How long is your Personal Statement?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by water88, May 20, 2009.

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  1. water88

    water88 2+ Year Member

    Aug 9, 2008
    I started out close to 7000 characters (with spaces, according to the application instructions) and have whittled it down to right around 4500 (which is what the maximum length was last year). I know it's supposed to be about quality but I really liked my initial draft, kinda sucks I had to delete so much.

    How long is your guys' personal statements?
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  3. vlct0ria

    vlct0ria 5+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    I started around 4600 and after a few drafts I have 4100.
  4. razblo

    razblo 7+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Stats of my personal statement:

    Pages - 1
    Words - 649
    Characters (w/o spaces) - 2,980
    Characters (w/ spaces) - 3,629
    Paragraphs - 7

    This is my third and I believe final draft of my personal statement. I know a former dean of a dental school and he told me that it had the perfect length, so I think I'm going to leave it as is.
  5. doc toothache

    doc toothache 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Hmm! Was that the best comment he could make on your ps?
  6. bigstix808

    bigstix808 Mac Daddy Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    4085 w/spaces
    7 ΒΆ
  7. Vicviper

    Vicviper Steve McAwesome 7+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Visalia, CA
    I know your pain, my first draft was like 6500 characters because I was more focusing on what I wanted to say, instead of the word count, and it was very difficult to take out parts that I thought were great. Just be sure that your PS seems honest and most of all don't have your PS sound like you're a robot - a nice semi-conversational tone is a great way to go. Good luck!
  8. Zubnaya Feya

    Zubnaya Feya Combinator 5+ Year Member

    Nov 13, 2008
    Ann Arbor, MI
    At first mine was around 6500.. now it is 4350ish
  9. Omenino

    Omenino 2+ Year Member

    May 20, 2009
    How do you even know what the questions for the essay is??
  10. vlct0ria

    vlct0ria 5+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    They just want to know why you want to be a dentist...pretty self explanatory
  11. DrReo

    DrReo "Thread Necromancer" 7+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Last application cycle, mine PS was 2771 characters including spaces. No need to add excess words. Be short, concise and to the point. Also, no one cares that you were a "pre-med" and now are "pre-dent." I do not understand why people advertise this fact.
  12. MattH25

    MattH25 7+ Year Member

    Jan 5, 2008
    :thumbup: Follow this! They read thousands of these a year, make it short and sweet and give yourself plenty of room for paragraph spacing. I had a friend apply this year, his PS was a solid block exactly 4489 characters long. Ya, applied to 24 schools and not a single interview.

    My personal advice (take if you want) one cares how it's been your lifelong dream to be a dentist. First it's complete B.S., no 10 year old likes the dentist let alone wants to be one, you're not fooling anyone. Second a lot of people dream of being a dentist, that doesn't make you qualified. A PS can do a number of things. It could explain what events led you to pursue a career in dentistry and then let your stats do the talking. It could explain the personal and character development you experienced as you pursued dentistry because it is a challenging course to follow, or you could explain what attracts you to the profession and how you could benefit it while it benefits you etc.

    At the end of the day a good PS will leave a reader wanting to know more about you, a bad one, well that would be explaining how you've dreamed of being a dentist since you were a kid leaving the reader thinking you have the personality and charisma of a solid 4500 charcter block of Times New Roman
  13. DrReo

    DrReo "Thread Necromancer" 7+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    As victoria stated.

    Also, what qualities, attributes, etc. you have to offer to the institution and profession
  14. aphistis

    aphistis Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    hSDN Member
    98.5% of applicants in America will think that since you're allowed 4500 characters, they're expected to use as many of them as possible to compose the most formal, official-sounding piece of writing they can put together. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    As others have said, you're not writing the great American novel here. Your goal in writing a personal statement should be exploiting your one opportunity to add an extra dimension of personal character into your application. In other words, this is likely your only chance to put something in your packet that will distance you from the thousands of other faceless applicants whose packets you're in a pile with. That means you've got to make it count.

    Remember all the stuff you learned in high school composition? Like it or not, this is where it all comes home to roost. Here are some things to consider when writing or editing your personal statement:

    - Spelling & grammar count: If you don't start by getting these right, none of the rest matters because nobody will read beyond the first few sentences. The good news is that these are pretty easy to address. The bad news is that while you can't count on good writing mechanics to get you admitted, you can count on bad writing mechanics to get your application thrown in the trash.

    - Don't waste words reciting your CV: Your transcripts and extracurricular activities and shadowing hours and such and so on are already listed in boring 12-point Helvetica somewhere else in your packet. They already know all that stuff; why would you waste everyone's time saying it all again?

    - Brevity is the soul of wit: 4500 characters may be the number you may use, but I can practically guarantee it's not how many you should use. You want the highest signal:noise ratio possible for this essay, and every extraneous word you include impedes that goal. My application essays for dental school and my first residency were roughly 3500 characters each; the essay for my current residency barely made it to 3000. If you're over 4000, you need to take a hard look at your statement in search of fat needing trimmed. Once you've written a draft, scrutinize it to find ways to tighten up the character count without sacrificing the narrative. Delete words, reorganize sentences, and experiment. The goal here, once you've written down the story you want to tell, is to streamline it in order to waste as few words as possible along the way. Hell, I'm even revising this, a stupid message board post, in order to increase the punch-per-word it delivers.

    - Be yourself: Just as you should be yourself when you interview, you should be yourself when you write. If you don't often write formally, don't try to make your essay some sort of stuffy black-tie event. Remember how much you hated reading The Scarlet Letter in high school? That's exactly how the adcoms are going to remember your essay if that's how you write it.

    The personal statement is your opportunity to show the adcom you're more than just a GPA and DAT score. It gives you a blank canvas, no rules, and one goal: giving the adcoms a reason to like and remember you. Don't let it go to waste.
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  15. razblo

    razblo 7+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    No, but since this thread is about length I thought that was the most relevant comment to make.
  16. neyelo

    neyelo 2+ Year Member

    May 19, 2009
    3,850 characters incl. spaces
    671 words

    Initially I foamed at the mouth and typed over 9,000 characters. I narrowed my scope and trimmed a lot of excess.

    Tip: Get everyone you know to read it. Friends, family, co-workers, profs, whatever. If they ever say they got bored, pick your two favorite sentences, delete the rest, and try again.
  17. jhoag87

    jhoag87 5+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2009
    Williamsburg, VA
    Mine was 4,483 with spaces. 4 paragraphs. 786 words. I think I started with 5500 and cut it down.

    According to some here, my essay was too long, but I got lots of compliments from peers, and my interviewer said she enjoyed reading it as well. I guess it all depends on how interesting you can make it. I can appreciate the merits of brevity, but they give you the space so you can tell your story. If they wanted 3000 character essays, I feel like they would have made a ~3000 character limit... As long as you aren't boring (which can be difficult), why not use the space? You only have about one page to tell adcoms what sets you apart from the thousands of other applicants; take advantage of it!

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