Okay, i having a short personal statement bad? Like under 500 words? For Illinois Urbana they have a 1000 word limit, and for UC Santa Cruz they say they want a "concise 2-4 pages". Should I be worried?
So far I've been writing my statements strictly from the questions or info they ask. Usually they tend to ask what are your goals in studying physics, what are your future/professional goals after school, why you want to study what your studying (the worst), and why are you applying to their school.
I then break down and answer each question one on one, then try to put them together into a coherent paper that flows well. I'm getting to the point with some of these statements that I'm just copying what I wrote from other essays (especially for my academic and professional goals), though tweaking it here and there to stay relevant to the school. For why I'm applying to their school, I try to go through their faculty list and look for people studying stuff I find interesting and that I think I can correlate with my chosen field, plus you should be going through this stuff anyway as one of these people will be your lord and master for +4 years.
Is this too direct? Do I really need to write I full blown essay with a thesis or some long heart warming story about my personal life with physics? Is it wrong to keep an essay short and to the point? Am I just wasting my time fussing about personal statements when I should be more worried about my GRE scores since that's all they're going to look at anyway?
And if you ask "dude, why are you writing your statements so early", well, it's because one of my recommenders, even though he is prompt, demands you send a copy of your personal statements to him weeks in advance of the deadline so that he could use it to help write your recommendations. This is also compounded with having gone through the trauma of watching 3 of my applications explode on the launch pad as I realized that while UPenn is cool with late scores, Berkeley, Cornell, and UC San Diego are NOT.