Medfools Personal Statement "Medfools Rules" in writing an
effective personal statement:
These "Rules" were developed after reading the same things in personal
statements, over and over again! The humor or jabs noted below are for
fun only, and not meant to attack anyone!
#1: Don't say "My
Father was a doctor and now I want to be one too"
This is a common mistake in personal statement writing for residency,
(and for pre-meds too.) At this point in the game you had better
know why you want to be a doctor, or it's too late for you. Residency
program directors have heard this story about a million and two
times, so even IF your dad did inspire you to go into medicine,
don't say it! Everyone is tired of hearing how you followed your
dad (or mom) on hospital rounds, and you liked the attention and
how this put a smile on people's faces. BORing!
Rule #2: Don't tell us how hard it was for you to go into medical
Unless you had to work 4 jobs while supporting your widowed
eat while going
to college, we don't want to hear it! Gaining entrance to medical
school is tough. Tough everywhere. Residency directors frankly
don't really care if you took the All-Country Medical School Entrance
Exam and scored #1 out of 8 million applicants. Who cares? That
was med school, and this is residency. While your pre-med exams
and hardships may impress your friends, it doesn't (except in extraordinary
cases) help your residency application.
Rule #3: Don't tell us what a fabulous medical school you went to
Most medical schools are decent (right?) Many applicants want to say
that they went to the best med school in their state/country. If your
residency director hasn't heard of your school and doesn't know already
how incredibly great that school is, then telling them in your essay
won't convince them. Sounds like bragging, and nobody likes that!
Rule #4: Keep research details to a minimum.
You're applying for residency, not a PhD in applied molecular chemical
dermatopathologic enzyme research. If you want to mention briefly your
research, then by all means do it. Briefly! State what you learned
and gained from it, not that you published 6 papers and chapter in
a book that no one will ever read. Keep the reader interested!
Rule #5: Don't say "I had a hard time choosing my specialty" or " I
tried to keep my mind open when choosing my specialty"
The time has come for you to make a decision! No one likes someone who
is indecisive. If you love internal medicine, then say I WANT TO PURSUE
AN INTERNAL MEDICINE RESIDENCY. Don't waste your space saying that for
3 years you really tried to enjoy every specialty. What is important now
is why you love your current specialty! Also, it doesn't matter if you
kept an open mind or not! Just matters what residency you are applying
to now. Just jump right in!
Rule #6 Don't advertise that you never made it to med school on your
first try or that you bombed your USMLE
Don't highlight the negatives! If you didn't get to med school the first
time, that's okay. Just build on the positive aspects now. Don't say
that your life was over and you tried to jump off a bridge when you bombed
the MCATs! Also, if you have great reasons why you didn't do so well
on your USMLE, then you can mention them in brief detail. More importantly,
explain what you learned from that experience and how you have grown.
Rule #7 Do not state that you passed your USMLE or obtained other basic
requirements or exams
These are considered basic requirements to begin residency in the US, and
stating that you have earned these is like saying you can tie your shoes.
Everyone has these, so they don't make your application any stronger. While
you may have studied like hell to pass these, so has everyone else.
Rule #8 Just because uncle Bob had leukemia is a bad reason to say you
want to be an oncologist
Residency directors have read millions of personal statements for residency.
Don't bore them with the same old story about your relative that had this
disease and now you want to help save the world by trying to fight that
disease. If you are going to mention Aunt May and her fight with Alzheimer's
make it interesting at least!
Rule #9 Keep it to a page!
Residency program directors spend less than 2 minutes with their inital
read of your personal statements. Your forty hours of work will be
evaluated and decided on in less than 120 seconds! Keep their attention
and for NO reason extend beyond 1 1/4 pages. One page is even better!
Rule #10 Don't tell me why you want to be a doctor
At this point in the game, if you have to explain why you want to be
a doctor, it's too late for you! You need to save your space and tell
people why you want to enter your residency specialty. EVERYONE who
is applying for residency is a doctor (or will be one soon), so this
is really secondary to why you are applying to family practice, or
internal medicine, or whatever specialty you choose.
Rule #11 We don't care what you did
in High School!
Ok, unless you were President of a small island Nation or developed the cure
for male pattern baldness as head of your Science and Chess club, people don't
really care what you did in high school. Yes, that goes for the prize chicken
you raised in 4H!! While you can mention that your high school athletics career
has later motivated you to keep up with team sports, you don't have to say that
you were the best goalie in Charlie Brown High history.
Rule #12 Don't mention Pop culture
or TV shows!
It doesn't matter just how cool you think CSI, MacGyver, or Six Feet Under are,
don't say you are inspired by them or think your future career in X specialty
will be just like that show! It is a mistake. It's immature, and frankly a lame
thing to talk about! Also, don't compare your "detective work" to Sherlock Holmes!
Good luck! -Fool