UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

Please note: The line count may differ than the number of lines in the textbox above but when copy and pasted will match the line count on the UCAS application.

UCAS Personal Statement Requirements

  • No longer than 4000 characters.
  • No longer than 47 lines.
  • Each line can be no longer than 94 characters. (Our character counter above already has a max line length of 94 characters unless otherwise noted.)
  • Characters include spaces, carriage returns, and punctuation.

To see additional features including word count, paragraph count, space count and more use the character counter on our home page.

How to write your UCAS personal statement

The UCAS personal statement scares most high school students. Writing a perfect personal statement is a strenuous and unavoidable process. With roughly about 6 million university applications each year, officials need a method for filtering stronger applicants from everyone else.

As challenging as this task may appear, it is also your only chance to share your personality and eligibility for the degree program you have chosen. Follow our practices given, and you can absolutely make your personal statement up to the mark.

Start with a plan

Each year thousands of applications are received for the best degrees in the world and are best focused on the goal of making their application stand out from the rest.

Thus, planning out what you want to say prior to writing your UCAS statement makes it easy to write a convincing personal statement. Start off by making a rough draft, answering some questions like

  • What subjects do you want to study?
  • Why have you particularly chosen this path for yourself?
  • What makes you think that you are best suited to study this degree program at the college?

Some of these points will form the backbone of your personal statement, so write them in a manner that makes sense to you.

Sometimes you want to create simple bullet points or use mind maps. No matter what you decide; your goal is the same. You want to clarify why the university should provide you with a spot.

Bigger Picture of the Degree

Talk about the course that you have applied to. How did you learn about it in the first place? What means did you use to deepen your interest and knowledge in this area?

It would be a huge plus to list the books you read and the meetings you have attended regarding the subject.

Please elaborate on your academic attitude towards the degree. What are your goals after graduating? What role will it play in helping you achieve your greatest ambitions? What sort of vocation plans do you have after graduation?

Write about your work experience and achievements

Your previous achievements are an essential part of your personal statement. Think about all the accolades you have received and the contests you have participated in. These can be in-school, national or international. Both academic and sports awards can greatly help emphasize your commitment.

Write about the important skills and experiences acquired elsewhere (such as hobbies) that can be chained to the degree of your choice.

Remember, you are searching for experience that shows why you need to study the subject that you have chosen. You are not just writing an essay about what you are doing in your high school syllabus.

Extracurricular Activities

Your extracurriculars ought to likewise be included in the personal statement. Whether it be a MUN or a cross country race, they pass on the message that you love participating in different events.

Likewise, it is really smart to discuss any expertise you have acquired through extracurriculars.

Discuss any leadership roles you could have held, as they improve your capacity to appreciate people on a profound level and put you across as a pioneer.

Community service is a plus in the UCAS statement as it shows a promise to a reason bigger than oneself.

You can link all these activities to your selected course in the best case. Be careful not to elaborate too much on extracurricular activities.

UCAS Character Count

There are some specific instructions for your personal statement that you can never ignore.

First, it must not exceed 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including blank lines), whichever comes first. If you do exceed this, the university will not get your entire statement.

So make sure your personal statement has a solid and decisive ending. It will look bad if you cut it off in the middle of a sentence after realizing that you have exceeded the text limit.

Instead, give each section proper attention, time, and character to plan your essay thoroughly.

However, while you are getting everything rolling, you ought to overlook these restrictions.

Tips for reducing the character count

From the get-go, you simply need to jot down all that you feel is significant. You will probably wind up with something very lengthy, but that is okay.

This is where you get to do some polishing and trimming. Maintain the focal point of your piece on the course you are applying for, why you want to do it and for what reason you are impeccably fit for it.

Glance through what you have composed until now - do you have the right balance? Cut off whatever continues a little to far, as you want to keep each point crisp and concise.

It is a difficult process to try to keep as much content as possible while keeping the character count low, so here are some simple ways to make it easier for you.

Avoid quotes

Read your personal statement and eliminate platitudes if there are any - for instance, 'I've wanted to study psychology since I was young'…The same goes for the quotations: except if they increase the value of your statement (which they don't most of the time!), it is really the best practice to remove them.

Make sure everything is concise

For each sentence in your piece, use the "so what?" rule. Does this sentence appear to be more reasonable for the course? If not, cutting it is best. This frequently happens when individuals write too much about their extracurriculars in a frantic endeavour to fit everything in. For extra analysis, feel free to use our sentence counter to calculate the average length of your sentences.

Colleges, notwithstanding, need to see a reflection and what you have extracted from your encounters; this implies it is normally better to simply discuss a few extracurriculars than to list many things that the reader is likely to skim.

Also, note that you don't have to use hospital or volunteer location names. This further allows you to remove the last few characters from the count.

Use colour coding

An easy way to see where you are losing most of your characters is to highlight the sections of your statement with different colours.

Check your language

We frequently invest a great deal of energy looking up big words with the expectation that it will make our work impressive. However, this isn't generally the best practice. It is, in many cases, best to cut these words for fundamental and engaging sentences.

I hope the process will now be transparent, and it will be more exciting for you as you embark on your writing.

How to use our UCAS personal statement checker

To use our tool simply copy and paste your personal statement into the text-box above.

At the top, you will see two metrics displayed. The first metric on the left is the total characters you've typed out of the limit of 4,000 characters.

The second metric on the right is the number of lines your text contains out of the max of 47 lines. The UCAS allows a maximum of 94 characters per line, which our line count feature already takes into consideration.

To make it easier you can click the green "copy text" button to copy the text in the text box. You can also click the red "clear text" button to delete all the text in the text-box.

Why use an online UCAS personal statement checker?

Reason number one: The character count feature in Microsoft Word will not give you an accurate reading. The reason is that Word does not count the carriage return (also known as the enter key) as a character while UCAS does count it as a character.

The problem is that this will cause Word to underestimate the character count. This could cause your essay not to be able to submit when you try to upload it. If anything it would be better to overestimate the word count on Word that way it will fit.

Our personal statement checker however will give you the same character count as UCAS unlike the Microsoft Word character count.

It can be helpful to see the character count in real-time as you are typing your personal statement. This way you are constantly reminded of how long your essay is.

If you are not paying attention it can be easy to lose track of how long your essay is and go over the limit.

Our tool makes it easier to be aware of the length and easy to cut back if necessary.

How many characters in a personal statement?

UCAS requires 4,000 characters in their personal statement. Use our personal statement checker above to see if your essay meets the requirements.

How many words in a UCAS personal statement

UCAS has a character limit of 4,000 characters. This equates to about 615 to 800 words.

How many words is 4000 characters?

4,000 characters is about 615 to 800 words. For more Characters to Words conversions, check out our Characters To Words Converter .

Does the personal statement character limit include spaces?

Yes, it does include spaces as well as carriage returns. Check your statement with our personal statement checker above.

Thanks for using our UCAS personal statement checker!

We appreciate you taking the time to check your personal statement using our webpage. As you know, this is a very important college application essay to get into British universities. UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and is what the UK uses for the college application process. Good luck on your personal statement!

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How to write a UCAS personal statement

A student writing a personal statement on a laptop

Writing a great personal statement

Read our guide on what it is, what to include, how to start, length and what makes a good personal statement 

Once you've decided which universities and courses to apply for, completing your application is pretty simple – until it comes to how to write your UCAS personal statement.

This guide covers everything you need to know about how to write a personal statement for university. We look at what it is and how you can start your personal statement. We've also got questions to guide you and a suggested personal statement structure you can use so you know what to put in it.

If you'd like even more resources, support and UCAS personal statement examples, you can sign up to access our personal statement hub .

What is the UCAS personal statement?

How universities use your ucas personal statement, how to start a ucas personal statement.

  • Get feedback on your UCAS personal statement

The personal statement is part of your UCAS application. It's how you show your chosen universities why you'll make a great student and why they should make you an offer.

Your personal statement also helps you think about your choice of course and your reasons for applying, so you know you’ve made the right decision.

Get feedback on your personal statement

Sign up to our personal statement hub to get feedback on your draft. You'll also get access to videos, help sheets and more tips.

Sign up now

UCAS personal statement word limit

Your personal statement length can be up to 4,000 characters long. 

This may sound a lot, but it's a word limit of around 550–1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper.

You need to keep it concise and make sure it's clear and easy to read.

Applying for multiple courses

Although you can apply for up to 5 courses on your UCAS application, you can only submit 1 personal statement. So it needs to cover all your course choices.

If you really want to show your commitment to applying for different courses, we will accept a second personal statement from you to reflect your application e.g. if you are applying for Law elsewhere, but Criminology and Criminal Justice with us.

Lots of students who apply to university have achieved the basic entry requirements and many more students apply than there are places available. Admissions teams can use your UCAS personal statement to get to know you and decide why you're more suitable than other applicants.

Some universities read every personal statement and score them. Then they use them alongside your qualifications and grades to decide whether to offer you a place or interview. Other universities put less emphasis on the personal statement and use it with students who have borderline entry requirements.

Universities might refer to your personal statement again on results day if you don't get the grades you need. So a good personal statement could clinch you a uni place even if your grades aren't what you hoped for.

Starting your personal statement can seem scary when you're staring at a blank screen. But, things will seem less daunting once you start.

  • Set aside some time in a place where you're comfortable and won't be disturbed. Grab a notepad or computer.
  • Write down anything and everything that's influenced your decision to go to university and study your chosen subject. Jot down your skills and experience too.
  • Use the questions below to guide you. Don't worry about the personal statement length at this point – you can cut things out later.

When to start your UCAS personal statement

Ideally, you want to leave yourself plenty of time – a few weeks or even months – to plan and write your personal statement.

Try not to leave it to the last minute, as tempting as this may seem when you've got so many other things to think about.

Questions to guide you

Your motivation.

  • Why do you want to study at university?
  • Why do you want to study this subject?
  • How did you become interested in this subject?
  • What career do you have in mind after university?

