Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

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emmybee
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Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby emmybee » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:13 pm

Hi all,

Is there consensus about the ideal length of a "Why X" statement (Penn, Duke, UVA, etc)? I am sure this is a subjective question and it depends on the applicant but just in general what is a reasonable length? 1 page double spaced? More?

Thanks :)

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:04 pm

I would be very surprised if you had enough important/relevant things to say that you couldn't fit it in one double-spaced page.

In mine, I talked about my ties to the state and area (born and raised there, married there, went to high school and college there, etc.) I also talked a little bit about the legal landscape and other industries in the area, along with the school's placement history and their connections, and it was still well under a page.

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emmybee
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby emmybee » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:51 am

Thanks ScottRiqui! I was planning on one page double-spaced, glad to hear some confirmation. Best of luck with your apps!

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hephaestus
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby hephaestus » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:54 am

I also think 1 page would be best, 1.5 max. It should not function as basically a second personal statement (which is 2 pages), and therefore should be shorter.

bp shinners
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby bp shinners » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:46 pm

ImNoScar wrote:I also think 1 page would be best, 1.5 max. It should not function as basically a second personal statement (which is 2 pages), and therefore should be shorter.


My rules of thumb:
Personal Statement - 2 pages, double-spaced
Diversity/Supplemental Essay - 1.5 pages, double-spaced (unless otherwise noted)
Why X? Essay - .75 pages, double-spaced - can go up to 1 page, but don't hit a second page
Resume - Almost always 1 page.

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cotiger
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby cotiger » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:50 pm

bp shinners wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:I also think 1 page would be best, 1.5 max. It should not function as basically a second personal statement (which is 2 pages), and therefore should be shorter.


My rules of thumb:
Personal Statement - 2 pages, double-spaced
Diversity/Supplemental Essay - 1.5 pages, double-spaced (unless otherwise noted)
Why X? Essay - .75 pages, double-spaced - can go up to 1 page, but don't hit a second page
Resume - Almost always 1 page.


I second this.

mx23250
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby mx23250 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:53 pm

I've written a few 'Why X' statements and all of them are around 1.25 to 1.5 pages max. The reason mine are longer than most probably are is due to the fact that I already know the specific area of law I want to practice - Patent Law. So I discuss the specific aspects of the law school that make it a great place to go for that, such as their concentration, moot courts, IP journal, student organizations, presence of a strong IP community, and other factors. I also discuss other non-patent aspects of the law school, such as geographic location and other unique factors that make it a great law school for me. If I wasn't sure what area of law I wanted to study, it would have been 0.75 to 1 page max.

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emmybee
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby emmybee » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:23 pm

Wow! Thanks for all the responses.
Great rules of thumb bp shinners and really helpful input from all of you :D

bp shinners
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby bp shinners » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:18 pm

mx23250 wrote:If I wasn't sure what area of law I wanted to study, it would have been 0.75 to 1 page max.


I think you've gone a little too much into detail there - even if you know the area you want to study, you should keep it to .75 to 1 pages. You should limit the discussion of the area in which you have an interest to the unique elements of that program. Every school worth going to has an IP program, so throwing the kitchen sink into a Why X? essay about that is less helpful than targeting the specific, unique things that school offers in that area to show that you've researched all schools and know what makes their program not just the standard IP program.

mx23250
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby mx23250 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:18 pm

bp shinners wrote:
mx23250 wrote:If I wasn't sure what area of law I wanted to study, it would have been 0.75 to 1 page max.


I think you've gone a little too much into detail there - even if you know the area you want to study, you should keep it to .75 to 1 pages. You should limit the discussion of the area in which you have an interest to the unique elements of that program. Every school worth going to has an IP program, so throwing the kitchen sink into a Why X? essay about that is less helpful than targeting the specific, unique things that school offers in that area to show that you've researched all schools and know what makes their program not just the standard IP program.


Good point.

NanaP
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby NanaP » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:24 pm

Sooooo my PS has been single spaced...is that bad?....it's also almost 3 pages....

bp shinners
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby bp shinners » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:44 pm

NanaP wrote:Sooooo my PS has been single spaced...is that bad?....it's also almost 3 pages....


Way, WAY too long. You'll need to cut about 2/3 of it out.

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hephaestus
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Re: Ideal length for "Why X" Statements?

Postby hephaestus » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:46 pm

bp shinners wrote:
NanaP wrote:Sooooo my PS has been single spaced...is that bad?....it's also almost 3 pages....


Way, WAY too long. You'll need to cut about 2/3 of it out.

This. You need to get it down to 2 double spaced pages.




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