making your personal statement shorter - what's critical info?


Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2008
  1. Pre-Psychology
hey guys,

I have my personal statement for most schools ready (which are like 3 pages long with 1.5 spacing) but a couple of schools ask for no more than 2 pages, double spaced. What is the most critical information to put there? I just don't feel that I can describe my research and clinical experience, talk about my goals and interests and make a point as to why I am applying to these programs in just 2 double-space pages.

What should I focus on, what do I cut out? I am sending a vitae with applications.



Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2008
Near Baltimore, MD
  1. Psychology Student
I've had a lot of professors who I am interested in working with express that I should specifically pinpoint them (and any others) I'd want to work with in grad. school in the personal statement. That is something I will definitely be including in all of mine.


Oracle of the Sheet
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2007
Denver, CO
  1. Medical Student
Just my 2 cents, but since you're including a CV, I'd leave out anything that is on your CV but somewhat unrelated to your research interests and therefore doesn't really need to be fully described (unless you learned something specifically applicable from the experience that you couldn't just tie in elsewhere). Also, anything that rest of us have all done is probably unnecessary, so, for example, saying you wrote (and through the project learned to write) an IRB proposal, a research proposal, or a research paper (but did not have it published) is probably unnecessary, since the fact that the research was performed would already have indicated that you did those things (and if it wasn't published or presented anywhere outside the classroom, then probably 99% of psychology majors have attained those achievements).


RU experienced?
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2007
Queens, NY/Edison, NJ
  1. Psychology Student
I agree with glasscandle on the naming of the professors, and apumic on the not duplicating what's already on your cv.

I'd also add that I found it useful to go into the research that I'd like to pursue, and even elaborate a bit more on not only who you'd like to work with, but why. If you can tie your research in with the professors' research interests, they'll have a better idea if you're compatible. Or, at least make the professors think, "Hey, that's a good idea, I *would* like to work with [applicant] on that!"
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