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View Full Version : JET UK personal statement; 2 Page/ 1000 word dilemna



PaddyPakku
October 26th, 2013, 09:25
My personal statement sits at exactly 1000 words(It has to be between 900 and 1000) and I have it double spaced. The problem is, the essay is now 3.5 pages long. Anything beyond 2 pages isn't read right? Is anybody else in a similar siutation. The margins must be 1 inch right?

Gizmotech
October 26th, 2013, 09:38
Then shrink it down to two pages.

PaddyPakku
October 26th, 2013, 09:43
Then shrink it down to two pages.
Do you mean by removing content from my essay? If so, that is not an option.
Also. maybe I'm missing something, but how does 800 words fit on two pages, if double spaced? It's not possible.

Corvus
October 26th, 2013, 10:08
US SOPs have no word count requirement, they specifically require point 12 font, 1 inch margins and double spacing. For what its worth my SOP is just shy of being a full 2 pages and sits at about 530 words, meeting those requirements.

imightbetheone
October 26th, 2013, 10:10
Look very closely at the UK guidelines. It says 800-1,000 words, making no mention of 2 pages. The US application states 2 pages and does not give a word count. That's probably what's throwing you off.

PaddyPakku
October 26th, 2013, 10:16
Thank you for your responses. I'm aware the UK guidelines don't specifically state that it has to be 2 pages, but virtually every other participating countries' guidelines does. Could it have been that the UK simply forgot to mention the 2 page limit? Also, does anybody else know why the essay structure is a little different for the US and the UK? Aren't we all competing for the same positions?

uthinkimlost?
October 26th, 2013, 11:27
Thank you for your responses. I'm aware the UK guidelines don't specifically state that it has to be 2 pages, but virtually every other participating countries' guidelines does. Could it have been that the UK simply forgot to mention the 2 page limit? Also, does anybody else know why the essay structure is a little different for the US and the UK? Aren't we all competing for the same positions?

No page limit. 1000 words in 30 pt Impact font.

You are competing with your countrymen first and are given a score. Afterwards you compete with other countries for positions. The sop means jack post-interview.

PaddyPakku
October 26th, 2013, 12:05
No page limit. 1000 words in 30 pt Impact font.

You are competing with your countrymen first and are given a score. Afterwards you compete with other countries for positions. The sop means jack post-interview.

30pt Inpact Font? I'm sorry but where are you getting this from?
Just to clarify; as a UK applicant, I'm not restricted to 2 pages? Are there any other previous applicants that can confirm this?

imightbetheone
October 26th, 2013, 12:18
There is no ambiguity on the UK JET site. You need to read more carefully and realize when you're being trolled.

Aurano
October 26th, 2013, 20:54
Just do 800-1000 words paddy. If they complain then it's their own fault for not stating requirements more accurately. Also, for a formal letter, Impact font is not a good idea! Though, I think that was supposed to be a joke. Just use Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman.

They ask for double spacing mostly likely for 2 reasons:-

1. Because it's just easier to read.
2. Because it allows the reader to include notes or points between the text that indicates marks for the applicant.

PaddyPakku
October 26th, 2013, 21:26
I think I'll call them on Monday to confirm.
What I still don't understand is the discrepancy on limit between the US and UK essay. Why will some readers of the applications only have to read 2 pages, while others will have to read up to 4? I still think we should all be judged on the same criteria. The US essay allows for a more free-flow structured essay, whereas the UK guidelines seem...stilted.

Aurano; You make a good point about the double spacing. I thought it'd be easier to read, but I never considered them writing notes between sentences; I thought that would be done on a separate sheet. Although, even if the limit were 2 pages, there'd be no reason for them to complain. They'd just not read it...right?

Aurano
October 26th, 2013, 21:47
I think the embassy of each country has their own preferences on how the application should be. British application is quite different from US or other places but I think it comes down to the whole bureaucratic system of each country. I couldn't say why the UK Personal Statement is larger than the US but it might have something to do with the amount of intakes each year. I know a lot more American/Canadian JET's are hired each year compared to British, so the US/Canadian Personal Statement may be shorter just to sift through applications at a more efficient rate. It could also indicate that it may be more competitive for British applications, so the Personal Statement has to have more of an impact.

