Thursday 31 March 2011

On goals, personal statement and speciality

When you are applying for a residency, always have clear PERSONAL goals about why you want to do that particular speciality. Each person has his own reasons. Be honest about why you think you want to do it. This also becomes very important when you are applying for fellowship.

Well thought of clear goals, eloquently described honest answers go a really long way. take a few minutes to note down you strengths and weaknesses. Highlight your strong points and see how best you can fit them in the field of you choice be it Internal medicine, psychiatry etc.
"Personal academic weaknesses are not necessarily a disadvantage as you may use these to justify why you chose to apply in one field over the other."
The game plan to make an impressive personal statement is to state personal goals and revise, revise and revise. Once you are done revising, give it to your friends and colleauges to go over the material with a fresh set of eyes.

There are professional resume and statement writers who do this for some amount of money. You may employ their services if finances permit, it will be worth the expense in many cases.

ResumeEdge - Get the Results with ResumeEdge

Highlight the key points in the way of paragraph breaks or using italics to make the line stand out.

A good statement will be 1 to 1.5 pages long and should flow with ease. If you use microsoft word program as your word processor (which 98% of us almost do), make sure you check for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

Another great tool in the MS word program is the Flesch-Kincaid readbility index calculator. This is also available online on sites( one example is here). Run your statement of purpose through the F-K index calculator and it will present to you the 'ease of reading index'. 
In the Flesch Reading Ease test, higher scores indicate material that is easier to read; lower numbers mark passages that are more difficult to read.
Thus by ensuring that your paragraphs read easily and flow well, they are appreciated better and thus make a better impact. Afterall, personal statement is one document that you have total control of. Your scores and you CV cannot change much as what you have is what you write on it, but can certainly dictate what goes on your PS. Check out the article about the technical issues with typing up a statement and what is the ideal way to type one up here. In conclusion, 
 Impressive, beautifully written personal statement that leads the reader to believe in the reasons as to why you want to pursue a particular speciality often seal the deal for an interview.


  1. "Personal academic weaknesses are not necessarily a disadvantage as you may use these to justify why you chose to apply in one field over the other."

    Excuse me but I seem to be reading this quote in two ways and I want to know what you really meant.
    This is a very important statement to me because i am in a dilemma as to going into an area that is obviously my weakness but easier to get into versus staying on the path of my strong suit which is way harder to get into to.
    (medicine vs surgical specialty)
    What do you think?

  2. Hi Anon, the theme of the statement is a reflection of how best to put your best attributes in spotlight. If you are a surgeon, then your weakness is your medical expertise (or lack thereof) and your talents are in surgical specialities. This is a boost when you are applying for surgery categorical or prelim spots.


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