Academic ability and potential

  • How have your current studies affected your choice?
  • What do you enjoy about your current studies?
  • What skills have you gained from your current studies?
  • How can you demonstrate you have the skills and qualities needed for the course?
  • What qualities and attributes would you bring to the course and university?

Your experience

  • What work experience (including part-time, charity and volunteer work) do you have and what have you learnt from it?
  • What positions of responsibility have you held? (For example, prefect, captain of a team or member of a committee)
  • What relevant hobbies or interests do you have and what skills have they helped you develop?
  • What transferable skills do you have, such as self motivation, team working, public speaking, problem solving and analytical thinking?

Research and reading

  • How do you keep up with current affairs or news in your chosen subject?
  • What journals or publications relevant to your chosen subject do you read?
  • Which people have influenced you, such as artists, authors, philosophers or scientists?

Now it's time to write your personal statement using your notes. It's best to draft it on a computer, and remember to save it regularly.

You can copy and paste it into your UCAS application when you're happy with it.

Personal statement structure

While there's no set template for a personal statement, you may find it useful to follow this personal statement structure when you decide what to put in your statement.

What to include in a personal statement

  • Reasons for choosing this subject(s)
  • Current studies and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
  • Experiences and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
  • Interests and responsibilities and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
  • Your future after university
  • Summary including why you'll make a great student

Further tips for a good UCAS personal statement

  • Use information on university websites and the UCAS website. This often includes the skills and qualities universities are looking for in applicants
  • Ask friends, family and teachers to remind you of activities you've participated in. They might remember your successes better than you do
  • Don’t include lists in your application, like a list of all your hobbies. Focus on 1 or 2 points and talk about them in depth to show their relevance to your application
  • Explain and evidence everything. It’s easy to say you have a skill, but it's better to demonstrate it with an example of when and how you’ve used it
  • Avoid clichéd lines such as ‘I've always wanted to be a teacher’ as it says nothing about your motivations or experiences
  • If you’re applying for a joint degree or different subjects, give equal time to each area and try to find common aspects that show their similarities
  • Never lie or plagiarise another statement – you'll be caught and it could result in your application being automatically rejected
  • Proofread your personal statement by reading it out loud and ask friends, family or a teacher to check it for you

Sign up to our personal statement hub

Watch videos, get top tips and download our help sheets – that's what our personal statement hub is for. It's for you to write your story, so you can show your strengths, ideas and passion to your chosen universities.

You'll also be able send us your draft, so you can get feedback and feel confident about what you've written.

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How to write a personal statement

Finding the right words to include in your personal statement can be tricky, but we're here to guide you through it.

Writing a first-class statement

You know we’re a good match, now all you’ve got to do is tell us why. Your personal statement is an opportunity to tell us everything about you and how special you are but finding the right words can be tricky. If you’re tired of sitting in front of a blank page for hours on end, searching for the best way to describe yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our top tips for writing a personal statement.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement forms part of your application to study at university. It’s your chance to articulate why you’d like to study a particular course or subject, and what skills and experience you possess that demonstrate your passion for your chosen field. Your personal statement can be up to 4,000 characters (including spaces) or 47 lines of 95 characters (including spaces); whichever is shorter.

What to write about in your personal statement

You! No one knows you better than you know yourself. You need to tell us why you’re the perfect candidate for the course and what makes you stand out from the crowd.

A helpful way of ensuring you strike the right balance is by splitting your statement into sections:

  • At least 75% of your personal statement should be related to what you want to study, and why you want to study that subject. Be genuine and refer to topics you've already studied and your wider interests in the area. It's also worth reflecting on any reading that you’ve done on the subject or relevant work experience.
  • The remaining 25% of your statement should cover any other achievements. This is where you show us that you’ve taken full advantage of the opportunities presented to you. Are you on a school sports team? Have you conducted any charity work? Do you have a part-time job? Include relevant examples that demonstrate you have the skills needed during your time at university. It’s time to boast about how brilliant you are! 

However, getting these details down isn't always easy, and some people find it helpful to make notes over time. Carrying a notebook with you or setting up a memo on your phone can be useful. Whenever you think of something useful for your personal statement, jot it down.

Top Tip: It’s important to remember that you only write one personal statement – it remains the same for each course you apply for. So, avoid mentioning any universities by name. If you’re applying for more than one subject (or it’s a combined course) it’s crucial to include common themes or reference the overall skills needed for all subjects.

How to write your personal statement

Just like you, your personal statement should be unique, so there’s no specific format to follow when it comes to putting pen to paper. That said, we have compiled some general guidelines for you to follow:

  • Write simply and naturally – don’t use complex language to impress, it often doesn’t read well 
  • Be enthusiastic and excited – we want to see your genuine passion (and enjoy reading about it) 
  • Structure your personal statement to reflect the skills and qualities universities value most – read the course descriptions for inspiration 
  • Read it aloud – this can help you spot any potential mistakes and provides an opportunity to edit the text to make the statement sound more natural 
  • Don’t copy – UCAS runs your personal statement through plagiarism software to make sure your statement is original 
  • Overwrite then edit – when working on your first draft it’s important to get down as much information as you can, you can refine the copy to suit the character count later 
  • Don’t settle on draft one – come back to your statement a few days after completing your first draft, you’ll likely want to redraft certain sections after coming back with ‘fresh eyes’ 
  • Ask for advice – get your teachers, advisors and family to take a look and don’t be offended if they offer suggestions or changes, they want to help you succeed 
  • Run your statement through a spell-checking programme – then double-check the spelling, punctuation and grammar and correct

We recommend you write your personal statement first, then copy and paste it into your online application once you're happy with it. Make sure you save it regularly, as it times out after 35 minutes of inactivity.

Need more application tips?

Life is full of opportunities and studying at the University of Nottingham could be your biggest yet! If you’re looking for more application guidance, head over to our 'Applying' hub.

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12 Personal Statement FAQs and answers!

There is often a large amount of confusion surrounding how to write personal statements, especially when it comes to oxford and cambridge and other top research universities., every year, we have thousands of students ask us what qualities go into making a successful personal statement., to help, we have broken down this question into 12 of the most frequently asked questions our prospective students ask when they are trying to draft their personal statements., 1. how do i write the introduction.

Introductions are often disappointingly generic. To help you achieve more specificity and concision, the best way to write a good personal statement introduction is to complete the rest of it first. When you are getting started on the first draft, it can be overwhelming to begin at a blank page, but discussing your achievements and interests – relevant to the courses and universities you are applying to – can help you clarify what your motivation to study the subject really is. Then you can come back and explain the reasons behind your passion for Mathematics, Anglo Saxon literature or your subject of choice.

2. How many books should I talk about?

This question can be answered in various ways depending on the subject you intend to study. Clinical scientific subjects will not require many book mentions, however, Arts and Humanities personal statements for Oxbridge see a great benefit from discussing at least two books in detail, with further reading mentioned.

It’s also important to remember that academic sources shouldn’t be only limited to books. A well-rounded personal statement discusses specific theories, touches on lectures you have attended or essays and articles you have read to gain a better understanding of specific academic points rather than a general discussion. One of the biggest pitfalls students fall into when drafting Oxbridge personal statements is getting stuck waffling about general points around a subject of interest. To avoid getting stuck in general chatter, try to use only specific examples in your personal statement.

Centrally, admissions tutors want to see that you know you are getting yourself in for. Only reading a couple of books from their introductory list will therefore not tantalise them; try to follow your interests in a bit more depth and look at readings and ideas which are representative of degree level material.

3. What do I do if I have no work experience?

Referencing work experience in your personal statement is dependent on the subject you intend to study. A rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you think an academic in the faculty you are applying to will think your work experience was relevant for the course. If you are applying to study History, for example, your two-weeks at an accounting or law firm organising files will be of little interest.

For Medicine, work experience is integral not only to the application process but will help build a strong personal statement. When applying to a vocational subject such as Medicine, where possible you should always ensure you are able to reference at least one work experience placement held. If you don’t have any work experience and your personal statement is due, make sure to arrange some and refer to this in the future tense in your personal statement when talking about your upcoming placement.

Work experience can also be useful for other more vocation-leaning subjects, such as architecture and engineering. More widely, doing work experience is extremely useful to help you begin thinking about what you might want to do with your career, and can build highly useful skills, but, unless it is relevant to the course content, it is unlikely to proffer you any credit for university admission.

4. How long should I talk about extra-curricular activities?

Leading research universities are looking for your potential to succeed on the course you are applying for. Nevertheless, two applicants who seem academically matched might be distinguished from each other by their ability to balance their time with several other things. Do include what you do outside of academia, then, but keep non-relevant activities mentioned to a minimum rather than an exhaustive list. This might mean sacrificing some of the things you do outside of your course and focus on those few things you do most often, or to the highest level. (N.B. Your reference might be able to discuss some of your extra-curricular activities too, and you don’t want to overlap this material).

What you do mention, try to link to your subject. This might be easy, as with an English literature student who has directed lots of theatre, or less easy, such as a maths applicant who plays the violin to a high level. Nevertheless, making these links convincingly can bring originality and creativity to your statement.

5. How can I tailor it for different courses?

Subjects like HSPS at Cambridge or Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Oxford might make it tricky to tailor your statement for different courses. Oxford and Cambridge are very understanding of this, and specific guidance can usually be found on faculty websites about their expectations.

However, as a rule of thumb, focus on the areas of convergence between the courses you are applying for. If these differ in title, then avoid stating the title of the course in your statement and instead refer to the disciplinary area or focus instead. This involves: a) making sure the courses you are applying for are sufficiently similar to give you a chance of doing this, and b) doing your research on the course content and options so that you are covering the appropriate material.

This research stands even if you are applying for the same titled course everywhere. English, for example, is taught very differently at Oxford to Bristol, and focusing on an interest which does not feature in either course will result in your application being put aside.

Doing this research early can also help you to direct your reading and research to build material for your personal statement which speaks to all your choices.

