One of the most common questions we get from applicants is, “How strict are schools about word limits in their admissions essays and personal statements?” While the answer itself is rather straightforward, we often encourage applicants to stop focusing on the number, take a step back, and consider what admissions officers are really communicating when they put forward a word limit.
First, we’ll answer the question directly: Schools are not out to reject you for going over a word limit by a small amount. Okay, okay… “What’s a small amount?” you’re asking. One rule of thumb that is frequently tossed around is 10%, although it’s worth noting that admissions consultants tend to promote this rule more than any admissions officer does. However, if you can stay within 10% of the word limit for an essay, you probably are okay.
Having said that, we rarely encounter an essay that we don’t think can get down to the word limit. This is where an extra pair of eyes can be extremely helpful; someone else can look at your essay and give you an objective point of view about which details are truly necessary and which ones can be left on the cutting room floor. But, if the limit is 500 words and you’re at 530, then your time may be better spent on things other than trying to hack another 30 words from your essay.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s think about what admissions officers are saying when they assign a word limit to an essay. In essence, they’re saying, “After reviewing thousands of applications, we’re very confident that you can thoroughly answer this question in this many words.” Even though you know yourself far better than the admissions officers do, they know the process very well, and they’ve heard it all. They really do want to get to know you well, but they only have so much capacity, so they need their applicants to communicate their stories as efficiently as possible.
As an applicant, if you know this and understand the challenge that admissions officers face, then that’s what will guide your decision. Questions such as “Is 525 words more okay than 535 words?” suddenly seem moot compared to “Is an admissions officer going to feel like I wasted her time when she’s done with my essays?” The former question is the kind of “down in the weeds” issue that the uninformed applicant will focus on; the latter is the kind that a smart, prepared applicant will ask.
It’s sort of like watching a movie… If you don’t like a movie and it’s longer than two hours, you will probably mention the length of the movie when you tell you’re friends not to bother seeing it. “That movie was unrealistic, boring, and… way too long!” But, if it’s a great movie, the length will never come up. You won’t even notice the length; you’ll just know that you enjoyed the story and were glad that you made the journey with the main character. The movie was right-sized for the story it told.
Your admissions essays and personal statements will work in much the same way. You don’t have carte blanche — the word limit that admissions officers provide isn’t an arbitrary one — but the quality of your essay is more important than the actual length. If it does its job well (by answering the question and helping admissions officers) then admissions officers won’t think about the word limit nearly as much as the content. On the other hand, if they’re halfway through your essay and they’re already thinking to themselves, “How much longer will this go on?” then you know that the essay missed the mark.
Again, having excellent content does not allow you to flagrantly disregard word limits. We’re saying that admissions officers, based on their considerable experience, know how long an essay needs to be to be great. A shorter essay can also be great, and so can a longer one, but one that is too long risks boring or annoying tired application readers.
One final note: You would be amazed at how accurately application readers can estimate an essay’s word count just from one glance. Yes, they read enough essays every year that they can tell whether you went over the word limit just by looking at the essay on the page (or, increasingly, on the screen). Around the offices here at Veritas Prep we find that we can usually guess an essay’s word count within about 25 words, just by looking at it. Admissions officers will still read your essay even if it’s long, but know that they may already start to form an opinion about you before they’ve read the first sentence!
If you’re ready to start building your own application for Ross or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
This is a free online calculator which counts the number of words or units in a text. Authors writing your book, pupils working on your essay, self-employed word smiths, teachers, translators, professors, or simply curious individuals: please feel free to use this tool to count the number of words in your document. It will also be useful for database, grammatical research, translation breakdowns, dictionary creation, commercial writing, etc.
To start, simply write or paste the text into the text areas. When you have finished, click on Count words under the text area, and watch the results appear immediately. You can also clear your text anytime you want by clicking on Reset.
The word limit for a dissertation is usually between 3,000 and 8,000; for a Personal Statement in a job application 600. To avoid exceeding your word limit, try to replace phrases with single words, avoid pleonasms, check the voice of your verbs, and (more importantly) sleep on it.
Microsoft Office 2010 student was initially a kind of package that included applications that were previously sold separately. The advantage was purchase cost. The first version of the suite contains cheap Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown, sharing some components such as a spell checker, the ability to integrate OLE and VBA scripts.
