How long should my residency personal statement be?
A residency personal statement should be under 750 words. I shoot for 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 something 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. Did you know that 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. Probably too short! You may also notice 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 should have plenty of room for 650 words.
Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like guidance on how to optimize those 650-750 words: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you happy writing and a perfect residency match!