6. How should I talk about my other A-level subjects?

Lots of students are told to discuss the skills they have gathered from their A Level subjects, but we caution around this; your UCAS application includes a full list of A-Level subjects studied, and your school reference will discuss your A-Level abilities. Talking about the time management or analytical skills you gained from studying history, and the logical skills you gained from physics, can therefore come across as ‘fodder’ which could have already been inferred.

You can, however, talk about how other subjects provide further insight into the course or subject you’d like to study. For example, students who have taken Classics that intend to study English Literature at university can talk about translating texts, such as the Aeneid, and how this helped gain a greater understanding of classical influence in modern English Literature. As with the whole statement, the more specific you can make this, the better.

7. How long should it be?

This is an easy one. Your personal statement should be at most, 4,000 characters or 47 lines, whichever you meet first. Although it can be shorter, we strongly recommend taking full advantage of the available space. Ideally, you want your first draft to be much longer so you can cut down and edit your personal statement to be shorter, rather than using general waffle or struggling to fill the space.

Cutting it down is usually relatively easy, but it might take an outside eye to see the ‘wood from the trees’. Any non-relevant, generic material, anything which is likely to be in many other statements, and frilly, decorative language or repetition can all be chopped down.

If you find you are struggling to reach 4,000 characters or 47 lines, you probably need to revisit the body of your personal statement and discuss more subject-specific content. You may, alternatively, need to go back to the research and reading phase of writing.

8. What formatting should I use?

The final version of your personal statement will be submitted in a digital form with no formatting options, so there is no need to worry about formatting. That means you won’t have to decide what font or colour to use and there is no need for styles such as bold or italics. If you do include these, they won’t appear in the submitted version.

Your school should already have discussed best practice for writing your personal statement but as a reminder – do not write your statement draft in the real form! As with any content that is going to be submitted digitally, you should write it in a word document first (Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Pages, etc) where you can save a copy locally to your computer (and back-up regularly). This way, you can avoid the devastating loss of your best statement draft due to an accidental refresh or the internet dropping out.

9. How many paragraphs should it be?

There is no set-in-stone rule for the number of paragraphs but generally, a well-structured personal statement will be broken up into five or six paragraphs and be easy to read. Admissions tutors will need to comprehend your statement very quickly, so structure with this in mind.

A frequently-successful structure follows this pattern: an introduction, two to three course/subject-specific main paragraphs, a penultimate paragraph detailing your extracurricular activities, and then a final summary paragraph. The final two paragraphs are sometimes pushed together to form one.

10. Will they find out if I slightly…exaggerate my talents?

Yes! Your personal statement for Oxford and Cambridge should be considered a springboard for your interview and you could and should expect to be questioned about any single detail of it. At Oxbridge Applications, every year, we have students that approach us in January who are upset that their Admissions Tutor spent 20 minutes focused on a certain author when “I only mentioned that book briefly as a side note”.

However, you DON’T need to be an expert, or even particularly knowledgeable, about a particular idea or author to mention it in your statement. If you are questioned about an aspect of an author’s work you have mentioned which you are unsure about, then be intellectually honest and say so, but try your best to have a go given what you already know about them or similar authors/ideas.

This is not only the case for authors/books mentioned, but also if you put forward a highly ambitious or critical view in your statement. If you want to argue that Marx was totally wrong, then you better be ready to defend your view in a nuanced way. The bottom line is: stay intellectually honest and err on the side of modesty; academics tend to become less rather than more sure about the ‘truth’ the further they delve into their subject matter.

11. How many teachers should check my personal statement?

Preferably, you will get your drafted personal statement checked by at last two of your teachers or guidance advisers. One should be subject-specific who can check over the content of your paragraphs and the other can be from a different department to provide feedback on grammatical accuracy and quality of the statement.

Getting guidance from second and third parties can be useful ensure you retain editorial control, and that your voice and taste runs through the statement. If you try to include everyone’s different opinion, you can quickly end up with a jumbled statement that no longer reflects on you and your communication style and strengths.

Make sure you leave plenty of time between completing your first draft and the Oxbridge personal statement deadline ensuring you have time for others to check it over and you can make changes as necessary.

12. Should I start my personal statement with a quote?

‘Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.’ Oscar Wilde.

How much have you learned about me from reading Wilde’s words?

Quotes are used each year by applicants who end up getting offers from top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. It’s not necessarily going to bring your application to an end. Quotes are also awarded marks in certain A Level subjects, if you have taken the time to remember them and give them a bit of context.

However, your personal statement gives admissions tutors the chance to hear your voice, and to get a sense of what you might be like as a student on their course. By definition , using a quote – i.e. someone else’s words – is not personal. It is therefore preferable to avoid using a quote unless it’s absolutely essential. Using a quote doesn’t make YOU sound more interesting.

Before you decide to use a quote, think long and hard. If you would really like to use a quote, try to make it as pithy and concise as possible, and make sure it elevates and builds on what you are saying; that it expresses something you couldn’t have otherwise expressed on your own. (Also, by ‘quote’, we are not talking about specific concepts or theories – these are absolutely fine to include.)

Driven by 20 years of research and first-hand experience in guiding thousands of applicants, our consultations provide an honest and detailed assessment with guidance on individual personal statements.

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Length of Personal Statement: Medical School Application Essay Limits Explained

  • By Med School Insiders
  • January 11, 2023
  • Personal Statement

The medical school personal statement is one of the most important pieces of your application. It’s your opportunity to tell your personal story beyond your grades and accomplishments. Who are you? Why do you want to become a doctor? These questions aren’t necessarily difficult ones to answer. You know why you want to be a doctor. But the medical school personal statement can only be about a page and a half long. How do you engagingly cram your life’s story into that limited space?

In this post, we’ll break down the differing lengths and requirements of the AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS personal statements. We’ll also cover other medical school application essay lengths and share tips on how to write clearly and concisely.

Length of Medical School Personal Statement

Amcas personal statement length.

An AMCAS personal statement has a 5300 character maximum, which is only about 1.5 pages of single-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font.

This is not a lot of space to tell admissions committees why you want to devote your life to the study and practice of medicine. That said, it’s all the space you have, so it’s essential that you make brevity your friend.

Choose a few key moments and personality traits that exemplify your strength of character, maturity, and dedication to the pursuit of medicine. Why do you want to become a doctor? What events and people in your life have informed this desire? What sets you apart from the other candidates? The key to success is explaining this in an engaging, informative, yet succinct way.

Learn How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement in 11 Steps , and save our 25 Personal Statement Prompts to Spark Ideas that can get you started.

AACOMAS Personal Statement Length

Osteopathic (DO) medical schools also have a 5300 character limit , but the personal statement must be about why you want to become an osteopath specifically. You must choose key moments from your life that have informed your desire to study osteopathic medicine, earn your DO, and become an osteopathic doctor.

Why have you chosen the osteopathic approach to medicine over the allopathic approach? Do you have an osteopathic mentor who inspired you? How do your past actions illustrate your alignment with osteopathic principles?

Learn how to write an effective osteopathic personal statement with our comprehensive AACOMAS Personal Statement Guide , which includes tips for success and mistakes to avoid.

TMDSAS Personal Statement Length

If you’re planning to apply to Texas medical schools, you’ll have even less space to write your personal statement. The TMDSAS personal statement has a 5000 character maximum. If you’re planning to apply to both AMCAS and TMDSAS schools, know that you will either have to write two personal statements or keep your AMCAS statement to 5000 characters instead of 5300.

Texas schools are looking for the same criteria from your personal statement. What fuels your desire to become a doctor, and which events or people from your life crystalized your ambition? What sets you apart and makes you a unique candidate?

Learn how to write an effective Texas medical school personal statement with our TMDSAS Personal Statement Guide .

Length of Other Medical School Application Essays

Amcas mini-essays.

On the AMCAS application, you may need to complete additional essays. Each of these essays is 1325 characters in length.

Complete these essays if you answer “Yes” to the following questions:

  • Have you ever matriculated at, or attended, any medical school as a candidate for a medical degree?
  • Were you ever the recipient of any institutional action by any college or medical school for unacceptable academic performance or conduct violation, even though such action may not have interrupted your enrollment or required you to withdraw?
  • Were you dishonorably discharged from the military? Please explain the circumstances of your discharge, including the circumstances leading to your discharge, your period of service and your rank at the time of discharge.
  • Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Felony crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you were adjudicated as a juvenile, or 2) convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court (in states where applicable)?
  • Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Misdemeanor crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you were adjudicated as a juvenile, 2) any convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court, or 3) any misdemeanor convictions for which any probation has been completed and the case dismissed by the court (in states where applicable)?
  • Do you wish to be considered a disadvantaged applicant by any of your designated medical schools that may consider such factors (social, economic or educational)?

AACOMAS Mini-Essays

AACOMAS applications offer a 500 character limit for mini-essays relating to each of the following questions:

  • Dishonorary discharge from the military.
  • Have you ever been convicted of a Misdemeanor?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a Felony?
  • Have you ever been disciplined for academic performance by any college or school?
  • Have you ever been disciplined for student conduct violations by any college or school?
  • Were you ever denied readmission to any academic program due to academic conduct or performance?
  • Have you ever had any certification, registration, license or clinical privileges revoked, suspended or in any way restricted by an institution, state or locality?

TMDSAS Mini-Essays

On the TMDSAS application, the character length for additional mini-essays varies from 600-1000 characters.

  • Describe how your military experience prepared you for a career as a healthcare provider. (1000 characters)
  • Have you ever been arrested or charged with any violation of the law regardless of outcome? (600 characters to provide details.)
  • If you indicate that you consider yourself a non-traditional applicant, the following essay prompt will appear: “Describe the factors that have defined you as a non-traditional candidate and how they impact your application.” (1000 characters)

TMDSAS offers students two additional essays, one of which is optional. Both essays have a maximum character limit of 2500 characters.

The first is called the Personal Characteristics essay, where you have the opportunity to describe how your background, talents, skills, experiences, etc., would add to the educational experience of others.

The second essay is optional and provides the admissions committee more information on anything you do not feel you were able to cover in the rest of your application. You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to share more about yourself.

Tips for Clear and Concise Essay Writing

Pencil breaking on paper

5300 characters is not a lot of space, so it is vital that your personal statement be concise, engaging, and to the point.

  • Choose clear words that get your point across concisely.
  • Avoid flowery language that confuses rather than adds clarity. The thesaurus can help you find a clearer word, but using it to find a more complicated one will only make it sound like you used a thesaurus.
  • Your personal statement is not your complete life story. It’s your answer to the question, “Why do you want to be a doctor?” Select a couple of specific moments from your life that exemplify the personal qualities you want an admissions committee to know you have.
  • Don’t try to rehash your entire CV. In fact, your personal statement shouldn’t mimic your resume or list of experiences. Use the personal statement as an opportunity to add new information and insights to your application.
  • Review and edit for clarity. As you refine your personal statement, ask others to review it for clarity. Are there any aspects that were confusing? Are there any parts that could be clearer?

How to Write a Personal Statement List of 11 steps

Take Your Medical School Personal Statement to the Next Level

You don’t have to face your personal statement alone—and you shouldn’t! Med School Insiders offers a range of personal statement editing services and packages . We provide everything from general editing to in-depth, unlimited editing with a one-on-one physician advisor who will be there to guide you every step of the way.

Our doctors, MDs and DOs included, have years of experience serving on admissions committees. You’ll receive key insights from people who have intimate knowledge of both sides of the selection process.

Utilize our Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages to succeed in every step of the application process, regardless of which application service you apply through. Choose from AMCAS Application Editing , AACOMAS Application Editing , or TMDSAS Application Editing tailored to the schools you’re applying to.

For more on personal statements and all other aspects of the medical school application process, follow the Med School Insiders blog . It’s a vast library of resources for premeds, applicants, and medical students, with the latest how-to advice, study strategies, and industry trends.

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2024-2025 Medical School Application Timeline and Monthly Schedule

This is the medical school application timeline you should follow, including key dates and an ideal month-by-month preparation schedule.

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2024 TMDSAS Personal Statement Guide

The TMDSAS personal statement—learn how the TMDSAS personal statement differs from AMCAS and how to write a personal statement for Texas medical schools.

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2024 AACOMAS Personal Statement Guide

The AACOMAS personal statement—learn how it fits within the application process and how to write a personal statement for DO schools.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing the Personal Statement

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The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:

This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.

2. The response to very specific questions:

Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.

Questions to ask yourself before you write:

  • What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
  • What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
  • When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?
  • How have you learned about this field—through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?
  • If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocre LSAT or GRE scores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?
  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?
  • What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
  • What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
  • Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school—and more successful and effective in the profession or field than other applicants?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?

General advice

Answer the questions that are asked

  • If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar.
  • Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.

Tell a story

  • Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.

Be specific

  • Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.

Find an angle

  • If you're like most people, your life story lacks drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or a "hook" is vital.

Concentrate on your opening paragraph

  • The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.

Tell what you know

  • The middle section of your essay might detail your interest and experience in your particular field, as well as some of your knowledge of the field. Too many people graduate with little or no knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the profession or field they hope to enter. Be as specific as you can in relating what you know about the field and use the language professionals use in conveying this information. Refer to experiences (work, research, etc.), classes, conversations with people in the field, books you've read, seminars you've attended, or any other source of specific information about the career you want and why you're suited to it. Since you will have to select what you include in your statement, the choices you make are often an indication of your judgment.

Don't include some subjects

  • There are certain things best left out of personal statements. For example, references to experiences or accomplishments in high school or earlier are generally not a good idea. Don't mention potentially controversial subjects (for example, controversial religious or political issues).

Do some research, if needed

  • If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.

Write well and correctly

  • Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.

Avoid clichés

  • A medical school applicant who writes that he is good at science and wants to help other people is not exactly expressing an original thought. Stay away from often-repeated or tired statements.

For more information on writing a personal statement, see the personal statement vidcast .

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Personal statement length checker

Enter your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length.

The requirements for teacher training personal statements are different for UCAS Apply so this checker won't produce the correct results.

Your personal statement will be shown formatted according to UCAS's requirements, and the length and character limit calculated to check it's length.

Please note that the results of our personal statement checker may differ slightly from the UCAS Apply length checker. If you notice any differences please email us with copy of your personal statement and we'll. investigate further

Personal Statement

Personal statements may be used to customize the application to a specific program or to different specialties. 

In This Section:

Creating the personal statement, formatting the personal statement, previewing the personal statement, reviewing/editing the personal statement, assigning the personal statement.

You create your own personal statements in the MyERAS portal from the Personal Statements section listed under Documents. 

  • Each personal statement must contain a Personal Statement Title and the Personal Statement Content. The title will be visible only to you to help you correctly assign it to programs, and the content will be visible to both you and the programs it is assigned to. 
  • The personal statement is limited to 28,000 characters, which include letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation marks. 
  • There is not a limit to how many personal statements applicants can create. 
  • Personal statements created outside the MyERAS application should be done in a plain text word processing application such as Notepad (for Windows users) or SimpleText (for Mac users). The statement should reflect your personal perspective and experiences accurately and must be your own work and not the work of another author or the product of artificial intelligence. 
  • Personal statements created in word processing applications not using plain text may contain hidden and invalid formatting. 
  • Note: A number of websites provide examples of personal statements. Do not copy any information from these sites and use it in your personal statements without giving credit to the author. Such use is considered plagiarism. 
  • The ERAS program will investigate any suspected acts of plagiarism. 
  • Any substantiated findings of plagiarism may result in the reporting of such findings to the programs to which you apply now and in subsequent ERAS seasons. 

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When creating a personal statement in the MyERAS application, the following formatting options will be available: 

  • Bold. 
  • Italic. 
  • Underline. 
  • Strikethrough. 
  • Bullets. 
  • Numbering. 
  • Align left. 
  • Center. 
  • Align right. 
  • Increase indent. 
  • Decrease indent. 
  • Insert hyperlink. 

After entering the personal statement title and content, you will have the opportunity to preview your personal statement before saving it. This preview allows you to view your personal statement just as the programs will view it, including the number of pages.  

You are responsible for reviewing your personal statements before assigning them to programs. 

The Preview/Print option under the Actions column will allow you to view and/or print your personal statement. 

Personal statements can be edited at any point during the application season — even when assigned to programs that have been applied to. 

Personal statements that have been edited will be reflected on the programs’ side by an updated status containing the date of the updated version, but programs are not guaranteed to view or review updated versions of personal statements. 

You may designate the assignment of one personal statement for each program. 

  • Personal statements can be assigned to any saved or applied to programs from the Personal Statements page by selecting “Assign” under the Actions column of the intended personal statement. 
  • When assigning by personal statement, programs listed with a disabled checkbox already have the selected personal statement currently assigned. 
  • When assigning by personal statement, you should review any personal statements that are listed under the Assigned Personal Statement column before making selections or changes. 
  • Personal statements can be assigned by program using the Assign option under the Actions column on both the Saved Programs and Programs Applied To pages. 
  • Changes to personal statement assignments can be made throughout the application season, but programs are not guaranteed to view or review newly assigned personal statements. 
  • A personal statement cannot be assigned to programs that are closed. 
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‘Criminal Conspiracy’ Alleged as Jury Starts Hearing Trump Trial

Court adjourned for the day after opening statements from both sides and the start of testimony from the longtime publisher of The National Enquirer. A lawyer for Donald Trump told jurors the former president did nothing illegal.

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Former President Donald J. Trump sitting at a table in a dark suit.

Follow our live coverage of Trump’s hush money trial in Manhattan.

Jesse McKinley

Jesse McKinley and Kate Christobek

Five takeaways from the fifth day of Trump’s criminal trial.

Monday marked another key moment in the criminal trial of Donald J. Trump: opening statements, during which the former president listened quietly to the prosecution’s allegations of crimes, and the defense’s counterargument that he was a simple man, wrongly accused.

The jury that will decide Mr. Trump’s case concentrated intently on the statements, which began the presentation of what will be weeks of testimony and other evidence, all in a tense courtroom in Lower Manhattan.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee once more, Mr. Trump, 77, is charged with falsifying 34 business records in an attempt to cover up a payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, in the days before the 2016 election. Ms. Daniels, who may testify, says that she and Mr. Trump had a sexual encounter in 2006, a claim the former president denies.

Mr. Trump has also denied the 34 felony charges, calling them orchestrated by Democrats; if convicted, the former president could face probation or up to four years in prison.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Trump’s fifth day on trial:

The prosecution has a big story to tell.

The charges faced by Mr. Trump may sound bland — “falsifying business records” doesn’t really set the heart racing — but the prosecution made clear on Monday that it plans on painting a much broader picture.

Matthew Colangelo, a prosecutor, laid out in his opening statement a tale that touched on tabloid journalism , tawdry affairs and covertly recorded phone calls . Jurors will likely be told about events inside fancy hotel rooms, Trump Tower and even the Oval Office. And the stakes? The presidency.

All that suggests that the case will keep jurors wide-awake during the six or so weeks it is projected to take. Indeed, when asked if they wanted paper and pens to take notes, more than half of the people in the jury box (12 jurors and six alternates) raised their hands.

how many characters can you have in a personal statement

Who Are Key Players in the Trump Manhattan Criminal Trial?

The first criminal trial of former President Donald J. Trump is underway. Take a closer look at central figures related to the case.

The defense wants to destroy prosecution witnesses.

Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, used his opening statement to cast Mr. Trump’s actions leading to this case as run-of-the-mill business, and said that Mr. Trump is defending himself at trial, just as “any of us would do.”

