tweaking = cheating?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
haveaniceday111
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:29 pm

tweaking = cheating?

Postby haveaniceday111 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:17 am

A few questions about personal statements.

Has anyone used 1.5 space instead of double space?
Also, has anyone changed the margins to, say, .8 inch instead of 1 inch?

I've written a few drafts of my personal statement, and if I trim any more, I feel like it'll either be too bland or I'd have to take out important information.

A bit about me - I'm a Peace Corps volunteer, and I want to write about my projects, my previous jobs in law firms (in Asia and the US), being bi-cultural and multi-lingual, HS/college debate, all of which I feel is incredibly important to the story. I'm happy with my existing structure (I've weaved all the elements into a narrative), but I'm at the point of playing with fire by exceeding the page limits.

Any thoughts?

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kazu
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby kazu » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:19 am

Chances are something can/should be cut, but you don't have the necessary distance to see it anymore.

I feel like you have way too many topics you want to write about, maybe a more in-depth one about just a couple of those would be more effective than trying to do all of them in the limited space you have.

pelmen74
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby pelmen74 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:20 am

Read the directions. Some schools specify font size and others don't, some have page limits and some have suggestions. Play with the distance between letters, lines etc., if you really need to, but make sure you follow directions. Two pages double spaced means two pages doubled spaced, but it doesn't mean 12 font.

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bk1
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby bk1 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:52 am

This isn't cheating, it's willfully ignoring directions. They may reject you for it, they may not, but it isn't as clear cut as if it were cheating. I would follow their directions, but if you feel like being a rebel, go for it.

Secondly, you can always trim your statements. If you think you can't, you're wrong. Have a decent editor review it or post it here.

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PDaddy
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby PDaddy » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:09 am

Even the definition of "double-space" varies. Block style double-spacing allows one to write an essay that almost resembles a single spaced essay. If you use block style double-spacing, just make sure there are at least 6 or seven paragraphs on each page, with no more than 7-8 lines on average per paragraph (the number of lines in each paragraph should vary, as well). I would also say that, if your essay is RRREEEEAAAALLLLYYYY good, adcoms will give you a pass on the rigid rules. They are most concerned with page limits (which they will often let you exceed by a line or two) and font sizes.

But if they give you a "word limit", watch out! That means the number of words, font size and the spacing will be closely examined. Stay within the word limit...including your name, LSAC number and the heading.

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Dany
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby Dany » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:23 am

I don't care how good the essay is, because if I've been reading 1" margined, double-spaced essays all day, then get to yours, even before I read it I'm thinking "This asshole can't follow directions and couldn't just edit a sentence or two out." Not worth it. I promise you it can be cut down. The last thing you want to do is to try to cram too much in or try and get away with weird margins/spacing/font size. Just get someone (preferably someone who is a good writer, and not a close friend) to thoughtfully edit. Your PS will be better for it, and you won't be "that guy" with the three-page PS crammed into two.

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Dany
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby Dany » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:27 am

And the definition of double-spaced does not vary in this context. I guarantee you they want 2.0 spacing. If you want to get cutesy with definitions, fine, but in my opinion, it's just not worth it.

Note: I hope I'm not coming off as rude, it's just that you NEVER know what the pet peeve of an admissions dean is. Why risk ticking them off with the style or formatting of your essay, even before they read it?

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2807
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Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby 2807 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:48 am

My PS was at about 6 pages when I stopped. I now have it down to nice 2 pager and am happy. I thought I could not edit a word... at first!

Here is what I did: Copy/paste (so you save your precious original) and then do some major chopping. You know the parts that are self indulgent and so forth... Just chop away for fun, and see how it reads.

The copy/paste allowed me to experiment without the guilt/fear. I could always go back and read my long version and pat myself on the back....

By making major chops/edits (sounds like you are way ahead of me already, I had alot to consider in 6 pages), you will see that the flow and the info still make it through. It just takes guts to chop and rest and come back later to re-read. (Also, use the space at the end of paragraphs like this sentence does...................------------------------------------------------------->]

I was able to crowbar in a few good lines in the awkward and wasted space at the end of paragraph. Max out those spaces! Be creative with short staccato statements/sentences to help squeeze in the last drop.

Now, I cannot even remember what I took out, and it seemed so important at the time..

good luck, you can do it!

haveaniceday111
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:29 pm

Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby haveaniceday111 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:24 am

thanks for your feedback everyone.
I think I knew the answer before I asked it, but, it's always good to hashed it out, right? ;)

I've been hacking away at it, and I've gotten it down from 4 pages double-spaced to about 2.5, so, I'm making progress, and once it's more polished I'll load it up.


thanks again!

haveaniceday111
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:29 pm

Re: tweaking = cheating?

Postby haveaniceday111 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:26 am

eskimo - you're not being rude at all. trust me, I needed to hear it. :)




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