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Jun 17, 2020
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Is it just me, or it is a lot more difficult to write PS in under a page on ERAS now? My PS is 758 words and it is about 1 page + 1 paragraph. My residency PS was longer and was well under 1 page. I guess they changed the spacing or font size since a few years ago? Any tips/recommendations?

Thanks.
 

Animalcules

2+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2015
376
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You are overthinking it. But I am sure you could cut back a paragraph and distill it down if you spend another hour on it. Let someone else read it.
 
Jun 17, 2020
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0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You are overthinking it. But I am sure you could cut back a paragraph and distill it down if you spend another hour on it. Let someone else read it.
I have tried and it’s very difficult to do so. It’s “only” 5 paragraphs. Are there any fellowship PDs or chief residents in here that can give an idea of what they look for?
 
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Animalcules

2+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2015
376
336
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
It depends what you are applying to. A top, research-heavy academic fellowship position, a community program, etc. You need to tailor to where you are applying at what you are looking for. Do you have someone who you trust that can read and edit it for you?
 
Jun 17, 2020
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0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
It depends what you are applying to. A top, research-heavy academic fellowship position, a community program, etc. You need to tailor to where you are applying at what you are looking for. Do you have someone who you trust that can read and edit it for you?
I’m not looking for a research heavy program, community is fine or lower-tier Uni. My letter is tailored well but just struggling to trim it down and so are others. Will keep trying I guess.
 

WinslowPringle

5+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2014
397
686
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Fellow [Any Field]
There is no personal statement I’ve ever read that was *that* good that it had to be longer than one page. It’s a personal statement, not a Dickens write-alike attempt.

Remove adverbs and adjectives. Remove any “purple prose” about helping people. If you’ve dedicated a whole paragraph to developing a simile or metaphor or showcasing your work with starving orphans in low SES countries, cut the paragraph to a sentence or remove entirely. Don’t repeat yourself outside of tying paragraphs together or your final tie-in. Aggressively outline the thing and cull the things that don’t fit. Have someone read it for you.
 

guytakingboards

2+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2016
115
142
Status
Attending Physician
There is no personal statement I’ve ever read that was *that* good that it had to be longer than one page. It’s a personal statement, not a Dickens write-alike attempt.

Remove adverbs and adjectives. Remove any “purple prose” about helping people. If you’ve dedicated a whole paragraph to developing a simile or metaphor or showcasing your work with starving orphans in low SES countries, cut the paragraph to a sentence or remove entirely. Don’t repeat yourself outside of tying paragraphs together or your final tie-in. Aggressively outline the thing and cull the things that don’t fit. Have someone read it for you.
Total agreement.

Call it overdirect but i don't like a lot of fluff in personal statements. When I wrote my fellowship statement I stuck to the tried and true 5 paragrapher:

1) Intro
2) Why I'm interested in the field
3) Humblebrag/CV regurg of why I'm awesome (for the job)
4) What I hope to see/learn in fellowship
5) Conclusion - wrap up and maybe touching on future career plans like academics vs PP.

Keep it succinct and on point.
 

GoSpursGo

Allons-y!
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2008
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Does anyone have recommendations for fellowship PS writing services?
Please don't do this. Nobody feels like they write"good" personal statements, but paying someone to write your personal statement is a waste of money.
 
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Doctor Bob

Fellowship aPD
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Feb 12, 2009
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I have tried and it’s very difficult to do so. It’s “only” 5 paragraphs. Are there any fellowship PDs or chief residents in here that can give an idea of what they look for?
Ok, so I know this question is a month+ old, but still a good question.
I'm looking to get a sense of who you are. I'm not interested in "the case that made you realize you loved specialty x" or "the amazing mentor who made you realize you loved specialty x" or "the family member with the disease that was treated by someone in specialty x".
From the rest of the application I get pages and pages of data points which I can put into an excel spreadsheet and assign point values to and churn out a ranked list of applicants. But the PS is an unrankable thing. It gives me insight into the kind of person you are. Unless it's formulaic (which so many of them are) in which case it's a useless piece of paper. It's your chance before an interview to alter your position in the mob, and to be more memorable as the ranking process goes on.

