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Personal Statements

Residency Application Process

How to write a personal statement

A personal statement is a student’s opportunity to introduce themselves to the residency program. A focused personal statement should aim to be about four paragraphs in length and cover: who am I, how I arrived at specialty choice, pertinent research/extracurricular experiences, and long term goals for the specialty/program.

Personal Statements should be tailored to reflect the student’s specialty choice. Students do not need a separate personal statement for every program they are applying. However, if a student is applying to preliminary or transitional programs a modified personal statement explaining the student’s end goal and aims for the preliminary training is suggested.

Writing Tips

  • Aim to write in a way that is original and creative, but also articulate and includes correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Avoid writing about “why I wanted to become a physician” as this letter should be more focused on specialty choice.
  • Minimize the use of quotes, program directors are more interested in a student’s individual thoughts.
  • Obtain feedback from a variety of sources.
  • Keep the statement to about one page in length with normal font, size, paragraph spacing and one inch margins.
  • Do NOT plagiarize!