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UCI Personal Statement

Hey Guys! I just went to upload my personal statement for the UCI (University of California Irvine) application and realized they have a 500 word limit. I'm currently at two pages double spaced but closer to 800 words and I really don't see how I can get to 500 without re-writing it. I'm at medians for the school, but wonder if people think its a huge mistake not to trim it?



  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    edited December 2018 4850 karma

    I'm biased by over 2 decades of military service, but I fall into the "follow the stated rules" camp. We even used to have a saying, "Failure to follow simple instructions."

    FWIW, I think you would have a bit more leeway if you were significantly above median. One admissions director told me that if people have high enough numbers, they could submit their personal statement on a cocktail napkin. Neither you nor I apparently fall into that category.

    If it helps, I went through a similar process. My first version of my personal statement was almost 3 pages. Then I felt like I was cutting into bone getting it down to 2. When I saw UCI's word limit, I had a mild bout of despair. Then I cut even more. Now, in hindsight, I feel my 500 word personal statement is much more powerful and cleaner than the longer version. I used that version for all of my applications (with an added paragraph if a school asked for "why us" as part of their prompt). Don't forget, you do get another 500 words to use for the "Why UCI" essay.

    TL;DR: I'd cut it to 500 words. Good luck!

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    3652 karma

    Yeah it’s a huge mistake not to follow directions. You have to cut it. My PS went from 3 pages to 500 words last year for UCI. You can do it. Being median for a school doesn’t mean you can be arrogant and ignore the prompt, you’re not a shoe-in.

  • Agreed, it's a huge mistake. First, it shows that you don't follow rules (not exactly something they're looking for in law school). Second, it shows your writing skills are lacking. It's easy to write too much; takes much more time and effort to be concise.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Yep, echoing the others. It is indeed a huge mistake. They put their rules on there for a reason, and they will certainly note if someone doesn't follow directions. And since 500 words is significantly shorter than most other schools' guidelines, they would likely think that you wrote a statement to use everywhere and either didn't read the directions or didn't bother editing it for them. That's a bad look. Take it from someone who was above both 75ths and got waitlisted at UCI last year (that's me lol), median numbers won't help you. It's imperative that you follow directions for each school.

  • willis91willis91 Alum Member
    101 karma

    Yep. I went to a UCI campus visit and the admissions director said they can't promise to even read statements that don't follow directions.

    84 karma

    Just saw all of these comments! For some reason I thought I would get an inbox notification - thanks for the advice! I'll get started on cutting down :(

  • cqas190517cqas190517 Alum Member 🍌
    535 karma

    I’m also applying to UCI and I was also hamstrung by the limit. I cut a bunch out and rewrote. Bottom line js that if they ask for 500 words, give them nothing more.

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