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Writing sample font


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I've been really struggling with getting my writing sample under 20 pages. I initially wrote my thesis in Times New Roman 12 pt font, and it would make my life significantly easier to switch to Calibri 11 pt font. Does anybody know if this is kosher or if I should stick with Times New Roman 12? (I have always swapped over from Calibri 11 to Times 12 because I think it looks better and more professional, but it is the standard font in Word, so I can't imagine there would be an enormous to-do about it).

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First, check to see if there are specific requirements from any of your schools. I have a couple that are spelling out 12pt TNR pretty explicitly but sometimes that's buried or easily overlooked information.

I would also consider the possibility that, since everything is submitted electronically, someone somewhere may be responsible for standardizing the font/margins of samples for easier readability (to, say, eliminate someone needing to read 300 20-page samples in a sans serif font such as Calibri). I mean, I would consider that but I'm pretty neurotic about this whole thing.

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Personally I would stick with TNR, but if you were going to use a different font, put it into PDF form so it doesn't get converted. I feel like adcoms would definitely be able to spot writing samples trying to appear shorter in length... just do them the favor and keep trying to "ruthlessly delete the excess" (Stunk and White).

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I've been really struggling with getting my writing sample under 20 pages. I initially wrote my thesis in Times New Roman 12 pt font, and it would make my life significantly easier to switch to Calibri 11 pt font. Does anybody know if this is kosher or if I should stick with Times New Roman 12? (I have always swapped over from Calibri 11 to Times 12 because I think it looks better and more professional, but it is the standard font in Word, so I can't imagine there would be an enormous to-do about it).

I'd be more worried about not being able to get your writing sample under 20 pages. I hear that even in schools that say around 20 pages, they appreciate a shorter paper. Kind of like how in a conference they give you 20 minutes, but most people get irritable if you take all 20.

After all, if length was that important, schools like NYU, Rutgers, Riverside and Maryland wouldn't be asking for only 10-12. (up to 20 in the case of some)

Now I could be totally wrong, and my evidence is anecdotal. I'm sure it depends on the school itself, too.

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Traditional parroted wisdom was that it's easier to read serif fonts in print (for various reasons, but some suggest that it's merely to what people have been accustomed). Some say that it's easier now to read sans serif digitally.

Apparently, the debate still rages: http://www.desktoppublishingforum.com/bb/archive/index.php/t-6656.html

Since these adcomms will be sifting through thousands of pages of printed text, I'd suggest just playing it safe and going serif.

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What's wrong with sans serif fonts? I personally thing Calibri looks neater than any other font, but I appreciate people's nostalgia for TNR.

MLA style requires you to use TNR or a similarly standard font. So for Microsoft Office, your choices are basically TNR or Cambria (the new default). If you're applying to PhD programs in the discipline, you need to demonstrate your mastery of MLA style (hence you can't use Calibri or any other non-standard MLA font regardless of your aesthetic preferences).

*gotta prove that you know the rules before you can break them on purpose (and for a legitimate reason) later on emoticon*

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I would suggest not trying to use a font "trick" to get your page number down. If anything, use 11.5 (it can knock out half a page of a significant work, and it's harder to detect). Also, only do that if you're using a PDF because they can change it in Word to see the full length.

If the school specifically DOES NOT state anything about font requirements, then do either one in size 11. You could also stretch your margins out a half inch on the right side if they don't have margin requirements. It'll only look a little weird to the naked eye, but no one will say anything.

A word of caution: Your adcom are English profs. It is literally their job to stare at Word documents all day. They would be able to recognize size 12, TNR, one inch margins, double spaced, in their sleep. Trying to downsize a little or move a margin here if they explicitly tell you specs would probably not look very good. I'm most definitely not trying to suggest that anyone on here is "tricking" the adcom, but just be aware that they'll be able to eye what font and what size you're using and if it's the right one.

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Last year, I used Georgia, 12 point, single-spaced. My SOPs were around 2,000 words.

Please. Do. Not. Repeat. My. Mistake.

Georgia is horrible to read. Georgia 12 point looks terrible. Singles-space is bad, bad, bad. And try not to exceed 2 pages, ever.

This year I'm going with Garamond 12, double space. Garamond's a pleasant font, standard enough, but a relief from "yet another TNR." Also, I'm using Chicago style everywhere and am not applying to English programs (film studies), so I hope that will not be held against me.

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I went with Calibri. And I think the spacing looks fine with this font and it's very legible. I'm happy with my decision!

I can't imagine using Calibri would be an issue -- it is, after all, the default font in Word. If the school doesn't specifically state which font to use, I can't imagine a world where you would be cut because you chose the wrong font. Or can I...

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Maybe if ETS ruled the world...all essays would be five paragraphs and everyone was known by a number between 200-800 rather than a name...

Well now that's just fucking horrifying.

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I can't imagine using Calibri would be an issue -- it is, after all, the default font in Word. If the school doesn't specifically state which font to use, I can't imagine a world where you would be cut because you chose the wrong font. Or can I...

WINGDINGS

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Maybe wingdings would come off as really profound. My SOP was handwritten in blood and it just said "yes yes do it" And look where I am now. :mellow:

This gives me hope that my 1.5 single spaced pages of "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" will be met kindly. (Probably going to use the Chiller font.)

ETA; I totally turn to gallows humor in times such as these. (Dark, dark times.)

Edited by girl who wears glasses
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This gives me hope that my 1.5 single spaced pages of "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" will be met kindly. (Probably going to use the Chiller font.)

ETA; I totally turn to gallows humor in times such as these. (Dark, dark times.)

I LOVE the chiller font. Damn, should have gone with that one. If you make it really large and red it looks like blood...

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