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IMG Residency Match Forum International Medical Graduates (IMGs) discussing the residency matching process.


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Old 07-22-2019
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Fire Thread Is Your Personal Statement Good Enough?

We see it every year: international medical graduates who fail to match to their top-choice programs or, even worse, fail to match altogether. Regrettably, it is only after they fail to match that they look back to see what they could have improved in their applications and ask us our opinion about their personal statements. In every case, we find significant improvements to be made, and not only to their personal statements, but also to their ERAS applications.

In a recent interview with Dr. Matthew E. Koepplinger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Dr. Koepplinger lamented the quality of the personal statements he reads every year and praised the services we offer to help candidates get into residency, services we have been offering since 2008. Since that time, we have helped candidates achieve a 97.4% match rate, with many of these matching to their top-choice programs.

So how do you know if you need help? First, look at the length. If your personal statement is less than 650 to 675 words, it is almost surely too short, lacking important details, content and development. If it is longer than 725 to 750 words, then it is too long, being too wordy, including too many details or simply not getting to the point.

Next, look at the content. If it is vague, meaning that it could be applied just as easily to any specialty other than the one you are applying for or could be claimed just as easily by any other candidate, then the content needs improvement.

The content also needs improvement if you have red flags and either havenít addressed them or havenít done so in an edifying manner.

Finally, look at your conclusion. Does it end on a strong, engaging note? Many times, candidates struggle with this key part of their personal statement.

These are just a few of the items to consider, in addition to themes, voice, writing style, and even spelling and grammar.

To help you with these, find somebody outside your family and friends who can give you clear, objective feedback regarding your personal statement, and take that feedback to heart.
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