You’ve reached that agonizing part of the season where your residency application efforts may have hit a dead end. Despite your best efforts, you may not have received as many interviews as you wanted. There’s a chance something was amiss with your application materials whether it was an error on your ERAS Common Application or a weak Letter of Recommendation. One of the most common places residency applicants can make a mistake is the Personal Statement.

If your residency application season isn’t going the way you want, you may want to consider getting professional assistance to review or rewrite your Personal Statement to make sure it is as strong as it can be in preparation for the Post-Match SOAP.

But, finding professional help can prove to be a hassle in itself. So many companies out there want to take advantage of IMGs who are just trying to improve their chances without being ripped off. You need to be careful when seeking professional Personal Statement help and not to be taken in by the wrong company.

While searching for the right company, try to ask yourself:

Is the company offering a guarantee, or 100% Match rate? I cannot stress this enough, there is no magical service in existence that can guarantee you a residency position by using their services. There are far too many factors in the medical residency application and your personal and professional background which need to be in order. While a well-crafted Personal Statement will certainly improve your chances, it won’t secure you a residency position if you do not fulfill a program’s requirements or have another outstanding error on your application. So, if you see a guarantee, flee!

Does the company have editors and writers trained to focus solely on Personal Statements? The best services have writers whose entire job is centered around medical residency Personal Statements. There are companies out there that have their editors working on Personal Statements, CVs, Letters of Recommendation and a slew of other documents at the same time. You know what they say about people who multitask, “They can do a lot of things at once…poorly.” When a person is spread out over a lot of different tasks, they may not be as careful with your Personal Statement as you want them to be.

You also want editors who are trained with knowledge specific to Personal Statements and medical specialties. Any friend with good grammar skills can look over your document. You need editors who know how to make your Personal Statement specialty specific with the right vocabulary to ensure Program Directors can tell you know what you’re talking about.

Does the company value quantity over quality? In this world of fast food and high-speed internet connection, it’s easy to get impatient with a service that doesn’t get your document back to you in a matter of hours. What’s important to understand and accept is that any rush job is just plain not going to be as good as the work of editors who are able to really take time and work on your statement. Now, it’s understandable to be a little impatient if the Post-Match is growing close, but unless it’s an absolute emergency, let your editors do their jobs the right way.

How does the company develop your Personal Statement? This may seem like common sense, but to be absolutely clear, NO TEMPLATES. Any company that uses a template is off limits. If you know a template was used, you better believe Program Directors will know too. You want your Personal Statement to be developed in a way that comes off as natural and has a good flow to the language. Templates are stilted and stiff– not exactly how you want to present yourself to Program Directors.

How old is the company? Now, older doesn’t always mean better, but like a fine wine, you want a company that has aged well and stood the test of time. A lot of companies pop up overnight and disappear just as quickly. Usually, these companies are in it to make a quick buck and give you sub-par service. Older companies are still around because people come back to them over and over, refer their friends, and provide a good quality service. Just remember, new is not the same as improved.

With these factors in mind, you should be able to find the right Personal Statement help to aid you during the Post-Match SOAP. Just follow the clues until you find a company that fulfills all of these criteria.