How Long Should a College Application Essay Be? College Essay Word Limit Common App

The Common Application applies to over 700 colleges in the U.S today. You can apply to multiple colleges using one application form, which goes out to all the colleges on your list. Part of the process entails writing a Common Application Essay.

In this guide, we go over the Common App Essay length basics and some tips on how to write a college application essay. So if you are looking for a complete guide to writing your college application essay, you are on the right place.

But if you need immediate help with your essay, sign up and receive instant help below.

How Long Should a College Application Essay Be?

The common application essay has a set limit of 650 words (maximum) and 250 words (minimum). Within this range, you should be able to make a compelling case.

Most schools have holistic admissions processes that show that colleges are interested in knowing the person behind the test scores. As such, your college essay should showcase who you are to the admissions board. This paper will allow them to learn more about you.

Many professionals agree that it is essential to adhere to this limit. When applicants exceed the word count, the common application prompt reminds them so that they do not surpass it.

Writing within the provided scope demonstrates your ability to follow instructions. By extension, it will show that you can follow the institution’s rules and guidelines.

It also displays your ability to do thorough editing. This is a skill that will be useful in the numerous college application essays you will end up writing.

It would be best not to aim for a minimum word count. Such a paper may appear shallow and may quickly end up in the rejected batch. Of course, it is essential to be succinct, but not all colleges will value it over a comprehensive paper.

Finding a Suitable Length

Since 250-650 words is a considerable range, what is the best extent? Going personal with your essay will prove to be an effective strategy. Such a piece will tell the admissions board about your personality without having met them.

You will want to take a direction that allows you to reveal your meaningful qualities and skills. Writing using an introspective standpoint will ensure you take a thoughtful pace with your essay.

There are no extra points for reaching the 650-word count. So, you do not need to rack your brain so hard looking for ways to extend your essay. What is vital is that the writing captures the scope of what you want to share.

Keep in mind that you want your work to appear visually robust. As such, you should arrange your information in a way that makes it look complete and well organized.

Essay Prompt Considerations

Every Common Application essay prompt poses its own set of writing challenges. However, regardless of which one you select, your essay must be well detailed and analytical.

It should provide a rearview into a significant dimension of your interests, drives, values, or individuality.

An essay ranging from 500-650 words will provide you sufficient berth to write a comprehensive piece. Generally, an essay’s length is not directly proportional to its effectiveness.

As long as you have answered the college application essay prompt extensively, you do not have to worry so much about the word count.

Avoid adding fluff to your essay as a ploy to lengthen it. Refrain from using filler content and tautologies to stretch out your work.

At the same time, do not leave out useful information in the interest of writing a brief essay.

Importance of Keeping to the Limit

Not all colleges will make a big deal of excess word count. But here are some reasons you should.

1.     To Show That You Can Adhere to Guidelines

When your college professor assigns you a task, they will require you to narrow yourself down to their expectations.

As a result, writing a convincing college application essay in 650 words or less will tell the evaluators that you can follow instructions.

2.     Unnecessarily Lengthy Essays Leave a Wrong Impression

Exceeding the essay length limit may cause you to come off as over-confident. Keep in mind that the word counts are accepted standards established by experts.

Going overboard with your essay length may set you apart from the other applicants but in a negative sense. Since you all have to follow the rules, surpassing the range may make you seem arrogant.

3.     Cutting and Editing is Part of Good Writing

One of the most crucial steps in writing is editing. In most cases, there are words, sentences, or passages that do not substantiate your essay. These are parts that, if omitted, do not affect the flow and effectiveness of your piece.

As you proofread your work, sieve out any superficial data and retain your main points.

Tips on How to Write a College Essay

After completing your application forms, and the standardized tests, it’s time to put together an impressive college application essay. Here are a few tips that will help you write your paper.

Tip 1: Read the Instructions

With the level of excitement or stress you have at this period of your life, you must remember to read the instructions carefully. The inability to follow the essay instructions may imply that you will be incompetent to follow the institution’s guidelines.

Tip 2: Begin With a Catchy Introduction

Since the admissions officers will be reviewing numerous applications, you will want yours to stand out. So, write a captivating introduction that will engage your readers.

Tip 3: Be Authentic in Your College Application Essay

Avoid using college admission essay templates. Write your essay based on a genuine standpoint.

Make sure you impress the admissions officer using your writing skills, knowledge, and determination. Reflect all your praiseworthy aspects in your essay.

Tip 4: Support your Ideas With Examples

In the academic world, evidence is essential for establishing credibility. If you want your essay to have some credibility, you will need to include specific examples to support your ideas.

Tip 5: Have a College Application Essay Outline

A standard essay outline will help you appealingly organize your thoughts. Your essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Arrange your main ideas within this framework logically.

Tip 6: Edit and Proofread

On completion of your essay, you should take some time to read and reread your work. Omit any unnecessary wording and ensure you have a competent write-up.

Final Thoughts

Common Application college essays pose a challenge for most applicants. But, now that you understand the appropriate length, you do not have to waste time guessing.

Beyond the word count, you should make sure that your essay captures the essence you were hoping to communicate. Avoid an excessively lengthy write-up since it may leave the wrong impression in the auditor’s mind.

Remember to maintain an authentic tone in your writing and thoroughly proofread and edit your paper. If you do, your application will be accepted, and you will join the college of your dreams.

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