city] is my ideal place for training is for its unique research opportunities, so I can continue to contribute to further medical knowledge. Lastly, [name of city] is the most diverse city in [name of country]. Growing up as an immigrant, I had experienced how cultural backgrounds can become a barrier to receiving good medical care. Therefore, the diverse patient population and strong allied health support in [name of city] could also allow me to hone the skills required to assist me in providing good quality care to all patients, regardless of background.

Here are more Internal Medicine Personal Statement Examples !

My first exposure to Family Medicine occurred during my time as a Medical Officer working in a small clinic in Nigeria in fulfilment of the [name of service]. There, I recognized that a career in this specialty would offer me the opportunity to not only experience the aspects I cherished most about other specialties, but fulfill my personal interests in advancing community health.

My many encounters with patients during my days in the clinic reaffirmed my view of Primary care physicians as being on the frontline of diagnosis and preventive medicine. There was the middle-aged diabetic patient who had first presented to the emergency with diabetic ketoacidosis, the hypertensive man whose initial complaint of a persistent headache prompted the discovery of his soaring blood pressure, and the adolescent with a family history of allergies who was diagnosed with asthma. These encounters highlighted that as the first point of contact, the general practitioner is not only responsible for diagnosis, but often in ensuring patients are set on the path of healthy habits to prevent disease complications. This unique opportunity to significantly advance the well-being of a patient, and by extension, the community renewed my interest in the field.

An especially appealing feature of Family Medicine is that it provides an opportunity for patient care without limitations of age, sex, disease or organ system. From treating colds and routine checkups to referral for a suspected malignancy, I enjoyed that every day in the clinic was a learning experience and no day was routine. In addition, having a diverse population of patients and cases requires an abundance of clinical knowledge and I cherish the chance to learn and expand my skills every day.

I also value that an essential part of Primary care is in the enduring relationships the practitioners develop with patients. I recall several moments during my clinical experiences when I recognized that some of the bonds formed during ongoing patient interactions had evolved into lasting friendships. Being a practice of continual care, I appreciate that this specialty provides many opportunities to follow patients through different stages of their lives ensuring a deepening of relationship and compliance with care. I was inspired during my clinical rotation here in the United States when I saw how my preceptorís long-term relationships with patients enabled their compliance and often extended to different generations within one family.

Ultimately, I am confident that my experiences have prepared me for a career in this specialty. An agreeable, attentive and compassionate nature has aided me in gaining trust as well as building meaningful interpersonal relationships which are crucial components of this field. Furthermore, my interaction with an extensive array of patients during my clinical and volunteer experiences has equipped me with the ability to communicate and relate to patients across different age groups and backgrounds. In addition, I enjoy working to coordinate patient care with colleagues and other specialties and value that the wellness of the patient is a result of hard work, dedication, and teamwork.

Thus, I hope to find a residency program dedicated to providing in-depth clinical training with a diverse patient population and an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention through patient education and community service. Moreover, I look forward to being part of a program that will encourage my pursuit of intellectual development and advancement to enable my transition into a well-rounded, competent and skilled physician committed to serving people with needs in all areas of medicine. With a career in this specialty, I know that every day will bring a new opportunity to influence health behaviors, and while there will be challenges, fulfilling them will always be satisfying.

Here I am, yet again. Last year, I also applied for a position as a dermatology resident. Though I was not selected, I return with the same diligence and perseverance, as well as additional skills and knowledge. My continued dedication to pursue a career in dermatology reminds me that no good thing comes easily and pushes me to stay motivated and work hard toward my goals. 

I am drawn to dermatology for a host of reasons, one of which is the opportunity to work with my hands. In my current residency program, I have had the opportunity to assist in various surgical procedures. I recall the subdued exhilaration I felt when removing my first lipoma and the satisfaction of observing the surgeon completed the procedure with precision and care. My excitement for surgery continued to be reinforced in the many subsequent procedures I assisted with and I look forward to honing my surgical skills further as I complete my training in dermatology. 

However, to me, “hands-on” is defined as more than just its literal meaning. The opportunity to build relationships with patients steers me more towards a career in outpatient medicine. During my dermatology outpatient rotation, I was involved in the care of a patient who presented initially complaining of a heliotrope rash and gottron’s papules. When she expressed a deep sense of shame about this rash, I became acutely aware of how patient’s external disease can influence their internal emotions. I thus responded empathetically, simultaneously validating her concerns and providing her with much-needed assurance. When she was later diagnosed with dermatomyositis secondary to underlying breast cancer, this patient requested to speak to me specifically, recalling the positive interaction we had shared before. Again, I was able to explain the diagnosis and treatment plan with patience and regard for her every concern. Developing a trusted physician-patient relationship is crucial in the field of dermatology because most patients exhibit strong internal emotions from their visually external disease. Also important is the ability to deliver difficult news and be considerate of patients’ feelings in these delicate moments. I plan to continue to use these skills during my career as a dermatologist.  

To me, dermatology is also a field that is thought-provoking and stimulating due to its constant evolution and advancements. Thus, during my internship, I committed to educating myself in the field of dermatology through multiple research projects. My research thus far has been focused on whether UV light lamps used in gel manicures increases the risk of skin cancers as well as the outcomes of using intralesional 5-fluorouracil for squamous cell carcinoma and keratoacanthomas. While my research was focused in the field of dermatology, I did not hesitate to take on additional projects, pursuing assignments in both breast cancer and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. I strongly believe the best doctors have a thorough understanding of the practice of medicine in totality as our ability to incorporate this knowledge in our diagnosis and treatment of our patients directly impacts their wellbeing. For these reasons, I strive to continually educate myself in not only dermatology, but other fields that might have implications on my practice. 

My ideal dermatology program would allow me to manage a variety of complex medical dermatological conditions and engage in research, both of which will continue to challenge me intellectually and push me to exercise creativity to develop innovative solutions to dermatological treatments. As someone who enjoys working with my hands and the instant gratification of the surgical approach as a treatment option, I would also value the opportunity to perform surgeries and improve my surgical skills. Furthermore, I have found that beyond medicine, the people in each program make or break an experience. Positive attitudes, expressed dedication, and mentorship are vital characteristics in any program of my interest.

I am confident my aspirations will be fulfilled in the field of dermatology, but more importantly, I know I will be a good contribution to this field and your program – my work ethic, motivation, and commitment unwavering. I am determined, impassioned, and excited to embark on this next phase of my journey. 

Check out even more Dermatology Personal Statement Examples !

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How To Address Areas of Concern

There are some things that are out of our control. Sometimes we have to take time off to deal with personal issues, or sometimes we have to retake tests. If you have something you feel like you need to explain in your application, the personal statement is the area to address it. If you had a leave of absence or failed an exam, you should offer a clear, unemotional explanation of the situation. Use positive language. Whatever the area of concern, try and phrase it in the most favorable light. Take accountable for what has happened, but do not place blame or make an excuse. Here are some phrases you can try and use in your personal statement.

Sometimes we have to interact with people who we don't see eye to eye with. When I worked with (you can choose to say the person's name or just use their title) I learned how to (insert a lesson here). Even though it was a challenge, I have gained skills that will better my future practice. ","label":"Unfavorable Evaluation by an Attending","title":"Unfavorable Evaluation by an Attending"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

Keep in mind that these are suggestions. If you are concerned about an area of your application that might be a red flag, it may be in your best interest to address it head-on. The choice to write about them is your own individual opinion. Your personal statement should highlight the best side of you. If you think that an area of weakness might hurt your chances, it may be beneficial to take ownership of the problem and write it in a way that will show what you learned and how it made you better.

For the most part, your residency personal statement should be within a one-page limit or approximately 750-850 words. Be sure to check your specific program requirements to verify before you begin writing.

It's entirely up to you if you want to address unfavorable grades or gaps in your studies. However, if you feel something in your application will be seen as a red flag, it's best to address issues head-on instead of having admissions committees dwell on possible areas of concern.

If you're going to address a gap, just ensure that you have a clear narrative for why you took these breaks, what you did on break and what this break means for your ability to function at a very high academic level for many years to come.

If you're addressing a poor evaluation, ensure that you take responsibility for your grade, discuss what you learned and how your performance will be improved in the future - then move on. It's important that you don't play the victim and you must always reflect on what lessons you've learned moving forward.

Absolutely. While it's not necessary to discuss your personal connection to a program location, showing program directors that you have ties to their program's location can give you a competitive edge over other applicants. The reason being is that it's a way to show program directors that you are invested in practicing medicine locally.

That's not to say that you have to apply to programs that are within your home state or province, but if one of the reasons you love a particular program is because of its location in your hometown, don't be afraid to mention this. Whether you enjoy the outdoor activities in the program's location, have family and friends in the area, or even grew up in the area at some point, these can all be great aspects to mention.

Firstly, it's important to check the program's specific requirements for your statement because some programs have a specific prompt or multiple prompts that you'll need to address. If you are not given a prompt, in general, your statement needs to answer “why this specialty?” and “why this program?”. Your responses must be supported with your personal experiences and your statement should incorporate your future career goals.

No, instead you'll be preparing one personal statement for each specialty. For example, if you're applying to emergency medicine and family medicine, you'll need to prepare one statement for emergency medicine and one statement for family medicine.

As long as it's during the application season, you can edit and review your personal statement. However, keep in mind that if you edit your personal statement, there is no guarantee that programs will review the most up to date version. For this reason, it's best to only assign your personal statement to programs once you've 100% happy with the final version.

No, there is no limit on how many personal statements you can create. 

Your personal statement should have three major structural elements: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Your thesis statement will appear in your introduction in the first paragraph. The body is for you to discuss major experiences relevant to your chosen specialty, and the conclusion is generally the place to summarize and highlight some of the item you mentioned in the body or introduction.

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Residency personal statement: the ultimate guide.

residency personal statement theme

Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

Are you planning on writing your personal statement for residency? We’ll cover everything you need to know about the process.

all about your residency personal statement graphic

The residency application personal statement is an essential part of applying to programs, but it can be intimidating. We get it. It can be challenging to write about yourself and your life experiences within 3,500 characters. We’ll cover everything you need to know about writing a powerful statement!

Get The Ultimate Guide on Writing an Unforgettable Personal Statement

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Importance of Your Personal Statement in a Residency Application

The importance of your personal statement in your application cannot be overstated. Yes, you have secured solid letters of recommendation from physicians and crushed your USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) .

However, your personal statement is the one component of your application where you can make a case for yourself and leave a lasting impression on program directors. 

Think about it this way: program directors receive thousands of applications From aspiring medical residents and review thousands of standardized, quantitative factors like grades and test scores across the board. They also read thousands of essays and want to see something that will pique their interest. 

Your personal statement is an opportunity to show program directors specific qualities that make you stand out and shine . Program directors want to know the person behind the stellar numerical achievements. 

They want to know that you will thrive, reach your greatest potential in their program, and continue to have an exceptional career as a leader in healthcare.

importance of residency personal statement

Because of how competitive programs can be, your writing may very well be the tiebreaker that leads to your acceptance into a top program over another applicant. 

While a strong personal statement might not compensate for low exam scores, a weak one will definitely hurt an otherwise strong application.

Residency Personal Statement Outline

Knowing what you should include in your personal statement will help you get started. Your statement should include and reflect on a combination of the following:

  • What draws you to medicine/your specialty?
  • The desirable qualities, attributes, and skill sets make you well-suited to a  program and will help you succeed.
  • Your long-term plans as a practicing physician after you complete your program. This can include what you hope to accomplish in your residency and your preferred setting.
  • What attracts you to a particular program, and how would it make you a good fit?

Ultimately, program directors are looking for residents who are the best candidates and colleagues to work with and train. Combining the above suggestions will give program directors a good sense of what having you on their team would be like.

What to include in your residency personal statement

3 Tips to Help You Start Writing

Here are three tips to help you get started! 

1. Consider Why You’re Pursuing a Particular Residency

Before you start your application personal statement, you should be clear on why the specialty you’ve chosen is the right one for you . Program directors want to know that you have a realistic idea of what the specialty entails. 

If your writing fails to convey solid, meaningful reasons for pursuing the chosen specialty, you will likely not be invited for an interview. Don’t hurt your chances by sounding disinterested in the field or focusing on superficial aspects of the specialty, like high salaries and benefits.

UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine urges you to “remember that this is your chance to focus on your medical career objectives, i.e., what specialty you'd like to go into and what your ultimate goals might be.” 

2. Brainstorm 

To begin drafting your personal statement, brainstorm. Brainstorming allows you the freedom to be creative and informal. When brainstorming, you do not have to worry about grammar, spelling, or editing. You want to write down your ideas and get your creative juices flowing. 

After you have a body of ideas, you can work on weaving one or several elements into a strong, concise narrative. 

3. Ask Yourself Questions 

The following questions will help you get started brainstorming ideas for your personal statement:

  • What first drew you to the specialty? 
  • What are your greatest qualities, and how have you demonstrated these qualities? Focus on a few desirable qualities for a medical professional during specialization.
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • Name an experience, clinical or otherwise, that significantly impacted you. Why was the experience meaningful, and how did it change you?
  • What obstacle, challenge, or failure did you overcome, and what did it teach you about adversity?
  • When did you know you wanted to pursue your chosen specialty?
  • What is your most meaningful extracurricular activity?
  • Who are your role models? What qualities do they possess that inspire you to be like them? How does this translate in your chosen field?
  • What medical cause do you care about the most, and what led you to care about it?

Remember, brainstorming aims to put down everything you can remember with as much detail as possible without worrying about grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or revisions. 

The more details you explore while brainstorming, the easier it will be to extract and expand upon the stories you want to tell.

How to Write An Amazing Residency Application Personal Statement

Now that you have completed your preliminary brainstorming, let’s review how to write a personal statement. Later in this guide, we will review samples of other applicants’ personal statements and analyze what makes them successful.

How to write a med school personal statement

Start With A Catchy Introduction 

A captivating introduction pulls the reader in and makes them want to read to the end. Your introduction should lead with detail. Don’t rely on platitudes, clichés, and vague language . 

One way to accomplish this is to have an anecdote or two in mind that will be the central focus of your narrative. Then, introduce that anecdote while being aware of both brevity and detail. 

Focus on Things That Aren’t on Your CV

The personal statement should never regurgitate what’s already on your CV . Instead, focus on important aspects about you, your experiences, and your qualities that do not appear on your CV.

For example, if you have a hobby that demonstrates personal growth over time, tell a story about it and tie it together with your goals.

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine suggests that if you want to repeat accomplishments, ensure they’re “relevant to your personal/professional growth. You want the emphasis to encourage the reader to bring this up in the interview.” 

Talk About You and Your Desirable Qualities 

Program directors want to get to know you as an individual and what you would bring to their program. While this might seem like a no-brainer, it is important that your personal statement remains about you. 

Program directors often read narratives that include information about the program they already know and not enough information about the candidate. Shift your tone to reflect on what makes you desirable to the residency. 

When talking about your attributes, remember that quality is more important than quantity . Narrow your focus to one or two qualities, and work on incorporating them as part of your storytelling.

Make Use of Storytelling

Avoid generic and superficial declarative statements when you write about yourself and your desirable qualities. For example, don’t simply say, “I am empathetic and compassionate.” This is forgettable, and you will not stand out from all the other applicants. 

Instead, it is better and more memorable to show how you exhibited empathy and compassion by telling a story about a real event. Show, don’t tell. People will remember your name if you tell a great story.

Include What You Expect From a Residency Program 

Program directors want to know why you are pursuing their program and what you want to gain from the experience. Tie this in with nuanced details about what you have done to pursue your particular interests and how your interests will align with what the program offers. 

How will your interests and goals support their mission? What specific strengths will you add or hope to cultivate? Again, the focus should be on you and your expectations, not on over-explaining a program to its directors. 

Cite Strong Reasons to Choose a Particular Specialty

Clearly outline your interest in a particular specialty. Program directors want to know your understanding of and interest in a specialty. Highlight what you have done in your career to explore a specialty and detail some of your insights and observations. 

Perhaps you’ve researched the length of the residency and were swayed by it. Or you were intrigued by the nature of another one. The more details you can provide, the more persuasive you will be. 

For example, you might like acute care in emergency medicine but try to be more specific than that. What do you enjoy about the diagnoses and pathologies involved in emergency medicine? What do you enjoy about the patients in your care? What do you enjoy about the setting in which you will practice?

Include Your Personal and Professional Achievements 

Your achievements should demonstrate personal and professional growth over time. Your unique personal or professional achievement may not be listed on your CV. The personal statement is where you can delve into those exceptional and distinctive details about yourself that will set you apart from the crowd. 

Always uphold your credibility by being honest and authentic. People will pick up on subtle cues of inauthenticity. Remember, you don’t have to use your personal statement to convince someone of how perfect you are because perfection doesn’t exist. 

For example, if you achieve something with a group of colleagues, give credit where it’s due and don’t take the credit all for yourself. Remain true to who you are and the experiences you’ve had thus far. You don’t need to embellish or dramatize them to impress program directors. 

They’re looking for someone reliable, credible, and genuine.

Address Areas of Improvement on Your Application 

If anomalies are anywhere in your application, such as gap years or leaves of absence, address them with a brief explanation. You don’t need to dwell on areas that need improvement, and you shouldn’t provide long explanations or be defensive. 

It’s more important for your readers to see that you faced hardship but took steps to overcome it.

Deliver a Strong Closure

Lastly, end your statement with a punch. Don’t lose steam. Succinctly and naturally wrap up your story. You don’t want to end with a weak declarative statement like, “And that’s why I would be a great resident.” 

Instead, try to deliver a callback to your introduction and include the imagery and insights that bring everything together.

