A popular question amongst students who are preparing to write their college application essay is... "Is there a word limit required by colleges when writing an application essay?" The often unpopular answer to this question is... yes, there is typically a word limit of 500 words or less required on college application essays. Considering that shorter essays are sometimes more challenging for students to write than longer ones prompts another question, should there be a word limit when writing an essay as important as this one? For many students, simply writing any type of essay can be a challenge. This is especially true when a student feels like they are not able to fully articulate all necessary information needed to win them acceptance to a college when they are constricted by a set amount of required words. Unfortunately for those students most colleges now require a word limit of approximately 500 words for a number of valid reasons.
While it may be true that to some students writing an admissions essay with a word limit can prove difficult, in all fairness they really need to consider the person who will be doing the reading. Many of the admissions personnel who will be reading your college application essay will undoubtedly have thousands of essays to read through. For the most part colleges have limited the number of words used in these essays because, in the past, many essays that they received were too lengthy, poorly written, and ended up being merely skimmed by admissions committee members. In order to allow admissions personnel the opportunity to read through each essay thoroughly colleges felt it was necessary to impose a word limit. Ultimately this word limit requirement benefits the student because it ensures their application essay will be read in its entirety.
If you want to write an exceptional essay which will separate you from the other candidates and keep to the required word count the following tips can be very useful:
- Make certain your essay is clear and concise. Check for redundancies throughout the content. Don't elaborate with boring details.
- Quality is always more effective than quantity
- Focus on and write about a specific event or experience that has affected your life
- Discuss a local, nation, or global concern or issue and its importance to you
- Discuss a person who has influenced your life and describe that influence
- Briefly write about your academics, interests, goals, abilities and aspirations
- Above all else - keep it as interesting as possible
Bottom line is... if you keep your essay interesting and to the point, you should have no problem writing within the required word limit. As long as you engage the reader from beginning to end with your college application essay, chances are, if you just so happen to go over the word lim.