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How big of a deal is it if my ERAS personal statement is longer than a page? Mine is 1.5 pages. I really like it as is and don't want to change it

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Hello,

I'm hoping you guys can help me out with this.

I'm applying to internal medicine and have finished writing my personal statement. I really like it as is and I would prefer not to change it. I keep thinking of ways to shorten it, but they all end up taking away from the overall essay.

ERAS opened yesterday and so I cut and paste my essay in to see how long it is and it comes out to roughly a page and a half. By my count, you can fit ~800 words on a page, and my essay is just under 1200 words.

To me, it doesn't seem like a huge deal. It takes the reader roughly 2 additional minutes to read the extra bit of the essay on the second page. But every student and their mama's are always saying 'PERSONAL STATEMENTS MUST BE A PAGE OR LESS".

I just want to know if this is real or just something people say. Like are my chances at any residency actually going to be hurt if I submit a personal statement longer than most others? Or will I be judged by the content of the essay more than the length?

Any advice is appreciated!
 

rokshana

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No one is reading past the first page, so if you want whatever is at the end of the 2nd page to be noticed, move it up.

Multiply that 2 extra mins by 2-4000 applications...no one has time for that...you want to make it easy for the reader to get through your application.
 
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GoSpursGo

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The advice is real.

You're not writing an essay, you're giving your potential interviewers talking points for when they meet you in person. If you write more than a page, some of the points you might really want to have brought up in an interview could get lost as their eyes glaze over.
 
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CalmAndCollected

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Hello,

I'm hoping you guys can help me out with this.

I'm applying to internal medicine and have finished writing my personal statement. I really like it as is and I would prefer not to change it. I keep thinking of ways to shorten it, but they all end up taking away from the overall essay.

ERAS opened yesterday and so I cut and paste my essay in to see how long it is and it comes out to roughly a page and a half. By my count, you can fit ~800 words on a page, and my essay is just under 1200 words.

To me, it doesn't seem like a huge deal. It takes the reader roughly 2 additional minutes to read the extra bit of the essay on the second page. But every student and their mama's are always saying 'PERSONAL STATEMENTS MUST BE A PAGE OR LESS".

I just want to know if this is real or just something people say. Like are my chances at any residency actually going to be hurt if I submit a personal statement longer than most others? Or will I be judged by the content of the essay more than the length?

Any advice is appreciated!
Like any piece of writing, no matter the length, it should be concise, effective, and engaging. If your PS is all three of these, then it should be fine. I personally don’t think a longer PS is bad (mine was 1.5 pages long as well) as long as those words count for something.

Also think of it this way, no one is going to withhold an interview for having a long PS, but it is possible you might lose out on an interview for not having one that is interesting enough. If the reader of the app is interested in you, they will be glad to have more info, and if they aren’t, even the shortest PS would fail to engage them.

But do make sure to get advice on your PS from people with good writing skills who have an interest in your success.
 
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hallowmann

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Cut it further. I managed to shrink mine to a page with something like ~860 words, but it was a painful process. I thought it was perfect around 1400. By the time it actually got down to 860, it was actually better.
 
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raiderette

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My mentor once made the comment that she doesn't want to read the notes of any intern that can't be concise in the personal statement.
 
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I missed this memo a few years ago and I’m a PGY2 now so I don’t know if it exactly breaks your application.

However, have someone objectively look at it (not your mom or best friend or significant other) and help you figure out what can be cut. The extra length may not kill you like SDN will have you believe, but it won’t help either.
 
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GoSpursGo

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The extra length may not kill you like SDN will have you believe, but it won’t help either.
I think you’re being a little hyperbolic—nobody is saying a PS being 0.5 pages over is going to “kill you,” but rather what you said—it’s not helping you, and potentially distracting from the best parts.

And for the record, figuring out what really is the most important part of what you’re trying to say is a skill you’ll need going forward if you ever decide to present at a conference or publish. All of my abstracts start out probably 25% over the word limit, and then I have to get creative on how to trim it down.
 
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deleted1016251

Are you serious about submitting a personal statement that is longer than other applicants?
Do you think PDs want residents that march to their own drummer and will not conform to norms and standards?
Is this a trolling post?
Is this a trolling post??
 

gutonc

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Is this a trolling post??
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MuDPhuD3

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My PS is 694 words and it is 6 lines onto the 2nd page of the ERAS preview. Is the ERAS preview exactly what PDs see? Are others like the OP citing 800+ words fitting onto a page using the ERAS preview to make this determination?

I am copying from Word --> Notepad --> ERAS. My PS is 5 paragraphs and there are no spaces between paragraphs, so I don't think I'm wasting space.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

HemorrhagicShock

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Is this a trolling post??

The fact that this was your response to his IMHO informative post suggests you should REALLY and HEAVILY consider the sentiment in his questions.

Nobody wants to read that BS in your personal statement unless you have a truly unique or engaging life story or experience that brought you to EM. And because you were probably not told this at any point in your life until now: 99% of applicants don't, and this likely applies to you too.

Let me guess - do your hobbies include rock climbing, mountain biking, and craft beer?
 
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