One of the keys to a strong residency application is to integrate the documents you need to provide. As you are providing the reader with a variety of information, it is important that you present a clear, unified message. It can be difficult to know what details are best to highlight, but there are tricks to help you identify. In this blog, we will discuss how to reinforce your application using your Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation.

What information should be included in both your LoRs and PS?

A strong Personal Statement is about one page and gives a well rounded view of the applicant, as well as details about your medical education journey. It is important to include examples of skills you learned, experiences that shaped you and patient stories. The goal in your Personal Statement is to paint a picture for the reader, rather than just list details. You should cite specific details to allow the reader to understand at what point in your life these events took place.

This is where you will have some crossover between your Letters of Recommendation and Personal Statement. Based on the experiences you include in your Personal Statement, you can get LoRs from those mentors to back up your claims. For example, if you mentioned an award or recognition, an LoR from the person that gave it to you would be helpful. 

In addition, you want the reader to get an idea of your personality, characteristics and skills. This is why it is vital that the author knows you personally. Both your Letters of Recommendation and Personal Statement are the chance for a Program Director to get to know you, outside of credentials. Presented with both, the reader should have an understanding of how you will be an asset to a residency program.

How can you integrate your Personal Statement with your LoR?

As you can see there is a common goal with these documents, it is a great opportunity to make your points clear. Below are some tips to integrate your Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation:

  • Determine what skills, achievements and qualities make you a strong candidate
  • Reflect any characteristics mentioned in both documents
  • Share available documents with letter writers
  • Utilize similar word choices
  • Try to obtain LoRs for experiences you would like to mention in your Personal Statement
  • Compare the documents to ensure the message is similar

If you waived the right to see your Letter of Recommendation, you may not have access to it. In that case, consider asking your letter writer what main points they plan on including (characteristic, skills, etc.). If appropriate, you can provide documents such as your CV or Personal Statement to assist with aligning the content.

A great way to help your letter writer is to provide your Personal Statement. If you’re unsure of where to start or if your Personal Statement is in good shape, reach out to our team for help! We can help you identify and highlight why you are the perfect residency candidate. Call (858)-221-8590 or email