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Personal statement tips...

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by mdphd2b, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. mdphd2b

    mdphd2b Hepato-phile 10+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2001
    Someplace cold
    So, I'm already dreading writing this thing...Basically I have lots to include as strengths for the body paragraphs, but these sound dull and boring without a catchy intro. I know that everyone tries to incorporate a patient vignette, but don't these also sound pretty boring after awhile? What about starting with a quote?

    I don't really have any "Eureka" patient moments, and my international elective won't be until spring of MS4. Although I feel the body of my PS will be strong, I'd like to hear ideas about how to make the beginning and end more memorable. My attempts to tie everything in with a story sound pretty lame :confused:
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  3. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite! Moderator SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2006
    How about not writing one of the standard PS's:

    1. Why I want to go into medicine/peds/surgery etc. (Are your reasons really any different than everyone else's?)
    2. Let me rehash my whole CV for you in prose. First, I was the kindergartner of the year, then...
    3. Let me tell you about my personal / family / friend medical crisis that led me into medicine...
    4. Here's what I'm looking for in a residency program....
    5. Let me tell you about a patient vignette....

    I cannot tell you how boring it is to read these. How about just telling me something about yourself that's not in your application already. Choose your favorite thing to talk about, and write about it. What do you like to do outside of medicine and why? Who are you?

    I should add that I'm an IM program director. Perhaps if you are applying to the more competitive / conservative fields/programs, you'd be best served by writing a standard personal statement -- but perhaps not. I'd bet their bored of their personal statements too.

    The most creative PS's I've seen:

    1. a Haiku. Yes, that's right, the whole PS was 3 lines and 17 syllables long.

    2. a fully plagiarized PS. I could tell, because it seemed very similar to another person's PS. I compared them one against another, and they were identical.

    The first person got an interview in my program.

    The second two were withdrawn from ERAS for fraud.

    Now that would make a really interesting first line for a PS
  4. Samoa

    Samoa Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2002
    If you're applying in a specialty that uses ERAS, it's a little easier to be creative, because you can send a creative PS only to those PDs whom you know will appreciate it.

    However, if you're applying in a specialty that uses SF Match, the same statement goes everywhere you apply. So on the whole you may be better off with something safe, even if there are two or three PD's out there who'd like to see something original.
  5. Auscultate

    Auscultate 2+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2007
    I also tend to agree with having a "safe " personal statement. A safe personal statement will NOT hurt your application if the other parts of your application are good. A "creative" personal statement might get you noticed and could probably help in getting some interviews but it also has the potential to hurt your application if it rubs some PDs the wrong way.
  6. AutomaTron


    Feb 23, 2007
    I think you should just write why you want to go into the particular field, any experiences that you think will help make you good at being a resident in general and in the particular field, make people like you more (saved a bunch of starving children in a third world country, helped an old woman being attacked by muggers, befriended a leper), make you interesting as long as you can tie them in and relate them in a backhanded way that doesn't make people want to wretch.
  7. Hard24Get

    Hard24Get The black sleepymed 7+ Year Member

    I decided to avoid the patient vignettes and began by telling the reader something about myself they wouldn't find in my application, but that nonetheless tied into my career choice. For instance, it made since to my mom that I was going into EM because I was always so eclectic, so I talked about my constrasting interests. On a different statement (I actually liek to write :oops: ), I began by talking about a fascinating biological phenomenon and tying it into my clinical interests.
    Personally, I am also a fan a WTF beginnings like, "My greatest weakness is a great piece of cheesecake". And there is always a quote (but is should be pretty damn insightful or pretty damn funny). I generally believe in eschewing the cutesy endings and conclude with my career aspirations and perhaps a thank you of some sort.

    Also... sending you a PM :D

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