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Transitional Year Personal Statement: All You Need to Know to Get Admitted

personal statement for transitional year

How Important Is Your Personal Statement for Transitional Residency Programs?

Many residencies will require you to take a transitional year program before you begin your specialized training. While in some instances this is part of the program you are applying for, in others, you will require a separate application. The need to complete a transitional year makes programs highly sought-after, and thus, the competition gets tougher.

Your transitional year personal statement will often be the most significant part of your application. You almost certainly have excellent qualifications, but they will be similar in many ways to the qualifications of those you will compete with for a place. A personal statement transitional year residency is, therefore, often your only way of showing why they should select you rather than anyone else. How to write brilliant medical residency personal statements ? Writing an effective residency application personal statement is never an easy task, no matter where you are applying. It must be done with great care in a way that is going to get you noticed. Our services have helped students with their applications for years, and we can provide you with professional advice and support to make your personal statement for a transitional year a success.

transitional year personal statement sample

What Is the Difference between Transitional, Preliminary, and Categorical Residencies?

Many international medicine programs will require you to perform a residency internship so that you can learn the ropes in several different areas before you get focused firmly on your specialty. For some programs, this will mean applying for a separate program for that internship. Different types of programs for the residency that you can apply for are:

Categorical residencies

These residency programs include a yearlong internship to gain the required skills and experience. You will apply for one residency and stay there throughout your training. Applying for a categorical year match is often the preferred route for many applicants, but not every program offers this for every specialty.

Transitional residencies

These offer a full year of training across many rotations so that you can acquire the required skills for your final specialism. These programs are also useful for those students who are still unsure of what they wish to pursue or who have failed to get directly into the specialist residency.

Preliminary residencies

These are similar to transitional residencies but will further split the training into either surgery or internal medicine preliminary years.

What Programs Require a Transitional Year?

Not every specialty requires a transitional year, so it is imperative that you know which will if you are not applying directly for a categorical residency. The following will usually require you to complete either a preliminary or transitional year as an intern prior to your specialism:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Dermatology
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Physical medicine & rehabilitation
  • Ophthalmology

During your transitional year, you will typically have to cover all of the following:

  • 4 months of inpatient medicine
  • 1 month in an intensive care unit
  • 1 month of emergency medicine
  • 1 month of outpatient medicine
  • 4-5 months of electives

Get some advice on how to avoid mistakes in your medical resident resume writing!

Where Can You Apply for Your Transitional Year?

If you are applying for a transitional year, you will need to find the right one for you. The following are a selection of programs that you may consider:

  • Colorado Health Foundation Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center Program : This program is founded to offer year-long training across a wide range of different areas of clinical medicine to prepare students for their specialty.
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Program: This hospital provides transitional year training in 12 departments for just 24 residents every year.
  • Scripps Mercy Hospital Program San Diego : This transitional year residency is very proud of the fact that many of those who participate in it then get placed in highly competitive residencies.
  • Presence Resurrection Medical Center Program : This program is based in Chicago. With a very busy emergency department and excellent open-heart surgery training, this is a great place to complete your year.

transitional year personal statement writing tips

How to Write Your Transitional Year Personal Statement Effectively

Crafting an effective statement that will get you noticed is a challenging task. The following tips, however, will support you in ensuring that you get yours written in a way that will give you the highest chance of success. Here are tips for a residency interview .

  • Tailor your personal statement so that it can reflect specifically what the program wants to read in it.
  • Use a transitional year personal statement sample to see how others have approached their writing: do not, however, copy anything that you have read.
  • Write about your reasons for applying to them and give them a clear idea of where their program fits into your long-term goals.
  • Do your homework and mention specific things about their program to show that your interest is serious.
  • Write about yourself!
  • Write about experiences that are irrelevant or too far in the past.
  • Use clichés within your writing: always try to be original.
  • Complain or talk negatively.
  • Incorporate language that will be difficult to understand.
  • Lie or plagiarize within your statement.
  • Fail to proofread your statement.

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We Can Help You with Your Application for Transitional Residency Programs

Whether you are writing a future long-term plan essay for the medical school or a transitional residency personal statement, our services can help you. We provide expert support through fully qualified staff that know precisely what the admissions committee will be looking for. All of our writing support will always result in a piece of writing perfectly tailored to your needs.

We always provide our help on time, and every document is delivered with a free plagiarism report. With a full satisfaction or money-back guarantee, there is no reason not to use our service.

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Contact our highly skilled writers here today to ensure that your transitional year personal statement will get you noticed.

What Is a Personal Statement


What Is a Personal Statement for College In the broadest sense, a personal statement (PS)  is a self-analysis in which you can narrate yourself from a self-critical perspective. It’s about your background, your accomplishments that you think are important, and your motives. This varies depending on what and where you are writing your text. Most […]

gynecologic oncology fellowship personal statement


What do you need to submit when applying for gynecologic oncology fellowship? For applicants who are interested in pursuing a fellowship in this field, you will need to submit your completed application form, digital photograph, USMLE scores, all transcripts from previous medical schools, three letters of recommendation with one written by the program director, and […]

personal statement for transitional year

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How to Make a Statement with Your ERAS Personal Statement

  • by Med School Tutors
  • Jun 29, 2023
  • Reviewed by: Amy Rontal

personal statement for transitional year

Dr. Leila Javidi, Taylor Purvis, and Dr. Brian Radvansky contributed to this article.

Starting your residency application can feel like an overwhelming task, especially when it comes to writing your ERAS personal statement. It’s not clear why essays of this nature are so intimidating—maybe it’s because not all medical students are well-versed in language arts, many of us dislike writing, or maybe just the thought of putting “who you are” onto paper brings to the surface some uncomfortable feelings of self-awareness (whoa—this just got intense!).

This is a joke or course, but to be honest, sometimes when we sit down to write our ERAS personal statement we immediately think things like, “I’m not that interesting,” or “I haven’t done anything cool in life, I’ve spent most of my time in school thus far.” And that is completely normal. The majority of us haven’t had those pivotal moments in life that shake the ground beneath us and form a new foundation for who we are, and that’s OK!

Your ERAS personal statement isn’t intended to be a best-selling memoir. It’s intended to add another dimension to the otherwise black-and-white application full of scores and grades. It is an opportunity to show program directors your personality, what motivates you, and what you’re looking for in a residency program.

While you’ve probably heard all of this before, we bet you have more specific questions about how to tackle the ERAS personal statement. All of us sure did! So, without further ado, h ere are answers to the 12 most important questions about medical residency personal statements.

12 Frequently-Asked Questions About the ERAS Personal Statement

residency application timeline

1. How big of a deal is my ERAS personal statement to program directors?

According to the 2020 NRMP program director survey , 78% of program directors cite the ERAS personal statement as an important factor in deciding which candidates to interview,  making it the fourth-highest ranked factor behind USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2, and letters of recommendation. So, it’s pretty important in the grand scheme of your application!

Now, from experience in talking to different program directors and mentors, it’s clear that the most important thing is that your ERAS personal statement is well organized, well written, with proper grammar, no red flags, and that it’s only one page single-spaced. The standard ERAS personal statement length is typically 500-800 words (roughly four paragraphs).

A personal statement typically isn’t the “maker” of your residency application—however, it can be a deal “breaker” if it doesn’t have those attributes. That said, if you have a memorable, well-written personal statement, program directors will mention it, and it will make you stand out as an applicant. If they are on the fence about whether or not to interview you, a personal statement could potentially be the deciding factor. So, it’s pretty important!

2. What are things I should include in my ERAS personal statement?

A good ERAS personal statement should include the following: 

A catchy introduction to grab the reader

There are different ways to go about doing this, but if you’re stuck, an effective way to grab the reader’s attention is to open with a patient vignette. An interesting case is sure to pique the curiosity of your reader and keep them engaged as they read. Preventing boredom is something to strive for, as your application is one of perhaps hundreds that they are reading.

Ultimately, though, remember this is a personal statement. After you reveal the diagnosis or outcome of the patient vignette, you need to let the reader know what the case meant to you! The point of relating the vignette is to reveal something about yourself, not just present an interesting story about a patient. 

An overview of your desirable qualities

When letting the reader know what your positive qualities are, it’s important to remember a basic rule of good writing: SHOW, don’t tell. For example, instead of saying you are compassionate, describe a story from your life that demonstrates your compassion.

Highlights from your life experience 

This includes jobs, extracurricular activities, and hobbies that would help you to be an ideal candidate for whichever residency you are applying to. Pro tip: DON’T REGURGITATE YOUR CV. This is your opportunity to tell people things that aren’t on your CV. Do you play chess in the park every Saturday, or have you traveled to some amazing places? Tell us about it!

You shouldn’t rehash your CV in your personal statement, but it is a great place to elaborate on activities listed on your CV. It can be used to explain why those activities are so important to you, how they have helped you grow as a person, and other things that don’t often shine through on the CV itself.

Proof of why you should be accepted 

The most important part of your statement is providing proof of why you should be accepted. Describe your strengths, but do not talk about things too generally. You should be able to back up everything you say. Give details and examples. Which doctors have you shadowed? What kind of research have you been involved in, and where was it published? Don’t just mention that you have volunteered, say the names of places you were at and what you were doing.

Why you are interested in your specialty

This doesn’t have to be a profound story, but it should be the truth!

What you are looking for in a residency program

Is a strong procedural curriculum important to you? Is the culture of the program more important? Try to mention things you know your programs of choice embody.

Address any red flags on your application

Did you do poorly on Step 1? Did you take a leave of absence for a long time? Best to just come out and talk about it without being defensive. Show how you have grown from the experience, rather than apologizing for it!

A cohesive closing statement

Sometimes the first and the last sentence of the statement are the hardest to come up with, but it’s worth your time to make it tidy, even if it isn’t profound.

3. What are things I shouldn’t include in my ERAS personal statement?

Controversial topics.

Stay away from extreme religious or political statements. It doesn’t mean you can’t say you are an active member of church, but don’t use this as an opportunity to discuss whether or not you are pro-choice. You never know who is going to be reading this, and anything too polarizing can be off-putting for some readers. 

Feelings of bitterness or negativity

Leave out any traces of bitterness, defensiveness, or anger about anything that has happened in your life. Everything must have a positive spin.  

Too much self-praise or too much modesty

Avoid talking about yourself in a glorifying manner, but don’t go too far the other way and come off as too modest.

Too many qualifiers

You don’t want to go overboard with the qualifiers, which are words such as “really,” “quite,” “very,” etc. In fact, in many cases, it’s better not to use them at all. 

“Flowery” language you wouldn’t use in real life

It’s a personal statement, not a creative writing assignment. Keep the language in your statement simple. You’re not going to score any points by using unnecessarily fancy words. Your goal is clear communication.

Also, don’t try to sound like a doctor. This is just another way of trying to impress the reader. You want the reader to like you based on the way you write, not be turned off because you are trying to impress them.

“Try to avoid using a lot of jargon and abbreviations,” advises Mary Dundas, educator at Academized. 


Avoid talking hyperbolically about how passionate you are. As noted earlier, it’s better to show than tell so give examples of things you have done. Above all, keep the writing in your statement professional.

If you avoid these common mistakes, you’ll be way ahead of most applicants! 

4. How can I make my ERAS personal statement unique?

As evidenced by The Voice and American Idol , it is everyone’s impulse to divulge their “sob story” to help them stand out and garner sympathy from the audience. While it’s important to include stories that helped shape you as a person, it is very transparent and cliché to talk about that person you know who was struck by a medical tragedy, and how ever since you vowed to “save people.”

The best way to make your statement unique is to allow your personality to shine through. Use your words, your humor, and your depth to tell your story. Find a way to show yourself to your reader, and if you do this, your essay will be unique!

5. Should I have more than one ERAS personal statement to upload?

In short, absolutely have multiple personal statements to upload. Especially if you are applying to more than one specialty, it’s essential that you have several versions of your personal statement.

That doesn’t mean you have to write a whole new one, you just have to tailor it to fit that specialty. If you’re applying for a preliminary year, tailor your personal statement to explain how important you feel a solid foundation in medicine is for dermatology (or whichever specialty you are applying to) and what you’re looking for in a preliminary year.

Furthermore, I found that for the programs I really wanted to interview with, I would upload a tailored personal statement for that program saying something like, “I am seeking a family medicine residency position with ABC University program because of their dedication to XYZ.” Simply name-dropping their institution and noting the strength of their program demonstrates your attention to detail and interest in their institution. Even if you are an amazing applicant, if a program doesn’t feel you are interested in their specific program, they won’t interview you. It’s best to make sure you give those out-of-state programs some extra attention so they know you are willing to relocate for them!

Lastly, you should know that you can upload as many versions of your personal statement as you like onto ERAS, but be especially careful when uploading and make sure you apply the correct personal statement to each program! Triple-check your work! Pro Tip: Use your file names to help you stay organized. Pick a format and stick with it, such as “PS-JohnsHopkins,” “USCF-PS,” etc.

6. When should I start writing my ERAS personal statement?

The sooner the better, people. Get cracking now! You can even begin to think of ideas during your third year as you develop your interests in specific specialties. As ideas come to you, jot them into your phone so you don’t forget!

One of the best ways to begin writing your personal statement is to go over some questions about yourself. Ask yourself, who are you and what drives you forward? Think about the kinds of things that interest you and why you developed those interests. Maybe consider some mistakes you have made, how you learned from them, and how they have changed you. Or ask yourself, how do your interests and personality contribute to the goals you have set? 

Think about those kinds of questions and write down the answers. Reflect on them, put them away, and come back to them. Then, use them to form an outline—this will help you figure out all your points and what you want to say before you start writing. 

If you still feel like you just don’t know how to get started, give the five-point essay format a shot and see if it works for you. In short, you begin with a paragraph that is about four or five sentences long. The goal of this first paragraph is to grab a reader’s attention. Use the next three or four body paragraphs to talk about yourself. Try and have one of them focus on your clinical understanding, while another talks about service. Then end with a solid conclusion paragraph that mirrors your introduction, summarizes who you are, and ends by looking toward the future. 

7. Should I ask for any help with my ERAS personal statement?

Yes. Yes. A thousand times, YES! Absolutely ask for feedback on your personal statement. After getting your draft finished, show it to whoever will look at it—however, please remember to take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt and to strongly consider the source. It is absolutely essential to have your personal statement reviewed by an objective third party to ensure that the message you are trying to communicate is loud and clear. This means that you shouldn’t give it to a friend or family member who is going to placate you with a useless, “Yeah, looks great!”

Find a mentor, advisor, chief resident or attending, someone who is accustomed to reading ERAS personal statements, and get feedback from them. You can be certain that going through this step will only make your personal statement better. If you take their advice and don’t like how things are panning out, you can always revert back to an older draft.

But in just about every case, another set of eyes to give you big-picture feedback on what you’ve written will improve your piece. Do this early in the process, when you have gotten a simple draft together, so that you don’t present someone with an idea that you are married to, only to find out that it doesn’t come through clearly.

Be sure to ask other people what they think of your draft, but be careful about asking other students for help. Sometimes they get weird, and try to give you advice about making your statement more like theirs because they want to feel justified in their own efforts.

Finally, it should be mentioned that there are services out there that will “write your personal statement” for you. Aside from the obvious reasons why not to do this, you have to be really careful. Those services don’t know you, don’t know your voice, and oftentimes have very generic ways of putting these statements together.  Using a service to help polish your statement, though, is A-OK. Some you may find useful in that regard are ViaWriting , Writing Populist , StateofWriting , and SimpleGrad .

Lastly, you may consider working with a residency counselor who can help set your application apart with insider advice and ensure you optimize all elements of the residency application process. Our residency consultants are residents and attendings who have successfully guided hundreds of students from residency applications through the Match!

Typical residency consulting work consists of:

residency consulting

Not sure if a residency consultant is the right fit for you? Take this quiz to see if you would benefit from some extra guidance during the residency application process!

8. Where can I find examples of ERAS personal statements to inspire me?

Every good writer learned how to write by reading the works of other people. This includes personal statements! Very often your career offices from your undergraduate studies will have examples of personal statements that can serve as inspiration for your own masterpiece. You can also ask older classmates and recent graduates if they would feel comfortable sharing their personal statements with you. 

Remember, too, that inspiration can come from nontraditional sources. Try reading poetry or a novel before sitting down to write your statement. You might be surprised by how it helps to get your creative juices flowing!

9. Is it better to cover all of my experiences, or focus on a few in particular?

It’s better to focus on several key experiences rather than provide a broad overview of your life up to the present time. Your resume will fill in any gaps for your reader. The point of the personal statement is to spend a few paragraphs reflecting on one or two themes that define who you are as a person. Stay focused, and go deep!

10. How much should I share about my career goals in my ERAS personal statement?

Remember, the majority of training programs you will be applying to are academic medical centers. For those programs in particular, make sure to emphasize why an academic environment is a good fit for you. This does not have to mean research! Perhaps you like the idea of becoming a clinician educator and want to be at XYZ program for the opportunity to teach medical students. 

Likewise, if you are applying to a program at a community hospital, make sure to reflect on how your career goals are suited for that environment. Maybe private practice is on your radar, or you want to practice in a hospital that is more close-knit than a large academic center.

Whatever the case, try to make your stated career goals align with the orientation of the program you’re applying to. In reality, you may have no idea what direction you want your career to go in. But for a personal statement, try to commit to one general theme if possible.

11. What about my personal statements for preliminary or transitional year programs?

For applicants who are also applying to preliminary or transitional year programs, it can seem daunting to tailor your personal statement to a position that isn’t part of your ultimate specialty. But don’t worry—preliminary and transitional year programs still want to know who you are as a person and why you’re interested in anesthesiology, dermatology, or whatever advanced specialty you’re aiming for. You don’t need to change your personal statement as much as you may think!

The goal of a personal statement for these one-year programs is not to convince the reader that you suddenly love internal medicine despite going into radiology. The reader knows this is a temporary stopping place for you. Instead, emphasize the traits that make you YOU and will enhance their hospital!

12. What if I’m interested in a non-traditional path after residency?

Some of you may be thinking of alternative career paths after residency such as consulting or pharmaceutical work. It’s probably best to leave those specific goals out of your ERAS personal statement and allow readers to assume that you want to continue in clinical medicine after graduating from residency. You might want to instead phrase it as something you want to be incorporated into your clinical career, but not something you would leave medicine for, even if that’s what you have in mind!

Remember, you are under no obligation to share your every thought and desire in a personal statement! These statements are being read by reviewers who dedicated their lives to education and clinical medicine, so keep that in mind.

Further Reading

Keep these tips in mind as you write your ERAS personal statement, and you’ll be way ahead of the other applicants. If you start to get stressed out, remember, you have an amazing story to tell, and we are here to help tease that story out from the confines of your brain! For more help, reach out to one of our residency advisors .

Looking for more help during the residency application process? We’ve got you covered with more (free!) content written by Blueprint tutors:

  • How to Get Standout Letters of Recommendation for Your Residency Application
  • How to Maximize Your Chances of Matching With Your Dream Residency
  • What’s It Like Working With a Medical Residency Consultant?
  • Residency Interview Tips & Tricks: The Ultimate Guide
  • Dual Applying for Residency: Is It Right For Me?

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Preliminary Year: What do I do with my Personal Statement?

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Candidates who apply to certain fields – dermatology, ophthalmology, etc. – need a preliminary or transitional year of residency before initiating their specialty training. So does that mean those applicants need to toil over two personal statements?

No, thankfully. It’s very appropriate (and strategic) to use the same essay with minor modifications. Ensure you explicitly address why a prelim year will advance the rest of your career and how you will contribute to the prelim training program as a future specialist.

When you use a very similar essay, you can be honest about what your professional goals are. After all, the reader knows you’re applying for a one-year position.

Remember that many preliminary/transitional year programs are eager to match residents who are moving on to competitive fields. In general, those applicants will have strong USMLE scores, evaluations, and clinical skills.

About Dr. Michelle Finkel

Dr. Michelle Finkel

Dr. Finkel is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School . On completing her residency at Harvard, she was asked to stay on as faculty at Harvard Medical School and spent five years teaching at the world-renowned Massachusetts General Hospital . She was appointed to the Assistant Residency Director position for the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency where she reviewed countless applications, personal statements and resumes. Read more

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This Med Student’s Complete Guide to Intermediate Year Residents

Show Expert: Dr. Michael Chung, MD

Transitional Year Residency

Whichever is adenine transitional year residency? In short, the transitional time residency is your beginning time by medical residency training, or your internship year. It’s the transition from medizinische your until some of the best residency programs in the US press the best residency programs in Canada . For you’re applying to one of the get complex or in-depth medizin specialties, chances are you’ll be completing a transitional year residency first. Inside this blog, we’ll cover what your passive year residency is, what it looks fancy, how to match to a transitional year residency program and our tops advice on how to choose thine optimal program!

>> Want us at help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Constituents 8 hokkianese read

What is a transitional time residency.

Such a medical student, you may be starting to explore your options after you graduate, and this includes that big question of your residency years. Him may have heard of different types of your programs, including the crossing year residency. #Professional$ *Writing @#Services@ https://Beeet.com/y7j9z63q

What exactly belongs a provisorisch year residency? Thine transitional year for stay is cognate to your “internship year” of your. It is a one-year graduate medical training program ensure helps you how forward residency and the next step in your your to becoming adenine doctor.

Your transitional year can the first step towards complementary an advanced residency program. Is provides a transition from medizinischen school into the rigorous training of residency by giving you a solid basic of in-hospital education before you move onto the in-depth specialty instruction of your choice. Your transitional year essentially jumper the gap bet medical school and operating as a running resident doctor in a hospital environment.

There’s a lot of different lingo thrown nearby when it comes into residential places, and they’re each a little distinct. Depending to an medical specialty you set or where you choose to apply to residency, you might be applying to several varied sort of residency program.

Let’s break toys down adenine bit.

Categorical residency positions include the internship or preliminary years of residency and get right down to training you to become a physician in your specialty. You can apply for categorical positions in your PGY-1. "}]">

The transitional year residency is sometimes called the “fifth year of medical school” cause to is a broad, clinical training time similar to your dispassionate rotations in medical school . Within a typical transitional year, you wills undergo rotations in various medical disciplines deepened your medical knowledge, improve your patient assessment skills , develop your professional attributes and gesamt prepare yourself for the stay years. The greatest variance is you’ll subsist completing your transition year in a working hospital adjust and learning the ins and outs of patient care in a professional setting, rather rather strictly a train choose.

Your transitional year desire seize you throughout a number of distinct circulations, including nevertheless not limited to internal medicine, emergency drugs, surgery, psychopathology plus outpatient primary care. Transitional years also include a quantity of electives and even business forward extensive research. Each transitional annual your program may to ampere little differing, offering custom experiences according on aforementioned place and curriculum. For example, there belong differences between urban vs rural residencies , or residencies with many elective options and varied diaries and residency programs the offer few electives but may intensive training in a few disciplines.

Einige transitional year residency programs are nearly identical to temporarily residency programs. Others are extremely varied and flexibly. Stills others might be very intense and require a greater amount out date spent in emergency, or pediatrics, or primary care.

Each transitional year residency plan might be unique, so it’s significant to examine each one carefully. The procedures of applying toward adenine transitional per residency, both subsequently any entwickelt residency position, is more stakeholders than applying to categorical positions, so you want to know which you’re getting up ahead of time! Transitional Year Personal Statement Pattern

More, we’ll look among how you can match to transitional year residency programs and what you need to know for applying.