Microsoft Office suite is still the most famous in the world. Since the 2003 release, Microsoft has added the word "Office" before the name of each software suite that seems to be less suitable for individuals, advising students and families to purchase Microsoft Works Suite for cheap Microsoft Word.
A word processing software covers two notions, quite different in practice: an interactive text editor and a compiler for a language formatting of texts. During its evolution, Word has integrated design tool that allows publishing operations, such as adding graphics (charts, graphs, economic, geometric shapes, illustrations, equations) and student training.
Pay attention to word count
Writer and typewriter Readers find articles with interesting information enjoyable. For the same reason, writers strive to use words that make articles thought-provoking for the target readership. The choice of words is based on facts and figures to make the article interesting and convincing. It is important to be concise and respect word count. Generally, the lesser the words the better is the article. Novels are stories structured with words, and best-selling novels have words that do extraordinary things. Novel writers will tell you about the dreaded writers block having difficulty putting ideas into words. Writing a novel requires a calm and centered approach, and a strong sense of purpose. Novels are usually between 60,000 to 80,000 words, but established authors may write longer novels. Shorter versions of novels, also known as novellas, may range between 20,000 to 40,000 words. Short stories average 2,500 words, but may extend to 20,000 words. Writing a thesis or dissertation is critical for a graduate student, but most graduate students fail to write their dissertations because of lack of structure. Dissertation writing requires a solid foundation, where words are unique and directed at a specific audience. Writers understand that the language or word usage should be concise, simple and direct, creating pace and supplying excitement, passion and inspiration to the reader.
Salesmen are paid by the number of sales. Fishermen are paid by the pound of fish. Writers are paid by the number of words. It is no surprise that writers understand word count very well. Editors of magazines or publications often demand articles of specific word lengths. You may remember that the editor of a fashion magazine in the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, asked the writer to craft a similarly worded article for their readers. Writing assignments or competitions also have word limits.
The Count of Monte Cristo The world's shortest story writing competition, for example, has amazing stories that are no longer than 55 words. Authors understand that papers, essays, novels or books should have a minimum number of words. You will often hear authors boast about the length of their latest novels. It is customary to charge legal briefs by the word count. School papers often have a word limit. Word count also serves to regulate the length of documents produced for business, school or other writing assignments. Almost every student will tell you about her word count experience while writing a paper on The Count of Monte Cristo, one of most popular works of Alexandre Dumas and a must read in every schools curriculum.
The availability of word processing tools have made it easy to count words. In the absence of computers it was a challenge to count the number of words, and every writer dreamt of an easier way to determine word count. Also, there may be situations where a quick word count is needed. For example, you may want to know the word count of some articles that you just read on the web. Word count applications in computer programming are a great utility. For example, have you tried to find the count of a specific word in a document? The countofwords.com website offers an online tool for counting words. The site offers a web-based application, where you can simply paste a passage or article in a box and get the word count by pressing a button.
Writing Articles, Novels, Books or Dissertations
Most people dream of writing a book. Its not surprising that fame, credibility, celebrity status and fortune are associated with authorship. Writing also plays an important role in learning and teaching. Writing is about transforming observations and ideas into words, without disregard for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Writers understand that the process involves planning, organizing, selecting and writing words. Computers have made the process of writing easier -- it has become easier to tweak, tinker, edit and rewrite words without much effort. Writers focus on the needs of the audience, and write and rewrite words several times until they are satisfied.
The choice of words is important
Writing is about embarking on a journey of discovery, exploration and learning where new material, ideas and inspiration are transformed into words. Raw writing is usually in the form of a draft as the first cycle of writing rarely resembles the final product, even with a vision of the structure. In most cases writers have feelings or thoughts, and plunge into raw writing without knowing how words should be shaped. Words are laid down in a pile of ingredients, and structured writing shapes these ingredients into the form that gives meaning. The quickest and deepest improvements are made during freewriting, but only a handful of writers can get the right words the first time. A more common approach is direct writing where the aim is not to get the right words, but avoid losing track. Approaches such as Open-Ended Writing or Loop Writing are popular among professional writers. Writers strive for words that sound as natural as possible and fit like a well-tailored suit. Fiction writers use words based on imagination or facts, while nonfiction writers rely on facts. Good writing makes words come alive in blogs, books, essays, novels or dissertations.
Bank, R. & Glatzer, J. (2010). The Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction. Avon: Adams Media.
