Ideal Personal Statement Length

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
yikes0117
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Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby yikes0117 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:39 pm

Most schools don't have a hard and fast page requirement for the personal statement, but UT, Harvard, Stanford, and Cornell all say 2 pages on their websites and they seem pretty firm about it. Does anyone know how tough they are on that requirement? I'm looking at 3 pages with 11 point font right now. I don't want to cut down my essay, but I don't want the length to be an automatic strike against me either.

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Moomoo2u
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby Moomoo2u » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:52 pm

2 pages is the gold standard. I can guarantee you can take stuff out and still get your point across.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:55 pm

Absolutely do not submit a 3-page essay to a school with a 2-page limit. It tells the adcomms two things:

1. I don't respect you (and by extension, your school) enough to follow your extremely simple instructions.
2. I'm not a good enough writer to cut my essay down.

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Moomoo2u
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby Moomoo2u » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:52 am

rinkrat19 wrote:Absolutely do not submit a 3-page essay to a school with a 2-page limit. It tells the adcomms two things:

1. I don't respect you (and by extension, your school) enough to follow your extremely simple instructions.
2. I'm not a good enough writer to cut my essay down.


3) I didn't take the time to read your page limits/put together a sloppy application.

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PDaddy
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby PDaddy » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:32 am

Two pages! Any school will LOVE IT, and if you do it well it will impress. I actually wrote one that was one page, and it turned out well. It took me three months to do it (I edited it about 50 times), but the schools apparently liked it as I gained admission with it.
Last edited by PDaddy on Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PDaddy
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby PDaddy » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:34 am

Moomoo2u wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:Absolutely do not submit a 3-page essay to a school with a 2-page limit. It tells the adcomms two things:

1. I don't respect you (and by extension, your school) enough to follow your extremely simple instructions.
2. I'm not a good enough writer to cut my essay down.


3) I didn't take the time to read your page limits/put together a sloppy application.


How about this one:
4) "I'm too lazy to put in much effort or to write more than one personal statement. Admit me anyways, because I'll work hard in law school."

shoeshine
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby shoeshine » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:56 am

2 pages is TCR.

If yours is 3 you need to cut it down drastically.

yikes0117
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby yikes0117 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:10 am

What you all seem to be saying is that each of my essays should be two pages, even if the school website says 2-3 pages or "no limit per se" like Yale, Columbia, and Chicago. I will have to cut down my Harvard and Stanford essays, but surely there's not a penalty for a 3-pager when the specific admissions website okays it. Right?

thederangedwang
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby thederangedwang » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:20 am

yikes0117 wrote:What you all seem to be saying is that each of my essays should be two pages, even if the school website says 2-3 pages or "no limit per se" like Yale, Columbia, and Chicago. I will have to cut down my Harvard and Stanford essays, but surely there's not a penalty for a 3-pager when the specific admissions website okays it. Right?


There's no HARD penalty in the sense that it isnt against the rules and so they won't outright ding you. However, it would be hard to suggest that there would be no SOFT penalty. Soft in the sense that they would get bored and/or skim through your ps and/or wonder why in the heck is this so long.

Just imagine the life of an adcomm, they read hundreds and hundreds of essays and ps a day. When they get to yours, the typical reaction would "groan, this ps is soo long.....".....

Yes, you are correct in that they won't penalize you, but that doesnt mean you won't get penalized...does that kinda sorta make sense?


The general rule is 2 pages...even if the school says there is no limit or that they would accept up to 3

sangr
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby sangr » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:01 pm

what size font is the golden standard?

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rinkrat19
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:06 pm

sangr wrote:what size font is the golden standard?

How many of these threads do we need?

The answer is still 11 or 12 point, serif font, approx. 1" margins. (If the school specifies margins, font and/or size, obviously use what they specify.)

sangr
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby sangr » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:12 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
sangr wrote:what size font is the golden standard?

How many of these threads do we need?

The answer is still 11 or 12 point, serif font, approx. 1" margins. (If the school specifies margins, font and/or size, obviously use what they specify.)


apologize for my asking but. what is serif font? i typed it and it doesnt seem to be in the database. are you saying a shortened version?


also, im sure they prefer 12 and 2 pages but..how much "soft" penalty could there be if u chose 11? i know this question is contingent upon many factors..but just wondering about the general tendencies.

thank you

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rinkrat19
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:19 pm

sangr wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
sangr wrote:what size font is the golden standard?

How many of these threads do we need?

