Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

campsoup
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:35 am

Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby campsoup » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:52 am

2 pages or less for the statement of purpose, like everywhere else?
i have no clue about the personal history statement though, 2 paragraphs or 2 pages?

kroner
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:58 am

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby kroner » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:36 am

Personally I only wrote about 2 paragraphs for the personal history statement. I'm not a minority in any sense and I didn't come from a difficult background, and since I'm interested in theory it's also hard to come up with ways that my work could specifically benefit minorities. I thought it was better to be brief than to try to sell a page of obvious bullshit. It seems like this question would fit better with some courses of study than others, and I assume it's asked of everybody applying to UCB grad school. For example I can't imagine that the people judging physics applications really expect anyone to try to argue how string theory will improve the public school system. Or about how they really wanted to be a social worker but physics was their second choice. That seems like a weird expectation to me.

Of course if you do have more to say on this question I'm sure it can only help to present that to them. You should probably at least put some thought into whether you can come up with something compelling and write as much as you can while being truthful.

MacCutcheon60
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:16 pm

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby MacCutcheon60 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:08 am

It took me about four pages for me to explain how I narrowly overcame the horrific gang violence of white suburbia. Rap wasn't an option, and I didn't know any drug dealers. So, I turned to physics.

matonski
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:03 pm

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby matonski » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:25 am

My statement of purpose was about 2 pages and my personal history statement was 3/4th a page.

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noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby noojens » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:58 pm

Mine were 2 pages each.

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zxcv
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby zxcv » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:58 am

No need to take the personal history statement particularly seriously unless you can use it to your advantage. Mine was about a page written the day the application was due (I was accepted and am currently attending).

matonski
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:03 pm

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Postby matonski » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:46 am

zxcv wrote:No need to take the personal history statement particularly seriously unless you can use it to your advantage. Mine was about a page written the day the application was due (I was accepted and am currently attending).

Same here. Except in the middle of writing it, I felt like I had a stroke of literary genius and now wish I sent that one page to all the schools I applied to.




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