The ERAS ( Electronic Residency Application Service) is now open for the 2013 match applications, so it’s time to get cracking on those residency essays. The key difference between your residency personal statement and your AMCAS essay is that with the former, you should show that you have specific direction towards a chosen specialty and then tie that direction to what you did (and liked) in medical school; in your AMCAS essay, on the other hand, you do not yet have the med school experience under your belt and therefore are not expected to have a preferred specialty.
Here are 4 things you should AVOID when preparing your residency personal statement:
- DON’T explain why you went into medicine. This isn’t a med school application; you’ve already convinced your med school’s adcom why you want to be a doctor. Now that you are a doctor, that information is really beside the point.
- DON’T offer a superficial or generic explanation for choosing your specialty. Show that you are serious about your chosen field by giving a serious explanation. Saying that you have wanted to be a surgeon ever since playing Operation as a child doesn’t really shed the right level of knowledge or experience on your decision. Most likely, you’ve chosen your field based on something you learned or an experience you had during med school. Go with that instead.
- DON’T send the same personal statement to each of the programs you’re applying to. It should go without saying that since your reasons for applying to each of your given programs are different, then your essays should be different as well. After all, you’re supposed to write about why each program appeals to you – they can’t all have the same attractions.
- DON’T use all 28,000 characters for your personal statement. The 28,000 character limit – that’s approximately five pages – set by ERAS is the absolute maximum your essay is allowed to be. But that doesn’t mean that it should be that long. In fact, no residency director wants to read that much, or even close to that much. Try and stick to a one-page essay that addresses all of your key points. Your essay will be more effective if you’re more to the point and concise. You can offer longer answers during your interview.
Do you have more questions about applying to your dream residency program? Check out Accepted’s popular residency match ebook, Write Your Way to a Residency Match, to get the answers you need and to score your ideal match.
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