Interimistisch year residency programs can actually be quite cheap toward get matched to. Not pure because you are imperative for couple concerning of of competitive residencies away there, but because they often have greater flexibility and options faster some preliminary residency programs and are “easier” than most categorical residency positioning.

The draw of less stress, more flexibility in schedule or electives, and ampere smaller workload is attractively to many medical school grads looking for ampere straight crossover from curative school to resident.

Because concerning this, that competition can be quite fierce when applying to transitional year (TY) residents. For instance, the overall match rate to transitional year residency for MD elders is 34.8%, the the overall filler rate being 58.5%. The competition is just as tough for DO school grads. DO seniors had any overall match rate to 31.2% to TY residency, is a full rate of 16.9%. Universal medical graduation (IMG), both US and non-US IMGs, saws any overall hit rate of 12% since TIP residency programs.

DM Old TY Resident Match Rate

DO Elderly TY Residency Match Rate

IMG TY Residency Match Course


Applying to residencies this year? Check out our Residents Match Calculator !


Matching to Transitional Year Residency Programs: What You Need to How

Matching to an transitional year residency stalks the same procedure as applying to any other residency program, with one few important extras.

Until implement to a transitional year residency program, you’ll even fill out an ERAS application for residency programs at the US furthermore a CaRMS application required programs in Canada. The important difference is that applicants hoping to match to a transitions year residency program ALSO need to apply at their fortgeschrittenes residency positions at the equivalent time.

In essence, you’ll be completing two applications. This means choosing the transitional year stay programs of your choices and creating a classify order list for the, following selection out vorverlegt residency positions you’re interested in and creating a separate rank to list. How EGO Made who Most of My Transitional Year Residency

Once that vergleich is complete, you’ll need to prepare to a residency conduct by COUPLE programs, write a residency personnel statement for both programs, and so go. The reason why to applications are basically separate is because them may not be finish your transitional year by the same post the you complete your advanced residential training.

Here's a quick guide for preparing for residency applications!

For example, your transitional year might be completed at location A, before she move to finishes your residency schooling in locations B. All mayor be because location B no offers advance resident positions, or because you didn’t match to this transitional year program at location B, but yourself did match to their advanced program.

Another scenario might be this: you’ve match successfully to a transitional year with your first-choice program, but you went unmatched for an fortgeschritten residency position. This means you can still complete your transitional year and improve yours residency app after going unrivalled . But, you willingness need to re-enter the match the following year and re-apply to fortgeschrittener residency programs.

As you cans see, the method of applying go a transitional year is an total extra complex than customization straight into an domicile without adenine transitional or prelim year. This just means to require to start preparing for residency software early! r/medicalschool on Reddit: [Residency] If you're applying for a prelim + another specialty, do you have to writing two different essays?

Betting are you want to be certain you’ll safe a transitional year residency spot how you could make the jump seamlessly from medical school to intern to advanced residency get without gaps button obstacles. As we’ve seen, einnahme into transitional your residencies cannot be quite competitive! How, how can you boost your chances of matching? Transitorisch Year Personal Statement to Get You Noted

It adds to the timeline of how long it will take you to become a doctor, but you can always take a gap year before residency . If you\u2019re still unsure what medical specialty you want to pursue or you want to gain some experience before applying to residency, this is an option. Even transitional programs may expect you to have your specialty picked out at the time of your application, so if you\u2019re using your transitional year to \u201cfigure things out\u201d, this may be a red flag on your application that causes you to go unmatched. If you need a little more time before residency, take it! ","label":"Take a gap year","title":"Take a gap year"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

Geting ready for your dwell interview a!

Should I Apply for Transitional Per Domicile Programs?

Supposing you want to how for advanced residency training in individual specialized or use to positions for select occupancy programmes, a transitional year residency is ampere requirement.

Aside off giving you that initial bridge from med school to residency, transitional annual residencies have some definite experts, too. For sample, IMGs hoping toward games into competitive residencies can gain electives and clinical experience in the US or Vancouver over a transitional year, increasing their shot of matching under an advanced position. About one flip side, a transitional year added to how long residency is , so if you’re looking for a lower direction because residency, apply to programs that don’t require a transitory year.

Can I application until two transitional year residency and categorical residency positions?

As we’ve seen, residency applicants are asked up dial their transitioning year programs and advanced residency positions at the same while, but separately. This sets the path you’ll take einmal you alumnus medical school, but it also means your options to change your medical specialty are more limit. Once you’re “locked in” to an transitional year residency, it’s harder to swap. Especially if you’ve once been matched to an fortgeschrittener residency position. Keeps in head if you decide to change your walk during your transitional year, which will mid re-entering the match and potentially repeating a year of residency train. Casey Schukow, DO shares his experience with navigating a transitory twelvemonth residency and gives advice on making the most of this time.

So, aforementioned choice of whether thee should apply comes downward to whatever medical specialty you choose and which residency applications them crave to apply to. If you’re concerned about how large domicile programs to apply to , know this you ca still apply to BOTH transitional time residency programs and categorical habitation positions that don’t require the temporary annum. In fact, many students app to both categorical and advanced habitation positions till enhance their chances of matching till a desired specialty.

Choosing the right transitional year residency program forward you involves request yourself some key matters, like “ what what you looking for most in a residency program? ” and “ whichever do you hope to receive from a residency program? ”

When you’re researching potential transitional year residency programs, ask yourself these get and consider which factors. Just like when you’re creating your residency rank order list , creates of for your transitional year program, too!

What is the program culture like? Is it more flexible or intense? What is expected from residents and interns? What supports exist for residents? "}]">


Your transitional year residency is a crucial single is your residency trainings and who foremost step in becoming a medical professional are some of the most complex and in-depth medical specialties. PERSONALBESTAND STATEMENTS – Paragraph Example Updated January ...

Applying to transitional type residencies can becoming fairly competing and complicate, but it helps to think the will transitional time as one separate step of their advanced residency training. Matching to a einstweilig medical requires a very strong application, so it might been a wise idea to speech to a residency application consultant for expert feedback and advice.

When choosing any transitional year programs to use to, it’s important to carefully consider all aspects of the how and research you thoroughly. Single you’ve completed your transitional year, it will be harder to switch gears button change is specialty, like it’s best toward has your path through domicile chart out go of time and start preparing as soon as possible!

Your transitional year residency is essentially your “intern” yearly or first your as a resident. It involves a broadband, clinical training date where residents rotate thru a variety of specialties to bridge the gap between med school and more vorgeschoben residency training. Not every residency program will require a provisorisch year or preliminary period of training, such these become reserved for the more advanced residency placements real medical specialties that requesting more time and training. 

Normal, which more advanced residency programs or medical specialties that require more advanced training order a transitional years. Specialization which commonly have a interimistisch year include anesthesiology, digital, surgery, nerve, oculist and radiology.

Preliminary year residencies are with quite medicinal and surgical residency specialties, furthermore are heavily laser on these disciplines to give people a initial, broader year of medical training before they dive into their chosen forte on more advanced advanced. Transitional year residencies involves clinical rotations in a wide diversities of specialties, nope just healthcare and surgery. Transitioning Year Personal Statement to Get They Noticed | Personal statement, Person, Transitional

Yes, it can use to bot categorical positions and advanced positions during this residency play. Which ones you choose depends on your goals for residency and this individual requirements regarding a given program. Some applicants apply to both types of residency programs to increasing its chances of adenine match.

Transitional year residency programs are just as competitive as most other residency related. This is partly since person represent requirements for applicants wanting to match to expanded residency situations, and some because transitional year programs are very popular. They have a reputation fork being the easier, less stressful transition of medical school to dwell, which is appealing to most students.

Common, transitional annum residency programs can mind to be easier is jumping straight into a categorical residency position or preliminary year. Dieser is because all transitional residency programs are less demanding and offer more free time, or because they are closer on the final years of medical school also therefore more familiar up grad. However, none every transitional year dwell has the same, so consider each program at face value, rather for thinking a interimistisch year is an fully, slim way through residency!

Remember, too, that once you’ve finished your transitional year you’ll be taking an in-depth training within your chosen specialty, which means the “difficulty” level of your residency may increase a great deal, very quickly! It’s still important to work hard additionally survey well during your intern year.

Provided you’re applying to advanced residency positions, you want be required to full a transitional year or preliminary date out residency training. If you’re submit to one of the most competitive residency specialties out there, you might choose to apply to prog that include a transitional year to increment insert chances of matching or because your ideal program contain one.

When dialing respective transitional residency program, uses the same method you would use for anywhere residency application. Research the program thoroughly to ensure is aligns with your goals, concerns and desires from a domicile training program. Check out the curriculum, faculty, opportunities and culture. Also consider the location of the program—since your transitional residency is only one year, chances are you’ll be touching branches to continue your training after a short period of uhrzeit. My "Personal Statement" for Residency (And Tips for yours!) 

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personal statement for transitional year

  • Residency Application

Residency Personal Statement Examples from Matched Residents

Residency personal statement examples

Use these residency personal statement examples as a reference as you are working on  preparing you residency applications . The following are printed with permission from our own past successful students who worked with us as part of our  application review  programs. If you are having trouble getting started, you are not alone. Many students find that the personal statement can be one of the most challenging components of the  ERAS  or  CaRMS  residency applications. However, your personal statement can make or break your application. Get started on the right track by following the guidelines outlined for you below reviewing the emergency medicine residency personal statement example , pediatrics personal statement example , cardiology personal statement example, and more..  

This blog will outline what types of things to include in your residency personal statement. It will also give you 10 examples of personal statements from 10 different specialties written by actual students who matched into those fields. Reviewing personal statement examples is also good essay writing practice if you decide to write a residency letter of intent . Many of the same principles you apply to the personal statement can be applied to other application materials as well, so consider this review comprehensive. Believe it or not, personal statements also entail a great deal of self-reflection, which means they also function as a great review for residency interview questions , like the “tell me about yourself” residency interview question .

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Article Contents 39 min read

Residency personal statement example #1: family medicine.

During the pre-clerkship years of study in medical school, I enjoyed learning about the many specialties within medicine and actively considered pursuing several of them. I was drawn to the complex pharmacology of the drugs used by anesthesiologists, the acuity of care faced by emergency medicine physicians and the complicated medical issues of patients cared for by internal medicine specialists. I also found myself interested in psychiatrists’ thorough history-taking and the technical skills in performing procedures exhibited by surgeons. It started becoming clear to me that I was interested in many different areas of medicine. I began realizing that I wanted a career that combined the many things I enjoyed in different specialties. A family physician has the flexibility to practice all of these facets of medicine. As clerkship drew nearer, I knew I wanted to gain more clinical experience in family medicine to see if it would be a good fit for me.

My clinical experiences in family medicine were fantastic. I worked with family physicians and family medicine residents not only during my core family medicine rotation and family medicine electives, but also during my psychiatry, surgery, anesthesiology, and pediatrics rotations. These clinical experiences confirmed my belief that family medicine is a diverse and exciting specialty; family physicians, while maintaining a broad base of medical knowledge, can tailor their practices to the needs of their communities and to their own interests and areas of expertise. During my family medicine rotation and electives, I also found myself greatly enjoying my encounters with patients. I enjoy hearing patients’ stories and sorting through their many medical and psychosocial issues. I am also naturally a fastidious person. Being a thorough history-taker and a meticulous recorder of details helps me in formulating a complete story about a patient. My joy in interacting with patients and my attention to detail allow me to appreciate patients as people, not just as disorders or diseases. I am both interested in learning about and have a certain affinity for, family medicine clinical experiences; pursuing a career in this specialty is an obvious choice for me.

The versatility and diversity of family practice initially drew my interest but the wonderful encounters I had with family physicians solidified my desire to pursue a career in this specialty. These family physicians have not only been skilled and knowledgeable clinicians but also, variously, dedicated teachers, researchers, and administrators. They were committed to improving their clinical skills by attending continuing education lectures and courses. They practiced patient-centered care and were knowledgeable about community resources that may help their patients. They worked cooperatively with other health-care professionals to improve patient care. Importantly, these physicians have also been friendly and approachable towards both learners and patients. The family physicians I have worked with also strive toward a healthy work-life balance; all of them seemed to have many interests and hobbies outside of their professions. These clinicians demonstrated to me what being a family physician involves: practicing both the science and art of medicine, advocating for patients, guiding patients through the health-care system, being committed to improving clinical knowledge and, importantly, maintaining one’s own health and happiness.

Being sure of the specialty I want to pursue is the first step in my career. There are many learning opportunities ahead. [Name of the program]’s family medicine residency program is attractive in so many ways: the protected academic days, the opportunity to participate in research and, most importantly, the clinical curriculum, all appeal to me. I believe the solid foundation of family medicine experience, as well as the exposure to other specialties, alongside the opportunities to build the skills necessary for life-long learning through the academic experiences and research, make this an ideal program for me. On a personal note, I grew up in [hometown] and did my undergraduate studies at [name of university]; I would be thrilled to return to my hometown and a university already familiar to me. My career goals after finishing my residency include having a community-based, urban family practice and being actively involved in teaching residents and medical students. I am also open to being involved in research and administration. Career goals, however, may change as I progress through my training. I am excited to begin the next stage of medical training and begin my residency in family medicine!

1. Emphasis on why the applicant wants to enter that specific specialty

This family medicine personal statement example does a great job of explaining why the applicant wants to enter that specific specialty. Their interest is clearly stated and the decision to enter the field is well explained. The author does an excellent job of talking up the specialty and stating what they like about the field based on their clinical experience. For your residency personal statement, you want to highlight any influential moment you had during these experiences. If you had a certain “aha” moment, you might mention this. If demonstrating this commitment is difficult for you, you can always find a reputable ERAS application review service .

2. Intentions are clear

Clearly stating your intentions and using the program's name makes your statement personal and stand out. It shows that you pay attention to details and that your goals and passion align with what the program offers. Use strong, precise language when you are writing. You only have about 800 words, so state your intentions and keep your story clear.

3. Personal connection is established

This particular applicant has a personal connection to the city in which the residency would take place. This won’t be true for every applicant, but if it is, be sure to make room to mention it as long as it fits with your personal narrative. In this example, the applicant also ties this in with one of their goals: having a community-based, urban family practice. In your personal statement, you should merge these elements together for a more cohesive essay.

What to Include in Your Personal Statement

Most residency programs, whether through  ERAS  (US-based) or  CaRMS  (Canada-based) require applicants to submit a personal statement or letter. Some programs will include specific instructions for what they wish you to talk about, while others will not give you a topic. When you’re doing your research for residency programs you want to apply for, you should also take a look at the selection criteria. Each school will have its own rubric that they use to evaluate candidates, so it’s a good idea to review these before you start working on your personal statement. Here is an example of some information stated by McMaster University regarding their residency selection criteria:

“Programs may consider a range of criteria in making their selection decisions for interviews including but not limited to: Medical School Performance Report (MSPR), scores on standardized tests, interest in and aptitude for the discipline, reference letter, experience in research or other scholarly activities, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.”

ERAS, as well as most CaRMS programs, ask that your statement be within a one-page limit, about 750-850 words. Please check the specific program requirements through the ERAS or CaRMS websites.

The experiences in your  residency CV  can be used to help you indicate why you are applying to a particular program and how you came to that decision.

1. Introduction

Typically, your residency personal statement will have three to five paragraphs, which you will use to divide the introduction, body, and conclusion. The personal statement is a formal essay, so you must adhere to the proper structure. The introduction is for you to capture the attention of the reader; for this, you will need a strong hook or opening statement. Feel free to get creative with this. The remainder of your introduction should focus on what drew you to the specialty and how your background experiences informed your decision to apply to the school and program. Your introduction should also contain a thesis statement that allows you to connect your personal background with your suitability for the program, school, and a career in medicine (in this exact specialty).

2. Body (or middle)

The body of the essay is for you to expand on a few critical experiences that made you the excellent, qualified candidate you are today. A good strategy for the body paragraph(s) is to talk about relevant clinical rotation experiences; so for example, if you’re applying to a psychiatry residency, you can talk about a specific patient experience that solidified your decision to pursue this specialty, or an experience that sticks out in your memory. This will be similar to your answer to the interesting case residency interview question . Your goal should be to use these experiences to address your specific interests, goals, and what makes you a good fit for the program. Do some research into the program format, the patient population you will be working with, and the clinical environment. This will help you connect your experiences with what the school/program offers.

3. Conclusion

You might be thinking that once you’ve written a strong introduction and body, the conclusion will be simple. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. You need to use the space in your conclusion to tie everything together and show enthusiasm for the program and for your future career. You can revisit a few key points here to highlight them once again and to relate them to what you’re hoping to gain from the forthcoming training experience. Show passion, determination, and consistency throughout your letter and tie up any loose ends in the conclusion. Some applicants will use this part of the letter to mention a specific goal they want to achieve in residency, such as working with specific faculty members or research plans. You may also mention aspirations to complete a fellowship or what you want your future practice to look like.

Here's why "show, don't tell" is the most important tip for any personal statement:

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Brainstorm Ideas

  • What makes you right for this specialty?
  • What experiences drew you to this specialty?
  • What appeals to you about this specific program?
  • Do you have any experiences working in the city of the program you’re applying to?
  • How will your residency training help you achieve your goals?
  • What are some of your personal strengths that will allow you to contribute to the program?
  • What evidence do you have that you possess those strengths?
  • Do you have any research/publications that align with the research the school is doing?
  • Do you have any gaps in your medical education or evaluations that you would like to address?
  • What’s something you think the program director should know that isn’t obvious from your application materials?

  Growing up the first-born daughter of a hard-working Saskatchewan cattle farmer and hairdresser, medicine was never a consideration. In a small town, I could easily see how too much free time got many of my peers in trouble. From grade 8-12 I devoted myself to sports, playing high school, club and provincial beach volleyball, weeknights and weekends year round. Despite my small stature and lack of innate abilities, with determination and persistence, I overcame these obstacles. At the end of my grade 11 year, I received an athletic scholarship and chose to pursue business administration and athletics.

After the first six months, it became apparent that I was not going to attain my full potential in education at [university name}. Despite my parent’s reservations, I left and enrolled at a [university name] for the next semester. This university was much more challenging as I was now balancing my educational and financial responsibilities by working evenings and weekends managing a number of part-time jobs. With little direction as to what degree I wanted to pursue, I happened to enroll in anatomy and physiology. This was the first time I became really excited about my future prospects and began actively considering a career in medicine.

The first time I applied to medicine, I was rejected. Despite my initial devastation, in hindsight, it was a great opportunity for myself to reflect on my own motivations for medicine and work as a laboratory technician at a potash mine in my hometown. I gained additional life experience, spent time with my family and was able to help financially support my husband’s pursuit of education after he had so selflessly supported me for many years.

My first exposure to anesthesia was in my first year of medical school with [Dr. name here] as my mentor in clinical reasoning. I was again, intrigued by the anatomy and physiology with the interlacing of pharmacology. I remained open to all specialties, however, after summer early exposures, research, and clerkship it became clear to me that anesthesia is where I felt the most fulfilled and motivated.

In a way, anesthesia was reminiscent of the competitive volleyball I had played years prior. I was again a part of a team in the operating room with a common goal. Similarly, our countless years of education and practice had brought us together to achieve it. In volleyball, my role was the setter, which to many is considered a lackluster position as we rarely attack the ball and score points with power. However, as a setter, my role is to set the pace, strategize and dictate the game from my team’s perspective. There is a long sequence of crucial events before a “kill” in volleyball and I strategized my teammate's individual strengths in both offense and defense to win. Anesthesia gives me the same opportunities to strategize anesthetics, balance individual patient’s comorbidities and anatomy all while maintaining a calm demeanor and level head through unexpected circumstances. In volleyball, I never shied away from tense games or difficult situations, instead I trusted in my own abilities and training despite uncharted territory. Lastly, I didn't need to actually score the point in order to understand my role and contributions to my team.

As an athlete, I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allow us to fail, but most importantly, to learn. I believe that the curriculum at this program will provide me with a well-respected education, which strongly reflects my learning style. I also admire the mandatory communication block in the curriculum because I believe an emphasis on clear and concise communication, is essential as an anesthetist.

Throughout the course of the next 5-10 years, I anticipate that both my husband and I will complete the next chapter in our educational pursuits. We both agree that [program name here] has the potential to nurture the next chapter in both our private and professional lives if given the opportunity.

What Makes This Sample Effective?

1. the theme is personal and consistent.

In this anesthesiology residency personal statement example , the author of this passage carries the theme of athletics throughout the statement. Having a theme can unify your personal statement and give it direction. This is a good example of a way to use a theme to tie together different ideas. Having a good theme is also something you should keep in mind when you’re answering anesthesiology residency interview questions , as program directors want to see that this particular specialty choice wasn’t simply drawn out of a hat; rather, your emphasis on a theme can demonstrate that your choice was intentional and the right fit.

2. The tone is positive throughout

Also, take note of how the author explained the transition to different schools without speaking negatively of the institutions. In your own personal statement, feel free to use the names of the universities you attended. They have been redacted here for anonymity. This statement has parts where you could customize it. Use the name of the program when possible or the name of the town. Taking time to add this into your statement shows the program that you pay attention to detail while personalizing it to each program.

3. Lessons learned apply to medicine

The writer of this personal statement relies on analogy to connect their experience to their interest in anesthesiology: “I understand the importance of practice and repetition which allow us to fail, but most importantly, to learn.” This analogy works so well because it shows why the applicant is suited to the program and specialty, it reveals an important aspect of their personality with evidence, and it sets expectations for how they want to contribute to the field. In your essay, you can use a similar strategy by tying together a major life theme or event with what you learned and how that applies to your medical training.

I was six years old when my father read to me the first chapter of “How Things Work.” The first chapter covered doors and specifically, the mechanics in a doorknob. What lay hidden and confined in the door panel was this complex system that produced a simple action. I credit this experience as the onset of my scientific curiosity and eventually my passion for complex systems found in medicine. Intensivists vigilantly maintain homeostasis within the human body, a complex system in and of itself, a concept I recognize as personally fascinating and enticing. I find myself especially drawn to the field of critical care and intensive care medicine. My dreams to become an intensivist would be highly complimented by a residency in surgery.

In critical care, each patient in the ICU is usually in a general state of shock. From the initial state of shock, the patient can be further complicated with comorbidities and chronic diseases that may require further intensive medical intervention so that they may recover from a recent surgery or traumatic event. This dynamic nature of the ICU is not available in every unit of the hospital and the high level of acuity does not suit everyone. I, however, enjoy the high energy of the enthralling, engaging and exciting environment offered by the ICU. I am personally energized and awakened by managing patients with surgically-altered physiology coupled with comorbidities. There is an overwhelming satisfaction when a patient following a bilateral lung transplant gets up from his bed and walks through the unit after days of being bedridden, or the moment we can discontinue the lines we had the patient on and finally talk to them after two weeks of intubation and sedation. Being in the ICU also encompasses the emotional seesaw of going from a successful patient case to a room in which a family has just decided that comfort care is the best way to proceed, which gives me chills just to type and verbalize.

The work of an intensivist is not only limited to the patient, but also the emotional well-being of the patient’s family as well. My involvement in the ICU has taught me that sometimes it is necessary to talk to a patient’s family, to explain to them simply that the postoperative expectations that they had had, may not be met. Communication is key in this field, both with the patients and the physicians of the OR. Communication prevents perioperative complications, establishes a willingness to follow directions and relays professionalism. It is important for an intensivist to have an excellent understanding of surgical procedures, so that they may explain to the patient what to expect as well as ease the nerves of the patient preoperatively. A surgical residency would facilitate this understanding and undoubtedly prove to be useful in my future training.