These are just ideas that spring to mind but who knows. I'm just following the guidelines and taking the initiative. If my Personal Statement turns out to be over 2 pages when it's at 800 words then so be it. But as long as the British JET website states 800-1000 words with double spacing then that is what they will get.

wicket
October 26th, 2013, 22:15
They have to make the US ones shorter because they have a tendency to rabbit on as it is. :)
100 words should fit on 2 pages double-spaced should fit if you use 10-point Times New Roman.

wicket
October 26th, 2013, 22:55
ah no, my bad. i think i must have done mine on 1.5 spacing [the australian application doesn't specify shit like that - they let you make up your own mind on what font you use and spacing etc. which i think is actually better because then you could just cull all the folks who use 5 different fonts and fricken' word art.
Convert Words to Pages - Free Calculator (select font & size) (http://www.wordstopages.com)

PaddyPakku
October 27th, 2013, 09:08
Aurano; If you're using 12pt and double spacing, I guarantee your essay will exceed 2 pages, even at 800 words - unless you're using extremely small font- which I imagine will be a detriment to the reader.
As a side note, how formal are you making your essay? I'm not sure to what extent I should tone down the formality of my essay.


They have to make the US ones shorter because they have a tendency to rabbit on as it is. :)
100 words should fit on 2 pages double-spaced should fit if you use 10-point Times New Roman.

I think you mean to say 1000 words right? Also, the UK guidlines state that it has to be 12pt :(

Aurano
October 27th, 2013, 10:35
Doesn't matter if it's more than 2 pages for UK applicants. If it doesn't state on the UK JET website that it has to be 2 pages then it doesn't. And if JET turn around and say 'it had to be 2 pages' then it's their own fault for not stating that.

UK Guidelines:

Font 12
Double Spaced
Word Processed
Printed on A4 Paper

Doesn't say anything about 2 pages... I think you have just been reading the American/Canadians topics too much and got a little confused. That's one thing that I became aware of before the official Aspiring JET forum closed down. Separating what is directed at American/Canadian applicants and what is directed at UK applicants. Some things are generic for all applicants, but some things can confuse you because you don't see it on the official JET website.

In terms of formality. I'm just making it as formal as need be to come across as professional. I'm not going too formal though because going overboard on formality can come across as cheesy, fake and unoriginal.

wicket
October 27th, 2013, 21:45
Also, forgot to say that the discrepancy is irrelevant, because UK applicants are not competing against USA ones. Each country will be asked to provide a certain number of participants, give or take. This is because plenty of COs request specific countries or have a preference for British or American English. So don't worry about what the Americans are doing - just worry about making yours better than the other UK ones.

therealwindycity
October 28th, 2013, 01:01
Do you mean by removing content from my essay? If so, that is not an option.
Also. maybe I'm missing something, but how does 800 words fit on two pages, if double spaced? It's not possible.

I have yet to read an SoP that wouldn't fit neatly into the page requirement once the unnecessary parts were trimmed.

PaddyPakku
October 28th, 2013, 07:28
Aurano; Yes...I think I've spent too much time reading US SOP examples that I've somewhat internalised the guidlines into my own Personal statement.
Speaking of the aspiring section on JET forums, any idea why it was closed?



I have yet to read an SoP that wouldn't fit neatly into the page requirement once the unnecessary parts were trimmed.
I think we have already established that there are no page limits for the UK statement.

Aurano
October 28th, 2013, 08:32
My best guess is that the official aspiring JET forum was getting a bit too misguiding. There is a lot of speculation about it but I think it's really a combination of a few things that made them just realise that it would be in the best interests of applicants if they didn't read it. I know this probably doesn't make much sense but if you think about it from your view point of getting confused with the whole '2 page' thing then you can kind of see why the forum could be counter productive in some ways.

