Single or double spaced?

phrygian777
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Single or double spaced?

Postby phrygian777 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:02 pm

Should the SOP be single or double spaced? And yes, I want to make sure I make the right decision on this as line spacing will likely be the deciding factor in my application

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midwestphysics
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby midwestphysics » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:07 pm

Double-spaced. While it might seem smart to use single space so as to give yourself more room to write, there is a reason most people ask for and use double spaced. It's easier on the eyes and the page looks neater, format it like any MLA paper and double space it.

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mrrsnhtl
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby mrrsnhtl » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:19 pm

For double-spaced case, it took nearly two pages for 500 words. Mine is around 1000-1100 words and 1.0 - spaced. It took little less than two pages. Are there any people who make themselves clear with 300-500 words? I would award them the admission just for this success, if I were in the admission committee.

Ymerodraeth
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby Ymerodraeth » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:00 pm

I single spaced mine and was able to get it onto one page (~1000 words).

As far as readability, there's something to be said for a little bit of extra spacing, say by a factor of 1.2 or 1.3. A true double spacing (2.0) makes your text obnoxiously sparse. As far as I can tell, it's just a holdover from the typewriter days.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby midwestphysics » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:58 pm

mrrsnhtl wrote:For double-spaced case, it took nearly two pages for 500 words. Mine is around 1000-1100 words and 1.0 - spaced. It took little less than two pages. Are there any people who make themselves clear with 300-500 words? I would award them the admission just for this success, if I were in the admission committee.


I remember 3 or 4 of the schools I applied to limiting the length to 300-400 words, and strongly advising against going over that limit. So, for a lot of places it's not a question of how is it possible to make yourself clear in 300-400 words, but rather how are you going to do it. Luckily others allowed up to 1000. In the end though, that's what your recommenders are for, if you've got good ones all the limits on the SOP will mean very little because they can tell your story in a way the reviewers will best understand, relate to, and appreciate.

Ymerodraeth wrote:I single spaced mine and was able to get it onto one page (~1000 words).

As far as readability, there's something to be said for a little bit of extra spacing, say by a factor of 1.2 or 1.3. A true double spacing (2.0) makes your text obnoxiously sparse. As far as I can tell, it's just a holdover from the typewriter days.


Writing guidelines have been revised many times since typewriters died out and they still stick to it for a reason. It is a neater and cleaner look, and I've never seen a true 2.0 look obnoxiously sparse since it contains the same words in either case. I'd rather have a few hundred words come out to two pages double-spaced than have it all jammed into one page. It fools nobody, better to not aggravate them through the subtle nuances of formatting.

Ymerodraeth
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby Ymerodraeth » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:23 pm

Hmm, the Elements of Typographic Style says that 2 to 3 points of leading is normal. So for a 10 pt document, interline spacing is 12 pt, for an 11 pt document, the interline spacing is 13 pt, etc.

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mrrsnhtl
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby mrrsnhtl » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:42 pm

midwestphysics wrote:...I remember 3 or 4 of the schools I applied to limiting the length to 300-400 words, and strongly advising against going over that limit. So, for a lot of places it's not a question of how is it possible to make yourself clear in 300-400 words, but rather how are you going to do it...


This, I have difficulties to comprehend. To me, it is over-competitiveness, or simply saying "Bring no excuses, just state your excellences and satisfy my eyes, if you can though..".

Seriously, what is wrong with letting people to express themselves in as many words as they want. Obviously, mean page number would be roughly around 1.6-1.7 order, with a sigma of ~ .5 ..Saying "do not exceed 2 pages" is quite reasonable for this model, as most schools do. I wonder what those perfectionist schools were?..

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midwestphysics
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby midwestphysics » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:28 pm

mrrsnhtl wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:...I remember 3 or 4 of the schools I applied to limiting the length to 300-400 words, and strongly advising against going over that limit. So, for a lot of places it's not a question of how is it possible to make yourself clear in 300-400 words, but rather how are you going to do it...


This, I have difficulties to comprehend. To me, it is over-competitiveness, or simply saying "Bring no excuses, just state your excellences and satisfy my eyes, if you can though..".

Seriously, what is wrong with letting people to express themselves in as many words as they want. Obviously, mean page number would be roughly around 1.6-1.7 order, with a sigma of ~ .5 ..Saying "do not exceed 2 pages" is quite reasonable for this model, as most schools do. I wonder what those perfectionist schools were?..


From what I've heard from professors a strong rational behind strict limitations are what those limitations reveal. These schools are looking for very specific people with specific qualities. By placing a strict limit applicants are forced to cut out all the crap these schools don't care about. What is left in that space is what is important. It shows them what you consider to be important, enough so to have it supersede all of the other stuff you could have put in. It also shows if you match up with not only their requirements, goals, and desired experience, but also in your priorities. It's smart to not let people write all they want, it's harder to bullshit in 300-500 words than it is in 1000-2000. It's not an in-depth biography, it's an interview and like any interview you have to condense yourself.

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grae313
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby grae313 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:06 pm

Most of mine had a "two page" limit and my SOP was single spaced. If there is a word limit and not a page limit I'd go with 1.5 spacing or single with short paragraphs with gaps in between them. Double spaced is a bit excessive IMO.

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mrrsnhtl
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Re: Single or double spaced?

Postby mrrsnhtl » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:01 pm

midwestphysics wrote:
mrrsnhtl wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:...I remember 3 or 4 of the schools I applied to limiting the length to 300-400 words, and strongly advising against going over that limit. So, for a lot of places it's not a question of how is it possible to make yourself clear in 300-400 words, but rather how are you going to do it...


This, I have difficulties to comprehend. To me, it is over-competitiveness, or simply saying "Bring no excuses, just state your excellences and satisfy my eyes, if you can though..".

Seriously, what is wrong with letting people to express themselves in as many words as they want. Obviously, mean page number would be roughly around 1.6-1.7 order, with a sigma of ~ .5 ..Saying "do not exceed 2 pages" is quite reasonable for this model, as most schools do. I wonder what those perfectionist schools were?..


From what I've heard from professors a strong rational behind strict limitations are what those limitations reveal. These schools are looking for very specific people with specific qualities. By placing a strict limit applicants are forced to cut out all the crap these schools don't care about. What is left in that space is what is important. It shows them what you consider to be important, enough so to have it supersede all of the other stuff you could have put in. It also shows if you match up with not only their requirements, goals, and desired experience, but also in your priorities. It's smart to not let people write all they want, it's harder to bullshit in 300-500 words than it is in 1000-2000. It's not an in-depth biography, it's an interview and like any interview you have to condense yourself.


You are right. Yet, this doesn't change the nonsense conditions created by hard competition, which expects always the "best" with always the most specific "qualities" of all?..What about the "Imagination is more important than the knowledge" soul. Is it also long gone with the winds of the capitalism? (=




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