Which font size should I use in my SOP? Is it okay to use a smaller font and decrease my margins? My SOP is running a little long right now and I want to make sure it all fits on one page.
Times New Roman, 12-point font. 1-inch margins.
That’s it. There’s nothing else. Type in whatever font you want, but when submitting, change it over to Times New Roman. There’s absolutely no reason to ever deviate from this expected standard. Because it IS an expected standard. Writing in a different font or size will only make readers scratch their heads when you want them focusing on the content of your SOP.
Same goes for margins. Even in situations like this, when your word total is running a little long, playing games with margins isn’t the right idea.
As an editor who’s seen thousands upon thousands of essay drafts, I can assure you, there is NO essay anywhere in existence that can’t be cut a little further. Even when I receive otherwise excellent first drafts from students, we can always cut down at least 10% of the word total.
Why should you do this instead?
Because tight, clear writing indicates a tight, clear thinker. And clear thinkers always have better chances of admission. SOPs are always, always, always better after we work hard to cut the word total down.
“Yes, but I’ve already done this,” you say.
Do it more. It’s always possible. You may need help (this is my specialty, in fact), but it’s always possible. Consider something like the Hemingway App. Consider cutting out superfluous content, like too-long descriptions of the details from your research.
Times New Roman. 12-point font. 1-inch margins.
It’s a hard rule. Stick to it.