But ultimately, I have no idea why it was closed. :)

therealwindycity
October 28th, 2013, 08:52
I think we have already established that there are no page limits for the UK statement.

It's still important to be as concise as possible, though. If you're in danger of going over the word count I can almost guarantee that there are places that could be trimmed a little.

Gizmotech
October 28th, 2013, 08:57
I'll remind you of Word's advice:
A good SoP is like a skirt. Long enough to cover the topic and short enough to keep things interesting.

I'll add another to it:
A good SoP is like a wedding dress. The bigger it is, the more shit that is on it, the less impressive it is when you see it, and you know it's all fluff.

Aurano
October 28th, 2013, 09:17
Woooow... This is getting pretty creative now... :lol:

coop52
October 28th, 2013, 09:40
Put yourself in the place of the consulate people. They're going to be really sick of reading essays by #325, so it's best to just make your point as quickly as possible. Otherwise, their eyes will just glaze over as they see yet another essay going on about nothing and chuck it on the "crap" pile.

PaddyPakku
October 28th, 2013, 10:09
Put yourself in the place of the consulate people. They're going to be really sick of reading essays by #325, so it's best to just make your point as quickly as possible. Otherwise, their eyes will just glaze over as they see yet another essay going on about nothing and chuck it on the "crap" pile.

There seems to be a common misconception that the consulate readers have the attention of a 5year old and simply 'glaze over' essays. I have an acquaintance that use to work for the UK consulate.
The company hired by the consulate are actually trained professionals. They analyse and annotate the essays. They read every single sentence as thought it was the first essay they were reading, despite the quality of the essay.
From what I've head, they rarely sift through an essay as there's always the assumption that the applicant will make a relevant point eventually. This isn't always the case, but the analysis of a reader's first essay will be as thorough and the reader's last.

uthinkimlost?
October 28th, 2013, 10:24
There seems to be a common misconception that the consulate readers have the attention of a 5year old and simply 'glaze over' essays. I have an acquaintance that use to work for the UK consulate.
The company hired by the consulate are actually trained professionals. They analyse and annotate the essays. They read every single sentence as thought it was the first essay they were reading, despite the quality of the essay.
From what I've head, they rarely sift through an essay as there's always the assumption that the applicant will make a relevant point eventually. This isn't always the case, but the analysis of a reader's first essay will be as thorough and the reader's last.

No.

You have never, ever done this kind of work. I assure you that they can and will glaze. They will annotate those that are worthwhile, those that are crap will be treated as crap.

Are you trying to sabotage people?

PaddyPakku
October 28th, 2013, 11:23
No.

You have never, ever done this kind of work. I assure you that they can and will glaze. They will annotate those that are worthwhile, those that are crap will be treated as crap.

Are you trying to sabotage people?
I didn't claim to have ever done the work, I'm just relaying the information I received. Although the information is second hand, I do feel as though there's a nugget of truth in the statement that the essays are thoroughly read. Of course a handful of essays are dog poop, but a good majority are relevant and pertain to the questions asked...right? Following the instructions aren't THAT hard after all.

Aurano
October 28th, 2013, 11:40
I doubt a consulate that's willing to hire and trust someone to stay in their country and teach children would glaze over the essays. Glazing is something you do to check for spelling mistakes or bad grammar. If the Personal Statements are graded on key points then essays simply cannot be glazed through because key points have to be recognised and acknowledged to support the applicant.

I'm not saying they will peruse each essay for 30 minutes analysing and dissecting each part, but they certainly won't browse over it like they would a Pizza Hut menu.

uthinkimlost?
October 28th, 2013, 11:53
Hundreds of essays on the same topic, covering the same bases, and doing the same dance.

"I have been interested in Japan since X. I have done y and z and these make me super ready to teach in japan since a, b, c, and d. Even though I studied e, kids are totes my life. I can adapt to any situation since I did f, and it fundamentally changed how I perceive g and h. If selected I will get involved in the community be doing y, since it was something I did while I studied abroad at namedrop university."

