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:
In order for there to be tension in your personal statement, it will help to describe a highly charged incident, part of a particularly difficult period in your life. Whatever it was, you will maintain your reader's interest for that much longer. The example below shows perfect tension and suspense build up _ "When the airmail letter arrived bearing an American stamp, I knew immediately, it was from my university with my degree results, and I tore it open as excitedly as if it were a birthday present. With trembling fingers, I took out the sheets of thin blue paper _ and my heart started to pound as I began to read."