What’s the ideal length for my residency personal statement?
A residency personal statement should be under 750 words. I shoot for a length of 650-700 with my clients. Yes, ERAS allows a whole lot more. Don’t take the bait. You’ll be a laughingstock if you submit a personal statement that’s overly long or ridiculously short.
Here’s the rub: Everyone will tell you that this sucker needs to fit on a single page. BUT, everyone also has a different calculation for what that means.
Let’s face it, the single page rule is a pre-digital dinosaur. Most of us aren’t printing out these documents anymore. Fun fact: aspiring residents used to mail handwritten letters to their programs of interest! (For those who complain about customizing residency essays to specific programs, at least you don’t have to worry about your penmanship.)
All this begs the question: How many characters or words are equivalent to one page in ERAS? Well, if you type directly into the form or cut-and-paste from Word, you may get about ~3500 characters or so. You may also get some funky formatting issues. However, if you follow ERAS’s instructions and type your essay into a plain text editor, then cut and paste that text into the ERAS form field, VOILA! You may have enough room for up to 650 words.
Wishing you happy writing and a perfect residency match!