5 Things to Avoid in Your Personal Statement

There are certain things that you should avoid in your personal statement. As a rule of thumb, avoid topics and language that risk alienating your readers. Be aware of the following:

1. Acronyms and Jargon 

Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon. Don’t assume that your reader knows everything. Be courteous and spell everything out. According to The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), “If there’s a shorter, simpler, less pretentious way of putting it, use it.” 

2. Poor Writing Mechanics

Avoid informal, casual writing and poor sentence structure. Be professional and ensure your writing is free of grammatical and spelling errors. You don’t want programs to be distracted by errors while they read your story! 

3. Controversial Topics 

Avoid controversial topics like ethical issues, religion, and politics. You don’t want to make polarizing or offensive statements, so don’t cross the line. Even if the statements you make aren’t offensive, there’s no guarantee the person reviewing your application will agree with you. 

4. Rehashing Why You Want to Be a Doctor 

Avoid going into the origin story of why you wanted to become a doctor. You are not applying to medical school, so your personal statement should reflect deeper insights that support your professional and personal experiences. UCSF’s Office of Career & Professional Development offers this advice : 

“Presumably, new things have happened in the past four years that inform your decision to choose your specialty or career path, or that illustrate your dedication, leadership, and teaching skills, ability for empathy, etc.” Use these new experiences in your statement! 

5. Using Vague/Generic Language

Avoid vague and generic language. The most seasoned writers draw readers in with rich detail and nuance. Using descriptive language makes your statement easier to read and is much more likely to keep the reader’s attention. 

With these tips, you should be able to write your personal statement with ease.

Mistakes to avoid in a residency personal statement graphic

Get Professional Help Writing Your Residency Personal Statement

Contrary to popular belief, writers don’t need to hole up in a dark room, slouch over a messy desk, hit a wall with writer’s block, and suffer in solitude. Ask for help! Even the world’s bestselling authors need editors. 

Your storytelling ability and writing skills will only improve when you receive editorial feedback from trusted professionals. Getting professional help on writing your narrative will get you closer to being accepted at your first-choice program.

Inspira Advantage is here for you. We are an admissions consulting firm with extensive experience helping candidates get accepted to their dream programs. An expert residency application consultant can ensure you get the support you need at every step while you write and edit your personal statement.

Residency Personal Statement Examples

​​Reading examples of residency personal essays that program directors consider effective is advantageous. Not only will you gain insight into how to structure your writing, but you will also learn why program directors and career advisors find certain personal statements more successful than others. 

We’ll review two good personal statement examples below. Please note that both have been anonymized to protect the authors’ privacy. 

Residency Personal Statement Example 1

Here is an ERAS sample personal statement: 

One of my most formative memories of medical school was a patient high-fiving me. A seemingly minute detail, that moment came as a culmination of spending hours with a neurologically devastated patient. At the young age of 40, he was unable to speak or even interact with any of the dozens of healthcare workers at his bedside every day. I felt helpless, yet compelled to spend my time talking and reading to him, and urging him to do simple things like turning his head. He suddenly dramatically improved, and it peaked when he gave me a high-five during rounds, after I had playfully asked for one every day for three weeks. In that moment, I felt elation that he was able to lift his arms and regain some ability and autonomy. Pride, in the healthcare system that I had chosen to be a part of. And surprise, that he had been hearing and processing my words all this time when he had given no indication of doing so. On that last day before transfer to a rehabilitation facility, he hung onto my arm and sobbed “thank you” while refusing to let go. I was so impacted by this patient because for such a long time, he was unable to communicate his wants and needs to the outside world. 

I believe medicine is the most fundamental form of equity and equality – ensuring someone’s health is the most elemental way to ensure justice for their being. As physicians, we are inherent agents of change, on both an individual and community level. I want to bring this to people all around the world – those desperately fighting just to survive and whose voices are not being heard. Global health is my calling – a consummation between my interest in humanity and my desire to heal historical traumas. This came as a lifelong dream after growing up on both the East Coast and Midwest, having been surrounded by large immigrant and refugee populations. My vested interest in global health has been reaffirmed through my experiences rotating at a children’s hospital in [city], Ghana, and taking trainings and courses aimed at decolonizing global health. Both in and out of my passion for global health came a natural attraction to med-peds. Both medicine and pediatrics have always drawn me in as they both afford me the opportunity to provide holistic care – fitting the puzzle pieces between physical, mental, and social health. Med-peds will also help me become the best trained and most adaptable physician for anyone, womb-to-tomb, in local and global medicine due to the vast fund of knowledge I will develop. 

One reason I best fit with med-peds is my adaptability and persistence. I have faced setbacks in my academic career, the biggest of which was after I failed a course during my second year and had to retake the semester. During a hiatus, I pursued independent sociology courses to expand my knowledge base. In the new semester, I developed new study techniques to truly learn medicine instead of just memorizing it. This experience helped me form a cycle of analyzing, changing, and re-examining the way I learn in different scenarios; I built on that methodology repeatedly as modes of learning changed, as evidenced by my step exam scores. I learned the value of reaching out, and I strived to become that person to lean on for my peers going through similar hardships. I am also proud that despite flaws in my test-taking acumen that I have worked on during my later years of medical school, I have always been able to readily apply my medical knowledge in the wards and clinics in a way that is reflected by my patient care. 

Furthermore, I see multiple sentiments of the med-peds community reflected in myself. Med-peds folk are mobilizers of change, always creating life-changing and systemic reforms – ideals to which I fiercely relate. I have done my best to embody the amplification of voices that I have seen so vigorously amongst my med-peds mentors both on an individual and community level. To that end, I have always prided myself on being a strong advocate for patients and acting as a loudspeaker for their voices. On a broad level, I started an organization early in my medical training called [organization name] which aims to alleviate food insecurity in [city], which has a complex racial history causing countless food deserts. I have been excited and proud to help [organization] partner up with local organizations and the student-run free clinic to expand access to nutritious foods. I learned to engage with religious and community leaders in [city] to build strong community relationships to sustain change. To address upstream causes, I am starting a voter registration drive for patients in my institution’s safety net med-peds clinic. These experiences taught me the strategy and logistics of organizing systemic changes and enlightened me to people’s powerful stories. 

I picture myself practicing a mix of both hospitalist medicine and primary care to adapt to any low-resource community. I want to establish continuity of care amongst those who need it most while also managing higher acuity situations. After rotating in Ghana, I hope to pursue a fellowship in global health after completing my residency. My first-hand experience exposed me to the unique conditions of disenfranchised nations that are not readily discussed in the US. I hope to utilize fellowship training to gain the critical knowledge and translational skills required to establish the greatest benefit. All in all, I am excited to use my experiences and skills to provide care to every type of patient, especially in low-resource settings. I am committed to amplifying the voices of the disenfranchised and helping navigate the difficult road towards better, more equitable healthcare. If, in the process, those voices come in the form of more high-fives, I would not complain.

Residency Personal Statement Example 2

Here is another example: 

It was not even the end of the first week of medical school, and I was fighting for my life — and the life of others. On September 19th 2017, Hurricane Maria hit and battered the Island of Dominica. I woke up the next day from a concussion after being thrown 20 feet in the air during the storm. This once lush island was reduced to brown sticks, live wires, and broken glass. I survived the storm, but the destructive aftermath was our new reality. 

During the evacuations and rescue missions, I solidified my purpose to become an Emergency Medicine physician. I joined the [EMS name], which was the only organized medical personnel available. One of my most inspiring experiences was the emergency medical evacuation of a six-month-old girl. This patient was an infant with untreated pneumonia. She came in with respiratory distress to our pop-up clinic at 1am. The child was assessed by the only physician on the island and her prognosis was poor, she was unlikely to survive the night. As a student, I realized that in these critical moments I want to be the first responder to aid and to make the best decisions for the patient. She needed to be on a ventilator, and we did not have the facilities or equipment to help the child, only the capacity to provide supplemental oxygen. With limited resources, we had to secure the airway if needed, and I was given the role to disinfect plastic tubing left on the ground. As we provided supportive care, we also organized the logistics of the medical evacuation – from security to cleaning a landing zone for the helicopter. As the helicopter finally arrived at 3am, the sign of relief was clouded by the debris inadvertently thrown towards us during the landing. Despite the difficulties, all team members were safe, and we were finally able to get the patient to a definitive center of care.  

To work in medicine, one must be able to function in a team. This event gave me first-hand experience of coordination of care. I was a part of this team for the little girl and learned the importance of delegating tasks, cooperation among members, and having defined goals. Moreover, I was tested to perform under pressure and think clearly. I have been able to translate these skills as I have moved forward with my education, always considering my responsibilities within a team in order to provide the best care. We found out that the little girl survived, and I could not help but feel relieved that our efforts were successful. At times, there is not always the end result that is hoped for however, it is important to persevere and act for the benefit of the patient. These challenges faced during the hurricane also reaffirmed my desire to address the needs of the population during emergency situations. I was exposed to making quick, yet thoughtful decisions in order to produce the best plan of action. These attributes are integral for patient care in the emergency room and I hope to continue to develop these skills as an emergency medicine physician.  

As my medical school journey continued, I experienced another challenge – completing my studies on a boat. We had no internet and there was limited space. I learned to cohabitate with four students in a 20 square foot living arrangement. We were docked at [country] during the night, but the school was at sea for four months during the days and we as a school were then displaced to various locations to complete our preclinical studies including [multiple cities]. The difficulties unfortunately continued, with the pandemic occurring at the start of my clinical rotations. The adversities of my limited learning environment did affect my academic performance and impeded me from participating in research opportunities. I struggled with trying to reset my foundational knowledge and had to repeat my third semester. Unfortunately, I shared similar setbacks in my USMLE step 1. I knew that my results did not reflect my abilities to become a clinician. I adapted and made appropriate changes in order to better my scores. I worked on expanding my medical knowledge by attending workshops, study groups, and taking extra time after class to talk to my professors in order to better understand the more complicated concepts. As a result, my clinical acumen improved. I strengthened my time management skills allowing me to study more efficiently, which proved successful as I bettered my Step 2 scores. I have learned how to study well despite distractions and this will be of benefit to me as a future physician.  

I did not have the conventional education as others, however the experiences that I encountered molded me into the individual I am today. My desire to help others brought me to the Ukrainian refugee camps as they faced a desperate humanitarian crisis during the war. I was drawn to volunteer this summer in [city] and joined the [organization name] to provide medical services to displaced civilians I wanted to improve people’s well-being through community healthcare services, medical care, and mental support. Having had my own experiences with disaster and crisis, I provided much needed empathy for those people who sensed that they have lost control of their livelihood. Being able to provide support and healthcare to this disenfranchised group of people was extremely gratifying. I continue to expand on my medical knowledge through my involvement in relief efforts and through my clinical education. I have learned to manage the external stressors of my environment, along with my academic deficiencies, by refocusing my efforts into robust translational skills. It is an important facet in my practice to take care of the welfare of the individual. Emergency Medicine would enable me to do so, providing a solid foundation to continue involvement in public health affairs and ability to impactfully respond to relief efforts. 

Medicine is a universal language that transcends borders, cultures, and languages. To know that someone is there to help you in your time of need, you do not have to understand the language they are speaking to feel that impact. Emergency medicine truly has no borders. The “ER” is a centralized area of care. However, as an emergency medicine physician, I will be able to apply my knowledge outside the walls of the hospital to the rest of the world. I want to be that healing hand, to help as many lives as I can – whether it be in global health or in my surrounding community. With Emergency Medicine, I can achieve that and protect those who need help the most. I hope to continue to pursue opportunities for community aid and patient advocacy as an effective first line of care. I want to not only be able to identify life-threatening conditions, but have the capacity to treat patients and provide access to the appropriate avenues for their continued care. I will always strive to be someone who runs towards people in need, never away. 

More Sample Residency Statements

Looking for more personal statement samples that worked? These medical schools also have examples: 

  • University of California – San Francisco 
  • University of Alabama School of Medicine 
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine 

You can view these statements to better understand the tone and format programs look for.

If you still have questions about writing your personal statement, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. Is It Better to Cover All My Relevant Experiences, or Should I Discuss a Few in Particular?

When in doubt, quality over quantity. You should always aim to focus on one or two themes and include a few experiences in particular. Never sacrifice depth and detail just to accommodate quantity. If you write about all your relevant experiences, their significance will get lost in trying to compete for attention in a limited space. 

It looks better to hone in on key experiences and provide depth, self-reflection, and nuance. Your CV should list all your relevant experiences, not your essay.

2. Do I Have to Write a Personal Statement for Every Residency Program I Apply to?

No, you should not write a different personal statement for every program you apply to, but you should write one for every specialty. For example, prepare one for family medicine and one for emergency medicine. 

You do not have to completely rewrite personal statements for each specialty—you can use elements that will work across the board, like introductory or concluding sentences. Use your best judgment of what will work as a template, then tailor your personal statement for every specialty. 

3. I’m Applying to Multiple Specialties. Is There a Limit on the Number of Personal Statements I Can Upload?

No, there is no limit to the number of personal statements you can upload. Your writing should be tailored for the specific specialty.

4. How Long Should a Residency Personal Statement Be?

The length of your personal statement can vary depending on the specific requirements of the program or institution to which you are applying. However, as a general guideline, most programs recommend that essays be approximately one page long.

Typically, a one-page personal statement consists of around 750 to 850 words. Your writing should be concise, focused, and well-structured to effectively communicate your experiences, motivations, and qualifications.

Final Thoughts

Writing a residency application personal statement is stressful, but our step-by-step guide will make the process much easier as you navigate your application timeline . Now go forth and match into the residency program of your dreams. We believe in you.

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Writing the Perfect Residency Personal Statement

If you’re in your third year of medical school, it’s time to sharpen your personal statement writing skills again for the ERAS application .

The good news is you already wrote a great one that got you accepted into medical school ! Now, you’ll need to dig deep and channel the same creative spirit that was there about 3 years ago. 

Many applicants are looking for a special formula for writing a personal statement . But here’s the truth: There’s no secret formula. A fantastic residency personal statement includes well-written storytelling detailing your experiences as a medical student and why you’re an excellent fit for the residencies you’re applying to.

In this article, we’ll talk about inspiration, length, structure, and dynamic writing. Let’s dive in.

What is the ERAS personal statement, and why do you need to write one?

Your residency personal statement is similar to your medical school personal statement in that it’s your chance to directly make a case for yourself . Residency program directors use these essays to get to know you beyond your CV. They can only learn so much about you from your medical education history.

Most of the information program directors use to determine if you’re a good fit is quantitative —  GPAs, USMLE scores, etc. Odds are, these numbers will be fairly similar across the board. 

What sets you apart from other applicants will be qualitative — your personal experiences and career goals, whether you’re hard-working or a team player.

What should you include in your residency personal statement ?

In your residency personal statement , include your experiences and interests that have driven your ambition to mature as a medical professional.

Take time to think about what qualities you’d expect in an exemplary physician. Then, create a list of topics reflecting these qualities from your background.  

Create a list of ideas of what to write from these prompts:

  • Memorable or “a-ha” moments during medical school (including specific rotations ) that changed the way you think about medicine.
  • Volunteering or non-profit work.
  • Your greatest skills and qualities and how you use them when practicing medicine.
  • Specific instances of when you used strong teamwork skills.
  • A personal anecdote that isn’t included on a resume, like an elective that led to an unexpected encounter with a patient that you won’t forget.
  • Professors, mentors , family, friends, or anyone else that has inspired your path.
  • Your goals in your future career.
  • Reasons you are drawn to your specialty.
  • Meaningful experiences in medical school or extracurriculars .
  • Your most commendable achievements.

Why did you choose your specialty?

When you explain why you chose a specialty, discuss the reasons why you enjoy that specialty and how your strengths will apply to your future career. 

Make your answer heartfelt and honest. If your only reasons are money and the lifestyle, your chances of an interview with the program directors will plummet.

Answer these questions while brainstorming :

  • What appeals to you about this specialty?
  • Did past experiences or clinicals influence your decision for this program?
  • What do you believe are the most important qualities for a physician in this specialty? How have you begun to cultivate these qualities in yourself?
  • Are there future goals you want to achieve in this specialty?
  • Have you done any research related to this field or the advancement of this specialty?

How long should a personal statement be for residency?

The personal statement essay section on ERAS allows for 28,000 characters (about 5 pages). 

Our advice? Don’t max out your character count.

Program directors must read the demographics, transcripts, MSPE, experiences section, personal statement , and letters of recommendation before making a decision. That’s a lot of reading.

Your goal is to make your point concisely — writing about a page plus a paragraph is the sweet spot.

Personal Statement Structure

Many applicants don’t know where to start, so we suggest breaking the essay into bite-sized pieces. Use a standard 4-5 paragraph structure. This way, you’ve got small, manageable goals.

Write your residency personal statement using:

  • An introduction paragraph.
  • 2-3 paragraphs to expand on your theme.
  • A conclusion paragraph to tie it all together.


Draw the reader in with a story or anecdote, and introduce a theme. A narrative voice works well here to engage the reader and get them interested. 

Don’t tell an extensive story; provide just enough to provide context and introduce a theme.

Body Paragraphs (2-3)

Explore and expand on the central theme of your personal statement . You can talk about the traits or life experiences that will make you good at family medicine , dermatology , or whatever specialty you’re pursuing. 

Ensure you’re being specific to the specialty — you don’t need to prove you’ll be a good doctor so much as a good doctor in the field you’re applying to .

Wrap everything up and end with a “bang.” The conclusion should serve to bring all your points together in one place. When I say end with a “bang,” I mean to finish strong . 

Stating: “For the reasons above, I believe I will make an excellent internist, ” doesn’t leave the reader with much.

Try something a bit more passionate, idealistic, and enthusiastic. Here’s an example:

“ Internal medicine is centered around improving lives, orchestrating, and managing complex patient care . To me, the true challenge is in the art of internal medicine — to tailor to patients’ needs to maximize their health and improve their overall quality of life.”

