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How Long is your "Why Swarthmore?" essay?

4yorkshiremen4yorkshiremen Registered User Posts: 602 Member
edited December 2011 in Swarthmore College
I understand this is supposed to be "brief." what do you think that means? 500 words, 1500?
Post edited by 4yorkshiremen on

Replies to: How Long is your "Why Swarthmore?" essay?

  • libartsmomlibartsmom Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    My daughter is now a Senior at Swat and her "Why Swarthmore?" essay, which she copied to my computer in case her laptop died and at which I am now looking, was 3 pages/995 words. Someone did a thread on this question last year and numerous posters (also parents) jumped all over me for saying that a 1000-word essay is OK. They suggested much shorter essays. I will acknowledge that your essay should not be more than 1000 words. However, I think that two pages is perfectly safe, even though there may be persons who will tell you in no uncertain terms that the essay should be one and only one page. Key is having something to say and saying it succinctly. My daughter had honed her essay over multiple drafts so there were no wasted words in her three pages. If you can say what you need to say in 300 or 600 words, then your "Why Swarthmore?" essay will do what it needs to do for your application. If it is still three pages after multiple drafts, I do not think you will be hung out to dry. You will do yourself no favors, however, with a sloppy and windy-baggy essay, whether it is one or three pages.
  • notanengineernotanengineer Registered User Posts: 1,125 Senior Member
    I had been trying to keep within the 2000 characters that they give on the supplement through Common App, but evidently it is acceptable to go over. In that case, I will probably do around 500-600 words.
  • smwhtslghtlydzedsmwhtslghtlydzed Registered User Posts: 1,556 Senior Member
    ^Do you guys think it can be as long as 1-2 pages or should be? I saw that they were asking for a 'brief' essay so mine's about 230 words, stating pretty simply what I love about the college. Do you think mine should be longer?
  • drinkyouprettydrinkyoupretty Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    I don't see why anyone would upload a document if their essay was 2000 characters or shorter, so I don't see why uploading it would be an option if admission officers were unwilling to read essays longer than that. How many words are 2000 characters, anyway? 300-400? Personally, I'd never fit all I want to say in 230 words, but if you can, then you shouldn't waste words just to make it longer.
  • balletgirl20balletgirl20 Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    I took the 500 words guideline for the common app's essay as my final swarthmore essay was 538 words. I didn't use the text box since it only allows 2000 characters (which is not alot at ALL) and attached a document. Make sure you preview it!
  • smwhtslghtlydzedsmwhtslghtlydzed Registered User Posts: 1,556 Senior Member
    @drinkyoupretty: i wouldn't be adding fluff to make it longer- i have more reasons that i didn't get into, but i tried to make it as brief as possible so that's where it's at now. do you think i should leave it as is or add stuff? like i focused on the principle reason that i want to go to swat so should i add all the reasons?
  • drinkyouprettydrinkyoupretty Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    @smwhtslghtlydzed: If they're all important reasons, you should add them. My essay's ~500 words right now and will probably be ~600 when finished, so...
  • chaosakitachaosakita Registered User Posts: 1,439 Senior Member
    I think there's really only limit for about 350 words based on the character limit. I think they'd be fine if you wrote something longer, but based on the set limit, I don't think they expect more than that.
  • FrumensFrumens Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    My essay was 396 words. I'm a first year student.
  • blubbermonkeyblubbermonkey Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    550 words. My counselor told me that as long as you manage to fit your uploaded document in one page (whether by using small fond or wide margins), it should appease the admissions officer.
  • rockycreaturerockycreature Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I just got in ED and mine was 2.1 pages, double spaced. It was 530 words.
  • benadamsbenadams Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    I was accepted ED as well; mine was 503 words including the three word title.
  • ckent1789ckent1789 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I was just accepted ED. I went with the 2000 character limit on common app, so mine ended up being ~340 words.
  • benadamsbenadams Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    If you were accepted, join the 'Swarthmore Class of 2016' Facebook page
This discussion has been closed.