He argued that the use of a nondisclosure agreement — the document Ms. Daniels signed after receiving the payment — was typical among the wealthy and the famous and “nothing illegal.” He continued that there was nothing wrong with trying to influence an election, adding: “It’s called democracy.”

Mr. Blanche also attacked Mr. Cohen, a former lawyer and fixer for Mr. Trump. He said Mr. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance crimes in 2018, was a “criminal” who “can’t be trusted.” He added that Ms. Daniels was “biased” against Mr. Trump and made a living off her story about the sexual encounter.

He called the heart of the prosecution case just “34 pieces of paper” that don’t involve Mr. Trump.

Trump was muted during the abbreviated day in court.

On Mr. Trump’s way into the courtroom on Monday, he addressed reporters for about three minutes and blasted a range of perceived enemies, including New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, and the judge in a recent civil fraud case that resulted in a $454 million judgment against him.

But Mr. Trump’s behavior during opening statements reflected that he understood the gravity of the moment.

Mr. Trump made no outbursts during the prosecution’s opening statement, although he occasionally showed displeasure: He shook his head slightly at arguments that he orchestrated a scheme to corrupt the presidential election and then more strenuously when prosecutors said he was guilty of felonies.

During his own side’s opening statement, Mr. Trump sat largely motionless and expressionless watching his lawyer Mr. Blanche. Mr. Trump’s behavior was muted compared with his volatility during past Manhattan court appearances.

But at the conclusion of the trial day, Mr. Trump took his preferred spot in front of a television camera in the hallway, and spoke for more than nine minutes, attacking the prosecutor’s case — once again — as unfair.

David Pecker used to live on celebrity news. Now, he is the news.

Prosecutors’ first witness was David Pecker, the longtime publisher of The National Enquirer . He ambled to the stand and promptly gave a lesson in the ways of tabloid journalism, including the purchasing of articles — anything more than $10,000, he had to approve — and the significance of putting a famous face right out front.

“The only thing that was important is the cover of a magazine,” Mr. Pecker testified.

In about 30 minutes of testimony, Mr. Pecker also laid out trade secrets on sourcing, saying hotel workers and limo drivers could be a font of information on the rich and famous.

He seemed at ease: laughing at a prosecutor’s jokes, and sometimes directly addressing the jury just a few feet away.

We’re moving right along.

Over the past five trial days, the judge overseeing the case, Juan M. Merchan, has shown that he is eager to keep this trial on schedule. He seems serious about keeping his word to the jurors that the trial will last six weeks.

On Monday, truncated by a juror’s dental emergency and the Passover holiday, he decided to start with the first witness — Mr. Pecker — despite having only half an hour left on his schedule.

On Tuesday, the court will first consider a prosecution motion to hold Mr. Trump in contempt over recent comments that they say violated a gag order meant to keep him from attacking participants in the trial and their families.

Then, Mr. Pecker will continue on the stand, probably diving deeper into the “catch-and-kill” scheme used to buy up — and cover up — unflattering stories, a central element of the prosecution’s narrative.

Court will end early again, at 2 p.m., for further observance of Passover and then will have its weekly Wednesday break.

But there is little indication that as the weeks pass, Justice Merchan will let the pace slacken.

Jonah E. Bromwich

Jonah E. Bromwich and Kate Christobek

The opening statements gave a preview of how the two sides will present the case.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for Donald J. Trump presented opening statements to jurors on Monday, with prosecutors accusing the former president of entering a criminal conspiracy while the defense sought to discredit two key witnesses.

A prosecutor, Matthew Colangelo, began by telling jurors that Mr. Trump had conspired with his former fixer, Michael D. Cohen, and the publisher of The National Enquirer, David Pecker, to conceal damaging stories during his 2016 campaign.

“This case is about a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up,” Mr. Colangelo said, telling a story about a hush-money payment to a porn star and insisting that the former president was ultimately responsible.

In the end, Mr. Colangelo said, there would be “only one conclusion: Donald Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.”

Immediately after Mr. Colangelo’s presentation, Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, directly disagreed, insisting that the jury acquit the former president. Mr. Trump, he said, had engaged in actions that were legal and normal.

“President Trump did not commit any crimes,” Mr. Blanche told the jury, using the former president’s preferred form of address. The lawyer told jurors that Mr. Trump had earned the right to be referred to as “president” and reminded them that he was the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr. Blanche argued that there was nothing illegal about nondisclosure agreements, which he said companies, the wealthy and the famous all use frequently. And, he said, prosecutors were wrong to suggest something criminal about Mr. Trump’s efforts to win the White House.

“I have a spoiler alert: There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election,” Mr. Blanche said. “It’s called democracy.”

Mr. Blanche asserted that Mr. Cohen, a key prosecution witness, was paid for legal services, and he attempted to undermine Mr. Cohen’s credibility. Mr. Blanche called Mr. Cohen a “criminal” who “can’t be trusted” and suggested that he was testifying only because he didn’t get a job in the Trump administration.

He also took aim at Stormy Daniels, the former porn star who claimed she had sex with Mr. Trump, characterizing her as an opportunist who had used a brief encounter with Mr. Trump related to his reality show, “The Apprentice,” to make huge sums of money.

He added that Ms. Daniels was “biased” against the former president and made a living off her story about the sexual encounter.

Mr. Blanche also sought to minimize the charges, saying the records at the heart of the case were just “34 pieces of paper” that the former president had nothing to do with.

Mr. Trump is accused of falsifying business records — which is a felony if prosecutors can show the records were altered with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

A year ago, when the former president was formally charged with 34 felonies, the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, told reporters that he did not have to specify what the second crime was, and listed three options. During opening statements, Mr. Colangelo made it clear he believed that the strongest case relied on one of those options: convincing jurors that Mr. Trump concealed the violation of a state law that forbids “conspiracy to promote or prevent an election.”

Justice Juan M. Merchan

Justice Juan M. Merchan

Presiding Judge

Joshua Steinglass

Joshua Steinglass

Todd Blanche

Todd Blanche

Trump Lawyer

David Pecker

David Pecker

Former Publisher of The National Enquirer

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen

Former Trump Lawyer and “Fixer”

Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels

Porn Director, Producer and Actress


Alan Feuer

There’s some good news for people who want to follow the Trump trial in detail, but can’t make it to the courthouse. The New York state court system has just agreed to publish a transcript of each day’s proceeding by the end of the following day on its website. You can find the daily transcripts here .

Olivia Bensimon

Olivia Bensimon

Trump’s motorcade left the courthouse just after 1:05 p.m., wrapping up the trial’s first day of testimony. The view was blocked by an N.Y.P.D. dump truck, to many reporters’ great frustration. Inside Collect Pond Park, across from the courthouse, a lone pro-Trump protester’s “Trump for President ’24” banner flaps meekly in the light breeze.

Jonah Bromwich

Jonah Bromwich

The charges against Trump, which accuse him of falsifying records, are felonies because prosecutors say he sought to conceal another crime. Prosecutors had said before the trial that they had a menu of three crimes to choose from. The one they emphasized most strongly today is a violation of state election law: “conspiracy to promote election.” It’s not one of the actual charges, but they say it was baked into the overall crime.

And its worth emphasizing that when the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, was first asked about this, at a news conference directly after Trump was formally charged, he said that prosecutors did not have to specify which crime they were alleging Trump concealed. But today, Colangelo took the opposite tack: hitting the word “conspiracy” again and again.

William Rashbaum

William Rashbaum

With the trial now underway, here’s the People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump by the numbers: The case was born as “Investigation No. 2018-00403803 – Investigation Into the Business Affairs of John Doe.” That’s how the Manhattan district attorney’s office identified the six-year inquiry that led to today’s proceedings, with the number and name appearing on subpoenas and the correspondence case. Arrest No. M23613757 was given to Mr. Trump when he surrendered last year on April 4. And when the former president was arraigned later that day, his indictment was given a Docket Number, IND-71543-23, which the court system uses to track the case.

Nate Schweber

Nate Schweber

A courthouse park becomes a stage, and a sideshow, outside Trump’s trial.

Andrew Giuliani, the son of Donald J. Trump’s former lawyer and a regular strutting presence on the periphery of the courthouse where the former president is on trial, posed for photos inside Collect Pond Park.

Grinning and wearing a campaign jacket, Mr. Giuliani, who has made a career as a right-wing media figure, hugged supporters of Mr. Trump on Monday. From one, he borrowed a flag with Mr. Trump’s face that promotes him for president in 2024.

“Two-thousand twenty-four years in prison!” taunted Ricky Caballero, 56, from Brooklyn. “He owes your dad money. Why you out here supporting him?”

Mr. Caballero wore a tank top with a Puerto Rican flag. He said that was his heritage, and that he remembers watching Mr. Trump lob paper towels at survivors of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Mr. Caballero said he was still furious.

Mr. Giuliani circulated like a celebrity among Mr. Trump’s supporters and ignored Mr. Caballero.

It was one of a number of loud exchanges between supporters and detractors of Mr. Trump that were noticeably monitored by the police. There were no police in the park on Friday, when a man amid a mental health crisis burned himself to death in an anti-government protest.

On Monday, there were six community affairs officers and six regular uniformed officers watching closely for trouble.

At one point, the sound of the national anthem wafted through the park, courtesy of the flute-playing activist Marc Crawford Leavitt.

“I’m just playing and no one can argue with my playing patriotic songs,” he said, a sign decrying Trump as a liar hanging around his neck.

Anusha Bayya contributed reporting.

The judge leaves the stand. We are done with the jurors’ first day of trial.

Trump looks angry as he leaves the courtroom, again patting the bench behind him on the way out. His eyes scan over the reporters seated in the gallery as he goes.

The defense just told us that they did not learn who would be testifying first for the prosecution until about 3 p.m. yesterday. Prosecutors had declined to tell them earlier, given that Trump has made something of a habit of attacking witnesses.

I’m again struck at just how quickly we went today. We started late, and by the end of a very short day had finished both opening statements and started in on our first witness. This trial was expected to last six weeks. It may end even more quickly.

