- Eliminate wordy phrases. Rather than say “I had the opportunity to…” just tell the reader what you did.
- Make every sentence stand up to the “stay or go” test. Read every sentence of your essay one at a time. After reading each individual sentence, ask, “Is this sentence essential to answering the essay question?” If it is not essential and you are over the word limit, it has to go.
- Have a friend read it. Give your essays to a friend and tell her/him that you absolutely have to have the essay be within the word limit. Because s/he won’t be as attached to your words as you are, s/he can more easily see what can be removed. Just make sure you don’t give your friend your only/original copies of your documents.
- Delete the last few sentences. Similar to my first point, applicants often end their essays with a lot of extra niceties that do not add much to the essay. It reminds me of how difficult it is to get off the phone with some people. They keep saying different versions of goodbye, and won’t just hang up!
Of course, you can always come to us and have us edit your essays as well! The Art of Applying team has an unrivaled Word Limit Guarantee. Our guarantee is that you can send us an essay that is up to double the word limit, and we will edit it down to the word limit for you. A bonus to the word limit guarantee is that if we ask you to add content into your essays, we will edit them down for you to below the word limit to give you space to add in the content you need to add.