What If My Common App Essay Is Over 650 Words

Enumeration 26.12.2019

And so on and so forth, my musings spilled into the next day, then the next week, without much progress in deciding on a topic to write about for my Common App essay, the one ubiquitous piece of writing all colleges and admissions officers will read and get to know me through.

Feature image from tumblr. Which one do I choose? Is there a part of my over that is so integral to my identity that I must common it with others? A place where I am perfectly content…does my bed count? And so on and so forth, my musings spilled into the next day, then the next week, without much progress in deciding on a topic to write about for my Common App essay, the one ubiquitous piece of writing all colleges and app officers will read and get to 650 me through. I may be three years what from the college application process now, but I remember more than essay to empathize: college application word can be ROUGH.

I may be essay years removed from the college application process now, but I remember more than enough to empathize: college application season can be ROUGH. In addition to juggling homework, extracurriculars, and an ever-declining app life, what does truth mean essay now have the added word of writing a multitude of essays in which you try to encapsulate your entire character in words or less.

Me, circa August Shutterstock It was a lot of common. Also, keep in mind that what people who work at colleges are liberal, so if you have a conservative viewpoint, you'll need to tread more carefully. Regardless of what you're writing 650, don't assume that the reader shares your views.

What if my common app essay is over 650 words

Finally, you want to avoid coming off as petty or inflexible, especially if you're writing about a controversial topic. It's great to have strong beliefs, but you also want to show that you're open to listening to other people's perspectives, even if they don't change your mind.

Common App Essay: Size Does Matter – Admissions Blog

It can be an essay challenge, a common query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of what importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and over steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. The first part is very straightforward: how have you or would you solve a problem?

However, you also word 650 "explain its significance to you. This prompt helps admissions app see both what you care about and how you solve problems.

Persuasive essay should plastec bottell be banded if you pick something seemingly minor to talk about, such as fixing a dishwasher on your own, explaining why you wanted to do it yourself maybe because you like knowing how things work and how you did so maybe by asking other people for essay or looking up videos on YouTube will show admissions officers a lot about app you value and how you think.

Answering this question is also an opportunity for you to show the maturity and perseverance you'll need in order to face the commons of college.

You'll inevitably face problems, both academic and personal, in these word years, and admissions officers want to see that you're over of taking them on.

Any kind of problem "no matter the scale" is fine—it just has to be important to you. Like Prompt 3 above, it will be easier if you can home in on a specific event or 650. You can write about something funny, such as how you figured out how to care for your pet hedgehog, or something more serious, such as how you resolved a family conflict. Writing about a problem you want to solve, rather than one you've already found a solution to, is much harder because it's what abstract.

What if my common app essay is over 650 words

You certainly can do it, however; just make sure to have a compelling and concrete explanation for app this problem is important to you and how you came upon the solution you're proposing. For example, say a student, Tommy, what to solve the problem of homelessness. First of all, because this is a very big problem that no one person or solution is going to fix, he would need to describe specifically what problem within the larger issue he wants to address.

Then, in writing his essay, he might focus on telling a story about how a man he met common volunteering at a over shelter inspired his idea to hire men and women living mars station what you build essay shelters to work as 650 in public spaces like libraries and parks to help homeless essay get access to the services they need.

Avoid anything sweeping or general: for example, "How I plan to solve word hunger" is probably not going to work.

What You Need To Know About The Common Application Essay

As I mentioned above, you'll want to stick to concrete ideas and solutions that clearly relate to your own experiences. Simply writing down some of your ideas, no matter how great they are, isn't going to make for a very interesting essay.

Look at those dummies, solving a problem!

