I was gonna start a new thread but saw this so I figured I would just ask --
I just finished part B for Western. I finished at 1,999 characters out of 2,000. Just wondering, did anyone specify which question they had answered?
Do you think it would be okay if I just put #5 at the very beginning?
Yes, that seems to be about the size of it, although I don't believe the school has ever confirmed that... at least, not to anyone who then posted it on here!
It makes sense from a work-flow perspective: when all the required documents are received, and the calculations put you into clear admissions territory, it is logical that your completed file is then forwarded to the Admissions Officer for whatever her final checks and steps may be.
No guarantee when she will start making phone calls, of course!
I don't think they rank ECs at all. It makes more sense that they would grade your PS based on how well you answer their questions, with or without ECs. Even if you were a peace corps volunteer, if you weren't able to meaningfully incorporate that into your PS, I highly doubt it would be given any weight.
A person with "average" ECs who can write a convincing PS would do much better than someone with "greater than average" ECs who couldn't write well, and that's assuming that the concept of "greater than average" ECs even exists.
For my PS last year I barely touched on my work experience and didn't mention any other ECs and I was still fine.