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Thoughts on Word Counts

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08 Jan 2007, 09:24
I'm at 504 words in a 500 word or less essay. Am I okay, or will it look like I can't follow simple direction if I don't get it to 500?

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Re: Thoughts on Word Counts [#permalink]

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08 Jan 2007, 09:34
eazyb81 wrote:
I'm at 504 words in a 500 word or less essay. Am I okay, or will it look like I can't follow simple direction if I don't get it to 500?

I think that they would be crazy to ding you for 504, but I would encourage you to look through it once more to see if you can't narrow it down. Be sure to bring your thesaurus.

Rasch
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08 Jan 2007, 09:34
approx 5-10% over the limit is okay.

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08 Jan 2007, 09:41
sm176811 wrote:
approx 5-10% over the limit is okay.

Do schools state this or is it implied?

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Re: Thoughts on Word Counts [#permalink]

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08 Jan 2007, 09:43
Rasch wrote:
eazyb81 wrote:
I'm at 504 words in a 500 word or less essay. Am I okay, or will it look like I can't follow simple direction if I don't get it to 500?

I think that they would be crazy to ding you for 504, but I would encourage you to look through it once more to see if you can't narrow it down. Be sure to bring your thesaurus.

Rasch

I know I won't get dinged for it, but it may be a slight negative in my app.

I have sliced and diced this thing, and I am happy with where it's at right now. If forced I could probably cut out a few more words, but it would irritate me.

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08 Jan 2007, 10:04
eazyb81 wrote:
sm176811 wrote:
approx 5-10% over the limit is okay.

Do schools state this or is it implied?

schools dont state this, its kinda implied. people who read the essays dont count the # of words. So, its hard to say for sure if you are < 500 or > 500 if the actual # of words be between 490 and 540...i guess thats why people says going over by 5-10% should be ok.
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08 Jan 2007, 10:54
INSEAD actually has an automated word count system on it PDF application which shows the number of words right next to the essay itself (in blue if you're within the limit, in red if you've exceeded the limit).
Anyway... I have (quite cleverly i'd say) significantly exceeded the limits (by 40% in 3 essays and even by 100% in another essay). Nevertheless I've been invited to the interviews and I'll get the final decision by the 19th of Jan... I'll let you know if that has indeed hurt my application. In any case, I'd definitely avoid being as clever as I have been!

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08 Jan 2007, 10:57
timothycosulich wrote:
INSEAD actually has an automated word count system on it PDF application which shows the number of words right next to the essay itself (in blue if you're within the limit, in red if you've exceeded the limit).

This is the exact type of program that I was thinking about.

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08 Jan 2007, 11:58
You should read what the schools actually say in their word limits. Some say it is a recommended length, while others call it a limit. Even if they call it a limit, the prevailing thought is that 10% over the limit is OK.

Unless you have an essay filled with devastatingly relevant information, I would avoid going over by more than 10%. It will draw unnecessary attention to your essay, implies that you are not able to or are unwilling to work within the guidelines, that you are conceited because you think your experiences are more important than those of other people that can meed the limit, and that you don't know how to communicate effectively.

But 10% over is generally acceptable.

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08 Jan 2007, 13:48
I was under this 10% impression too.

But I spoke to a friend who is in the admissions committee for Haas, and he recommended to stick to the limit. He thinks its an unfair advantage to other applicants who stay within the limit.

I have all mine between 500-550 words, but I'll trim them to 500 before submitting.

I know it's a pain...but am not taking any chances on this one.

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08 Jan 2007, 15:19
I would not bother with 4 words. You must have more important things to do with your time?

I have heard the 10% rule as well, but I have followed the "Am I late for work rule:"

If I walk in the door at 9:07, that rounds to 9am. I am on time. If I get in at 9:08, that rounds to 9:15 and I am late.

504? Take a look, see what you can do, but don't sweat it.

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08 Jan 2007, 18:57
If there's one thing - one thing at all I've done decently - that's sticking to word limit. They really should admit me just for that you know, even if I'm an ass for the rest of it.

My word counts in my application are - well exact. As in EXACT. As in PERFECTLY TO THE WORD. As in...ah s**** it, they won't notice it, I'm the only one dancing and no one's lookin'...