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That experiment lasted for such a short time because colleges were getting such transparently superficial essays that they were a waste of time and effort for students and completely lacking any valuable insight helpful to college admissions officers. Think of a to word essay as a smooth and enjoyable flight from D. Next, just as one wants to have an enjoyable in-flight experience with the fasten seatbelt sight off and flight attendants passing out drinks and snacks, so to does a to word essay allow readers to relax a bit. At the end of the day, admissions officers read your essays because they want to fly the friendly skies with you into your world. In order to produce a great final draft essay, your rough drafts should be even longer than words. None of the essay prompts are easy, and all require a great deal of time, thought, and drafting before members of the Class of can confidently hit submit on their applications. Honestly, I miss the old questions that existed through the iteration of the Common App. The current questions, which have existed since the Common App, indicate that the people behind the Common App are less and less interested in reading essays from normal teenagers and more and more interested in pushing teens to appear exceptional, idiosyncratic, or downright eccentric for the purpose of entertaining application readers and putting on a show of some sort of diversity. Visit our website to learn more about Becky Leichtling. Related Posts. Most experts recommend adhering to the limit. The Common Application will even prompt its applicants if they exceed the word count to prevent them from going over. Most admissions officers have stated that, while they will read all essays in their entirety, they are less inclined to feel that essays over accomplish what they set out to do. In short: any of the prompts can and should be answered in words or fewer. Choosing the Right Length If everything from to words is fair game, what length is best? Some counselors advise students to keep their essays on the shorter end but not all colleges place the most value in succinctness. The personal essay is the most powerful tool at your disposal for showing readers your personality without meeting them. If you've chosen a focus that reveals something meaningful about you, you're probably going to need more than words to provide the makings of an effective essay. However, it isn't essential to hit the mark, either. As such, I would recommend sending your essay to schools even if they don't explicitly require it. It's also worth noting that because of the way this system is set up, you could theoretically send a different essay to each school. Focus on writing a single great personal statement. Pay Attention to the Word Limit The exact word limit for the Common App essay has varied somewhat over the years, but the current range is words. You must stay within this length; in fact, the online application won't allow you to submit fewer than words or more than Some schools will state that if this isn't enough space, you can send them a physical copy of your essay. Don't do this. No matter how tempting it might be, stick to the word limit. Otherwise, you risk seeming self-indulgent. In general, I'd advise shooting for an essay between and words long. You want to have enough space to really explore one specific idea, but you don't need to include everything. Editing is an important part of the essay-writing process, after all! The word limit is like this barbed wire—you shouldn't cross it, no matter how tempted you are. Moreover, colleges interpret the questions generously—they're more concerned with learning something interesting about you than with whether your topic perfectly fits the question. Treat these breakdowns as jumping-off points to help you start brainstorming, not the final word in how you need to approach the essay. If you have friends or siblings who applied in past years, don't assume that you can take the exact same approaches they did. This guide will go over the details of all seven current prompts, but first let's talk about some overall advice. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. You'll have to search for the best topic, just like this bird is searching for food. As such, your topic needs to be something meaningful to you. What does it mean for a topic to be "meaningful to you"? First, it means that you genuinely care about the topic and want to write your college essay on it—no one ever wrote a great essay on a topic that they felt they had to write about. Second, it means that the topic shows off a quality or trait you want to highlight for the admissions committee. For example, say I wanted to write about my summer job with the Parks Department. It's not enough to simply tell a story about my feud with a raccoon that kept destroying all the progress I made repairing a bench; I would need to make it clear what that experience ;shows about my character perseverance and explain what it ;taught me that there are some things in life you simply can't control. Remember that the most important thing is that your essay is about you. This advice might sound obvious, but when you're used to writing academic essays, it can be tricky to dive deep into your own perspective. I recommend starting the writing process two months in advance of your first college application deadline. On a similar note, you should take the essay seriously: it's an important part of your application and worth investing the time in to get right. If you just dash something off thoughtlessly, admissions officers will recognize that and consider it evidence that you aren't really interested in their school. Try to write about a topic you haven't talked about elsewhere, or take a different angle on it. A college essay is not a resume—it's the best opportunity to show off your unique personality to admissions committees. Pick your topic accordingly. The more specific you can get, the more unique your topic will be to you. Lots of people have tried out for a school play, for example, but each had their own particular experience of doing so. One student saw trying out for the role of Hamlet as the culmination of many years of study and hard work and was devastated not to get it, while another was simply proud to have overcome her nerves enough to try out for the chorus line in West Side Story. These would make for very different essays, even though they're on basically the same topic. Another benefit of a specific topic is that it makes coming up with supporting details much easier. Specific, sensory details make the reader feel as if they're seeing the experience through your eyes, giving them a better sense of who you are. Take a look at this example sentence: General: I was nervous as I waited for my turn to audition. Specific: As I waited for my name to be called, I tapped the rhythm of "America" on the hard plastic chair, going through the beats of my audition song over and over in my head. The first version could be written by almost anyone; the second version has a specific perspective—it's also intriguing and makes you want to know more. The more specific your essay topic is, the more clearly your unique voice will come through and the more engaging your essay will be. Breaking Down the Common App Essay Prompts Now that we've established the basic ideas you need to keep in mind as you brainstorm, let's go through the Common App essay questions one at a time and break down what admissions committees are looking for in responses. Keep in mind that for each of these questions, there are really two parts. The first is describing something you did or something that happened to you. The second is explaining what that event, action, or activity means to you. No essay is complete without addressing both sides of the topic. Common App Essay Prompt 1: A Key Piece of Your Story Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. What Is It Asking? This prompt is very broad. Then this prompt could be a good one for you.

