How long should your 500 word personal statement be?
Seems like a silly question but you would be surprised at how many students will ask if it is Ok to write 600 or even 1000 words in response to the requested 500 word personal statement. If they ask for a 300 word personal statement or a personal statement 500 words that is how many words they want as a maximum and you should never exceed their stated requirement. Exceeding their requirement shows them that either you willfully ignored their instructions or that you are incapable of following their requirements; either way it will be a fairly significant black mark against your application. But your 250 word personal statement or whatever limit they request needs to be written perfectly and get across all of the information that they are looking for if you want to have any chance of being selected.
How to keep within the limits for your 500 word personal statement
Being able to write within the requested limit and not go even a single word over is important if you want to ensure that your personal statement is accepted. But managing what seems like an impossible task for some is not easy. The following are some simple tips that you can follow to ensure that you stay within your 500 word personal statement word count:
Never make any statements that are obvious as they will just use up your word count and add no value to your personal statement. Things such as “I hope to learn a lot through your program” are not required and actually will detract from your chances of success.
It is also highly recommended not repeat any important information or other valuable details that are already available elsewhere in your application or personal statement such as listing grades or qualifications. Be brief and laconic.
Stay relevant to your topic: check every sentence that you write and ask yourself does this actually provide the reader with the information that they require to know and need to get. If it does not or you are not sure, then better cut it out.
Write in a concise manner, often we can simplify a sentence by removing words that do absolutely nothing – note the “absolutely” before as it adds nothing to the meaning of the sentence and could be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
Avoid clichés, often these will eat up your word count without adding any real value to your personal statement and application. The reader also wants to hear things in your own words so use them. Simple language is always better than hoary clichés.
Never tell the reader anything negative such as you are applying for XYZ because you just could not get on with ABC. Again you are just wasting your words as well as giving an impression that is not going to help your case for acceptance.
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