3 months ago
Admissions Advice

Supplemental Essay

I am applying to a school with a supplemental essay with a word count restriction of no more than 500 words. My essay is currently 240 words. Is it okay to submit that essay (once edited) despite being less than 50% of the word count?


Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 months ago

Technically, it's okay but I definitely wouldn't recommend it, especially if the school is highly selective. If those 240 words are absolutely mind-blowing and adding anything more would just dilute it, then maybe that would be fine? But generally, writing that far below the word limit could show to admissions officers that you don't have much to say (or that you're not actually a great fit for their school if it's a "Why Us" essay) and that's obviously not a great look.

Don't force yourself to write and just fill the word count, but keep brainstorming and writing about what really matters to you and how you can best showcase what you have to say through the prompt.

In terms of word count, I'd say try to get to at least 400-450 words at the minimum, though the best strategy is usually to write above the limit (even 650+ words) then cut down so that your essay is as packed with meaning and impact as possible.

Hope this helped!

3 months ago

The supplementary essay is a way the school gets to know more about you and the type of person you are. Sending in an essay that is less than half of the word count gives the impression that you're not a hard worker and you're not ready to push yourself.

When I was writing my supplemental essay my dad gave me some advice; write the essay without the restriction of the word count then summarize. Put yourself in an environment where you are most productive, have the right mindset and begin writing.


Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works