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Thread: UC Berkeley personal statements

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    UC Berkeley personal statements

    Hi all,

    Does anybody who has/is applying to Berkeley's MCP program know how long they expect personal statements to be? The online app. allows 12,000 characters for the Statement of Purpose and 8,000 for the Personal History...both of these seem absurdly long (12,000 characters is about 3-4 pages single-spaced). Thanks!

    Fang

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    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    The advice I took away from the open house was, like every other thing I've experienced in academia - "It should be as long as it needs to be." However, they give you plenty of space, so why not use it? After all, the faculty and students on the admissions committee only have these statements, your letters of recommendation, and your transcripts / GRE to get to know you, assuming you have never been to Berkeley and have no pre-existing relationships established.

    To give you an idea, I'm actually slightly over the 8,000 character limit for the Personal Statement, while I am shy on the Statement of Purpose with about 11,000 characters

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    Good points, thanks for the input. Good luck on your apps, too!

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    oops... characters not words! big difference.

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    Cyburbian
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    Anyone else annoyed by the similarity of the two statements they want us to write?

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    I interpreted one as research/professional interest, and the other as personal experience leading to the career decision. But I do agree that there is considerable redundancy between the two. UCLA only requires the single statement.

    Did you notice that Berkeley is suspending the Regional Development program for next year? The website says that it will be replaced with something - they haven't decided yet. It seems a little odd, and to speculate about the reasons I might say:

    1) Lack of interest?
    2) Moving that program to another school - Economics perhaps?
    3) Chopping up the curriculum and integrating it in with the other concentrations where there is obvious relevance?
    4) Loss of funding?

    I have heard that Berkeley, and the UC system, is under a budget crunch. Aren't they always? How do they maintain such a high reputation when they constantly have to survive with fewer resources?

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    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nyc_tribeca View post
    Did you notice that Berkeley is suspending the Regional Development program for next year? The website says that it will be replaced with something - they haven't decided yet. It seems a little odd, and to speculate about the reasons I might say:
    This topic was brought up at the open house in November, alas, I was not paying close attention as it is not the program I am interested in. My guess is that John Landis leaving for Penn had something to do with it but I have nothing to base that on other than gut instinct. In addition, there is a strong push for the new Global Metropolitan Studies program, so maybe some funding and other resources have been diverted there. Who knows?

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    Despite the illegible font, I was able to find out enough on the GMS website to see that it is a very interesting program and it looks like there is a plan to build it into something significant. However, it does not seem to be well-developed enough now to support a separate concentration within the DCRP. So, it is disappointing to see the Regional Dvt. program jerked out from under the the MCP concentration list without something already in place. But maybe there are enough affiliated faculty in other departments to make it a seamless transition. I never saw GMS listed as a concentration though, the development of which is still described in future tense on the website. Too bad, because it looks like a fantastic thing.

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