Studying medicine in Europe has taught me volumes about myself, how driven, motivated and open-minded I can be. To move so far away from home and yet be so familiar with the language, I feel blessed to be able to say that I’ve had a high level of exposure to diversity in my life. The mentality in [insert country name here] is if you don’t see the doctor, you are not sick. This common thought has to lead to an outstanding environment to study medicine and to see end-stage, textbook presentations of various pathologies and their management. Studying medicine in two languages has in itself taught me that medicine is a language and that the way a patient presents, conveys themselves, and the findings of the physical examination, all represent the syntax of the diagnosis. This awareness has reminded me that patient care, relief of patient suffering and illness, transcends the grammatical rules of the patient’s native tongue. My clinical experience in [insert country here] will aid me in providing thoughtful care to my future patients.

All things considered, I am ready to leave my home of the last four years and come back to the United States, to enter the next stage of my life and career. I am ready to work harder than ever, to prove myself to my future residency program and most importantly, learn so that I may be a suitable candidate for a future fellowship program in critical care. My experiences abroad have constantly pushed me to new horizons and encouraged responsibilities that I don’t believe I would otherwise have. I’ve developed a new level of human connection through my work in the ICU, the OR and my travels throughout Europe. These experiences will aid me in working with a diverse patient population and a diverse team of physicians. I hope [the program name here] can give me the variety and the background in surgery that I will need to succeed.

1. Atypical experiences are justified

This surgery personal statement example has to do double duty for the admissions committee. It has to explain why surgery, what this student can offer, and why this student is passionate about the field while simultaneously explaining why the applicant chose medical school abroad. If you are applying to a country where you did not attend medical school there, you have to explain why you studied abroad. This often poses a challenge for students. Be honest and positive about your experience. This student did an excellent job of explaining why it was such a good fit for their personality while highlighting the advantages of this experience.

Focus on the characteristics you gained from your experience abroad. Explain how your experience will translate into success in your residency. There are many things to be gained from having spent time outside of your home country. Talk about the skills you developed from living abroad. Unique details like those will set you apart when you are writing your statement.

2. Makes unique experiences an advantage

This applicant studied abroad in Europe. The way they talk about it is key: they explain how the experience was a challenge that they learned from. Most programs and schools are looking for medical school graduates who can contribute to their vision of diversity. If you have experience travelling abroad, this is a good chance for you to explain how this enriched your perspective and professional capabilities. Some of the skills that this applicant discusses are assets for a career in medicine: speaking two languages, exposure to diverse people and methods, and the ability to work with a large patient and physician population from different backgrounds. If you endeavor to explain some of your diverse experiences, be sure to make it clear what you gained and how you can apply it to your residency training.

3. The writer’s voice and style are unique

To get matched to the program and school of your choice, you will need to stand out from the crowd. To do this effectively in your personal statement, give your writing a unique style and allow your personality to shine through. In this example, the writer achieves this in the first paragraph in the “hook” in which they describe when their father used to read “How Things Work”; this life event left a lasting impression, and the writer links this to why a residency in surgery would benefit their goal of becoming an intensivist. With a first draft, it’s okay to experiment with word choice and content. Make sure you include all the necessary elements and formatting requirements, but try your best to put the “personal” in personal statement. Note that this is a general surgery example; if you were applying for plastic surgery or neurosurgery, you should read plastic surgery residency personal statement examples or neurosurgery personal statement examples for a slightly varied essay strategy.

Writing a residency personal statement? Here are the top books for residency applicants:

Residency Personal Statement Examples #4: Emergency Medicine

One of the most surprising things that I learned through my emergency medicine (EM) electives is that working in an emergency department is like leading a horse. I grew up on a farm in the [name of city], and working with animals was very much a part of my childhood. When walking a horse, one must be prepared for anything should the animal become spooked. It can startle at any moment and one must react quickly and calmly to redirect the thousand-pound creature. Similarly, in EM, one never knows when the department is going to become “spooked” by what comes through the door. EM is exciting, with a variety of patient presentations and medical procedures done on a daily basis. I enjoy dealing with the unexpected challenges that arise in caring for patients with backgrounds vastly different from my own. It would be a privilege to gain the skills as an emergency physician to provide acute life-saving care, to connect patients with resources and other healthcare professionals, and to provide comfort to patients and families in the settings of acute loss or difficult diagnoses. I feel that the [name of program] is the ideal path to reach that goal.

First, the [name of program] offers additional support and training to continue to perform research and other scholarly activities. Through my experience in quality improvement, I have learned of the value of research and how it can be applied to practical problems. For instance, while volunteering in a pool rehabilitation program for individuals with neurological disabilities, a patient who I had worked with for a year tragically suffered a fall and broke his hip leaving him significantly disabled. This led me to research inpatient falls during medical school and I initiated a quality improvement project and presented at several conferences, quality improvement rounds, and meetings with hospital stakeholders. After several years of work, I am very proud that this led to the implementation of a province-wide quality improvement initiative funded by [name of organization]. This initiative is physician-led and is aimed at reducing inpatient falls across [name of city]. This project demonstrated how rewarding research is when it can be translated into tangible initiatives and is why I am particularly interested in quality improvement research. I look forward to more dedicated time in the [name of program] to develop my research skills and to apply quality improvement to EM.

In addition to increased training in research, the [name of program] offers the opportunity to subspecialize within EM. While in medical school, I helped my single mother raise my much younger siblings and this has inspired my interest in pediatric EM. I maximized my studying through the effective use of weekly group study sessions and podcasts to allow for free weekends to return home to spend with my brother and sister. Through my experiences teaching and playing with my siblings, I have learned to deal with children in a calm and friendly manner. I used these skills to maintain positive therapeutic relationships with children during my pediatric EM rotation at [name of hospital]. For instance, I was able to cast the forearm of a frightened child by first demonstrating the procedure on her toy rabbit, and then calmly fitting a cast on her arm. I enjoy the emphasis on patient and family education as well as the focus on making the patient feel safe and cared for. I would love to explore this field further as my niche within the [name of program] in emergency medicine.

Alongside research and pediatric EM, I am also interested in teaching. Some of my fondest memories involve the evening teaching sessions during primary and secondary school spent with my grandpa, a retired teacher. My grandpa modeled effective teaching techniques, first assessing my knowledge and then expanding on it by asking questions and providing guidance when needed. Similarly, some of my best memories in medical school include the five-minute bedside teaching sessions after interesting cases that were taught in that way. Inspired by many residents and staff I have worked with, I look forward to expanding my teaching role in residency. Like my grandpa and my clinical mentors, I hope to help future students maximize their learning potential through the delivery of lectures and bedside teaching. Training within the [name of program] would allow additional time to develop the skills necessary for this, through increased exposure to mentorship, teaching role models, and opportunities to be involved in curricular development.

I would feel privileged to join the resident team in the [name of program]. I was fortunate that most of my core clerkship training including EM, as well as my fourth year EM elective, was at the [name of hospital]. What stands out the most to me most about working in the [name of hospital] is the tight-knit community feel in the setting of a high volume, high acuity ED. I value that the small program leads to a cohesive resident group and staff who are invested in their learners. Furthermore, from my rotations there, I know the ample procedural and hands-on exposure residents get from the beginning of their training. With my interest in pediatric EM, I value the longitudinal exposure to pediatrics at [name of program], with opportunities to do dedicated pediatric rotations both at [name of hospital], as well as [name of hospital]l. Finally, the [name of city] is my home; my family and friends are here, and I love the hiking, fishing, kayaking, and snowboarding that are all less than an hour away. I would be incredibly honored to have the privilege of pursuing EM in the [name of program], and look forward to serving my community.

The thought of caring for severely ill children seemed disheartening and overwhelming when I first began shadowing [name of doctor] at [name of hospital] five years ago. I was very nervous. While some of the cases were indeed difficult, my experience was starkly different. In one of our first cases, I quickly jumped in to comfort a scared child suffering from kidney disease. The mother of our patient confided in me about her son's struggles with bullying due to the disfiguring edema. I felt how much she appreciated being able to share her son’s challenges with me. Throughout my clinical experiences, I saw that caring for a pediatric patient often involves delicately navigating complex social situations and family dynamics. From that point on, I knew I had both the passion and compassion to succeed as a future pediatrician.

I am particularly keen to complete my residency at the [name of school], because I had such an immersive learning experience completing 5 years of research with [name of doctor] at [name of hospital] and at [name of hospital], not to mention [name of school]'s stellar international reputation. The incredibly high standard of excellence at [name of school], as well as [name of city] being my hometown, make the [name of school] my top choice to complete my residency. To further demonstrate the excellent education, I remember a time while shadowing at [name of hospital] in the genetics clinics where we discussed the pathophysiology of Bartter’s syndrome. The residents were having a hard time understanding this disease, but [name of doctor] explained the exact pathophysiology and downstream effects of it. The incredible intellect, mentorship and leadership [name of doctor] demonstrated has inspired me to pursue a nephrology fellowship upon completion of my residency.

During my elective rotations in [name of cities], I saw indigenous pediatric patients with a variety of ailments from hypoglycemia to cystic fibrosis. I spoke with them about the struggles of travelling long distances to obtain care. As an Inuit member of the [name of group], I have spent time reflecting on the medical needs of this much-overlooked population and hope to explore ways of reaching out to underserved populations in my future career.

I am prepared to be a leader and engaged learner in my residency program because of my participation in impactful leadership roles. I am currently the president of the [name of society], where one of my main duties is coordinating the [name of initiative], an initiative that teaches children about hospitals and healthy living. I was able to spend one-on-one time with disabled children teaching them about the heart through dance and instruments and activities to decrease fears associated with hospitals. This demonstrated the importance of promoting health care initiatives for kids and educate families and their children on how to be advocates of their own health.

As a competitive Irish dancer for sixteen years, I developed perseverance, determination, and time management that have been critical throughout my medical school training. Competing in front of judges and thousands of spectators all over the world, performing to my best ability under intense pressure was a necessity. I persevered with the challenge of competing at an international level and still maintained a very high level of academic performance while achieving my career high of second at the World Championships.

As an IMG applicant born and raised in [name of city] and educated in [name of country], I believe that my international education provides many advantages. I was exposed to diverse cultures and innovative ways of thinking from teachers from all over the globe at the [name of college] that I hope to bring back to Canada with me. Through the last 6 years, I have also had many research experiences and clinical electives in Canada that have given me insights into the intricacies of the Canadian Health Care system.

I am confident that pediatrics is the field I wish to pursue and I cannot wait to begin my residency so that I can start becoming an excellent clinician who advocates for children, as well as a scholar involved in research projects that will help advance the field. After successfully completing my pediatric residency program, I plan to pursue a pediatric fellowship. I am excited at the prospect of working and learning at the [name of school] while being an active and professional member of your residency program. I am also looking forward to developing my teaching skills and contributing to the community while also enjoying bike rides down the paths in the [name of path] and to be reunited with my [name of city] based family.

“Code blue, electrophysiology laboratory” a voice announces overhead during my cardiology rotation. As the code team, we rush to the patient, an elderly man in shock. Seamlessly, we each assume our preassigned roles. I quickly review his chart and note to the team-leader that this patient had a previous EF of 10 percent and just got cardioverted. Vasopressors administered, intubation, central line secured, and the patient is stabilized and sent to our floor. During my rotations in internal medicine, I was constantly elated by my team’s ability to come together at such key moments. This gave me a sense of joy I did not find in other rotations. Moreover, I had inspiring attending physicians and residents who served as my mentors. They taught me that an internist is a medical expert committed to evidence-based medicine and perpetual learning, a compassionate physician, and an engaged community member. These lessons and the satisfaction of managing highly complex cases with a dedicated team consolidated my interest in internal medicine.

Compassion and a holistic approach to medicine remain quintessential for patient care. During my rotations, I took advantage of opportunities to learn from my patients both at the bedside and through independent reading. As a senior student, I prepared learning capsules that I presented to my team. This taught me to synthesize and communicate information efficiently. Beyond that, I took courses outside of the formal curriculum such as a point-of-care ultrasound course to improve my ultrasound procedural skills. When we no longer had any curative interventions to offer patients, I learned that acknowledging the patients’ suffering and being present for them in their most vulnerable time can ease their pain. As a resident at [name of school], I will continue my dedication to academic excellence and compassionate, patient-centered care in my efforts to care for my patients.

I have built strong ties to my community serving as president of the [name of school] Biology Student Union. Together, we enacted a complex study space and locker initiative through my role as a mentor at [name of organization]. These experiences instilled in me the values of proactivity and advocacy which I aim to bring with me to [name of school]. There, I hope to continue my community engagement as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of [name of city]. Moreover, as I learn more about [name of town]'s healthcare system, I hope to combine that knowledge with my medical education to add my perspective to health policy decision-making in the province.

In addition to its excellent academic reputation, [name of school]’s commitment to academic excellence and continuing education, as exemplified by the abundant academic teaching, drew me to the program. Moreover, given my belief that we develop to be an amalgam of characteristics and values our mentors espouse, I was delighted to learn about the mentorship opportunities available. This was a unique characteristic that motivated me to apply to [name of school]. Finally, having lived in [name of city] for the last ten years, I am looking forward to spending the next chapter of my life in a smaller, more tightly knit community of [name of city].

As I learned and modeled the different roles of an internist, I also learned a lot about myself. I learned of my thirst for knowledge, of my desire to treat as well as to heal the patient, and of my urge to be a leader in my community. These characteristics will play a defining role in my residency. I also learned of my passion for acute medicine. After my residency, I hope to further subspecialize in cardiology. As a future cardiologist, I aim to provide patient-centered care, conduct research, continue my community engagement, and act as a role model to future generation.

Watch this to learn what red flags to avoid in your residency personal statement!

Residency Personal Statement Examples #7: Psychiatry

I grew up in a tight knit military family in a community struck with the stigma of mental illness. Throughout my childhood we lost friends to the complications of untreated mental illness including overdose and suicide. I knew at that point that I wanted to pursue mental illness and completed a psychology degree and then a nursing degree. In University, I volunteered in a distress service for 6 years, providing individual sessions to students on issues including suicidality, interpersonal violence and addiction. As a registered nurse, I honed my skills in mental status examinations and cared for their comorbid psychiatric illness with medical disease utilizing communication and building rapport. I saw the impact of life altering conditions and procedures on their mental health. As a medical student, I continued to explore psychiatry through City X summer studentship and appreciated the breadth of psychiatric practice. As a clerk, I completed a range of psychiatric electives, caring for patients in multiple care settings and across various socioeconomic and age ranges. I enrolled in the integrated community clerkship, in X town, a community 900 km North of X city. The socioeconomic disparities and lack of access to mental health services had a negative impact on community, with suicidality and addictions. I followed my patients across practice domains assessing their functioning, medication regimen and continued to build a collaborative relationship. This proved crucial to uncover their health status across domains and helped me identify areas to support their challenges. 

I value the ability to understand my patients from a biopsychosocial framework and addressing negative thought processes in support of their wellness. I view our duty in psychiatry is to support their strengths on a trajectory to wellness and provide guidance and resources utilizing pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. Psychiatry is a newer field of medicine, allowing for ongoing innovations in treatment and practice. This is exciting to explore novel approaches to treatments as we continue to uncover the physiological, neurological and pharmacological dimensions of mental health. It is also important to recognize the challenges of psychiatry. The history of mental illness creates access to care barriers from both a structural viewpoint with longer wait times and on a personal level due to their concern about the social and occupational implications of stigma. As our population ages, this threatens to overwhelm the current psychiatric infrastructure and will require more complex approaches due to medical comorbidities and medication contraindications. We will require ongoing research focused on medical comorbidities of neuropsychiatric illness and treatment modalities to improve quality of care. 

I am drawn to the University of X psychiatry program due to its resident focused approach. I appreciate the ongoing mentorship and supervision and the preparatory endeavors including the mock examinations. From a clinical perspective, the program has a strong psychotherapy curriculum and offers unique elective opportunities including electroconvulsive therapy. The ability to continue serving rural communities solidifies my interests in this well-known program. 

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Residency Personal Statement Examples #8: Internal Medicine

“People are drawn to medicine in one of two ways: the humanity or the science.” My mentor, [name of doctor], staff medical oncologist at the [name of hospital], once told me this. As a volunteer during my premedical studies, I assisted him with his impromptu lunchtime clinics while others were on break and was able to catch a glimpse of his patients’ unshakable trust in him. Those moments sparked my interest in Internal Medicine. Internists are entrusted with the most complex patients in any hospital. Therefore, Internists take on the responsibility of a patient’s trust in their lowest, most disoriented moments. Accordingly, when I finally started clinical rotations, I saw it as my responsibility to fully understand each patient’s motivations and fears to advocate for their goals. One patient I had gotten to know still stands out in my mind. She was 95, witty, and self-assured but was found to have bone metastasis causing excruciating pain during her hospital stay. She knew she did not want aggressive life-prolonging treatment and declined further workup, but how could we help her? I suggested palliative radiotherapy to my team because I remember her telling me “I had a good life. I am not scared of death, but if I have to be around for a while, can’t I be more comfortable?” Therefore, my team entrusted me to talk to her and her family about a referral to Radiation Oncology. She responded to me with “I don’t think there’s anyone who knows what I’d want better than you. You’ve listened to me so much. I trust you.” I spent the next half hour explaining the rationale behind the referral to both her and her family. She received urgent Radiotherapy two weeks later. Her narcotic requirement decreased by more than half. After that moment, I envisioned that one day, I could also look into the eyes of someone at their most vulnerable moment and give them confidence to trust me and my team with their care.

Although my interest in Internal Medicine is rooted in the human connection, my attention to detail, work ethic, and natural curiosity, also makes me especially well-suited for the challenges of Internal Medicine. Indeed, beyond the human connection, Internal Medicine’s challenges of complex problem solving, and large ever-growing breadth of knowledge is also what makes each day so satisfying. When I was on the Nephrology Consult service, I was following a patient with a kidney transplant who was admitted for Line Sepsis. I noticed a mild Non-Anion Gap Metabolic Acidosis and a persistent mild Hyperkalemia. I presented my findings to my staff as a possible Type 4 RTA. He complimented me on my attention to detail and warned that a Type 4 RTA in a kidney transplant patient could be a sign of rejection. We restarted his anti-rejection medication that had been held due to his infection, his electrolyte abnormalities corrected in less than two days. My attention to detail is a particular asset for Internal Medicine because more than any other specialty, the tiniest details like a mildly abnormal lab work, when pieced together in the correct way, could solve the most difficult clinical problem. That is also what makes problem-solving in Internal Medicine so satisfying. My mentors have always complimented me on my work ethic. However, I enjoy staying late for admissions and additional learning or reading hours around my patients at home because learning Internal Medicine is so interesting.

On the other hand, Internists are also tasked with the very large, working with multiple professionals and navigate system issues to keep patients healthy and out of hospital such as when [name of doctor] entrusted me with planning the discharge of a homeless patient during my Medicine CTU elective at [name of hospital]. The patient had Schizophrenia and Grave’s Disease and had been admitted to hospital multiple times that year with thyrotoxicosis due to medication non-adherence. During his admission, I had elicited the help of two homeless outreach coordinators to ensure proper follow-up. Therefore, by the time of discharge, he had a new family doctor, timely appointments with the family doctor and endocrinologist, maps with directions to each appointment, his prescription medications ready to go, as well as a new apartment application.

Ultimately, I am fortunate to be drawn to Internal Medicine for both its humanity and science. I believe that I have the qualities that will help me excel in its smallest details and its largest responsibilities. In residency, I aim to explore and learn as much Internal Medicine as possible before becoming an expert in one area so I can make an informed choice and be a well-rounded physician. Therefore, the fact that [name of city] has so many leading experts especially suits my learning goals. Indeed, during my electives in [name of city], I’ve already learned knowledge that I’ve not encountered elsewhere like the Bernese method of Buprenorphine induction. The availability of resources such as the DKA management simulation and the use of presentations of cutting-edge knowledge as part of evaluation also suits my self-directed learning style. Furthermore, my research has focused on the PMCC Gastro-Esophageal Cancer Database where we were able to discover various new details in the clinical behavior of Gastro-Esophageal cancer due to the large volume of patients are PMCC and its world-class expertise. This line of research would not work as well anywhere else in [name of country]. Indeed, our database is currently the second-largest in the world. Therefore, the second reason [name of city] is my ideal place for training is for its unique research opportunities, so I can continue to contribute to further medical knowledge. Lastly, [name of city] is the most diverse city in [name of country]. Growing up as an immigrant, I had experienced how cultural backgrounds can become a barrier to receiving good medical care. Therefore, the diverse patient population and strong allied health support in [name of city] could also allow me to hone the skills required to assist me in providing good quality care to all patients, regardless of background.

My first exposure to Family Medicine occurred during my time as a Medical Officer working in a small clinic in Nigeria in fulfilment of the [name of service]. There, I recognized that a career in this specialty would offer me the opportunity to not only experience the aspects I cherished most about other specialties, but fulfill my personal interests in advancing community health.

My many encounters with patients during my days in the clinic reaffirmed my view of Primary care physicians as being on the frontline of diagnosis and preventive medicine. There was the middle-aged diabetic patient who had first presented to the emergency with diabetic ketoacidosis, the hypertensive man whose initial complaint of a persistent headache prompted the discovery of his soaring blood pressure, and the adolescent with a family history of allergies who was diagnosed with asthma. These encounters highlighted that as the first point of contact, the general practitioner is not only responsible for diagnosis, but often in ensuring patients are set on the path of healthy habits to prevent disease complications. This unique opportunity to significantly advance the well-being of a patient, and by extension, the community renewed my interest in the field.

An especially appealing feature of Family Medicine is that it provides an opportunity for patient care without limitations of age, sex, disease or organ system. From treating colds and routine checkups to referral for a suspected malignancy, I enjoyed that every day in the clinic was a learning experience and no day was routine. In addition, having a diverse population of patients and cases requires an abundance of clinical knowledge and I cherish the chance to learn and expand my skills every day.

I also value that an essential part of Primary care is in the enduring relationships the practitioners develop with patients. I recall several moments during my clinical experiences when I recognized that some of the bonds formed during ongoing patient interactions had evolved into lasting friendships. Being a practice of continual care, I appreciate that this specialty provides many opportunities to follow patients through different stages of their lives ensuring a deepening of relationship and compliance with care. I was inspired during my clinical rotation here in the United States when I saw how my preceptorís long-term relationships with patients enabled their compliance and often extended to different generations within one family.

Ultimately, I am confident that my experiences have prepared me for a career in this specialty. An agreeable, attentive and compassionate nature has aided me in gaining trust as well as building meaningful interpersonal relationships which are crucial components of this field. Furthermore, my interaction with an extensive array of patients during my clinical and volunteer experiences has equipped me with the ability to communicate and relate to patients across different age groups and backgrounds. In addition, I enjoy working to coordinate patient care with colleagues and other specialties and value that the wellness of the patient is a result of hard work, dedication, and teamwork.

Thus, I hope to find a residency program dedicated to providing in-depth clinical training with a diverse patient population and an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention through patient education and community service. Moreover, I look forward to being part of a program that will encourage my pursuit of intellectual development and advancement to enable my transition into a well-rounded, competent and skilled physician committed to serving people with needs in all areas of medicine. With a career in this specialty, I know that every day will bring a new opportunity to influence health behaviors, and while there will be challenges, fulfilling them will always be satisfying.

Here I am, yet again. Last year, I also applied for a position as a dermatology resident. Though I was not selected, I return with the same diligence and perseverance, as well as additional skills and knowledge. My continued dedication to pursue a career in dermatology reminds me that no good thing comes easily and pushes me to stay motivated and work hard toward my goals. 

