Ten, twenty words isn't going to make them penalize you.
A well-written essay isn't going to make anyone turn you away. Yes, if you're dragging away at 280 and what you're saying isn't even meaningful, that's irritating. But if you feel like you can add a better dynamic to your essay by adding ten words, I say 'go for it'. Just my view.
College admissions isn't going to notice ten words; they are going to notice an outstanding essay.