Getting personal in your personal statements

Each year thousands of students apply to residency programs during their fourth year. All programs require students to submit personal statements along with their applications. A personal statement can seem quite simple, it’s just a statement explaining why you chose medicine and the specialty your applying to, right?

Personal statements should go beyond just that time you were young and a physician inspired you and you had that moment where you knew that was exactly what you wanted to be. Being personal in your personal statement is what is going to draw program directors to your application beyond your transcript and board scores. Explain your journey, the ups, and downs, what drew you to a specific specialty, how do you excel in that specialty as well as include long-term goals beyond residency to highlight your dedication to the field.

If you have any “red flags” it’s okay to mention them, as long as you are able to acknowledge the role you played in them (ex. leave of absence from medical school or unsuccessful board examination attempts), accountability will show you’ve understood and grown from the experience, its also beneficial to mention how you’ve improved and turned any weakness or downfall into a strength.

Be honest, own your struggle, highlight your strengths as well as short-term goals during residency and long-term goals upon graduation.