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Word count limits and restrictions in essays

dodohuipy 2 / 15  
Dec 29, 2008   #1
In the Princeton Supplement, there are prompts you can choose from and one of them asks you to choose your own quote. Is the quote I'm selecting going to be part of the word count? So then everyone would be encouraged to pick a really short quote.
FFtoMay1 2 / 8  
Dec 29, 2008   #2
No, I don't think the quote you select is part of the word count since the quotes they provide are not. Your word count is strictly your writing.
dsacks 10 / 19  
Dec 29, 2008   #3
I'm pretty sure FFtoMay1 is right. Plus, going over 20 or so words isn't going to make a difference.
s2Alex 1 / 4  
Dec 29, 2008   #4
[Moved from]: Lehigh - Question (character limit)

So, for the Lehigh supplements, on the Common App, there is a limit of 1000 characters but I have the option of attaching a document for the supplement. My current responses go over about 400-500 characters. Do you think they'll mind? or should I cut it down to ~1200-1300 characters?
mbhaire 7 / 17  
Dec 29, 2008   #5
Ehhh characters aren't a huge deal I don't think. Read through your answers and take out something if it's not totally necessary, but otherwise I think you should be fine.

***I'm not an admissions expert, however, this is TOTALLY my own opinion. Take it or leave it :).
Adrenalin4ik - / 5  
Dec 29, 2008   #6
I'm applying to the Princeton as well. They did not specify that the quote is part of the word count so I do not think so. Also if you are doing choice 4 then it do not count in nay way. If you are doing choice 3 and you are putting it in the a introduction I think they might count it. On the other hand dsacks is right 20 or so words more is not deadly
EF_Constance - / 143  
Dec 30, 2008   #7
Usually, if it is a short essay (under 400 words), the quote does not count in the word count unless otherwise specified. That being said, I would not chose a quote that is lengthy or complex because you will have a limited number of words to talk about it. Good luck
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 30, 2008   #8
The essays are opportunities to impress them. See if you can find creative ways to meet each challenge, including the word limit!

timothyerdei 4 / 16  
Jan 5, 2009   #9
For my University of Michigan applications I have 2 essays that have to be approximately 250 words, while the other one has to be approximately 500 words. I believe I am over by about 20-30 words in the 250 word essays and 10-20 words over in the 500 word essay. Am I doomed? It does say approximately.
alicimoo 3 / 24  
Jan 5, 2009   #10
If the space doesn't limit you (like doesn't allow you to type after the limit has been reached), a little bit over is fine.
timothyerdei 4 / 16  
Jan 5, 2009   #11
I don't think so because you must upload the file to your online application.
EF_Constance - / 143  
Jan 5, 2009   #12
If word count is not specified, then it should not be too strict. Depending on the prompt, I would answer accordingly. I would make sure that I answer the prompt.
jenf3r 3 / 15  
Jan 5, 2009   #13
If you are applying online and you have to post the essays on there, it might be a bit more strict.
zowzow 10 / 175  
Jan 5, 2009   #14
it also depends on universities

some would say 250 exact
while others might be more lenient and let you off with 350
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Jan 5, 2009   #15
The general rule with word counts is that you have a 10% margin of error. That is, the word limit specified actually represents a range you can work within. So, a 300 word assignment is expected to be between 270-330 words. However, sometimes the assignment specifies that the word limit is either a maximum or a minimum, in which case the specific rule overrides the general one.
zoomkobe - / 3  
Jan 6, 2009   #16
Like others have been saying, it will vary from university to university but staying within the word count limit is always the best bet
OpaqueCheshire - / 3  
Mar 23, 2009   #17
Essay Length Question, five pages (1250 words) and I have 1395 words but four pages long

I have an essay due soon, the assignment needs to be five pages (1250 words) with double spacing. My problem is my essay is 1395 words but four pages long. Which restriction should I trust more?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 23, 2009   #18
If they said 1250 words, use that. Do they tell you how they want the margins" If you use 12 pt font Times New Roman and 1 inch margins all the way around, I think 125 words is only going to be 4 pages!! Ha ha, but if you can use 1.25 inch margins on the left and right, it will be longer.

Try going through and finding paragraphs that could stand to have better topic sentences added to them.. Post it here if you want help.

Good luck!!!
OpaqueCheshire - / 3  
Mar 23, 2009   #19
12 point Times New Roman font with one inch margins is what is required for the essay. I almost wish that it was a research paper so I could just find some more and run with it, but secondary sources are not allowed for this one. I'm going to try add as much as I can without being repetitive, so hopefully it will at least get to four and a half pages.

Thank You
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 24, 2009   #20
Good luck! If your prof assigned 1250 words for 5 pages with that font and formatting, it is his/her mistake. Anyway, a good way to add length is to reinforce each paragraph with a new topic sentence. That way the existing topic sentences become elaborations for the new topic sentences. For each para, ask yourself what the main idea is and tack a sentence on to the beginning! :)
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Mar 24, 2009   #21
Go with the page count, not the word count. You are the victim of changing technology. The old typewriter standard was 250 words a page, and that is still what a lot of people use, especially if they are older. The professor is expecting five pages, though, so that is what you should give her. You can increase line spacing to 2.1 without anyone noticing, and that will give you a few more lines. Good luck.
OpaqueCheshire - / 3  
Mar 26, 2009   #22
I got to the 4.5 pages, almost 1700 words. My teacher said it was fine like it was, apparently plenty of other students complained about it too.