Lather, rinse, repeat. It is basic human nature to glaze over the people who fail to stand out. I've watched people lose job opportunities for less. Reading things like this gets hard even if they are your students and you care if they succeed. If you really want to believe a bunch of people, locked in a room and not knowing the authors personally, will give you any leeway or give you more than the minimum amount of attention possible, you are foolish. You need to make them like you, or at least make their job as easy as possible.

therealwindycity
October 28th, 2013, 12:03
It's not just that the people reviewing the essays have a lot of them to go through; writing effectively even with a word limit is a way of demonstrating your communication skills. It shows that you understand what experience is relevant to the application and that you've cut the rest of the fluff. util? sounds a bit strict, but I think he's spot-on about making the essay easy for them to read and not assuming that the reviewers will be particularly generous.

Jiggit
October 28th, 2013, 12:29
Eh mine was completely mundane and I got in. If the standards were that high there would be like 5 JETs. They probably just skim read to check you aren't a retard and then invite everyone who isn't to interview.

uthinkimlost?
October 28th, 2013, 12:37
Of course, mundane by jiggit's standards means it only had five citations.

Jiggit
October 28th, 2013, 12:40
I think that was a compliment.


BTW I really wish I knew who you were in RL but RL won't tell me.

uthinkimlost?
October 28th, 2013, 12:42
I think that was a compliment.


BTW I really wish I knew who you were in RL but RL won't tell me.

Seriously? I had you pegged in two posts. You and gg write precisely the way you speak.

Jiggit
October 28th, 2013, 12:45
Oh just pm me already, I'll buy you a drink or something.

PaddyPakku
October 28th, 2013, 12:49
Uthinkimlost; You seem to be missing the point though. Once again, I'll preface this by saying I'm not expert but the consulate readers aren't hired to be entertained by our statements. Their job is to read our statements and award us points for how concise our statements are. The degree to which the questions have been answered, the structure of the essay, grammatical errors in the essay...these are first and foremost what the reader is interested in. The fact that a vast majority of the essays will be similarly structured is due to the guidelines set by the consulate, not because of an inherent lack of ingenuity by applicants.
An essay 'sticking out' from others doesn't automatically make it better than others, nor will it attain that applicant more points. Our job isn't to make the readers like us...per se...Our job is to compile a complete application as we've been instructed to.

uthinkimlost?
October 28th, 2013, 12:57
Uthinkimlost; You seem to be missing the point though. Once again, I'll preface this by saying I'm not expert but the consulate readers aren't hired to be entertained by our statements. Their job is to read our statements and award us points for how concise our statements are. The degree to which the questions have been answered, the structure of the essay, grammatical errors in the essay...these are first and foremost what the reader is interested in. The fact that a vast majority of the essays will be similarly structured is due to the guidelines set by the consulate, not because of an inherent lack of ingenuity by applicants.
An essay 'sticking out' from others doesn't automatically make it better than others, nor will it attain that applicant more points. Our job isn't to make the readers like us...per se...Our job is to compile a complete application as we've been instructed to.

Yep. That is the minimum you are required to do. Tick those boxes, do no extra, show no consideration. These paragons of virtue will surely consider you adequate and move you forward.


You will surely be a perfectly ok candidate.

Gizmotech
October 28th, 2013, 12:59
Uthinkimlost; You seem to be missing the point though. Once again, I'll preface this by saying I'm not expert but the consulate readers aren't hired to be entertained by our statements. Their job is to read our statements and award us points for how concise our statements are. The degree to which the questions have been answered, the structure of the essay, grammatical errors in the essay...these are first and foremost what the reader is interested in. The fact that a vast majority of the essays will be similarly structured is due to the guidelines set by the consulate, not because of an inherent lack of ingenuity by applicants.
An essay 'sticking out' from others doesn't automatically make it better than others, nor will it attain that applicant more points. Our job isn't to make the readers like us...per se...Our job is to compile a complete application as we've been instructed to.

