Personal Statement Workshop 2008


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Workshop of how to make the personal statement

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Personal Statement Workshop 2008

  1. 1. Make a Statement! (or, How to Write a Fabulous Personal Statement) BUSM Office of Student Affairs Summer 2007
  2. 2. The Residency Selection Process TIMING STEPS { April May Field Consider Type June July Geography August September Apply October November Interview Invitations December Interviews January Rank February ☺ March
  3. 3. Outline Purpose of the Personal Statement Preparing to write Basic anatomy What to include, what to omit Resources Examples of Personal Statements Q&A
  4. 4. Purpose of the Personal Statement First impression, or “snapshot” of who you are Positive focus on who you are and what you are seeking Gives residency programs a reason to want you Chance to present yourself in a favorable light
  5. 5. Preparing to Write Define your audience and purpose Define your thesis statement Construct an outline
  6. 6. Thesis Statement A sentence that explicitly identifies the purpose of the essay and previews its main ideas A persuasive assertion, not a statement of fact Narrow, not broad Helps both the reader and the writer OK to revise as you refine your thoughts as you write Essay, therefore, is written to support the thesis
  7. 7. Four “A’s” of Success Attitude Affability Availability Ability
  8. 8. Anatomy of a Personal Statement Personal statement has an overall main theme Each paragraph has one main focus Past Present Future
  9. 9. The Past What made you decide to pursue a career in medicine? OK to offer specifics to illustrate the thesis statement
  10. 10. The Present What led you to choose the field to which you are applying? Explain why you think you would be well- suited to a career in this field
  11. 11. The Future What are you looking for in an ideal residency program? Be specific, but not too specific What is your vision for your career once your training is complete? In other words, dream your 10-year dream
  12. 12. General Tips for Writing Show yourself as competent but not cocky or arrogant Show yourself as compassionate but not crippled by emotion OK to illustrate personal and professional growth as a result of hardships
  13. 13. What to Leave Out Excessive use of the word “I” Clichés and tired phrases Flip, unprofessional language Vernacular, improper grammar Spelling mistakes Who/that, which/that confusion Information that is better said in your CV Word repetition
  14. 14. What to Leave Out Negative statements about other fields Statements that can be harmful or embarrassing to family or colleagues Political and religious opinions Anything about which you don’t want to be questioned General statements about the field (yawn) Cheesy generalizations – “medicine is an art as well as a science” When in doubt, cut it out!
  15. 15. Some Additional Tips Expect to go through several iterations before you feel you are done Spell check and read your PS over and over again Read it pretending you know nothing about yourself Have a trusted other person read and critique your personal statement
  16. 16. Even More Advice! It is much easier to refine and complete a template than to stare at a blank screen for hours. Therefore, Create a document now on your computer called “Personal Statement” Put in three words as three separate paragraphs Past Present Future Jot down thoughts as they come up The rest is just editing and is much easier!
  17. 17. Logistical Details 1-page maximum length Put the words “Personal Statement” at the top
  18. 18. Resources Books Getting Into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students, 4th ed. Iserson KV, Tucson AZ, Galen Press, 1996 First Aid for the Match: Insider Advice from Students and Residency Directors. Le T, Bhushan V, Amine C. Stamford CT, Appleton & Lange, 1997
  19. 19. Resources, cont. Your friendly Deans and OSA advisors: Drs. Carr, Alpert, Beazley, O’Bryan, Woodson Field-specific advisors A friend with a critical editorial eye Recent grads