Mar 29, 2009   #23
glad someone ask this . im always worrying that its to short or just to much
kenziii 7 / 35  
Mar 29, 2009   #24
Since your teacher was fine with your length, this is just some addvice for the future.
If you've done the best writing you can do, adding on will sometimes make it repetitive and bland. Margins usually get noticed, but if you end each paragraph with only a few words on the line below, you can add a few extra lines... :]
mclovinggg0123 - / 1  
Oct 29, 2009   #25
Short answer in less than 2 lines - what does it mean?

When it says to write the short answer questions in less than 2 lines, what does that mean? Like two sentences? Anyone else confused about it?
Liebe 1 / 542 2  
Oct 29, 2009   #26
Post the essay question here.
hbrad8002 9 / 20  
Oct 29, 2009   #27
it means it wants a really short answer, which still can demonstrate your ability/thinking/creativity...
bmachado 5 / 23  
Oct 29, 2009   #28
it doesn't literally mean two lines. it is just saying to format your answers so they are shorter instead of a huge essay. As long as you get what you want to say under the max character count you will be fine, and make note of the fact that it says you don't have to answer in complete sentences, if you run out of room, cut out things that don't really matter or matter as much
thatpersonphil - / 15  
Nov 28, 2009   #29
Word limits - Tutfs Supplement Essays

The Tufts essays state:


Which aspects of Tufts' curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short: ''Why Tufts?''

but then allots 500 characters for use,

while the two longer ones say (200 words), but allow 2000 characters for use. Does this mean that the essays must be at least 50/200 words long with that amount of space available, or are they supposed to be under the number of words stated?

and sorry if this is in the wrong "forum" I can't get to the main screen for some reason to see all the different boards.
shaq896 2 / 8  
Nov 28, 2009   #30
it means that your 50 and 200 word essays should not exceed the CHARACTERS., which are letters and spaces
ScatterBrain 3 / 28  
Jan 2, 2010   #31
Minimum word count in an essay is 250. But what is the maximum?

It says that the minimum word count for the essay is 250. What is the maximum word count, or is there even one?
basil - / 8  
Jan 2, 2010   #32
There is no max word count but I would suggest it be around 750-1000 words.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 12, 2010   #33
a nice thing to do might be to present that classic "five paragraph" essay. a paragraph of 4 to 5 sentences is often around 100 words, so you'll end up with around 500.

intro, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. And it is really nice when the conclusion is a little longer than the intro... because it gives a lot of evaluation and reflection at the end.
wasabipeaz 4 / 21  
Jan 28, 2010   #34
How crucial is word count in admission essays?

Hi, can someone with experience please help me? In admission essays, how important is the word count? I have written 4 essays and they have all exceeded the suggested word count. I have tried very hard to cut down the words, but I can't seem to be able to leave out anything.

When they say approximately 500 words, or something like that, how turned off will the reader be at an essay that's, say, 700 words long?

please help!
salbazili 4 / 14  
Jan 28, 2010   #35
I think the main point of word limit is to test you on how well you would write intensive information in such a short space. So if I were you, I would have written my essays in a different way instead of cutting off info. Take this for example:

A group of kids formed a soccer team. They were fourteen kids and their ages were around fifteen. They called their team the Eagels.

instead I would write it this way:

A group of fourteen teenagers formed a soccer team, the Eagles.

So try your best to rewrite you texts to make them more concentrated in fewer words, and do not exceed the word limit because it might hurt your application somehow.
wasabipeaz 4 / 21  
Jan 29, 2010   #36
I'm trying so very very very hard to cut words but I can't seem to find anything that can be shortened! Not without ruining the effect it was supposed to create. SIGH. But thanks for your suggestion, salbazili. It did help for a few sentences.

Anyone has other suggestions?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 29, 2010   #37
ha ha, first, I want to mention that I love your username. And I love wasabi peas.

Now... I see that you face a common problem. Opinions differ, but it seems fair to say they impose a word limit because they want it to be obeyed. I'm sorry!

Taking out material is tough... is there sme essay in particular I can help with?

If it's any consolation, almost every piece of writing gets better when you eliminate the weakest players on the team.
wasabipeaz 4 / 21  
Jan 31, 2010   #38
oh dear i haven't used the computer. haha thanks, i love wasabi peas too. :D

Yes, I figured that they imposes a word limit because they want it to be obeyed..

But after some help from a friend I have successfully cut down the words on my essays. I'm just working on one last one. But the problem in this one is that I need to focus on answering the question more. Once that's done I don't foresee a word count problem.

Thanks for the offer though, all you guys at EF have been a great help.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 9, 2010   #39
Do character limits in online applications include spaces?

Hello, someone asked this, and I don't know how to answer. In your online applications with character limits, does the maximum number of characters usually include spaces or not?

Randyhl 8 / 33  
Mar 9, 2010   #40
Yes I am currently going through this. THey do include spaces. Character restrictions are very difficult to deal with.

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