Hennessy, B. (2006). Writing Feature Articles. Burlington: Elsevier.
Barrass, R. (2002). Scientists Must Write. London: Routledge.
As an exercise, copy the following and paste it into the box above to obtain the number of words: Word Only a Word - Ebers, Georg, 1837-1898; Count is a simple counting game for your kids.; Electrical Counting - Lewis,W.B.; Putnam's Word Book - Flemming, Louis A; Clicks Counter; Count Julian - Landor, Walter Savage, 1775-1864; Words for the Wise - Arthur, T. S. (Timothy Shay), 1809-1885; Moby Word Lists - Ward, Grady; Counting to Tar Beach - Faith Ringgold; On the Study of Words - Trench, Richard C, 1807-1886; The Law and the Word - Troward, Thomas, 1847-1916; Stories That Words Tell Us - O'Neill, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Speakman); french words; The Lost Word, Christmas stories - Van Dyke, Henry, 1852-1933; Counting the colors.; The Pawns Count - Oppenheim, E. Phillips (Edward Phillips), 1866-1946; Breakfast on the Kitchen Counter; Winged Words - Henry Heathcote Statham; Spiritual Life and the Word of God - Swedenborg, Emanuel, 1688-1772; The Word Soul -
H.Fielding-Hall; Count Alexandro Volta; Christmas Counter; The Revealing Word - Fillmore, Charles; Life in the Word - Mauro, Philip, 1859-1952; The word eaters - Jaroslaw Jozefowicz; LED Counter; Household Words - Dickens, Charles; The last word - MacGowan, Alice, b. 1858; Toolbar Counter; Word-primer - Swinton, William, 1833-1892; The new word - Upward, Allen; Count on Me! - Joel Anderson;Congenital word-blindness - Hinshelwood, James; Living words - Chapin, E. H. (Edwin Hubbell), 1814-1880; Count Alarcos; a Tragedy - Disraeli, Benjamin, Earl of Beaconsfield, 1804-1881; A Collection of College Words and Customs - Hall, Benjamin Homer, 1830-1893; The cynic's word book - Bierce, Ambrose, 1842-1914; Charlie Chaplin's The Count;Word pictures in rhyme - Kinsman, O. W. (Owen W.), b. 1846; Her word of honor - Macvane, Edith, b. 1878;
The Count of Monte Cristo; Counter Sheep; A word for Ireland - Healy, T. M. (Timothy Michael), 1855-1931; The Memoirs of Count Grammont; The Life of Columbus; in his own words - Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909; Word Histories A Glossary Of Unusual Word Origins - Wendell Herbruck; A Word In Your Ear And Just Another Word - Ivor Brown - Of course, if I had read through the books I had already bought, I would have known that my word count was too high. - The chart and second set of tabulated data indicate that the count of these same unique words also comes to a high point in the book of Alma. - My lord, said Patronio, in order that you may be enabled to advise this man wisely I shall be happy to recount, with your permission, that which happened to the Count of Provence with Saladin, Sultan of Babylon. - The Triangular Book. of the Count of St. Germain. - The count of books I read this year has been abysmally low. - Minimum length is 3500 words of your own text, not counting quotes, images etc. The count of animals was much higher than expected due to breeding. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. My First Words Book is a clear collection of basic words found within various groupings. Felix Mendelssohn - Lieder Ohne Worte (Songs Without Words), Book 6, Op. 67: No. 3 In A Major, Op. 19/3. Big Words for Little People: , by Jamie Lee Curtis, Illustrated by Laura Cornell. Instant Word Practice Book Grades K-3. Contains center activities, spelling activities, word wall ideas, and assessment materials. Texture Words Book by Kristen Sutcliffe from New House Project Use materials with interesting textures to make a fun book for your baby. 4000 Essential English Words is a six-book series that is designed to focus on practical high-frequency words. New Worlds / New Words book launch. I don't think I've mentioned here the book launch that will be held tonight. The Everything Easy Cross-Words Book by Douglas Fink, ISBN 9781593370459 - QBD The Bookshop - Buy Songs without Words, Book 1 - You may see a very similar logic in how the Chinese use their counter suffixes (a.k.a. measure words, numeral counters). Simple online word counter, calculates the number of words in a text. ... Enter or paste your text in the field to the left and the word counter will automatically count your words.