With this approach to the structure of your personal statement , the essay becomes more manageable. You can set yourself mini-assignments by just developing one component at a time. Complete one portion each week, and you’ll be done by the end of the month!

Should a residency personal statement have a title? 

There is no hard and fast rule about whether a residency personal statement should have a title. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to include a title in your personal statement is up to you.

Consider these factors when deciding whether or not to include a title:

  • A good title can serve as a headline for the reader, making your essay stand out before they even start reading. 
  • A good title can make your statement stand out and help it to be more memorable.
  • On the other hand, a poorly chosen or overly generic title could actually detract from your personal statement.

Most residency programs do not require, or even want, a title for personal statements. Be sure to check the program’s guidelines before including one.

If you do choose to include a title, make sure it is relevant, concise, and impactful. Avoid overly generic or cliche titles, and focus on conveying the main message or theme of your personal statement. 

It is less common to have a title, so if you do it right, you may stand out from the crowd.

How To Make Your Personal Statement Stand Out

Take time to brush up on your writing skills to make your personal statement stand out . 

These skills may not have been your focus in the last few years, but concisely expressing your dedication to the specialty will retain a program director ’s attention. 

Oh, and always remember to proofread and check your grammar! If you specifically prompt ChatGPT to “review your personal statement for grammar and punctuation only,” it does a pretty good job. 

Just be sure not to have AI write your personal statement, as it doesn’t know your stories, and can’t convey your sentiment, tone, or emotion.

Language and Vocabulary

The simpler, the better. Hand your essay to a friend or family member to proofread. If they have to stop and look up any word, it’s probably the wrong word choice. Maybe it’s the perfect word for the sentence, but anything that distracts the reader from the content is a problem.

Avoid the following:

  • Contractions. Contractions are informal language. They aren’t appropriate for applications or professional writing.
  • “Really” as in “I really learned a lot.” Try the word “truly” instead. It sounds more sincere.
  • “Really” or “very” as in “it was a really/very great experience.” Here, “really” is a qualifier that holds the place of a better word choice; e.g., Really great = fantastic, wonderful, exquisite; Very important = paramount, momentous, critical.

Simple sentence structure is usually the best. Follow these rules:

  • Avoid quotations if you can. This is your essay, and it should focus on what you have to say, not someone else. There may be exceptions to this rule (like a statement a professor made that changed the course of your medical career), but these are rare.
  • Punctuate correctly. Misplaced commas or a missing period can distract a reader from your content. If grammar isn’t your strong suit, have a friend (or a spellchecker like Grammarly) check your essay for errors.

Avoid Clichés

Saying you want to go into pediatrics because you love kids might be true, but it’s also a given. Everyone going into healthcare is interested in helping people. 

This is your opportunity to make it more personal. Talk about the life experiences that have uniquely informed your career path and what makes you different from every other med student trying to get a residency interview . 

Don’t Make It Too Complicated

Be simple, straight to the point, and authentic. 

Aim for clear wording that communicates your central theme. If you talk about your professional future and goals, they should be realistic and carefully considered. Your goal is to leave program directors with a strong impression of your character and maturity. 

Try Dynamic Writing

Dynamic writing is all about feel and rhythm. Even good content written poorly can come out flat. Here are some cues to evaluate and improve your writing:

  • Read your writing out loud. Do you have to catch your breath in the middle of a sentence? If so, the sentence is too long and needs some additional punctuation, editing, or to be split up.
  • Vary your sentence structure and/or the length of the sentences. When you’re reading, do you feel like there is a repetitive rhythm? This usually results from too many short sentences stacked on top of each other.

Be Prepared To Revise Your Statement

You’ve done this part before. Once the bulk of your statement is done, have someone else read it, then start revising. The great thing about the revision process is that you don’t have to write the first draft perfectly. 

If you can afford it, consider working with a professional team for help with the residency application process , including personal statement editing.

Our friends at MedSchoolCoach can help you with personal statement editing. 

Should you write multiple ERAS personal statements ?

Write a residency personal statement relevant to each specialty you apply to, each with a clearly stated goal.

While it’s a good idea to write a personal statement for every specialty you apply to, you don’t have to write one for each specific program . Maybe you have research experience in a few different specialties and aren’t sure where you’ll get residency training .

A blanket personal statement to cover all specialties is bland at best and, at worst, a red flag . Your interest in becoming an OB/GYN should be informed by different experiences than your interest in anesthesiology or plastic surgery .

Anyone who reads your personal statement should have all the relevant information for integrating you into their program. Don’t overshare experiences or learnings from irrelevant rotations , classes, or experiences.

Let’s say you send your personal statement to a program director for a radiology residency program . If he reads that you’re torn between radiology and emergency medicine , is he more likely to accept you, or an applicant who seems all-in for his program’s specialty?

Ready to write? Get your residency personal statement prepared!

It’s time to knock out that first paragraph ! We have given you the structure and tools to write a personal statement that reflects your strengths. Remember, there’s no formula for the perfect personal statement , but there are tried and true methods for strong writing.

Schedule a free consultation with MedSchoolCoach to see how we can help you increase your chances of matching into the residency of your choice. 

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Intro- Writing a Great Residency Personal Statement

When you get ready to apply for residency, which could happen as early as your third year of med school, there are really  two main components  to the application process: submitting your application packet to various programs and completing the required interviews for the programs interested in you. But how exactly do you make sure you get that call for an interview? One way is by including an original, memorable residency personal statement as part of your application packet.

Residency Prerequisites

Before we get to the personal statement, though, let’s look at the steps required for you to be eligible for residency.

Step 1: Receive Your Degree

Although you’ll possibly start applying for residency during the fall semester of your third year at medical school, before you can be accepted, you must have your degree. It doesn’t matter if your application looks great and your interview blows the minds of the residency selection committee; if you don’t receive your M.D. or D.O., you won’t be eligible for residency.

Step 2: Pass the Examinations

In the U.S., you’re required to pass an exam before you can become licensed to practice medicine. Traditionally, students have taken the  USMLE  (United States Medical Licensing Examination), but some schools now require you to take the  COMLEX  (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination) either instead of the USMLE  or  in addition to it.

For Foreign Students

If you’re a foreign student hoping to be placed in a residency within the U.S., there are a few  additional requirements  you’ll have to meet.

These include, but aren’t limited to, being certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), obtaining a legal VISA that gives you the right to work in the United States, procuring additional letters of recommendation from U.S.-based providers and more.

Applying for a Residency

What you’ll need.

As you’re putting together your residency application packet, you’ll be responsible for gathering:

  • Your completed application
  • Your residency personal statement
  • Your letters of recommendation

There are a few other things that must be included in your application packet, but your medical school will handle those items. They include:

  • Your complete and sealed transcripts
  • A copy of your MSPE (Medical School Performance Evaluation)
  • Your licensing exam transcript

Once you’ve gotten your half of the documents ready to submit, your medical school should take care of the rest. It’s important to fill out your application completely and accurately, as every bit of information included in the packet will be verified by multiple agencies.

The ERAS: What It Is and How to Apply

To apply for residency with almost all programs in the United States, you’ll be required to fill out an application through the  Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) . The ERAS was created and is maintained by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

It makes applying for residency much easier because you only have to fill out one application at a centralized location. That application then gets sent to all the different programs you’re interested in becoming a part of during your residency.

If you used the Common App as an undergraduate, you already have an idea of what the ERAS is like. Unlike the Common App, though, there’s one really great thing about the ERAS that many other centralized applications don’t include: the ability to submit multiple personal statements.

Why Submit Multiple Personal Statements

You may be wondering why you’d want to write more than one personal statement when writing one is stressful enough.

The simple answer is that writing multiple personal statements gives you the opportunity to personalize your statements for the specific program to which you’re applying. For example, if you’re applying for a pediatric residency in Brooklyn, you can write your personal statement specifically about why you chose that specialty and that geographic location. Additionally, if you also apply for an internal medicine residency in Washington D.C., you can write a second personal statement outlining your reasons for that choice as well.

ERAS Portal

There are  four main sections  of the ERAS application portal.

Section 1: MyERAS

This is the part of the ERAS that’s your responsibility. Using MyERAS, you’ll complete the centralized application, submit your required documentation and personal statements and select the programs to which you’re applying. When it comes to filling out the ERAS, this is the only section you’ll personally have to complete.

Section 2: DWS

The DWS, or Dean’s Office WorkStation, is where the designated person in your Dean’s office will submit what s/he is required to submit on your behalf. This will include your transcripts and performance evaluations.

Section 3: LoRP

The LoRP is the Letters of Recommendation Portal. You’ll direct people who’ve agreed to provide you with letters of recommendation to this location and have them submit their recommendation letters through the portal.

Section 4: PDWS

The PDWS, short for Program Director’s WorkStation, is where the programs you’ve applied to will receive and review their incoming applications.

Help with the ERAS

In addition to having everything you need for all your prospective programs in one place, another great thing about the ERAS is that the website provides you with  a lot of great resources  to help ensure you get everything done correctly and submitted in a timely manner.

There’s an  Applicant Worksheet  that allows you to see everything the application asks before you even start working on it. There’s also a  User Guide , an  Applicant Checklist , a  FAQ Section  and an  Application Timeline  to keep you on track.

Writing Your Residency Personal Statement

Although each residency personal statement you write should be different depending on the program to which you’re applying, there are some things that’ll remain similar or even the same in each statement, most notably the length and overall format of the statement.

Standard Residency Personal Statement Length

The ERAS allows you to use 28,000 characters (including spaces and punctuation marks) to complete your residency personal statement. This generally translates to about five to seven pages in length.  Don’t  use all 28,000 characters for your statements. That is entirely too long.

You have to be considerate of the time of the person reading your statement. S/he likely has thousands of personal statements to read through, and s/he doesn’t want to spend too much time on any one statement. If possible, you should keep your personal statements to about 3,500 to 5,000 characters. This translates to about a page to a page and a half for your statement. That’s a good length that should give you enough room to say everything you need to say without rambling on about non-essential information.

Standard Residency Personal Statement Format

The format of your statements will also be quite similar. You don’t have to worry about choosing your font, font size, or anything like that. With the ERAS, you’ll be using an embedded plain text box to type your personal statement. The only formatting options available to you will be:

  • Italics, Bold, Strikethrough and Underline
  • Center, Left or Right Alignment
  • Bullet Points
  • Numbered Lists
  • Add Embedded Hyperlink
  • Increase or Decrease Indent

Beyond those items, you won’t be able to change anything in the formatting, but your  content  format is important. You should have a short introduction of three to five sentences, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion of about three to six sentences. The information you put into these paragraphs will depend largely on what exactly you’re writing in your personal statement.

Red Flags of Residency Personal Statement to Avoid

There are definitely some things you want to avoid while writing your personal statement for your residency application. Let’s call them the “Don’t List.”

Don’t Use All 28,000 Characters

We’ve already discussed this, but it warrants being said twice. No one wants to read seven pages worth of a personal statement. Absolutely  do not  use all the provided characters for your personal statement.

Don’t Send the Same Statement to Every Program

This is another one that we’ve touched on already, but it, too, is worth repeating. The reasons you’re applying for various programs are bound to be different for each particular program. If you try to write one single personal statement that gets sent to every program, it’s going to end up sounding generic and unauthentic.

Different programs want to know that you chose them for a reason. They want to know what it is about their program that drew your interest. If you don’t give them actual reasons for your interest, they’re going to assume you’re just desperately applying everywhere you can in hopes of getting an acceptance. That doesn’t look good in a prospective residency candidate.

Don’t Spend a Lot of Time Talking About Why You Want to Be a Doctor

By the time you get to the residency portion of your career, you’re already a doctor. Why you decided to become one is kind of a moot point. This is one place where people often get tripped up. Your residency application is  not  a med school application. By this point, you’ve already proven you want to be a doctor by putting in all the work to become one. Why you did it doesn’t matter. You were obviously motivated to succeed. Don’t waste precious characters rehashing your reasons for going into medicine.

Don’t Be Generic

Be specific about why you’ve chosen pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery or whatever program you’ve chosen to pursue in your residency. The person reading your statement doesn’t want to hear that you’ve chosen pediatrics because you “just love babies!” You’re an adult with a medical degree. Use all those years of education and be specific about why you’ve made the choices you’ve made.

Don’t Be Overly Dramatic

You want your personal statement to be interesting and memorable, but you  don’t  want it to sound like the first page of a movie script. You don’t have to set the scene dramatically with overused and cliched stories about “Patient X lying on the bed, blood rushing down his head and barely conscious as I walked up and took his hand, looked into his eyes and told him I would save his life.” Just don’t do this.

Don’t Include Anything Considered Too Controversial

Your personal statement isn’t the place for activism. Don’t get into topics such as pro-life vs. pro-choice or why you think cloning is a sin against God. It’s okay to mention that you’re a regular church member; you don’t have to shy away from religion altogether, but you don’t want to include a strong stance you hold on something that’s known to be polarizing.

The person reading your personal statement might feel just as strongly as you do about an issue, but s/he might be on the other side of that issue. That could get your application discarded quickly.

Don’t Submit Unedited Statements

Never, never, never, never send in your first draft. Don’t ever send in a statement that hasn’t been proofread, edited, and then edited some more. Bring in a second pair of eyes to look it over ( hey! see our personal statement editing packages here ) if you need a fresh perspective, but never send in something that hasn’t been thoroughly edited for grammar, spelling, organization, and content errors.

Don’t Plagiarize!

Last but certainly not least: Don’t plagiarize your personal statement! We can’t overemphasize this point. If you aren’t a strong writer, it’s okay to reach out and have a friend, mentor or former professor help you organize your thoughts and edit the statement at the end, but no matter how much you may be tempted,  do not plagiarize  your personal statement.

First and foremost, you’ll get caught.

There are just way too many plagiarism checkers ( we recommend you use Grammarly plagiarism checker ) on the market today for you to get away with stealing someone else’s work – even if you only take a small part of it. Then, once you’ve been caught, you lose all professional respectability.

If you’ve plagiarized your personal statement, odds are you’ve cheated before now. No one trusts a doctor who cheats, and the person/people who caught you cheating have to wonder if you’re even a good doctor. Perhaps you just cheated your way through med school and really don’t know an obstetrician from an ophthalmologist.

Put simply, just don’t cheat. It isn’t worth it.

Residency Personal Statement Prompts

Although the ERAS doesn’t give you a specific prompt to follow while writing your residency personal statement, there are a few programs that do ask specific questions. If a program does ask a specific question on its website, you should strongly consider that question when writing your personal statement. Try to answer it as honestly and completely as possible.

Most programs don’t provide you with specific prompts, but there are still some questions to ask yourself to help guide your writing.

Below are some of the most commonly asked prompts and questions.

1. What are your professional goals?

This is a commonly covered question in many residency personal statements. Remember, at the residency stage of your career, you’re already a doctor, so this personal statement is no longer why you want to be a doctor; it’s about what you want to do now that you’ve become one.

Don’t be afraid to go into detail here. Talk about both your short-term (during residency and immediately after completing residency) and your long-term goals (15+ years from now).

Do you want to open your own practice? Do you plan to stay within the U.S., or would you prefer to take your expertise elsewhere through Doctors Without Borders or some other organization? What specific skills are you hoping to gain from the residency that’ll help you further your career goals?

2. What types of patients do you enjoy working with?

This question really concerns the specialty you’re interested in pursuing. For example, if you’re interested in working in pediatrics, the obvious answer here would be that you like to work with children. You shouldn’t leave it at that though.

Are there certain types of children you like to work with best? For example, would you prefer to work with special needs children as opposed to healthy children just coming in for check-ups? Perhaps you have a passion for women’s health or simply prefer to work with women.

If this is the case, an OBGYN specialty might make more sense for you. Do you want to work with the elderly? Would you prefer to work in neighborhoods full of predominantly low-income or minority households? If you hope to pursue plastic surgery, are you doing so because you want to work with amputees in order to build them new limbs?

All of these questions can be taken into account when talking about the types of patients with whom you most prefer to work.

3. What contributions can I make to the specialty and the residency program?

Chances are, the program you’re applying to knows why you want to be accepted for a residency position by them, but why should  they  want to accept  you ? When answering this prompt, talk about what makes you a good fit for the specialty you’ve chosen. If you have any particular skills or strengths that would fit well with what you’re hoping to achieve during residency, mention those.

Something else to discuss is anything you’ve done in your history that would prepare you for working with the population you’re likely to encounter in that particular residency spot. If you have an undergraduate degree in psychology, that could be hugely beneficial if your residency serves a large veteran population.

If you grew up in a low-income, first-generation neighborhood or have teaching experience at a Title I school, that could prepare you for working at a hospital in a similar neighborhood.

4. What are your strong points?

This question is really just another way of asking what benefits you’d bring to the residency if you were accepted. Many of the same things you’d write about if answering the above-listed prompt are the same things you’d write about here. You could discuss the characteristics you have that make for a good doctor.

You could also list any strengths you have academically. For instance, if you excelled at one or two particular subjects, it’s a good idea to mention those. Receiving superior performance evaluations is also something worth noting.

Residency Personal Statement Examples

The following are some of the best examples of what to do and what not to do when writing your residency personal statements. Note that these are just examples; don’t use them in your own statements.

Example Personal Statement 1

“During my third year, I rediscovered my reasons for pursing [sic] a career in Pediatrics. […] I enjoy teaching young patients and their parents about their disease and how they can conquer hardships. Also, I am excited about taking care of patients from birth to adulthood. Working with young people is rewarding because of the chance to be involved in a growing relationship with patients as they mature and learn. […] Pediatrics gives me the determination to think through problems, the curiosity to learn, and the energy to stay awake at three in the morning. When you love your patients it becomes easy to work hard for them.”

– Read the rest  here

This is a very well-written personal statement. The writer clearly has a passion for working with children, but she doesn’t just come out and say that with no detail. She talks about the specific things she enjoys about working with children.