I am drawn to dermatology for a host of reasons, one of which is the opportunity to work with my hands. In my current residency program, I have had the opportunity to assist in various surgical procedures. I recall the subdued exhilaration I felt when removing my first lipoma and the satisfaction of observing the surgeon completed the procedure with precision and care. My excitement for surgery continued to be reinforced in the many subsequent procedures I assisted with and I look forward to honing my surgical skills further as I complete my training in dermatology. 

However, to me, “hands-on” is defined as more than just its literal meaning. The opportunity to build relationships with patients steers me more towards a career in outpatient medicine. During my dermatology outpatient rotation, I was involved in the care of a patient who presented initially complaining of a heliotrope rash and gottron’s papules. When she expressed a deep sense of shame about this rash, I became acutely aware of how patient’s external disease can influence their internal emotions. I thus responded empathetically, simultaneously validating her concerns and providing her with much-needed assurance. When she was later diagnosed with dermatomyositis secondary to underlying breast cancer, this patient requested to speak to me specifically, recalling the positive interaction we had shared before. Again, I was able to explain the diagnosis and treatment plan with patience and regard for her every concern. Developing a trusted physician-patient relationship is crucial in the field of dermatology because most patients exhibit strong internal emotions from their visually external disease. Also important is the ability to deliver difficult news and be considerate of patients’ feelings in these delicate moments. I plan to continue to use these skills during my career as a dermatologist.  

To me, dermatology is also a field that is thought-provoking and stimulating due to its constant evolution and advancements. Thus, during my internship, I committed to educating myself in the field of dermatology through multiple research projects. My research thus far has been focused on whether UV light lamps used in gel manicures increases the risk of skin cancers as well as the outcomes of using intralesional 5-fluorouracil for squamous cell carcinoma and keratoacanthomas. While my research was focused in the field of dermatology, I did not hesitate to take on additional projects, pursuing assignments in both breast cancer and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. I strongly believe the best doctors have a thorough understanding of the practice of medicine in totality as our ability to incorporate this knowledge in our diagnosis and treatment of our patients directly impacts their wellbeing. For these reasons, I strive to continually educate myself in not only dermatology, but other fields that might have implications on my practice. 

My ideal dermatology program would allow me to manage a variety of complex medical dermatological conditions and engage in research, both of which will continue to challenge me intellectually and push me to exercise creativity to develop innovative solutions to dermatological treatments. As someone who enjoys working with my hands and the instant gratification of the surgical approach as a treatment option, I would also value the opportunity to perform surgeries and improve my surgical skills. Furthermore, I have found that beyond medicine, the people in each program make or break an experience. Positive attitudes, expressed dedication, and mentorship are vital characteristics in any program of my interest.

I am confident my aspirations will be fulfilled in the field of dermatology, but more importantly, I know I will be a good contribution to this field and your program – my work ethic, motivation, and commitment unwavering. I am determined, impassioned, and excited to embark on this next phase of my journey. 

10 More Residency Personal Statement Examples

Residency personal statement example #11, residency personal statement example #12, residency personal statement example #13, residency personal statement example #14, residency personal statement example #15, residency personal statement example #16, residency personal statement example #17, residency personal statement example #18, residency personal statement example #19, residency personal statement example #20.

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How To Address Areas of Concern

There are some things that are out of our control. Sometimes we have to take time off to deal with personal issues, or sometimes we have to retake tests. If you have something you feel like you need to explain in your application, the personal statement is the area to address it. If you had a leave of absence or failed an exam, you should offer a clear, unemotional explanation of the situation. Use positive language. Whatever the area of concern, try and phrase it in the most favorable light. Take accountable for what has happened, but do not place blame or make an excuse. Here are some phrases you can try and use in your personal statement.

Sometimes we have to interact with people who we don't see eye to eye with. When I worked with (you can choose to say the person's name or just use their title) I learned how to (insert a lesson here). Even though it was a challenge, I have gained skills that will better my future practice. ","label":"Unfavorable Evaluation by an Attending","title":"Unfavorable Evaluation by an Attending"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

Keep in mind that these are suggestions. If you are concerned about an area of your application that might be a red flag, it may be in your best interest to address it head-on. The choice to write about them is your own individual opinion. Your personal statement should highlight the best side of you. If you think that an area of weakness might hurt your chances, it may be beneficial to take ownership of the problem and write it in a way that will show what you learned and how it made you better.

For the most part, your residency personal statement should be within a one-page limit or approximately 750-850 words. Be sure to check your specific program requirements to verify before you begin writing.

It's entirely up to you if you want to address unfavorable grades or gaps in your studies. However, if you feel something in your application will be seen as a red flag, it's best to address issues head-on instead of having admissions committees dwell on possible areas of concern.

If you're going to address a gap, just ensure that you have a clear narrative for why you took these breaks, what you did on break and what this break means for your ability to function at a very high academic level for many years to come.

If you're addressing a poor evaluation, ensure that you take responsibility for your grade, discuss what you learned and how your performance will be improved in the future - then move on. It's important that you don't play the victim and you must always reflect on what lessons you've learned moving forward.

Absolutely. While it's not necessary to discuss your personal connection to a program location, showing program directors that you have ties to their program's location can give you a competitive edge over other applicants. The reason being is that it's a way to show program directors that you are invested in practicing medicine locally.

That's not to say that you have to apply to programs that are within your home state or province, but if one of the reasons you love a particular program is because of its location in your hometown, don't be afraid to mention this. Whether you enjoy the outdoor activities in the program's location, have family and friends in the area, or even grew up in the area at some point, these can all be great aspects to mention.

Firstly, it's important to check the program's specific requirements for your statement because some programs have a specific prompt or multiple prompts that you'll need to address. If you are not given a prompt, in general, your statement needs to answer “why this specialty?” and “why this program?”. Your responses must be supported with your personal experiences and your statement should incorporate your future career goals.

No, instead you'll be preparing one personal statement for each specialty. For example, if you're applying to emergency medicine and family medicine, you'll need to prepare one statement for emergency medicine and one statement for family medicine.

As long as it's during the application season, you can edit and review your personal statement. However, keep in mind that if you edit your personal statement, there is no guarantee that programs will review the most up to date version. For this reason, it's best to only assign your personal statement to programs once you've 100% happy with the final version.

No, there is no limit on how many personal statements you can create. 

Your personal statement should have three major structural elements: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Your thesis statement will appear in your introduction in the first paragraph. The body is for you to discuss major experiences relevant to your chosen specialty, and the conclusion is generally the place to summarize and highlight some of the item you mentioned in the body or introduction.

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personal statement for transitional year

What is a transitional year residency

What Is A Transitional Year Residency?

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As one of the least popular residency options after medical school, some of you may wonder what a transitional year residency is. In this post, we will highlight some of the frequently asked questions regarding that topic and how it is any different from preliminary year residency . 

After four fulfilling and demanding years in medical school, it’s now time to move on to the next step of your medical career. Residency is what usually comes after completing med school.

However, you have to get into a preliminary or a transitional year residency program to apply for advanced residency training. These programs aim to prepare the residents in providing quality patient care and professional development . 

Keep on reading to know more about transitional year residency and how it could help your medical career. 

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What is a transitional year residency (1)

Table Of Contents

During the fourth and last year of your medical school, the residency applications and interviews will open. Then, all candidates will rank their top residency choices where a complex computer algorithm will choose a suitable pairing for all applicants and their preferred specialty options. 

Even if you’ve secured a residency slot, you have to understand that some programs do not begin their specialized training until PGY2 or the second year after med school graduation . It is where the transitional year program comes in. 

The transitional year program is typically a one-year residency . It prepares the residents for advanced residency training for specialties such as dermatology, neurology, and other medical fields, which we will discuss later in this article.

For one year in the TY program, you’ll get to spend time on various clinical rotations in inpatient medicine, general surgery, inpatient psychiatry, and more. You will also be exposed to different patients with different diagnoses that can help you hone your medical skills.

Importance Of Transitional Year Residency

Just because you’ve completed your four years in med school and earned a diploma for “Doctor of Medicine,” doesn’t mean that your journey is finished. You will still have to go through residency, fellowships, and board certifications . Some complex specialties may also require additional training even after residency. 

As stated in the name, the transitional year residency helps prepare applicants like you as you “transition” from medical school to a real hospital . It will provide you with relevant experience in practicing different fields of medicine. 

With no sugar coating implied, the first year of your residency will be challenging and brutal. You’ll get overwhelmed with the amount of workload and pressure you’ll have to go through. 

Aside from the standard core rotations, transitional year residents will also attend numerous conferences and hands-on training . It also offers guidance and mentorship from doctors of multiple-clinical specialties.

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personal statement for transitional year

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Which specialties require a transitional year.

Here are a couple of specialties that will require applicants a transitional year before starting the actual residency: 


Dermatology is more than just studying health conditions that may affect the skin . It is also responsible for diagnosing and managing nails, fat hair, and membrane problems . 

If you wish to proceed with Dermatology, most hospitals will require you to do a broad-based clinical year on your PGY1 . Since you’re eyeing a slot for this specialty, you have to commit to no more than two months of elective rotations in Dermatology. 

What is a transitional year residency (2)


An anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in giving medication to a patient so they won’t feel any pain while they’re in surgery . It mainly focuses on anesthesia administration , intensive care , pain , and emergency medicine . 

Anesthesiology will also require residents to enroll for a transitional year to ensure that they’re prepared enough to complete the program. Your TY should include at least six months in any surgical specialties and no less than a month in critical care medicine or emergency medicine . 

Neurology is a branch of medicine that focuses on treating and managing diseases of the brain , spinal cord , peripheral muscles , and nerves . They are also responsible for dealing with speech and language disorders and movement illnesses . 

Since this specialty is complex, residents will also need a transitional year before getting a slot for Neurology. Residents must have relevant clinical experience in general internal medicine with at least two months in pediatrics , family medicine , or emergency medicine . 

A radiologist uses medical imaging procedures to diagnose diseases and injuries. The role of Radiology in medicine is centered around the patient’s disease management . 

In short, without radiology, it will be hard to treat and diagnose a patient. To qualify for a slot in Radiology, applicants must have a transitional year that is two months’ worth of experience in the radiology department . 

They should also complete direct patient care through family medicine , pediatrics , surgical specialties , etc.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation or PM&R deals with restoring the functional abilities of individuals with physical impairments . It is a field of medicine that aims to provide as much improvement as possible to a person’s quality of life. 

Applicants must complete a transitional year before getting into PM&R. It should include a minimum of six months of pediatrics, surgery , internal medicine , obstetrics and gynecology , family medicine , or emergency medicine . 

The remaining months should be filled with clinical rotations with eight weeks in indirect patient care and four weeks in PM&R .

What is a transitional year residency (3)

What Is The Difference Between The Preliminary Year And Transitional Year?

As mentioned earlier, you can choose between preliminary year or transitional year training to apply for an advanced residency program . However, you might be confused about which one will work better on your medical journey.

Before we differentiate the two, you should first know that there are two types of residency. The first one is the categorical residency that begins in PGY1 , where you can directly enroll in programs straight out of med school graduation . 

The other type is the advanced residency that starts in PGY2 , where it lets you experience different departments in preparation for your chosen specialty. However, it requires a preliminary or a transitional year to get in. 

The main difference between them is that preliminary year training focuses on a specific specialty , unlike transitional year , which exposes you to different fields . 

Due to this, interns who prefer specialties that would require in-depth internal medicine knowledge often go to preliminary years of training. On the other hand, those specialties that need familiarity during internship will choose a transitional year .

Is A Transitional Year Easy?

Most people regard the TY program as the “fifth year” of medical school as it doesn’t get as hard as the preliminary year program. Interns who didn’t have the opportunity to have a “match” during the residential application are the ones who usually apply to this program. 

Even though it’s a lot easier than being in prelim training, keep in mind that no medical path is easy . The fact that you’ll be exposed to different fields and patients is not as easy as you might think. 

Keeping up with the amount of information you have to maintain during this period may get exhausting. We advise you to work just as hard and study as much as possible as if you’re in a transitional year program .

How Competitive Is A Transitional Year Residency Program?

Like preliminary year training, the transitional year program is just as competitive . The competitiveness varies from each institution, so we suggest you do your research first before anything else. 

The transitional year residency program tends to have less work , more electives , and all in all presents an easier year . However, it is also because of these things that make it hard to get in. 

There are almost no available spots because of the number of applicants that want to enroll in transitional year residency. Most of the time, there are more applicants than available slots, which makes it difficult to be granted one. 

Remember that applicants are no ordinary interns. The competition between future neurologists, radiologists, or dermatologists can be pretty heavy.

What is a transitional year residency (4)

What Is The Typical Transitional Year Schedule? 

The schedule for transitional year residents should adhere to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s ( ACGME) requirements and the residents’ preferred specialty . It should help develop all necessary competencies a physician should have. 

The ACGME is an organization that handles and evaluates the accreditation of graduate medical training programs in the United States. 

The schedule will still depend on the hospital you’re going to. The normal distribution of clinical rotation begins with at least one month to the Intensive Care Unit, general medicine, and emergency medicine . 

The rest will depend on the residency program of your chosen graduate medical institution.

Understanding transitional year residency can be tricky and complicated. However, this is an excellent opportunity for you to experience several medical fields and help you finalize which specialty you enjoy the most.

We recommend you to apply in both preliminary year and transitional year programs if possible. This way, you’ll have more chances of getting in with either of them.

If you find this post interesting, how about you also check out these articles?

  • What Is Medical Residency Really Like (A Resident’s Perspective)
  • How Long Is Residency For Each Specialty? [Full Breakdown]
  • 35 Best Medical Resident Gifts (Gift Ideas In 2022)
  • 10 Most Competitive Residencies (2022 Guide)
  • How To Prepare Yourself For Residency [Step-By-Step]
  • How To Write A Thank You Note After A Residency Interview
  • ERAS Photo Requirements And Tips
  • How To Write A Good ERAS Personal Statement [Ultimate Guide]

Until next time my friend…

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Last updated October 3, 2023

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Blog > Common App , Essay Examples , Personal Statement > 15 Amazing Personal Statement Examples (2023 Update)

15 Amazing Personal Statement Examples (2023 Update)

Admissions officer reviewed by Ben Bousquet, M.Ed Former Vanderbilt University

Written by Kylie Kistner, MA Former Willamette University Admissions

Key Takeaway

What’s that old saying? “The best way to learn is by doing.” Well, we believe that, in personal statements and in life, cliches like this should be avoided. For some people, the best way to start writing a personal statement is indeed just to start.

But for most writers, jumping right into the writing process is a daunting task. If you’ve never written a personal statement before, then how do you know where to begin?

That’s where example essays come in. There are millions of opinions in the college admissions world about whether or not students should read example essays. But here’s ours:

You absolutely should be reading example personal statements.

Let’s get into it.

Why you should read example personal statements

Reading example personal statements helps you understand why they work (or don’t work) in the admissions process.

Now, the point of reading them isn’t to copy them. It’s not even necessarily to be inspired by them.

Instead, the point of reading examples is to know what personal statements look like. Think about it: if you’d never seen a children’s book before, would you know how to write one? Probably not! Same goes for personal statements.

In this post, we show you some exceptional, solid, and need-to-be-improved personal statements.

And to help you understand how these essays function as personal statements, we’ve also gotten our team of former admissions officers to grade and provide feedback on each.

What does an admissions officer look for in a personal statement?

Before we get to the essays, let’s briefly walk through what goes through an admissions officer’s head when they open an application.

Admissions officers (AOs) read hundreds to thousands of applications in a single year. Different institutions require admissions officers to use different criteria when evaluating applications, so the specifics will vary by school. Your entire application should cohere to form a seamless narrative . You'll be crafting that narrative across the following categories:

  • Transcripts and course rigor : AOs look at the classes you’ve taken to assess how much you’ve challenged yourself based on the classes your school offers. They’re also looking at how well you've done in these classes each term.
  • Extracurricular activities : When reading through your activities list, AOs look at the activities you’ve done, how many years you’ve participated in them, and how many hours a week you devote to them. They’re assessing your activities for the levels of magnitude, impact, and reach that they demonstrate. (Want to know more about these terms? Check out our extracurricular impact post .)
  • Background information : This background information briefly tells admissions officers about demographic and family information, your school context, and any honors or awards you’ve received.
  • Letters of recommendation : Letters of recommendation give AOs insight into who you are in the classroom.
  • Essays : And, finally, the essays. Whether you’re writing a personal statement or a supplemental essay, essays are the main place AOs get to hear your voice and learn more about you. Your personal statement in particular is the place where you get to lay out your overall application narrative and say something meaningful about your personal strengths.

So, with all that in mind, what does an admissions officer actually look for when reading your personal statement?

A few traits tend to surface across the best personal statements, no matter the topic or format. There are four primary areas you should focus on as you craft your personal statement.

  • Strengths: AOs want to know about your strengths. That doesn’t mean bragging about your accomplishments, but it does mean writing about a topic that lets you showcase something positive about yourself.
  • Personal meaning: Personal statements shouldn’t be fluff. They shouldn’t be history essays. They should be personal essays that ooze meaning. The topic you choose should show something significant about yourself that the admissions officers won’t get from any other part of your application.
  • Authenticity and vulnerability: These characteristics can be the most difficult to achieve. Being “vulnerable” doesn’t mean airing all your dirty laundry. It means revealing something authentic and meaningful about who you are. To be vulnerable means to go beyond the surface level to put yourself out there, even to admissions officers who you’ve never met.
  • Clear organization and writing: And lastly, admissions officers also want your essay to be organized clearly so it’s easy to follow along. Remember that admissions officers are reading lots of applications, even in one sitting. So you want to make your reader’s job as easy as possible. Thoughtful and skillful writing can also help take your personal statement to the next level.

If you want to know more about how to incorporate these traits into your own essay, we have a whole guide about how to write the perfect personal statement .

But for now, let’s get into the examples.

We’ve broken up the example personal statements into three categories: best personal statement examples, good personal statement examples, and “bad” personal statement examples. These categories show you that there is a spectrum of what personal statements can look like. The best examples are the gold standard. They meet or exceed all four of the main criteria admissions officers are looking for. The good examples are just that: good. They’re solid examples that may be lacking in a specific area but are still effective personal statements. The “bad” examples are those that don’t yet stack up to the expectations of a personal statement. They’re not objectively bad, but they need some specific improvements to align with what admissions officers are looking for.

Here we go!

The Best Personal Statement Examples

Writing an exceptional personal statement takes a lot of time and effort. Even the best writers can find the genre challenging. But when you strike the perfect chord and get it right, it’s almost like magic. Your essay jumps off the page and captures an admissions officer’s attention. They feel like you’re right there with them, telling them everything they need to know to vote “yes” on your admission.

The following essays are some of our favorites. They cover a range of topics, styles, and student backgrounds. But they all tell meaningful stories about the writers’ lives. They are well-organized, use vivid language, and speak to the writers’ strengths.

For each essay, our team of former admissions officers have offered comments about what makes the essay exceptional. Take a look through the annotations and feedback to see what lessons you can apply to your own personal statement.

Personal Statement Example #1: Thankful

My family has always been broke. Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings, always the same drill: the kids (my brothers and me) would be loaded in the car with my parents and off we’d all go to the food pantry. New clothes were few and far between, and going on vacation was something that we could only dream of. Despite our financial struggles, one year, my parents decided to surprise us with a trip to Disney Land. It was a complete shock to me and my siblings. We were over the moon. In fact, the screams of excitement that emanated from my younger brother’s mouth still ring in my ears.

But as the trip drew close, my excitement tempered and I began to worry. Being poor when you’re young doesn’t just affect you materially. It also affects how you see the world and loads you up with a whole range of anxieties that, in an ideal world, no child should have to face. How were my parents going to afford this, I wondered? Would an expense like this push us over the brink?(( The beginning of this essay, and especially this sentence, show the writer’s empathy. They are not selfish; they understand their broader family context and take that into consideration.)) I didn't want to ruin the surprise by asking, but I couldn't shake the feeling of dread building inside of me.

The day of our trip arrived and we set off for the airport. In the car, my dad made an off-the-cuff comment about a new video game that he’d wanted to play but didn’t buy, and everything clicked—my parents had made the trip possible by saving for months, cutting back on expenses and sacrificing their own comforts to make the trip happen.

As we boarded the plane, I was filled with a mix of emotions. I was grateful beyond words for my parents' sacrifice, but I was also overwhelmed by the guilt of knowing that they had given up so much for us. I didn't know how to express my gratitude; when we deplaned in LAX, I gave my mom and dad a rib-crushing hug.

The trip itself was everything that I had dreamed of and more. We spent four magical days at Disney Land(( Nice use of vivid details here. The reader can picture the sights and smells of Disney—and the ensuing hunger when passing a churro stand.)) , speed running the roller coasters and campy boat rides from the 70s. Sure, we packed our own food and walked right by the churro stands with a hungry look in our eyes. But I will never forget the feeling of unmitigated joy that my family shared on that trip, the smiles that painted my parents’ faces.

But the trip itself was nothing compared to the gratitude I felt for my parents(( Here, the writer transitions to reintroducing the theme of gratitude.)) . They had given us the gift of a lifetime, and I knew that I would never be able to repay them for their sacrifice.

In the years since that trip, I have carried that feeling of gratitude with me. It has motivated me to work hard and to always strive to be the best person that I can be. I want to make my parents proud and to show them that their sacrifice was worth it(( Finally, the writer sums things up with an eye to the future. It’s helpful for an admission officer to picture what the essay’s lessons might mean for the student as a future community member.)) .

I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for what my parents did for us, but I will always remember their selflessness and their willingness to put their own needs aside for the sake of our happiness. It was a truly surprising and incredible act of love, and one that I will always be thankful for.

AO Notes on Thankful

This essay accomplishes a few things even though it essentially tells one story and offers a quick reflection. It gives some important context regarding the challenges of being from a lower-income family. It does that in a way that is authentic, rather than problem-focused. It also shows that the writer is empathetic, family-oriented, and reflective.

Why this essay stands out:

  • Vulnerability : This essay is upfront about a challenging topic: financial insecurity. While you don’t have to tell your most difficult challenge in an essay, this writer chose to write about a circumstance that gives additional context that may be helpful as admissions considers their application.
  • Personal : The writer gets into some family dynamics and paints a picture of how their family treats and takes care of each other.
  • Values: We clearly see some values the writer has and that they don’t take their parents’ sacrifices for granted. As an admission officer, I can picture this student using their education to give back—to their family or to others.

Personal Statement Example #2: Pickleball

I’ve always been one to have a good attitude no matter the circumstances. Except when it comes to exercise. From dodgeball in PE class to family Turkey Trots, I’m always the first one out and the last one across the finish line. These realities aren’t from a lack of skill—I’m actually quite coordinated and fast. They are from a lack of effort(( This is a quick hit of… either humor or vulnerability. I chuckled at the blunt honesty, and am intrigued to learn more.)) . Despite my best intentions, I can never get myself to care about sports or competitions. So when my dad first asked me to be his pickleball partner last summer, I did nothing but laugh.

But soon, I realized that he was serious. My dad started playing pickleball two years ago as a fun way to exercise. He’d become a star in our city’s recreation league, and I always enjoyed cheering him on from the sidelines. When his doubles partner got relocated for work, my dad decided that the disruption was a good opportunity for us bond through pickleball. Even though I was mortified by the thought of running back and forth to hit a bouncing ball, I reluctantly agreed.

