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Residency Interview Questions


Residency Interview Questions

5 Essential Tips for Residency Personal Statements
By []Arielle Rachel

The purpose of the residency personal statement is somewhat different from that of the one you wrote for medical school. You are now applying for a particular field in medicine and you should tailor your essay appropriately.  Submitting a slightly modified version of your medical school essay is not recommended. Following the five guidelines below will help you create an excellent personal statement for your residency application.

Engage the reader from the start.  You want your reader to be interested from the very start of the essay.  Program directors are often short on time and may be more likely to gloss over your essay if it has a generic, flat, or boring beginning.  One way to begin an essay is with a personal vignette-- a quick snapshot of a moment in your life that relates to your decision to apply to your chosen field.
Do not focus on why you wanted to become a doctor. This topic was appropriate for your medical school application. Now that you will be a physician, what are your reasons for going into this particular field?
Show how your personality and character traits will serve you well in your chosen field. Program directors want applicants who are a good fit for their specialty. As a medical student, you've learned that different personality types better suit certain specialties. Therefore, if you are applying for psychiatry, you might discuss how you enjoy listening, addressing the emotional needs of patients, and spending long periods of time talking with patients. If you are applying for surgery, even if you also possess some of these same qualities, your personal statement is probably not the right place to share them.
Describe how you stand out.  Your residency statement is still a good opportunity for you to make yourself stand out. Is there something unique about you that is particularly drawing you to this field? Do you excel in a particular extracurricular activity that may in fact share some characteristics with your chosen field? An applicant with artistic abilities might discuss her talents, including her attention to detail, dexterity, and creativity when applying for a field such as plastic surgery. An expert skier might compare the rush of emergency medicine to the rush of tackling a difficult slope.
Address your weaknesses (if necessary).  The only instance in which I would recommend addressing deficiencies is when these deficiencies are particularly egregious. A poor score on Step 1 or even a failing grade are not worth discussing. Disciplinary action that was taken against you in medical school might qualify as something you would want to address. This is a tricky situation and may be risky.  If you feel it necessary to justify or explain something, first ask yourself the following two questions: a) Is this issue worth mentioning? b) Does your explanation legitimize the deficiency?  If your answer to both of these questions is yes, the topic may be worth including in your essay.

Best of luck!

Arielle graduated Columbia University with a B.A. in English and Teachers College of Columbia University with an M.A. in English education. She currently edits medical school, residency, and fellowship personal statements on []