It may be a good idea to be within 10%.

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08 Jan 2007, 19:13
aaudetat wrote:
I would not bother with 4 words. You must have more important things to do with your time?

I have heard the 10% rule as well, but I have followed the "Am I late for work rule:"

If I walk in the door at 9:07, that rounds to 9am. I am on time. If I get in at 9:08, that rounds to 9:15 and I am late.

504? Take a look, see what you can do, but don't sweat it.

You round wierd.

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08 Jan 2007, 19:19
I used to be hourly, and our time sheets were in 15-minute increments.

I swear it makes sense when you live in my head.

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08 Jan 2007, 22:12
what about word counts in the perspective of the application as a whole?

on one of my essays, I'm over by about 15%. however, on the rest of my essays, I'm under, to the point where I'm under for the application as a whole.

hopefully they won't mind too much...

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10 Jan 2007, 05:57
aaudetat - interesting system you have there. If you worked where I do (assuming a 9am start) you would be considered late no matter what. If you can't reply to a mail sent to you at 9am immediately, you are late.

Anyway - word counts are getting me to entertain one thing. I am really tempted to put in a 1500 word essay at about 1000 (GSB). These are people who are meant to appreciate you being to the point, aren't they? There are hundreds and thousands of 1500 word essays in there, if I can get everything in, to the point, at 1000, then in theory they should appreciate it.

Any thoughts (Rhyme?)

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10 Jan 2007, 06:07
3underscore wrote:
aaudetat - interesting system you have there. If you worked where I do (assuming a 9am start) you would be considered late no matter what. If you can't reply to a mail sent to you at 9am immediately, you are late.

Anyway - word counts are getting me to entertain one thing. I am really tempted to put in a 1500 word essay at about 1000 (GSB). These are people who are meant to appreciate you being to the point, aren't they? There are hundreds and thousands of 1500 word essays in there, if I can get everything in, to the point, at 1000, then in theory they should appreciate it.

Any thoughts (Rhyme?)

Remind me not to work wherever the heck it is you work 3underscore. As for the 1500 vs 1000 word essay, the only question you should be asking yourself is: Does this 1000 words answer the question asked? (I'm presuming you are borrowing from other essays as most people do). If the answer to that is yes, then just ask yourself: Am I happy with it? If the answer to that is yes, then go for it.

I was helping someone with this stuff a few weeks ago and I remember he once said about a 100-word maximum "But what I wrote is only 87 words!" and I'd reply "So?" and he'd want to add one more sentence in there cause there's space. If you truly believe you've written something of quality that addresses the question and clearly depicts what you want it to, 1000 words is fine.

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10 Jan 2007, 06:18
Not really cribbing at all actually. I am just thinking of a tactic - obviously the MBA goals essay is a prime target for use in this way, but I don't want to feel that any essay isn't bespoke.

As for the job, I can understand why people might not like it. Its a Bank. You are contracted 9-5, 5 days. In reality if you aren't there 830-1800 at least, you won't last very long. I have seen people disciplined for serially arriving at 9.05 - it is almost better to breeze in at 1030, as people then believe there is a reason for being late rather than poor timekeeping.

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10 Jan 2007, 07:14
3underscore wrote:
aaudetat - interesting system you have there. If you worked where I do (assuming a 9am start) you would be considered late no matter what. If you can't reply to a mail sent to you at 9am immediately, you are late.

But then, if you reply to e-mails immediately you are not getting much work done, right? How can you focus on anything if no e-mail can wait more than 5 minutes in your inbox?

I know you are probably just using the example to show how 9.05 is not the same as 9.00 but I wanted to take the discussion in the direction of e-mail addiction.

Cheers. L.

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10 Jan 2007, 07:23
It was illustrative, lepium, as you guessed.

But the mail is critical for what we do, as that is where you will receive funding requests for the business. Without getting bogged down in the process that is run, it is more that you are expected to be at your desk and live.

Almost to the extent you wouldn't go straight to a meeting in the office without being at yr desk for a bit. It is just the way it works there - I am not saying it is the way I believe things should be run, but am not actually that bothered by it myself.

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10 Jan 2007, 07:23

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