Working on the residency application process is not as easy and quick as I imagined it to be, because I have been slacking quite a bit on the part I dread the most – the personal statement. After working on an initial draft and receiving feedback from several people, I have decided to entirely scrap and re-write the whole thing. A pulmonologist who sits on the board for residency admissions brought up some great points that I found useful and want to share to save others time. “A personal statement for residency can only hurt, not help you.” She said my statement was too verbose and that the point of these pieces is to be very direct and answer the questions of what draws you to the field you’re applying for, what qualifications you have for that field, and what you are hoping to get out of a residency in the desired specialty. Unlike a medical school personal statement, now is not the time to be creative or artistic, but to deliver the facts. She remarked that doctors have ADD while reviewing all these applications, and are not looking to pull messages out of an artfully written statement. The physician also mentioned that grammar is highly important, as poor grammar can indicate a lack of attention to detail. The best advice I can give is to think carefully about why you are going into the field you are applying for, and highlight 2 to 3 main points in the personal statement that drew you to the field, backed up by a couple of meaningful experiences you had in your rotations or extracurriculars.
Alex is in her first year of residency in Internal Medicine at University of Michigan. While she is unsure what she would like to subspecialize in yet, Alex is considering allergy, rheumatology, and primary care. Her interest in medicine largely stems from her volunteer work in free clinics in underserved communities and experiences growing up with a brother with autism.
Before attending medical school, Alex completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology) at Yale University in 2016.
When she is not working in the hospital or studying, you can find Alex running by the lake, doing circuit workouts outdoors in the fields, drawing and/or writing, or at home spending time with her family in the suburbs of Chicago.