ForumWatch: How Important is Essay Word Count?

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on January 23, 2012

Business school applications revolve around the story one tells in the admissions essays. Applicants spend a long time carefully crafting their words and explaining why they should win a seat at a top business school. But breaking simple stated and unstated rules - from including photos when the school prohibits them to writing about inappropriate or irrelevant topics - can put one at risk for rejection. Because the essays are so important, many applicants sweat every detail.

Recently, Roversocce, a participant on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forums, had a bunch of last-minute application questions. They included whether one can round off his GPA or go over the recommended word count. Indeed, word count on the application essay is an important issue and one that comes up often on the forums. The consensus among admissions committees tends to be that applicants should try to stay within the word count because it shows they follow directions well and that they can be concise. Also, the more words you share, the more committees have to read, which can be difficult with all the applications they receive.

Still, how close one needs to stick to the word count is debatable, and it sparks conversation every time it comes up. To join the conversation, you can click on the “Last Minute Application Questions” discussion thread.

-Francesca Di Meglio

Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of a series about discussions taking place on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forums, where prospective MBA program applicants, current students, and recent alumni trade admissions tips, job-hunting advice, and the occasional barbed comment. We invite you to join these discussions or start one of your own.



Read daily reports from BusinessWeek editors and reporters Louis Lavelle, Geoff Gloeckler, Alison Damast and Francesca Di Meglio and boost your chances of getting into your best-fit B-school.

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