Common App Essay Word Limit (BEST WORD COUNT FOR COLLEGE ESSAY)

Common App Essay Word Limit (BEST WORD COUNT FOR COLLEGE ESSAY)

August 20, 2019 14 By Stanley Isaacs


Dr. Josie: Are you super chatty and don’t
know where to stop your college essay, or do you have one paragraph and don’t know how
to extend your essay? Watch this video for quick tips to cut and
maximize your common application essay, which should be about 250 to 650 words. Bonus secret? Please don’t write 250 words. Stay tuned. Dr. Josie: Thank you for joining me on my
channel. For the best college essay advice, subscribe
and hit the bell to make sure you get notified when I post new videos. Dr. Josie: If you have a topic and possibly
even a short draft but you don’t know where to go from there, stop and think strategy. By the end of this video, you’ll have three
quick tips to figure out when to end your essay and why. Also, I’ll share some brief editing secrets
to really transform your essay for maximum engagement. Hi, I’m Dr. Josie with Write Your Acceptance,
and with hundreds of students all happy in college or graduates by now, I know how to
make the admission officers remember you and root for you. Stick around. Now it’s your turn. Dr. Josie: Okay, so first the hard truth:
respect the word count. The common app main essay should be between
250 and 650 words. But bonus secret? Please don’t write 250 words. In my humble opinion, okay, not so humble
opinion is get into the higher range. Don’t pad the essay and try to get to 649
words with material that lacks substance, but try and get to the higher range, 450,
500 words. Remember that this is you on the mic on a
podium, and the admission officers are listening to you. You have a direct line of communication to
showcase your best self on this essay, so maximize that time, maximize their attention. Dr. Josie: Okay, now bonus for supplements. If the word count says no more than 200 words,
stay to below 200 words. If it’s between 150 and 200 words, stay in
between there. Get over 150, but stay in between the parameters. It is just as challenging to stay entertaining,
to deliver snazzy content and still be of substance within the parameters, so stick
to the word count because you’re not telling them that you care anymore because you added
an extra hundred words over what they asked you for. Dr. Josie: Three steps for snazzy, word-count
friendly common app essays. One is: What if my essay is too long? The first thing you want to do is control+F,
control+find all helping verbs. So any content, especially in our narrative
sections, where you’re saying, “I was enrolling in AP calculus,” you, not me, because I can
barely add, or, “I was riding bike,” or, “I was walking down the street,” all the was,
is that is delaying your verb phrase and making your verb phrase longer, kill those and shorten
your sentences whenever possible. Make the action more immediate. Dr. Josie: Step two, remember that this piece
of text is considered creative nonfiction, so don’t feel like you have to have these
transitional moments, transitional sentences that take you from one section of the memory
to the next. Break it up. You can have one paragraph that ends with
something like, “After five months of attending my AP calculus class, I launched a new tutoring
club at my school,” and then the next paragraph jumps right into kind of disoriented delight,
remember from a previous video. If you haven’t, check it out. You jump right into a memory and they try
and figure out, they’re kind of playing catch up to see what’s going on in this particular
moment of the essay, and you’ve cut out sentences that tell you you walked down to the admin
office, you proposed this club. No, you’re already in the club already kind
of giving us some detail and some kind of narrative scene. So don’t feel like you need those transitional
statements. Dr. Josie: Are you stuck on whether or not
to kill a transitional phrase, or do you not know how to shorten a line? Comment below. I’d love to help. Dr. Josie: If you are more reserved on the
page, let’s say you have 200 words of the 650 or like of the 450, 500, and you’ve said
it all, you don’t know exactly what else to add, you have your story down pat, identify
two or three symbols or key images in the 200 words that you can provide kind of like
an aside where you’re talking directly to your admission officer, your reader. Dr. Josie: So for instance, let’s say you
mention a car. Let’s say you’re grounded and you can’t drive,
you lost your driving privileges for whatever reason, and that’s what you’re writing about. I don’t know if students get grounded anymore,
but you look out the window and you see your car and you’re kind of upset at the fact that
you can’t drive. Okay. Right there you can insert like three lines
where you are breaking down the symbol. So cars are a notion of mobility. They take you from point A to point B. They
also symbolize kind of wind in your hair type freedom, and right now your circumstance is
anything but. It is the antithesis of that freedom. So you can kind of add a couple of sentences
where you’re kind of critically engaged or philosophizing a little bit of your current
circumstance, and slowly you’re padding a little bit, and feel like you can kind of
creatively change the way that you’re speaking where you talk directly to the reader, and
that’s kind of like a creative little element that changes up the tempo and kind of gets
the reader reengaged into the moment. Dr. Josie: So whether you have said everything
you want to say, whether you’re cutting your essay a little bit because you’re too chatty,
or you’re amplifying your kind of critical dimensions in your essay by philosophizing
a little bit, by adding a little bit more context or an aside to the reader talking
about what symbols mean where, make sure that you vet your topic. Make sure it is exactly the topic that maximizes
your candidacy and it’s not a dud. Also, have you answered the growth question? Have you learned something? Are you doing something differently? Are you kind of a different, more wise individual
because of your experience? That is a key question. Have you answered that indirectly? And stay tuned for a few other videos where
I really delve into that. Dr. Josie: If you liked my video, if you found
it helpful, please like it, give it a thumbs up. Also, comment below if you have any questions. Share with your fellow college bound friends
the video, and definitely, definitely subscribe. And if you want to get off YouTube and join
our community, I have content and community waiting for you on WriteYourAcceptance.com. I provide personalized feedback to students. My students are progressing and happy as clams
writing their essays and writing supplements, so join us and stay tuned for more videos. Thank you.