How Long Should a College Application Essay Be?

How long should a college essay be? This guide was created precisely in order to give you a clear understanding on how to write an essay of a proper length - not too long, not too short, about right. Learn how to avoid failure with your college application essay by picking the right volume for it.

Knowing the length of your college application essay is not less essential than being aware of how to write it. How long should my college essay be? This is the question each student comes up with sooner or later. Is there a perfect length at all? Of course, there is, and this guide was created for you to find out what exactly it is.

Below, you will find out how long should an essay be for college and how to avoid failure with your college application essay by picking the right volume for it. It’s quite easy to write an essay of an improper length and spoil an overall impression about yourself, so better pay attention to the following tips and rules.

How Long Should a College Admissions Essay Be: The Word Limit

We recommend to count your essay volume, not by pages but by words. Most colleges stick to that system, and it is quite convenient. It means that all the essays will be of the same length, even if students choose different font or format.

So, if you are not sure of how long should a college entrance essay be, find out the requirement of a particular school towards their word limit. It is perfect when colleges allow writing papers within a certain range. But if not, you:

  • keep 50 words as a gap. For example, if they require a 400-word essay, keep it between 350-400 but don’t exceed the word limit;
  • check the prompt while the instructions are often provided there.

What Is the Shortest Word Limit?

Usually, colleges establish the shortest limit of nearly 200 words. This is a pretty short essay, so avoid exceeding it. As a rule, the essay shouldn’t be more than 600-650 words. It’s no wonder while the officer reads tons of them, so reading endless papers would be complicated.

Why Is It Bad to Exceed the Limit?

Sometimes, it is allowed to exceed the established limits but still, make sure not to go over 650 words, and here is why:

  • as a college student, you should stick to your guideline. Any student exceeds the volume set by his or her professor. Your aim is to show how well you are prepared for your studies at their college;
  • show your readiness to follow the rules and not breaking them. The admission board has set up the limits for its reasons, and you are not special, so stick to those limits as the rest of the other applicants. Moreover, lengthy essays make a poor impression;
  • a worthy applicant shows an ability to edit and cut the writing. Any essay is valuable when it’s precise and brief. If your paper contains too many sentences that could be omitted, it’s very poorly written. It means you didn’t think of how to contribute to the overall meaning of your essay. So, don’t be afraid to make your paper shorter than it is. Please review it and edit. Each sentence conveys the meaning and adds value to your essay.

What a Supplemental College Essay Length Is?

How long should a college entrance essay be? This question causes lots of stress among students and is pretty contradictory. Not always, schools set up a strict 500-600-word limit. The requirements vary from one school to another.

Along with an essay, some of them request providing the answers to particular questions; this part’s volume doesn’t exceed 300 words. Others require students to answer personal insight questions. They set up their limit for these answers.

You might be asked to write an additional essay apart from your personal statement. It is aimed at giving a better understanding of your personality and skills. It depends on each particular school how many extra essays you include. For some schools, one or three are enough; others don’t require any.

As a rule, the length of such essays doesn’t exceed 250 words. But some colleges allow the size of your main essay. With this message, you show your interest in a school of your choice.

What if the Word Limit Isn’t Set Up?

Most colleges mention the word limit they require from applicants. But not all schools stick to a word-limit scheme; they might need a certain number of pages or paragraphs.

If the word limit isn’t given, avoid going too short or too long. To feel safe, write not more than 250 words for each paragraph. They may require to write a single-space number of pages. In this case, Times New Roman 12 font is fine.

If you didn’t get a specific word limit for your essay, don’t exceed 500 words and can be proud of yourself.


To sum up, keep in mind the following information:

  • When the essay is too lengthy, the admission officer notices that and stops reading it, so it’s important not to go over the limit;
  • Colleges elaborate word or page limits for their reasons, so don’t think you are unique and can break the rules. Better prove your uniqueness by brilliant content;
  • If no specific limit is provided, adhere to the 500-words rule.

Remember that there is no special app that would craft a brilliant essay for you, so if you’re not sure of your skills, better rely on College Essay Writing Services and get the necessary college admission essay!

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