Please help me with my medical residency personal statement!

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Riley, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. ((Hello. I'm in the process of applying to medical residency programs, and I've written my personal statement, but I don't really like the way it turned out. Can anyone please give me feedback on it? Also I feel like it could be longer, but I have no idea what else I could write that wouldn't be just a bunch of fluffy nonsense.))



    When I was twelve years old, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without even a moment of hesitation, I answered that I wanted to be a physician. Since then, I haven’t wavered in that decision. Everything I have done in my life has been with that goal in mind. In high school, I had the opportunity to join a 3+4 affiliation program between Slippery Rock University and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. I entered the program immediately, knowing that this would help me reach my goal even faster.

    Although I knew I wanted to be a physician, I didn’t have a clear idea what that really meant until my third year of medical school. One of my first patients on my very first rotation was a middle aged man who presented with jaundice. The next day an abdominal CT scan showed a mass in his pancreas, and an ERCP confirmed the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. It was upsetting to me that a patient I had grown so fond of had such a poor, and probably fatal, prognosis, but that was the moment that I really understood what it meant to be a physician. It’s not about being able to solve every medical mystery. To me, being a physician is about having not only the knowledge, but also the compassion to help people through the most difficult times of their lives.

    When going through my third year clerkships, there was nowhere that this principle felt more important than in obstetrics and gynecology. Being able to have a lifelong relationship with patients was always very important to me. In obstetrics, I found that I was able to help, not only with the most difficult parts of patient’s lives, but also with the happiest. The first time I delivered a baby, I knew that this was the right field for me. This was only confirmed later that day when I assisted with a D&C. That small, simple procedure was enough to convince me that I wanted to be in a field where I am able to use my hands. Obstetrics and gynecology is the perfect mix of surgery and medicine.

    My hard working nature along with my strong sense of empathy will allow me to grow into a capable obstetrician, and I hope to have the opportunity to pursue my love for this field through residency and into my career as a physician. I am looking forward to developing the clinical skills and knowledge base necessary to provide the best care for my patients. It is my dream to enter this unique and challenging field which combines the ability to perform various surgeries and procedures with clinical knowledge and compassion. I know that when I achieve this goal, I am going to have a rewarding and fulfilling life.
     
    #1 Riley, Sep 1, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  2. If you haven't already, I suggest you talk to any familiar advisors or peers who are involved with the medical field to give you an inside perspective — especially concerning the length, since I really have no idea what would be most appropriate in this context; hopefully I don't contradict any of their advice if you have done so. :3

    I think you've got a solid structure, here; especially in how you show the maturity of your goal — how you aren't just some starry-eyed hopeful who's about to get in way over their head — I think you've made some good choices in what you write about. You've made it clear you know precisely what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you are qualified to do so. Honestly, if it weren't such a hyper-competitive context, I'd say this is a prime example of how to explain that you're worth your salt.
    From a strictly conventional perspective, it seems to me you've tidied this up pretty well; the only things I can think to change are stylistic, highly subjective, and beyond broad explanation, so I suppose I'll start going into block-by-block commenting.

    It seems you've started off with your most abstract anecdote, and that feels to me to be an underwhelming first impression. It comes across as cliché and lofty because it is without prior substance; I think that this history ought to be included after you've established that you know exactly what you're doing. If it happens to make sense to you for me to describe it like this, this story trades ethos for pathos, and you haven't yet earned any ethos; you've started off your personal statement with a credibility deficit, in a sense. I think this anecdote would be better placed toward the end of your statement, just before you move onto the really mushy-gooey stuff (which does have a place, I believe, especially with the direction you seem to be going).

    You bring a low point and then a high point to the mix, which really are the most convincing parts of your statement, for me. It's because you've included both a low and a high that you earn so much credibility — it especially demonstrates a significant level of maturity that both of these points were telling moments for you. Stylistically, I think that the high point should come first, but a syntactical part of me demands chronological order given your choice of words. I suggest you go through and decide for yourself which would be a better start to your personal statement. If you do choose to switch out the order, I recommend changing the framing so it's not so obvious that they're chronologically backward. As it stands, your framing and transition are both right on target.

    The final notes are about right where they should be. It starts in the present and moves forward from there, which works perfectly since, up until this point, you've focused on your history. The only criticism I have is that last bit; it seems a bit too far forward for what this is. Perhaps you could replace it with a sentiment which more concretely hints at your emotional attachment to your goal, id est your high point anecdote.

    Second, third, and fourth opinions are helpful, but I've found that the best help is to read it through to yourself out loud and try to find parts that just seem wrong to you, figure out why, and then try to correct the issue in question.

    I hope you find something helpful out of this, and I wish you success in getting that residency! :D
     
  3. Thanks. That was really helpful. :)
     
  4. You're welcome; any time! :D