3. USE ONE THEME TO UNIFY THE STATEMENT. Your statement should not be a laundry list of accomplishments (the rest of your packet provides that information). By picking one theme that illustrates who you are (and the background for that laundry list of accomplishments), you give your statement direction and more importantly, you are able to personalize your experiences. A single theme provides the foundation on which you can demonstrate qualities that make you a good "fit" for the schools you are applying to. When considering a theme, let the following topics be your guide: Hobbies you love and actively pursue _ Unique accomplishments _ academic, athletic, or otherwise _ Work habits or attitudes that stand out as predictors of future success _ Family background, parents or other mentors who have encouraged and supported you _ Personal hurdles you have overcome _ A major life event which produced positive results _ Keep in mind the most effective showcase for your desire and drive to succeed in medical school and beyond is a past experience you can illustrate using concrete examples and descriptive language.
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: