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.


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.

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  • Double spaced or single spaced? – BRSTCohomology Jan 3 '18 at 5:27
  • The NSF applications are single-spaced. – aeismail Jan 3 '18 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? – BRSTCohomology Jan 3 '18 at 5:28
  • If they only want one essay, two pages (ca. 1000 words) is probably reasonable. – aeismail Jan 3 '18 at 5:29

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