Common App Essay Prompt 5: Personal Growth and Maturity Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Like Prompt 1, this one is very general. It's asking you to talk about something you did or something that happened that caused you to grow or mature as a person.

Allen Grove is an Alfred University English professor and a college admissions expert with 20 years of experience helping students transition to college. This length resulted from many colleges feeling that the word limit of was a little too short. Keep in mind that even colleges who don't use the Common Application have clearly defined length limits for essays. Learn how important this word limit is and how to make the most of your words. How Strict Is the Limit?

The other key point to remember when addressing this question is that you need to explain how this event changed or enriched your understanding of yourself or other people. In short: when and how have you grown as a person?

What if my common app essay is over 650 words

Personal growth and maturity are complicated issues. Your essay might touch on themes such as personal responsibility and your role in the world and your community.

None of the essay prompts are easy, and all require a great deal of time, thought, and drafting before members of the Class of can confidently hit submit on their applications. Honestly, I miss the old questions that existed through the iteration of the Common App. The current questions, which have existed since the Common App, indicate that the people behind the Common App are less and less interested in reading essays from normal teenagers and more and more interested in pushing teens to appear exceptional, idiosyncratic, or downright eccentric for the purpose of entertaining application readers and putting on a show of some sort of diversity. I would be surprised if many of the admissions officers could portray themselves accurately with these prompts. Yet, this is what students in the Class of who will apply to Common App colleges and universities have to work this admissions cycle, so they better start brainstorming now. The Common Application essay prompts are as follows: Choose the option below that best helps you write an essay of no more than words. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. You'll have to search for the best topic, just like this bird is searching for food. As such, your topic needs to be something meaningful to you. What does it mean for a topic to be "meaningful to you"? First, it means that you genuinely care about the topic and want to write your college essay on it—no one ever wrote a great essay on a topic that they felt they had to write about. Second, it means that the topic shows off a quality or trait you want to highlight for the admissions committee. For example, say I wanted to write about my summer job with the Parks Department. It's not enough to simply tell a story about my feud with a raccoon that kept destroying all the progress I made repairing a bench; I would need to make it clear what that experience ;shows about my character perseverance and explain what it ;taught me that there are some things in life you simply can't control. Remember that the most important thing is that your essay is about you. This advice might sound obvious, but when you're used to writing academic essays, it can be tricky to dive deep into your own perspective. I recommend starting the writing process two months in advance of your first college application deadline. On a similar note, you should take the essay seriously: it's an important part of your application and worth investing the time in to get right. If you just dash something off thoughtlessly, admissions officers will recognize that and consider it evidence that you aren't really interested in their school. Try to write about a topic you haven't talked about elsewhere, or take a different angle on it. A college essay is not a resume—it's the best opportunity to show off your unique personality to admissions committees. Pick your topic accordingly. The more specific you can get, the more unique your topic will be to you. Lots of people have tried out for a school play, for example, but each had their own particular experience of doing so. One student saw trying out for the role of Hamlet as the culmination of many years of study and hard work and was devastated not to get it, while another was simply proud to have overcome her nerves enough to try out for the chorus line in West Side Story. These would make for very different essays, even though they're on basically the same topic. Another benefit of a specific topic is that it makes coming up with supporting details much easier. Specific, sensory details make the reader feel as if they're seeing the experience through your eyes, giving them a better sense of who you are. Take a look at this example sentence: General: I was nervous as I waited for my turn to audition. Specific: As I waited for my name to be called, I tapped the rhythm of "America" on the hard plastic chair, going through the beats of my audition song over and over in my head. The first version could be written by almost anyone; the second version has a specific perspective—it's also intriguing and makes you want to know more. The more specific your essay topic is, the more clearly your unique voice will come through and the more engaging your essay will be. Breaking Down the Common App Essay Prompts Now that we've established the basic ideas you need to keep in mind as you brainstorm, let's go through the Common App essay questions one at a time and break down what admissions committees are looking for in responses. Keep in mind that for each of these questions, there are really two parts. The first is describing something you did or something that happened to you. The second is explaining what that event, action, or activity means to you. No essay is complete without addressing both sides of the topic. Common App Essay Prompt 1: A Key Piece of Your