The answer is still 11 or 12 point, serif font, approx. 1" margins. (If the school specifies margins, font and/or size, obviously use what they specify.)


apologize for my asking but. what is serif font? i typed it and it doesnt seem to be in the database. are you saying a shortened version?


also, im sure they prefer 12 and 2 pages but..how much "soft" penalty could there be if u chose 11? i know this question is contingent upon many factors..but just wondering about the general tendencies.

thank you
If they don't require 12, 11pt is 100% fine.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=serif+font

Serif fonts have little tabs ("serifs") on the ends of the lines making up each letter. Times New Roman, Garamond and Cambria are all Serif fonts. At the top of this screen, the Top-Law-Schools.com logo uses a serif font.

Sans serif ("sans" meaning "without") fonts do not have little tabs ("serifs") on the ends of the lines. Arial, Helvetica and Calibri are sans serif fonts. All the text on this screen besides that title logo is sans serif. Sans serif fonts are non-standard for large blocks of hardcopy text, and thus unacceptable for a personal statement or other essays.

MumofCad
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby MumofCad » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:31 pm

Stanford does not require 2 pages: "Enclose a statement of about two pages describing important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application."

Shoot for 2 pages, if you need to go over a line here or there, so be it (except at Harvard and I know nothing about UT since its not on my list). From what I have seen from successful applicants in the T-14, most chose to expand (usually an added paragraph or 2) on their Harvard PS for other schools with less restrictive page limits. Namely, I've seen PS of 2 page for Harvard go into a 3rd full page at NYU, Stanford, and Chicago without any apparent consequences (they got $$$ at the NYU and Chicago, 2 respective candidates). If you are writing a bunch of additional essays though, I would strictly stick to the 2 pages.

Mine is exactly 2 pages, but I chose to tailor it to specific universities in lieu of a "why" x statements, especially where YP could be an issue. Those go into a third page to accomplish the task. It happened to fit with my PS, but obviously this wouldn't work for everyone.

Just be sure that everything is relevant to accomplishing your task and that it is well-edited. Get alot of feedback before you assume that a 3 pager is a finished product. Almost every PS posted on here has serious points where it can be sliced down and its often difficult to see it in your own writing.

sangr
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby sangr » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:59 pm

MumofCad wrote:Stanford does not require 2 pages: "Enclose a statement of about two pages describing important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application."

Shoot for 2 pages, if you need to go over a line here or there, so be it (except at Harvard and I know nothing about UT since its not on my list). From what I have seen from successful applicants in the T-14, most chose to expand (usually an added paragraph or 2) on their Harvard PS for other schools with less restrictive page limits. Namely, I've seen PS of 2 page for Harvard go into a 3rd full page at NYU, Stanford, and Chicago without any apparent consequences (they got $$$ at the NYU and Chicago, 2 respective candidates). If you are writing a bunch of additional essays though, I would strictly stick to the 2 pages.

Mine is exactly 2 pages, but I chose to tailor it to specific universities in lieu of a "why" x statements, especially where YP could be an issue. Those go into a third page to accomplish the task. It happened to fit with my PS, but obviously this wouldn't work for everyone.

Just be sure that everything is relevant to accomplishing your task and that it is well-edited. Get alot of feedback before you assume that a 3 pager is a finished product. Almost every PS posted on here has serious points where it can be sliced down and its often difficult to see it in your own writing.


nice insight,

what font size did you use

MumofCad
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby MumofCad » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:17 pm

I used 11, TNR, 1 inch margins to Harvard's standards, then stuck with it for the modifications I made for other schools.


ETA: FWIW, I also stuck to those specifications on my resume to give it a uniform look and would do the same if I had to put in addenda. Keep it all looking uniform or they may wonder why your PS looks smaller and wider than everything else in the package. The default on Microsoft word is 1.25" margins on the left and right and this would look a good deal thinner than your PS, leading them to wonder if you had fudged the PS margins or font size (even if you didn't).

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pupshaw
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby pupshaw » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:10 pm

Sorry if this is obvious or easy to find--I clearly fail at search--but when they say two pages, is that single-spaced or double-spaced?

Thanks!

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rinkrat19
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:11 pm

cerealdan wrote:Sorry if this is obvious or easy to find--I clearly fail at search--but when they say two pages, is that single-spaced or double-spaced?

Thanks!
Just like everything we've turned in since word processing was invented, it's double-spaced.

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Moomoo2u
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Re: Ideal Personal Statement Length

Postby Moomoo2u » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:14 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
cerealdan wrote:Sorry if this is obvious or easy to find--I clearly fail at search--but when they say two pages, is that single-spaced or double-spaced?

Thanks!
Just like everything we've turned in since word processing was invented, it's double-spaced.


+ 9999x10^999999

there are 50,000 threads answering all of these questions (along with what the schools themselves say on their websites).




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