Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

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shinobi99
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Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby shinobi99 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:02 pm

On the Columbia website it says:
While there is no official page limit, a good guideline is two double-spaced pages, using readable fonts and margins. Your personal statement/essay should be clear, concise, and an example of your best writing. It should also be free from spelling and grammatical errors.


I currently have three full pages for my PS with double-spaced and font 12 Times New Roman. Since Columbia does not have a maximum number of pages, what should I do? Cut the essay down to two pages or keep my essay as it is? I really like how my essay is right now, and don't know if I can maintain the overall feel if I start cutting sentences left and right.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:05 pm

Chances are better than good that your essay would be improved by getting trimmed.

Get it to around 2 1/4 pages, at the most.

shinobi99
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby shinobi99 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:45 pm

What are your thoughts about using font size 11 Times New Roman? Some people on the forum says that's okay. Is this the consensus?

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sabanist
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby sabanist » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:55 pm

shinobi99 wrote:What are your thoughts about using font size 11 Times New Roman? Some people on the forum says that's okay. Is this the consensus?

12 pt Garamond seems to be the hivemind CR. I'm a poor and don't have Word at home, so I typed it all up in TNR and changed the font at the library before uploading to LSAC. IIRC it ended up being a similar size to 11 pt TNR.

milanproda
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby milanproda » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:01 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:Chances are better than good that your essay would be improved by getting trimmed.

Get it to around 2 1/4 pages, at the most.



Why? How do you know this?

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sinfiery
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:02 pm

milanproda wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:Chances are better than good that your essay would be improved by getting trimmed.

Get it to around 2 1/4 pages, at the most.



Why? How do you know this?

Chances are =/= know.

chances > good based on common TLS thinking which probably came to exist from experience

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rinkrat19
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:36 pm

sinfiery wrote:
milanproda wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:Chances are better than good that your essay would be improved by getting trimmed.

Get it to around 2 1/4 pages, at the most.



Why? How do you know this?

Chances are =/= know.

chances > good based on common TLS thinking which probably came to exist from experience
Of the hundreds of personal statements I've seen posted here, ranging from terrible to stellar, commented upon by some really good and experienced writers and editors, I have NEVER seen a too-long essay get a reaction of "well, you're not following the very simple instructions provided by the school, but don't worry about it; your essay is just so good that they won't care."

Adcomms have to read hundreds and thousands of these things. You want to be pithy.

Writers get emotionally attached to their own words. It's an extremely rare writer who can trim all the fat from their own stuff.

If the person with the one-in-a-million life story can make his point in 2 pages, so can you.

milanproda
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby milanproda » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:25 pm

Why wouldn't the school write down: please limit your personal statement to two pages, like schools such as Cornell and Harvard? If the admissions officers are so against reading long essays, it would make sense to let applicants know that.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:48 pm

milanproda wrote:Why wouldn't the school write down: please limit your personal statement to two pages, like schools such as Cornell and Harvard? If the admissions officers are so against reading long essays, it would make sense to let applicants know that.

Because there IS the rare person whose story and writing makes a longer essay worth reading so they don't want to categorically forbid longer essays. 99.99% of us are not that person. But if you really want to take the risk of making the adcomms roll their eyes, feel free. It's not my career; I'm already in law school.

milanproda
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby milanproda » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:02 pm

You did not answer my question: why would the school not write something similar to what Cornell and Harvard write, if the admissions team is keen so to "roll their eyes" at a longer personal statement? Many schools make it clear how long, even the font size.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:35 pm

milanproda wrote:You did not answer my question: why would the school not write something similar to what Cornell and Harvard write, if the admissions team is keen so to "roll their eyes" at a longer personal statement? Many schools make it clear how long, even the font size.

Because they're allowing for the extraordinary longer statement by not making a concrete limit. :roll:

Just trim your shit down. I can almost guarantee you that you aren't a good enough writer--because almost nobody is--to justify making them slog through an extra page. And if you think you are, you're probably wrong. That's just probability.

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banjo
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby banjo » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:59 pm

I submitted about 2.75 pages for my PS and a one-page Why Columbia and two half-page addenda. It was the only application where I clearly went against TLS wisdom. No idea how it will turn out, but I gave it a lot of thought and just wanted that extra stuff in there for CLS specifically (pm if you want more info). So...you're not alone I guess.

milanproda
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby milanproda » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:22 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
milanproda wrote:You did not answer my question: why would the school not write something similar to what Cornell and Harvard write, if the admissions team is keen so to "roll their eyes" at a longer personal statement? Many schools make it clear how long, even the font size.

Because they're allowing for the extraordinary longer statement by not making a concrete limit. :roll:

Just trim your shit down. I can almost guarantee you that you aren't a good enough writer--because almost nobody is--to justify making them slog through an extra page. And if you think you are, you're probably wrong. That's just probability.



There is TLS wisdom for you.

I will say though, that this site does have some amusing, though insecure, characters.

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sinfiery
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby sinfiery » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:34 pm

milanproda wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
milanproda wrote:You did not answer my question: why would the school not write something similar to what Cornell and Harvard write, if the admissions team is keen so to "roll their eyes" at a longer personal statement? Many schools make it clear how long, even the font size.

Because they're allowing for the extraordinary longer statement by not making a concrete limit. :roll:

Just trim your shit down. I can almost guarantee you that you aren't a good enough writer--because almost nobody is--to justify making them slog through an extra page. And if you think you are, you're probably wrong. That's just probability.



There is TLS wisdom for you.

I will say though, that this site does have some amusing, though insecure, characters.

