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How to Make Your College Personal Statement Not Too Long
The personal statement is a very significant piece of writing that may dramatically increase your chances of getting into the program of your choice. However, if your statement is poorly written, lacks valuable information, or is unreasonably shorter or longer than described in the instructions, it can serve a reverse role, which is something every student wants to avoid. In this article, we’d like to talk to you primarily about the length of your college personal statement, as it can be the main reason whether your statement will be read entirely, skimmed, or even instantly put in a trash.
In our experience, quite often, it is rather difficult to write when you are strictly limited to a number of words or characters. When struck by an inspiration, ideas flow from our brain to the paper almost uncontrollably and oftentimes, students find themselves in the situation where they need to dismiss at least one-third of their work in order to meet desired word count limits. If you are one of us, people who are overwhelmed by ideas when writing, we’d strongly suggest planning your personal statement beforehand.
The best dad’s joke, a tale of an achievement you are most proud of, or a heroic saga about your most troublesome experience will do no good for you if they go way past desired word count. That’s why always try to spend some time brainstorming the ideas in advance and make a simple outline putting them in order deciding how much space every paragraph will take when you are actually writing the text.
Occasionally, there are no strict word count limits in the project guidelines for your personal statement, which doesn’t mean you can and should write it any length you want! While most of the programs, especially the ones that have centralized systems of application are precise with the length of the texts applicants submit, there are some guidelines that suggest “ideal” or “recommended” length of the personal statement. While this is good news for the applicant, as your application isn’t going to be rejected at once even if your statement is a lot longer, there is still no good in overdoing the task. Remember, the most important thing here is to follow guidelines, as they indicate what application committee is expecting of you while giving you some space to express your thoughts.
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That is why you shouldn’t stretch your storytelling indefinitely. A rule of thumb in this situation is not exceeding 10% of the recommended word count. For example, if you are asked to write one page of text try to avoid sending more than one page plus one paragraph.
All of the above is just a recommendation. Situations may differ, and if you have done excellent research, preparation and created a really strong essay, the odds are that admissions committee will read your essay despite it being too long.