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Did anyone go over their essay word limit?

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Did anyone go over their essay word limit? [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2007, 19:04
My limit is 500 - I'm at 524 and I just don't want to cut anything. Am I playing with fire? Walking the edge of a tall building on a windy day? Anyone else peek over their limit and still get accepted?
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2007, 19:06
it is perfectly fine as long as it is not for sloan...
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2007, 19:42
Why does sloan penalize you if you go over?
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2007, 20:13
jainan24 wrote:
Why does sloan penalize you if you go over?


There is as such no written policy by any school which states that it will penalize an applicant who will cross the word limit but there are schools whose adcom member have expressed desire for applicants to strictly adhere to the word limit and Sloan is definitely one of them…conversely, some other schools state that these word limits are there to give you some idea of how long the essay should be (Stanford, Wharton)……..for those schools, it is OK to go 10% above the stated word limit….but in any case do not go above 10% for a 500 word essay and 15% for a 1000 word essay
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 00:29
On a 500 word essay I wouldn't go over 510 myself.

Wordcounts and wordcount software exist for a reason.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 01:04
I wrote 52X on a 500 word essay. I don't think a 10% going over is dangerous.
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Re: Did anyone go over their essay word limit? [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 01:05
jobywan wrote:
My limit is 500 - I'm at 524 and I just don't want to cut anything. Am I playing with fire? Walking the edge of a tall building on a windy day? Anyone else peek over their limit and still get accepted?

With a well written essaY (succinit statements and good grammer) its ok to exceed by 10%.
so you could have 550 words but if it exceeds that then you may need to revisit your content
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 01:17
For my mind that completely defeats the point of a word limit.

Consider being a jounalist and submitting 550 words for a 500 word column. You will run off the end of the paper every week. Mind you, I firmly believe that a skill of management is being succinct.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 01:34
Word limits are just guidelines and there would be no penalty for overshooting by a small amount but ensure that 500 word doesnt overshoot to 750 or 800. as said earlier 10% must be acceptable and am pretty sure there are many inthis forum who have submitted apps in which essays exceed the length 500 to 550 types
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 02:33
Venky - you are arguing a very long established theory, but one with which there is no real defence. I am not saying it is not the case that people allow runovers, but it isn't wise. Why MUST 10% be considered reasonable?

If they wanted 550, not 500, they would say 550

I honestly think that overrunning a little is OK, but starting new sentences over the recommended word limit is taking the p!ss. If you have other things to say, put them in the optional essay.

Sure, a 500 word essay is tricky. It is for everyone. That's probably why they chose a 500 word limit.

I am from a world of limits being limits, rather than soft limits. In my mind a 550 word answer to a 500 word limit question isn't well written!
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 03:29
3underscore wrote:
Venky - you are arguing a very long established theory, but one with which there is no real defence. I am not saying it is not the case that people allow runovers, but it isn't wise. Why MUST 10% be considered reasonable?

If they wanted 550, not 500, they would say 550

I honestly think that overrunning a little is OK, but starting new sentences over the recommended word limit is taking the p!ss. If you have other things to say, put them in the optional essay.

Sure, a 500 word essay is tricky. It is for everyone. That's probably why they chose a 500 word limit.

I am from a world of limits being limits, rather than soft limits. In my mind a 550 word answer to a 500 word limit question isn't well written!
[/list][/list]


A lot depends on ur writing.
There is no generic right answer.
A poorly written essay which is within word limits but nothing much to say is worse then a well written essay which is say 530 words in length (limit = 500)

What I advise is keep 550 (say 10 %) as a overshoot limit. Becuase chopping down to meet word limits can cause the original effect of the essay to be hampered. If I am satisfied withy my essay quality and it happens to be say 530 words then I wouldnt go and try shortening it.

Again as a manager you cant do everything by the rules

sometimes its ok to exceed your limits within limits (complex sentence fun intended)

What I mean here is keep quality of essay and communication clarity as the primary descion makers and the word limit exceeding issue as secondary (just to decide whether you need to trim down or not)
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 05:08
I think the bottom line is that it depends on the ad comm. I am confident that there are a few ad comms that take the word limits very seriously and will dock an applicant for going over.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 05:26
I revisited the site and the guidelines said Maximum 500 words. I took this seriously and revised down. I am content with my changes, and partially convinced the essay is better for it.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 06:03
good work jobywan.

I have reworked a few of my essays round and about down from 20 words over to about three or four words over. My feelings on completion are similar to yours - it is difficult, but you do find that all you do is trim the fat from the essay.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 08:12
what if you submit pdf (assuming that format is allowed) and stay within page limits :o
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 08:24
I exceded all my essays up to 10%, except LBS which I heard it is better to stick to the maximum. So far I got interviews with INSEAD and Wharton.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 08:24
People stress over this more than they should. These systems don't word count your inputs - they convert the entire application to PDF, and no adcom is going to be able to tell if you are 10 or 15 words over on something.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 08:45
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100% agree with rhyme

Morever dont worry about some cynical adcom sitting with a word count utility trashing every app that exceeds even 1 word. for every such adcom i am sure there would be another adcom who thinks --hey doesnt he have anything to say ?? why are all his essays below word count? is he not enthu abt this colege and the list of ways in which adcom think is endless.

Just focus on good essays and go for trimming to meet word count without comprising on quality of content. If you end up with 502, 510 even 530 do not worry too much.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 08:51
I exceeded all word limits in all essays in all applications, except for Stanford's (which provides guidelines on pages rather than words). And I did exceed them by 10 - 20% in most cases and by around 30 - 50% in a couple of essays.

I have 2 dings so far and a couple of interview invites (although 1 is Kellogg which doesn't count as they invite before reading essays), so I don't know how this strategy will work out.

Cheers. L.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 09:02
After reading hundreds of essays, adcoms have a good sense of how long the essays need to be. If you're 10-15% over, they won't notice, but they will notice if your essay is an outlier (1.5 pages when every other essay is 3/4 of a page)

But if the school has a page limit, then it's best to stay within the page limit.
  [#permalink] 06 Feb 2007, 09:02
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