Sunday, November 4, 2007

Is this the hidden essay?

The page limits on each essay for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program are strict and unambiguous: 2 pages (including references), 1" margins, 12 pt Times New Roman font. The only way left to fudge it that I can see might be to change the spacing to be slightly less than 1. A friend of mine applied for and got a GRF a few years ago and she wrote her plan of research in Arial Narrow. It makes a significant difference in length.

Given how strict they are about the essays, I find these instructions from the online application very odd:

List significant academic honors you have received relevant to your major field of study that are not listed above (less than 16000 characters).

Sixteen THOUSAND characters! My two page personal statement is about 1,200. That means you can fit more than 25 pages of text in the field for significant academic honors! I noticed this when I applied last year too. I'm beginning to think it's a secret way for people to include more text in their application.

1 comment:

Anne-Marie said...

Hey, thanks so much for the comments, it's nice to meet you! I really like your blog, when I finally get around to setting up my blogroll I will make sure to put you on there. I'm in the process of trying to contact potential master's advisors right now and am obsessed with everything grad school (I'm way too neurotic for the whole "waiting game" to hear back from professors, it's killing me), so I'm really glad to have found your blog!