Word Limits on College Essays

Word Limits in College Essays, College Essay Word Limits, University Essay Word Limit

Word limits on college essays aren’t suggestions even it it says “suggested.” Stick to the word limits (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

There are word limits on college essays. Sometimes, character count limits. And sometimes, both. When there is both a word limit and a character count limit on a college essay, the character count usually takes precedence as you won’t be allowed to put in more words if the character count is already exceeded. We know that this is really gripping but, the fact is, it’s important in the college admissions process.

Many students choose to not follow the word limits on college essays. If the essay prompt asks for 300 words, don’t then provide 400 words. Be succinct. Less is more. Do you think a college admissions counselor will really be happy reading more information than you were supposed to provide? No. They want to get through their work. You’re only making their work more difficult to get through!

Word counts and character counts on college essays aren’t suggestions — even if the prompt says they’re suggestions. You should interpret the word “suggestion” rather as this is as many words as I can put in this essay. I cannot exceed this amount. That’s the kind of thinking that needs to go through your head when you sit down to write your college essays.


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