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Jefferson Medical College Alpha Omega Alpha Guide to Residency
How to Write a Personal Statement
Your personal statement is a key component of your application. However, different specialties put different amounts of emphasis on your personal statement. It is important to talk with a specialty specific advisor, as well as other physicians, residents, and interns within the field you are applying for, in order to find out what they are looking for in a personal statement (ie. ideal length, content, importance of the statement to the overall application). The following is general advice about writing a personal statement that can be tailored to the specialty of your choice.
The personal statement is the only part of your application that has nothing to do with test scores or evaluations of you as a student. You have complete control over your personal statement and it is your time to advocate for yourself and tell residency programs why you deserve a spot in their intern class. Programs will remember you better if you have a strong personal statement and may even use your personal statement as a reference point for interview questions.
Most specialties expect your personal statement to fit on one printed page in the ERAS system. Some specialties may even want it to be shorter, which makes word choice and the structure of the essay VERY important.
At Jefferson, applications are due by mid-September. The earlier you start your personal statement the better. At the beginning of fourth year (July), as soon as you know what specialty you are applying for, start thinking about and writing your personal statement. Most attendings and dean’s letter writers will ask for a copy of your personal statement and CV in order to write a letter of recommendation. You therefore need to start your essay early in order to be able to provide this to them when you ask them for your letter.
You will thank yourself later for getting the ball rolling.
How to get started:
What NOT to do in your personal statement: