Learn how to write a great personal statement in 2023 and view personal statement examples. If you’re applying for Neurology Residency, you should not only prepare to answer any of the that may come your way, but should first focus on writing a strong Personal Statement that makes the admissions team eager to invite you to an interview based on the qualities, skills and experiences you detail in your statement!
Neurology is a field of medicine that deals with the management and treatment of various diseases in the brain, impaired function of the brain, brain trauma and injury, as well as the spinal cord and autonomic nervous system and related functions. Your Neurology Residency Personal Statement must accurately detail your passion, experience, goals and qualifications as they relate to the field to give the admissions committee a good idea of who you are as a person, as a professional, and as a potential Neurologist.
Neurology Residency is a moderately competitive program, and is generally regarded as “easy to match” to for those who have completed their MD program and have any additional research, experience, passion and qualifications specific to the field of Neurology. Whether you’re Canadian and applying through , or American/International and using , your Personal Statement is an integral portion of your application and should highlight several aspects of your experiences, including your personal ties to the field, academic career, goals, values, and professional experience in this speciality that, when all considered in combination, make you stand out as a candidate for residency in the field of Neurology!
Firstly, you should always check to see what specific requirements are listed for your application. In general, most Personal Statement’s range from 750-850 words, and include the following details:
Your Personal Statement should not include any irrelevant personal details, and it should not simply restate or list accomplishments that are readily available for review on your or additional portions of your application.
Additionally, if you do choose to address potential concerns, such as poor grades or gaps, it’s important that you do so in a genuine and concise manner, and don’t dwell on the problem, but rather, offer information about the lesson you learned, or details on how things have improved since the situation in question occurred.
Check out these examples of what to include in your residency personal statement:
“It's no secret that there are so many ways that our brains can fail us, but it's also true that when they're working properly, our brains are capable of amazing things. And, some people rely heavily on the dedication and care of brilliant neurologists in order for their brains to function well and allow them to be capable in their everyday lives.
Throughout various points in my medical program, I saw patients who defied the odds set in place for them, and many found their way out of seemingly impossible situations. In particular, during my recent elective in Neurology, I met a young man who was paralyzed due to a rare form of spinal stroke, and was told he would never speak or breath unassisted, move or walk again. With the help of the chief neurologist, after only a few weeks, he is now beginning to speak again, is breathing unassisted, and has shown that he is able to move his upper body. He had a positive outlook, despite his difficult situation, and the chief neurologist working with him—who I spent four weeks shadowing— matched his optimism in order to ensure his patient remained motivated, and did all that he could to present the patient and his family with the best treatment options available, and explain the intended outcome tied to each suggestion. These people and stories inspire me to keep working hard, learning more, and improving my own skills so that one day I can help patients in similar situations. I firmly believe that the broad field of neurology, combined with the expertise of a great neurologist, can help restore independence and quality of life in many cases, and sometimes, help patients achieve a quality of life or relief from various symptoms that they didn’t think was ever possible. What a rare and special opportunity it would be to provide that kind of care to a patient!
I first started thinking about becoming a neurologist when I was an undergrad student at X University. I had a long-time interest in neuroscience—but it wasn't until taking classes on brain disorders that the path became clear for me. In those courses it was clear how much work went into understanding these conditions: researchers had spent years studying them from every angle imaginable before forming any conclusions about how best to treat them. When I saw this kind of dedication from professionals who were already experts, it was clear to me that I had a long journey ahead of me, and I was elated to come to that realization.
Throughout my medical school journey, I completed various clinical rotations, and met many wonderful people, but I thrived the most with brain-trauma patients, traumatic injury patients, as well as dementia patients. I conducted patient interviews (neurology, emergency medicine and family medicine) and I assisted with exams, and took part in team discussions and shadowing opportunities. I also spent the past three years volunteering at a Retirement Residence in order to further explore my passion for neuroscience while simultaneously helping those with memory and cognitive issues. There, I was responsible for curating an activity schedule for the hobby room on the days that I volunteered—I often chose puzzles, crafts, music stations, and ‘baby/pet care’ stations— depending on each resident’s preferences and cognitive abilities, several of them found great joy in attempting an activity at each station.
During my latest clinical rotation, my superior and I, at times, did not see eye-to-eye, thus resulting in a slightly unfavorable score recorded on my transcript. However, from this experience I learned how to stick to my moral obligation as a medical professional, how to address my concern over potential misconduct in a more professional manner, and feel I came out of the experience far more observant and aware of expectations in the medical community. I have great respect for my supervising clinician and understand why the score was awarded, but I do not feel it accurately depicts my ability and passion as a future neurologist. We have since reconciled our differences and I understand the advice I was given; doctors are human beings, there is certainly room for human emotion and disagreement, but I know that there is a proper way to address any issues or concerns I have in the medical field.
It would be an honor and a privilege to complete my residency in the field of neurology. Working and learning alongside renowned professionals would provide me with a unique and beneficial learning experience I feel I can’t possible achieve elsewhere, and would send me down a path of success as I pursue a rewarding career as a dedicated, compassionate neurologist.”
When I was ten years old, I knew that I wanted to be a neurologist. That may sound like too young of an age to make such a concrete decision, but my certainty has remained unwavering throughout every professional and academic experience I’ve had. Prior to this age, I had loved the idea of helping people who were in pain and giving them a sense of relief, but my desire to not only work in medicine, but with the brain, only blossomed after my aunt was diagnosed with a brain tumor very unexpectedly at the age of 40. Next to my parents, she is my closest relative and she wouldn’t still be alive and thriving today if not for the incredible neurology team and surgeon at X Hospital.
Even after her benign tumor was successfully removed, my aunt suffered from various neurological impairments and related issues, such as Arthritis. Her neurologist, who met her for the first time after she’d collapsed and had a seizure and was discovered to have a tumor that required surgery, has continued to provide her with support, guidance, and exceptional care for the past 17 years…and he does so to each of his patients. And, throughout the past 17 years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending several appointments with her—which only helped my curiosity surrounding neurology flourish into determination to study in the field and to one day, become an expert who could help people like my aunt.
In high school, with both medicine and neurology in mind, I took as many science classes as possible, including biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry and physics. These classes helped me realize that the human body is an amazing thing—it's like a living machine! And, as incredible as the body is, I also learned what great number of things could go wrong, and what a skilled neurologist could help with. I also learned more about neurological disorders and brain trauma as a teen and become more fascinated with the human brain as time passed. Later on, in college, my passion for neurology grew when I took courses related to neuroscience and psychopharmacology. One of my favorite courses was one where we learned about how drugs affect our brains, which made me realize how important it is to have a good understanding of how our brains work before prescribing any medications. I had already seen my own family member navigate trial-and-error situations with medication, but it became cemented into my mind how very unique each and every single brain is, and what a strong (but delicate) organ it is. One medication may, in fact, not work for one patient, but could work brilliantly for another. I came to understand that this is important to consider and should be practiced throughout my future years in medicine. I knew then I’d not only address each patient with sincerity and respect, but would never accuse a patient of misunderstanding their symptoms of side effects, and would weigh all potential risks and options when considering prescribing a drug.
During my time in medical school, I have volunteered a few hours weekly to a local hospital providing medical care for homeless people in our area, which I thoroughly enjoy. This experience in particular taught me so much about compassion and empathy; it also made me more aware of how important it is for doctors to have these qualities when treating patients with complex medical conditions (like neurological disorders). Throughout medical school, I have also been fortunate to have had several opportunities to complete clerkship and elective components of my program and clinical rounds in public and private health settings, and work with wonderful patients of all ages, including pediatric and geriatric care, gynecology, and neurology. I came to notice that, no matter the age of the patient, neurology and the proper assessment of underlying or diagnosed neurological conditions is imperative, and that the same disorder can present itself uniquely among each patient. Some conditions are particularly mysterious and strenuous (both on the patient, and the doctor striving to make the correct diagnosis); learning about these conditions first-hand gave me adequate insight into the complex nature of neurology, and a further appreciation for the field.
I am excited about applying for this residency program because it will give me an opportunity to learn more about the field that has been so pivotal in my life, as both a hopeful future neurologist, and as a human being with compassion and with the desire to help people…like my aunt, as well as members of the community who need a neurologists’ help.”
Check out this video for more examples of residency personal statements:
“My interest in neurology developed when I was young, watching my grandparents battle Alzheimer's. They were a part of my life from birth until their deaths, and I watched them go from vibrant and active people who were always full of stories, to people who couldn't remember their own names or where they lived. Seeing them struggle with this debilitating disease terrified me initially, but as I grew to understand it and question the ‘unknowns’ surrounding Alzheimer’s, it made me determined to do whatever I could to help others avoid such a fate. Through growing to understand the cruel nature of this disease, I began to understand many diseases and came to realize that there was an entire field dedicated solely to the study of the brain, to brain injuries, to brain diseases and all other aspects of it. The day I discovered neurology was a pivotal moment in my academic and professional journey...even though I was only a young teen!
Along with having a long-time interest in neurology, I have also always been interested in medicine—it was my plan from day one. When I was younger, my family would joke that if I wasn't going into medicine, then maybe I’d become an actor who played a doctor, because all I ever did was dress up and ‘play doctor’ around my house. They quickly realized it wasn’t just a phase, or innocent fascination, but more of a calling, as I quickly grew from playing doctor to reading books, watching documentaries and analyzing every medical series on TV by the time I was fifteen. Those books, educational materials, and shows made me even more determined to pursue a career in medicine, especially when I realized there were inconsistencies in many of the TV dramas that took place in hospitals! I knew I wanted to study hard to achieve my dreams of becoming a doctor, and, I knew I wanted to specialize in a field that would benefit from every dedicated, intelligent mind working in it. I’ve had many great experiences during both my undergraduate and medical education so far. During my undergraduate years, I took courses in neuroscience and psychology, focusing on the brain and how it works. I also conducted research during my first year of my MD program with a professor who specialized in neuropsychology, studying how people process information differently depending on their life experience. This experience gave me a perspective into how neurology can be used to help patients understand themselves better as well as improve their lives through proper treatment, it also gave me perspective into how every brain is truly unique, and the importance of treating each patient with the same compassion, but with a ‘fresh lens’ and open mind. Through this research, I truly learned, and saw first-hand how injuries, trauma, diseases and even simple differences in upbringing and socioeconomic status can impact a person’s though process, and I believe this will help me greatly as I pursue neurology, as I’m not only understanding of the complexity of the human brain, but I’m compassionate and empathetic toward my patients, too. Since then, I have taken various courses in neuroimmunology in medical school, and began volunteering at an Alzheimer's Association chapter last year, both out of curiosity and interest in learning, and, as a way to feel closer to my late Grandparents. It has been an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience.
My favorite experience in the medical field thus far, however, has been working one-on-one with patients in both the general neurology department (for interviews) and in oncology (pre and post-op examinations) during my rotations, getting to know their individual stories, and doing everything I can to make things better for them, or at the very least, put a smile on their face during a troubling time. Geriatric neurology and of course, the study of diseases that tend to affect senior populations, such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s, have always appealed to me the most, but I’ve recently found that pediatric and general neurology is just as interesting—whether or not I’d go on to specialize past general neurology isn’t something anyone can know for certain at this time—but whatever path I take as a future neurologist, I’d be thrilled to have the experience to learn alongside professionals who can help me become the best I can be, who can support me while I strive to reach my full potential as a neurologist and who, perhaps, will share a mutual passion for studying Alzheimer’s and related neurological disorders.”
1. Are there prompts for Personal Statements?
ERAS and CaRMS do not include prompts, and this is why it’s important that you write the perfect personal statement that is specific to your chosen field, and outline the steps that you’ve taken to familiarize yourself with it!
2. Is my Personal Statement an important component of my residency application?
Yes, it is. Your Personal Statement is a very important component of your residency application because it is your opportunity to share what makes you a qualified applicant worth consideration and express, in your own words, a bit about your personal and professional history as it pertains to neurology and your desire to pursue it. This is information that cannot be detailed on a CV, resume or transcript, so it’s vital that you approach your Personal Statement as a great opportunity to stand out.
3. Is my Personal Statement related to my CV?
Your CV exists to list and highlight your academic and professional achievements, so they are quite different. While you can certainly mention any relevant points included on your CV (such as a research publication or award you’ve won) in your Personal Statement, you should ensure that you do so briefly, and focus on explaining what makes you a great candidate for residency.
4. Is Neurology a competitive field?
Neurology is considered to be ‘average’ in terms of competitiveness, as it is in demand and fairly easy to match in compared to other fields.
5. What should I include in my Personal Statement?
Your personal statement should include the following:
- A firm statement highlighting why you’re a good fit for neurology residency, including a bit about your background, passion and professional experience for context.
- Any brief description of personal ties you have to the field or specific hospital.
- Your professional goals and values.
- Any relevant details about your academic and/or professional achievements as they relate to the field.
6. How long should my Personal Statement be?
It can vary (always double check what your application requirements are!) but in general, 750-850 words is considered to be the common length for Personal Statements!
7. I have gaps or poor grades reflected in my application, should my Personal Statement address these?
You can certainly take the time and space to detail any noticeable gaps, or poor grades, in your Personal Statement—after all, it’s an opportunity to explain your shortcomings! However, you do not have to do so, and if you do, be sure to do so in a brief, concise manner that offers a positive take on a negative situation. For example, “I learned X as a result of [this particular experience that resulted in a gap]”.
8. I require additional support to help me write a strong neurology Personal Statement, where can I go?
can help you! At BeMo, we offer 1-on-1 preparatory services for students pursuing graduate school and professional programs, including medical school and residency! We offer that can help you with all components of your application, such as interviews, Personal Statements, , and anything in between!