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Author Topic: PS Length Question  (Read 508 times)

jparsenal87

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PS Length Question
« on: October 17, 2008, 09:12:01 PM »
Ok, so I have been working on my personal statement for a few weeks now, and I am having this dilemma. Some of the schools I am applying to have a less than 500 word limit, while others do not specify a limit (and others have a limit of more words, about which I am not really concerned). So for a long time, I thought it would be impossible for me to trim my PS into less than 500 words. However, with the help of a savvy English professor, I came to realize that a sizable portion of my essay was really unnecessary, and by removing it I was able to add more substance to what remained. Now, I am at about 500 words exactly (about a page and a half double spaced), and I really like how my essay flows how it is. My question is this: If a school has a limit of, say, 1000 words, would a personal statement of 500 words be frowned upon at all? Would a school, figuring that it was written for another limit, consider this lazy? So the bigger question is, can I submit this statement to all schools, regardless of their word limit, or should I tailor the essay to each school's length requirement specifically?

sheltron5000

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Re: PS Length Question
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2008, 03:34:05 AM »
If you like your essay as it is, use it for the schools with really short limits.

Now, as for the other schools. Unless you think your essay ROCKS at 500 words, I'm sure you have more to add. The word limit is less important for most schools than the two page rule of thumb. In other words, they say 1000 words because it is a nice round number, but your PS will look longer than everyone else's if it is over two pages, and will look shorter if it is 500 words.

For those schools I would suggest adding another paragraph, perhaps you can tell a nice story that sets a memorable scene or something. Two pages is about 750 words BTW.

MOST IMPORTANT: quality matters more than anything else, if you think adding another word will make you essay LESS good, than by all means keep it the length that it is. For me though, I am struggling with just the two page limit, I feel like there is too much about me to be contained in a space that small. I'm sure that's true for you too.

Just my two cents, based on everything that I've read. Good Luck!
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augusta

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Re: PS Length Question
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2008, 12:06:18 PM »
If you like your essay as it is, use it for the schools with really short limits.

Now, as for the other schools. Unless you think your essay ROCKS at 500 words, I'm sure you have more to add. The word limit is less important for most schools than the two page rule of thumb. In other words, they say 1000 words because it is a nice round number, but your PS will look longer than everyone else's if it is over two pages, and will look shorter if it is 500 words.

For those schools I would suggest adding another paragraph, perhaps you can tell a nice story that sets a memorable scene or something. Two pages is about 750 words BTW.

MOST IMPORTANT: quality matters more than anything else, if you think adding another word will make you essay LESS good, than by all means keep it the length that it is. For me though, I am struggling with just the two page limit, I feel like there is too much about me to be contained in a space that small. I'm sure that's true for you too.

Just my two cents, based on everything that I've read. Good Luck!

TITCR. Your 500-wd essay should be perfect for most schools, anyway. Berkeley seems to be the only one that both lets you write more and gets annoyed if you don't write more. If you have a solid page and a half you should be good to go.
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