does your personal statement have to be 4500 characters?

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Jul 26, 2011
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I could have sworn "4500 characters" was a page. I just inputted my essay into the PTCAS system and only have 2991. I mean is it better to keep it simple like this or to keep going? What was everyones average?

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My latest draft is 4,340 characters, which is about 2 pages double-spaced using 12-point Garamond.

I had no idea what 4,500 characters looked like, so I downloaded and used a character counter as I wrote.
It doesn't have to be right at 4500 by any means. I think mine was a bit over 4000. It's more about what you decide to write rather than how long it is. I think they institute the 4500 character limit to prevent long-winded essays that they're not all that interested in reading (especially when they have so many others to look at too).

EDIT: The above is 337 characters with spaces. It adds up fast!
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I don't remember how long my statement was, but it definitely wasn't 4500. It's more important to say everything you want to say in a clear and concise manner than just add in more fluff to get to the limit... that's my opinion anyway :)
THink mine was 4490 and font size doesn't matter............ ditto to the use of the word program and using the character counter. Recommend single spacing the paragraphs, double spacing between paragraphs........since the paragraph indentions don't show up and it is easy for the admcom to read.
I'm having trouble inputting my essay into PTCAS, and am wondering if anyone else is having this issue?

When I paste the essay, PTCAS says that it is 4497 characters, which is under their 4500 character limit. However, when I try to save the essay, it says I am over the limit. This doesn't make sense, and I'm hoping I won't have to shorten my essay further at this point. Has anyone else run into this?
I mean is it better to keep it simple like this or to keep going?

As someone who has to read many, many of these, brevity is appreciated!!! When you keep writing because you think it should be?....well it is painfully obvious :)
Succient, crisp, terse, to-the-point, brief. How else could I say it? This is what I keep telling writers of the essays I review. Answer the question in as few words as possible. Have it proofread. Check for grammatical errors. Make sure to create a new paragraph frequently. Be efficient!

Thanks for these replies. FYI, the OP posted the original question last year, and I'm just adding my own question to it rather than starting a new thread, because I have a question on a similar topic. I'm wondering if anyone has had trouble inputting the essay into PTCAS? PTCAS says I have 1497 characters, but when I try to save it, it says I'm over the limit. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this issue?

Perhaps I should have started a new thread, but I thought SDN etiquette called for using existing threads rather than creating new ones when possible. Sorry for the confusion!
OKRAMANGO best bet is to call PTCAS. I did mine last cycle and remember playing w/ the spacing, paragraph indentions (see my previous post above) to get in under the character limit. Changing a couple sentences around, cleaning up the statements will make it work.
Okramango, I had the same thing happen. Try backspacing in the empty areas at the end of paragraphs. That worked for me.
Okramango, I had the same thing happen. Try backspacing in the empty areas at the end of paragraphs. That worked for me.

Thanks for the advice DCasey. It didn't work for me, but I managed to shorten my essay to 4483 characters and it accepted that. It looks like PTCAS actually wants the essay to be less than 4490 characters in order to be able to save it. I did let PTCAS know about this, and they said they would "look into it."