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# Essay length not specified

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Manager
Joined: 06 Jul 2007
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Schools: CBS, MIT, Kellogg, Wharton
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11 Nov 2007, 12:23
One of the programs to which I am applying requires a personal statement whose length is not specified. The question reads: [i]"Please describe briefly and concisely your past and present work as it relates to your intended field of study, your educational objectives, and your career plans. In addition, please include your reasons for choosing your field of study."
[/i]

According to the application instructions, the statement "should not exceed one to two pages in lenght". What exactly does that mean? My essay is about 1000 words and I don't want to cut it because I find it very difficult to cover everything that the essay asks for in less than 1000 words.

Right now, the essay takes up 1.5 letter-sized pages (Times New Roman 11, 1" margins, no spacing)

Are 1000 words too much and what is the word count that I should be shooting for?
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11 Nov 2007, 12:32
I think 1000 words for an essay that specifies 1 to 2 pages might be too much. I also think you should have atleast 1.5 spacing if you have not done so already. Doing that, you probably should be looking at 850-900 words.
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11 Nov 2007, 13:22
raptr,

Do the instructions specify whether the essays should be double-spaced, 1.5 spaced, or single-spaced? This should tell you just how many words should be used for a 2-page essay.

That said, I managed to squeeze 1100 words into Kellogg's 2-page double-spaced essay.

To summarize, I wouldn't worry too much about 1000 words being too much for a 2-page essay. I believe the adcoms care more about the content than about meeting the exact essay-length requirements (as long as you don't blow the page limits completely).
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11 Nov 2007, 13:49
No, the instructions do not say anything about spacing, margins or font size. I spoke with the director of the program at one of the open house events and he said that he would not worry so much about the length of the personal statement.

Problem is, if the adcom is expecting 500-600 words and I give them 1000-1100, regardless how good my essay is, they will be rather annoyed than impressed.
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11 Nov 2007, 13:53
I would do at least 1.5 space and make it keep it below two pages. 1.5 is much easier to read when you are reading hundreds of pages a day.
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11 Nov 2007, 15:45
I wrote over 900 words for a "short answer" essay last year. Don't get too hung up on it - if it conveys something meaningful, then write it.
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11 Nov 2007, 21:33
AAu's General Rules of Page Set-Up:

12-pt font (11 is ok)

1" margin all around (shave a bit if needed - .8 or .9, but not too much)

1.5 spacing is a nice happy medium

Just what I go by.
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12 Nov 2007, 09:53
I cut my essay down to 900 words. Now it takes 1 and 3/4 pages (Times New Roman 11, 0.8" margins, 1.5 line spacing).

I'd rather not increase the margins. In my opinion, from a purely psychological perspective, 1 and 3/4 pages look better and easier to read than 2 full pages. Even though the word count is the same:)
12 Nov 2007, 09:53
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