Jesse McKinley

A short day, but we got a sense of the details that the prosecution intends to offer in its case, and the contours of the defense. David Pecker was just starting, and will continue tomorrow at 11 a.m. There’s a hearing on possible gag order violations by Trump tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.

Maggie Haberman

Maggie Haberman

Pecker is dismissed from the stand. We expect him back tomorrow.

Justice Merchan tells the jurors about the schedule and asks them, as he will before they leave the courtroom each time, not to discuss the case with anyone and not to read about it. He asks them to put it out of their minds.

Pecker greets someone at the defense table politely as he leaves the room. It’s not clear who.

As he answers Steinglass's questions, Pecker sometimes speaks directly to him, but other times he directs his comments to the jurors. Right now he's describing the types of people tabloids typically use as sources: hotel workers, limo drivers, lawyers.

Trump’s lawyers have sought to cast the tabloid that Pecker presided over as a media company like any other. But Pecker’s comment that they practiced “checkbook journalism,” and his description of their editorial practices, may undermine that argument, as we continue to hear about how the publication operated.

Checkbook journalism is one of the things that sets supermarket tabloids apart from more traditional news outlets.

Kate Christobek

Trump is leaning on the defense table as he listens to Pecker’s testimony. As Pecker talks about the editor meetings, Trump passes notes to two of his lawyers before glaring up at Pecker on the witness stand.

Steinglass has a banter going with Pecker as he asks Pecker to recount his work cell phone number at the time.

That may seem small but it’s important — it’s a good bet that those numbers will come up when evidence is presented.

Steinglass gets a loud cackle from Pecker while asking him his phone numbers. “This isn’t a quiz,” Steinglass says.

As Pecker begins to describe The National Enquirer's editor meetings, it again strikes me that these jurors have a really entertaining case before them. They will be taken into a lot of different environments — these editorial meetings, the Trump campaign and the Trump White House, and small meetings of New York operators in which, prosecutors will argue, the history of the country was shaped.

Jurors appear to be taking copious notes.

“We used checkbook journalism, and we paid for stories,” Pecker says of his time at The National Enquirer. Steinglass, the prosecutor, asks him whether he had "final say" over editorial decisions. Anything over $10,000 for a story, Pecker says, had to be approved by him.

Pecker says in his experience, the only thing that’s important “is the cover” of a magazine.

Michael Rothfeld

Michael Rothfeld

A look at how tabloids used ‘catch-and-kill’ to trade on the secrets of celebrities.

“Catch-and-kill” is a term coined by old-time tabloid editors for buying the exclusive rights to stories, or “catching” them, for the specific purpose of ensuring the information never becomes public. That’s the “killing” part.

Why would anyone want to spend money on a story that it never intends to publish? In the world of tabloid journalism, where ethical lines are blurry, deciding what to publish and why is often a calculus that covers favors doled out and chits called in.

David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, who also oversaw other tabloids such as Star and lifestyle publications such as Men’s Fitness, was a master of the technique , according to people who have worked for him.

In 2003, Mr. Pecker’s company, American Media Inc., bought several muscle magazines founded by a mentor of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilding legend and movie star. When Mr. Schwarzenegger, who was often featured in those magazines, jumped into the recall election to replace California’s governor, Mr. Pecker ordered his staff to buy up negative stories about him in order to protect his investment, former employees said.

Staff members called it “the David Pecker Project.” American Media paid $20,000 to a former mistress of Mr. Schwarzenegger so that she would not speak about their affair — though news of it had previously been published. The company paid another $1,000 to her friend and $2,000 to a man who had a video of Mr. Schwarzenegger dancing lewdly in Rio de Janeiro 20 years earlier. Mr. Schwarzenegger was elected governor.

Mr. Pecker’s publications made deals with other celebrities as well, though not always for money. He traded away dirt about the golfer Tiger Woods in exchange for an exclusive interview in Men’s Fitness in 2007, according to people with knowledge of that episode.

And, according to the prosecutors in the Manhattan trial of Donald J. Trump, Mr. Pecker employed “catch-and-kill” tactics in the 2016 presidential election, paying a doorman and a Playboy model to suppress negative stories about Mr. Trump and boost the candidacy of his longtime associate.

Justice Merchan has shown so far that he is eager to keep this trial on schedule. Court will be adjourned for the day in less than a half an hour, but yet the judge has chosen to start the first witness. He seems serious about keeping his word to the jurors that the trial will last six weeks.

What will be interesting about Pecker’s testimony, if it goes as opening statements suggested it would, is that he won’t really be describing Trump’s involvement in any actual criminal activity. Rather, he will serve as a tour guide to the seamy way in which Trump used The National Enquirer to his political advantage — a storytelling point on the way to alleged criminal activity.

And yet, prosecutors have framed Pecker’s involvement here as part of a “conspiracy.” This could be a risk for them — conspiracy is not one of the charged crimes. And this jury has at least two lawyers.

Who is David Pecker, the trial’s first witness?

The first witness in Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial is David Pecker, who was the publisher of The National Enquirer, and had traded favors with Mr. Trump since the 1990s.

Mr. Pecker, who was sometimes referred to as the “tabloid king,” had long used his publications to curry favor with Mr. Trump and other celebrities, in exchange for tips or for business reasons. Staff members called Mr. Trump, like other favored stars who were off limits, an “F.O.P.” — “Friend of Pecker.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pecker, along with Mr. Trump’s former fixer Michael D. Cohen, hatched a plan in August 2015 to boost his upstart presidential campaign, prosecutors say. The former Trump allies are each expected to take a turn on the witness stand, giving testimony that could help make him the first president convicted of a felony.

Prosecutors for Alvin L. Bragg , the Manhattan district attorney, will try to show that the hush money payment to a porn star at the center of the trial was part of a larger effort to suppress negative news about Mr. Trump to sway the election. That scheme, they will contend, includes two other deals, both involving Mr. Pecker.

Mr. Trump had announced his presidential campaign in June 2015. The plan the men laid out two months later was simple, according to court documents, interviews with people involved in the events or familiar with them, private communications and other records.

Mr. Pecker would use The Enquirer to publish positive stories about Mr. Trump’s campaign and negative stories about his rivals. He would alert Mr. Trump, through Mr. Cohen, when The Enquirer learned of stories that might threaten Mr. Trump. The Enquirer could buy the rights to those stories in order to suppress them, a practice known in the tabloid world as “catch and kill.”

In late 2015, Mr. Pecker’s company paid $30,000 to suppress a claim by a former doorman at a Trump building who said he had heard Mr. Trump fathered a child out of wedlock — a rumor that was apparently untrue.

Then in August 2016, The Enquirer’s parent company paid $150,000 to a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, to keep her account of an affair with Mr. Trump quiet. Two months later, Mr. Pecker and The Enquirer’s editor helped Mr. Cohen negotiate a $130,000 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, the former porn star who also said she had sex with Mr. Trump. He has denied both women’s claims.

Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance crimes in 2018.

The Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., made a deal that year to avoid federal prosecution, acknowledging that it had illegally tried to influence the election .

Merchan stops testimony, says he realizes jurors weren’t given writing materials to take notes. At least 10 raise their hands when asked if they’d like some.

This jury is an attentive crew, if the number of note-takers is any indication.

Joshua Steinglass, a prosecutor, will question Pecker. He begins by asking him how old he is, apologizing for asking the question. Pecker is 72, married for 36 years. He begins to talk about his biography, starting with his educational background.

David Pecker is the first witness for the prosecution, and their choice looks to be a good one for them. The National Enquirer’s master of “Catch and Kill,” he was part of the conspiracy that Colangelo described in his opening statement, working with Trump and Cohen to bury negative stories about Trump and publish negative ones about his rivals. He’s expected to tell the jury about his conversations with Trump and Cohen about killing the bad stories, including the one about Stormy Daniels. And he’ll provide much of the broad arc of the case – and the motive — corroborating elements of Cohen’s expected testimony along the way.

The judge instructs the people to call their first witness and as expected, they call David Pecker.

With opening statements and a witness, we are squeezing a full day into this half day. Pecker enters. He’s got a trim white mustache and is wearing a grey suit. His grey hair hits his collar. He heads to the witness stand and is sworn in with his hand raised.

Pecker has aged considerably over the last several years. He spells his name and gives his place of residence.

Trump has some support from a group of his lawyers — Alan Garten, the Trump Organization general counsel is here, and the pool reporters saw Alina Habba and Chris Kise in the hallway.

Meet the team defending Donald J. Trump in his criminal trial.

Donald J. Trump has assembled a team of defense lawyers with extensive experience representing people charged with white-collar crimes to defend him against the charges filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Some have worked for Mr. Trump for years. Others are more recent additions, but are involved in the former president’s broader legal defense, also representing him in other criminal cases.

Here’s a look at Mr. Trump’s defense team:

Mr. Blanche started representing Mr. Trump last year, leaving a prestigious position as a partner at Wall Street’s oldest law firm to take him on as a client. He is also representing Mr. Trump in his federal classified documents case in Florida and his federal election interference case in Washington.

Mr. Blanche has also represented Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, as well as Boris Epshteyn, an adviser to Mr. Trump. Before turning to private practice, Mr. Blanche was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, where he supervised violent-crime cases.

Susan Necheles

Ms. Necheles has been a lawyer for Mr. Trump since 2021 and represented the Trump Organization during its criminal tax fraud trial in Manhattan. The business was convicted of 17 felonies and ordered by Justice Juan M. Merchan to pay the maximum penalty of $1.6 million.

Ms. Necheles previously represented defendants in major organized-crime and public-corruption cases, including Venero Mangano, the Genovese crime family underboss who was known as Benny Eggs.

Mr. Bove, the newest addition to Mr. Trump’s legal team, is a legal partner to Mr. Blanche. He is a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York who turned to private practice and now represents defendants charged with white-collar crimes.