The next Saturday morning, we went to the court for our first practice. I was wearing sweatpants, an old sweatshirt, and a grimace. My dad showed me how to hold the paddle, serve, and return the ball to our opponents. He told me about staying out of the kitchen—an endearing pickleball term that references the “kitchen,” or the middle part of the court—trying to make me laugh. Instead, I sighed impatiently and walked to my end of the court, ready to get it over with.

My dad remained patient in spite of my bad attitude. He gently served me the ball, and I gave a lackluster attempt to return it. The ball bounced into the net. I hadn’t even made it to his side of the court. Trying his best to encourage me, my dad gave me the ball so I could serve it to him instead. I tossed the ball up and hit it underhand toward my dad. It hit the net again. I tried again and again, each attempt with less care than the last. I grew frustrated and threw my paddle down in anger(( Okay, this paragraph gives a good dose of openness to the emotions of the writer. They’ve served up an opportunity to learn a lesson soon…)) .

After seeing my mini-meltdown, my dad crossed the kitchen to talk to me. During our conversation, I began to ask myself why I got so frustrated when I wasn’t trying very hard in the first place. I thought pickleball was a miserable sport, but I realized that it wasn’t pickleball that I cared about. I cared about my dad. I wanted to make him proud(( Ah, and there it is! A realization. As the admission officer I’m thinking, “Go on…”)) . Playing pickleball with him was the least I could do to thank him for everything he’d done for me. I dusted off my bad attitude alongside my paddle, and I got up to try another serve.

That serve hit the net again. But more determined now, I kept trying until my serves went over the net and through my dad’s weak side. I couldn’t believe it. My attitude adjustment helped me see the game for what it was: a game. It wasn’t supposed to be agonizing or cruel. It was supposed to be fun.

I learned that my attitude towards sports was unacceptable. This experience taught me that it’s okay to have preferences about what you enjoy, but it’s important to always maintain a positive attitude(( And the lesson learned! )) . You may just enjoy it after all.

Now my dad and I are both stars in our recreation league. Soon, we will make our way to our league’s semi-finals. We’ve worked our way through the bracket and are close to the championship. What I appreciate more about this experience, however, is how close it’s brought my dad and I together. His patience, positivity, and persistence have and will always inspire me. I want to be more like him every day, especially on the pickleball court.

AO Notes on Pickleball

This is a strong “attitude adjustment” essay, a bit of a remix of a challenge essay. The challenge, in this case, was a fixed mindset about sports that needed to be adjusted. The writer takes us on a witty journey through their own attitude towards organized athletic activities and their father.

  • Self-aware : Similar to the vulnerability of other essays, this writer is willing to criticize themselves by recognizing that they need an attitude adjustment. Even before they changed their attitude, we get the sense that they are at least aware of their own lack of effort.
  • Strong conclusion : We see a nice lesson at the end that relates both to having an open mind and caring for others. They even make a point about simply enjoying things because they are fun.
  • Life lesson : Beyond the stated lesson, as an admission officer with a few more years on this Earth than the writer, I can tell this lesson will apply beyond sports. In fact, I can easily picture this student trying a new class, club, or group of friends in college because they are now more open to novel experiences.

Personal Statement Example #3: The Bird Watcher

I’m an avid walker and bird watcher(( Okay, the writer gets right into it! I think this simple introduction of the topic works well because they are writing about a less common hobby among teenagers. If they had said “I am an avid baseball player”, I would have been less eager to learn more.)) . Growing up, I’d clear my head by walking along the trail in the woods behind my house. By the time I was immersed in the chaos of high school, these walks became an afternoon routine. Now, every day at three o’clock, I don my jacket and hiking shoes and set off. As I walk, I note the flora and fauna around me. The wind whispering through the trees, the quiet rustling of a chipmunk underfoot, and the high-pitched call of robins perched atop branches, all of it brings me back to life after a difficult day.

And recently, the days have been more difficult than not. My grandparents passing, parents divorcing, and doctor diagnosing me with ADHD have presented me with more challenges than I’ve ever experienced before. But no matter what’s going on in my life, the wildlife on my walks brings me peace. As an aspiring ornithologist, the birds are my favorite(( This paragraph accomplishes a lot: a montage of difficult circumstances, context for their application, and declares their future career.)) .

I became interested in ornithology during long childhood afternoons spent at my grandparents’ house. They would watch me while my parents finished up work. I’d listen to the old bird clock that hung on the wall in the kitchen. Each number on the clock corresponded with a different bird. Every hour, the clock would chirp rather than chime. When the cardinal sang, I knew my parents would be arriving soon. Those chirps are all seared into my memory.

Twelve o’clock: robin. The short, fast, almost laugh-like sound of the robin always makes me hungry. All those Saturday afternoons filled with laughter and good food have resulted in a Pavlovian response. I’d cook meatballs with my grandma, splashing sauce on her floral wall paper. We’d laugh and laugh and enjoy the meal together at her plastic-covered kitchen table. This wasn’t my home, but I felt at home just the same.

Three o’clock: blue jay. It’d chime as soon as we walked in the door after school. The blue jay was my grandpa’s favorite. It was also mine. Why he loved it, I’m not completely sure. But it was my favorite because it marked the beginning of the best parts of my day. Symbolizing strength and confidence, blue jays always remind me of my grandpa.

Six o’clock: cardinal. The sharp whistle and staccato of the cardinal indicated that it was almost time for me to leave. Like the whistle of a closing shift, I’d hear it and start to pack my things. The cardinal has always been my least favorite.

Nine o’clock: house finch. The high, sweet, almost inquisitive call of the house finch was the one my grandma loved most. It was also the one I rarely heard. Either too early or too late in the day, the house finch was reserved for the occasional weekends when I’d spend the night at their house. My grandma would explain that finches symbolize harmony and peace. They are petite but mighty, just like she was(( This is a clever and sweet way of describing summer days with grandparents, while sprinkling in some vivid details to bring the story to life.)) .

This past weekend was the anniversary of my grandpa’s passing. Longing for my grandparents, I went for a walk. Winter is approaching, so the sky was darkening quickly. I walked slowly. As the sun set, I heard the tell-tale squawk of a blue jay, loud and piercing through the chill of the wind. I looked around and saw it sitting on an old stump, a small house finch behind it. I extracted my binoculars from my backpack, hoping to get a better glimpse through the dark. I turned the dial to focus the lenses, just as the birds flew away together. I took a deep breath, binoculars in hand, and continued on, spotting a robin in the distance(( The ending stylistically wraps the essay up without tying a bow on it. It’s a more artful way of concluding, and it works well here.)) .

AO Notes on Birdwatcher

This first two paragraphs are well-written and fairly to-the-point in their language. They do a nice job of setting the scene, but the third paragraph transitions into the writer’s distinctive voice. They detail the birds on the clock to chronicle the hours of their summer days and end, not without concluding, but leaving the reader wanting to read more of their stories.

  • Voice: The writer transitions to writing in their own distinct voice, which comes to a crescendo in the final paragraph.
  • Interesting approach: Sometimes students use an approach to tell a story that feels overly forced or cleche. This one feels organic and relates nicely to the writer, their family, and the story as a whole.
  • Career path : This is far from a “What I want to be when I grow up” essay, but it clearly shows an academic interest grounded in family and childhood memories. This is an artistic and beautiful approach to showing admissions how the writer may use their college education.

Personal Statement Example #4: Chekov’s Wig

At the age of six, I starred in an at-home, one-woman production of Annie. My family watched as I switched between a wig I’d fashioned from maroon yarn, a dog’s tail leftover from Halloween, and a tie I’d stolen from my dad.

When the reveal came that Annie’s parents had actually passed away, I took a creative liberty: they had left Annie a small unicorn farm. The rest of the play proceeded as normal. When the curtain closed, I bowed to the sound of my family’s applause. But one set of hands was missing: my grandmother’s. Instead she sat, arms raised, and jokingly exclaimed, “But what about the unicorns?”(( Wow, an interesting intro! We see creativity and a silly side to the writer. As the admission officer, I’m eager to see where this leads.))

My grandma, an avid thespian, taught me a lot about life. But one of the most important lessons followed this production of Annie . After we laughed about her remark, she introduced me to the concept of Chekov’s gun. For Anton Chekov, brilliant playwright, the theory goes something like this: a writer shouldn’t write about a loaded gun if it’s not going to be fired. In other words, writers shouldn’t include details about something if it won’t serve a purpose in the story later. My unicorn farm had committed this writing faux pas egregiously.

I’m not a natural writer, and I have no goal to become one, but I’ve taken this concept of Chekov’s gun to heart—it forms the foundation of my life philosophy. I don’t believe that everything was meant to be(( This philosophical reflection is a nice introduction to the paragraphs that follow. )) . In fact, I think that sometimes bad things just happen. But I believe that these details will always play a part in our larger story.

The first test of my Chekov’s gun philosophy occurred shortly after Annie when my grandma, my biggest supporter, passed away. My family tried to console me saying that “it was her time to go,” but I disagreed. I couldn’t see how a death could be destined. Instead, I found comfort knowing that her presence, her support, and her death wasn’t for nothing. Like Chekov’s gun, I wasn’t quite sure how or why, but I knew that she would return for me.

As I grew older, my philosophy was tested time and again. Most recently, I fell back on Chekov’s gun as I coped with my parents’ divorce and my subsequent move to a new town. Both events shattered my world. My happy family theatre productions turned into custody hearings and overnight bags. The community I’d found at my old school became a sea of unfamiliar faces at my new one. None of this was meant to be. But as the writer of my own life, I won’t let the details become inconsequential.

I’ve used these events as plot points in my high school experience. Dealing with my parents’ divorce has taught me how to make the best of what’s given to me. I got the chance to decorate two bedrooms, live in both the suburbs and the city, and even have twice the amount of pets. And without the inciting incident of the divorce and move(( We see that the writer is able to make lemonade out of lemons here.)) , I never would have joined a new drama club or landed leading roles in Mama Mia and Twelfth Night. The divorce and move, like Chekov’s gun, have been crucial details in getting me where I’m at today.

I know that Chekov’s gun is more about the details in a story, but this philosophy empowers me to take what happens, the good and the bad, as part of my personal character development. Nothing would be happening if it weren’t important.

This summer, as we cleaned our garage in preparation for yet another move, I found my old Annie wig, yarn tangled from the box. Next to the wig was a note, handwritten in a script I’d recognize anywhere. My darling star, it read. You are going to go on to do great things. Love, Grandma ((And a sweet, or bittersweet, conclusion.)) .

AO Notes on Chekov’s Wig

This essay tells a beautiful story about a foundational philosophy in this young writer’s life. As their admission officer, I can see how grounded and positive they are. I can also imagine them taking this lesson to college: really paying attention to life, reflecting on the past, and understanding the value of even the smallest instances. There is an inherent maturity in this essay.

  • Creativity: From the first few sentences, we can see that this student is now, and was as a child, creative. An original thinker.
  • Reflective: When challenged by their grandmother, the writer didn’t insist that their way was correct. They took the criticism in stride and absorbed it as a salient life lesson. This shows open-mindedness and an uncommon level of maturity.
  • Silver linings: It’s clear that this young writer has had some familial challenges that are likely familiar to some of you. They don’t gloss over them, but instead they learn from them. From having more pets to starring in the school musicals, there are lessons to glean from even life’s more difficult challenges.

Personal Statement Example #5: An Afternoon with Grandmother

The Buddhist temple on the hillside above my home has always possessed a deep power for me. With its towering spires and intricate carvings thousands of years old, it is a place of peace and serenity(( This writer opens with some wonderful imagery. I like how the imagery mirrors the meaning.)) —somewhere I can go to escape the chaos of the world and connect with myself and with my sense of spirituality. When my grandmother called me one January to let me know that she would be coming to visit, I smiled, my mind darting immediately to the temple and to the visit of it we would take together.

My relationship with my grandmother is a special one. After my parents passed away, she and my grandfather raised me for three years before I moved in with my father’s sister. In that time, she was my sole companion; she shared her recipes with me, told me stories, and most importantly, she taught me everything I know about spirituality. We spent countless nights staying up past bed-time, talking about the teachings of the Buddha, and she encouraged me gently to explore my own path to enlightenment(( This topic is accomplishing a lot: we see the writer’s relationship with their grandmother, their personal values, and their ideas about who they want to be in the future.)) .

When my grandmother finally arrived, I felt bathed in a warm glow. After catching up and preparing her favorite meal—red rice with miso soup and hot green tea—I told her about the plans I had for us to visit my special place.

Later that afternoon, as we entered the temple, I felt the calmness and tranquility wash over me. I took my grandmother's hand and led her to the main hall, where we knelt before the altar and began to recite the prayers and mantras that I had learned from her years before.

As we prayed, our voices joined together, echoing throughout the temple. A gentle rain began to fall outside and, as the cold crept around where we knelt, I was engulfed by a deep sense of connection with my grandmother and with the universe. It was as if the barriers between us were falling away, and we were becoming one—with each other, and with our shared connection to the divine.

We finished our prayers and sat in silence, lingering in the serenity of the temple. I could feel my grandmother's hand in mine, and I was filled with a sense of gratitude and love(( A great example of weaving vivid language with explicit reflection!)) .

Spirituality has been essential in my life. It gives me a sense of grounding and purpose, and it teaches me the value of compassion. My spirituality has also given me a way to connect with my grandmother on a deeper level—like a private language that only we speak together. In a world that can often feel chaotic and disconnected, faith and spirituality provide a sense of stability and connection.

As we left the temple, I held my grandmother's hand and felt suffused by a sense of peace and contentment. Too often people who are disconnected from spirituality misunderstand the role it plays in billions of people’s lives. They see it as a way to “check out” from the issues the world faces, ignoring their responsibilities to others. This may be true for others, but not me. Quite the opposite. My spirituality helps me empathize with others(( Wonderful reflection.)) ; it helps me focus on the obligations we each have to every other person and creature on this planet. For me, it is the ultimate way to “check in” to the needs of the world and my community in a way that grounds me emotionally.

Spirituality offers a way to find meaning and purpose in life, and to connect with something greater than ourselves. For that, and for my grandmother, I am truly grateful.

AO Notes on An Afternoon with Grandmother

In this deeply reflective essay, the writer uses spirituality and their relationship with their grandmother to reveal a very personal part of themselves. The writer isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, and they clearly showcase strengths of wisdom and compassion.

  • Vivid language: This author is a talented writer who has included a bunch of vivid language. But it’s not over the top. They include just enough to hold a reader’s attention and add some interest.
  • Reflection: The reflection throughout this essay is excellent. Notice how it’s not just at the beginning or the end. It’s woven throughout. The writer follows up each major detail with an explanation of why it’s personally meaningful.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion combines vivid language and reflection perfectly. By the end of the essay, we know exactly what the writer wants us to take away: spirituality is personally meaningful to them because it helps them connect with the people around them. And I especially like how the writer chose to end on a note of gratitude—always a good value to have in a personal statement.

Personal Statement Example #6: Rosie’s

While most people find their lowest point at rock bottom, I found mine in an Amerikooler DW081677F-8(( We’re definitely off to an odd start. I’m curious where this is headed!)) . With drops rolling down my back and my cheeks, I snuck into the walk-in freezer for a moment of chill.

At that point, I had worked at Rosie's for nearly a year. The job was a good one: it fit with my school schedule, paid well, and introduced me to close friends. But as a workplace, Rosie’s was pure chaos. The original owners passed on a host of problems the new owners were working hard to fix. But the problems ran deep. From an inefficient kitchen organization to a malfunctioning scheduling software, we never knew what to do or when.

The day I found myself in the Amerikooler was the day everything caught up with us(( This is a good transitional phrase that helps readers navigate this fairly complex narrative.)) . An error in our scheduling software led to us operating with only 30% of our typical team. As the only waitress on duty, I ran between the kitchen and the guests, stopping mid-delivery to put new vegetables in the steamers. The kitchen staff were barely getting through each dish before customers lost patience.

Then, in all the commotion, I dropped a plate of macaroni and cheese all over a customer. I apologized over and over again. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I always tried to be one step ahead to give my customers the best service, so my mistake felt like an utter failure. After helping them clean up, I ran immediately to the freezer. I realized that something had to change.

In the Amerikooler, a pea and corn mix cool on my back, I considered my options. The easiest option was to quit. I could find another job, one that didn’t cause me so much stress. But quitting wouldn’t just mean giving up. It would mean accepting my failure. It would also mean abandoning the coworkers I had grown close to. Leaving them would only burden them more. While I knew it wasn’t my job to fix the restaurant, I knew that leaving wasn’t the answer either. Instead, I decided to focus on solutions(( I like the focus on solutions and action steps here!)) . I stood up from the cold, dirty freezer floor, dusted off my work pants, washed my hands, and got back to work.

Despite being the newest and youngest member of the Rosie’s staff, I recognized that I brought a new perspective to the workplace. Having spent the previous three summers scheduling volunteers for my local food drive, I used my organizing experience to devise a new scheduling system, one that didn’t rely on our outdated technology. I brought up the system at our weekly meeting, and after initial pushback, everyone agreed to give it a try. Three months later, my system keeps everyone happy and our kitchen and floor staffed.

But it wasn’t just the staffing problem that was the issue. Our workflows were inefficient, and we didn’t know how to communicate or collaborate effectively. I know that identifying an issue is always the first step to a solution, so I raised the question at our most recent staff meeting. Having earned my coworkers’ and bosses’ trust(( And here we see some good growth and leadership.)) , I led us in outlining a few new processes to streamline our productivity. In stark contrast to the failure I felt after spilling the macaroni and cheese, developing a new workflow with my coworkers made me proud. I hadn’t given in to the chaos, but I had worked thoughtfully and collaboratively to create new solutions.

I’m sure that won’t be my last time working in a disorganized environment or spilling macaroni and cheese. But I know that I’ll be ready to address whatever comes my way.

AO Notes on Rosie’s

If you’ve ever worked in a food establishment, then something in this essay will probably resonate with you. But I appreciate how the writer doesn’t get pulled into the negativity they experience. Instead, they focused their efforts (and their essay) on how they could make things better for everyone. That’s the kind of student admissions officers want to see on their campuses.

  • Organization: The writer has to narrate and backtrack a bit at the beginning of the essay to make the introduction work. But it’s not confusing for a reader because they have very solid transitions. I also like how the action steps and reflection are organized in the narrative.
  • Positive outlook: As an admissions officer, I would admire this student for their problem-solving skills. Working in that environment was surely tough, but they didn’t give up. They got to work and helped everyone out in the process.
  • Humor: From the introduction to the conclusion, the writer incorporates subtle humor throughout. Because of it, we actually feel like we know the writer by the conclusion. Too much humor can overwhelm a personal essay, but just enough can help readers see who the writer really is.

Personal Statement Example #7: Gone Fishing

I pulled the line with my left hand and snapped the rod back with my right. The line split through the air above me like a knife through cake. I rigidly waved my right arm up and down to dry off my fly, which had started sinking from the weight of the water. Ready to cast, I loosened the grip on my left hand to release a few more feet of line, pulled my right arm back in a grandiose motion, and hammered it back down. I expected my line to fly out in front of me, gracefully floating back onto the surface of the water. Instead, I was met with a startling resistance. My fly had lodged itself into the bush behind me(( This opening paragraph has great vivid description. Here, we end on a moment of suspense that has left me intrigued about what will happen next.)) .

Annoyed, I waded through the tall, thick grass, rod under my arm and mosquitoes buzzing in my ears. This was the reality of fly fishing. In my short time as a fisherman, I’d caught far more trees, bushes, and riverweed than I had fish. What seems so elegant in movies like A River Runs Through It is actually a grueling process of trial and error. I took up flyfishing a year ago to conquer my fear of the outdoors(( Ah ha—we learn that this essay isn’t really about fly fishing. It’s about conquering a fear. And with that, we see that the stakes are high.)) . I could have (and probably should have) chosen a more mild activity like hiking or kayaking, but I’ve always been one to take on a challenge.

I had been afraid of the outdoors since childhood. Coming from a family that prefers libraries to parks and bed and breakfasts to tents, I never learned how to appreciate nature. I limited my time outside as much as I could. I feared the bugs, the sun, and the unknown.

I decided to try flyfishing when I realized I didn’t want to be controlled by my fear any longer(( As an AO, I would applaud this student’s bravery.)) . All the birthday parties I’d turned down, the memories that were made without me, I had missed out on so much. Being outside was an integral part of the human experience—or, at least, that’s what I’d been told. Without being willing to enjoy nature, I was missing out on what it meant to be myself.

Soon after this realization, I found an old rod in my grandpa’s garage and took it as a sign from the universe. On my first time out, my Honda Civic lurched over a ditch on the gravel road Google Maps had directed me to. I’d spent hours watching YouTube videos of proper technique. Stepping out of my car, I felt my skin crack under the dry heat, and I wanted to leave. But I continued on, walking through branches and over logs to the riverbank. I was doing it( More vivid detail that really gives us a sense of the writer’s discomfort—yet they’re persisting.)) .

I pushed myself to continue, no matter how uncomfortable I got. I went back, Saturday after Saturday, each time noticing improvements in my abilities. Along the way, I learned to push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable. I saw myself in a new light. I wasn’t Charlie, afraid of the outdoors. I was Charlie, fisherman.

The first time I caught a fish, I could hardly believe it. Thinking I had caught another piece of riverweed, I tugged on my line and rolled my eyes. But suddenly, it started tugging back. It was a sensation I’d never experienced before, one of haste, pride, and panic. I instantly collected myself, bracing against the bank as I secured the line with my finger and slowly pulled the fish ashore. Delicately removing my hook from its mouth, I admired its beauty. Whereas I had once feared creatures like this trout, I now respected it. Its holographic scales glistened in the sunlight. I thanked it for helping me grow, and I placed it back in the water. It swam away. I wiped the slime off my hands and picked up my rod, left hand tugging at the line, right hand snapping back again((This conclusion is quite long, but I really like this poetic ending. It shows so much growth, and there’s a subtle nod to the fact that the writer is continuing to fish.)) .

AO Notes on Gone Fishing

From all this imagery, I really felt like I was fishing alongside them. What’s better, I feel like I really get where this student is coming from because of their vulnerability. They show immense growth and open-mindedness, which is exactly what admissions officers are looking for.

  • Imagery: This writer definitely likes creative writing. From the introduction, we can envision ourselves going on this journey with the writer. There is some excellent “show, don’t tell” here.
  • Deep personal meaning: Biggest fears are hard to overcome, especially with such a good attitude. It’s clear that this topic is a meaningful one to the writer. Even the act of fly fishing, which they didn’t seem to like much at first, becomes a meaningful act.
  • Narrative arc: We have a classic “going on a journey” essay, where the writer transforms on a journey from point A (being afraid of the outdoors) to point B (catching a fish). The writer’s implementation of this structure is excellent, which makes the essay easy to follow along.

Good Personal Statement Examples

Even if your essay isn’t worthy of The New Yorker , you can still make your mark on admissions officers. Writing an essay that fulfills all the goals of a personal statement, whether or not it meets every single criterion an admissions officer is looking for, can still get you into a great college.

Most personal statements are good personal statements, so don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amazing essay examples you see online. The key to writing a good personal statement is writing your personal statement. Focus on finding a topic that lets you communicate your own meaning and voice, and you’ll be set.

The following examples are awesome personal statements. There may be a little room for improvement in places, but the essays do exactly what they need to do. And they say a lot about their writers. Let’s see what the writers and admissions officers have to say.

Personal Statement Example #8: Beekeeper’s Club

As I lift the heavy lid of the hive, the hum of thousands of bees fills my ears. I carefully smoke the entrance to calm the bees, and I begin to inspect the frames. The bees are busy at work, collecting nectar and pollen, and tending to their young. I am in awe of their organization.