Furthermore, she talks about how she believes pediatric medicine to go beyond just treating kids. She talks about “a growing relationship” with the patients she treats and her desire to treat them as they grow and mature into adulthood.

In addition to being a moving example of a personal statement, it also shows that the writer plans to be in the medical field for the long haul. You don’t build relationships and treat patients from infancy into adulthood unless you plan to stick with the career.

This is her way of saying, “I plan to do this for the rest of my life” without having to come out directly and say those words.

Our Verdict:

Image of a smiling face with heart-shaped eyes emoji

Example Personal Statement 2

“I have many attributes to contribute to internal medicine. My experiences as a secondary education school teacher, Special Olympics swim coach, and elected class officer attest to my ability to lead and educate others. I am also analytical and detail-oriented. […] After my first year of medical school, I was awarded a scholarship to conduct research in the field of trauma surgery, an experience which enhanced my problem solving skills. These qualities include a never-ending quest for personal improvement, pride in my work or training, and the ability to focus on several tasks while balancing personal and professional obligations.”

– Read the rest  here

This is another good example, written in response to  prompt number three above . The writer tells about all the things he brings to the team, but he doesn’t focus specifically on medicine.

If you’re applying for residency as this author is, you’ve obviously achieved what you needed to achieve in order to become a doctor. You’ll bring all kinds of medical knowledge to the team. The problem is that every other applicant has also received his or her doctoral degree and also brings medical knowledge to the table.

The writer knows that and goes beyond medicine when talking about his strengths and what he has to offer. He talks about being a teacher and helping with the Special Olympics. This shows that he already has experience working with children – both healthy children and children with special needs.

He brings up being an elected class officer to show he has leadership potential and that he’s well-liked and well-respected by others (otherwise they wouldn’t have elected him). Only after listing all those extra strengths does he bring up med school. This is a very impressive list of accomplishments.

Example Personal Statement 3

“Every finger of the little boy’s hand was adhered to his palm except for the extended third digit. I examined the severe burn injury as the plastic surgery attending discussed how we were going to fix the damage. Several contracture releases, K-wires, and skin grafts later, I excitedly realized he would eventually regain function of his little hand. I didn’t know what I wanted to be at the start of my third year, but after patients and cases like this one, I was energized by learning what I found in no other rotation. […] I have found my place in medicine.”

While this personal statement is well-written grammatically, it breaks rule number five on the “Don’t List.”  Don’t be overly dramatic.  This is supposed to be his personal statement, not the opening scene to  The Resident  on Fox. The writer wastes an entire paragraph – his entire introduction – on a dramatic scene that ends with one single sentence telling us this is why he wants to work as a plastic surgeon.

First of all, an introduction should be more well-rounded and introduce the reader more fully to who you are. It shouldn’t set a scene that thousands of other prospective residents have told some version of already.

Secondly, one has to hope that one single child’s broken hand is not the sole basis for this person’s decision to become a plastic surgeon. I want a doctor who has thought carefully about his/her chosen profession and decided to pursue medicine because of numerous different reasons, not just because he saw a child’s hand being fixed once.

While these types of stories may seem like an easy, interesting way to catch the reader’s attention quickly, they’re best avoided. Trust us when we say that the person reading your personal statement has read  countless  other “war stories” about prospective residents’ experiences in ERs and other situations. As amazing as your story may seem to you, it isn’t likely to impress them.

residency personal statement theme

Example Personal Statement 4

“Then disaster struck. I applied to Medical School and I didn’t get in. I was heartbroken. It never occurred to me that I might not get accepted. I felt completely lost. The only dream I ever had, the one that I had spent so many hours working on, was now dead. A part of me just died. It was one of the few times I ever cried. I know [sic] had to live with a void that could never filled [sic].

Looking back, not getting accepted to Medical School in 1985 was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. It fueled a desire in me to find something else. Fortunately, I found an area where I have become more financially successful than I deserve. […] Years later, I decided to give Medical School one last try. This time I was accepted. The void began to fill. I would like the opportunity to learn more and complete the process.”

This is absolutely, 100% what you should  not  do in your personal statements. If you visit the original statement, you’ll see we only removed about two total lines from this personal statement. That means it was about ten lines long altogether, which translates to about 1,200 characters.

That is  much  too short for a personal statement. You don’t want to use the entire 28,000 characters, but you don’t want to write something less than a page long either. There’s almost no usable information here.

The writer doesn’t mention what specialty she’s hoping to pursue, nor does she mention a single strength that would make her a good candidate for the position. Beyond not mentioning any strengths, though, she highlights her failures!

If there’s something negative on your transcripts or application, it’s fine to touch on it and give a brief explanation for it and how you corrected it, but it certainly shouldn’t make up the bulk of your personal statement.

This one is just bad from beginning to end.

An image of an unamused face emoji

Example Personal Statement 5

“While medical school can teach a student the science behind medicine, I truly believe it’s a doctor’s personality and character that ultimately determines his or her success with patients. One of my greatest qualities […] is my ability to quickly connect with people. At an orientation lecture […] a speaker discussed how […] anesthesiologists are among the best at making great first impressions. […] Patients always seem to fear going to sleep more than [surgery]. Yet, an anesthesiologist may have but just a few moments […] to instill confidence in their patients. […] Since that orientation, I’ve prided myself on mastering how quickly I can earn a patient’s trust. Enjoying the challenge of making a great first impression in the shortest amount of time is among the most important reasons that have guided me into the specialty of anesthesiology.”

Let’s end on a strong note. This is another exceptional example of what your personal statements should look like. This writer has a good grasp of number three on the “Don’t List.”  Don’t waste a lot of time talking about why you want to be a doctor.  

The writer touches on med school by saying, “ While medical school can teach a student the science behind medicine. ” Then she immediately goes beyond school into the real world.

In doing so, she also showcases a very important characteristic she’s developed – putting people at ease – and tells us the specialization she’s chosen. She also explains why her ability to put people at ease is so important for her chosen specialization.

She ends by saying that this skill was challenging for her, but the way it’s written shows that she was not only up for the challenge but legitimately  loved  it.

This whole statement is well-written, well-organized, and covers all the important aspects of what the residency selection committee wants to know about a person.

Image of a star-struck grinning emoji

In Conclusion

The most important things to remember when writing your residency personal statement are, to be honest, authentic, specific, and grammatically correct. You’ve already earned your degree; that alone shows the selection committee that you have what it takes to be a doctor because you already are one.

You just have to show that you have a passion for medicine and that you’ll bring something unique and important to their team. If you can do those things, you should be well on your way to the interview process.

Related Readings:

The Best Laptop for Medical School Guide Here

5 Best MCAT Prep Books, According to Med Students

5 Best MCAT Prep Courses, According to Med Students

The Ultimate Medical School Personal Statement Guide: (w/ Common Prompts & Examples Analyzed by Our Admissions Experts)

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How to write the perfect residency personal statement

You already wrote a personal statement that got you into medical school. Here's how to write the perfect personal statement to land your dream residency!

David Flick, MD

Writing a personal statement for your residency application can be difficult. Not only is it a long process, but it also requires a good deal of introspection and thoughtfulness. You already know that you can write a great personal statement because you had to write one to get accepted into medical school. The question is, can you create a fresh narrative that is just as compelling as your previous one? My recommendation is to focus on the basics and build your story from there. In this article, we will review how to achieve an appropriate length, cohesive structure, and dynamic style in a personal statement.

Know the length of your residency personal statement

ERAS has a limit of 28,000 characters for the personal statement, which is about five pages! Considering that admissions officers have to read the demographics, transcripts, Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) , experiences section, personal statement, and letters of recommendation for every ERAS residency application, it is highly recommended that your essay comes nowhere near that 28,000-character limit. The goal of your personal statement is to convey your message concisely. With that in mind as you're writing your personal statement, one-and-a-quarter pages is the sweet spot.

Determine your personal statement structure

Now that you know how long the personal statement for your residency application should be, we need to discuss how to develop your essay. First, create an outline with a standard 4–5 paragraph structure. Within that outline, logically organize your content. There are many methods of organization to choose from, such as thematically or chronologically. However, it is important that your entire essay connects to a major theme. While it may seem daunting, breaking the essay into bite-sized, manageable pieces will make the process easier.

Each personal statement has three main components: the introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. While creating your outline, consider the purpose of each section below.

Get started with an introduction

The introduction serves as a way to engage a reader while stating the main message of your essay. Hook the reader with a story or anecdote that directly relates to what you will discuss. A long story is not needed here, and you certainly do not want to become lost in it, so provide just enough context to interest the reader and maintain the message. Have that hook lead into your introduction of a theme.

Build your body paragraphs

The body paragraphs enable you to explore and expand on the theme of your essay. You can talk about personal traits, professional skills, and life experiences. Be sure to include detailed examples. Also, this section is about proving that you will be a good doctor in your chosen field, so tailor your content accordingly.

Write a conclusion to wrap it up

The conclusion should summarize all of your information and create a strong finish. This does not mean that you can simply state, “For the reasons above, I believe I will make an excellent internist.” Show the reader that you are passionate, idealistic, and enthusiastic. Consider this revision of the preceding concluding sentence: “The practice of internal medicine is centered on improving the lives of adult patients, while also orchestrating and managing their complex care. In this field, the true challenge is to tailor these needs to the individual’s unique life story in order to maximize health. To me, this is the art of internal medicine.” With a statement like this, your conclusion is more personal and demonstrates passion for your future career.

By following a structure, your personal statement becomes a little more manageable. If you still find the process difficult, start by developing one component at a time. After you define your structure and create a working draft, you can focus on your voice and writing style.

Find your voice and rhythm with dynamic writing

Dynamic writing is all about finding your voice and rhythm. Here are some ways to evaluate and improve your writing:

● Read your writing out loud. If you find yourself stumbling over certain areas, or are confused, then those are the areas that most likely need editing. You can also have a friend or family member read your essay out loud to you. It may help you to catch more areas to edit.

● Look out for repetitive patterns in your writing. This can be easily fixed by varying your sentence structure and the length of your sentences.

● Avoid hyphens, semicolons, and ellipses. They are rarely appropriate in formal writing and can indicate that a change in sentence structure is needed.

● Avoid quotations if you can. Using other people’s words in your essay takes away from your own voice.

Use precise language and vocabulary

The goal of writing is to communicate. Whether it’s for a casual, academic, or professional audience, your vocabulary should be clear and simple. Avoid “flowery” language entirely. This is not the time to practice your use of a thesaurus. Nor does this mean that your language should be bland or redundant. In fact, you should vary your language. If you find yourself overusing certain words, then rephrase the sentence or change the structure. Additionally, be sure to use a formal style when writing your personal statement. Formal prose includes avoiding the use of contractions as well as using direct communication and an active voice, among other attributes. Following these recommendations will make the reading experience better.

Start writing your personal statement!

Hopefully, this article has pointed you in the right direction and given you the tools you need to start writing your personal statement. If you still need help writing your personal statement for your ERAS application , preparing for your residency interview, or you do not know how to get started on your application, MedSchoolCoach can help.

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How to Write a Medical Residency Personal Statement

#1. understand the purpose of your personal statement.

A Medical Residency Personal Statement is a powerful one-page narrative that highlights your interest in the field, specialty-specific experiences, characteristics, expectations and contributions for residency, as well as your future vision and goals.

The Personal Statement allows you to shape how Program Directors view you as a person and as a candidate. If written properly, a Personal Statement can generate more interest in your application, resulting in more interviews.

#2. Brainstorming and Drafting Your Statement

The process for planning your Personal Statement can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Pick a specialty for your Personal Statement
  • Involves long-term relationships with patients
  • Requires problem-solving skills
  • Emphasizes strong imagery skills
  • Your interest in the specialty
  • Your positive personality characteristics
  • Experiences, anecdotes, and personal stories that exemplify your traits
  • Any red flags you may have to smooth over
  • What you are looking for in a residency program and what you hope to add
  • Short-term goals and long-term vision
  • Organize these ideas into a cohesive outline

#3. Writing Your First Draft

  • Start where you can (it doesn’t have to be the beginning)
  • If you get stuck, move on and start writing another section
  • Focus on getting your ideas out (you can polish them later)
  • Go back and fill in missing sections and add transitions
  • Read your first draft aloud - revising it as you go

#4. Feedback, Revising, Editing, and Polishing

  • Get feedback from trusted mentors BEFORE you spend precious time trying to perfect your statement
  • Understand that your mentors are likely not professional writers; you are certain to receive varied feedback
  • Add or remove content as needed
  • Edit the statement to be error-free
  • Polish your work to perfection

If the writing or editing process sounds too overwhelming or time-consuming, consider working with Residency Statement, which has the authority of 13+ years and 20,000 clients worth of experience to ensure confidence in your perfected Personal Statement.

Struggling with a first draft? Learn more about our Writing Service (S-WS).

Need help with editing? Learn more about our Editing Service (S-ES).

Frequently Asked Questions:

How important is the personal statement, why should my personal statement only be one page, why do personal statements need to be specialty specific, should i mention my red flag in my personal statement, how do i make my personal statement stand out, still have questions see these blog posts:.

  • The Personal Statement from Start to Finish
  • How NOT to Write a Residency Personal Statement
  • Writing an Effective Introductory Paragraph – Personal Statements
  • Engaging Body Paragraphs in Residency Personal Statements
  • Writing An Effective Medical Residency Closing Paragraph

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Writing a Personal Statement for Residency Application

Personal statements are an essential, required part of applying to residency. Residency programs screen thousands of applications every cycle and read many hundreds of these statements in the process. You should aim to write an interesting statement that showcases your personality as well as your achievements. Perhaps most importantly, you will need to skillfully articulate the reasons for your interest in family medicine and the particular program you're applying to.

How to Write a Great Personal Statement

A great personal statement sets itself apart from a good personal statement in several ways.

  • First, it includes a level of specificity that shows your motivations and interests are authentic. For example, when conveying why you want to match into family medicine, show awareness of the exciting developments in the specialty, or describe your experience with or knowledge of topics like population health management, care coordination, and the social determinants of health.
  • Feel free to highlight items in your CV if they help remind your reader of the experiences you’ve had that prepared you for the position. This is your opportunity to expand upon activities that are just listed in the CV but deserve to be described so your reader can appreciate the breadth and depth of your involvement in them. It should not be another comprehensive list of your activities, but rather should refer to activities that are listed in detail on the CV.
  • The personal statement is also an appropriate place to address anything that may be ambiguous on your CV. In particular, you should address any nontraditional path you’ve taken through medical school, such as time off or an altered curricular journey. It is better to address these than to leave a program wondering. If you write about academic or personal challenges that you faced during medical school, make a positive impression by focusing on what you've learned from those experiences and how they brought you to where you are now. 

You may choose to relate significant personal experiences, but do so only if they are relevant to your candidacy for the position.

Sharpen Your Writing Skills 

The importance of good writing in a personal statement cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, not only are good writing skills allowed to deteriorate during medical school, but in some sense, they also are deliberately undermined in the interest of learning to write concise histories and physicals. For the moment, forget everything you know about writing histories and physicals. While preparing your personal statement:

  • Avoid abbreviations.
  • Avoid repetitive sentence structure.
  • Avoid using jargon. If there is a shorter, simpler, less pretentious way of putting it, use it.
  • Don't assume your reader knows the acronyms you use. As a courtesy, spell everything out.
  • Use a dictionary and spell check. 
  • Use a thesaurus. Variety in the written language can add interest, but don't get carried away.
  • Write in complete sentences.

If you need a crash course in good writing, read  The Elements of Style ,  Fourth Edition  by Strunk and White. If you have friends or relatives with writing or editing skills, enlist their help. Student organizations at your school may host personal statement clinics, or your school may offer review services. Many student, medical, and specialty societies, local and national, may offer personal statement reviews or workshops.

Even if you're a great writer and feel confident about your application, you should ask trusted advisors, mentors, and friends to critique your personal statement (and your CV! ). They can help you make your statement as flawless as possible by giving you feedback about areas that might have been unclear or things that should be added.

Don't cross the line

Your personal statement should remain an original composition, even as you seek input and advice. Retain your voice as you refine your writing and don't ever plagiarize. Be aware of other ethical lines you shouldn't cross as well, for example, don't use vague references that would allow for the reader to misinterpret the nature of your experience, and don't take full credit for a project if others worked on it with you.

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What to Learn From the Best Personal Statement Residency Examples

residency personal statement theme

No Ideas for Writing? Personal Statements Residency Sample Can Help!

Personal statement is one of the mandatory requirements for residency application. It’s a short essay where students tell the admissions office about themselves and why they should be allowed to take the program. This is one of the ways an applicant can set themselves apart from the numerous other contenders and improve their chances of getting picked. Sounds simple? That’s because any personal statements residency sample can prove it.

excellent residency personal statement sample

Actually, a residency personal statement is a nerve-racking paper that many individuals struggle to create. It can present various challenges because students are pressured to impress the admissions board. However, once you understand some of the basics of approaching this task, it can become an enjoyable experience. So pay attention to the various tips and tricks we’ve collected here, and check out some personal statement residency examples for an even better understanding.

Go Through Our Samples Collection

Having some ready-made residency application personal statement examples may help a lot. Especially if they’re created by true experts and have helped real applicants to achieve their goals. So look at these and pick up one that best suits your admission needs to refer to during writing.

internal medicine personal statement sample

Appropriate Format for Personal Statement for Residency Examples

A residency personal statement is short and should range between 500 and 700 words. It follows a simple format of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

The opening paragraph aims to make the reviewer’s first impression, so it should capture attention. Open with an anecdote to hook your reader. Also, you’re able to explore example residency personal statements to see what others often incorporate in this part.