Gedalia Stern

Mr. Stern is a law partner to Ms. Necheles and also defended the Trump Organization in its criminal tax-fraud trial. He has previous experience representing clients charged with bribery, fraud and conspiracy.

If Trump testifies, he can be grilled about cases he lost and gag order violations.

The judge in Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial ruled on Monday morning that prosecutors could ask the former president about a range of previous cases that he has lost, as well as past violations of gag orders, in the event that he decides to testify in his defense.

Among other cases, the ruling by the judge, Juan M. Merchan, would allow prosecutors to question Mr. Trump about the civil fraud case brought by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, in which the former president was found to have inflated his net worth to obtain favorable loans. That case resulted in a $454 million judgment against Mr. Trump .

Justice Merchan will also allow the Manhattan district attorney’s office — which brought the case against Mr. Trump — to question him about civil cases brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll. Those cases found that Mr. Trump was liable for sexually abusing and defaming Ms. Carroll in the first instance and for defamation in the second. (Justice Merchan did not mention the sexual abuse finding, only the defamation, in his ruling regarding the Carroll cases on Monday.)

Justice Merchan will also let prosecutors ask about Mr. Trump’s attack on a law clerk in a civil fraud case , in violation of a gag order, as well as a 2018 decision that led to the dissolution of the Donald J. Trump Foundation to resolve a case brought by the New York attorney general at the time , Barbara Underwood, over financial irregularities.

The former president suggested in early April that he would testify in the criminal trial , saying that prosecutors “have no case.” That said, Mr. Trump has promised to testify in previous cases only to back out, and Justice Merchan’s decision could change his thinking on such a maneuver.

Justice Merchan said that, in the event that Mr. Trump did testify, he would give jurors “careful and specific” instructions about the scope of prosecutors’ queries, adding that he had “greatly curtailed” what specifics could be the target of questions.

However, Justice Merchan warned Mr. Trump that his ruling was “a shield and not a sword” and that the former president’s testimony could open “the door to questioning that has otherwise been excluded.”

Mr. Trump is being tried on charges that he falsified business records to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election. He has denied the charges.

Meet the team prosecuting Donald J. Trump.

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, has assembled an accomplished team to take on perhaps the most high-profile case in his office’s history: the first criminal trial against former President Donald J. Trump. The group includes veteran prosecutors and former white-collar criminal defense lawyers who have extensive experience going up against Mr. Trump.

Here’s a look at the prosecution team:

Joshua Steinglass, Senior Trial Counsel

Mr. Steinglass, who has served as an assistant district attorney since 1998, is a recent addition to this case; in 2022 he helped lead the team that secured a conviction against the Trump Organization for conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. He typically prosecutes significant violent crimes, such as a violent brawl on the Upper East Side that led to the conviction of two Proud Boy extremists in 2019.

Susan Hoffinger, Chief of the Investigations Division

After starting her career at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Ms. Hoffinger founded her own firm and spent 20 years as a defense lawyer focusing on white-collar criminal defense. She rejoined the district attorney’s office in 2022 and worked with Mr. Steinglass to obtain the conviction of the Trump Organization in its criminal tax fraud trial.

Christopher Conroy, Senior Adviser to Investigations Division

A prosecutor for 28 years, Mr. Conroy previously led the Manhattan district attorney’s office’s major economic crimes unit, where he was involved in the prosecution of the bankrupt law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf and supervised investigations into multinational financial institutions for falsification of business records. Mr. Conroy is the longest serving member of this trial team.

Matthew Colangelo, Senior Counsel to the District Attorney

Mr. Colangelo joined the district attorney’s office in 2022 after serving for two years as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice. He previously worked for the New York attorney general’s office, where he oversaw the investigation into the Trump Foundation, which led to its dissolution . He was also, for a time, one of the lead lawyers on the civil fraud inquiry into Mr. Trump.

Rebecca Mangold, Assistant District Attorney

Before joining Mr. Bragg’s major economic crimes unit in 2022, Ms. Mangold clerked for a U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey and worked in private practice for over 10 years. As a partner at the law firm Kobre & Kim, Ms. Mangold focused on criminal and regulatory investigations related to financial misconduct.

Katherine Ellis, Assistant District Attorney

Ms. Ellis joined the Manhattan district attorney’s office in 2018 after working as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Ellis worked as a legal analyst at Goldman Sachs, the investment bank.

Ben Protess

Ben Protess and Alan Feuer

The landmark case won’t play out in front of TV cameras.

The Manhattan criminal trial of Donald J. Trump will be closely followed around the world. But you will not be able to watch the proceedings on TV.

There will be no video feed aired live from the courtroom. Nor will there be an audio feed, as some federal courts allow.

New York courts generally do not permit video to be broadcast from courtrooms, although a feed is being transmitted into an overflow room for the reporters covering the trial. And cameras will be stationed in the hallway outside the courtroom to capture Mr. Trump’s remarks as he enters and leaves.

Shortly after court adjourned on Monday, the state’s chief administrative judge, Joseph A. Zayas, issued a statement saying that transcripts of each day of the trial would be published online by the end of the following day on the court system’s website .

Judge Zayas was responding to a request for public transcripts filed last week by a New York lawyer, Jim Walden, on behalf of a civic group and the news website New York Focus.

“With current law restricting the broadcasting of trial proceedings and courtroom space for public spectators very limited, the release of the daily transcripts on the court system’s website is the best way to provide the public a direct view of the proceedings in this historic trial,” Judge Zayas wrote in his statement.

Court will be in session, for the most part, every weekday except Wednesdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., until the trial ends.

Jonah E. Bromwich and Ben Protess

Here’s the latest in the trial.

Prosecutors in the first criminal trial of an American president began laying out their case for a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Monday, saying Donald J. Trump engaged in a conspiracy to cover up a sex scandal in order to get elected president in 2016.

The first witness called was the tabloid publisher David Pecker, whom prosecutors described as one member of a three-man plot to conceal damaging stories — including a porn star’s account of a sexual tryst — as Mr. Trump mounted his bid for the presidency.

Mr. Pecker was on the stand for only a few minutes in the afternoon before court adjourned for the day. He described how his publication, The National Enquirer, paid for stories, a practice he called “checkbook journalism.” He is expected to return to the stand on Tuesday.

Matthew Colangelo, one of the prosecutors for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, told the jury in his opening statement that the case was about “a criminal conspiracy and a coverup,” describing how Mr. Trump, his longtime counsel Michael D. Cohen, and Mr. Pecker engaged in a strategy to “catch and kill” negative stories.

The lead lawyer for Mr. Trump, Todd Blanche, insisted in his opening statement that the former president had done nothing wrong. “President Trump is innocent,” he told the jury. “President Trump did not commit any crimes.”

The case centers on a $130,000 hush-money payment that Mr. Cohen made to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence as the 2016 campaign was winding down. Prosecutors say he was reimbursed by Mr. Trump, and Mr. Trump falsified business records to conceal his conduct.

Mr. Colangelo said the payment to Ms. Daniels came on the heels of another scandal — the “Access Hollywood” tape, on which Mr. Trump bragged about groping women. Ms. Daniels’s account, he said, “could have been devastating to his campaign.”

He added, “With pressure mounting and Election Day fast approaching, Donald Trump agreed to the payoff and directed Cohen to proceed.”

Mr. Cohen, who was an executive vice president at the Trump Organization and counsel to Mr. Trump, and Mr. Pecker are expected to be central witnesses.

Mr. Blanche attacked Mr. Cohen’s credibility, saying that his livelihood hinges on attacking the former president, and insisted that prosecutors were attempting to present perfectly legal activities, such as entering into nondisclosure agreements, in a negative light.

He continued: “They put something sinister on this idea as if it were a crime. You’ll learn it’s not.”

Here’s what else to know about the trial:

The Manhattan criminal case against Mr. Trump was unveiled a year ago by the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg. Mr. Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and if convicted could face up to four years in prison . Those are felonies because prosecutors say Mr. Trump sought to conceal another crime. On Monday, they strongly emphasized a violation of state election law — conspiracy to promote election — that is not one of the actual charges, but they say is baked into the overall crime.

The case is the former president’s first criminal trial, although he has been indicted three other times in three other cities. With those other cases tied up in appeals and other delays, the Manhattan case may be the only one he faces before the 2024 presidential election. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Before opening statements, the judge overseeing the case delivered a crucial ruling that determined what prosecutors can question Mr. Trump about should he decide to take the stand in his own defense. The ruling, a significant victory for prosecutors that might prompt Mr. Trump to decide not to testify, allows them to question him about several recent losses he suffered in unrelated civil trials, including a fraud case this year in which the former president was found liable for conspiring to manipulate his net worth and was penalized $454 million.

The jury was drawn from a pool of residents of Manhattan, where Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular; during jury selection, dozens of prospective jurors were excused because they said they could not be impartial. But the jurors who were selected each pledged to decide the case based only on the facts. Read more about them.

The case will receive vast media attention, but the proceedings won’t be shown on television .

Dismissed prospective jurors describe intense days in a glaring spotlight.

The two Manhattan residents were led into the courtroom to fulfill a foundational civic duty: to be interviewed as prospective jurors.

But in the room when they arrived was a defendant, Donald J. Trump, unlike any in American history.

Both would-be jurors, a man and a woman, were eventually excused. But the experience thrust them into the spotlight in a way they never had imagined.

One was challenged by Mr. Trump’s lawyers over his past social media posts relating to the former president. The other has a medical practice that she could not shut for six weeks while serving on the jury.

While they were not chosen as jurors, their experiences illustrate the intensity of the attention focused on Mr. Trump’s trial — and on the first jury to ever weigh the fate of a former United States president in a criminal proceeding.

Both contacted The New York Times only after they were excused from serving. Though the court’s rules protecting prospective jurors’ identities end when they are dismissed from serving, The Times is withholding their names and most identifying characteristics about them.

Like the other prospective jurors who were considered, both included detailed personal information on the juror questionnaires they filled out, including where they work.

