What are your goals in writing this ERAS
personal statement for your residency program application?
- No typos
If only that's all you were striving for! Because there's oh so much more you can do.
Before we go on, don't forget:
3. Avoid plagiarism
4. Tell the truth
Okay, now on to the aiming high part. And finding the right balance.
You want to make a statement, but perhaps not too much of a statement. A bold
statement, but not too bold. Kind of like striking the balance between having 1 vs having 10 ear piercings.
You want to tell them who you are, without restating what's listed on your CV on ERAS
and without "TMI."
You want to stand out, to be remembered... but not for the wrong things. Not so much that you wouldn't be a good fit for the incoming residency class.
You want to be creative... but not so creative that one wonders if as an intern you'll creatively administer your own concoction of medications instead of evidence based medicine.
You want to tell a story, but neither a horror story nor a fairy tale. Genuinely tell your story. In about 1 page (maybe 2).
You might want to explain some part of your record, but not by making excuses, nor at the expense of putting your best self forward.
And even as I make a list here, you want to do more showing, not telling. Don't say you are good with patients, share something that exemplifies your empathy. Don't say you enjoy research, describe the novel approach you and your mentor took to better understanding a problem. Don't just say you like children in your pediatric residency program application personal statement, help the reader know more.
Ultimately your goals of your personal statement might be to describe who you are, what has inspired you, what you want to do, and why a residency program wants you in their training program.
Whether you are going to be a Nobel prize winner, the surgeon general
, the next Atul Gawande
or Abraham Verghese
, or one sincerely outstanding clinician, you want your readers to see that in you.
Oh, and you want to have someone you trust read it before you press submit. Someone who knows you well. And also have someone who knows you only a little bit. Not just for typos
and coherency (but do not skip these steps), but also to see if it says something meaningful about who you are, and who you have been, and who you will be. In that residency program of your dreams.[For more tips, see this on personal statements from the AMA]