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Essay Length

keystosuccesskeystosuccess 113 replies3 threads Junior Member
I'm currently writing my essays and I've noticed that I tend to be extremely verbose, and often write to the maximum length or past it by about 10-20 words. For example, in Exeter's essays, they ask applicants for two essays that are about 200-500 words in length but the first essay I wrote is 463 words and the second is exactly 500 words in length, would this be acceptable to submit or should I attempt to sacrifice some of what I have written to better meet the guidelines that they have set in place? If I should shorten the length of my essays, how would you suggest that I do so as I have read my essay through several times and am still unsure of where I'd be able to shorten the length of the essay.
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Replies to: Essay Length

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34791 replies392 threads Senior Member
    Learning to self edit is an important life skill.
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  • SatchelSFSatchelSF 1372 replies13 threads Senior Member
    "Brevity is the soul of wit."
    - Shakespeare
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  • GoatMamaGoatMama 1251 replies11 threads Senior Member
    If I should shorten the length of my essays, how would you suggest that I do so as I have read my essay through several times and am still unsure of where I'd be able to shorten the length of the essay.

    Here is an example from your own writing. I just cut down your paragraph by 50 words. You tell me if any meaning was lost.

    In writing my essays, I've noticed that I tend to be verbose and write to the maximum length. For example, Exeter asks applicants for two essays of 200-500 words. My first essay is 463 words, the second is 500 words. Is this acceptable or should I sacrifice some of what I have written to better meet the guidelines? If I should shorten my essays, how would you suggest that I do that? I have read them several times but I am still unsure how to shorten them.

    I hope this helps.

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  • happy1happy1 23039 replies2275 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    You must edit down. It is not acceptable to go over the limit. Part of the assignment is to show your ability to get your point across within a prescribed word count.
    edited November 2017
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1831 replies34 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    I've taken GoatMama's version and shortened it even more for you, as an example!

    HERE GOES:

    Exeter asks for two 200-500 word essays, but I tend to be verbose. My first essay is 463 words; the second is 500. Should I sacrifice what I've written to meet guidelines? How might I shorten my essays? I've read them several times, but am still unsure how to shorten them.

    WORD COUNTS: Your first post was 136 words. @GoatMama's version was 87. My version is just 51, less than half your original length.

    OF COURSE you can shorten your essays. Think of it as a fun game or puzzle!
    edited November 2017
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  • CenterCenter 2204 replies66 threads Senior Member
    Less is more. Follow directions.
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  • GoatMamaGoatMama 1251 replies11 threads Senior Member
    @keystosuccess Check out The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) for tips on how to edit down your essay: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/572/02/
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  • keystosuccesskeystosuccess 113 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Thank you for the help. My essays are each about 450 words now, is that acceptable or should I continue to decrease the length?
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    that's fine. Anything under the limit works.
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  • momof3swimmersmomof3swimmers 389 replies5 threads Member
    If the limit is 500 and you are under, you are fine.
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