Law School Discussion

when schools don't specify spacing

when schools don't specify spacing
« on: December 28, 2004, 08:30:08 PM »
When schools don't specify that they want a double spaced personal statement do you think it is ok to have a 2 page single spaced statement?

ilsox7

Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2004, 08:31:29 PM »
That's pretty much what I had...though it may have been 1.5 spacing.  I think it looks much better that way and it's also not like 4 pages long, which just appears to be bad.  I'd say about 1200 words is right.

JMO

Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2004, 08:33:37 PM »
IMO, no one likes single-spaced documents.  I'd do at least 1.5.  I just like the way 1.5 looks.

If you really want to squeeze more in, use a smaller font style and use 10 point.  No less than 10 point, though.

rk83

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Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2004, 08:34:16 PM »
No, I think you should always double space. Schools read thousands of these essays, be succinct! I'd say no less than 11 font though

Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2004, 08:36:30 PM »
The problem with double spacing is that my personal statement is two full pages single spaced now, and I'm not sure what I can take out:)  When schools specify two pages that is tough.

ilsox7

Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2004, 08:38:59 PM »
Use 11 pt font, decrease margins, and then try 1.5.  Either way I don't think it's an issue.  Loyola Chicago requested 2 essays, no more than 1 page each.  That is what they want for a personal statement.  No way I am sending in 2 double spaced pages.  I just used 12 pt font, stretched the margins, and condensed as much as I could.

bruin

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Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2004, 09:20:31 PM »
I would go with 11 point, 1.5 spacing. Adcoms do not want to read single-spaced papers. Do what you need to do with the margins and soforth, but don't go below 1.5 spacing. Double would be best, but it seems you can't condense enough.

Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2004, 10:12:54 PM »
My pre-law advisor was crystal clear about this one:

No more than two pages and no less than 11 point font, double-spaced, and 1" margins.

I trusted her, and I agonized until I was able to get my 1200 word draft down to a 700 word final copy that fit those parameters. I think it's snappier that way too. A 1200 word PS doesn't seem long if you're reading about yourself, but it seems a lot longer if you're reading 50 each day.

TDPookie1

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Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2004, 10:21:44 PM »
I would go with 11 point, 1.5 spacing. Adcoms do not want to read single-spaced papers. Do what you need to do with the margins and soforth, but don't go below 1.5 spacing. Double would be best, but it seems you can't condense enough.

agreed.

2 pages single-spaced is too long, no matter how you adjust the formatting.  except for boalt.  i think they were 4 pages, double spaced.

SleepyGuyYawn

Re: when schools don't specify spacing
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2004, 10:46:46 PM »


Sorry, but I think you need to go back to the drawing board.  One of the most challenging aspects of writing a personal statement is trying to say something effective about yourself in a 2 page, double-spaced document. This is important for an AdCom.  I think I'm a pretty good writer and I certainly know that writing something like a personal statement is incredibly difficult.  It should take you 30 hours + and probably a month to write.  That might sound nutty but a key to good writing is work and time (letting it sit for a few days between revisions).  A personal statement isn't like a short story; it has to not only be impeccably written, but has to effectively explain you in a couple pages. 

If I were you, I would go to a pre-law adviser at your University (at U of Michigan, where I went UG, there were several in the career office).  Talk to somebody about your personal statement and your issue with its length.  Hopefully they can make some good suggestions about how to keep much of your work but refocus it so you can make it shorter.

I think it looks a bit bad when you have 11 point font, reduced margins, or 1.5 spacing.  I think it's just too obvious that you aren't a good enough writer, or didn't take enough time, to write it in the standard format.  The one exception is a little trick I use: when you have a document that has a couple of lines on an extra page, go to "Page Setup" and make the bottom margin .99 instead of 1".  I know it sounds nutty but often Microsoft Word will bring the extra couple lines onto the two page document and still have what looks like a one inch margin.