Many REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) require a personal statement or related essay as part of the application. I am wondering, how long is too long? My essay is right now 1000 words (but it could be ~1300), and my worry is that the people reading it will lose interest in an essay that long.

1 Answer 1


It's worth noting that the personal and research statements for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship are restricted to two pages each. So if you're writing more than that for a REU, you're probably writing too much.

  • Double spaced or single spaced? Jan 3, 2018 at 5:27
  • The NSF applications are single-spaced.
    – aeismail
    Jan 3, 2018 at 5:28
  • Also, what if the program "only" requires one essay? Does that mean that they are willing to read 3-4 pages of my personal info AND my research interests? Jan 3, 2018 at 5:28
  • If they only want one essay, two pages (ca. 1000 words) is probably reasonable.
    – aeismail
    Jan 3, 2018 at 5:29

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