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Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:52 am
by campsoup
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?

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:36 am
by kroner
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.

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:08 am
by MacCutcheon60
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.

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:25 am
by matonski
My statement of purpose was about 2 pages and my personal history statement was 3/4th a page.

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:58 pm
by noojens
Mine were 2 pages each.

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:58 am
by zxcv
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).

Re: Berkeley SOP + personal history statement length?

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:46 am
by matonski
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.