They were made to answer those questions by speaking into a microphone in open court; soon, both were blindsided as details of their lives ricocheted around the internet. They said they were frustrated that so much attention was devoted to prospective jurors and ascertaining information about them.

While they later learned that the judge in the case, Justice Juan M. Merchan, had ordered the redaction of some of the information jurors were ordered to reveal publicly, they felt that he had acted too late. As with many things connected to the trial, the rhythms and even some of the parameters are being written in real time.

Their experiences mirrored some that other prospective jurors who were dismissed have described. One, a man who gave his name as Mark to NBC News, said he had “satirized Mr. Trump often in my artwork,” and because of that, he had expected not to be chosen.

A woman who gave her name as Kara, who said the nature of her job made serving extremely difficult, told NBC News that she realized the gravity of serving on any criminal jury, but particularly this one.

Seeing Mr. Trump in person, she said, was “very jarring.” He was, she realized, just “another guy.”

One of the prospective jurors who spoke with The Times, the man, did not immediately realize what case he was involved in when he was led into the courtroom on the 15th floor of the Manhattan criminal courthouse. The woman had a sense a week earlier, having read a news story about the trial beginning the week she was supposed to respond to a juror summons.

The man, sitting a few rows behind the prosecutors’ table when the two were part of the first panel of 96 prospective jurors brought into the courtroom Monday afternoon, felt a sense of calm about five minutes into being there. Trump was simply a defendant, he thought. It was a business-records trial. Prosecutors were on one side, the defense lawyers on the other.

The woman was struck by the fact that Mr. Trump stood and waved to prospective jurors, she said, as he and his lawyers were introduced to the group. It felt more to her like the behavior of a campaigning candidate than of a criminal defendant. (Mr. Trump, of course, is both.)

Both were put off by efforts by Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer, Todd Blanche, to assess prospective jurors’ views of Mr. Trump. The man said Mr. Blanche seemed “folksy” in a way he found disingenuous, while the woman was sharper, describing a “witch hunt” to root out people sympathetic to Democrats on the panel — a phrase Mr. Trump uses often to criticize the various prosecutors investigating his conduct.

The man in particular was frustrated that he was asked about past social media posts in which he had been critical of Mr. Trump, which Mr. Blanche’s team raised and which Justice Merchan ultimately agreed meant the man should be excused.

The man believed he could have been fair and resented the implication that he could not have been. Both he and the woman, who said they believed in the system of jury service, noted that they had begun the day taking sworn oaths vowing to render a fair and impartial judgment on the evidence. The man believed his own views — especially views from years ago — had no bearing on his ability to judge the evidence. If anything, he said, he would have been hyper-conscious in doing so.

Both had realized the magnitude of what serving on that jury would mean.

But they were also conscious of the threats and blowback that could come with weighing evidence against Mr. Trump — particularly with their personal details traceable in public. And both had concerns about being chosen because of that; the man in particular said his spouse had been worried.

Both would have valued being part of the historic trial. But both also had a sense of relief that they were not picked.

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  • Our nifty checker uses their method of counting lines with 94 characters maximum per line
  • It also uses their method of counting characters (including spaces etc.)
  • Worried about the spelling, grammar and content of your statement? We offer an affordable personal statement editing service to improve the message of your personal statement.

Paste your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length. Click “check length”.

NOTE : W e do not store your personal statement and you will not have problems with Turnitin. 

Make your personal statement stand out by removing grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence errors: 

  • We offer a personal statement editing service to improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your statement.  It only costs £30 and can really improve your personal statement before you send it to the institution you are applying for. Click on the order now button!

What is the UCAS personal statement word count?

UCAS does not specify a certain number of words. However, the personal statement is limited to 4,000 characters including spaces. You cannot use Word to check your statement length because they count words and spaces differently, hence why we have developed this tool for you.

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  1. How To Write Your Undergraduate Personal Statement

    Remember, it can only be 4,000 characters, which is about two sides of A4. So, you'll need to use your words wisely to fit everything in. ... Ask friends, family or a careers advisor to have a read through your personal statement and take their feedback on board. Want more advice on your personal statement? Use the links below.

  2. How to Write a Personal Statement (with Tips and Examples)

    Tip 3: Show, Don't Tell. One common mistake you might make in your personal statement is to simply tell the reader what you want them to know about you, such as by stating "I have a fear of public speaking" or "I love to cook.". Instead of simply stating these facts, you should show the committee what you're talking about through a story or scene, which will make your essay much ...

  3. Personal statement dos and don'ts

    Don'ts. Don't be modest or shy. You want your passions to come across. Don't exaggerate - if you do, you may get caught out in an interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement. Don't use quotes from someone else, or cliches. Don't leave it to the last minute - your statement will seem rushed and important ...

  4. UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

    To use our tool simply copy and paste your personal statement into the text-box above. At the top, you will see two metrics displayed. The first metric on the left is the total characters you've typed out of the limit of 4,000 characters. The second metric on the right is the number of lines your text contains out of the max of 47 lines.

  5. Introducing the personal statement builder

    It also counts how many characters you've used, so it's easy to see when you're close to the 4,000 character limit. ... Once you've written your answers in the personal statement builder, you can preview and then export it as a PDF or copy and paste it into a Word document to save it, using the built-in functionality.

  6. How to Write a Personal Statement (Tips + Essay Examples)

    In a great personal statement, we should be able to get a sense of what fulfills, motivates, or excites the author. These can be things like humor, beauty, community, and autonomy, just to name a few. So when you read back through your essay, you should be able to detect at least 4-5 different values throughout.

  7. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    A personal statement is a short essay of around 500-1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you're applying. To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don't just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice.

  8. How to write a UCAS personal statement

    UCAS personal statement word limit. Your personal statement length can be up to 4,000 characters long. This may sound a lot, but it's a word limit of around 550-1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper. You need to keep it concise and make sure it's clear and easy to read.

  9. How to write an excellent personal statement in 10 steps

    Use your closing couple of lines to summarise the most important points in your statement. 9. Check your writing thoroughly and get someone else to check it, too. 10. Give your brain a rest by forgetting about your personal statement for a while before going back to review it one last time with fresh eyes.

  10. How to write a personal statement

    Your personal statement can be up to 4,000 characters (including spaces) or 47 lines of 95 characters (including spaces); whichever is shorter. What to write about in your personal statement. You! No one knows you better than you know yourself. You need to tell us why you're the perfect candidate for the course and what makes you stand out ...

  11. Personal statement FAQs

    You can find all the key Ucas deadlines and application dates for 2024 entry in this article. Read more: universities reveal all about personal statements; How long can the personal statement be? Statements are limited to whichever is shorter of either: 4,000 characters (including spaces) OR; 47 lines

  12. 12 Personal Statement FAQs and answers!

    Your personal statement should be at most, 4,000 characters or 47 lines, whichever you meet first. Although it can be shorter, we strongly recommend taking full advantage of the available space. ... Make sure you leave plenty of time between completing your first draft and the Oxbridge personal statement deadline ensuring you have time for ...

  13. Length of Personal Statement: Medical School Application Essay Limits

    The TMDSAS personal statement has a 5000 character maximum. If you're planning to apply to both AMCAS and TMDSAS schools, know that you will either have to write two personal statements or keep your AMCAS statement to 5000 characters instead of 5300. Texas schools are looking for the same criteria from your personal statement.

  14. 2024 Medical School Personal Statement Ultimate Guide (Examples

    The good news is that the AMCAS personal statement prompt—"Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school"—is intentionally vague and gives you the opportunity to write about anything you want in up to 5,300 characters (including spaces). If you're wondering how many words 5,300 characters comes out to, it ...

  15. Medical School Personal Statement FAQs

    On the AMCAS Application, there is a 5,300-character maximum, which equals about 1.5 pages, single-spaced and in 12-point font. You do not have to fill all of the available space. In fact, a more cogent, focused personal statement that falls short of 5,300 characters will always be stronger than one that's forcibly lengthened by digressions ...

  16. Personal Statement FAQs

    If UCAS discover you have plagiarised your personal statement, whether you have copied someone else's entirely or parts of it, they will cancel your application. ... The maximum on UCAS for personal statements is 47 lines and 4000 characters, not 37 lines as stated on this page. This is really helpful and. Fri, 27/09/2013 - 14:15

  17. Writing your personal statement

    Writing your personal statement: carers, estranged students, refugees or asylum seekers. Everyone is individual, but certain life circumstances provide an opportunity to showcase the unique qualities and experiences you can bring to university life. Here you'll find everything you need to know about writing your personal statement.

  18. The Personal Statement

    1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2. The response to very specific questions: Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement ...

  19. Do's and Don'ts for Writing a Strong CASPA Personal Statement

    Here are my main tips to help make your future personal statement fantastic. Writing the statement - do's and don'ts . ... Not only do you need to be under 5,000 characters, you don't want to distract or bore your reader by including extraneous details, long-winded explanations, and redundancies. Avoid long paragraphs, but be sure to ...

  20. Personal statement length checker

    Personal statement length checker. Enter your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length. The requirements for teacher training personal statements are different for UCAS Apply so this checker won't produce the correct results. Your personal statement will be shown ...

  21. Personal Statement

    The personal statement is limited to 28,000 characters, which include letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation marks. There is not a limit to how many personal statements applicants can create. Personal statements created outside the MyERAS application should be done in a plain text word processing application such as Notepad (for Windows ...

  22. What to include in a personal statement

    Kate McBurnie, First Year student in French, Italian and Theatre. "I think it's really important to not only include why you'd like to study the course you're applying for, but also the things that set you apart from other applicants, i.e., your hobbies, interests, skills, volunteering etc.".

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  24. Personal statement checker

    However, the personal statement is limited to 4,000 characters including spaces. You cannot use Word to check your statement length because they count words and spaces differently, hence why we have developed this tool for you. Personal statement length checker. Find out instantly if your statement meets the UCAS Apply guidelines for number of ...