Writing Personal Statements and CVs

Personal Statements: Your Turn to Talk

Your personal statement is your opportunity to tell your story during the residency interview process. You transcript, your CV, your MSPE, and many other documents will tell the story of you as a student, but the personal statement is your chance to connect the dots between who you are as a student, a new doctor, and an individual. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Read through this tip sheet to get started with your thought process.

One of the most difficult things about writing a personal statement is getting started. There are several ways to tell your story and it’s important that you figure out which one is for you. To help you decide on an approach that you are comfortable with, we've provided a few samples of personal statements

Note: These sample statements should only be viewed as a way to become more comfortable with the various forms a personal statement can take. Don’t concern yourself with the content and most certainly don’t compare your experience and the statement you need to write with the examples here. Nothing is more paralyzing in the writing process than comparing your material to that of another writer.

The best advice you can get when starting to write is to start early and get words on paper (screen, what have you). It’s a popular misconception that some people can write well and others can’t. With enough forethought (getting started sooner than later) and an appreciation of how you write best, you can write effectively, even compellingly. But the first step, the most important step, is getting words down.

Getting help with your Personal Statement

If you are comfortable starting your personal statement on your own, and would like to get feedback on a draft via email, send your draft to camille-socarras@uiowa.edu any time.  Allow up to two weeks for a response.


You may elect to receive more guided advising, in two parts: a workshop, and a one-on-one meeting

The Workshop (required for one-on-one advising)

Cate Dicharry will lead group workshops on best practices for writing personal statements.  You’ll hear about what residency program directors look for, how to show you have what they are looking for, and how to shine in your personal statement.  Prior attendance is a prerequisite for obtaining one-on-one advising.

Workshop dates (all times are 5:30 pm, on Zoom):

  • April 25
  • May 16
  • June 20
  • July 18
  • August 15

SIGN UP HERE (NOTE: if you attended a similar workshop lead by Cate and sponsored by a UIHC department, you do not have to attend this workshop to get one-on-one advising)

One-on-one Advising (prerequisite: workshop attendance).

Camille Socarras will review a draft of your personal statement an offer her advice.  All students are assigned a two-week period, from June to September, for this session.  A signup link will be emailed following attendance of the workshop, above.  A draft must be sent to Camille in the days prior to this session.  You may not sign up for advising outside your assigned period without permission.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that you choose a workshop date well before your one-on-one period so you can have a draft ready to review!


Curriculum Vitae

A CV provides a more comprehensive view of your background than a resume. As your career progresses, you may accumulate research and teaching experience and contribute community and institutional service in addition to your clinical practice. Starting a CV early in your medical career will save time later on. We've provided a few samples to get you started.