"Left align" or "Justify" ?

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"Left align" or "Justify" ?

Postby adamyos » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:50 am

I heard that the trend in US is to "left align" the text in a Word file as it makes it much easier to read (going from one line to next).

Is that the case? I thought I must always "Justify" my SOP to make it look neater.

So, should I "left align" or "justify" my SOP?

Apparently, most academic institutions follow APA guidelines (see below).

"Align the text in the body of your paper flush against the left margin with a ragged right margin. Do not use justified alignment (when the text is equally spread across the width of the page) (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 229).
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. "

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Re: "Left align" or "Justify" ?

Postby TakeruK » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:40 pm

The standard practice in North America is to "left align" text.

However, LaTeX default (and journal two-column format) often is justified. My opinion is that justified could look nice with small column widths (e.g. two-column format) but actually leaves weird extra spaces when the column width is wide (e.g. standard "Letter" size paper).

Really, I don't think this will matter at all. But if you are asking for a recommendation, I would say left-align!

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Re: "Left align" or "Justify" ?

Postby adamyos » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:06 am

Thanks a lot!

A "left align" won't reflect "Oh, God! This is a sloppy applicant", right?

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Re: "Left align" or "Justify" ?

Postby Cho'bal » Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:17 am

I'm quite sure the admissions committee won't say, "This is an excellent applicant and a great fit to our department, but too bad we can't accept him with his left-aligned documents."

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