Any personal statement is an opportunity for you to shine. It can be intimidating at first, but you have worked hard to take your moment in the sun. You want to show off your best skills, without being overbearing. By the time you write your ERAS personal statement, you should have written a few personal statements already. At this point, you need to use all of the lessons you learnt with previous ones and make this the best.

There is a level of professionalism that needs to come through in your residency personal statement. Gather all of your documents before you sit down to write. There are services offered to get this done for you if you are intimidated by the process. For those who want to tackle this themselves, we have identified some of the worst mistakes you can make. If you want to give yourself a fair chance at success, avoid these 9 mistakes.

  1. Passion for medicine

A huge part of personal statement is to explain why you chose the course. When you are doing your residency, there is no need to explain why you went into the healthcare sector. Save this space for something else. It goes without saying that you are passionate about medicine by the time you apply for your residency. The board will appreciate not being bored by your journey to becoming a doctor.

  1. Maxing out the word count

Just because you have a maximum amount of words to use on ERAS, does not mean you should aim for it. Instead, keep your personal statement to 3 pages if possible. You want the reader to get through the entire residency application. A lot of applicants try to use up all 5 pages and it can be a lot of reading.

  1. Forgetting attachments

Your personal statement is an important essay and it can take up a lot of your time. This can often contribute to you forgetting to add all the required documents. Your residency CV is not the same as your personal statement. Failing to send all of the required documents would make the work you did on your personal statement pointless.

  1. Lack of professionalism

It is expected that you are a professional and this should reflect on your personal statement. There needs to be a clear difference between this one and the one you wrote in college. With ERAS, you are able to upload a personal statement without any errors shown. Use a proof-reader or editor to go over your writing and make suggestions before you submit.

  1. Generic

No educational institute appreciates a generic personal statement. One can easily see the difference. Always attempt to write a unique one for every program you apply for. There should be no compromising with this one.

  1. No pre-college moments

Do not include any events that shaped you before you attended college. This can be a sign of no growth in the last few years. There needs to be updated information in your residency personal statement. Think of a few current achievements and new skills that you acquired. You want to keep it as updated as possible and eliminate all information that is older than your first degree.

  1. Too confident

It is said that confidence is the key to success. Make sure you do not sound too confident. There is a fine line you need to walk to get this right. You have the right to brag a little, but let the facts speak for itself. There is no need to over explain why you achieve something incredible. Just mention what you did and leave it at that.

  1. No long term goals

Getting into the residency program is a short term goal. What do you plan to do after you are done? Even though you probably want to work in your speciality, you also want to find ways of attaching it to some other goals. Improving the industry you work in is important. This is an opportunity to do so. Do not come across as someone with no long term goals attached to the residency program.

  1. No flow

Simply stating facts with no flow to your personal statement is not going to win you entrance. You need to create an outline before you start writing to make sure your facts intertwine with each other.

Final advice on ERAS Personal Statements

There is a right and wrong way to write a personal statement for residency. Eliminate all of these common and detrimental mistakes. If you pay enough attention to these and know what they are, you can avoid it. Residency programs receive tons of applications and you need to find a way to make yours unique. Besides good writing, you also have to show why you are the best candidate. Believe in yourself and you are half way there.


Published by Zachary McGavin