Is this paper too long to upload for Amherst's writing supplement?

One of the options for Amherst’s writing supplement is to upload a graded essay. For my history final this term, I wrote a paper about the 1953 coup in Iran, and it’s causes and effects. It was very thoroughly researched, and the writing is clear and communicative. I ended up getting an A-, with only one minor comment about the actual content of the essay.

The only issue is that the essay ended up being 16 pages, and one of the guidelines for uploading an essay is that it must be below 8-10 pages. However, if I make it single spaced, it comes in at 9 pages, excluding a title page and bibliography. The paper is 5100 words in total.

Is it simply too long? Will I lose the interest of an admissions officer reading it? Or would it be ok to upload? I am not a particularly good writer outside of analytical, history type writing, so I don’t think I could write an especially compelling supplemental essay under another prompt.

1 Like

When they say “Typically, we anticipate a paper of 4-5 pages”, and it should not exceed 8-10, I don’t think jamming 16 pages in 9 tightly spaced pages is what they had in mind.

They also prefer the actual graded paper with teacher’s marks/comments, so reformatting it and sending a clean copy would violate this guidance too.

1 Like

The school has laid out simple directions. Follow them. Find another paper to submit.

1 Like

They won’t read a 16 page paper. At best, they will read the first few. You submitting a paper over the word count of their recommendation does not mean they will spend more time on your application; your essays need to work within the time allotted.


There are many folks here who have already posted who are far more experienced than I am in the proper rules to follow for college admissions. You would be well-served in following their excellent advice.

As a parent and as someone who has to review legal briefs and memos for work, my eyes glaze over when I see large documents. I still give it my full attention, but it takes a TON of time to review long documents.

I would strongly urge you to follow exactly what the guidelines ask of you in applications. I get the impression that AOs get 1000s of applications that they have to read, and they are not going to go overboard to read more than they have to get an impression of the candidate.

Could you get the teacher for the class that you submitted the paper to submit a LoR addressing, in part, your paper re: the Iranian coup? Also, don’t sell yourself short: you obtained a good grade on this paper, so you are obviously are a good writer.

Your college application essays are a clear way for the Admissions folks to know you. Don’t scrimp. Anything worth it is worth the effort: follow the instructions, but also make sure you put your best effort in the essays. Otherwise, you’re probably not going to get in unless you are one of the top applicants. Others will put in the effort, so you should too.