Tuesday, 5 June 2012

5 must have attributes of a personal statement

How can something so seemingly innocuous be so principal to professional development as a physician you might ask? If you have not given a thought to it yet, now is a good time just as any other to start working on your residency personal statement. A good personal statement is a story, a story of you – your ambitions, your goals and your journey as a doctor and as a human. The only person who can do justice to the story is you and no one else.In order to create a narration that creates an impression in the reader, there are some basic concepts that need to be understood for effective personal statement writing.


There are 5 key attributes of a personal statement

1/ Powerful story
2/ Personal narration.
3/ Effective communication.
4/ Proper language.
5/ Induction of reflection.

These five attributes are important to your story because they each have a distinct effect on the reader. You can try to create a personal statement with as many attributes as you wish but the incorporation of these five will help produce the most engaging, distinctive and impressive write up. Each of the attributes listed above, evoke the following responses from the reader.
 
Attribute
Effect on reader
Powerful story
Evoke emotion
Personal narration
Relate audience to speaker/author
Effect communication
Facilitate understanding of your view point
Proper language
Indicates advanced comprehension
Induce reflection
Creates an impression on reader

Table 1: Key attributes and effect on reader

Incorporation of all of these qualities will make a personal statement with the highest impact. There are intermediate degrees of impact in between depending on which factors are missing from the personal statement. The table below lists one common iteration of each situation with emphasis on a powerful story. As you can see, a powerful story without personal narration, improper language and no induction of reflection is going to create an average impact in spite of effectively getting your point across. 

 

Powerful story
Personal narration
Effective
communication
Proper
language
Induce reflection
Highest impact
++
++
++
++
++
High
impact
++
+
++
++
-
Good
impact
++
-
++
+
-
Average impact
+
-
+
-
-
Poor
impact
+
+
-
-
-
Negative impact
+
-
-
-
-

 Table 2: influence of key attributes to impact of story/personal statement
  
As a medical student, we have exceptionally rich lives and this is an advantage that we must put to best use. The readers: program directors, faculty, admissions committee members, professors etc who read out statement of purpose (GRE) or personal statements (USMLE) are humans who want to relate to the human condition. We do not have to seek experiences to think about, they are a part of us through training. Each of us have a few stories that have the power to move the audience emotionally. Then a matter of personal development is required to allow for transfer of that story to the audience to evoke a response. Thus, the five attributes can be divided into

1/ Input attributes (us): life experience.
2/ Transference attributes (develop-able): narration, communication and language.
3/ Output attributes (them, reader): induce reflection.

Since input attributes are preexisting and out attributes are a consequence, the job of a residency applicant then is to focus on the second set (transference attributes) because here in will distinguish an average applicant from a excellent candidate. A personal statement is an excellent tool to indicate your interest in the specialty of your choice. Keep these things in mind when you sit down to compose your personal statement. If you are not putting enough thought into what you write, it is not good enough. 

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2 comments:

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  2. Applying for an admission or scholarship to any national or international university requires a person to submit either filled hard copy or an online application form. Attaching certified documents, financial statement, English Proficiency test result and 3 recommendation letters are the pre-mandatory items to be submitted along with an application form. See more statement of research problem

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