1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

600 words or 6300 characters?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Barnaby, May 12, 2008.

  1. Barnaby

    Barnaby Colorado State PVM 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    Hello all,

    So I did a forum search to find out the exact length of the personal statement for VMCAS.

    Last year people posted that it was 600 words, but I found that the year before people posted that it was 6300 characters (spaces included). That's quite a large difference, no? :confused:

    Can anyone explain the discrepancy to me? Was there a change between the 2 years? Does anyone know how it will be this year (i.e. people who participated in the recent application testing)?

    Any insight is appreciated. Many thanks. Frantically yours...
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. DVMorBust

    DVMorBust UW SVM Class of 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    691
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I thought I remembered it saying "5000 characters" when I was looking at the week-long 'sneak peek'. I could be wrong - I'll have to double check when I get home tonight.

    Which, it would seem, translates to about 750 words...using the 'lorem ipsum' generator. A page and a paragraph or so, single-spaced, normal font.
     
  4. OSJ

    OSJ Michigan State CVM 2012
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    I thought it was 600 words, I can remember exactly though!
     
  5. VAgirl

    VAgirl UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,709
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Last year VMCAS stated 600 words (exactly!). It might vary from year to year, I don't know. And I recall last year there was debate about whether or not it was a good idea to go over 600 words if VMCAS seemed to accept more (i.e. if it didn't seem like the program was cutting you off). The debate applies whether it's 600 or 750 or any other number of words. I, personally, fall on the side that says you should give them exactly what they say they want and not a word (or character) more. Following directions is a good skill to demonstrate. :)

    Either way, you'll probably end up debating how to cut things down. This is no fun, but it's especially hard when you're at 607 words (or similar) and need to be at 600!!

    Good luck!
     
  6. PJlovin

    PJlovin Glasgow Vet c/o 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    Mine came out to ~630 words (perhaps a little bit more) and VMCAS took it fine.
     
  7. VAgirl

    VAgirl UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,709
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I would just have worried about what would happen if it looked like everything was ok, but it actually cut off the last 30 words when it delivered it to the schools. Too big a risk, in my opinion. But if it worked for you, that's fine. I'm just too much of a nervous nelly to take the chance.
     
  8. SweeTeaPie

    SweeTeaPie Cornell class of 2012
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Non-Student
    Those of us who applied this past cycle were given the option to review the NEW application, and yes, they HAVE changed it. Now you load your personal statement into a field that allows (and I believe DVMorBust is right) 5000 characters. That includes spaces.
     
  9. Barnaby

    Barnaby Colorado State PVM 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    Valuable information- thank you guys so much for clearing that up for me.
     
  10. DVMorBust

    DVMorBust UW SVM Class of 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    691
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I would also like to point something else out: Make SURE you check the characters after you past the statement in. I've worked with a lot of different programs, and ALL of them count words and characters differently.

    To clarify, because that didn't sound right: you may wind up with 5000 or 5007, usually due to the way it formats it when you paste it.
     
  11. rachroo

    rachroo OSU CVM c/o 2013
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know why VMCAS changed the personal statment from 600 words to 5000 characters within just one year?
     
  12. SweeTeaPie

    SweeTeaPie Cornell class of 2012
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Non-Student
    You shouldn't have to worry about that because the VMCAS program has a counter below the field that you enter the statement into, so you know exactly how many characters you've gone over or have left. If you go over, you cannot save/exit that page. So it won't matter what program you wrote your personal statement in, the playing field is all leveled once you enter it onto the VMCAS.
     
  13. Angelo84

    Angelo84 Tufts Class of 2011
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    770
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    It was 5000 characters for the class of 2011. Again the program doesn't let you paste in anything over 5000 characters. I wrote mine in word had just under the character limit and when I pasted it in VMCAS it was over! A little messing around with spaces and it was okay though.
     
  14. VAgirl

    VAgirl UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,709
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Maybe they just alternate from 600 words to 5000 characters from one year to the next to keep re-applicants revising and not just recycling their old personal statements. (Hm...or maybe I'm just extra cynical today.)
     
  15. Pomona2006

    Pomona2006 UC Davis SVM c/o 2013
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    623
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    Regardless of their motivation for changing the word/character requirement, I must say that it is a nerve wracking as an applicant. Granted the entire point is to demonstrate brevity, but the difference between 600 words and 5000 characters can be significant.
     
  16. Barnaby

    Barnaby Colorado State PVM 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    I second that.

    Of course, I suppose I could just wait until the application actually comes out before stressing about revising a personal statement... but where's the fun in that?
     
  17. Pomona2006

    Pomona2006 UC Davis SVM c/o 2013
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    623
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    I'm jealous of those of you who must stress over revising your personal statement...

    I, on the other hand, will be stressing about writing a personal statement. This is particularly unfortunate for me as a career changer. My Clinical Psychology PhD personal statement was amazing! (Amazing, yet almost 2000 words and over 12,000 characters.) The pitiful thing was that writing that statement made me realize how much I didn't actually want to do Clinical Psychology. Now I get to throw that masterful statement in the trash and attempt to come up with something even half as brilliant.

    *sigh*
     
  18. Barnaby

    Barnaby Colorado State PVM 2013
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary

    If you were able to write something brilliant about a career that you did not actually want to do, then I'm sure something twice as brilliant will come through because this is what you really want to do. But yeah, editing sucks. Especially when you feel like the end product is so over-processed due to seemingly arbitrary character constraints...
     

Share This Page