Over the past decade I have written and/or edited scores of medical residency personal statements for MDs applying for medical specialty residency positions at dozens of teaching hospitals. Although it was never my intention to become an expert on writing these documents, that qualification just sort of evolved naturally over the years. Not long after I set up my two main "writing help" websites and started to create my series of writing_help how_to books, MD's from all around the world started inquiring as to whether I could help them write or edit their medical residency personal statements. As a professional business writer who had already published a book on how to write college admission essays, I found the transition to medical residency personal statements to be pretty straightforward. That's because, in the final analysis, it really IS all about how best to communicate a specific message in writing, regardless of the particular application. It wasn't long after I started receiving these draft residency personal statements and personal letters from MDs, until I noticed that there were three areas in particular where a lot of the applicants were missing the mark when drafting their statements. Consequently, the following are what I have come refer to as:
5. Suggest that the program can right a wrong by admitting you _ Remember that the committee members are busy professionals who are taking only a couple minutes to skim your statement. On the one hand, asserting that you will make a unique contribution to your program and bring a new perspective by adding to the diversity of their student body is a smart move and shows you as a positive, professional team player. On the other hand, asking for admission on the grounds that it will correct a previous injustice runs the risk of making you appear unqualified and/or confrontationalǒ. Be sarcastic _ This one doesn't need much explanation. Your ironic commentaries and sarcastic quips make your Facebook friends laugh, because they know you. The admissions committee does not. They can easily misinterpret sarcastic comments, or decide you're flippant, cynical, pessimistic, or a know_it_all.