Uhh... the job of the SoP is to make them like you. Is to make you stand out. Is to make you different from the crowd. Combined with an evaluation of your writing potential.

Aurano
October 28th, 2013, 21:19
I don't even see the point of this whole debate. All one can really do is write their Personal Statement, grab their balls, and pray that it's enough to get an interview.

wicket
October 29th, 2013, 09:43
aurano, the first think they do is glance through, looking for obvious errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and essay structure. if they find those, they make a note to that effect, deduct a buttload of points, and move on to the next application. there is NO point in thoroughly reading an SoP that might have good content if it's badly written - half of the job of an ALT is to teach English, after all.
while glancing through they look to see that applicants have hit key words [or their synonyms] mentioned in the essay question. if those are found, they look for concrete evidence in the SoP. if none is found, points are deducted. avoid "motherhood statements" as further points are deducted for those. points are also deducted for excessive verbosity or obfuscation - the applicant is expected to be able to work with people whose first language is not english, so sentences should be reasonably short and definitely clear. you won't impress anyone with your fantabulous vocabularies. avoid acronyms unless you fully explain them the first time they are used.

and don't ask me how i know this. i could tell you, but then i'd have to kill you.

Gizmotech
October 29th, 2013, 10:27
I'm sorry wicket, what do you mean by "motherhood statements". I can't think of what you mean by that...

Aurano
October 29th, 2013, 12:55
Unless someone is moronic enough to write their Personal Statement in notepad I can't see how they would find a lot of spelling or grammar mistakes because most people use MS Word or something of equal value to write their statement.

A lot of this is starting to confuse and contradict, but I really don't care. I'm just going to write my statement and if it fits the bill, then happy days!

uthinkimlost?
October 29th, 2013, 13:30
Word does not catch all errors. Not even close. (Unless we are talking about word, in which case he will nitpick you to the very core of your being in an effort to get his member to twitch.) It will also often point out what it believes to be an error, even if it is not.

People will also frequently use homonyms in place of the appropriate word. I have personally checked three essays that used peaked where piqued was appropriate.

Aurano
October 29th, 2013, 21:05
Then you must have a pretty pants version of Word. My MS Word handles 98% of spelling mistakes fine and can detect most punctuation faults. Only thing Word cannot do for you efficiently is sentence structure and the use of advanced punctuation tools such as the dash or semicolon. But they are tools used by actual novelists more than anyone.

In terms of piqued and peaked, that's the writers lack of vocabulary. Word will never understand them problems unless the context is really obvious. It's up to the writer to fine tune everything, not word.

Ocaoca
October 30th, 2013, 00:30
avoid acronyms unless you fully explain them the first time they are used.

wicket, would I be able to use 'EAL' and 'ESL' within my personal statement as long as I used (English as an Additional Language) to describe it the first time I used it? I talk about it quite a lot in my teaching experience section and had abbreviated it after the first time as it eats up quite a lot of words and reads repetitively. It's also the term widely used in the British education system. Should I go back and change all the EALs to English as an Additional Language?

coop52
October 30th, 2013, 06:42
Like she said, you can use acronyms if you explain what they mean first...

Gizmotech
October 30th, 2013, 08:45
EAL isn't a commonly accepted term outside of the UK. Use EFL, the Japanese will know what it means.

AVN
October 30th, 2013, 20:09
I think ESL is the most widely used and not the same thing as EFL at all. If you state you have training in EFL be sure you can back that up. They are two completely different skill sets.

Gizmotech
October 30th, 2013, 20:32
Ya, wasn't arguing that, but EAL and EFL are synonymous, ESL is not.

