Personal Statement Guidelines
Guidelines for Writing Personal Statements
Talk with the program director in the
specialty in which you are applying and ask them what they look for in a
personal statement. If you are applying for a preliminary year and a residency,
you will need only one personal statement, focused on the residency
specialty. You may add a paragraph at the end of that statement to discuss
what you are looking for in a preliminary program.
Before drafting your personal statement, please use OSA’s Worksheet for the Personal Statement to help you organize your thoughts.
A suggested structure for your personal statement might be:
- Why you chose this field.
- Why you think you will be good at it. This might include any biographical history you might like to include, personal qualities, related hobbies, etc.
- Briefly explain any mitigating circumstances in your qualifications. Avoid being too defensive. Some things of that nature might be best explained in your MSPE, if you wish. Discuss this with the OSA dean writing your MSPE.
- Some projection into your future, of both a professional and personal nature, if you wish. You may not want to be too specific about sub-specialty aspirations, though. People like to see an open mind.
We recommend that you create your personal
statements in a text file. The way you create a text file is Click on 'Start'
menu on the desktop, under 'All Programs' Click 'Accessories', Click 'Notepad'.
Change the Font to Courier New 10 which is used by ERAS. Keep it to less than
one page single spaced with one inch margins all around and spaces between
paragraphs. Do not use any special characters such as Bold, Italics,
Underlines, &, ñ, µ , @,#,% etc. You don’t want it to look too cluttered.
Poignant stories are nice, but basically keep it short and to the point. The
idea is for it to be personal but not overly revealing.
Have a number of people read your statement to get their reactions, especially faculty members in the type of program to which you are applying. Also, people who know you well, on whom you can count for honest feedback, and who can make any necessary corrections in syntax and grammar.
If you are deciding between two or more specialties, it is sometimes helpful to write a personal statement for each. If you can’t see the real differences among them, others who read your statements may be able to discover your true passion.