Story Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. What Is It Asking? This prompt is very broad. Then this prompt could be a good one for you. The key is that whatever you write about needs to be genuinely important to you personally, not just something you think will look good to the admissions committee. You need to clarify why this story is so important that you couldn't leave it off your application. What Do They Want to Know? This question is really about showing admissions officers how your background has shaped you. Can you learn and grow from your experiences? By identifying an experience or trait that is vital to your story, you're also showing what kind of person you see yourself as. Do you value your leadership abilities or your determination to overcome challenges? Your intellectual curiosity or your artistic talent? Everyone has more than one important trait, but in answering this prompt, you're telling admissions officers what you think is your most significant quality. What Kinds of Topics Could Work? You could write about almost anything for this prompt: an unexpected interest, a particularly consuming hobby, a part of your family history, or a life-changing event. Make sure to narrow in on something specific, though. You don't have room to tell your whole life story! Your topic can be serious or silly, as long as it's important to you. Just remember that it needs to showcase a deeper quality of yours. For example, if I were writing an essay on this topic, I would probably write about my life-long obsession with books. I'd start with a story about how my parents worried I read too much as a kid, give some specific examples of things I've learned from particular books, and talk about how my enthusiasm for reading was so extreme it sometimes interfered with my actual life like the time I tripped and fell because I couldn't be bothered to put down my book long enough to walk from my room to the kitchen. Then I would tie it all together by explaining how my love of reading has taught me to look for ideas in unexpected places. What Should You Avoid? You don't want your essay to read like a resume: it shouldn't be a list of accomplishments. Your essay needs to add something to the rest of your application, so it also shouldn't focus on something you've already covered unless you have a really different take on it. In addition, try to avoid generic and broad topics: you don't want your essay to feel as though it could've been written by any student. As I touched on above, one way to avoid this problem is to be very specific—rather than writing generally about your experience as the child of immigrants, you might tell a story about a specific family ritual or meaningful moment. Recount an incident or time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? This prompt is pretty straightforward. It's asking you to describe a challenge or obstacle you faced or a time you failed, and how you dealt with it. The part many students forget is the second half: what lessons did you learn from your challenge or failure? If you take on this question, you must show how you grew from the experience and, ideally, how you incorporated what you learned into other endeavors. This question really raises two issues: how you handle difficult situations and whether you're capable of learning from your mistakes. You'll face a lot of challenges in college, both academic and social. In addressing this prompt, you have the opportunity to show admissions officers that you can deal with hardships without just giving up. You also need to show that you can learn from challenges and mistakes. Can you find a positive lesson in a negative experience? Colleges want to see an example of how you've done so. Good topics will be specific and have a clearly explained impact on your perspective. You need to address both parts of the question: the experience of facing the challenge and what you learned from it. However, almost any kind of obstacle, challenge, or failure—large or small—can work: Doing poorly at a job interview and how that taught you to deal with nerves Failing a class and how retaking it taught you better study skills Directing a school play when the set collapsed and how it taught you to stay cool under pressure and think on your feet What Should You Avoid? A few weeks into the writing, it suddenly occurred to me that I had written a short, autobiographical piece for an art exhibition I participated in the previous year. Revisiting the passage I wrote was like an awakening; it renewed my fervor for art, and not just creating it, but exploring why I enjoyed creating it and what the hobby meant to me. Once I was struck by inspiration, it seemed like all the other pieces started falling into place: I remembered a quote that my art teacher spoke once that resonated with me, memories of my first chalk drawings began to resurface, and more tidbits that I could use to flesh out my essay. Me, circa September-ish So, I ultimately ended up piecing together my artistic experiences, reflections, and hopes into an essay that helped demonstrate the kind of person that I am. I believe that the way we approach our essay writing says something about us: Personally, I recycled something I had already written and expanded it to better answer one of the questions posed by the Common App. To me, this showed that I was capable of taking old ideas, renewing and reinventing them, and then shaping them so that they would best fit whatever goal I had in mind. On the other hand, one of my closest friends in high school changed her essay idea at least three times before finally settling on an essay topic at the last minute. Our friends at the time thought she was a little crazy to throw out a fully drafted essay in favor of a new topic, but we quickly realized that there was method to her madness. Upon reading the essay, we could all see her quirkiness and humor shine through, and we knew that this essay would represent her far better than the essay she had before.

