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This one's for the admission consultants or somebody who's done with the first draft of the essays. How strict is the committee on the word limit? I've narrowed it down to 666 words for the first question, but really hate to prune it beyond that. What is the degree of flexibility, if any, on the word limit on the essays?
After having read hundreds if not thousands of the same essays, most readers can get a sense for the word count +/- 10% without having to actually count the words (i.e. it's hard to sense a difference between a 500 and a 550 word essay, but it's a bit easier to sense a difference between a 500 and 600 word essay).
If you really read your essay and cut out all the BS.. you'll be surprised how many words you can cut-out. I actually got all my essays for Columbia within +/- 3 words of each limit and had my Tuck essays all within +/- 10 words. If it doesn't add value or is just extra explanation.. just crop it