You're the dumb ass who interpreted "chances are" as "knowing" and now you're giving him sh*t based on your continuous inability to distinguish chance from certainty?

The fuck is wrong with you

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PickMe!
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby PickMe! » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:41 pm

milanproda wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
milanproda wrote:You did not answer my question: why would the school not write something similar to what Cornell and Harvard write, if the admissions team is keen so to "roll their eyes" at a longer personal statement? Many schools make it clear how long, even the font size.

Because they're allowing for the extraordinary longer statement by not making a concrete limit. :roll:

Just trim your shit down. I can almost guarantee you that you aren't a good enough writer--because almost nobody is--to justify making them slog through an extra page. And if you think you are, you're probably wrong. That's just probability.



There is TLS wisdom for you.

I will say though, that this site does have some amusing, though insecure, characters.



Dude, you obviously want someone to tell you what you want to hear. I'll do it: Submit the three pages. It's fine. I'm sure the adcomms will appreciate the extra effort on your part.

milanproda
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby milanproda » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:00 pm

Pick me, I am not looking to argue with anyone. My PS is two pages long! I am just skeptical of how posters on here give this blunt advice to people. I personally would not tell someone that I do not know that their PS should be two pages max, as I have no idea about their situation, what they are writing about etc. What I would do is tell them to call the admissions office of the school that they hope to apply to and make an informed decision from there.

Either way, I was looking for a possible reason as to what the logic of the two page length is other than "TLS" wisdom.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:12 pm

milanproda wrote:Pick me, I am not looking to argue with anyone. My PS is two pages long! I am just skeptical of how posters on here give this blunt advice to people. I personally would not tell someone that I do not know that their PS should be two pages max, as I have no idea about their situation, what they are writing about etc. What I would do is tell them to call the admissions office of the school that they hope to apply to and make an informed decision from there.

Either way, I was looking for a possible reason as to what the logic of the two page length is other than "TLS" wisdom.

You already got one perfectly valid reason (adcomms are busy people).

Here's another: law schools value brevity. When you have to trim your memo analogizing & distinguishing 8 cases down to 3000 words, you'll understand this.

M458
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby M458 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:18 pm

6,592 people applied to Columbia last cycle. Let's be cynical and pretend like the admissions committee doesn't even bother to read the Personal Statements of 1,592 people because their numbers just make it impossible for them to get accepted...we're left with 5,000 applicants that submitted a personal statement that a human being in that admissions office has to read. 5,000 Personal Statements that, after about the 100th one, all sound the SAME. So now you have 10,000 pages of Personal Statements and that doesn't count Diversity Statements or people who write "Why Columbia?" essays...let's say 1,000 people submit one or the other, so we are left with 11,000 pages of writing from applicants that is ALL SIMILAR and has to be read.

Now, you may very well have a great story to tell and one that will captivate the person reading your statement and snap them out of the funk of reading 300 other personal statements that week. But let's say your statement is just average...do you REALLY want to be the applicant that annoys that person with an extra page, or a font that will stick out in a negative way, or anything else that could potentially bias them against you?

So yes, you can write 3 pages. But it better be DAMN good to justify that extra page, and in most cases--realistically--it just is not going to be that DAMN good. Thus why everyone here suggests 2 pages.

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googlesearch
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby googlesearch » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:58 am

GULC says: say what you have to say then stop.

Cornblatt said he thinks people who go over the two pages end up ruining the statement by saying more than was needed. Of course, this is a generalization.

CHANCES are, you fall in the generalization :)

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paratactical
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby paratactical » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:22 am

shinobi99 wrote:On the Columbia website it says:
While there is no official page limit, a good guideline is two double-spaced pages, using readable fonts and margins. Your personal statement/essay should be clear, concise, and an example of your best writing. It should also be free from spelling and grammatical errors.


I currently have three full pages for my PS with double-spaced and font 12 Times New Roman. Since Columbia does not have a maximum number of pages, what should I do? Cut the essay down to two pages or keep my essay as it is? I really like how my essay is right now, and don't know if I can maintain the overall feel if I start cutting sentences left and right.

If you would like help cutting your essay, you can PM it to me. I have offered this to many people on this website who have claimed that their essay was just *SOOOOGOOD* it needed to be more than two pages and I have never seen a PS that wasn't improved by cutting material.

giantwhale3798
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby giantwhale3798 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:24 pm

Try to cut it down to two pages, at most 2 1/2 pages.
By the way, why people get emotional so easily?
Hopefully not all lawyers are that emotional.

bp shinners
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:09 pm

I've helped with many essays. Not a single one was better before it was cut down to 2 pages.

As to why they don't say that, three reasons:
1) As stated above, there are exceptions they don't want to categorically rule out
2) They want to see if you can read the subtext of their statement
3) They want to see if you can actually be concise with your essay

When someone says, "While there is no official page limit, a good guideline is two double-spaced pages, using readable fonts and margins.", you should interpret that as, "You better have a DAMN good reason to go over two pages."

Size 11 font isn't nearly as pleasant to read as size 12 font. You want the person to finish your PS without having ANYTHING negative to say about you. Just get it down to 2 pages, size 12 font. I guarantee you it's possible.

Scuppers
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby Scuppers » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:45 pm

One thing I hate about this site is that people frequently get much better advice than they deserve.

shieldofachilles
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Re: Columbia Personal Statement - 3pages vs. 2pages?

Postby shieldofachilles » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:48 am

i just finished looking through the cls website a couple hours ago and i remember reading that they dont have a limit but they prefer 2 pages so i guess id give em what they prefer instead of potentially pissing them off




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