Does anyone have recommendations for fellowship PS writing services?
The only reason to use one of these is if English isn't your first language and it comes across pretty clearly in your writing. But even then all you really need is someone to read and edit what you write and any of your residency faculty should be happy to help with this.
 

guytakingboards

2+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2016
115
142
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Attending Physician
Ok, so I know this question is a month+ old, but still a good question.
I'm looking to get a sense of who you are. I'm not interested in "the case that made you realize you loved specialty x" or "the amazing mentor who made you realize you loved specialty x" or "the family member with the disease that was treated by someone in specialty x".
From the rest of the application I get pages and pages of data points which I can put into an excel spreadsheet and assign point values to and churn out a ranked list of applicants. But the PS is an unrankable thing. It gives me insight into the kind of person you are. Unless it's formulaic (which so many of them are) in which case it's a useless piece of paper. It's your chance before an interview to alter your position in the mob, and to be more memorable as the ranking process goes on.
On most points I agree but I have slightly different perspectives.

In my one year of interviewing residency applicants as a chief resident, the personal statements broke down into 3 categories for me:
1) Unique: Gave me better insight into the applicant. Well-written. Definitely a positive.
2) Formulaic: Mostly useless as you said but possibly had some talking points for the interview.
3) Red flags: Actually hurt their case, as the writing either had serious flaws or had me thinking "wtf, why are they talking about this?!?"

IMO, category 2 is a safe zone. A lot of people say the PS is more likely to hurt than help and it's absolutely true. I read a lot more category 3 red flags than category 1 positives.
 

TraumaLlamaMD

Licensed to chill
5+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2014
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My fellowship PS was three paragraphs. I had multiple PDs thank me for keeping it very straightforward and on-point.
 
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Jun 23, 2019
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I'm looking to get a sense of who you are. I'm not interested in "the case that made you realize you loved specialty x" or "the amazing mentor who made you realize you loved specialty x" or "the family member with the disease that was treated by someone in specialty x".
Could you give examples of what you mean here? I am thankfully done with applying to things that require personal statements (I hope) but I'm curious what sorts of things you look for in "who you are." Do you mean research/career interests? Outside of medicine interests? From the perspective of a prior applicant, I felt like the advice was to "avoid writing a generic statement if you can" but at the same time anything else seemed like a gamble that can really backfire and if you ask 10 different PDs what they look for you'd probably get a variety of answers.
 

Doctor Bob

Fellowship aPD
10+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2009
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Could you give examples of what you mean here? I am thankfully done with applying to things that require personal statements (I hope) but I'm curious what sorts of things you look for in "who you are." Do you mean research/career interests? Outside of medicine interests? From the perspective of a prior applicant, I felt like the advice was to "avoid writing a generic statement if you can" but at the same time anything else seemed like a gamble that can really backfire and if you ask 10 different PDs what they look for you'd probably get a variety of answers.
Uhhhhggghh... it's tougher to say "here's how to do it" than it is to say "here's what not to do"
And you're right... it is very person dependent. But generally speaking, people reading 50+ (100+... 500+... whatever) personal statements are maybe going to remember a handful of them. So standing out is good... unless it's for the wrong reason in which case it's bad.

If your application is otherwise good, then write something formulaic and forgettable. It will neither help or hurt but your application can otherwise stand on its own.
If your application is... less than optimal... then take the gamble with trying to make your PS stand out because you need it to.

Maybe go with...

"In lieu of a lengthy personal statement, let me just say you're looking dapper today as you sit there struggling through a mountain of applications. Let me assure you that I'm interested in specialty X, and I would make a good resident/fellow. Now, when you finish application reviews a few minutes early today because you didn't have to read a long-winded personal statement, I hope you'll think kindly about my application. Thanks."

That would be really risky but... if it worked the payoff would be phenomenal.

...

...

...

Sorry this hasn't been very useful
 
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