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The bigger picture here is to tell your own story as clearly and concisely as you can.The same goes for the length of your personal statement—hone in on the specific message you want to convey and deliver it as succinctly as you can.
As Yale Admissions says, "It doesn't matter which topics you choose, as long as they are meaningful to you.
If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably started the very exciting process of applying to college—and chances are you may be a little overwhelmed at times. The key to getting into the right college for you is taking each step of the application process in stride, and one of those steps is completing the Common App and the Common App essay.
As a former college admissions officer who read over 3,000 essays every admissions cycle, I can’t stress enough that students should consider quality over quantity when drafting college essays.
My colleagues have previously written blog posts encouraging students to draft essays in their everyday voice, and to avoid replacing normal words with cousins from the thesaurus.
If you’re looking for individualized help with your college essay or another area of your application, contact us today to work with one of our college admissions experts.
Becky Leichtling is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts.For those of you still concerned about the literal word count: The most common “personal statement” length is in the ballpark of 500 words.The three standardized application portals—the Common App, the Universal App, and the Coalition App—all request personal statements capped at 650 words, but that’s the absolute limit, at which point your writing will be cut off.I consider 500 the “sweet spot,” but don’t stress if you write an essay closer to 430 or 620 that you’re honestly proud of.Many colleges also ask for short answer responses, sometimes called supplemental prompts or personal insight questions, in the range of 150, 250, or 350 words; in this case, aim for the suggested length and be aware of the hard limits on either end, but don’t stress if you’re over or under by 10-15%.That said, plenty of colleges still require their own application components, and the Common App, as user-friendly as it aims to be, can still feel like a bit of a challenge to complete.Part of the reason the Common App can seem intimidating is because of the Common App essay component, which is required of all students who submit a college application this way. In reality, the Common App essay is easy to ace if you know how to approach it and you give it your best.Becky is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Education; prior to joining College Coach, Becky was a senior admissions officer at Tufts University.The Insider: College Admissions Advice from the Experts is where College Coach experts weigh in on the latest college admissions topics.The Common Application essay topics throw the door wide open for each applicant to show how he or she is that kind of person.Think of the Common App essay topics as starting points.