PS Tip 53 : Make your own word limit


This is something that I always do when writing a personal statement without a word/character limit. I impose my own. What I tend to do, is estimate the number of words I think I’ll need, and then reduce it by 10% – That’s my limit.

You might wonder why I would limit myself in this way; surely I’m just making life more difficult for myself.

Well, yes, I am. And that’s a good thing, because it forces me to write in a concise, powerful fashion in order to include everything I want to include. It forces me to edit my writing ruthlessly, and to remove every word that doesn’t significantly add to the meaning or structure of a sentence – More on this later.

Ironically it takes far longer to write a short, informative statement than it would to write a much longer one that says the same thing – Nonetheless, the shorter version is invariably more powerful. It is by no means necessary to self-impose a specific word limit, it’s just the way I choose to work in order to force myself into writing concisely. An alternative is to simply write your statement in as concise a form as you can, and then challenge yourself to reduce the word count by 5-10% without changing the meaning.

Either way, if you do this, and you do it properly, the result will be a more powerful personal statement, and that’s always worth fighting for.

Some people come to us for help simply because their statement is too long, and they’re not sure how to best reduce it to below the maximum word-count limit. Many such clients are under the impression that by losing additional words/information their statement will naturally become weaker and less effective. They are often therefore very pleasantly surprised when they see that their new, shorter statement is actually more powerful than their longer original.

PS Tip 52 Minimum required words to make your point

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