Your body paragraphs should elaborate on your main thesis. It’s the most vital section in a good residency personal statement format. Connect the story to your professional life, highlighting how you intend to move forward. Then, demonstrate any change or growth you’ve experienced, introducing conflicts and how you resolved them. In the last body paragraph, illustrate the kind of specialist you aim to become.

The final paragraph should be a conclusion that ties it all together. Note that in most personal statement for residency examples , the summary part contains no new information. So it should only be a closure by painting an image or providing a callback to the introduction.

emergency medicine personal statement sample

Points to Consider When Exploring Residency Personal Statement Example

When checking examples written by others, note the elements that should appear in your paper. They include the following.

  • Reasons for Taking the Specialty

Aim to convince the committee about your interest by providing detailed information and experiences that showcase your genuine interest. Think about solid reasons that made you pursue the specialty, and if you feel blank, check out a sample personal statement for residency for some ideas, but adapt them to your case.

  • Your Career Aims 

What do you intend to achieve in your career in the long term? Do those aims align with the path you are taking? Research the residency you want to take and understand what they offer and whether it fits your purposes.

  • What You Expect from the Residency

Your document should show why you want to undertake the residency and what you aim to gain from it. Highlight some of the program’s strengths, such as curriculum, faculty, research opportunities, and culture. Do your research on the training program and review some example personal statements residency to see how to approach this.

  • Weaknesses 

There might be some red flags in your CV, and that’s okay. The program’s admission committee will notice them, and you might want to use the personal statement to explain what caused these red flags and what the challenges have taught you.

Useful Tips on How to Write a Good Personal Statement for Residency

While it might initially be intimidating, writing a compelling residency application document isn’t so complicated. Let’s check out some simple tips on how to make yours marvelous. We also advise preparing some thematic personal statement residency examples in advance and using them to visualize expert tips.

Talk About What’s Not on Your CV

The residency statement is meant to complement your CV and other application documents, not repeat what you already listed there. Instead of listing your achievements again, provide examples of situations where you applied your skills or values. Also, describe experiences that sparked your inspiration to the medical field. You can review a personal statement for residency examples to see the type of experiences other people write about but use your own.

Be Honest if You Want to Create Something Outstanding

Your statement should reflect who you are as an individual and a professional. Resist the urge to exaggerate some of your achievements or lie in your document. There’s also no need to try copy-paste achievements from someone’s example, even if it looks perfect. Just be yourself; it has worked for many before you, as you will see in personal statement samples residency , and is the best way to bring out your authenticity.

Acquire Feedback

Have your document reviewed by another person, preferably persons familiar with writing this paper. It could be your mentor, practicing residents, or a professional adviser. Another good option is to seek advice from an experienced author of numerous writing examples. They might be able to identify errors or ways you can improve your document.

Some Ideas for Using Residency Personal Statements Samples

Even when you understand how to write a good personal statement for residency, there is usually some doubt about how your document should look. Thus, examples of well-written application docs provide a way to see how the rules of crafting this writing piece are applied to produce a powerful statement. Samples will help you identify how to combine elements such as tone, language, grammar, and structure to craft a good piece.

Online templates and examples you may find on Residencypersonalstatements.net can guide you on the structure and show you how to put all the needed details in writing. And although the personal statement needs to be “personal,” you can find many good ideas by exploring pro-made examples. Review various residency personal statement samples to capture how different writers approached this task on a personal level.

What Not to Do With Examples?

A ready-made sample will guide you in crafting your unique statement.  As a smart student, you shouldn’t be tempted to try and submit any of the residency personal statement example you find online. It risks your paper being plagiarized and will automatically disqualify your application.

Closing Remarks About Example Residency Personal Statements

Use best residency personal statement examples to inspire your own writing but don’t feel the need to match the experiences that authors have described. They might provide inconsistencies in your work. Remember, it’s a personal story telling the committee about your own professional growth, cases that shaped you, your own aspirations, and achievements. You just must make it about you. So if you find this task difficult or have some complexities with adopting ideas from residency personal statements samples, our expert writers are always here to help you.

effective residency personal statement sample

Comprehensive Writing Assistance From Top-Rated Admission Experts

In worth mentioning that respectable writing experts crafted all our examples according to unique customers’ needs and particular residency programs’ features. The good news is that specialists can also help you produce another original personal statement that will meet your own demands and be made based on your own information.

Leave your request via the order form, chat, or phone, and your perfect admission document will be delivered soon!

anesthesiology residency programs


What Is Anesthesiology Before moving on, although for sure, you have an idea what is the profession all about as you are reading this article, nevertheless, giving you a definition of Anesthesiology is best to start with. Anesthesiology or for others they know or call as anesthetics or anesthesia is a medical specialty that is […]

letter of recommendation

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation That Impresses

Good Recommendation as Essential of the Decision-Making Process A recommendation letter is one of the most vital documents you can ever prepare. It is a piece prepared by someone who can recommend your work, character, or academic performance by describing your skills, personality, abilities, motivations, and aspirations. Letters of recommendation (LoR) typically come from employers, […]

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How to Write Personal Statement for Residency? [with Examples]

residency personal statement theme

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement tips & advice.

A career in medicine is a never-ending feat. If it isn’t the 4-year medical school, it’s the USMLE steps.

Done with your USMLE?

Well, here comes the residency.

There’s always something waiting for you just around the corner when you get into this field.

So, you are done with your medical school and cleared all the USMLE Steps. What now?

Well, now is the time to put pen to paper and convince the program director why you are the best fit for a residency. The academic side of your career is more or less over. You have your transcripts, and you have your USMLE scores, which are all good and dandy. Now, it’s more about why you chose your specialty and why you deserve a shot at an interview.

Confused about where to begin?

This article will cover the main steps of how to write a personal statement for a medical residency, along with an example of a successful residency personal statement.

By the end, you should have a pretty good idea of what you need your statement to look like. So, let’s begin.

In this Article

What is a Residency Personal Statement, and Why is it Important?

What should a personal statement reflect, time to gather ideas, opening: pinning your story to your interest in medicine, main essay: market your qualities and potential, end: tie everything together, sample personal statement and analysis.

As far as the program director, the admissions board, or anyone in charge is concerned, there are  two  “you’s.”

The academic “you” and the real-life “you.”

Your transcripts, degrees, and test scores are sufficient to paint the academic “you’s” picture.

Beyond that, the personal statement takes over.

Your residency essay is a page-long essay that gives a window into who you are. It is a peek into your life to find out why you are fit for a particular specialty. Finally, it tries to justify your choice of specialty by relating it to something profound that happened in your life experience.

Grades and transcripts become meaningless at a certain point because most people would have similar grades. Hence, a personal statement serves as a deal-maker in many instances.

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of structuring your residency personal statement, let’s see what to include and avoid.

Your statement  must  include:

  • The reason why your chosen specialty appeals to you.
  • Skills, attributes, and qualities that will aid you in your residency.
  • What do you hope to achieve in the long run, your plans, etc.?
  • Why you chose the specific residency program, and what makes you a good fit?
  • A brief purview on why you set out to become a doctor. It would help if you had deeper insights to shed light on your professional and personal experiences.

Your personal statement  must not  include:

  • Anything that causes a barrier between your story and the reader, such as abbreviations, jargon, and acronyms. Don’t assume prior knowledge on the part of the reader.
  • Murky and unclear language sounds boring. Avoid generic writing and draw in the reader with detail and nuance.
  • Religious, ethical, racial, and/or political talk. Anything controversial doesn’t belong on your personal statement.
  • Bad grammar, informal/casual language, and poor sentence structure and punctuation.

Blankly staring at your keyboard isn’t going to accomplish much. So instead, we need to get our mind organized.

First, relax and loosen up a little. Then, to break the ice, you will begin by writing the first draft, which will include the following ideas:

  • What attracted you to medicine? Was this an event, an incident, an inspiration, or a specific life experience? What was it, and why did it move you in this direction?
  • What drew you to your chosen specialty? When did you know you wanted to pursue this specialty?
  • What barriers did you have to overcome to reach this stage? What lessons did these challenges teach you?
  • What do you think are your best qualities? When and where have you demonstrated these qualities?
  • Who are some of your role models, and why?
  • What is that one medical cause you care about the most? Why do you care about it?
  • What is your life’s most significant accomplishment?
  • Is there anything you haven’t stated on your resume but is an integral part of who you are?

While you entertain these ideas individually, you must write down as much detail as possible. Better yet, don’t stop correcting grammar or spelling. Instead, jot down whatever comes to mind without breaking the flow. After all, this is what brainstorming means.

Let your mind loose. There will be plenty of opportunities to structure everything later.

How to Structure your Personal Statement?

Now that you have gathered a lot of material, you might be tempted to start writing. First, however, it’s essential that you first understand what goes where.

Nothing is more off-putting than a poorly structured personal statement. But, remember, your personal statement is, in fact, an essay, which is why it should read like one.

A good essay has an opening paragraph that hooks the reader, the main body that adds detail, and a conclusion that leaves the reader satisfied.

Furthermore, it is equally essential that you practice brevity in your writing. The word limit, usually around 600 words, puts a significant constraint on your writing style. Detail can be good, but too much detail will rob you of valuable real estate.

The opening of your essay will set the tone for the rest of the personal statement. Here, it would be best if you began with a personal anecdote.

Remember, the objective here is to hook the reader.

By the end of the first paragraph, you should have established a link between your story and your interest in medicine.

So how to choose your opening anecdote? First, go through your brainstorming notes and check:

  • Do you recall any specific details?
  • Is it something unique to your life?
  • Is there an arc? Room for development?

You must have formed a little shell of a story in your mind by now. A story that only you can tell. A story that sits at the heart of your interest in medicine. Something that set you on this path. This is your anecdote.

Be sure to make it personal, drawing upon real-life people who might have played a part, and include things that shaped your interest in your specialty of choice. The first paragraph is where it’s OK to go into personal detail. The more personal it is, the better the picture you will paint.

So, you have narrated a unique anecdote from your real life. This anecdote indeed conveys a deeper insight into why you chose to pursue medicine.

But what has kept that pursuit alive until now? In other words, your story is incomplete until you insert the personal qualities that make you suitable for the specialty of your choice.

However, there is a difference between outright stating something, such as “I am a very patient person,” and showing why you are a patient person. The latter relies upon storytelling and doesn’t come off as pompous. Just remember that you need to relate your qualities to the setting of your anecdote that you began with. Your entire narrative must look organic. Anything out of place will take away the authenticity.

One thing that looks good on a personal statement is someone’s ability to grow and learn.

If you have an example where a particular event set you back, narrate it. Show how, instead of accepting defeat, you took it as an essential life lesson and learned from it.

The ability to learn from setbacks and the willpower to not be deterred are excellent qualities.

It would be best to end your essay so you can organically bring everything together.

It should leave the selection committee with a picture of who you are and why you are applying.

One thing that you must avoid at all costs is declarative sentences. Writing things like “And that’s why I believe I would make a great anesthesiologist” seems cheesy and too convenient.

Instead, try ending on a call back to where you began the essay. Again, try to connect the start and the end as naturally as possible without forcing a specific outcome.

Here , you can read an example personal statement for residency in internal medicine. Don’t forget to read its analysis too.


  • 100+ Outstanding Examples of Personal Statements
  • The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Winning Personal Statement
  • Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Personal Statement
  • Writing a Killer Opening Paragraph for Your Personal Statement
  • Ideal Length for a Graduate School Personal Statement
  • 100 Inspiring Quotes to Jumpstart Your Personal Statement

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Med School Insiders

Residency Sample Personal Statements

These are real personal statements from successful residency applicants (some are from students who have used our services or from  our advisors ). These sample personal statements are for reference purposes only and should absolutely not be used to copy or plagiarize in any capacity. Plagiarism detection software is used when evaluating personal statements. Plagiarism is grounds for disqualification of an applicant.

Disclaimer: While these essays ultimately proved effective and led to successful residency matches, there are multiple components that comprise an effective residency applicant. These essays are not perfect, and the strengths and weaknesses have been listed where relevant.

Sample Personal Statements

Encouraged by the idea of becoming well rounded, I collected many hobbies and passions as I grew up from snowboarding and cooking to playing board games and practicing meditation. Despite the increasing demands on my time, however, I never learned how to get more than 24 hours out of a day. Since I entered medical school, I have been searching for ways to continue pursuing my one my most influential hobbies, playing the violin. While my violin may be gathering more dust than I would like to admit, I discovered that the same motivations that gave me an affinity for my favorite pastime are still fulfilled in the practice of anesthesia.

Learning to play the violin was challenging; for the first few years, everything that came out of my violin sounded as if it had been scratched out on a chalkboard. Through daily practice and enormous amount of patience from my parents whose ears were being tortured, playing violin slowly came to be effortless. My violin teacher went beyond teaching me how to play but also challenged me to envision my future and write down my aspirations. While achieving my milestones gave me a jolt of confidence, I learned that setting goals are part of a broader journey of constant improvement. Developed from years of practicing violin, my discipline to work tirelessly towards my goals provides the framework that will help me to master anesthesiology.

I found violin to be most rewarding when I had the opportunity to share my music with others. Through the simple act of pulling my bow across a string, I was able to convey my emotions to my audience. The desire to directly and physically affect change is a large part of my motivation to pursue anesthesiology where problems are identified and immediately met with a potential solution. Drawn to science because of my desire to understand the world around me, I enjoy creating a hypothesis and executing a plan in order to test it. While I was at [UNIVERSITY], I identified areas in which the school could improve the student experience and then implement projects that could address these areas. As the Academics and Research Committee chair, I planned as a summer math course for incoming freshmen to prepare them proof writing, which was a topic that many were to which they were not previously exposed. I derive satisfaction from the ability to take an idea and carrying it through to completion. As a life long learner, I take pleasure in finding ways to grow and expand my mind. My love of learning started from a young age where my favorite use of my computer was to browse my CD-ROM “the way things worked.” My golf team nicknamed me ‘Encyclopedia’ because of my tendency to share interesting facts with them as we drove to tournaments around [STATE]. To this day, it is difficult for me to have dinner with my friends without bringing up an interesting fact I learned from a podcast.

When playing violin became second nature, practicing became a sort of therapy where the world around me disappeared and my mind became quiet and focused. Throughout my life, I have been drawn to tasks that require intense concentration to transform thoughts into physical action from rehearsing a swing to hit a perfect drive to carefully executing a protocol for an experiment. The direct and focused care that takes place in the OR actually turned out to be tranquil and relaxing for me. Monitoring the patient, forming differentials, testing my hypothesis, and planning ahead, I found my mind completely immersed while I was assisting in cases. Able to use my own hands to care for a patient, I left the OR feel satisfied that my efforts were wholeheartedly directed towards providing the best possible care for my patient.

I first discovered chamber music at violin camp and immediately fell in love with beautiful harmonies and intricate counter melodies. One of the most shocking things about chamber music was how foreign the music sounded when I practiced at home because the individual parts frequently do not capture the beauty of piece. It isn’t until rehearsal as a group that the true form of the song emerges. Chamber music, similar to the operating room, involves a small group of people working together toward a single goal. Everyone from the surgeon to the nurses has his or her own role, which is needs to be executed appropriately in order to provide the best care for the patient. The teamwork required in the OR reminds me of seemingly impossible feats humans are able to accomplish through coordinated efforts. This collaboration is an essential characteristic of the type of environment in which I would like to work. In addition, I hope that the anesthesia residency I attend values the spirit of self-reflection and constant improvement. I am excited to pursue a career in anesthesiology where I will continue to build on my interests and strengths that were honed through years of practicing the violin.

The author did a masterful job of integrating one of his/her main outside passions (violin) into an interesting and engaging narrative as to why the applicant was fit for anesthesia.

Compared to the common “writing your CV” mistake that many applicants make, this personal statement is a breath of fresh air. The theme of violin is not irrelevant, as the author relates seemingly unrelated aspects of its practice or performance to key elements of anesthesia, medicine, or being part of a team in the operating room. 

The author allows his/her personality and voice to come through. Reading this, it is easy to imagine a quirky and intellectual applicant who is genuinely curious and excited to pursue the career of anesthesia, along with some interesting hobbies. It is no surprise, then, that this applicant interviewed at top programs across the nation and multiple residency admissions committee members cited the applicant’s personal statement during the interview.

As I stand on stage in front of 500 audience members, they are all eagerly awaiting my next line. In order to start the scene, I need a suggestion from the audience. “What am I holding?” I raise my empty hand in the air. One brave soul replies “Bacon!” My fellow improvisers and I proceed to perform a scene set around a bacon dinner party. We deliver our lines punctuated by laughter until the scene comes to a close. I recall this scene during my first night in the emergency department (ED). I am struck by how much improvisation has taught me. Emergency Medicine (EM) and improv have very similar motifs. Every scene in improvisation is different, as is every ED patient. Scenes are fast paced and force you to draw from life experiences while working in a team setting, similar to the controlled chaos often encountered during an ED shift. Ultimately, ingenuity, communication and resourcefulness are the main draws I have to EM which are traits that have been instilled into my character by my experience with improvisation.

During my third year of medical school, an elderly woman presented to the ED with acute vision loss. Reassessing the patient was difficult because I had no way of documenting the improvement of her vision. Improvisation had prepared me to use creativity and whatever tools available to find a solution for any given situation. I created a system where she could mark an ‘X’ wherever she could see on a grid drawn on paper. Each hour she would add more X’s to the grid as she received corticosteroid treatment. Helping patients with improvised solutions gives me the feeling of being an artist which can complement the logic and criteria needed in EM.

New and imaginative ideas in improvisation are born from constant communication between improvisers. Emergency physicians are constantly communicated information which changes their management of a patient. A growing discipline in EM is the idea of shared decision-making (SDM). My research aims to improve the communication between the emergency doctor and the patient using SDM which is when the patient relies on their life experiences, values, and preferences while the EM physician contributes his/her medical knowledge to improve decision-making. I have been involved in several projects to help identify barriers to SDM in the emergency department, and I am currently leading a research project on the implementation of SDM in oral anticoagulation therapy for patients with new onset atrial fibrillation. Through this novel concept, I learned how to effectively communicate with patients about their illnesses and the benefit of giving them an active role in choosing their care plan.

