after reading tons of essays, adcom members know what 400 words in 10-12pt font should look like on a page. (i.e. if its 2 pages, and your essay is 3.5....well then they won't be too happy with you.)
Right, but I am talking about slightly over the word limit like from 500 to say 525 or even 550
My gut says they don't. 525 is only 5% over..thats usually what range people/admissions consultants will tell you to stay within.