#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
    • 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
        • Emphasizes strong imagery skills
    • Get ready to brainstorm ideas most relevant to the specialty:
        • 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

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

    • 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:

While a Personal Statement alone will not get you a residency position, no residency application is complete without one. According to the NRMP Program Director survey, the Personal Statement is among the top reasons candidates are invited for an interview. With that in mind, you cannot afford to submit less than the best Personal Statement.
The strongest Personal Statements are anywhere from 600 to 800 words. Most reviewers expect the statement to be about one page in length. However, going slightly over and onto the second page is sometimes acceptable too. Aiming for about 720 words or under is ideal.
Personal Statements are the number one way for you to convey your interest in your intended specialty. Program Directors want to see evidence that you are passionate about the specialty to which you are applying. A generic Personal Statement is a mistake.
Red flags include anything from a failed USMLE exam to a professional or educational gap. You can write about your red flag as long as you keep it brief, honest, and present it so the final outcome reflects positively on you.
Having a bad Personal Statement is the best way to stand out - for the wrong reasons. Your Personal Statement needs to be well-written, engaging, professional, and persuasive. Including memorable and intriguing aspects of your journey and experiences can help you stand out in a good way. However, don’t go overboard in trying to spice up your statement with dramatic or experimental writing.