I never would have thought that I, a high school student, would become a beekeeper(( An interesting hobby for a high school student! I’m intrigued to see where this is going.)) . But now it’s something I can’t imagine my life without.

It all started when I found a beekeeping suit at a garage sale two summers ago. At a mere five dollars, it was yellowing and musty, but it appeared to be fully intact and without any holes. I’ve lived many lives as a hobbyist, always willing to try new things. I’ve been a sailor, a gardener, a basketball player, a harpist, a rock climber, and more. The problem is that I can never manage to see these hobbies through(( I see. Here we get a sense of what’s at stake in this new venture. The problem is that writer can’t seem to hold down a hobby. Will beekeeping solve that problem? Let’s find out .)) . As a perpetual novice, I always lose interest or become overwhelmed by all the information. But that’s never stopped me from taking up a new hobby, so I brought the beekeeping suit to the make-shift register and handed the seller a five-dollar bill.

To embark on my new hobby, I first went to the library and read everything I could find about beekeeping. Research is always my first step when starting something new. I like to know what I’m in for. As I read, I became fascinated by the fact that such small creatures can serve such a critical role on our planet. I learned about the importance of bees for pollinating crops, and I read that their populations have been declining in recent years. I was determined to do my part to help. This wasn’t just a hobby anymore— it was a mission(( And the stakes just got higher.)) .

But like the bees I’d been reading about, I knew I couldn't do it alone. My years of abandoning hobbies had taught me that this time, I needed guidance from someone with experience. I knew the first place to look. At the farmer’s market that Saturday, I went straight to the honey stand and introduced myself. The vendor’s name was Jeremy, and he was excited to see someone so young taking up beekeeping. I asked if I could come see his hives sometime, and he agreed.

I showed up the next weekend with my used beekeeping suit in hand. Jeremy gave me a tour. I was astounded by the simultaneous simplicity and complexity. As the months went by, Jeremy became my mentor. He taught me the importance of monitoring the health of the hive, how to properly harvest honey, and even the ins and outs of the farmer’s market business.

I was grateful for his guidance and friendship. I found myself becoming more and more passionate about bees and the art of beekeeping.

After months of tending to my hive, I finally had it up and running. These bees were in my care(( The writer has shown us that they’ve learned a big lesson from their past failures: they need support and guidance. I’m impressed that this time they are making an intentional change.)) —this was one hobby I couldn’t abandon. With that knowledge and Jeremy’s support, one hive grew to five. I’m not in it for the money or even the honey. I’m in it for the bees, for the millimeter of difference I’m making in their lives and in the life of the earth.

Through beekeeping, I have found a community of people who share my love for bees. Jeremy, the bees, and the entire beekeeping community have taught me not to quit. We support each other, share tips and advice, and work together to help protect these important insects. And in the process, I have learned that I can take up any new hobby I want and stick with it if I just put in enough effort(( Yep—the writer has come out of this journey on the other side, having learned that their effort does pay off.)) .

AO Notes on Beekeeper’s Club

As an admissions officer, it’s always fun to read about students’ eccentric hobbies. I’d count this as one of them. But what’s better than learning about the hobby is seeing a student’s personal growth.

What makes this essay good:

  • Personal journey: Most good personal statements show some kind of personal growth. In this case, we see that the writer has grown mature and aware enough to hold down a hobby. We see that it wasn’t an easy road, but they got there.
  • Strengths: There are lots of strengths in this personal statement. We see self-awareness, initiative, teamwork, and care for the bees and the planet.
  • Reflection: Part of what makes this personal journey so good is that the writer takes us on the journey with them through reflection. At each stage of the journey, we know exactly what the writer is thinking and feeling. By the end, we’re celebrating their success with them.

What the writer could do to level up:

  • Personal meaning: Yep, “personal journey” and “personal meaning” can be two separate things. Although the writer goes on a great personal journey, the personal meaning seems to be lacking a bit. It’s clear that this is an important topic to the writer, but it doesn’t exactly come across as an especially vulnerable one. The writer could make it more vulnerable by incorporating more personal meaning into their reflection: what would it have meant if they had quit beekeeping too? What’s the problem with dropping hobbies in the first place? Why is it personally important to learn to stick with things?

Personal Statement Example #9: Ann

Pushing her blonde curls from her forehead, she pursed her lips in focus(( This vivid, detailed description really draws me in.)) . She sat with legs crossed across the kitchen chair. This was it: the moment she’d been preparing for. Her tiny hand gripped the pencil as if it were a stick of dynamite and twitched her fingers up, down, and back again. She looked up at me and smiled, teeth too big for her growing mouth. “Ann,” the paper read. As I glowed back at my mini-me, I saw in her my whole heart(( And here the focus switches from Ann to the writer—an important transition.)) .

My sister was technically an accident, born when I was eleven years old. But I know that, in the grand scheme of things, Ann’s existence was destined by the cosmos. Watching her write was like looking in a mirror. My hair has long since turned brown, but she and I deal with the same unmanageable curls. Her toothy grin developed over five years of mutual laughter. And she got that unwavering focus from watching me do my own homework each night. At the same time I’ve taught her the ways of the world, she’s taught me joy, patience, and persistence(( Lessons learned! This sentence really draws attention to the main theme. It could be a little more specific because “joy, patience, and persistence” are almost cliche.)) .

I had been an only child for my first decade of life. I remember being lonely and without purpose. With Ann came the opportunity to make a real impact on someone, even as a child myself. The night she was born, I vowed to protect her. I had never seen anyone so small and fragile, and I begged my parents to let me hold her. Next to mine, her hand looked like a doll’s. It was purple and pink from the ordeal of birth. Her eyes barely opened, but I couldn’t keep mine off her.

Many older siblings find their younger siblings to be nuisances. But Ann has always been my best friend. Her first two years of life, she struggled with health issues that scared us all. I felt helpless and afraid, but I knew I had to fight alongside her. I did everything I could: I grabbed diapers and bottles for my parents, I talked to her for hours on end, and, when she was old enough, I spoon fed her and encouraged her to eat. As Ann grew bigger and stronger, I grew stronger, too(( It sounds like this was a really difficult challenge for the writer and their family. I appreciate this picture we get of the writer in relation to Ann.)) .

Each year has gotten better than the previous. I was there to catch Ann when she took her first steps, teach her her first words, and get her dressed every day. She tagged behind me as I took photos before my first dance, got my learner’s permit, and went on my college tours. While being a teen with a toddler sibling wasn’t always perfect, Ann’s mere presence makes those around her feel loved and appreciated. She’s exactly who I aspire to be.

Watching her write her name at the kitchen table, I became overwhelmed with the thought of leaving her to head off to college. She still has so much to learn, so many ways to grow. But just as the thought entered my mind, she spoke in her high-pitched and innocent voice. “When you go to college,” she asked, “will you tell me about your classes?” I blinked away the tears gathering in my eyes, smoothed her curls with my hand, and pulled her in close.

Going to college won’t mean leaving Ann. It will mean opening her world—and mine—to endless new knowledge and possibilities. She’ll grow and change, and so will I. When we reunite, we’ll smile our toothy smiles and embrace each other, our curly hair intertwining. We’ll sit at the kitchen table, focused and laughing, like nothing has changed(( I like how the siblings are continuing to grow together, but at the end of the day, they still have their amazing relationship.)) .

AO Notes on Ann

I always find sibling essays like this one so sweet. It’s amazing how clearly we can understand someone solely through their interactions with a loved one. As an admissions officer, I would see that this student would be a great community member (and roommate!).

  • Deeply meaningful: Especially with the family context, it’s apparent that this topic is deeply meaningful to the writer. Because it’s so meaningful a topic, the writer is able to show an immense amount of care for Ann without even trying. AOs love seeing traits like care, maturity, and the ability to grow.
  • Clear message: Personal statements should have themes that encompass the main message the writer wants to convey. This essay’s message is clear as day: the writer is a better, happier, more generous person because of Ann. They are an awesome sibling.
  • More about the self: This one’s tricky because we get an implicit sense of who the writer is now through the overall tone and meaning. But a lot of the personal examples the writer chose are old examples from childhood and early adolescence. Some of those are important to provide family context, but I still would have liked to get a more recent picture of the writer.

Personal Statement Example #10: Running through My Neighborhood

My mind and eyes began to wander as I turned the corner on my fourth mile. I’ve always been a runner. It's a way for me to relax and challenge myself. Running makes me feel like I’m one with the world around me. As I run, I can't help but be struck by the beauty of the buildings and people that make up my city. Each is a work of art—a carefully-crafted expression of my community. With every step, I feel a deep connection to the life around me(( This introduction covers a lot, so this last sentence could be a bit more specific.)) .

On my run, I find myself drawn to the intricate details of the buildings. I admire the way the light catches on centuries-old bricks, casting shadows that dance across the pavement below. I look up at the skyscraper windows that nearly touch the sky, frightened at the sight of window washers. Old and new, the buildings all carry stories.

In the same way, I admire the neighbors around me. I see them feeding pigeons, smiling at me as I pass by. They’re walking dogs and babies, talking on a park bench, and playing hopscotch. I run by them, fast but steady, and breathe it all in. I’m on this beautiful city block, surrounded by people whose whole lives are familiar yet mysterious, and I’m running.

But it's not just the aesthetic beauty of the buildings that grabs my attention. As I run, I find myself thinking about the stories and histories behind each one. I wonder about the people who built them, the families they had at home, the lives they led. I think about the people who have lived and worked in these buildings and the memories that have been made within their walls.

Take the local bakery, for instance. I’ve run by there a thousand times in my life, each time soaking up the smell of freshly-baked bread and pastries. The building seems unassuming at first, with a simple glass door and brick façade. But once you step foot inside, you’re immediately hit with the warmth of the staff and patrons. The old photos on the wall and cozy furniture that has been there since the bakery’s opening back in the 1950s—it feels like home(( These are great vivid details.)) . The bakery is everything I value about my neighborhood. It completely represents what kind of neighbor I want to be. Plus, it’s not a bad place for a post-run snack.

Through my runs, I’ve also made connections with those who frequent the sidewalks alongside me. One of the people I see regularly on my runs is Mrs. Carter, an elderly woman who always has a kind word and a smile for everyone she meets. Her white hair is carefully curled, and her face is dimpled with laugh lines from thousands of conversations like ours. She often stops to chat with me, asking how my day is going and sharing stories from her own life. I always look forward to seeing her. She’s like the grandmother I never had. Mrs. Carter inspires me to be a better community member every day(( This kind of reflection brings the focus back to the writer’s personal journey.)) .

Running through my neighborhood is about more than just staying fit. It’s also about being in community with those around me. As I weave through the people on the sidewalk, I feel as though I am weaving myself through their stories, picking up tidbits and adding them to my own narrative. I wouldn’t be who I am today without these runs that have taught me so much. I can’t wait to run across my college campus, admiring my new surroundings and meeting my new neighbors(( I like this gesture to the future—as an AO, I would start to picture this student running through my campus, too!)) .

AO Notes on Running through My Neighborhood

Running essays can get a bad rap in college admissions. But this one overcomes that stereotype. At its core, this essay is about the runner’s relationship to their community. I really appreciate how much care and enthusiasm this writer shows for those around them.

  • Writing: The writer’s voice shines through. They have great vivid descriptions, and we’re really able to envision ourselves in the neighborhood alongside them.
  • Personal meaning: The way the writer describes those they encounter in their neighborhood shows that this isn’t a minor part of their life. Their runs are a big deal. The people they see along the way have greatly shaped who they are.
  • Greater focus on self: Now, there are much worse culprits when it comes to personal essays that focus on people other than the writer. But the writer does toe the line. Their descriptions mostly focus on those around them, and while there is some reflection that connects their own experience to other people, it doesn’t actually take up much space in the essay. To level up, the writer could make this essay more about themself.

Personal Statement Example #11: Musical Installation Art

As a child, I was always drawn to stringed instruments(( The hook could have more punch, but this gets the job done.)) . I would pluck at my dad's old guitars, create makeshift harps with dental floss, and even play around with the banjo and harp in music class. As I got older, I realized that I wanted to focus on making my own instruments. And where better to start than in my dad's scrapyard? The yard sprawled out for almost five acres behind our house. It was a marvel of junk and oddities, with the accumulated garbage from hundreds of junker cars built up in our backyard. I grew up playing there, leading a childhood that most parents would probably see as reckless—rolling tires through narrow alleyways between crushed cars stacked high. But for me, the backyard was an endless playground for my imagination.

It was there that I discovered the joys of welding and soldering. I would rummage through piles of metal and find pieces that I could fashion into something new. My first sculptures were simple, resembling birds or dogs and pieced together from strips of metal. I’d look for similar art everywhere I went, grasping for inspiration. At a fair one weekend, I saw a booth run by an artist who built guitars. After speaking with him about his art, he asked to see a picture of my sculptures. I showed him and explained that I hoped to make my own instruments one day, too. He scuttled to the back of his tent and returned with a gift: a set of thick copper strings. “Try using those,”(( What an endearing story.)) he told me.

My first sculpture instrument was a crude thing—little more than a board of metal with pegs that I used to pull the copper strings tight. But I tightened them, I was in love—spending all night plucking away. At first, the instrument wailed and screeched. String by string, I delicately tuned the wires into sirens. I had created something that played music, and I was so proud.

My experience building the instrument motivated me to enroll in a sculpture class at the local community college. It was there that I learned how to properly solder metal and create more complex structures. For my final project, I made a three-foot-tall, four-stringed metal instrument in the shape of a dragon.

But as I worked, I started to realize that my dragon wasn't going to be beautiful in the traditional sense. Its metal body was jagged and uneven, and the strings were stretched tight across its back in a way that produced discordant, almost abrasive music. I tried to adjust the tuning, but no matter what I did, the music remained harsh and unpleasant.

At first, I was disappointed. I wanted my dragon to be a work of art, something that people would marvel at and love listening to. But as I continued to play with it, I started to see the beauty in the chaos(( This paragraph shows wonderful growth. And as a reader, I’m drawn in trying to imagine what the sculpture actually looks like.)) . The music it produced was like a musical language that I had invented, one that was wild and untamed. It was a reflection of my own creativity and individuality. A discordant collection of notes that sounded like they’d been tuned so as to be atonal. But I didn't care. I was a scrapyard kid, and this dragon played the song of my people: strong, innovative, and beautiful.

The combination of sculpture and music fascinates me. How does the shape of a fabrication affect the kind of sound that the object produces? What sounds do different materials produce? As I’ve learned more about sculpture, I’ve also become interested in installation art that has sound dimensions. I want to capture people’s visual and aural attention to inspire questions about how we navigate the aesthetic world(( It sounds like this topic potentially relates to the student’s future goals. If that’s true, there could be a clearer academic connection here.)) . And I’ll use whatever scraps I can find to make my creations.

AO Notes on Musical Installation Art

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of musical installation art myself, so this topic really held my attention. I appreciate the journey the writer went on to learn that their art may not look like everyone else’s, but it can be just as impactful.

  • Topic: I like this topic not only because it’s not one you see every day but also because it lets the writer reveal a lot about themself and their background. We see where they grew up and who they grew up with, and we also learn about this deeply meaningful personal interest.
  • Writing style: This author has a very distinct writing style. In some ways, the writing style mirrors their art style—abrupt at times, melodic at others.
  • Organization: The first half of this essay doesn’t always match up with the second half. Even though we’re still able to see the writer’s journey as a metal artist and musician, there’s still a bit of streamlining that needs to happen.

Personal Statement Example #12: Ski Patrol

I can never get enough of being in the mountains(( This hook isn’t very compelling, so it could use some more attention.)) . I am a skier through and through. Growing up, I spent countless family vacations on the slopes with my dad and siblings. I love the rush I get speeding down the mountain—I’ve improved so much over my life that I can now handle most runs I come across. But last year, I took my love for skiing to a whole other level by joining ski patrol.

It was mid-December, and my family had decided to take a weekend away to go skiing. Everything was going normally at first. We had a good day on the slopes and wanted to go one more run before calling it a night. We took a moment to rest and watched the person in front of us go. Only seconds after she headed down the mountain, something happened with her ski. She catapulted into a nearby tree. People raced to check on her, while we stayed back and alerted ski patrol.

When ski patrol arrived, I watched in amazement. They moved in such a precise way. They were like a machine—everyone knew exactly what to do when. Thankfully, it was a false alarm and the skier only had a few scratches. But my own life was changed forever. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this team, to help others in a tangible way and to make a difference on the mountain that had always been my home.

As soon as I could, I applied for the Junior Ski Patrol team. I had to go through a tryout process on the hill, which made me nervous. But it felt good to be surrounded by people who loved skiing as much as I do. Thankfully, I was accepted shortly after; it was one of the best days of my life. Now on Junior Ski Patrol, I have the opportunity to do what I love – skiing – while also making a positive impact on others(( And here we get to the heart of the essay. The writer wants to help others while doing something they love. It’s a noble pursuit!)) . My team shadows the adult Ski Patrol, and we learn a lot of lessons along the way.

On the mountain (and in life), you never know what challenges might arise. One of the most important things I’ve learned from Junior Ski Patrol is to be prepared for anything. I’ve gotten my CPR and first aid certifications so I’m always prepared to administer life-saving care to anyone who might need it. I know how to pack a bag full of enough essentials to survive harsh weather or injuries.

But ski patrol has also taught me so much more than just how to help others. It has shown me how I work best on a team. I’m not naturally a leader, which is something I’ve always felt ashamed about. After learning from our mentors who all fulfill different roles on their adult Ski Patrol team, I realized that I don’t have to be a leader to be a good team member. The quiet collaborators who can follow the lead, take initiative when needed, and do their jobs really well are just as important as the people who are front-and-center(( An important personal insight.)) .

Being on ski patrol as a high school student has been an incredible journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a dedicated team. More importantly, I’m proud of the growth I’ve experienced. I went from a person who just loves skiing to a person who is more confident in herself. I no longer feel unprepared or timid. I know exactly how to keep myself safe and work alongside others. While I don’t want to be a professional Ski Patroller or even go into medicine, I know these lessons will serve me well wherever life takes me(( As an AO, I would have been wondering if being on JSP made them want to study medicine, so I appreciate that they answered it for me!)) . But no matter where I end up, when the mountain calls, you know I’ll answer.

AO Notes on Ski Patrol

In this fun hobby-meets-accomplishment essay, the writer shows us their strengths of care and teamwork. I like the crossover between something that they really enjoy and this impressive accomplishment they have of being on Junior Ski Patrol.

  • Lessons learned: The writer makes it very clear what lessons they learned from Junior Ski Patrol. Lessons don’t always have to be this explicit, but I appreciate how the writer really takes the time to reflect on what they’ve learned.
  • Personal insight: Okay, this point is related to the lessons learned. But it’s important to draw out on its own because personal essays are, of course, personal. This topic easily could have been just about skiing down a mountain or administering first aid on patrol. Instead, the writer kept the focus inward to meet the expectations of a personal essay.
  • What’s at stake?: We do get a good sense of personal meaning. But the writer could do a better job of speaking to the significance of this activity to their life. A good question to ask is, “What’s at stake?” What would I have lost or gained if this story had turned out differently? Asking these questions can also help you figure out what it is that you want an admissions officer to learn from your personal statement.

Personal Statement Example #13: The Regulars

One pump of vanilla syrup. Frothed milk. One espresso shot. Caramel drizzle(( Starting with some version of the following sentence would have been a stronger hook.)) . Like a scientist at her bench, I have methodically repeated these steps four days a week for the past two years. During my time as a Starbucks barista, I’ve learned hundreds of recipes and customizations. I know all the secret menu hacks, and I’ve developed several recipes for friends and family too. I pride myself on speed, quality, and memory. My favorite part of the job is the customer service. As one of the busiest locations in the region, I’ve caffeinated thousands. But it’s my regular customers, those whose orders I know like the back of my hand, who have truly impacted me.

Venti Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, hold the vanilla syrup. A busy mom of four, Chelsea is always in a hurry. I try to catch her the moment she enters the store so I can get started right away. Her Venti drink fuels her through school dropoffs and pickups, gymnastics lessons, and evening math homework. Throughout my conversations with her, I’ve learned that Chelsea is a scheduling virtuoso. As someone with ADHD(( This paragraph is almost too much about Chelsea, so this sentence is crucial to bring the focus back to the writer.)) , I became so inspired by her ability to juggle so many people and schedules simultaneously. After asking her for advice, she helped me find a time management system that I can keep up with. I have Chelsea to thank for my improved grades.

Grande dark roast, no room for cream. Mr. Williams is a retired businessman who always tips 100%. Mr. Williams is a quiet man, so it took me months to draw any information from him. Instead of using my over-the-top customer service voice, I eventually learned to be myself. When I got him to open up, I discovered that he was a service worker himself before he made it big in business in his sixties. The truth is, Mr. Williams has tipped me hundreds of dollars throughout my time here, which is extra money that will help me pay for college. He’s taught me the value of quiet generosity(( Let’s be honest. Mr. Williams sounds like a cool guy. But Mr. Williams isn’t applying to college—the writer is! I like that we get small glimpses into who the writer is through this paragraph, but there’s still room for more.)) .

Tall soy London Fog. Sweet Darla gave up coffee twenty-five years ago, but she still loves an occasional treat. When Darla enters, I clear my schedule. She always has stories to tell about the eighty years of life she’s lived. Darla is everything I want to be at that age: she’s spunky, opinionated, and hilarious(( Here we learn a lot about the writer through Darla.)) . Sometimes I tell Darla stories of my own. When I explained the dramatic series of events that led to me landing first chair in my symphony, she said she was going to retell it her bridge club. Making Darla laugh so hard will always be one of my proudest moments.

Grande iced matcha. Taylor is my age and goes to my school. When I took her order for the first time, I felt embarrassed that I needed to work to support myself while she could enjoy expensive drinks. But her kindness softened me. As time went on, I learned that she visited Starbucks so much because she wanted to get out of her house, which wasn’t a very happy place. While I have to take on as many shifts as possible, I still have a happy home to return to afterward. Now Taylor comes in near the end of my shift so we can take our drinks and have dinner at my house.

When you work in customer service, customers enter and exit your life like a revolving door. But the regulars, those special people who draw connections from daily but brief interactions, stick with you for life. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for these people, and I would never have met them if it weren’t for my job as a barista. I haven’t just been making drinks these past two years. I’ve been making friends(( The conclusion does a good job tying all these different stories back together. )) .

AO Notes on The Regulars

No one appreciates a good barista story more than a tired admissions officer on their 30th application of the day! I like the personality that comes through in this essay especially. But this is one of those cases where it’s almost too much about other people.

  • Creative take: Not every college essay needs a creative flair. In fact, sometimes going for “unique” structures can detract from an essay. But I like how the writer uses this format to structure the essay.
  • Organization: This essay isn’t one a reader is bound to get lost in. The introduction sets up the essay well, it’s easy to see the connections between the points the writer is conveying, and the conclusion brings the focus back to the writer.
  • More focus on self: While we do learn about the writer in this essay, we also learn a lot about Chelsea, Mr. Williams, Darla, and Taylor. The writer could have pared down the descriptions of other people—or cut one of the examples altogether—to save more room for personal reflection.

“Bad” Personal Statement Examples

These “bad” essays aren’t necessarily bad. They just aren’t very effective personal statements. Specifically, these two essays make some of the biggest college essay mistakes.

