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J Vet Med Educ. Spring 2019;46(1):28-34. doi: 10.3138/jvme.0617-071r. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Analysis of Small Animal Rotating Internship Applicants' Personal Statements.

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Department of Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, 19555 North 59th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85308 USA. Email: .
Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 USA.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 USA.
Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, Spring, TX 77388 USA.
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA.
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078 USA.


The primary purpose of this study was to identify themes that are consistent across veterinary internship applicants' personal statements and that are correlated with the statements' perceived overall quality. A secondary purpose was to investigate the reliability in personal statement quality scoring among six experienced internship candidate evaluators. One hundred applications to the University of Georgia Small Animal Rotating Internship program were evaluated. Each evaluator wrote a description of what he or she values in personal statements and his or her beliefs about content and presentation in high- and low-quality statements. After statement de-identification, each evaluator reviewed 15 randomly selected personal statements from internship applicants and assigned each a score ranging from 1 to 4 according to the following criteria: 1 = would not rank for an internship; 2 = would rank in the bottom third; 3 = would rank in the middle third; and 4 = would rank in the top third. A subset of these scored personal statements was chosen for qualitative analysis. A qualitative document analysis using grounded theory was performed for both the evaluators' descriptions of preferences in personal statements and the subset of personal statements. Agreement among evaluators' assigned scores was slight (Fleiss's κ = 0.11). Analysis of the evaluator statements and the scored candidate statements indicated that important factors in a personal statement include the applicant's ability to articulate experiences, to convey maturity, to demonstrate understanding of what an internship entails, and to describe reasons for pursuing an internship.


applicant evaluation; application; evaluator agreement; intent; intern; letter; post-graduate education; qualitative analysis

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