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Statement of Purpose Length

FignutsFignuts Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
edited May 2011 in Graduate School
I've put a list of grad schools together that I will be applying to and was looking over their Statement of Purpose requirements/suggestions. One school is 500 words, another 1000 words, another 2500 words, and the rest do not state a length limit.

I've written the 2500 word statement and plan on trimming it accordingly for the 500 and 1000 and of course tailoring to each institution. My question though is for the other schools whose applications do not state a limit. If I'm happy with my 2500 word statement, should I submit it to the other no-limit schools? Or would they be irritated by its length?
Post edited by Fignuts on

Replies to: Statement of Purpose Length

  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    I guess it depends on the discipline. In my (humanities) discipline, a 2500 word SoP would horrify admissions committees.

    The norm in my field is three double-spaced pages absolute maximum, with two or two and a half double-spaced pages most common.
  • FignutsFignuts Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Sorry for not specifying subject area. I'm applying for Biomedical Sciences/Neuroscience programs.
  • belevittbelevitt Registered User Posts: 2,005 Senior Member
    I keep seeing 1-3 pages. Some have specified around a certain number of words but I doubt that anybody is reading the essay with a clicker and crossing out words number 2501-end of essay.
  • FignutsFignuts Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I guess 2500 words = ~8 pages double spaced. Maybe that is too long... it is just that one school I am applying for lists that as the limit and most of the rest don't specify. I don't have any issue with writing it. I'm just unsure whether having a longer statement would help or hinder my chances of acceptance.

    If you're on an admissions board and the norm you see if 1-3 pages, and then one with 8 pages comes along... does the length put it at an advantage, disadvantage, or neither?
  • b@r!umb@r!um Registered User Posts: 10,200 Senior Member
    If I had to read 200 statements of purpose, I would hate any applicant who would write 8 pages - especially if he could have said the same in 2 or 3...
  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    If I were presented with an 8 page SoP (given that the norm in my field is 2 or 2 1/2), .I would conclude that the student has no ability to express herself with concision.

    This would put the student at an extreme disadvantage.
  • ticklemepinkticklemepink Registered User Posts: 2,764 Senior Member
    Whoa.. I couldn't do a 8 page SOP. Seriously, a lot of things can be written in less than 3 pages with tighter sentences and proper vocabulary (and more active voice). Try knocking it down to 2 pages and then work from there to fit the program's needs.
  • FignutsFignuts Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Thank you guys for the advice. I've knocked it down to just over 2 pages (minus faculty interests) without really losing much at all. I knew I could be a bit "wordy" sometimes but I think I got a little crazy for a minute there :)
  • notmythangnotmythang Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    my sop length is about 950 words. i havent added univ specific paragraphs. i'm applying for english phd. i could at the most, take out a 100 words. thats the maximum.
    what do you think will happen if i send this to univs that specify about 500 words for sop?
  • PhD-Bound?PhD-Bound? Registered User Posts: 155 Junior Member
    notmythang, I think the adcom will notice that your essay is twice as long as other applicants, and I would think that would put you at a disadvantage.
  • SandeeprajSandeepraj Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi. I am applying for California State University for this fall. I almost completed all the online procedures, except for my Sop, It says that the Sop must contain minimum of 500 and a maximum of 3500 words, but the word count of my Sop is 870, and still it says that it is less than 500 words. I dont know what the problem is. Please help. Thank You.
  • hesdjjimhesdjjim Registered User Posts: 561 Member
    ^ Is there anything else about yourself that you want to tell them? Maybe the website doesn't count small words like I, me, etc. If you maybe add a paragraph of one other selling point about yourself, you might tip the scale. Which Cal State are you applying to?
  • SquealOfaRavenSquealOfaRaven Registered User Posts: 512 Member
    Seriously, the easiest workaround is to just make a website showcasing your research/experience, and to put that website in your application. Sure, there's a chance that many of them won't read it, but a number of people might read it, and some is better than nothing.

    Also, has anyone noticed if Penn State's application is unusually liberal? It seems to allow you to write more than most schools.
This discussion has been closed.