Making mistakes, especially when you’ve never written a personal statement before, is to be expected. We’ve included these examples so you can see what those mistakes look like in real-time. Learning from ineffective examples can be just as helpful as learning from the exceptional ones, so grab your pencil and start taking notes.

Our admissions officers have highlighted what’s working and what’s not. They offer helpful commentary and advice for revisions that you can use to assess whether your own personal statement.

Personal Statement Example #14: The Worst Year

My sophomore year of high school presented me with so many challenges(( This hook definitely gets straight to the point, but it doesn’t draw me in as a reader.)) . I struggled with a lot that year and barely managed to get by. It was the greatest challenge I ever faced.

The year started out like any other but soon went into chaos. My brother suddenly started struggling with drugs and alcohol. Before that, we didn’t know how bad he was hurting. But one night he finally came to us for help because apparently he had been using substances to cope with his emotions. He was scared because he felt like he had reached a breaking point and needed support. My parents didn’t want to help because they thought that he didn’t have a problem but I know my brother and I knew that he didn’t seem like himself. It was so sad to watch him go through that. I tried my best to help him but I was only a kid. I couldn’t really do anything besides tell him I loved him. Eventually my parents decided to get him some help, so he went away for a while and I wrote him letters every week and visited him as much as I could. The treatment he got helped thankfully. He’s doing better now and I am grateful that he is my brother.

But then Covid hit and I couldn’t even leave my house. We thought it would just be a two week vacation to school but it turned into two whole years of my life gone just like that. At the beginning I was stuck in my bedroom while my parents were working their jobs from the living room. Everyone was constantly getting annoyed with each other and driving each other wild. I would be doing a class Zoom in my room and I could hear my parents in a meeting in the living room. I had a hard time not being able to see my friends. I couldn't focus and my grades dropped. Even my teachers didn’t really seem to care. I was sick of staring at black Zoom screens all the time that I even stopped logging on. All of that combined led to me becoming very depressed and anxious. My grades dropped even more because I just couldn’t pay attention or focus enough to do my homework. I ended up getting grades way lower than I ever thought I would that year and I’m so frustrated about it because it felt like I was trying my best but it just wasn’t enough(( Here we see the writer opening up a bit and reflecting on what it was like to go through that experience.)) .

Even once we finally got back in school things didn’t get much better. The pandemic was just too much for my family so my parents ended up getting divorced at the beginning of my junior year. After all we had been through together seeing them separate made me devastated. My dad got an apartment and I had to go back and forth between their houses and pack up all my stuff every time. It was like moving my entire life every weekend. My brother was out of the house by this point so it was just me all by myself. My school was far from my dad’s new place so I’d have a long commute on the weeks I was with him. He was stressed at work and about the divorce and I just ended up feeling so lonely and spending most of my time in my room. My grades got better once online school stopped(( This moment of hope does a lot for moving the essay forward.)) but I had a hard time keeping close relationships with my friends because they didn’t like that I was living far away now and that we couldn’t really hang out anymore.

I couldn’t believe that two years would change so much. Getting through everything really challenged me. But I’m glad to be moving forward with my life.

AO Notes on The Worst Year

This student definitely had a challenging year. It’s clear that they’ve overcome a lot, and I appreciate their willingness to share their struggles. I like that the very last sentence

What this essay does well:

  • Vulnerability: Writing about challenges is never easy, especially when you’re writing to people you don’t know. This writer is bold and unafraid in doing so.

What could be improved on:

  • Not enough positivity: Here’s the thing. You definitely don’t need to be able to spin all of your challenging experiences into positive ones. But the topics you choose to write your college essay about should ultimately conclude on a positive note. You want your college essay to show you in a positive light, so you should choose a topic that lets you find a light, positive, or hopeful resolution.

Personal Statement Example #15: The Strikeout that Changed my Life

The stadium lights shone brightly in my eyes. I stepped up to the plate and drew back my bat. I wiggled my fingers, waiting. The pitcher wound up his arm and threw the ball towards me. My eyes worked overtime to track the ball. I watched as it flew directly towards the center of the plate and made a last-minute curve(( I like this vivid description.)) . It went straight into the catcher’s mitt. “Strike three!” the umpire yelled. That was the time I struck out at the quarter-finals. My team was so close to making it to the championship that we could taste it. It was the bottom of the sixth, and I gave up a valuable chance to score game-winning runs. We ended up losing. I learned a valuable lesson that fateful day. I never wanted to let my team down like that again(( And the writer jumps quickly into the main theme of the essay. Still, the message here could be more specific.)) .

We had advanced through our bracket without much trouble. The other teams were no match for our work ethic and teamwork. We were in perfect sync. As the first baseman, I was ready for any throw that came my way. We were also hitting well. I scored three home runs throughout the course of the tournament. We were a high-functioning machine. But for a machine to work, each cog has to function correctly. When I stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning, I was a broken cog.

After our quarter–final loss, I grieved with my teammates. Then I went off on my own to think. How had I let my team down so badly? How did I not even try to swing at that pitch? It was all my fault. I had to figure out what I had done wrong so I would never make the mistake again. I realized that I had been thinking selfishly. I was concerned about my own performance, my own at-bat averages(( This is a good reflection.)) . I was scared of failing because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. And worrying about all of those things caused me to lose focus and miss my chance to make a difference. Instead, I should have been thinking about how my at-bat would contribute to my team’s overall goal of winning the game.

I returned to where my teammates were congregating, and several of them patted me on the back. The next day, we went over how the game went as a team and talked about how we could improve at our tournament the following weekend. I admitted that I felt like I let the team down. My teammates said that they understood and reassured me that mistakes happen. It wasn’t my failed at-bat alone that lost us the game. Like winning, losing is a team effort. It was a culmination of lots of little issues. At the end of the day, the other team just out-performed us. But we could try hard, practice a lot, and return triumphant next weekend.

Letting my team down was a crushing blow to my self-esteem. I never want to feel like that again, but I know that the experience caused me to grow. Through all of this, I learned that I have to trust myself and my team(( Here we get to the lesson learned.)) . Focusing on myself alone can only get me so far. But focusing on my team can get me to where I want to go. I’m actually thankful that I struck out in that sixth inning because it caused me to learn an important life lesson.

AO Notes on The Strikeout that Changed My Life

This essay on its own definitely isn’t “bad.” As far as essays go, it’s clear, well-written, and organized nicely. But as a college essay, it could be doing more work on the writer’s behalf. See, as an admissions officer, I don’t actually learn that much about the writer from this essay alone. I see that they like baseball, are a good teammate, and can overcome failure. Those are wonderful traits, but they don’t exactly help set this student apart on the admissions committee floor. Instead, the student could make this essay more vulnerable and personal.

  • Writing: The writer uses some great creative writing skills to really set the scene for the readers. In that first paragraph, I really feel like I’m there watching the game.
  • Reflection: Even though the topic could be more significant, the writer does a great job reflecting on the meaning they drew from the experience.
  • Significance: It’s very clear that this topic holds a lot of meaning to the writer. But as a college essay topic, it’s lacking vulnerability and stakes.

Key Takeaways

Writing a personal statement is a difficult ask, especially when you’ve never even read one before. But now, with these fifteen examples in your back pocket, you’re ready to write your own.

If you’re not sure what steps to take next, hop on over to our guide to writing personal statements for advice. You can also find more extensive guidance on the Essay Academy , a comprehensive college essay writing video course and community.

Happy writing! 🥳

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My “Personal Statement” for Residency (And Tips for yours!) 

My “personal statement” for residency (and tips for yours), by #lifeofamedstudent.

It’s that time of year again! The ERAS application opening date is looming and by now many of our 4th-year applicants are starting to work on or even finalize their personal statement. To many, this is one of the most challenging aspects of the application. What in the world do I write about? How do I talk about myself? Do I make it flashy or boring? What should I include?


I wrote my personal statement in August 2012. I didn’t know the answers to those questions then. I still have no idea. I don’t really know what residencies want in these things. I don’t think most of them even know what they want and it definitely varies from place to place. BUT they all do know a really good one when they see it, and  even easier a really bad one as well. Don’t be a bad one. Bad personal statements are full of grammatical errors, arrogant, attempt to be too flashy, simply repeat the CV, or are full of exaggerations/lies.

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A good personal statement should complement your CV. It should in your words be able to show your personality and your desire to go into your chosen specialty . It should give examples of the what and the why: Why do you care about patients, what do you like about your specialty. And unless you are a very good writer (I’m certainly not), it should probably be a touch boring. I decided to add a clinical scenario to add some excitement and explain my draw to anesthesia , but other than that I kept it simple. It talks about mostly why I’m interested in anesthesia, tells a little bit about my personality, and ends with what I’m looking for and what I will bring to a residency. I wrote it in a weekend, then edited it for about a week. I had my sister-in-law, with her degree in English, proofread it twice. And that’s it. My personal statement likely didn’t get placed on the top of the pile, but I felt it complimented my application and certainly didn’t hurt me.

I applied to anesthesia residency and thus also needed a transitional year/preliminary year application as well. These are separate applications and can be separate personal statements. I choose not to re-write my statement, but I did alter the end to make it more suited for those programs. That’s a fair balance I felt.

And here is my personal statement, as it was the day I submitted it in 2012.

Personal Statement for Anesthesia Residency, 2012

Before I had even applied to medical school, I had a serious interest in becoming an anesthesiologist. Like many who go into the field, my original interest was peaked by my fascination with the phenomenal bio-chemical processes that are undergone each second in the human body. Throughout my undergraduate experience and completion of a chemistry degree, my interest in these processes continued to bring forward thoughts of a career in anesthesiology. However, several defining moments during medical school locked into my mind a definite desire to pursue anesthesia.

The moment I became set on anesthesia was during my ten-day anesthesia rotation at Riley Children’s Hospital. A young patient had been put under and was suddenly not responding well. Her blood pressure was severely depressed and perfusion had become so poor that the pulse oximeter was no longer able to detect saturation or heart rate. Once the severity of the situation was realized, many in the OR became obviously anxious and frantic – but not the anesthesiologist running the case. As the surgeons stepped away from the table, the anesthesiologist, cool and calm, began directing people to various interventions. I was instructed to begin syringing in tube after tube of albumin. Running through various algorithms of treatment, the anesthesiologist was able to stabilize the patient, and slowly the tension would leave the operating room. However, my awe of the calculated job the anesthesiologist had just completed would stay with me. The very basics of critical care – the “ABCs” of lifesaving – are the very skills that anesthesiologists are taught to master, even under great pressure. This truly inspired me to want to be the best at those “ABCs” which sound so simple, yet are so intimidating to many in the medical field. The fundamentals of lifesaving paired with the “hands-on” procedural approach to medicine in anesthesia solidified my desire to pursue this career.

While a passion to thrive in critical care situations certainly makes me a good candidate for anesthesia, there are several other characteristics I discovered during my 4th-year anesthesia sub-I that I feel will make me a great anesthesiologist. Organization and order, once a simple quirk to my personality, suddenly became one of my greatest strengths in the OR. Additionally, I have never been the type of medical student to sit in the corner and watch during my clerkships. I took great pleasure in assisting the nurses in the little tasks of patient transport or preparation and OR set up, which I’m proud to say seemed to make me a popular medical student to have around with the great nursing staff I’ve worked with. Likewise, whether it be organizing the various lines, tubes, and syringes of the current case, completing the required charting, or setting up for the next case, my hands were never idle. I couldn’t believe how fast the days would go and how much I would look forward to coming back into the hospital the next morning!

While medical school can teach a student the science behind medicine, I truly believe it is a doctor’s personality and character that ultimately determines his or her success with patients. One of my greatest qualities that will make me a successful anesthesiologist is my ability to quickly connect with people. At an orientation lecture on making first impressions early in my first clinical year, a speaker discussed how in general, anesthesiologists are among the best at making great first impressions. Hearing this was like a light bulb going off! Patients always seem to fear going to sleep more than the actual surgeon’s knife. Yet, an anesthesiologist may have but just a few moments pre-op to relax and instill confidence in their patients. What a challenging but impressive skill! Since that orientation, I have prided myself on mastering how quickly I can earn a patient’s trust. Enjoying the challenge of making a great first impression in the shortest amount of time is among the most important reasons that have guided me into the specialty of anesthesiology.

My goal during this application process is to find a residency program that puts an emphasis on broad types of clinical experience, so that I may one day enter practice with the confidence to tackle any case that may come my direction. Being from a small town in southern Indiana, eventually, I would very much enjoy someday practicing in a community-based setting in a mid-sized city that would feel much like home. While impossible to know the future, I am excited about the direction the field of anesthesia can take me. With that said, I promise to bring a strong work ethic, open mind, and friendly, easy-going demeanor to all the opportunities that lie ahead of me.

For Transitional Year and Preliminary programs – replaces last paragraph with this one.

While it is true that no student grows up dreaming of being a “transitional year” doctor, I have high expectations for my intern year and believe I will be a great asset to whichever program I end up at. While I may only be there a year, I’m looking for a place that will challenge and teach me as if I were a permanent part of their program. My greatest strength for my intern year is a skill I’ve realized through a particularly reoccurring compliment received during my various medicine rotations. This is the ability to be complete but concise, and especially efficient in the way at which I present and manage my patients. While impossible to know the future, I am excited about the direction the field of medicine can take me. With that said, I promise to bring a strong work ethic, open mind, and friendly, easy-going demeanor to all the opportunities that lie ahead of me.

Have an exciting medical story to tell or some advice to give? A unique background or path into medicine? Want to share your own post or experience with our followers?

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Share this:.

Really amazing personal statement. All my finger’s are crossed that you match into a residency of your choice 😀

Haha thanks! But you can uncross your fingers, I should have been more clear -that is 4 years old and I’ll be graduating residency in <year ?

Or I should read more carefully 😛 Main part still stands though, really great personal statement 😀

Hi!! Great personal statement…Thanks for sharing ? ?

Yes, thank you for sharing. Great writing!

Great personal statement! Very inspiring! I’m happy you’re already graduating!

Applying to residency and looking forward You got into med school and survived step 1 and step 2, you’re done taking shit from stupid scrub tech, and residents from specialties you’re not interested in; you’ve finished your volunteer project you were only doing to look well rounded and you don’t have to care about that student interest group you were in charge of anymore. So now, you’re sitting here reading this (and your personal statement for th 100th time this week), and come to realize that you are a day away from submitting a job application to work as a motherfucking doctor. And well respected adults with impressive job titles are going to read it and take it seriously, because you are serious. You’re not a goddamn fraud. You did all of the shit you were supposed to and you worked your ass off during all of it. Ever think about that in a year our college friends wiil still be talking about how to “adult,” while we are learning to be responsible for multiple other lives? It’s weird to think that these next few months are the last time we will ever not be doctors. Just think about that.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a PM&R Residency

Career support.

Applying for a residency can be a complicated process. Learn more about the 4 steps of applying to residency by clicking on the links below. Also make sure to check out the  Medical School Roadmap  to PM&R 4th year medical student section on information about details of the application itself (e.g., personal statement, letters of recommendation, USMLE Step 2 testing, and away rotations.)

Finding an ACGME-Accredited PM&R Residency Program

Pgy1 training, pediatric pm&r, interviewing, match program: the pm&r match.


Ways to research both intern year (PGY1) and residency training programs include:

  • Visit the  Residents  section of the AAPM&R website and view a  map of PM&R  programs in the U.S. and find out more information on PM&R residency training.
  • Use the American Medical Association Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access System (AMA-FREIDA). For more information, visit the  AMA-FREIDA  Web site.
  • Talk with current PM&R residents and attendings at your institution.

Selecting a Program for Application

Facts and Figures

  • 83 ACGME-accredited programs across 28 states
  • 30 Categorical programs (4-year programs)

Seek advice about specific residency programs from a wide variety of sources including:

  • Attend the AAPM&R Annual Assembly’s Residency Fair as part of the Medical Student Program.
  • If you are at a medical school with no associated PM&R department or program, please contact the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) to identify resources in your area.
  • Talk with your PM&R department chair, program director, or other PM&R faculty.
  • Ask PM&R residents and fellows at your institution.
  • Talk with your PM&R student interest group.
  • Check with your Graduate Medical Education office and see if there are any alumni that matched into PM&R who might be able give you some insight.
  • Talk with your medical school advisor.
  • Check program websites directly—application requirements, curriculum, research opportunities, etc.

Consider the following factors when selecting programs:

  • Education curriculum (Lecture schedule, protected study time, etc.)
  • Conference schedule
  • Research activity and opportunities
  • Some programs are based at a free-standing rehabilitation hospital and others have an inpatient rehabilitation floor within an acute care hospital.
  • Availability of PM&R subspecialty expertise (i.e., Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Pediatric Rehabilitation, Musculoskeletal, or Pain Specialists).
  • Academic career:  Consider university-based programs with a well-balanced faculty involved in full-time teaching and research commitments
  • Subspecialty interest:  Seek out programs with a well-developed division in a specific area to facilitate introduction to research and more specialized practice (e.g., spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, pediatrics) and to determine which programs might offer a fellowship in that area after completion of residency.
  • Accreditation:  Check the  ACGME website  and research the accreditation status of residency programs. Residency programs are routinely reviewed and given accreditation status. It is good to know if the program you are applying to is accredited or on probation. After ACGME review, a program is issued accreditation for a certain number of years before requiring another site visit, with a 10-year accreditation being the highest. If a program is on probation, make sure to inquire why they were cited and what is being done to remediate any problems identified.
  • Benefits:  Inquire about resident benefits at each program, including ability to attending conferences locally and nationally, reimbursement for conference participation, reimbursement for memberships to professional organizations such as the AAPM&R, book money, salary, and health benefits.
  • If you want to go into clinical practice, remember that many residents go into practice in the same geographical area where they trained. During the training process, you usually become familiar with employment opportunities and practicing physiatrists and groups in the area.
  • Residency can be a stressful time so proximity to family, friends, and your social support network should not be undervalued.
  • Consider your own hobbies and interests. Its important that you train in a location where you feel you will be happy to live for at least 3-4 years.
  • Cost-of-living varies by location. Consider your expenses, expected stipend, and the cost-of-living in each city to determine if it’s within your budget.
  • Size of residency program:  The size of PM&R residency programs can range from 2–14 residents per class. Having a small versus large residency has both pluses and minuses and is program dependent. Reflect on your learning style and what would be the optimal environment for your education. Make sure to speak with current residents to determine if the program is a good fit for you.
  • Patient-to-resident ratio:  Ask specifically about the patient-to-resident ratio on the inpatient service and the structure of the team. Some programs have senior residents that round on the inpatient service whereas, in other programs you may be interacting with the attending directly. You should also inquire about the average inpatient consults seen per month.
  • Selectivity/competitiveness of the program:  Ask your medical school's PM&R department chair and other PM&R faculty for assistance in estimating both the selectivity of training programs and applicant competitiveness. You can also check out the  NRMP Program Director Survey  for specific information.
  • Quality of Resident Life:  There are several factors that play into the quality of life of a resident. A good way to gauge quality of life is by talking with the current residents. Inquire about call schedules, camaraderie among residents, local recreational activities, etc.
  • Board Pass Rate and Post-Graduate Plans of Residents:  Ask each residency its board pass rate for the last several years as well as the steps taken to ensure their residents are prepared for the boards (doing a SAE-P or AAPM&R’s Qbank questions together, mock oral boards, etc.). Inquire about the post-graduate plans of the residents in the program. Did their graduates go into private practice or academic medicine? Did they pursue fellowship training? How successful have their residents been in obtaining a fellowship?

There are a number of residencies (i.e. radiation oncology, neurology, dermatology, etc.) that start residency after a year of preliminary training. There are some PM&R programs that include a PGY1 year and PGY2-4 years, which are called categorical positions. However, a majority of the PM&R residency programs offer only PGY2-4 or advanced positions. Therefore, you typically will have to apply for a separate preliminary year (i.e. internship) along with your PM&R residency program during the summer of your 4th year in medical school.

Internships can be done through Internal Medicine, Surgery, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, a rotating osteopathic (DO) or transitional year (MD).

If you are applying to:

  • A residency program that  offers both categorical and advanced positions , it is the applicant's advantage to rank both positions and maximize their chance of matching.
  • Only advanced positions , you will need to apply and rank for a separate internship year along with your PM&R Residency.
  • Programs with a variety of categorical and advanced options , you still need to rank and apply for a separate internship in case you do not match for a categorical position.
  • Also consider ranking preliminary year positions only at the bottom of your rank order list in the event you do not match into a categorical or advanced position.

There are currently two ways to enter into pediatric rehabilitation:

  • Medical students can apply for a combined pediatrics / PM&R residency program, which is a 5-year combined pediatrics/PM&R residency program that is offered. There are only a few programs that provide this option (may change each year): Cincinnati Children’s/University of Cincinnati PM&R (1 spot each year), Jefferson/DuPont Hospital for Children (1 spot each year), University of Colorado Denver (1 spot each year), and Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University (1 spot each year). Alternatively, you can also apply for a 2-year pediatric rehabilitation fellowship following completion of your PM&R residency. 
  • Medical students can also complete PM&R residency and then apply for a pediatric rehabilitation fellowship. After completion of this two-year fellowship, graduates are eligible to sit for PM&R and pediatric rehabilitation board certification. Applicants typically apply for pediatric rehabilitation fellowships in the spring of their PGY-3 year.

Talk with each program to get an idea of scheduling. Most PM&R programs start interviewing in late October/November and as late as January/February. Most interview invites will be sent via email, so it is important to check your email early and often during interview season. Each program has a limited number of interview dates and spots may be filled rather quickly, thus a timely email response will increase your chances of getting your desired interview date. If you are interested in a program and cannot schedule an interview, it is important to be proactive and ensure they know you are interested in an interview if a spot were to become available.

You will be invited for interviews based on your timely and completely submitted credentials, personal statement, Dean's letter, transcript and letters of recommendation, all of which can be uploaded onto ERAS. The interview day is the best opportunity to gather more information about the program and to learn more about the resident’s perspective. You will likely be interviewed by several interviewers (usually 2-4), and they will include faculty, chief residents, and fellows. It is best to prepare for interviews by reading more about specific programs (residency websites are often a great place to start.) You should be prepared to answer expected questions such as why you are applying to their program, what makes you a great fit, why you are entering the field of PM&R, what your career goals are, etc.

It is also useful to prepare a few specific questions that you want to ask your interviewer, as they will ask and expect you to have questions. Interact with the current residents at each program as much as you can as this is a great opportunity to get an idea of how they feel about the program and whether you feel you would fit well with the people at that program. Some programs offer a dinner or social event the night prior to the interview day. It is strongly encouraged to attend these events if possible so that you can interact with the residents in an informal setting, ask informal questions, get a feel for the camaraderie and atmosphere of the program, and sense whether the residents like their program and are genuinely happy. After your interview day is complete, you may also choose to send a thank you email to your interviewers and program coordinator. However, this does not affect your ranking and is often just viewed as common courtesy.

After your interviews are complete, you must prepare and submit a ranking list of programs to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) which is typically due in the middle to end of February. You can rank as many or as few of the programs for which you had interviews. The rank is often the most important step in the application process, so it is highly advised to choose your list wisely!

PM&R Programs utilize ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) for resident applications and the NRMP to match the residency positions. All allopathic and osteopathic PM&R and internship programs use ERAS for the application process. You will typically upload all necessary documents (i.e., personal statement, USMLE/COMLEX scores, MSPE, transcript, Dean’s letter, letters of recommendation, photo) onto ERAS. NRMP is the matching program where you finalize your program rank list. Contact ERAS and NRMP for more information about the Match process and specific deadlines. 

