How short is too short?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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How short is too short?

Postby JakeL » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:50 pm

As many know, there are a few schools out there that limit personal statements to 500 words. I've widdled mine down to about 475 partly because of this. While I suspect that this will be a fine length for pretty much any school that doesn't have a 4-page limit, is there a possibility of getting dinged for your PS being too short?

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Re: How short is too short?

Postby Marionberry » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:52 pm

There's a possibility of getting dinged for your PS not telling them enough about you for them to want to admit you, or at least trust that you're not a total loon. If they give you 3 pages to do that and you only use one, it might give the impression that you didn't care enough to write a longer statement.

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Re: How short is too short?

Postby poo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:55 pm

Most of the schools I am applying to put a limit of 4 pages, and I'm going with 2 pages.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: How short is too short?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:03 pm

I dunno... mine was about +/- 580 and it worked great for my purposes. Then I also had a version of the same thing that was almost exactly 500 for the schools that liked that as a limit. If the school asks for 2 pages, there is nothing wrong with 1.5 pages.

I think going slightly shorter is generally better than slightly longer because it shows that you can write succinctly and communicate efficiently. This is all, of course, assuming that you are able to reveal and communicate aspects about yourself within that limit.

Just do bear in mind that committees read dozens of these a day sometimes. And if you are the guy who gives a painfully long one, it better be d*mned good. And if you are the shorter one, it really can leave a mark on them... in a refreshing way, if it is a good one.

Of course, some schools (such as Berkeley) actually do prefer the long ones. So in that case, you may want to make it longer. But in any case, I have found that most schools don't seem to mind much if you don't hit the "limit." Do keep in mind it is the page limit, NOT the page target.

That's my 2¢.

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Bronx Bum
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Re: How short is too short?

Postby Bronx Bum » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:56 pm


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