Personal Statement Word Limits

Hikes&Bikes

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Hello! Not sure if any of you would know the answer to this, but I figured I might as well ask.

So for the USNA application, there are these personal statements with a 255 word limit each candidate has the option to write. Are these concrete word limits? There seems to be no word counter for the word box on the application. The reason why I ask is that in order to explain the full extent of my statement of my exceptional adversity, I have to usearound 300 words.
 
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Hikes&Bikes

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If the limit is 255 words, your essay should be 255 words or less.
Yeah fair enough, sounds like a no-brainer to me now. I ought to contact my BGO and perhaps ask if he happened to note anything about my situation from the interview.
 

AROTC-dad

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Your ability to follow orders is under scrutiny here. So is your editing skills.

Compose your doc in MSWORD and use the counter there. Reduce until you attain the target. Cut and paste the essay into your app.
 

USA-1

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Some of the applications do the word or character count in the window the essay gets inserted into, therefore you cannot exceed the limit. I recall my DD had some issues entering the essays into some applications. She wrote the essay in a Word document and the count was within the limit. As she cut and pasted the essay into the application, and tried to proceed, she got a warning the limit was exceeded. Word and the application window were counting elements differently. Eventually she figured it out and was able to insert the full essay into the application.

Bottom line is she adhered to all the word or character limits. That was the order, she followed it.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
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Hello! Not sure if any of you would know the answer to this, but I figured I might as well ask.

So for the USNA application, there are these personal statements with a 255 word limit each candidate has the option to write. Are these concrete word limits? There seems to be no word counter for the word box on the application. The reason why I ask is that in order to explain the full extent of my statement of my exceptional adversity, I have to usearound 300 words.

Keep editing. See the "that in order to" in your post? Replace with "to," and see how it reads. Replace "have to use around" with "use." How much over 255 is not germane.
Writing concisely to describe a situation, offer analysis or make recommendations is an officer skill.
You can do it.
 

Norfolk63

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Pretty sure that the web portal will not allow you to submit an essay that exceeds the word/character count. Recall DS having to make last minute edits to get the form to submit.
 

LineInTheSand

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What is hard to understand about a limit?

Stick to the limit folks...
 

DrMom

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Hikes and Bikers--In the initial questionnaire there are boxes in which you explain your ethnicity, being first generation going to college, and any particular adversity issues. THIS is the place to put a carefully crafted line or two about your particular adverse situation ("I have been homeless since my parents died when I was 16." "My mother is handicapped and I have had to work while attending high school to support my family." "My mother was addicted to crack when I was born but then I was adopted by my two dads" "I immigrated to the US after a natural disaster in my home country at 14 and did not speak English." To the other adults reading this, you will know that these are high profile examples of recent cadet and midshipmen graduates) These boxes are where you can say to the admissions office, "YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT ME." It involves risk but if you are truthful and can elaborate in your essay on how you overcame this adversity--you won't have to use so many words. Also, stick to the word limit. Your BGO and high school guidance counselor should also help to tell your unique story. You will not be able to copy and paste in an essay that exceeds the word limit into the essay space--your last words/sentences will be cut off. Good luck.

Last, and importantly--be sure to slip in at least one line in your essay about what you have learned from experiencing and overcoming your adverse situation: are you a more compassionate leader? Are you not afraid to speak truth to power and do the right thing under difficult circumstances? Think about the consequences of your power to overcome difficulty--resilience is a relatively new key concept for service members--adn the services are investing a great deal in recruiting for and building resilience. If you are the King of Resilience...and can build resilience in others, say so.
 

Hikes&Bikes

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What is hard to understand about a limit?

Stick to the limit folks...
For sure, I understand the necessity of sticking to the word limit -- there's no need to reiterate this. I would not have brought up this issue had it not been about the adversity situation. What I was looking more for was the solution @DrMom offered, but thank you all for your advice. I really do appreciate it.
 
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DrMom

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Again, good luck H&B. Also, you are like my #3 (who is applying for 2021 with you--due to a rough situation in our own family, he had to use his 255 words for some 'splaining about his crummy freshman year and the wake up call he received...maybe too little, too late for him--but there are many pathways to leadership and service to the Nation.), please know that the system will not accept the beloved ampersand (&) and you must spell out 'and' which seems to waste so many precious characters when words and characters count.
 

Hikes&Bikes

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@DrMom Thank you for the additional tips! Hope to see him in Class of '21!

@LineInTheSand I agree with you: to follow the limit I was given is absolutely the only acceptable action, and I did initially lose sight of this. Mentioned this seemed like a no-brainer earlier, and I see fault in my original post for not asking the right questions. However, though I didn't ask for alternative ideas (to get my point across to the admissions office) I got my answer... plus immensely helpful advice. For example, I wouldn't have thought to contact my school counselor and see if she could make a comment on my application. Ultimately, I better idea of what to do! Thanks all.
 
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