How good do short essays have to be?

Exactly how good do colleges want a 200-250 word essay. It seems like it’s tough to develop a true essay with deep meaning in a paragraph or so. Are you supposed to spend weeks writing those short essays like you would for a longer essay, say 500 words or so? In short, are you supposed to have these proofread, given to teachers, friends, family, random people on the street, etc, or are you supposed to just do them and maybe have someone look over them?

<p>I just answered the question directly and honestly and tried to add some personal insights. But in terms of being creative and establishing some situation, it's hard to do that in 250 words while answering the specific questions that they are asking.</p>

<p>If you are talking about schools like Stanford or Princeton, the short essays should be as good as the long one, only shorter.</p>

<p>I'm talking more in the line of state schools. Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, etc...</p>

<p>With most state schools, essays count for merit aid or only in rare instances for admission. Most state schools base admission mainly on gpa, scores, curriculum and class rank. I read one newspaper article last year describing the admissions process at a large state university. Most applications were dealt with in 10 minutes. The adcom figured out if the stats' matched the school's requirements, and if the application was complete. If the stats fit, and the application was complete, the student was accepted.</p>

<p>Possibly essays might count more for out of state candidates to public universities that have very limited spaces for out of state candidates.</p>

<p>Just answer the question and avoid cliches. Big state schools mostly go by numbers anyway.</p>

<p>Nah for my mit short essays (100words) I just answered the question, spent like 20 min typing a rough draft for them both then edited a little for grammar, and done.</p>

<p>There are a number of admin officers who have publicly said the short essays are important because it is what they read to determine if the long essay is really something you wrote. Sometimes the difference in the two is striking letting them know the long one was written with significant outside aid. You should devote the same amount of effort to all your essays.</p>

<p>Very good point, drusba.</p>

<p>I wrote in a slightly different style for each of my essays, believing it would show I am a versatile writer. Would adcoms think I had my essays written by someone else?</p>

<p>Different styles will be fine. It's just when one essay looks like it was written by Harvard graduate, and the others like they were written by a middle-schooler it's a problem.</p>