The Fellowship Personal Statement- What’s The Deal?
After the popularity of my initial article called How To Write A Killer Radiology Personal Statement, I’ve had multiple requests to write a post on How To Create A Fellowship Personal Statement. Now, I have to admit that there are lots of similarities between the two. And, many of the same writing techniques still hold. So, I would recommend that you click on the link above to remind you of some of the basics. However, you will find a few unique differences that I will share. Let’s have at it!
The Fellowship Personal Statement- Does It Matter?
Well, to start with, even though personal statements tend to be one of the least critical parts of the application, they are a bit more important in fellowship. Why? First and foremost, fellowship directors have fewer data points than residency directors. For instance, applicants may have a Deans letter and USMLE scores, but they are out of date. And, extracurriculars do not play as significant a role in the fellowship application since residents do not have as much time. Moreover, core examination results do not change the equation at all because they come back too late.
So, what’s left? The application, recommendations, interviews, and then, finally, the personal statement. So, by the sheer decreased numbers of relevant items to peruse, you will notice that the personal statement must play a more substantial role in the decision for fellowship.
To balance that out, however, most radiology fellowships, currently, are less competitive than the same application to residencies. Of course, that statement probably does not include some select programs such as the independent interventional radiology fellowships. But for most applications, if you take the higher weighting and the less competitive nature of fellowships, both factors probably cancel themselves out.
Finally, it’s not just my words. Instead, it comes directly from the mouth of several fellowship directors that I know. Most do not put too much stake in the personal statement. (Similar to residency directors!)
So, what’s the take-home point of all this? Well, even though marginally more influential, the personal statement still has little sway on most fellowship applications.
OK. How Should The Fellowship Personal Statement Differ From Residency?
Now that we got that brief introduction out of the way, here is the million-dollar answer to the question. And, it is rather simplistic. In addition to all the general recommendations for a residency personal statement, you need to add why you are specifically interested in this particular fellowship. And, you should also incorporate the reasons and motivations for you to select a fellowship in this area.
Unlike the residency personal statement, you want to rely less on extracurriculars and more upon your experiences in residency, not medical school. And, unless they pertain directly to the fellowship, your statement should not emphasize the motivations that initially led you to go to medical school or residency. Of course, however, if you continued to pursue an impressive extracurricular or motivation that began before residency and is relevant to your fellowship, you can add it.
What should you add to show your interest in your fellowship? It could be a radiofrequency ablation device if you want that fellowship. Maybe, you secretly desire to interview patients and miss close patient contact as a mammographer. Or, it could be your love for untangling wires and hoses as former electrician or plumber (notice the touch of lousy humor- that can be a useful tool!) Whatever you choose, you need to make it specifically known why you have decided upon this career path. And, show not tell why you have made that decision.
Where Does This Information Belong?
If you click on the following template link (Fellowship Personal Statement Template), notice that in the first section, you have the “hook” to reel that program director into your application. (That still counts!) Well, you need to apply the reasons you are interested in radiology to this first paragraph. Makes sense, right? Get to the point!
The Fellowship Personal Statement- Not So Hard Right?
To make a great fellowship personal statement, all it takes is a few steps. First, take a look at my Fellowship Personal Statement Template and the link to How To Write A Killer Radiology Residency Personal Statement. It’s an excellent summary if I say so myself! Then, make sure to add your specific motivations for fellowship in your first paragraph. And, finally, explain any other extracurriculars or specifics during your residency that may be relevant to your fellowship. There you have it. Now, you have the system that you will need to make that exceleent fellowship personal statement!