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Residency Personal Statement

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Residency Personal Statement


  • Residency personal statement is an essay you write about your background, your reasons for choosing the residency specialty that you are applying for and your future medical career plans.
  • During the initial screening process, most residency program selection committees rely on the USMLE test scores to select applicants. At the time of the residency interview, the Personal statement becomes an important component of the residency program selection process. What you say and more importantly, what you don’t say in your residency personal statement can make a significant difference to your medical career.
  • Most medical residency program directors spend an average of three minutes scanning through your personal statement. So be brief about what you wish to express and don’t exceed one page. Keep your thoughts brief but express it well so there is a nice flow to the personal statement.
  • If you are applying for fellowships, don’t use the same personal statement from your residency match. Your medical goals have changed and your skills have improved. Your personal statement must reflect this maturity.
  • Residency program directors are looking for an academically sound residency applicant who is willing to work hard and learn under a closely supervised and structured program. A jovial applicant with a smile on his face will be an added bonus.



  • Fellowship program directors, on the other hand, are looking for a mature physician who will be able to handle stress and manage patients independently. In other words, they are not looking for a medical student. They are looking for a colleague who will work with them. This is a whole different ball game. You have to spice up your personal statement to meet this expectation.
  • Typically, Personal statements are one page long and contain 5-6 small paragraphs. Each paragraph deals with one or two topics.
  • Keep sentences short. Text should flow eloquently. Your residency personal statement should show you as a confident, mature and well-rounded Physician.
  • The final paragraph should summarize your expectations of the residency program and your future medical career plans.
  • Request your colleagues, attendings or residency program director to proofread your personal statement.

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  • If you are still not satisfied with your personal statement, consider hiring a professional writer

What does one write in the Residency Personal Statement?

Where do you begin? ...answer these questions and you will come up with enough content.

  • Why did you join Medicine?
  • Why did you choose this residency specialty (Internal medicine, Pediatrics, Family Practice, Surgery etc.)?
  • Why are you interested in this fellowship specialty?
  • What features of the residency / fellowship specialty, interest you? (Procedures, primarily outpatient, elderly population, recent advances in medical research, new blockbuster drugs)
  • Brief background information about yourself, Medical school, honors and accomplishments. Don’t repeat your CV. Instead, try to emphasize the high points of your medical career. Do not misrepresent your accomplishments. Stick to the facts.



  • Are you interested in teaching? What has your experience been so far with medical students, nurses and residents?
  • Will you be interested in pursuing a career in academic medicine? Do you plan to work at a University based hospital?
  • How do you perceive your patients? Do you bond with them? Do you take your patient care responsibilities seriously?
  • What research experience did you have in Medical school or Residency? What are your research interests? How do you plan to contribute to medical research?
  • Write briefly about your family life and interests. Are you married? What does your spouse do? How many kids? These give the residency program director an insight into your personality and life. This gives flesh and life to your personal statement.
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