At a certain point in your academic career as a medical student, you will be required to apply for a residency. For most people, this can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to filling out the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and preparing the residency personal statement. While the task can seem so intimidating, the personal statement is not intended to be your bestselling memoir, but its intention is to add some extra breadth to the otherwise dull ERAS application that is usually full of grades and scores. It also offers you an opportunity to demonstrate to the Program Directors your motivation, personality, and what you are seeking from a residency program.
Although you probably already know about all of this, perhaps you still have many questions regarding how to go about writing a residency personal statement and filling out the ERAS. Here are some useful answers on the more important questions you may have regarding the ERAS requirements and residency personal statement writing.
What is the importance of the personal statement to my program directors?
A recent survey among program directors revealed that almost 80% of program directors consider the personal statement as a critical factor when it comes to deciding which applicants to interview. Now any experienced mentor or program director will tell you that the most crucial attribute is that a personal statement must be well written using proper grammar, well organized, free of red flags, and it should not exceed one page. While the personal statement is not necessarily the “maker”, it can surely be the deal “breaker” if it lacks these important attributes. This simply means that if you have an outstanding personal statement, your program directors are more likely to comment on it and you will stand out as a candidate.
What should be included in the personal statement?
While each personal statement should be different, there are certain components that are common to all residency personal statements. To begin with, it should have a catchy introduction to capture the reader’s attention. It should include an overview of some of your desirable attributes. It should also include a highlight of some outstanding life experiences such as jobs and hobbies that might help you to be viewed as a suitable candidate. Additionally, it should include a description of the reasons why you have an interest in your specific specialty. Lastly, it should address any issues that might raise doubts or questions among the program directors about your suitability as a candidate, and a solid closing statement.
What should you leave out of the personal statement?
It is always advisable to avoid any topics that are controversial when writing your residency personal statement. You should try to steer clear of any extreme political or religious statements. The fact that you don’t know the religious or political beliefs of the persons who are going to be reading your personal statement means that any statements that might be polarizing can put-off some of the readers. Furthermore, avoid including any traces of anger, bitterness or defensiveness about any events in your life.
How can you make your personal statement stand out?
One of the best ways to ensure that your statement stands out is to let your personality shine. Try to use your humor and depth of your experiences in a positive way to narrate your story. The trick here is to find ways to endear and reveal your personality to the reader.
Should you seek assistance with your statement?
In case you have understood all of this but you still feel you are not ready to write a good personal statement, it is perfectly okay and even wise to seek help with your statement. There are numerous writing services online that can help you write your statement. However, you should only seek help from the best residency personal statement writing services. Before you procure such a service, remember to provide the service provider with all the relevant background information necessary about your personality, motivation, experiences, and your program. In fact, you should prepare some sort of draft to be used as a guide for whoever is going to help you write your statement.
Now that you have a couple of answers to some of the most important questions regarding the residency personal statement, you should start preparing your draft early. Even if you plan to have someone help you to write your statement, the worst mistake you can do is to work on it at the last minute. Not only will it be more challenging and stressful, but you are also bound to produce a poor quality statement.