Medical Superficiality: Residency Personal Statement Fatal Flaw #4

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When you write superficially you blend into the great mass of applicants who on superficial level are very much like you. Each one of your med school competitors is a hard worker. Every one of them has read more than was assigned. Everyone has a deep passion to become a surgeon (or neurologist, or dermatologist, etc).

How can you distinguish yourself?

Use specifics to tell your unique story and portray yourself distinctively. An AIGAC member, Maxx Duffy, says, avoid “umbrella words.” Umbrella words are words that have broad definitions and represent desirable qualities in the admissions process. Take “developing a differential,” for example. Yes, you want to demonstrate that you can quickly ascertain and assess the relevant symptoms to make a diagnosis. But you don’t want to do so by just starting that you’re good at this, or that you enjoy solving puzzles. Instead, provide an example that shows you in this role – with a specific patient and the challenges that they presented – and break down your role into subcategories that were key to your success. For example, some components that you can focus on might be:

1. Listening
2. Observing
3. Researching
4. Evaluating
5. Persuading
6. Organizing
7. Establishing a goal or vision
8. Obtaining buy-in​

This is just a sample. Not all diagnosticians can claim these qualities and only a handful can write about the specific example you will provide. So remember:

• Avoid Umbrella words
• Use specific examples​

And banish superficiality from your personal statement.

Avoid Fatal Flaw #4: Use specific examples to distinguish yourself.

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This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.

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