The Match process in PM&R is generally quite favorable. The percentage of U.S. medical school seniors matching to programs has generally been 95-98% over the past 10 years. It is also important to keep in mind that PM&R has also become an increasingly popular and competitive specialty amongst medical students. View the ERAS Match Timeline for all the latest dates.

Final Thoughts

Applying for residency is a very exciting process that requires a lot of planning and organization. This period can also become easily overwhelming (i.e., traveling, scheduling, etc.), so it is important to also try to find some time for yourself throughout this process.

These recommendations are an outline to help guide your decision in choosing a residency. Every person is different and we all have our priorities that play into our choices. The right program for you is usually the one that you feel is the best fit from your interview day. If you still have questions after your interviews or are stuck between ranking two programs as your top choice, it may be helpful to take a second look at a program (or a couple of programs) for a day or two. Most programs are more than willing to set this up if you contact the chief residents or program coordinator.

Don't forget to use all the resources available through the AAPM&R to guide your application process. Contact chief residents and other residents through the AAPM&R PhyzForum , check out sample CVs on the resident resources website, map-out PM&R residencies  in your desired areas, and much more.

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Transitional Annum Personelle Statement: All You Need to Known to Receiving Admitted

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How Important Can Your Personal Statement on Transitional Residency Program?

Many residencies will require you to take a transitional year program before them start your specialized training. While in some instances this is part of the choose you been applying for, on others, her will require a disconnect request. The needed to complete a transitional year makes schedules highly sought-after, and this, the competition gets tougher. r/medicalschool on Reddit: [Residency] If you're applying for a prelim + another specialty, do you have to write two dissimilar essays?

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Many international medicine programs will require you to running a residency internship thus that thou can learn the wire in different different areas before they get sharp firmly on owner specialty. Required some programs, this will mid applying for an separate program for that internship. Different styles of programs for the residency that you can apply for are: Instructions to Write a Good Personen Statement for your Residency Application? Examples of Residency Personal Statements - An Match Boys

Criteria residencies

These residency programs includes a yearlong internship to gain the required skills and experience. You willing apply for one residency and stay there throughout thy training. Applying for a categorical year spiele is often the preference drive for various hopefuls, but not every program offers this for ever specialty.

Transitional residencies

These offering a full year of training across many rotations so that you can acquire the necessary skills for my final specialism. These program are also beneficial for those students who are still unsure of what they aspiration to pursue or which have failed to get directly into the specialist residency. Get "Personal Statement" for Residency (And Tips for yours!) 

Preliminary residencies

These are similar to transitional residencies and will further split and training into either surgery or indoor medicine preliminary period.

What Programming Require a Transitional Year?

Not every feature requiring a provisorische period, so e the crucial that you know which will with thee are not applying directly on a categorical residency. The following will usually requires you to complete or a preliminary or transitional year as an intern precede to your professional: Posted by u/bluetulip3 - 5 votes and 10 comments

  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Dermatology
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  • Ophthalmology

During your transitional year, you will custom have to top all of the following:

  • 4 months of inpatient medicine
  • 1 month in an immersive care unit
  • 1 year of distress medicine
  • 1 month of outpatient medicine
  • 4-5 year of electives

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Where Can You Apply required Your Transitional Years?

If you are applying for a transitional year, you wishes need to find of right one used you. The followers am a selection of programs that you may consider:

  • Colorado Health Foundation Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Heart Program : This download is founding to your year-long education across a wide range of different areas of unemotional medicine to prepare academics for their specialty.
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Core Program: This hospital provides transitional year training in 12 departments used just 24 residents every year.
  • Scripps Mercy Clinic Application San Diego : This transitional year residency is super proud of this fact that many of those who become inside it then get placed in highly competitive residencies.
  • Presence Resurrection Medical Center Program : This program is based in Chicago. With a very busy emergency business and great open-heart surgery training, those is a great place to complete your year.

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  • Tailor your personal statement like that it can reflector targeted what the program wants to read in it.
  • Use one transitional year personal statement sample to discern how others have approached their writing: do not, however, copy everything ensure you have understand.
  • Write about thy related for applying to them and give them a clear idea away where their program fits into your long-term goals.
  • Do your homework plus make specific things about their program to show that you interest is serious.
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  • Write about experiences that are immaterial or too far in the past.
  • Apply clichés during insert writing: always strive to be originally.
  • Complain or talk negatively.
  • Incorporate language that will subsist severe to know.
  • Lies or plagiarize within your statement.
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How I Made the Most of My Transitional Year Residency

Casey schukow, do shares his experience with navigating a transitional year residency and gives advice on making the most of this time..

I am a transitional year (TY) resident at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital in Monroe, Michigan. This year, I am applying for pathology residency and, like many other applicants this cycle, I am filled with nervousness and excitement as I await Match Day. 

This is my second go-around with the matching process. Although I am hopeful this year, I cannot help but be reminded of the devastation during Match Day last year when I did not match. However, with tremendous support from my family, friends, and my newfound pathology village , I  can  say with 100% certainty that I am transitioning into the field I was meant to be in all along. 

My advice to any applicant is to find a field and a group of people who "match your vibe." Personally, I found similarities between football and pathology, which I reflected on in my personal statement . Wherever you find your niche, enter a medical career where you feel that you can be your true, authentic, and, as NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers would say, your "unapologetic self." Here I share how others can make the most out of a Transitional Year residency while staying involved with pathology and remaining their unapologetic selves.

Participate in pathology interest groups

After weeks of self-reflection following Match Day last year, I reached out to the pathologist and faculty mentor of my alma mater, Michigan State University’s pathology interest group. Once he got me involved with the program, the rest became history. As an alumnus, I serve the  MSU CHM-COM Pathology Interest Group  as the  Education & Research Coordinator , establishing alumni relations with pathology residents and facilitating research projects among medical students interested in the field. 

I also joined the Virtual Pathology Student Interest Group , where I currently serve as a resident mentor. In this position, I have been able to help guide the medical student executive board members as they prepare group activities, sessions, and other correspondence. A personal highlight of my time with the group was presenting alongside the group’s other resident mentor, Dr. Isabella Dishong, about my residency experiences during a symposium on " The Modern Pathologist ." This group is unique because  any applicant  can join as a member, including those from institutions without their own affiliated pathology interest groups.

Engage in social media

I like to think of pathology social media as daily “virtual sign-outs” that anyone with internet access can explore  for free . Many pathologists enjoy using social media, and residency applicants should not underestimate its value.

The question, naturally, then becomes,  which platforms should I join? Start with at least one. Following the hashtag #PathTwitter  on Twitter is a great place to start. Both Dr. Jerad Gardner  and the Digital Content Committee have great "How-To"  social media guides for beginners . I know it may seem awkward putting yourself out there (and, in my case, explaining to the world numerous times what it feels like not to match). But social media allowed me to build new connections and relationships with pathologists, trainees, and pathology-interested medical students from around the globe.

Support a cause

One of these engagement opportunities brought me to Dr. Aadil Ahmed , a faculty hematopathologist and dermatopathologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, While scrolling through #PathTwitter, I came across a post from Dr. Ahmed regarding the  Pathology Outreach Program (POP), and his mission to increase awareness of the field to high school and medical students in the Chicagoland area. This inspired me to bring POP to Michigan and my former high school. With help from motivated students  who had attended one of Dr. Ahmed's POP sessions, we presented a poster on pre-course survey data at ASCP’s 2022 Annual Conference ( published abstract ). We will be presenting a poster on post-course survey data at USCAP’s 2023 Annual Conference.

Take on a fellowship

Kudos to Dr. Kamran Mirza and Dr. Michael Schubert for all the work they have put into the Digital Communications Fellowship in Pathology. This  fellowship  helps individuals develop leadership in modern communication while learning directly from expert faculty in the field. Sessions are virtual, making it easy to attend lectures despite a busy clinical schedule as a TY resident. Moreover, it is another source of excellent relationships with faculty and international colleagues.

Visit pathology-focused websites

Dr. Mirza also worked with Cullen Lilley to create PathElective , an invaluable resource. Through the free modules on PathElective, and the help of my mentors, I was able to create study guides and flashcards. In addition to utilizing PathElective, I wrote book chapters for StatPearls and contributed pages to  Pathology Outlines  over the past year. I have been involved in several pathology research projects as well.

However, while I will always encourage applicants to get involved with meaningful research projects, I believe there are many ways to demonstrate one’s interest in a field other than manuscripts, posters, and oral presentations. Research takes a significant amount of time, often more than a year from idea to publication. Those who may only have a year or less to showcase their pathology interests may be better off working on shorter projects, which can get published in a few months, on websites such as those mentioned above. 

Join a rotation

A final kudos must go out to my TY residency leadership team for allowing me to join two rotations. I was the first resident they have had request pathology rotations as electives! My first block in July 2022 was one-on-one with a pathologist at my TY base hospital. She did an excellent job introducing me to bread-and-butter community hospital surgical pathology. I had a blast learning how to sign out cases, lead a lab, and communicate with other providers regarding biopsy inquiries. Several months later, I rotated with the  University of Toledo Pathology Residency Program  and enjoyed it immensely! The crew there, led by Dr. Amira Gohara , welcomed me as a member of their team, where I learned much more about the inner workings of a pathology residency program. I even got to do my first-ever frozen section on a hot dog.

I was able to reflect on these experiences throughout the course of my interview season, and they ultimately confirmed that I was making the right career choice after all. If you find yourself in a preliminary year program prior to applying for pathology residency, ask your program’s leadership if they can accommodate a pathology elective rotation (even if it must be an away rotation). Pathology departments are all over, although not every department accepts rotators. Nevertheless, let them know and ask. The worst they can say is no, right? Some residency programs, such as Loyola University Chicago, offer  virtual pathology rotations .

If you find yourself in a TY residency, know that you can make the most of it and remain heavily involved in pathology. If there is any advice I can offer regarding the match, please take the following words to heart:

  • Always be yourself. 
  • Never underestimate the importance of kindness and professionality.
  • Show up on time.
  • Get the work done while being efficient and thorough.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Own your mistakes.
  • Read the room (e.g., know when to start and stop talking).
  • Go where you feel wanted.
  • Build strong relationships with your co-workers.
  • Work hard but have fun!

More About Me

While I am not studying pathology, I fill my time watching anime with my fiancé (who is a current family medicine residency applicant), watching football, exercising, cooking, listening to podcasts and music, hanging out with my family and friends, or tending to our pet dwarf shrimp. Yes, we have pet dwarf shrimp—they are super fun!)

Casey Schukow, DO, is a pathology resident at Corewell Health in Royal Oak, MI. Prior to this, he completed a transitional year internship at ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital (Monroe, MI). He has contributed numerous pages, articles, essays, and book chapters to multiple websites, including KevinMD, Doximity Op-Med, VisualDx, DermNet New Zealand, StatPearls, PathElective, The Pathologist, and Pathology Outlines. Social media has played a key role in his #Path2Path and his research interests include utilizing its different platforms to promote free, high-quality medical education globally. Prior to his residency training, he graduated from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (’22) and attended Hillsdale College (’18) where he earned a degree in Biochemistry. Currently, he serves as an Ambassador for the online platform Knowledge In Knowledge Out, or KiKo.

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Passage Year Personal Statement: All You Must at Know to Get Admitted

personal statement for transitional year

How Important Is Your Personal Declaration for Transitional Residency Programs?

Many residencies will require you to get a transitional year program before thou begin your specialized training. While in some constitutions this is part of the program you are applying for, in other, them is require a separate application. The necessity to complete a transitional current makes programs highly sought-after, and thus, who competition gets tougher.

Your intermediate years custom instruction will commonly be the of significant part of your application. You almost certainly have excellent qualifications, but they will be similar in many ways to the qualifications of those it will compete with for a place. A personal opinion transitional year residency is, therefore, often your only way von showing why they should select you rather than anyone else. How to write brilliant medical residency personal instructions ? Writing an affective residency application personal statement is never an light task, no matter where you are app. It must be done through great care in a way the is walked to get her noticed. Our benefits has helped students with their applications for years, and we can provide you with professional advice and support to make the personal statement for a interim year an success.

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What Is who Difference between Transitional, Prelude, and Categorical Residencies?

Many international medicine programs will ask you into discharge a residency internship therefore that thou can learn the ropes in several separate areas before you get focused firmly on your specialty. For quite programs, this will middle applying for a separate choose for that internship. Different types of programs for the residency that you can apply for are:

Categorical residencies

These residency programs include a yearlong internship for gain the required skills or experience. You will apply for the residency and stay there throughout your vocational. Applying for a classify year match is frequently one favored route for many applicants, but none every program offers this for every specialty.

Transit residencies

These special a full years of training across lots rotations so that you able acquire the required skills for respective final specializing. These prog are also useful for those students who have still unsure of what they wish to pursue or who have failing to get directly within who specialist residency.

Preliminary residencies

These are similar to transitional residencies but will further split the professional on either surgery or internal medicine tentative years.

Something Prog Needs a Transitional Type?

Not every specialty need a transitional year, so it can compelling that to know which will supposing you what not applying directly for a categorical residency. And following desire usually require you to complete be a preparatory or transitional time as an intern priority to your specialization: Hi everyone, I was wondering if it is fine to use the same personal statement for all emitted oncology programs as well as transitional years programs? Since my report most addresses why I...

  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Physical medicine & rehabilitation
  • Ophthalmology

During autochthonous transitional time, you will typically have to cover any of the subsequent:

  • 4 year of inpatient medicine
  • 1 month in an intensive customer unit
  • 1 month of emergency medical
  • 1 month of outpatient medicine
  • 4-5 months of electives

Get some advice on how to avoid mistakes in your medical resident resume writing!

Where Can You Apply for Your Transitional Year?

If you are app for a provisional year, you will needed to find the right one for yourself. The following are a selection of programs such you may consider: What sorted of personalbestand statement is requires for transient year programs? I am using to diagnostic radiology programs as right. Need EGO employ that personal statement conversely does you got to produce up a...

  • Coal Health Establishment Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Restorative Center Program : This program shall founded into proffer year-long training via a wide range of different areas von clinical medication to prepare our by their specialty.
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre Run: This hospital provides transitional year training in 12 departments for just 24 residents every twelvemonth.
  • Scripps Merciful Hospital Program Sand Diego : This transitional year residency is very proud of that fact that many of this which participate in it than get placed stylish highly competitive residencies.
  • Attendance Resurrection Medical Center Program : This program are grounded in Chicago. With a very busy emergency department and excellent open-heart surgery training, this is a great space to complete your year.

transitional year personality statement writing tips

How to Write Your Transitional Year Personal Statement Effectively

Crafting an effective statement that will retrieve you noticed remains a challenging task. The following shopping, still, will supported thee in ensuring that you get theirs written in a ways that will give you the highest chance of successful. Here were tips for a habitation interview .


  • Tailor your personal statement so such it can reflect specifically what to program wants to read in it.
  • Employ a interimistisch year personal comment sample to watch how others had approached ihr writing: do not, however, copy anything that you have read.
  • Write about your rationale for app to them and give them a clear idea are where their select matching into your long-term goals.
  • Do insert homework press mention specific matters about their program to show that will interest has serious.
  • Write about yourself!
  • Record about experiences so are irrelevant or too far in the past.
  • Use clichés within your writing: always try to be original.
  • Complaince or talk negatively.
  • Incorporate language that will be difficult to understand.
  • Lie with plagiarize within your statement.
  • Fail to corrections your statement.

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We Bucket Help Him are Your Application for Transitional Residency Programs

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We always provide our help on time, and each document is delivered with an free plagiarism report. With a full satisfaction or money-back guarantee, there is no reason not to use in service. Preliminary Year: What do I do with my Personal Statement? - Insider Medical Admissions

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Healthcare School Letter of Recommendation: Who Key to Your Success

How Many Letters of Recommendation for Medical Train and Reason Getting into the desired university, earning one medical degree, and than inside that chosen hospitality is a large and competitive road. Prospective students must demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, strongly personal qualities, and a genuine passion. Although your grades, test scores, furthermore personal statement play an […]

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Anesthesiologist Domicile Length & Other Peculiarities of Show

Overview of Anesthesiologist Residency Length & Benefits of Studied Medicine students don’t worry about anesthesiologist abidance length payable to future career possibilities. Every hospital needs experts in this sphere. Most surgeon operations need controllable sedation of the patient. The length the producers canned even take hours. By completing an narcosis your, you can help a […] Whichever sort from personal statement is needed for transitional annual programs? I am applying till diagnostic roentgenology programs as well. Should IODIN use that personal statement or do you have toward make skyward a new one for the cross year pgms? Thanks!

personal statement for transitional year




In personal essays, often the best transitions are simply contextual and straightforward, especially if you’re working under the constraint of a low word count. For instance, to discuss graduate research plans, you might simply open a sentence with “For my graduate research, I plan to . . . .” In broader circumstances, to transition from one idea to another, writers turn to the list below—handy because the transitions are sorted by function, emphasizing the work they do. When choosing a transition from this list, focus on providing connective tissue that moves us through time, provides example or interpretation, or advances argument.

For more extensive lists and advice related to using transition words and phrases, turn to these websites:

“Transitional Words and Phrases” page from the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

"APA Style - Transitions Guide" excerpt from the APA Style Guide, 7th edition


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  6. Transitional Year Personal Statement to Get You Noticed

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  1. Personal Statement: Michael Matheson

  2. Personal Statement-University of Victoria MGB Program

  3. Personal Statement Essays that won Multiple of Fully Funded Scholarship in 2023(From BS, MS and PhD)

  4. Video personal statement ——University of Victoria MGB program 


  1. transitional year personal statement

    #1 What sort of personal statement is needed for transitional year programs? I am applying to diagnostic radiology programs as well. Should I use that personal statement or do you have to make up a new one for the trans year pgms? Thanks! Members don't see this ad. J joaquin13 Senior Member 7+ Year Member 15+ Year Member 20+ Year Member Joined

  2. Transitional Year Personal Statement to Get You Noticed

    Transitional Year Personal Statement: All You Need to Know to Get Admitted February 12, 2018 2020 5232 How Important Is Your Personal Statement for Transitional Residency Programs? Many residencies will require you to take a transitional year program before you begin your specialized training.

  3. Complete Guide to Transitional Year Residency

    Updated: Jan 01, 2024 What is a transitional year residency? In short, the transitional year residency is your first year of medical residency training, or your internship year. It's the transition from medical school to some of the best residency programs in the US and the best residency programs in Canada.

  4. 12 Top Questions About the ERAS Personal Statement

    According to the 2020 NRMP program director survey, 78% of program directors cite the ERAS personal statement as an important factor in deciding which candidates to interview, making it the fourth-highest ranked factor behind USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2, and letters of recommendation.

  5. Preliminary Year: What do I do with my Personal Statement?

    Candidates who apply to certain fields - dermatology, ophthalmology, etc. - need a preliminary or transitional year of residency before initiating their specialty training. So does that mean those applicants need to toil over two personal statements? No, thankfully.

  6. Complete Guide to Transitional Year Residency in 2023

    In short, the transitional year residency is choose first your of medical residency training, or your internship year. It's the transition from medical school toward some of the best residency programs in the US and the best resident programs in Canada. If you're applying to only of the more complex or in-depth medical specialist, chances ...

  7. Transitional Year Personal Statement Sample

    Use a transitional year personal statement sample to see how others have approached their writing: do not. however. copy anything that you have read. Write about your reasons for applying...

  8. Complete Guide to Transitional Year Residency in 2023

    Learn what to expect from your transitional year residency, including tips go how on match to your desired peculiarity and how to choose your ideal residency in 2023. Residency Other Professions Med School Graduate Dentistry Physician Assistant Pharmacy Ordinance MBA Undergraduate Nursing Veterinary

  9. Residency Personal Statement Examples from Matched Residents

    Residency Personal Statement Examples #6: Cardiology. "Code blue, electrophysiology laboratory" a voice announces overhead during my cardiology rotation. As the code team, we rush to the patient, an elderly man in shock. Seamlessly, we each assume our preassigned roles.

  10. What Is A Transitional Year Residency?

    The transitional year program is typically a one-year residency. It prepares the residents for advanced residency training for specialties such as dermatology, neurology, and other medical fields, which we will discuss later in this article. For one year in the TY program, you'll get to spend time on various clinical rotations in inpatient ...

  11. 15 Amazing Personal Statement Examples (2023 Update)

    Personal Statement Example #2: Pickleball. I've always been one to have a good attitude no matter the circumstances. Except when it comes to exercise. From dodgeball in PE class to family Turkey Trots, I'm always the first one out and the last one across the finish line.

  12. My "Personal Statement" for Residency (And Tips for yours!)

    I applied to anesthesia residency and thus also needed a transitional year/preliminary year application as well. These are separate applications and can be separate personal statements. I choose not to re-write my statement, but I did alter the end to make it more suited for those programs. That's a fair balance I felt.

  13. A Step by Step Guide to Applying for a PM&R Residency

    Applying for a residency can be a complicated process. Learn more about the 4 steps of applying to residency by clicking on the links below. Also make sure to check out the Medical School Roadmap to PM&R 4th year medical student section on information about details of the application itself (e.g., personal statement, letters of recommendation, USMLE Step 2 testing, and away rotations.)

  14. Transitional Year Personal Statement to Get You Noticed

    Their transitional year personal statement will often is the bulk meaning part of their application. You almost certainly has excellent qualifications, but they bequeath be similar in many lanes to the qualifications of ones it will compete with for a place. A particular statement transitional year resident is, therefore, often your only way of ...

  15. How I Made the Most of My Transitional Year Residency

    Wherever you find your niche, enter a medical career where you feel that you can be your true, authentic, and, as NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers would say, your "unapologetic self." Here I share how others can make the most out of a Transitional Year residency while staying involved with pathology and remaining their unapologetic selves.

  16. [Residency] If you're applying for a prelim

    Also an M4 who applied to anesthesia and prelims. For my prelims I kept the exact same statement, I just added a paragraph at the end on how a year in medicine/surgery would help me be a better anesthesiologist. Prelim programs will understand and know your intent anyways as you enter your intended PGY-2 specialty on ERAS when you apply to them.

  17. Transitional Year Personal Statement Sample

    Please transitional not copied or practical permanent personal statements with the Medfools Personal Statement Library. This practice is unethical and foolish. Are are embarrased to even have to state the obvious. but lately we have seen many portions by intimate affirmations duplicated and declared want mitarbeitende work.

  18. Transition year and preliminary year questions [Residency]

    Hi, I'm currently a 4th-year medical student about applying to residency. Recently, I've made some changes to my plans. I was originally going to apply for an IM residency but now am looking to apply to a Transition year or a preliminary year. the reason being so that I may wait a year to apply in the couples match with my wife who is currently a 3rd-year medical student.

  19. Transitional Year Personal Statement to Get You Noticed

    The transitional year personal statement will often be the most significant part of your application. You almost surely may excellence qualifications, when they desire be similar in many ways to the qualifications of those you determination compete with for a space. A personal statement temporarily year residency the, therefore, often your only ...

  20. Do you have to make a different personal statement for a preliminary year?

    No it should not address IM. PDs know that when you are applying for a prelim year that you are applying for a specialty that is not IM so it would be weird to say you are interested in IM all of a sudden. Many people will keep their PS the same. Some will tweak the end or add a paragraph about the prelim year and how it's important to their ...

  21. Transitions

    In broader circumstances, to transition from one idea to another, writers turn to the list below—handy because the transitions are sorted by function, emphasizing the work they do. When choosing a transition from this list, focus on providing connective tissue that moves us through time, provides example or interpretation, or advances argument.