Typical length of PS

soulofmpatel

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    Verbose.

    Remember, a picture is worth a 1000 words.

    I'm just uploading this as my ERAS personal statement.

    4189.jpg


    Short. Succinct. Simple. Open for interpretation. Everyone wins.

    This post made me collapse onto the floor in laughter. Well done sir!
     

    Samoa

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      hey


      I was just wondering, how many words do you guys have in your PS or what is the "norm." I am a subscriber to the "quality not quantity" school :cool:

      395 (2/3 of a page). I find that the easiest way to improve an essay is to write it out, then go back and chop off the first paragraph.

      Try it, you'll see.
       
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      Hallm_7

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        Mine was around 1300 words. Definitely a longer one, but I doubt it will hurt me and it could very well help with some programs. My school held a PS workshop, and the general feeling we got was 1000 words give or take. However, they gave us examples of very some short PSs that were also highly successful. The short PSs were generally very creative like an "I Am" poem. Going into the writing process I was targeting 1000-1200 words.

        A high school teacher once told me when that writing is like a skirt......make it long enough to cover what needs to be covered but short enough to keep someone's attention.
         

        Law2Doc

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          A high school teacher once told me when that writing is like a skirt......make it long enough to cover what needs to be covered but short enough to keep someone's attention.

          Yeah, but you have to know your audience. The attention span of a busy clinician is going to require you to show a LOT more leg than you think. As mentioned above, a lot of schools and websites are counseling that something between 700-800 words is probably the maximum you ought to be shooting for, because PDs probably won't be spending enough time per PS to get through much more than that.
           

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            Good advice above (although I like your HS teacher's advice, because its cute).

            A lengthy interesting PS might be fine for a boring Sunday evening when I've got nothing else to do, but in some cases, we are handed the stack of interview apps the day before your interview and there is nothing less than I want to do than read overly long personal statements.

            As L2D notes, we have other jobs to do and are happy to participate in the interview process, but a PS twice as long as the usual, if not 4 times as long, is not likely to hold my interest. It WILL be skimmed through.
             

            masterofmonkeys

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              well I've gotten interview invites to all the schools I've applied to that have invited anyone yet. My PS was 1.75 pages.

              IMO it all depends on how well you flow. Granted I'm not a PD or an application reviewer, just a dude who loves to write.

              The first problem is that many medical students choose their specialty rather late in the game. Many if not most don't know what they want to do coming into third year. If you've only decided on your specialty less than a year ago, you don't have a very long story. Now, your enthusiasm might be such that you have a great amount of detail beyond an ortho prospect saying "I love the gym and I want to cut", but detail is not the same thing as plot. Detail is tedious. Detail slows pace. Detail in and of itself is not your friend.

              The next issue is that most med students are not writers, in my experience. At worst, you come off stilted. Best to say your piece and leave it at that. At best, it reads much like a research paper or a news article. Neither pace nor flow.

              Now, even if you can flow, that doesn't mean you have pace. 500 words can "read" slow or fast. It's a matter of energy and enthusiasm conveyed through the written word. You have to ratchet up the speed with which the audience reads your piece. It's a very real phenomenon. I've read a few essays where the student was able to flow, but not able to produce the energy to get a piece read quickly.

              That is by no means a bad thing, and great authorship is great authorship, but you have to know your audience. In this case a hurried and overburdened PD.

              If you've got a story, if you can flow, and if you can imbue your piece with energy, you can easily double the length of an average PS. If you can't, you'll only be hurting yourself.

              Now, I could also be absolutely 100% full of crap, and it's entirely possible that they didn't read through my entire personal statement and invited me solely on the strength of my application and LORs. All I know is that there was no way to tell the story shorter than I did, and I'm happy with the result. *shrug*
               

              IceMan2008

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                I have already submitted my PS about two weeks ago and assigned it to my programs of choice. Yesterday I was reading my personal statement that was on eras and I realized that I made a terrible error. I submitted an earlier draft with some clear mistakes in it. Do you guys know of any way to resubmit and save myself from having to scramble this season?
                 

                NotAProgDirector

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                  I have already submitted my PS about two weeks ago and assigned it to my programs of choice. Yesterday I was reading my personal statement that was on eras and I realized that I made a terrible error. I submitted an earlier draft with some clear mistakes in it. Do you guys know of any way to resubmit and save myself from having to scramble this season?

                  You can reassign a PS anytime you want. It will replace the PS in each program's application. If they printed out your prior PS, then they will have both copies. It's the best you can do at this point.
                   

                  Blesbok

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                    I don't see it in "word format". ERAS simply prints it out in plain text.

                    I played around with last year's ERAS this AM. It appears that if you set the font to Courrier 10 pt, and set the margins to 0.3 on the left and right, and 0.8 at the top and bottom, that's just about what I'd see. I cut some of the PS's from last year, and it's accurate to +/- 1 line.

                    Whether ERAS 2009 will be similar is unclear, but they didn't announce any changes to PS's.
                    Do you happen to know if word was set to "no spacing" or "normal" in the formatting. The only reason I ask is because it makes about a 2" difference by the end of the first page. I assume no spacing, but I am not sure.

                    Thanks in advance.


                    PS. I am an idiot and clicked a link from another thread not realizing that this was a thread from last year.:laugh:
                     

                    sore eye asses

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                      thanks for the great advice everyone. I formatted my statement at 10 font courier new and it comes in about 1 paragraph over a page, but it's only ~800 words. someone here said there is a correlation with ~1000 words. where's the discrepancy?

                      oh, I did the same thing as blesbok. my bad.
                       
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