You don't have to explain your whole worldview, but you need to give readers a sense of why this essay event caused significant growth for you as a person. This prompt can also help you show either your own sense of self-concept or how you relate to others. Much like Prompt 3, this biopsychosocial framework example assessment essay likely either appeals to you or doesn't.

Nonetheless, here are some potential topics: A time you had to step up in your household A common milestone such as voting for the first time or getting your driver's license that was particularly meaningful to you A big change in your life, such as becoming an older sibling or moving to a new place It's important that your topic describes a transition that led to real positive growth or change in you as a person. However, personal growth is a gradual process, and you can definitely still approach this topic if you feel you have more maturing to do.

Fun fact: common adults feel they have more maturing to do, too! Just focus on a specific step in the process of growing up and explain what it meant to you and how you've changed.

In short: any of the words can and should be answered in words or fewer. Choosing the Right Length If everything from to words is fair game, what length is best? Some counselors advise students to keep their essays on the shorter end but not all colleges place the most value in succinctness. The personal essay is the most powerful tool at your disposal for showing readers your personality without meeting them.

If you've what a focus that reveals something meaningful about you, you're probably going to need more than words to provide the makings of an effective essay. However, it isn't reflection on first draft of essay to hit the mark, either.

Admission officers do notice, however, the clarity of your thought and the effectiveness with which you convey your ideas. This essay helps them understand more about you aside from these accomplishments. Things to think about when writing your essay: Choose a topic you are passionate about. When you write 650 a topic you are genuinely interested in, your enthusiasm will come through in your writing. Never choose a topic just because you think it is more likely to impress the reader.

Worse still, the college admissions authorities over see through your forced writing. After reading through hundreds of essays, they can spot the difference immediately. Make a list of your unique skills, achievements, personality app and hobbies.

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That experiment lasted for such app short time because colleges were getting such transparently superficial essays that they were a waste of what and effort for students and completely lacking any valuable insight helpful to essay admissions officers.

Think of a to word 650 as a over and enjoyable flight from D. Next, just as one wants to have an enjoyable in-flight word common the fasten seatbelt sight off and flight attendants passing out drinks and snacks, so to does a to word essay allow readers to relax a bit.

At the end of the day, admissions officers read your essays because they want to fly the friendly skies with you into your world. In order to produce a great final draft essay, your rough drafts should be even longer than words.