It sounds so simple. You only need to write between 600 and 800 words for your medical residency personal statement, and it’s about the subject you know best: Yourself.
But how can it be this difficult? How can just the idea of your personal statement cause so much stress and anxiety?
Well, it is pretty important. Also, writing about yourself is HARD.
Here are 4 critical tips for writing your medical residency personal statement that I’ve learned over many years of helping hundreds of students successfully match:
Start RIGHT NOW
There is no time like the present.
Whether ERAS applications are due in a year or a week, starting at this very moment is the best decision you can make. How do you do this?
Read my personal statement writing guide and begin to answer the questions I pose. Take some notes, maybe jot down a rough sentence or two. Let your thoughts arrange themselves – once you start, you’ll find your mind wandering back to your personal statement while you’re in the shower or driving to work.
This kind of passive process is priceless because suddenly, when you least expect it, something that absolutely MUST be included will occur to you.
Sitting Down Is the Hardest Part About Writing
Writing is not about waiting for inspiration to strike. It rarely happens like that. Instead, the most prolific writers are the best at doing one simple thing:
Sitting down and writing.
I know you’d rather do literally anything else. Believe me, I get it. I love writing. I’ve done it for years upon years and I do it for a living. Then why is it that doing dishes appeals SO MUCH to me when it’s time for me to actually sit in my chair and get to work? How is it that I would even prefer to help a stranger move furniture if it meant putting off writing??
I have no idea. But I have discovered that working in short, regular boosts is a great way combat writing procrastination.
Set a timer for as little as 10 minutes but no more than 1 hour. Then commit to sitting in front of your computer or notepad until the alarm goes off. Brainstorm, take notes, write, work on your personal statement however feels right.
Chipping away in intervals like this feels manageable – not overwhelming – and it keeps the project fresh.
If you begin early, doing this just once every other day or so will ensure you finish with plenty of time to spare. Still work in short spurts if you’re starting late in the season. Just do multiple micro-sessions per day, and before you know it, your first draft will be complete!
"The First Draft of Everything Is Shit" – And That's Okay
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word,” penned Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Is agonizing every word of every sentence your work style? Do you craft each syllable until it’s exactly right? Then, reading it all over again at a later time, do you end up changing or deleting half of those words you spent so many meticulous minutes on?
Don’t beat yourself up. I still revert to writing that way as well.
Unfortunately, it’s a silly and wasteful method. Fortunately, you have the chance to alter your approach RIGHT NOW.
Internalize that your first draft will be bad, or at least that you won’t love it when it’s done. Remember: It isn't supposed to be good yet.
Instead of perfecting every individual word, just focus on getting down the essence of what you want to convey to your readers. When you write something you’re sure doesn’t sound right, simply let yourself move on to the next sentence. Know you’ll get back to that section later. Be assured the draft you’re working on now will look very different by the time it’s a sparkling, award-winning final version.
Now you’re finally done with your first draft. Phew! Pat yourself on the back! Close your document and take a well-earned break. DO NOT look at what you’ve written for at least 48 hours.
In the meantime, listen to your thoughts and take notes about what you believe worked well and what changes you might make.
Hire Someone to Help
You’re convinced you can handle your medical residency personal statement without paying someone to help. Guess what? I agree with you.
You’ll work long and hard on it, include your friends and family in the revision process, and get your favorite attending’s invaluable feedback. When the dust settles, what you’ll end up with is a personal statement that’s good enough. Maybe it’ll even be above average.
Is that really what you want?
If you want a GREAT personal statement that helps you stand out, you need to hire an expert.
If your had a runny nose, you wouldn’t come to me, a writer, for medical guidance. Similarly, you probably shouldn’t go to a doctor for help with writing.
But that’s exactly what the majority of applicants do. Think about it. So far, who have you asked for advice about your personal statement? Other medical students, sure. Attending physicians, most definitely.
However, if you have a team of program directors helping you, it's still be a great idea to hire a PROFESSIONAL writer.
Again, you wouldn’t seek medical advice from a team of people who sometimes blog about health. Program directors, attending physicians, mentors, fellow medical students, parents, brothers, sisters, best friends – they can lend insight, but it’s a mistake to rely on them to help make your personal statement EXCEPTIONAL.
And hey, if working with me sounds like fun, don't hesitate to reach out.
1) Start writing your medical residency personal statement ASAP, and the first and most difficult step is the act of sitting down in your chair to write.
2) Your first draft will not be good, and that's totally okay.
3) Hiring a professional writer can take your personal statement from good to great.
Arrow pointing to critical - https://depositphotos.com/portfolio-1202020.html
Runners jumping off the starting line - https://www.wix.com
Chair - https://www.wix.com
Hemingway quote - https://www.personalstatementman.com
Writer at work - https://www.wix.com