The Ivy Coach Daily

September 27, 2023

Word and Character Limits in College Essays

Word And Charater Limits In College Essays
Word And Charater Limits In College Essays

Previously Published on September 2, 2011:

With every college essay comes a word limit. Some essays are 35 words, others 650 words. Some are 100 characters, others two pages. But for each of these essays, irrespective of the word count, there is one guiding principle that college applicants should follow: stick to the word count — don’t write more, don’t write less.

Essays Are Real Estate for Applicants to Make Their Case

Each essay — no matter its length — offers applicants real estate to make their case for admission. Some schools, of course, offer more real estate than others. For the 2023-2024 college admissions cycle, for example, Harvard University has five 250-word essays. Meanwhile, Brown University has three essays and four short answers: 200-250 words for the three essays, three words for the first short answer, 100 words for two short answers, and 50 words for the final short answer.

Applicants Should Write to the Maximum Word Count in Essays

So, when a school asks applicants to write a 200-250-word essay, how many words should they write? That’s an easy one: 250. When a school offers students the chance to write optional essays, should they write them? You bet! No optional essay in highly selective college admissions should ever be considered optional. Instead, it’s a chance for students to make their case. And applicants should always write to the maximum word count in all college essays.

A Word Count Test

To conclude, we’ve got a test for this year’s applicants. Applicants to Duke University’s Class of 2028 are required to answer one 250-word essay, and they’re given five optional essay options of which they can write up to two. So, how many essays should this year’s Duke applicants write? You guessed it — three! And how long should each of their essays be? You guessed it again — 250 words! Not more, not less.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with College Essays

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission by submitting the most powerful essays possible, fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our college admissions counseling services.

You are permitted to use www.ivycoach.com (including the content of the Blog) for your personal, non-commercial use only. You must not copy, download, print, or otherwise distribute the content on our site without the prior written consent of Ivy Coach, Inc.

TOWARD THE CONQUEST OF ADMISSION

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s college counseling,
fill out our complimentary consultation form and we’ll be in touch.

Get Started