Entering medical school, I developed an original research project incorporating my life experiences. Five years ago, my grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. In medical school, I learned of the benefits of various alternative treatments of neurodegenerative diseases. Combining my experience with Alzheimer’s and improvisation, I developed a study where elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were enrolled in an eight-week improvisation class. My efforts to improve the participants’ verbal fluency, level of depression and cognition using a treatment that had not yet been explored gave me the ability to administer care with the tools given to me by past experiences. Approaching the undifferentiated ED patient similarly requires resourcefulness and problem-solving which can stem from past life experiences. I believe I will be able to pull from these experiences salient information applicable to the situation because improvisation has helped me nurture this characteristic.

In my future career, I see myself working with underserved populations and performing research. There I can lift those who are in need as well as continue to research improvements in patient engagement through SDM. I know if I am given the chance to practice medicine in an environment that fosters ingenuity, communication and resourcefulness I can continue to be strong advocate for my patients and become a great EM physician.

Building from a unique background, the author of this residency personal statement brings a unique element to the table – improvisation. Similar to the personal statement above, the author uses their passion and interests outside of medicine to illustrate how the skills they have developed in that area will translate to their being an effective physician. 

Notably, the author also describes his novel research project incorporating improvisation into research and the backstory of how this idea was derived from Alzheimer’s dementia effecting his own family members. This simple anecdote reinforces the applicant’s passion for improvisation, their interest in furthering the scientific literature through research, and the personal connection to a condition. 

The applicant comes across as interesting. However, to further improve the impact of the essay, the author may consider tightening up the conclusion with a reference back to improvisation or other parting words that are more unique.

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Creating a high‐quality personal statement for residency application: A guide for medical students and mentors

Adaira landry.

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston Massachusetts, USA

Wendy C. Coates

2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor‐UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles California, USA

Michael Gottlieb

3 Department of Emergency Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Illinois, USA


In 2022, a total of 50,830 applicants applied to residency programs in the United States. 1 The majority of the application are data driven, including Step 1 and 2 scores, preclinical and clinical grades, and the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE or “Dean's Letter”). While there is some flexibility in choosing who writes one's letters of recommendation, there are caps on the number allowed and the contents are usually unknown to the applicant. Therefore, a high‐quality personal statement adds subjectivity and provides flexibility to frame an applicant in the strongest light. Prior research reveals that the personal statement has not always been valued universally. 2 , 3 However, the personal statement may be gaining importance with the recently increased focus on holistic review as well as the transition of USMLE Step 1 to pass/fail and the increasing prevalence of pass/fail grading in U.S. medical schools. 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 This is relevant as objective metrics inconsistently predict a student's ability to practice medicine and succeed in residency 8 , 9 and may present a potential for racial and other forms of bias in applicant selection. 10

While the objective aspects of the application emphasize comparison based on standard measures, the subjective narrative is curated and individualized by the applicant. Moreover, the National Residency Matching Program 2021 Program Director survey data suggest that personal statements influenced some applicants' likelihood of receiving an interview offer, especially when the application was near a program's self‐directed objective cutoff metric; however, its impact on rank list position was less influential. 11 Therefore, it is in the candidate's interest to craft a statement that engages the reviewer. The primary goal of the personal statement must be honest and reflective and be able to tell the story of the applicant (e.g., the influence of their background, key current personal interests, and future goals). Linear and crisp writing makes a personal story easier to read. Despite the stakes, there are few published resources guiding applicants on how to write an effective personal statement. 12

In this paper, we provide recommendations for creating a high‐quality personal statement. The authors have served as advisors to medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty for over 35 years across four separate major academic institutions. They have held core faculty roles, medical school, residency program, or fellowship leadership positions and have served on resident selection and interview committees and in the dean's office. The information compiled here was based on consensus of opinion as well as relevant literature where available. While the primary audience of this article is medical students, the principles may also be valuable for their mentors.


The personal statement provides context to your personal and professional experiences and ambitions. It should not be a line‐by‐line recap of your entire application. Rather, it should highlight aspects which deserve greater attention and detail than are provided in your curriculum vitae. 13 Resist the urge to exaggerate truth, but do not undersell your accomplishments. Stating what you learned from experiences can strike a balance. The personal statement offers a prime opportunity to discuss gaps in training, motivation to pursue a particular field, notable extracurricular activities, general career plans, and concerns with your application. Controversial topics, such as social or political issues, may occasionally be included after careful consideration on how to frame your message and language. A trusted specialty‐specific advisor or mentor can help determine which key points are strategic to address.

Most importantly, your personal statement should be unique and reflect your personal journey and not be at risk of being mistaken for a different applicant or plagiarized from a published work. We recommend that you craft your personal statement directly from your voice and through your lens. While it is prudent to consult a proofreader to check spelling and grammar, it is unacceptable to hire a writer to construct your statement.

Before writing your personal statement, we recommend engaging in self‐reflection. Focus on the crossroads of your path and application that you want to highlight. These form the central points of your essay and may stimulate conversation during your interview. Your trusted network (mentors, significant others, siblings, parents, and close friends) can help early to identify significant traits and experiences. Anything written in a personal statement is available for discussion during the interview, including some topics that are frequently disallowed. Be prepared to discuss what you disclose. Table  1 summarizes general pearls and pitfalls for the personal statement.

Pearls and pitfalls for the personal statement

Pearls—DO:Pitfalls—DO NOT:


Writing can be a challenge but following a few basic writing strategies can simplify the task. Creating an outline helps adhere to purposeful clarity and flow. The flow should be linear so that the application reviewer can easily follow the discussion without having to decipher the relevance of content or the meaning of vague analogies. The ability to compose clear, easily readable prose will reflect favorably on your communication skills.

Writing with brevity and paying attention to the word count yields readable, short, and sharp sentences. For many specialties, a one‐page personal statement is the norm; however, ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) does have a cap of 28,000 characters (approximately 5 pages). 12 Your mentor can advise on the preferred length for your intended specialty. Use simple words that convey your meaning to enhance comprehension, and avoid overly colorful language and unnecessary adverbs and adjectives. Minimize the temptation to provide extraneous details, especially when trying to set the scene of a clinical environment, patient encounter, or historic event (e.g., a family member with a medical encounter). You should be the focus of your personal statement.

After creating this first draft, several strategies can be used to improve it. Waiting a few days to edit the statement allows you to reread it from a fresh perspective. Trusted allies may offer valuable insights and assess for flow, context, and comprehension. Mentors can evaluate your statement from the lens of a reviewer. Listening to the statement being read aloud can help identify errors. It is common to need several revisions before settling on your ideal personal statement. As a last step, be sure to check the document for spelling and grammar. Table  2 provides resources that will help with the technical craft of writing.

Writing resources

ResourceAuthor/hostMediumLearning value
William ZinsserBookBasic principles of writing
Annie LamontBookHow‐to guidebook of writing
Strunk and WhiteBookPrincipal requirements of simple writing
Lorelei LingardArticleDevelopment of strong sentences
GrammarlyBlogLearn basic grammar rules
?Harry GuinnessNewspaperEdit your own writing
Mignon FogartyPodcastBasic grammar tips


There is no rigid template for a personal statement. Its design and development should be sculpted to describe your unique experiences and ambitions, while being mindful of the storytelling and writing principles outlined above. To that end, no singular format or framework will work for every student. The goal is not to capture the reviewer's or programs's exact preferences, because there is too much variability to predict what is desired. 2 The primary goal of the personal statement is to write clearly about your journey so that reviewers understand who you are. In this section, we provide examples of components to consider including in your personal statement. We do not expect that each of these components will be included in everyone's personal statement. Instead, each author should decide which components best represent their desired message. We understand the temptation to be creative with your writing; however, we recommend caution. A lively statement, specifically in the opening, runs the risk of being cliché or distracting. Table  3 offers suggestions of how to structure the description of your experiences.

Approach to describing experiences in personal statement

Writing pointRationaleExample
Topic of experienceSuccinctly state the specific experience you are going to describe.My experience volunteering for the needle exchange clinic exposed how patients with addiction face neglect.
Context of choosing projectWhat made you decide to pick this experience?Watching my relative struggle with substance use disorder informed me of the need for better services for this population.
Description of experiencesClarify your exact role in the process.I was responsible for scheduling student volunteers for shifts and training sessions.
Metrics and quantitative outcomesThis demonstrates your impact.I organized 40 different 3‐hour training sessions for volunteers.
Skills obtainedHighlight the objective skills you have gained.I became familiar with scheduling software and creating feedback forms.
Self‐reflectionShare what you learned about yourself.I learned the importance of supporting a team and being present to teach and answer questions.

Implications for career

Inform the reader how this experience will shape your career.This experience has motivated me to pursue a fellowship and career in addiction medicine and seek mentors and service opportunities during residency.
Lessons learnedWhat lesson about this experience surprised you?I learned that government funding is difficult to obtain but I gained valuable experience in the art of grant‐writing.
Next stepsYou have completed this experience, now what?I must learn more about grant writing so that I can better fund the clinics I run in the future.

Motivation for pursuing medicine overall (consider including, if desired)

The decision to pursue the field of medicine is significant and worthy of discussion. Often students open with a brief description of an educational or clinical encounter, a relative's journey as a patient, or even a personal illness. You may briefly state your reasons for becoming a physician (e.g., enjoyment of clinical medicine, desire to improve health care delivery). No matter the influence that inspired you to pursue medicine, reviewers will appreciate your authenticity.

Motivation for selected residency field (included by many applicants 14 , 15 )

Describe why you are applying to your specialty and highlight personal traits and experiences that make you an ideal fit. Mentors in your desired specialty can discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and future of the field and can assess your compatibility. Avoid superficial phrasing such as “I am applying to emergency medicine because I am interested in helping people.” While this answer is honorable, it lacks a detailed understanding of the nuanced aspects of the field and could apply to any student and specialty. There is no need to describe the specialty to the readers—they are living it daily and want to learn why you will succeed within the specialty's framework.

Tentative plans for residency and career (included by strongest applicants)

If you have tentative plans for residency, possible fellowship, and your subsequent career path, you can include them and any supporting evidence. For instance, “Based on my research thesis studying cardiac biomarkers, I plan to focus on early signs of cardiac disease. I will pursue a fellowship in population health, obtain a Master of Public Health degree, and later work in an academic setting.” You may also link these ambitions, whether clinical or nonclinical, back to why you pursued medicine or the specific discipline. Selection committees value your ability to create a global plan, but they also understand that it may change during residency and will not be disappointed if you revise your path as you discover new opportunities during your training.

Brief context of academic experiences (consider including, if applicable)

The variety of applicants' experiences is as varied as the applicants themselves. It is important to clarify your motivation for engaging in an activity, the depth of your role, and how you improved as a result of your participation. For example, the experiences of a student who is listed as an author on a publication may vary from data entry to principal investigator. An honest reflection of your role and lessons learned is far better than hyperbole. Describe your decision making behind a project and how your skills improved or how it influenced your personal mission as a result. Detailed descriptions are not necessary. Instead, focus on the key components of one or two influential experiences. You may be expected to elucidate the details during your interview.

Relevance of extracurricular activities and prior employment (consider including, if applicable)

Most applicants have a long list of activities to report, and many may not be well understood by the selections committee. The personal statement gives you an opportunity to frame selected experiences. Highlight your important role in an activity or why the activity endorses your potential success in your specialty. There is a significant distinction between a student who created a student‐run clinic (e.g., generated the idea, sought approval, built a team, gathered supplies, scheduled students and faculty) and a student who staffed the clinic twice during medical school. Similarly, your role in a previous job, whether it was career focused or casual, can shed light on your skills (e.g., to highlight management skills, you could recount your experience as a residence hall assistant in college or your role as a team leader in industry).

Special considerations (consider including, if applicable)

The following are selected special considerations for writing your personal statement. They can carry a higher level of sensitivity, so be mindful of word choice. We want to emphasize the importance of discussing your approach with a trusted advisor or mentor. Be prepared to discuss any topics mentioned in the statement during your interview. While this may seem daunting at first, it is an opportunity to directly answer a question that the selection committee may have while reviewing your application. Reading your thoughtful explanation may allay their fears about the event in question and spur their decision to take a chance on extending an interview invitation. No matter the issue, be sure to demonstrate personal and professional growth and how, if at all, the concern enhanced your ability to become a physician.

Leave of absence

If you took a formal leave from medical school, we suggest you acknowledge it in your application. While ERAS has a designated section for leave of absences, consider also mentioning the absence in the broader context of the personal statement. You are not obligated to provide details. You are free to state, “I took 3 months off for a familial obligation.” However, further details can help the reviewer contextualize the absence: “This allowed me to spend the necessary time addressing the issue without compromising my training. Upon my return from leave, I fulfilled the expectations of my medical school.” It is important that your reason for the leave of absence is viewed by the school in the same fashion. If there is any conflict in the purpose of the leave, speak with your medical school leadership to discuss and resolve any disconnect.

Medical history

You are not mandated to disclose medical conditions. However, if the condition precludes you from performing your duties completely or partially, it is in your best interest to assess whether the program is supportive of providing the least restrictive accommodations for you to participate fully in the training program. While the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, it does not require that you disclose your disability until they are needed. Early disclosure gives employers ample lead time to put accommodations into place but may also lead to bias. 16 , 17 We recommend you discuss with your support system when and whether to disclose a disability and whether this decision will cause relief or worry for you and your potential employer.

Shelf exam/board scores/grades

Standardized test scores may influence students' interview opportunities and ability to match in residency. 11 It is prudent to discuss low scores or failures. A brief but clear description of the likely cause, remediation process, and subsequent successful outcome is needed. Any additional positive data points can be mentioned. For example, “I have since passed all of my shelf exams and my Step 2 score was in the Xth percentile.”

Concerning evaluation

Clerkship evaluations on the MSPE may contain negative comments that might be detrimental to the application. You are generally allowed to review your MSPE prior to finalization. If a detrimental comment is found, you should discuss evaluation concerns with your mentor as soon as possible to plan how to mitigate any negativity. Some negative comments are truthful and constructive and will remain in the MSPE. If the comment remains in the MSPE, the personal statement is available to explain the circumstances clearly and concisely and without casting blame on others. It is important to share the most important stage of processing feedback: self‐reflection and identifying areas of growth. 18 , 19 It is reasonable to direct the reader to subsequent instances of how the initial concern later was cited as a strength.

Limited access to extracurricular activities

Statements often highlight select activities so the reviewer can focus on what you perceive to be the most influential activities. However, not all students have access to the same experiences. There is no clear quantitative marker for how many extracurricular activities such as research, volunteering, or leadership roles one should obtain. Resources can vary from one institution to another, and individuals may not have time to engage in copious activities if they have other financial or family obligations during medical school. The personal statement is an opportunity to briefly explain any limitations with obtaining extracurricular activities.

Social and political factors

Often our personal identity is closely entwined with our societal and political experiences. It is an individual choice how to tell your perspective through your personal lens and whether to disclose your preferences. Incorporating personal identifiers, such as your gender, race, age, ability, sexual orientation, parenting status, religion, or political affiliation, informs the reader on aspects of your life that you feel have influenced your journey. 6 , 7 Revealing these can run the risk of unfair or discriminatory judgment but can also demonstrate your comfort with yourself and positively support the reasons you will shine as a resident physician. 12 Depending on your passion and involvement in a particular topic, this can be an opportune segue to explain your interest and future ambitions. Be prepared to discuss any of these disclosures during your interview. Consulting with your mentor is a good way to gauge the impact this decision may have on your application.

Writing a personal statement can be a challenging task. A thoughtful, organized approach will help you create a meaningful personal statement that enhances your application. Streamline the writing to convey your message concisely. The best personal statements are clear and brief and contain specificity to reflect and explain your unique perspective. This is your opportunity to highlight why you are the ideal candidate for a residency in your chosen field. While this guide cannot guarantee an interview invitation or a match into a desired program, we hope this resource will help ensure that your personal statements can showcase your best possible self.


AL has received funding personally from EchoNous for consulting. The other authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.


The authors acknowledge Drs. Michelle Lin at UCSF and Sara Krzyzaniak at Stanford for their advice on leave of absences.

Landry A, Coates WC, Gottlieb M. Creating a high‐quality personal statement for residency application: A guide for medical students and mentors . AEM Educ Train . 2022; 6 :e10797. doi: 10.1002/aet2.10797 [ CrossRef ] [ Google Scholar ]

Supervising Editor: Dr. Jason Wagner


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Tips for Writing a Great Personal Statement for Residency Applications


Preparing a personal statement for residency applications is a tricky matter for many medical students. Students often have a hard time writing about themselves, so it can be an awkward exercise. But with many schools moving to pass/fail grading systems, and with the transition of USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1 moving to pass/fail as well , students are increasingly leaning on other aspects of the ERAS residency application — including the personal statement — as a way to stand out to residency program directors.  

As a regional clinical dean, I have reviewed many personal statements over the years , and I want to share with current students some key tips for crafting a strong personal statement while avoiding common pitfalls.  

  • Above all else, BE AUTHENTIC. Don’t feel pressure to spin a dramatic anecdote or churn out a generic story about patient care. If there has been a powerful, formational event in your life, before or during medical school, or if a patient has truly impacted your career decisions, please share that — but you shouldn’t try to craft a narrative that doesn’t speak to an authentic lived experience.  
  • Develop a logical structure. Your personal statement should have a clear flow that is easy to follow. Ideally, the personal statement covers three general themes. I refer to this trio as “Where have I been?”, “Where am I now?”, and lastly, “Where am I going?” In general, you should be able to speak to the experiences that brought you to medical school, the lessons learned, the impactful moments you experienced during medical school, and what you envision for your career as a physician. A well-crafted personal statement pulls a thread through each of these general themes. 
  • Focus on your strengths. Use your personal statement to showcase your strengths and highlight what sets you apart from other applicants. You can discuss your research experience, clinical skills, leadership experience, or any other relevant achievements. Alternatively, your advisor or mentor might recommend that you address specific challenges. There are very specific reasons why you might wish to call out negative aspects of your application (for example, a leave of absence from school, or an end of course exam failure or licensing exam failure)— but doing so without guidance from your advisor could cause reviewers to pass over your application for consideration for interviews. Including perceived negatives always requires case-by-case guidance with your advisor.  
  • Connect your experiences to your chosen specialty. Explain how your experiences have prepared you for a career in your chosen specialty. Discuss specific experiences or projects that have sparked your interest in the field and explain how you envision your future in the specific context of that specialty.  
  • Be specific and detailed. Use concrete examples to illustrate your points. Provide sufficient detail to help the reader understand your experiences and achievements. Avoid vague statements or generalizations that could apply to any applicant. My favorite example of a generic, overused comment is when applicants to Pediatrics refer to being impressed by “how resilient children are.” General statements like this don’t provide any specific insight into you as an applicant. Instead you might use a specific example, for instance, “while getting to know to the family of one of our premature infants during my neonatal ICU rotation, I learned how difficult it can be to navigate the challenges of a having a child hospitalized with complex health care needs, while balance jobs, and the lives of their other children…” , and then discuss how finding ways to improve care for the whole family is part of your desire as you become a pediatrician.  
  • Don’t feel pressure to be grandiose. Most applicants haven’t installed solar panels in rural America, obtained an NIH grant, or started a nonprofit while in medical school. Again, what is most important above all else is that the experiences you describe are authentic. Be prepared to speak to anything you write in your personal statement during the residency interview. Interviewers can usually tease out any filler you might have included in your application. 
  • Proofread and edit carefully. Ask a trusted friend, mentor, or advisor from your medical school to review your statement and provide proofreading and feedback. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and make sure that your statement is grammatically correct and free of typos. 

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when crafting a personal statement for residency applications:  

  • Being too generic: As mentioned above, try to avoid writing a personal statement that could apply to any specialty or any applicant. Make sure to focus on your unique experiences and how they have prepared you for a career in your chosen specialty.  
  • Being too self-promotional: While it’s important to highlight your strengths and achievements, work to maintain a spirit of ongoing personal and professional development. Focus on showcasing your qualities and experiences that will make you a great fit for your chosen specialty.  
  • Failing to explain your interest in the specialty: Your personal statement should explain why you are interested in your chosen specialty and how your experiences have prepared you for a career in that field. Failing to do so can make it difficult for residency program directors to understand your motivations and assess your fit for their program.  
  • Neglecting to proofread: It bears repeating: Typos and grammatical errors can make a negative impression on the reviewer and detract from the strength of your personal statement. Make sure to proofread your statement carefully and ask someone else to review it as well.  
  • Writing too much: While there isn’t a true word limit, most residency program directors like to see a personal statement of no more than 1 to 1 ½ pages. Exceeding this general rule can signal a lack of a focused message. Cut down on any extraneous text, and use your words wisely to convey your message effectively.  

Remember that your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your strengths and demonstrate your passion for your chosen specialty. With more and more numerical scores going away, personal statements are increasingly important in helping you distinguish yourself to program directors. By following these best practices, and by putting in the time and effort to craft a well-written statement, you can increase your chances of standing out to residency program directors and securing a spot in your chosen specialty and program.  

Interested in more resources?  

American College of Physicians (ACP)- https://www.acponline.org/membership/medical-students/acp-impact/archive/may-2010/medical-student-perspectives-writing-the-residency-application-personal-statement  

American Medical Association (AMA)- https://www.ama-assn.org/medical-students/preparing-residency/residency-match-4-tips-writing-standout-personal-statement  

For Osteopathic applicants (from the AOA)- https://thedo.osteopathic.org/columns/applying-to-residency-tips-for-personal-statements-and-letters-of-recommendation/  

Doxmity- https://opmed.doximity.com/articles/5-rules-i-follow-to-write-a-personal-statement  

For International Medical Graduates- https://www.imgprep.com/residency-personal-statement-writing-tips  

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)- https://www.aafp.org/students-residents/medical-students/become-a-resident/applying-to-residency/personal-statement.html  

University of Washington Student Advising  https://familymedicine.uw.edu/education/advising/apply/impressing-personal-statement/  

Tips for Emergency Medicine- University of Wisconsin- https://emed.wisc.edu/education/medical-students/personal-statements  

Tips for Surgical Applicants- American College of Surgeons (ACS)- https://www.facs.org/for-medical-professionals/education/online-guide-to-choosing-a-surgical-residency/guide-to-choosing-a-surgical-residency-for-medical-students/choosing-a-residency/  


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  • Residency Admissions

How to Write your Dermatology Personal Statement

How to Write your Dermatology Personal Statement

Table of Contents

Do you dream of becoming a dermatologist? This highly lucrative specialty is very sought-after, with an enormous amount of competition. In 2022, 99.4% of PGY2 dermatology programs filled according to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

While what you do before applying to residency is vitally important, such as where you do rotations,from whom you get your letters of recommendation , once you are actually filling out your ERAS application , your dermatology residency personal statement , a concise exploration of your interest in the specialty and experience, will showcase what makes you exceptionally qualified.

Dermatology Residency Personal Statement: An Overview

Any dermatology residency personal statement should address:

  • Your interest in dermatology
  • Your experience in dermatology
  • Your goals for both the program and your career in the specialty

This essay serves as a way for prospective programs to learn more about you in a qualitative sense — your personality, your passion for the specialty and medicine itself, and your background.

The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) allows you to submit a personal statement of up to 28,000 characters. At MedEdits , we recommend keeping it as concise as possible, no more than 5,300 characters with spaces, barring any extenuating circumstances. If you make it too long, you risk losing your audience’s interest. You may also be tempted to add fluff — non-relevant information — in order to beef up your essay, which will actually detract from it.

Dermatology Personal Statement: Themes

According to one study, the most personal statement themes for successfully matched applicants include discussions of a skin condition, why the candidate wants to pursue dermatology, and “storytelling.” 

The study’s authors found that storytelling themes — those focusing on a personal story concerning dermatology — were less prevalent in the unmatched group than in the matched group, but the discrepancy did not rise to the level of statistical significance. 

Having a family member in the specialty was also less frequently found in the personal statements of successfully matched dermatology resident candidates.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t color your personal statement with interesting details and anecdotes — this is a narrative, after all — but you should focus more on your passion for the field than the story behind it.

Ultimately, a dermatology personal statement should address the candidate’s interest in the specialty and the qualifications they bring. At MedEdits, we advise striking a balance between offering details about you and your experiences and discussing why dermatology is so appealing to you. As an intellectual field, you want to showcase your intellectual curiosity and genuine interest in the field .

By taking this approach, our applicants have been extremely successful with 95% matching into dermatology .

Related Article: The Residency Personal Statement: The Insider’s Guide (with Examples)

5 tips for your personal statement, 1. draw the reader in.

From the beginning, you should hook your audience with an attention-grabbing introduction. Use compelling language to demonstrate your passion for dermatology and why you’re drawn to it. Be careful not to be cliche. It’s a good idea to read examples of other personal statements to find out what other candidates write about so you can avoid choosing too common of a subject. 

Including as many details as possible. You could go with a brief anecdote or another personal topic. The goal is to present yourself as authoritative yet approachable. 

2. Dive into Your Qualifications

Review your experience, including work history, research, and activities both in and outside school, as it relates to dermatology. While you shouldn’t brag per se, you should present your achievements clearly, remembering now is not the time to be humble!

3. Discuss Your Interests

Present your interests, activities, and experience outside of the field of dermatology in addition to those related to it. This will help demonstrate who you are as a person, which is one of the main goals of your personal statement. If you can, find a way to tie your extracurricular interests to dermatology itself — but avoid overreaching if there really is no connection.

4. Address Why Your Passion Is Dermatology

This should be a theme throughout your personal narrative. All of the experiences, interests, and activities you touch on should contribute to the bigger-picture question: why do you want to pursue dermatology? You don’t need to spell it out precisely, but it should be clear. The reader must be able to answer this question by the end of your personal statement without having to do the legwork themselves. 

Show, don’t tell is a bit of a cliche, but it’s important nonetheless. Rather than listing the qualities that will make you a great dermatologist, for example, paint a picture through meaningful, well-placed details. Ground your qualifications and personal attributes in these details, offering clear, specific evidence to support your narrative. 

Your dermatology personal statement plays a crucial role in matching with your chosen specialty, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should fear. Coupled with a strong academic record, it can help land you a spot in a residency you love, as long as you convincingly make your case and show your authentic self.

Dermatology 2023/2024 Key Changes and Rules

1. program signaling:.

Most dermatology programs will participate in signaling through ERAS. A list of participating programs will be released by AAMC after July 1. This year, dermatology will have 28 program signals – 3 gold, 25 silver.

2. Coordinated Interview Release

There will be three sets of interview invite release dates. Participating programs will not release more interview invites than interview slots available. Programs not participating have also been asked to follow this guideline and to post the date of interview invite release on their websites. A list of participating programs will be released later in mid to late August. Last year, the majority of programs participated with most programs releasing on the 2nd date.

Timeline for participating programs only

Monday November 6, 2023: first round of interview invites released (generally for programs with November or early December interview dates)Wednesday November 8, 2023: applicants begin scheduling interviews; must respond by November 10 Additional interview invites will be released as they become available starting after November 10, 2023.

Monday November 20, 2023: second round of interview invites released (generally for programs with late December or January interview dates)

Monday November 27, 2023: applicants begin scheduling interviews; must respond by November 29

Additional interview invites will be released as they become available starting after November 29, 2023.

Monday December 4, 2023: third round of interview invites released (generally for programs with January or February interview dates) Wednesday December 6, 2023: applicants begin scheduling interviews; must respond by December 8 Additional interview invites will be released as they become available starting after December 8, 2023.

Programs have been encouraged to notify all applicants of their status (interview, waitlist or decline) by January 1, 2024.

3. Pre and post interview communications

Dermatology will not allow thank you notes or letters of intent.

MedEdits Medical Admissions Founder and Chairwoman, Jessica Freedman, MD

JESSICA FREEDMAN, M.D. , a former medical school and residency admissions officer at the  Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai , is the founder and chair of MedEdits Medical Admissions and author of three top-selling books about the medical admissions process that you can find on  Amazon.

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July 11, 2022

13 Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Your Residency Personal Statement

13 Essential Do’s and Don’ts For Your Residency Personal Statement

Residency applicants can submit applications via ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) starting September 7th. Don’t wait until the last minute – get cracking on those residency essays now!

Why is your residency essay so important?

Your personal statement is a vital part of your residency application ; it’s where you’ll explain why you’ve chosen your specialty and show the committee why you’re the best candidate for training. And unlike other pieces of your application (such as your letters of recommendation or your medical school transcript), your personal statement is something that you have complete control over. 

For a knockout personal statement, heed these do’s and don’ts!

  • DON’T reuse your med school personal statement When you applied to medical school, you had to demonstrate an interest in medicine and demonstrate that you had the potential to become a successful doctor. At this point in your education, you are a doctor – or about to be one. Unless your premed school career is very relevant to your specialty choice, there’s no need to explain why you originally pursued medicine. And if you reuse your med school personal statement, your specialty decision could come across as unformed or immature.
  • DO explain why you have chosen your specialty Your decision to pursue a certain specialty is a personal one, and program directors want to hear about it. Did you have a mentor who helped you see dermatology in a new way or did you love your time in the pathology lab? What is it about delivering babies that thrills you more than caring for them after they’re born? Use specific examples to illustrate your story and your distinctive experiences and perspectives. Most importantly, where do you see yourself in the future? Make your choice unambiguous and your commitment undeniable.
  • DON’T offer superficial or generic explanations for choosing your specialty “Internal medicine is like solving a puzzle.” “GPs serve as gatekeepers.” “The OR just feels like home.” Cliches like these – without the proper care – can be the death knell for personal statements. But what if you do love diagnostic puzzles, or enjoy helping patients navigate the healthcare system? What if you really do feel most comfortable in a surgical environment?
  • DO bring out your unique experiences and perspectives Sharing the very specific details of your experiences and supporting your explanation can elevate your reasons from a generic cliche to a specific, and personal insight. Use anecdotes to illustrate your story and bring your unique experiences and perspectives to life. To explain why you like the fast-paced energy of the emergency room, share a particular experience you had there, how your people skills and your ability to stay calm under pressure came into play, and how you felt a sense of accomplishment in helping patients in distress. To explain why pain medicine appeals to you, you might mention how you connected with an anesthesiologist who opened your eyes to the potential of this field. The more examples you can give about why this specialty is the specialty for you, the better.
  • DON’T sound pompous or self-important When describing your skills, be mindful of the line between confidence and smugness. You want to sound enthusiastic and confident, but never arrogant or boastful . For example, it can be very off-putting to a reader if you talk about how work was too easy for you, making it sound like you think you’re more accomplished than everyone you worked with. After all, your readers are considering you as a potential colleague.
  • DO emphasize your strengths with tact and grace You’ve gained some valuable technical skills and exposure to clinical practice, but so have all your classmates. Which of your unique qualities will make your #1 residency program rank you as their #1 choice? Your personal experiences, both in medical school and outside, reveal more about you than your CV and USMLE Step exams. A good way to think about this is in the context of what’s needed for that specialty. Will the listening skills you developed through mentoring premeds help you as a family practitioner? Have quick reflexes, honed through years of playing piano, prepared you for the technical dexterity you’ll need in surgery? Will teamwork skills developed at the student-run clinic help you contribute to an obstetrics team? Select specific examples that demonstrate your strengths and make your essay come alive.
  • DON’T send the same personal statement to every program You’re probably applying to many residency programs and the thought of tailoring each one is daunting. Yet each program has certain distinctions that make it unique. If your personal statement talks about how much you love research and hope to continue that pursuit during your residency training, program directors in community-based programs might not think you’re a good fit for them. On the other hand, a completely generic statement of what you’re looking for in residency won’t appeal to anyone. How can you show your interest in specific programs without getting overwhelmed?
  • DO create multiple interchangeable versions of your personal statement While it’s unreasonable to suggest writing a different essay for every school, tailoring certain features in a limited number of essays can be a useful strategy. You might have one version for academic programs that emphasizes your future research interests, while your version for community-based programs leaves that line out and focuses on clinical opportunities. Or you might have a version for rural programs vs. urban, or for programs in your preferred geographic location vs. the rest of the country. ERAS allows you to save multiple versions that you can upload to certain schools – just be sure you give each one a unique name to keep them straight.
  • DO tailor your essay to your top program Do you have a dream program, one where you’re sure you’d be able to excel? If so, it’s well worth the extra time and effort to detail exactly why you want to rank it #1. This may sound like a lot of work, but it really doesn’t take long to identify why you want to work with a specific researcher or continue learning where you had a great externship. Don’t underestimate the bonus points you can get for this approach. Tailoring your essay to their specific offerings demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested.
  • DON’T use all 28,000 characters for your personal statement ERAS permits 28,000 characters for your essay – around 7,000 words! – but no residency director wants to read even close to that much. Instead, stick to a one-page essay – usually 600-800 words – that addresses your key points. Your essay will be more effective if you’re more to the point and concise. In order to do that well, 
  • DO keep your purpose in mind As you write, remember that you’re trying to land an interview, not detail every aspect of your medical school training. If you throw in everything but the kitchen sink, your story will be generic and lack any impact. Instead, select the key experiences that led you to your chosen specialty, the details that will demonstrate your fit for it, and where you see your future contributions in this field.
  • DON’T submit without proofreading In their rush to submit, some applicants skip this step, only to later find a typo they’re unable to correct. To avoid this, take a break from writing – at least a few hours, or better yet, a day – before carefully proofreading your essay. Try reading aloud as you go along. Since your ear often picks up what your eye misses on the screen, you’ll be more likely to catch awkward phrases, repetitive sentences or ideas, or other glitches.
  • DO have someone else also read your essay Even after you’ve done your own quality control, your own writing is so familiar that it’s all too easy to miss a typo. You also want to ensure that the entire essay reads well, hitting the high points that are most important, and striking the right tone. Getting the all-clear from another reader will give you confidence that you are ready to submit!

You’ve worked so hard to get to this point in your journey. Now that you’re ready for your next achievement, make sure you know how to present yourself to maximum advantage in your residency applications. In a hotly competitive season, you’ll want a member of Team Accepted in your corner, guiding you with expertise tailored specifically for you. Check out our flexible consulting packages today!

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Residency Personal Statement - Download your copy today!

Related Resources:

  • From Example to Exemplary , a free guide to writing outstanding application essays
  • All You Need to Know About Residency Applications and Matching
  • M3 Journaling: How to Do it and How it Can Help Your Residency Application

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Residency Statement's Blog - How to Write a Personal Statement for Residency

Writing the Personal Statement that will get you into Residency

residency personal statement theme

There are many ways to make an impression from bringing flowers on your first date to insulting someone’s shoes before realizing they’re your new boss. While applying for a medical residency program, you have many chances to make an impression such as your ERAS Common Application, Letters of Recommendations, and USMLE exam scores.

But, no part of the application gives you as much control and is the best for establishing who you are as your Personal Statement. Your Personal Statement is one of the few places where you can really introduce yourself and show your personality, not just as a faceless test score among a crowd of applications, but as a unique person.

Figuring out what to put in your Personal Statement can be challenging, especially when there’s so much you want to say and so little space. You want to think about what should belong in the picture and what shouldn’t.

