Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Applicants, want to be a resident but don’t write good? Here’s help

Thanks to a spammer trying to comment on some of my posts, I have been introduced to the world of online personal statement services.

On a website called internalmedicineresidency.biz, $54.09 (discounted to $43.27 if you order by June 30) will get you a 275-word personal statement. As the website points out, “Coming up with a personal statement internal medicine of this quality is far from easy, but it’s what our professional service is here to help you achieve.”

Under the heading “How to create a killer statement, item #2 is “Argue why you suit for the course.”

The site offers a sample personal statement that begins, “I’ve always admired those who work in the health care industry not only because my mother was one but the fact that these people are the ones who care for our well being.”

In case you are after bigger game, the same company offers similar services for obtaining a neurosurgical residency. This site says, “Getting a neurosurgery residency can give your career a boost which can have a positive effect at your future in this field.”

I must agree that if you want to become a neurosurgeon, failure to obtain a neurosurgical residency position is a definite disadvantage. In fact, I think it would pretty much preclude your becoming a neurosurgeon.

It may be more difficult to obtain a neurosurgical residency than one in internal medicine, but the price for a neurosurgery personal statement, at a mere $27.19, is much lower.

For some reason when you click on the Sample tab, the site displays a “Pre Med Personal Statement” followed by this paragraph:

Pre Med personal statement writing is nowadays proven as beneficial using online services. Nowadays, students are showing more interest for the pre-med programs because of its value and prospective value for the future medicine studies. There is a great competition every year for this program and thousands of students applying every year too. Here, it is indicating, how important it is to add your application with a personal statement. If you fail to satiate this factor, then admission success is hard to expect. Our service is definitely wise option here to come up with a neurosurgery residency personal statement and any winning personal statement.

If that doesn’t convince you to try this service, I don’t know what will.

A USMLE Forum lists 18 other websites that provide personal statement writing services. I wish I had time to check out all of them.

22 comments:

artiger said...

It doesn't surprise me that a personal statement for neurosurgery costs about half that for internal medicine; look at H&P's and progress notes, as well as length of office visits. The service probably charges by words and minutes.

Anonymous said...

Skeptical Scalpel,

My home school surgical dept reads the PS in order to see how honest a student is. For ex, in the interview they may ask about something you wrote in the PS to see how the story in person lines up with what is written. The university I matched at, they dont really read any of the PS because they always have a good idea who they want to select. I am curious as a former chairman, how critically did you and other faculty factor this into getting to know an applicant and selecting them? I imagine, by the time you see the step scores, observed them during a rotation, possibly had a phone call about them.. this PS holds very little value.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I found most personal statements unreadable. Over the years I might have seen 2 or 3 that were unique and truly insightful. Otherwise, not so much. I can't speak for other program directors but there is a published paper that agrees with me. I couldn't locate it but if I do, I will append it to this post.

Libby said...

My brain hurt trying to understand what they were saying, except that they really couldn't write their way out of a wet paper bag.
So, if a medical resident hopeful uses this particular service, they need not be surprized if their personal statement and other papers are placed in the circular file. It would reflect that they have poor judgement and are most likely a future Dr. Frank Burns (formerly of MASH 2077).
I think that the resume tells more than a simple contrived statement. "Beliefs make us what we are, Actions show who we are".

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Libby, I'm thinking of starting a service that edits personal statements written by websites. There should be plenty of business.

frankbill said...

Libby I believe it is the 4077 MASH
There maybe hope for Jethro Bodine to be a brain surgeon.

Les said...

A reverse phone lookup for the toll free number provided at internalmedicineresidency.biz doesn't pull up anything so it's probably just a scam. Two of the sites listed at the USMLE forum, DLA Editors and Residencystatement.com, seem to be legitimate writing/editing services for writers or students. I'm going to guess that the residency personal statement services are targeted to foreign medical school grads who are looking for a residency program in the US. internalmedicineresidency.biz probably set up a website to target these individuals. That's sad. Do US medical residency programs require TOEFL testing for foreign medical school graduates?

frankbill said...

As a no medical person I have to ask was this type of service available before the internet? If not then would guess most if not all of the services are scams.

Les said...

@frankbill, not so.Professional editors have been around for as long as there have been writers. They advertised in relevant journals or university post boards before the internet came along. Large universities, or at least medical schools, have their own editing departments who edit grants, articles and books published by faculty. I worked for a small company that hired such a company to assist us with grant writing. We payed them a flat fee and they would edit/vet out document before we sent it out. It's always a good idea to have someone else read a document before submission since all writers tend to become blind to their own grammatical errors. This is especially important for anyone who studied English as a second language, hence my question about the TOEFL requirement. Unfortunately, there probably are some shady companies out there.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

If a person cannot write her own personal statement without editing help from the outside, I would not want her as a resident.

I don"t think TOEFL is a mandated requirement. It's up to each program whether to require it.

frankbill said...

From the information on internalmedicineresidency.biz they seem to imply they do more then just editing.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Yes, It sounds like they will write the entire statement.

Jane Elspeth said...

LOL...I found your blog via a link in the guest posting re wearing scrubs in public. You ARE funny...

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Jane, thank you for reading my stuff.

Libby said...

Frankbill...aren't you glad I'm not your doctor? 2, 4 there isn't a difference right? 4077 MASH. I wonder what Hawkeye, Trapper & Frank Burns' personal statements would say if they were real.

Skep, I think you would do a humdinger of a business editing online produced, well, anything written.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Libby, thanks. About 5 years ago, I thought of doing what you suggested. No takers so far. Here's the link http://skepticalscalpel.blogspot.com/2010/08/freelance-editing-opportunity.html

Rita Akter said...

Personal statement is now a very common self-written document to be presented by a candidate for the assessment of his/her skills to the review committee. It is a binding item of an application of a good profile university. medical school application personal statement

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I usually don't post spam, but I couldn't resist this one. Would you purchase a personal statement written by someone who wrote the sentence "It is a binding item of an application of a good profile university."?

Anonymous said...

I guess this purveyor of personal pabulum's victims are IMG's from the third world who don't know English well enough to see how bad the statements are. For these buyers, the perspective of a leg up in a tough admissions process is potent stuff, more than capable of clouding jugdement.

Anonymous said...

Besides the above, the IMG victims would already have opened their wallets to pay for USMLE, travel to the US, applications, probably prep courses/books, etc. This makes them more vulnerable because they're already comitted to spending money on trying to go to the US and thus willing to fork out some more for the statement, which would be a relatively small expense in this context.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Yes, it must be very expensive to do all of that. I'm not sure it's worth the effort when it comes to personal statements though. I don't feel they are as widely read or factored in to the interview process as applicants think.

Pimentel Ase said...

The first step to writing an essay is to decide on a theme. You can talk about the qualities you have that could make you a successful medical professional in the future. neurosurgery residency personal statement

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