Why is a personal statement important?

Each student must write a personal statement as part of the residency application. A personal statement is an opportunity to have a conversation with the reader about yourself and the reasons you are suited for a residency position. A well-written personal statement conveys a student's passion for work in a particular specialty or at a specific residency program.

What should a statement look like?

The personal statement should be approximately one page long. It is important to keep it this short as residency program managers must review many statements. For the San Francisco Match, your statement must fit into the space provided on the application form.

In the personal statement for a residency position, you will explain something unique about yourself that helped you choose this particular specialty, what talents you bring to the specialty, and why you envision this specialty as a future career. If you portray a passion or “fire in the belly” for a particular specialty, some programs will consider students with less competitive board scores. This is your opportunity to present more of the whole person, not just the academician. Unfortunately, more competitive specialties generally are unable to allow much flexibility.

More than one personal statement is permitted in the ERAS system. You can customize the personal statement to each program if you wish. If you are having a hard time choosing a specialty, sometimes the exercise of writing a personal statement for each of the specialty choices will help to clarify or solidify the choice.

Never assume that personal statements will not be read, regardless of what others tell you.

This document needs to be prepared as early as possible because faculty who write letters of recommendation may request a copy. The personal statement you provide for the recommendation letter request does not need to be the final draft you submit with your application, but it should be on the same general theme in case the writer refers to your statement in the letter.

Review of your personal statement

Stacy Drake can read over your personal statement to check for errors and content. It is also suggested that you have someone you trust to provide honest feedback review your personal statement. Mentors in your specialty of choice are also good people to ask to give you advice on content. Stacy can also make suggestions for content review by deans and faculty members. Please feel free to contact her with any questions.