Start by brainstorming “you”– your experiences (personal and professional), qualities, goals, interests and aspirations. Getting any assignment started can be difficult when you’re just staring at a blank page, but by brainstorming, you can take some of the pressure off.

You have all of the information you need, you just don’t know it yet. There are lots of resources out there to help you develop content for your Personal Statement. Google is a wonderful tool, isn’t it?

Below are a few questions to help draw out the right information:

  • What made you want to enter this specialty? Was there some sort of lightbulb moment or trigger you can talk about?
  • What are your goals, short and long term goals?
  • What are some character traits YOU embody and how have you used them in a medical capacity?
  • Are there any struggles that have helped you grow as a person or professional? (Don’t focus on the struggle, but how it made you stronger.)
  • What are your accomplishments?
  • Is there anything unique/unusual that distinguishes you?
  • What knowledge do you have about the specialty?
  • What can you bring to this specialty? This program?

To save yourself time in the future, feel free to answer these questions for more than one specialty. Meaning, just think of all of the wonderful qualities you have and experiences you’ve been through (maybe grouping them once you have enough down) and put them down in writing. After mentally drawing out the best parts of you, it’s time to focus that information into a concise, cohesive and stunning snapshot of you.

Those of you who thought you put those high school essays behind you– think again. Your general 4 or 5-paragraph essay format is the perfect way to organize your statement.

The key to an impressive Personal Statement is through proper organization . Think of this like those poetry fridge magnets where you can create phrases with pre-printed words. You can have incredible and engaging material, but if it isn’t organized correctly, it will get lost in the jumble.

Although every statement must be unique, you can follow this general format. Don’t worry too much about the length or perfection of the grammar for now, that will come later.

Introduction Paragraph

  • Introduce yourself through a hook to grab the reader’s attention
  • Connect the hook to your present medical aspirations
  • Announce your goals through a thesis (at least three)
  • ex. I want to specialize in (enter specialty) because I want to grow…improve…and teach…

Body Paragraphs

  • Address the goals in the order of your thesis
  • Include RELEVANT personal information/ experiences/ qualities
  • Have at three different and well thought out points per paragraph

Conclusion Paragraph

  • Recap your goals in new way to tie everything together
  • What do you want from the specific specialty, what can you offer?

You really want to be yourself while showing residency programs you have the types of traits they are looking for like maturity, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and teamwork . You don’t need to overstate what you’ve done or lie, just honestly let the reader know what you are made of as a residency candidate.  

When you have finally slogged through the first draft, now comes the difficult part: editing and revising. Until now,  you’ve been told you not to worry about being concise or having perfect grammar. Now is the time to fix, shape and finalize. Re-read your work- even better, read it out loud to yourself or to a friend.

As you go in for your next few read backs, keep in mind the following about your content:

Does anything come off as questionable or confusing?

  • Is every piece of information relevant to the specialty you are talking about?
  • Does having this information put you in a positive light?
  • Does any of the wording sound awkward, cliche or forced?
  • Is there any redundancy (repeat words, or ideas)?
  • Do you focus too long on something irrelevant such as your mentor or personal stories that don’t relate?
  • Don’t just say you are motivated, show it through your activities

If the answer is doubtful to ANY of the questions, take it out or fix it! You can save this information for another written document, but it does not belong in your Personal Statement.

Other things to keep in mind are:

  • The language you use, make sure it belongs to you, but feel free to dress it up a little
  • Punctuation
  • Ex. Instead of: I am smart. I read a lot. I like books. Try: I increase my intelligence through some of my favorite pastimes such as reading.
  • Did you use “I” too much?
  • Did you just parrot what is on your CV or ERAS application?
  • Are there any taboo topics such as religion or politics?

And to top it off, just a few formatting tips:

  • Keep it between 4 to 6 paragraphs
  • Single spaced, with one space between paragraphs
  • No indentation
  • 600-800 words
  • Avoid anything over a page
  • Mirror the ERAS format with one-inch margins and Courier 10-point font
  • No special characters like bolding or italics

Once you have edited, revised, cleaned and polished, it is always a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes on your finished product whether it’s your friend, advisor or an editing service such as Residency Statement . You’ve been looking at this document over and over and there is a chance you missed something.

Make your final adjustments and you are done!…Sort of.

You will need Personal Statements for each specialty you are interested in . Generic statements are easy to spot and not a good reflection of you and Program Directors expect to see dedication to the particular specialty you are applying for. Writing specialty specific Personal Statements may feel like extra work, but can make all of the difference among a sea of spectacular applicants.

**Please Note: This articles only touches on some of the many aspects involved with crafting a Personal Statement. You may choose to try another way or look further into the content of the statement.

Should you have any questions, Residency Statement would be happy to help you, call 760-904-5484 ext. 3, or email support@residencystatement.com .   

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Impressing: Personal Statement

The best personal statements are memorable. They paint a picture in the mind of the reader and tell a story about who you are, how you got here, and where you want to go. The personal statement is vitally important because it is frequently used to help determine who gets interviewed and ranked. Overarching theme: Look over your CV and think about the experiences before and during medical school that inform what kind of family physicians you will become. Often there is a common thread that holds together even the most disparate of experiences – this common thread is usually one of your core values as a person. Identify this theme and write your personal statement so the reader could easily verbalize this theme in one sentence after reading your statement. Experiences to highlight: Use your experiences to give programs an idea of who you are. Be specific – talking about the aspects of care that you like in Family Medicine is good, but it’s even better when programs can see how your personal experiences reinforce aspects of family medicine that resonate with you as a person. It’s okay to include patient vignettes and talk about your accomplishments, but be sure to relate it back to yourself. How did the experience impact you? What did you learn about yourself? How will the experience make you a better family physician? What about the experience demonstrates your commitment to the discipline of family medicine, your ability to work with others, your ability to work with patients? Choose one experience and tell a story. This is a good way to open your statement, to develop your theme and make it memorable. Commitment to specialty: Talk about why you are choosing family medicine. Programs want to know why your’e attracted to a career in family medicine. What experiences convince you that this is the right field for you? Strengths that you bring: What do you bring to a program? What are you naturally good at? What specific skills do you have that will serve you well in residency? Future plans/what you are looking for in a residency program: At the end of this long road of school and training, what kind of work do you see yourself doing? What types of training do you want during residency to be able to accomplish this goal? Organize your statement: There are many ways to organize your statement to get these points across. One common way of organizing the personal statement is a three paragraph form reminiscent of those essays you had to write in high school. To use this approach the first paragraph tells a story to open the theme, the second paragraph fleshes out other experiences that highlight the them and discuss your commitment to family medicine, and the third paragraph reviews your strengths and future plans/training desires. However, this is a personal statement and you are free to write and organize it as you desire. Do:

  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Use the active voice.
  • Make your writing interesting – use a thesaurus and vary sentence length and structure.
  • Have other people read your personal statement and give feedback.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to work on your statement and revise it based on feedback.


  • Rehash your CV or write an autobiography.
  • Use abbreviations – spell things out.
  • Violate HIPPA.
  • Start every sentence with an “I.”
  • Make it longer than one page, single spaced, 12 point font.
  • Have spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Write a statement that could be used for several different specialties (i.e. one that talks about wanting a primary care career but not specifically family medicine). If you are still deciding on a specialty and applying to different fields, write two different statements.

residency personal statement theme

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Seward Park Clay Studio Resident Artist Program offers a variety of opportunities to clay artists to develop their skills and establish a community of support and professional connections. The program is designed to fit a variety of people’s needs with residencies from one to three years. These include one-year project residencies, 3-year community residencies, and 3-year work/study residencies.

All resident artists share a communal space where work and tools can be stored. Residents will have 24/7 access to the studio, the kilns, and the support of a seasoned clay-artist group.

There is a monthly rent of $150 associated with this residency. There are limited need-based financial aid options available for the one-year residency, for those who qualify. Please click here to read the requirements and to fill out a form.


2 Gas fired Kilns that are fired to cone 10 A variety of Electric Kilns are used for low fire work and to bisque high fire work. Slab Roller Pottery wheels In-house high fire glazes and a selection of low fire glazes and underglazes Variety of hand tools and molds Low fire and High fire clays are stocked on site SPCS residencies are not suited for production artists who are making a living off the work they make here. We do not have the capacity for that volume of work, and it is not a reasonable use of a subsidized community studio.

The three types of residencies:

1. Project residency – these are one-year residencies that are aimed at things like mounting a show, or developing a body of work that can be used to apply for school or representation. This residency, unlike the others, has the opportunity to apply for one additional, consecutive, term if needed.

There are limited need-based financial aid options available for the one-year residency, for those who qualify. Please click here to read the requirements and to fill out a form.

2. Community residency- these three-year residencies are for people who want to be embedded in an active and working clay studio. They are also tasked with serving the mission of the studio by giving back through a variety of community-minded activities the studio organizes. There is a monthly rent of $150 associated with this residency and no financial aid options available.

3. Work/study residency – much like the community residencies, these are a 3-year residency. These are offered to fulfill the mission of the studio, while giving professional opportunities to folks who qualify for financial assistance. In exchange for an agreed-upon amount of time working in a defined role for the studio, these residencies are offered without cost to the recipients. These are solely needs-based, as a way for residents to pay their fees with time rather than money. They have the same rights and benefits as all other residencies. The work portion of this residency is managed by the Executive Director. Residents cannot reapply sooner than 5 years from the completion of their last residency.

How to apply: Submit a single PDF by email to [email protected] that includes the following:

Personal contact information Resume Artist statement A personal statement telling us why you are applying to The Seward park Clay Studio Residency Program, which program you are interested in, how it will benefit you, and what you feel you have to contribute to studio community (250-500 words) Ten digital images – each marked with title, medium, size, date, and a description or statement for each Three references (contact information, no need for letters)

Important dates:

SPCS will put out a call for applicants no later than June 15 each year with applications accepted until July 15. Accepted artists will be notified by August 1st via email. Accepted artists will have one week to accept before their offer moves to the next person available. Residencies will begin the first Tuesday after Labor Day, September 3rd. selection process All applications will be reviewed and ranked by a committee made up of resident artists, administrators, and a guest juror. A select group of applicants will be chosen to then be interviewed by the Executive Director and administrators.

Rules / expectations of residents:

* All Residencies have the same requirements in terms of competency and studio use. To be considered, you must show proficiency in all aspects of the clay process, including but not limited to, mixing chemicals, firing kilns, and using all relevant equipment. The Executive Director will ensure that these skills are met.

* All residencies have the explicit expectation that residents will use the studio on a regular basis, they will be present as part of the community on a regular basis.

* Residents will adhere to all current guidelines in terms of size and amount of work, purchasing clay, and additional chemicals from the studio. Those guidelines may vary depending on current studio usage and costs, but will be clearly communicated in the Resident Handbook they will receive prior to being accepted to the RA program. If the regulations change during the course of the residency, that will be communicated by studio administration. The Resident Handbook is always open to revision based on conditions, and the current handbook will always take precedence, regardless of terms at the time of signing.

*Residents will participate in exit interviews at the end of a term. It is important to SPCS that we know how our residency program is serving people, and these interviews provide us with valuable information about how we can improve and change.



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  1. Sample Personal Statements For Residency

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  3. Family Medicine Residency Personal Statement: Samples & Help

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  1. How NOT to edit your Residency Personal Statement 📑

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  1. Residency Personal Statement: The Ultimate Guide (Example Included)

    Why does the residency personal statement matter? The personal statement is an essay of about a page (one page in ERAS is 3,500 characters including spaces) in which you articulate who you are and why you want to enter a certain specialty. It's your big opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants by highlighting anything that isn't well represented in other parts of your ...

  2. Residency Personal Statement Examples from Matched Residents

    The theme is personal and consistent. ... Watch this to learn what red flags to avoid in your residency personal statement! Residency Personal Statement Examples #7: Psychiatry. I grew up in a tight knit military family in a community struck with the stigma of mental illness. Throughout my childhood we lost friends to the complications of ...

  3. Residency Personal Statement (2024/2025): An Insider's Guide

    Goals for Writing Your 2025 Residency Personal Statement. Above all else, your residency personal statement offers the opportunity to show your interest in your chosen specialty when applying to residency to illustrate you are a good fit. ... Rarely does a personal statement have a theme. Also try to have each paragraph transition to the next ...

  4. Residency Personal Statement: The Ultimate Guide

    Learn how to write your residency personal statement in this guide. We cover residency essay format, personal statement tips for residency, tips, and more. Get in touch: +1-800-727-0780. ... When in doubt, quality over quantity. You should always aim to focus on one or two themes and include a few experiences in particular. Never sacrifice ...

  5. Residency Match: 4 tips for writing a standout personal statement

    Explain any negatives on your residency personal statements. In some ways, a setback can be a positive, particularly if you can show some resiliency in the face of it. "The personal statement lets you bring all the pieces [of your application] together," Dr. Raaum said. "That means it's an opportunity to address any sticking point in ...

  6. PDF Writing Residency Personal Statements

    5. Common Problems: • Residency statement is a barely updated version of the medical/dentistry school application essay. • At this point in your career, you don't have to justify your interest in medical school or dentistry school. Rather, you have to make a strong case for why you would be a great, fit for the specialty.

  7. Residency Personal Statement Writing Tips & Structure

    Many applicants don't know where to start, so we suggest breaking the essay into bite-sized pieces. Use a standard 4-5 paragraph structure. This way, you've got small, manageable goals. Write your residency personal statement using: An introduction paragraph. 2-3 paragraphs to expand on your theme.

  8. The Trusted Residency Personal Statement Guide w/Examples

    Example Personal Statement 5. "While medical school can teach a student the science behind medicine, I truly believe it's a doctor's personality and character that ultimately determines his or her success with patients. One of my greatest qualities […] is my ability to quickly connect with people.

  9. What To Include in a Residency Personal Statement (Plus Example)

    A residency personal statement is a short essay that medical school graduates often write when applying to residency programs. It typically includes personal information, such as achievements, goals and interests. It often highlights personal motivations, experiences, goals and career plans. A residency personal statement is one typed page in ...

  10. How to write the perfect residency personal statement

    Determine your personal statement structure. Now that you know how long the personal statement for your residency application should be, we need to discuss how to develop your essay. First, create an outline with a standard 4-5 paragraph structure. Within that outline, logically organize your content. There are many methods of organization to ...

  11. How to Write a Medical Residency Personal Statement

    The process for planning your Personal Statement can be broken down into the following steps: Pick a specialty for your Personal Statement. Research the specialty and create a list of characteristics specific to the field, for example: Involves long-term relationships with patients. Requires problem-solving skills.

  12. Writing a Personal Statement for Residency Application

    Don't cross the line. Your personal statement should remain an original composition, even as you seek input and advice. Retain your voice as you refine your writing and don't ever plagiarize. Be ...

  13. Best Residency Personal Statement Examples for Inspiration

    Appropriate Format for Personal Statement for Residency Examples. A residency personal statement is short and should range between 500 and 700 words. It follows a simple format of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The opening paragraph aims to make the reviewer's first impression, so it should capture attention.

  14. How to Write Personal Statement for Residency? [with Examples]

    The academic "you" and the real-life "you.". Your transcripts, degrees, and test scores are sufficient to paint the academic "you's" picture. Beyond that, the personal statement takes over. Your residency essay is a page-long essay that gives a window into who you are. It is a peek into your life to find out why you are fit for a ...

  15. Residency Personal Statement Samples

    These are real personal statements from successful residency applicants ... Compared to the common "writing your CV" mistake that many applicants make, this personal statement is a breath of fresh air. The theme of violin is not irrelevant, as the author relates seemingly unrelated aspects of its practice or performance to key elements of ...

  16. Creating a high‐quality personal statement for residency application: A

    Landry A, Coates WC, Gottlieb M. Creating a high‐quality personal statement for residency application: A guide for medical students and mentors. AEM Educ Train. 2022; 6:e10797 ... Textual analysis of internal medicine residency personal statements: themes and gender differences. Med Educ. 2015; 49 (1):93‐102. doi: 10.1111/medu.12487 ...

  17. Tips for Writing a Great Personal Statement

    Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when crafting a personal statement for residency applications: Being too generic: As mentioned above, try to avoid writing a personal statement that could apply to any specialty or any applicant. Make sure to focus on your unique experiences and how they have prepared you for a career in your chosen specialty.

  18. Residency Statement's Blog

    The Medical Residency Personal Statement can also be used to explain any "red flags" in your application, like interruptions in your course of study, low Step Scores, or extended time since graduation. To take full advantage of this 1-page opportunity, there are some common mistakes you'll want to avoid.

  19. How to Write your Dermatology Personal Statement

    Dermatology Personal Statement: Themes. According to one study, the most personal statement themes for successfully matched applicants include discussions of a skin condition, why the candidate wants to pursue dermatology, and "storytelling.". The study's authors found that storytelling themes — those focusing on a personal story concerning dermatology — were less prevalent in the ...

  20. 13 Essential Do's and Don'ts for Your Residency Personal Statement

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  21. Writing the Personal Statement that will get you into Residency

    You may choose to try another way or look further into the content of the statement. Should you have any questions, Residency Statement would be happy to help you, call 760-904-5484 ext. 3, or email [email protected]. Your Personal Statement is one of the few places where you can really introduce yourself and show your personality ...

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  23. Impressing: Personal Statement

    The best personal statements are memorable. They paint a picture in the mind of the reader and tell a story about who you are, how you got here, and where you want to go. The personal statement is vitally important because it is frequently used to help determine who gets interviewed and ranked. Overarching theme: Look over your CV and think ...


    A personal statement telling us why you are applying to The Seward park Clay Studio Residency Program, which program you are interested in, how it will benefit you, and what you feel you have to contribute to studio community (250-500 words) Ten digital images - each marked with title, medium, size, date, and a description or statement for each