the ERAS personal statement

Hey those of you ahead of me, I am contemplating my future during my winter break and starting to give some thought to this. I did see a little about it in Iserson - but at first glance didn’t feel like I’d gotten enough of a road map to know how to tackle this writing job. Any other resources out there? And what do you call it, anyway?
Is this whole ERAS thing like the on-line AMCAS, where I’d be able to start tinkering before I officially sign up? I know it’s silly, but I’m terrified to go to the site and try it out for fear that somehow I will push the wrong button and end up disqualifying myself from the match or something. ohmy.gif
Feeling stupid here!

ERAS & the NRMP (the match) are two distinct entities. And, you would not be allowed to register anyhow…enrollment is closed. So, you can feel free to go to the sites and 'educate' yourself.
ERAS is theoretically like AMCAS & AACOMAS – an application clearing house: send in all of you app materials, select programs to apply to and they ship it all to them officially & electronically. All of you ERAS app is completed on-line. In essence, through answering a 14+ page questionnaire, you are building a CV of sorts – an ugly one, but everyone's is equally ugly. And, of course, the questionnaire is constructed with the more traidtionally-aged applicant in mind; so, to each interview I bring along a high-quality, laser-printed copy of my full CV to give to each & every interviewer.
A part of the ERAS app is a personal statement & it will no less painful write than that one you did for medical school. I labored over mine for a few weeks until I was finally satisfied.
Again, a hallmark of success is the EARLY submission of your application!
The ERAS app was relatively lengthy & painless. The system saves your app so that you can work on it in sessions. One thing that I did that seemed to make life much simpler – I printed off the questionnaire and answered each question in MS Word, off-line. This allowed me to do all of my editing, spelling & grammar checking on my own 'puter and then upload it to the site. Much quicker! And, I have a record of my answers readily accessible.

After a certain date, your stuff is no longer available on ERAS so download several copies. They come in very handy at later dates. The nice thing is that all of your numbers are there in one document which is handy. I downloaded my application; made several copies and even scanned it into the computer so it is readily available for any use.
You can start working on your residency personal statement now. I can't tell you how much of a chore this is when you are trying to study for Step II and get all of your letters of recommendation together. I got a letter from each of my preceptors on each rotation. I also had a letter from fans that were not exactly preceptors. The reason for getting your letters together now or in the near future is that the letter writers get deluged at the same time next year. If you have your stuff done, you can just do the application and that's it. As Dave said, the application process is pretty user-friendly.
I gave my letter-writers a little packet that included my CV and my personal statement. It helps to get these materials together pretty fast. Also, this is a good time to think about electives that you want to take next year and get them lined up. My best electives were Radiology, Gastroenterology and Family Practice/Geriatrics. I tried to take things that I knew would make me a better intern. GI was off the scale because GI complaints cut across Medicine, Surgery and Family Practice. I would not take any electives that will be repeats in your residency. If you decide to do F. Practice, don't do OB or Peds. If you decide to do the Internal Medicine route, do SICU or PICU so that you have that knowlege. PICU at Inova Fairfax is off the scale and an excellent learning experience. SICU at Washington Hospital Center would be a good one for you too. You get to put in lots of lines and so forth.
Get those letters in place as soon as you can. August is scramble month for your class so have your letters in hand before the scramble. You can have your letter writers send them to the Dean of Students who is the one that does your Dean's letters. I tried to ask for a letter as soon as I was three weeks into a rotation during third year. I ended up with so many letters that I had a bunch to choose from and a good variety.
Take Step II early as you can. Take it as soon as you have finished Internal Medicine. Get that exam out of the way so there will be nothing but electives between you and graduation.

Hi there,
I just thought that I would post my personal statement that ran on ERAS for Surgery:

“While I was at Turin, I found a surgeon famed above all others for his treatment of gunshot wounds; into whose favour I found means to insinuate myself, to have the recipe of his balm, as he called it, wherewith he dressed gunshot wounds. And he made me pay my court to him for two years, before I could possibly draw the recipe from him. In the end, thanks to my gifts and presents, he gave it to me…Then I was joyful, and my heart made glad that I had understood his remedy, which was like that which I had obtained by chance.