AVN
October 30th, 2013, 21:11
EAL and EFL are not synonymous. EFL is a specific kind of EAL, and has different training and uses different techniques. This can be argued to a certain extent but not enough to say EAL and EFL are the same.

wicket
October 30th, 2013, 22:14
Just change the first one to "EAL (English as an Additional Language); after that you're good to use EAL for subsequent references. Same with ESL. Of course anyone involved with JET will know what ESL stands for, along with ALT and JTE, but the people who screen the initial applications are not CLAIR people - they outsource this; so better to be safe than sorry.

gizmo, this is the definition of a motherhood statement motherhood statement - Wiktionary (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/motherhood_statement)
but in the context of a JET application, it's statements such as "I have a genuine interest in learning the Japanese language" or "I have a strong desire to teach young people" or "I think it is important to contribute to international relations" with no accompanying evidence for those statements such as [respectively] "... and would aim to pass Level 3 of the JLPT within my first year on the programme/ and have recently enrolled in a beginner's Japanese course"; "...as evidenced by the time I spent last summer working for 'Youth off the streets', an organisation that seeks to assist young people to better their lives'; "and was a member of the Japan/Australia society at my university." Hope that helps.

Gizmotech
October 31st, 2013, 06:14
EAL and EFL are not synonymous. EFL is a specific kind of EAL, and has different training and uses different techniques. This can be argued to a certain extent but not enough to say EAL and EFL are the same.

Sorry you're right. They're not synonymous. EAL is just a completely useless statement to make. ESL and EFL distinguish appropriately between the two contexts within which English is learned and create an image in a person's mind of what strategies and approaches are required. EAL just says "well shit son, I guess English isn't your first language" which is pretty obvious but not particularly informative towards your approach.

Thanks wicket. I would assume that anyone applying for JET wouldn't make such... unsubstantiated claims.

Jiggit
October 31st, 2013, 08:42
I thought ESL was just what deluded teachers call EFL?

Gizmotech
October 31st, 2013, 11:52
Esl is what you use to refer to places likethr uk and canada. Where English is language one but second for the newcomer and immersive. Efl is japan where it can be a second language but it isn't immersive. (Even though they use the term esl in this country all the time they are wrong according to the literature)

wicket
October 31st, 2013, 22:18
I would assume that anyone applying for JET wouldn't make such... unsubstantiated claims.
Ahahahaahahaha. Good to see you haven't lost your sense of humour.

AVN
November 1st, 2013, 01:25
Sorry you're right. They're not synonymous. EAL is just a completely useless statement to make. ESL and EFL distinguish appropriately between the two contexts within which English is learned and create an image in a person's mind of what strategies and approaches are required. EAL just says "well shit son, I guess English isn't your first language" which is pretty obvious but not particularly informative towards your approach.


EAL is just a proposed change to the name of ESL taking into account that for some people English may be a third fourth etc. language. It's debatable whether it is needed but EAL is ESL, at least in all the courses I took in Canada, and all the books I've read on the subject.

Jiggit
November 1st, 2013, 08:40
Gizmo is correct about the distinction between EFL and ESL from what I've read. Regardless of whether they want to call it ESL or EAL (sounds like a really fvcking mundane distinction that's only going to result in one more term being bandied around, ESL EFL ELT EAL ETCzzzzzzzzzzzz).

What we do is EFL so if you really care call it that.

AVN
November 1st, 2013, 09:23
Gizmo is correct about the distinction between EFL and ESL from what I've read. Regardless of whether they want to call it ESL or EAL (sounds like a really fvcking mundane distinction that's only going to result in one more term being bandied around, ESL EFL ELT EAL ETCzzzzzzzzzzzz).

What we do is EFL so if you really care call it that.

Agreed, but don't say you have experience with EFL, instead of EAL/ESL, unless you actually do (for applicants).

Gizmotech
November 1st, 2013, 10:44
Gotta be honest, thought about the two terms while I was overseeing an exam last period.

EAL is even less descriptive than ESL. IF they wanted to change ESL it should change to EIL. English as an immersive language, which would create a nice distinction between it and EFL :)

Sorry AVN, everything I had read before coming over was that EFL and EAL were synonymous. I'll defer to you on it though because I think your reading is more current than mine atm.