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Should you start your personal statement with having an absent father and explain how it shaped you?

YES! A compelling personal story is a good idea to include in your admissions personal statement.

But only if you spin it into how it helped shape you as a person and include what you learned from the experience, how it made you a better person, and how you will use what you learned going forward, particularly in what you will bring to the table as an asset to the university.

As a professional resume, bio, and personal statement writer, here is an example of a personal statement that I edited for a medical residency candidate to ensure the story was engaging and compelling. He talks about his experience with personal pain in his life.

Personal Statement Sample for Physician Residency Application

I have always believed that passion should be a main driver in life, and it has been the most important driver for me as a doctor. I discovered my passion for medicine when my father began sharing stories with me about his experiences as a nephrologist, including his passion and genuine interest in his patients. Hearing his stories sparked a passion in me for this humanitarian career, and I grew fascinated by the fact that doctors could make people feel better and ease their pain.

My passion for becoming a physician did not waver, even after having gone through personal pain since my diagnosis of lupus in high school, and then undergoing splenectomy as a definitive management in my first year of medical school. Fortunately, the surgery was successful, and this experience has impacted me in a way that reinforced my commitment to providing the highest quality patient care. Observing health care from the patient’s point-of-view has taught me much about the importance of providing education, compassion and empathy to patients, as a doctor.

I believe that being a physician is a privilege and an honor that should not be taken lightly. As I proceeded through medical school, I looked forward to the actual process of treating patients, and I began vetting specialties that would align with my personality and desire for strong patient relationships. While I enjoyed many areas of medicine, I began my medical career with a nephrology internship, a decision influenced by my fascination with human kidney functions, and the respect I had for this specialty through my initial connection with it through my close relationship with my father.

Although nephrology training itself was a great clinical learning experience, I gradually noticed that it did not give me the satisfaction I had during my internal medicine rotation; I missed the long-term patient relationships and the challenge of solving a variety of complex internal medicine problems. As a critical thinker, I have contributed creative ideas in various capacities, including founding a health education program in my 2nd year of medical school, introducing Google maps technology in a polio vaccination campaign while working as house officer (a project that was generalized city-wide), applying a routine survey system to patients and physicians at Columbus Main University Hospital, and providing an organized educational program for junior and senior residents.

As a specialty requiring a creative critical mind for comprehending different and sometimes unrelated symptoms, while listening carefully to patients for possible clues to reach the correct diagnosis, I am sure that internal medicine is the best fit for me. And, I have found it to be the most rewarding and satisfying at the end of the day.

I applied for a visiting internal medicine residency at Columbus Main University Hospital, an outstanding hospital with a wide variety of cases representing diverse economic, social and cultural backgrounds, which aligns well with my desire to help people, regardless of their status in life, and to provide comprehensive medical care.

My initial experience with the health care system was during a 1-month observership in 2012. I had the pleasure of observing an exceptional pediatrics professor at Dayton Medical Center, a large specialty referral hospital serving the northern two-thirds of Ohio. I subsequently visited the same hospital again for a 2-month observership in 2017, under the guidance of a highly qualified and dedicated team of internal medicine physicians working in perfect harmony. I was taken by the accuracy and advancements in the medical field in the US, which exposed me to the quality of care I have always dreamed I could provide for my patients.

I am a team player who believes in knowledge sharing and persevering through challenges that arise, which happens often in the clinical setting. I seek a residency program that would allow me to broaden the scope of my service as a physician, expose me to a wider range of experiences, and help develop my skills while being part of a team achieving patient-centered care. In return, I will bring to the program the soul of a fighter, diligence, and most of all, my endless passion.

I hope this helps!

Just be sure that you only touch on the negative enough to make the reader understand your personal struggle, and then show the reader how you survived it and used it for good and to advance your cause or reach your goals, how it made you stronger, and how you will use that strength in your future endeavors in college and beyond.

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